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South Carolina

Charleston Travel Guide

Charleston is one of the loveliest cities in the country, despite having weathered great fires, earthquakes, epidemics, civil war and a devastating hurricane. It is consistently classed among the most elegant and picturesque cities nationwide. Situated on the peninsula at the confluence of the Cooper and Ashley Rivers, on South Carolina’s Atlantic coast, the colonial port of Charleston is the oldest city in the state, filled with brick and cobblestone streets, and a large downtown district boasting hundreds of carefully preserved and restored buildings that house old-fashioned inns, antique shops and pubs. The streets are lined with tall, narrow houses festooned with wrought iron balconies and wooden shutters, ornate iron gates enclosing pretty gardens and shaded porches – the timeless features of Southern architecture. Many of its double-storey houses are authentically furnished museums that once belonged to wealthy colonial merchants, while many are still the beautiful private homes of wealthy residents.

The city started as an important seaport serving the rice and cotton plantations throughout the region, and it was a major slave-trading centre with about a third of America’s slaves being bought and sold at the riverfront market. The Gullah culture of the islands, populated by the ancestors of West African slaves, has a tangible presence here, especially at the Old City Market that vibrates with the humming of traditional spirituals, as basket ladies sell their hand-woven grass wares among the local vendors and iron makers, and the distinctive sound of the Gullah dialect fills the air.

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SAUDI ARABIA

Jeddah Travel Guide

As the main point of entry, by air and sea, to Saudi Arabia, the flashy city of Jeddah is more cosmopolitan than Saudi’s capital, Riyadh. Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims making the traditional pilgrimage to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, just a few hours away inland, pass through two enormous, futuristic special terminals with a fibre-glass tent-shaped roof at the international airport during the Hajj season. Other visitors are few and far between, since Saudi Arabia has extremely strict entry requirements and is ‘blacklisted’ as a terrorism hotspot by Britain and the USA.

Those who do gain entry to this splendid modern metropolis are rewarded with experiencing a city where luxury is the norm. Fabulous seven-star palatial hotels give on to wide boulevards, encircling the ancient central old city, Balad, filled with colourful souks (bazaars) and mysterious medieval buildings built of Red Sea coral. The Red Sea shoreline is lined with a seemingly never-ending corniche, giving on to beautiful sandy beaches. Jeddah’s restaurants and shopping malls are legendary. One of the unmissable sights in Jeddah is the King Fahd Fountain in the harbour, which is spectacular at night when it sends illuminated coloured jets of water 853 feet (260m) into the air.

Jeddah is named in honour of the Biblical Eve. ‘Jadda’ means ‘grandmother’ in the context of Eve, who according to legend is buried near the historical old city, although the actual site of the tomb is not marked by the Saudi Government.

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Riyadh Travel Guide

Rising from the barren desert, its towering skyscrapers glittering in the fierce sun, the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, is one of the most splendid and affluent cities in the modern world, sprawling across about 600 square miles (1,600 square kilometres) of desert in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula.

Once a small oasis known for its date orchards (hence the origin of its name which in Arabic means ‘place of gardens’), Riyadh’s phenomenal growth spurt began in 1902 when the desert lord Ibn Saud took over the city determined to turn it into the centre of his Arabic kingdom. Thirty years later it became the capital of the new country of Saudi Arabia, and fuelled by the revenue of the country’s abundant oil fields, it has burgeoned into an awesome modern metropolis with a population well in excess of four million.

Modern it may be, but visitors to Riyadh are never likely to forget that they are in the heart of the Arab world. In between the towering, futuristic buildings, glitzy shopping malls and broad, sweeping highways are nestled ancient mosques and other remnants of times gone by, shady trees and date palms line the avenues, and camels sometimes sway between the luxury vehicles. The city is also run on a strictly Islamic moral and cultural code, and visitors should respect the rules while exploring the sights, both ancient and modern, in this fascinating city. Women have restricted access to certain attractions and sites.

The original ‘wadis’ (dry river beds), where wells were sunk to water the historic infant oasis settlement, have now been supplemented by numerous vast dams and piped in desalinated seawater to adequately quench the thirst of this prosperous capital, quite justly dubbed ‘Queen of the Desert’. Travellers can therefore drink deeply of this unique urban landscape, which will not be found wanting in both historic interest and modern wonder.

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SENEGAL

Dakar Travel Guide

After three centuries of French colonial rule, Senegal became independent in 1960. Before independence the city of Dakar was the capital of French West Africa, it has been the capital of the independent Republic since then. The country has retained strong ties with France and the French influence remains in the architecture of the city, where well preserved colonial buildings, the monumental government house and café terraces stand testimony to its history.

Situated on the tip of the Cap Vert Peninsula, the modern capital teems with life and boasts luxurious hotels, a wide range of restaurants, beaches and watersports, a casino and an active nightlife scene. It is also one of the busiest ports for cruise ships in Africa.

For lovers of history Gorée, a UNESCO Historical Monument, is a must-see. Those interested in the horrors of Senegal’s slave trade past can find incredible history come alive in ‘La Maison des Enclaves’ with its cells, shackles and the slave dealer’s apartments, as well as at the many museums housed in former slave houses, and the forts built to protect the lucrative business. Architecture in Dakar is also worth venturing out for; there are some beautiful buildings in and around the city including the city’s cathedral and grand mosque. The most famous attraction in Dakar is the controversial African Renaissance Monument, a massive sculpture meant to represent Africa’s emergence from slavery and colonialism.

Another great way to enjoy an afternoon in Dakar is by browsing the busy markets or having a picnic in one of the beautiful parks. Hann Park and Zoo is a great place to take kids in Dakar and Lake Retba is also an interesting sight for visitors of all ages, as tourists can watch the traditional salt harvesters at work.

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SERBIA

Belgrade Travel Guide

Once one of Europe’s most turbulent cities, Belgrade has grown bold and determined, proudly welcoming visitors to explore this unique European capital. The history of Belgrade, originally known as Singidunum, goes back 6,000 years, and is filled with tales of conflict and devastation. Belgrade, however, always bounces back and is currently enjoying a cultural and creative revival.

Belgrade (Beograd in Serbian) is situated where the Sava and Danube rivers meet on the Balkan Peninsula of southeastern Europe. It is not a beautiful city, but rather one layered with the relics of many generations and invaders. Old-world Europe with a hint of the orient, different cultural influences and architectural styles jostle for attention in Belgrade, combining to imbue the modern city with its own unique charm.

The best place to begin understanding the city is at the site of its original ancient settlement, the hill called Kalemegdan, now a fascinating park-like complex of historic buildings overlooking the Old Town (Stari Grad). The Military Museum situated here traces the history of the city’s bloody past, from its first conflict with the Roman Legions in the 1st century BC, to its most recent conflagration, when NATO forces bombed the city for 78 straight days in 1999.

Those who aren’t fascinated by history and prefer to enjoy Belgrade as it is today will find a myriad of leisure and pleasure opportunities. From the techno wilderness of its famed nightclubs to the restaurants and street performances of bohemian Skadarlija Street, visitors to Belgrade will feel welcomed by the hospitable and justly proud inhabitants of this indomitable city.

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SINGAPORE

Singapore Travel Guide

Beguiling Singapore is a modern city-state embracing economic progress against the backdrop of age-old tradition. Many business people and holidaymakers travel to Singapore on their way to the Far East, or as a stop-off between Australia and Europe, and are eager to see and experience this legendary hi-tech Asian city, which combines traditional enclaves with the towering steel and cement of a cosmopolitan international power-house. The customs that underpin community life emerge out of a cultural mix that includes predominantly Chinese, Indian and Malay ethnic groups.

Singapore is an island off the southern tip of Malaysia, linked to it by a causeway. It evolved from a sleepy fishing village in the early 1900s to become one of Asia’s economic tigers. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles landed on Singapore’s northern bank in 1819, quickly identifying a strategic trading location. Singapore’s rural landscape was transformed by British colonial rule, Japanese occupation, Communist insurrection and finally, independence. Since becoming a republic in 1965 the island has experienced increased prosperity and exponential economic growth. Shimmering skyscrapers tower above the slick financial districts and elegant colonial buildings preserve a lingering old-world charm.

Singapore’s full calendar of events showcases a spectrum of cultural celebrations and shopping activities. The early summer months bustle in anticipation of the Singapore Sale – a time when tourists can cash in on the competitive prices of electronic equipment, jewellery and other merchandise. The business activity thrives amid the celebration of Chinese, Hindu and Muslim festivals that punctuate the year with their colourful representations. These include the Chinese New Year, Ramadan, Hari Raya Puasa, Vesak Day, the Dragon Boat Festival, Festival of the Hungry Ghosts and Thaipusam.

The core of downtown Singapore is formed by the Colonial District, embellished by cathedrals and cricket lawns. The notable sites of the area include the Empress Place Building and the luxurious Raffles Hotel. Although most of old Singapore has been demolished to make way for the modern city, many major landmarks within the Colonial District have been preserved. The surrounding ethnic enclaves of Little India, Chinatown and the Arab Quarter also provide glimpses into the traditions that have sustained their respective communities through the centuries.

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SLOVENIA

Ljubljana Travel Guide

A city of culture and cuisine, boutiques, bars and hidden treasures, the capital of Slovenia exudes small-town charm. Ljubljana is a fusion of tradition and modernity; the magnificent Baroque, Renaissance and Art Nouveau architecture of the old town centre speaks to Ljubljana’s 5,000 years of fascinating history, while its lively cultural, scientific, educational and commercial spheres leave no doubt that this is a sophisticated city in tune with the times. It is also one of Europe’s most environmentally friendly capital cities, and was awarded the coveted Green Capital of Europe title in 2016.

Ljubljana is a devoted centre of culture, with more than ten thousand cultural events gracing its calendar each year, including the Summer Festival, Jazz Festival and the Druga Godba Festival of Alternative Music. Music is the lifeblood of the city, which boasts one of the oldest established philharmonic orchestras in the world, not to mention some very accomplished street musicians.

Classical culture is not all that’s on offer, however. With its large student population, Ljubljana knows how to party, and after nightfall, you are just as likely to hear the throbbing beat of club music or rock and roll, as you are the strains of violins.

Ljubljana is also home to an expanding culinary scene, where all the best of Eastern European cuisine seems to have merged into a smorgasbord of delights, from delicate Viennese-style pastries to hearty Hungarian goulash.

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SOUTH AFRICA

Cape Town Travel Guide

With exquisite restaurants, unique scenery, pristine beaches and a Mediterranean climate, Cape Town encompasses everything you could need in a holiday destination:

An eclectic blend of cultures and traditions, the Mother City is a modern and cosmopolitan city located at the southern tip of Africa. Sitting in the shade of the iconic Table Mountain, it is among the world’s most beautiful cities.

Cape Town’s many attractions include its postcard-perfect beaches, tucked away between fashionable cafés and multimillion-dollar beach houses as well as excellent restaurants and a lively nightlife that attracts many Hollywood celebrities. The rolling hills of the nearby Cape Winelands offer decadent tasting experience while climbing at least one of the spectacular mountains in the city is a must.

In addition to the most famous tourist attractions, visitors can enjoy a traditional South African braai or shisa nyama (barbecue) at lively township restaurants like Mzoli’s, catch a rugby match at the historic Newlands Stadium, go on a pub crawl down Long Street, or browse the wares at one of the city’s delightful craft and food markets.

Cape Town is a melting pot of cultures, with African influences blending with Cape Malay, British and Dutch culture. Mix in a blend of residents and tourists from all over the world, and you have a fascinating city that never fails to enchant.

Best time to visit Cape Town

December to February (summer) is peak season for Cape Town, although the weather can be lovely in spring and autumn with crisp, clear days ideal for sunbathing and sightseeing. The December holiday season can be uncomfortably hot at times and tends to be crowded with local tourists. Winters in Cape Town can be cold and rainy and are usually avoided by travellers. Read more on Cape Town’s Climate and Weather.

What to see in Cape Town

-Visit the District Six Museum for a peek into Cape Town’s tumultuous history.

-Tour the infamous Robben Island prison, where Nelson Mandela was held for nearly 30 years.

-Say hello to the marine life at the Two Oceans Aquarium.

-Take a township tour through Gugulethu or Khayelitsha.

What to do in Cape Town

-Take a cable car to the top of the iconic Table Mountain for a spectacular view of the city.

-Sun yourself on the sand and cavort with penguins at Boulders Beach.

-Treat the kids to a ride on the rollercoasters at Ratanga Junction.

-Have a picnic and listen to a concert in the stunning Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

Beyond Cape Town

Cape Town is well-situated to be part of a larger holiday in South Africa. Tourists can take a trip through the Cape Winelands, drive along the Garden Route, explore the beaches on South Africa’s West Coast, or fly up to Johannesburg for a safari in Kruger National Park. Popular weekend getaways include wine-tasting in Stellenboschwhale-watchingin Hermanus, bird-watching in Knysna and shark cage-diving in Gansbaai.

Getting there

Cape Town International Airport is located 13 miles (20km) east of Cape Town, and there are buses and taxis available into the city. Flights to Cape Town are available from a number of major international airports, including Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, and Dubai. Many airlines offer flights with layovers in Johannesburg. However, travellers should make sure they have plenty of time to clear customs. Get more information on Cape Town International Airport.

Did you know?

-Cape Town’s two nicknames, the ‘Cape of Storms’ and the ‘Cape of Good Hope’, were given to it by Bartolomeu Dias, who ‘discovered’ it in 1486.

-Every day except Sunday, the Noon Day Gun booms across the city to signal 12pm. The cannon is located on Signal Hill, and tourists can attend the ceremony.

-The world’s first heart transplant was performed by Dr Christiaan Barnard at Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital in 1967.

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Durban Travel Guide

Known for its sun, surf, and sand, Durban is a cultural melting pot as famous for its authentic Indian curry as it is for its tropical weather:

Durban has long been a dream destination for visitors to South Africa. The city offers some of the country’s most popular beaches and some of its best weather.

Travel to its shores for unique experiences like a traditional rickshaw ride along the buzzing beachfront, named the Golden Mile, and some excellent curries prepared by the local Indian community.

The city is very family-friendly with its funfairs, waterparks, great beachfront hotels, and good restaurants and shopping malls. It is also a top choice for international conferences and trade expos held in South Africa.

Durban serves as a fantastic gateway to diverse attractions including the majestic Drakensberg Mountains, the UNESCO-listed wetlands of Isimangaliso, the historic battlefields of Zululand, and the immensely popular beach resort towns of Ballito and Umhlanga.

A few days spent on holiday in Durban are fun and interesting, but the surfeit of world-class destinations nearby make the city a truly rewarding travel base.

Best time to visit Durban

Sunny weather throughout the year makes a Durban holiday a sure-fire hit. With its sub-tropical climate, the summers are hot and winters mild, and the sea is blue, warm and enticing, no matter what time of year you travel to Durban. The summer holidays (December and January) see South Africans flock to the beach resorts surrounding Durban and it can get very crowded. Read more on Durban’s Climate and Weather.

What to see in Durban

-Bask in the sun, sand and sea along Durban’s famous Golden Mile.

-Learn about Durban’s Apartheid history at the Kwamuhle Museum.

-Visit the historic Francis Farewell Square, ringed by some interesting buildings.

-See the colourful menagerie of birds at Umgeni River Bird Park.

What to do in Durban

-Enjoy the views from the Big Swing or Sky Car at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

-Stroll or picnic in the beautiful Durban Botanic Gardens, established in 1849.

-Treat the kids to a day of fun at Ushaka Marine World.

-Take an early morning boat ride with the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board as they maintain the nets along the coast.

Beyond Durban

KwaZulu-Natal is a fascinating province with a rich and turbulent history and a multicultural heritage. Numerous charming towns dot the region and the Zululand Battlefields make for a popular trekking route for military history buffs.

The stunning Drakensberg Mountains and the isolated kingdom of Lesotho are exciting destinations and the Isimangaliso wetlands (formerly called St Lucia) provide beautiful, otherworldly landscapes seen nowhere else on earth.

Getting there

The newly-built Durban King Shaka International Airport is a world-class facility situated 22 miles (35km) north of Durban. There are shuttles, taxis and car rental services to get travellers into the city. Get more information on Airports in Durban.

Did you know?

-The British settled in Durban in 1824, but the site was ‘discovered’ by Vasco da Gama in 1497.

-Durban harbour is the ninth largest in the world and Africa’s busiest container port.

-Gateway shopping centre is the largest mall in Africa, modelled on the Mall of America.

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Johannesburg Travel Guide

Affectionately dubbed Jozi, Johannesburg is a young, vibrant, and exciting city, showcasing the best that South Africa’s urban culture has to offer.

Built on the wealth of gold beneath its streets, the remarkable city of Johannesburg mushroomed from nothing to a modern metropolis in just over a century. There are wonderful restaurants, township tours, fantastic shopping opportunities, and the chance of exciting excursions to such diverse attractions as glitzy casinos, safaris, and prehistoric fossil fields.

The city illustrates the desperate inequality that characterises South African society, and the combination of palatial homes in glamorous suburbs and sprawling shanty towns shocks and challenges visitors. Crime is a serious problem, but Johannesburg is a proud city and some of the most exciting of the city’s attractions can be found in the township areas where creativity and innovation often manage to triumph over poverty.

Johannesburg is also a good place to learn about South Africa’s apartheid history, with some great museums and tours dedicated to the subject. The city is also the gateway to South Africa’s top game parks. Many who enter the country here would be well-advised to spend a few days in the City of Gold to experience this vibrant city before or after they hit the bush.

Best time to visit Johannesburg

Summer in Johannesburg is between December and February, and perhaps the best time to travel to the city is over the Festive season (December/January) when South African schools are on their summer break and the city tends to empty out as residents head to the coast for their holidays. This leaves Johannesburg’s attractions uncrowded and accessible, with late afternoon thunderstorms that cool things down. Winter days are also beautiful and sunny, but nights can be very cold.

Read more on Johannesburg’s Climate and Weather.

What to see in Johannesburg

-Take a tour of Constitution Hill for insight into South Africa’s turbulent legal history.

-Explore the fascinating city within a city that is Soweto.

-Visit the Apartheid Museum, one of the country’s most renowned attractions.

-Learn about South Africa’s proud beer brewing history at the SAB World of Beer.

What to do in Johannesburg

-Enjoy the vibrant cultural and nightlife hub that is the Newtown Cultural Precinct.

-Picnic in the beautiful Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens.

-Treat the kids to a fun day out and explore a mine at Gold Reef City theme park.

-Take an excursion to The Lost City, the famous casino, resort, and waterpark just outside the city.

Beyond Johannesburg

Johannesburg is the most common entry point for foreign visitors to South Africa and is well-situated to be a travel hub, particularly to the country’s biggest and most popular national parks which attract tourists wanting the safari experience. The Kruger National Park, undoubtedly one of the best game viewing destinations in the world, is a short flight or a five-hour drive from the city. For those interested in the origins and history of the human species, the Cradle of Humankind, just outside of Johannesburg, is a must.

Getting there

Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport, situated 14 miles (22km) east of the city, is the main gateway to South Africa, with connecting flights to most other tourist destinations in the country. The Gautrain provides fast and convenient transport into the city.

Get more information on Airports in Johannesburg.

Did you know?

-Johannesburg is one of the youngest major cities in the world.

-About 40 percent of the planet’s ancient human ancestor fossils have been found in the Johannesburg area.

-With more than 10 million trees, Johannesburg often tops lists of the most treed cities in the world.

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Port Elizabeth Travel Guide

The industrial city of Port Elizabeth is the centre of the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. The city was founded by shiploads of British settler families who arrived in the Eastern Cape in the early 19th century, hoping to improve their prospects after suffering economic hardship because of the industrial revolution at home.

The settlers also intended to strengthen defences against the local Xhosa people, who had been pushed back beyond the Fish River frontier. The settlers came ashore at Algoa Bay, where there was nothing more than the small British Fort Frederick to welcome them.

The city, from its humble beginnings, has grown into a principal port and manufacturing centre. Although it is very much a working town with a large portion of the population living in the outlying township areas, Port Elizabeth draws plenty of tourists because of its proximity to the attractions of the east coast and historically interesting interior. The city is justifiably known as ‘the friendly city’ and Algoa Bay boasts 25 miles (40km) of beautiful sandy beaches lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

The beachfront features a long promenade and pier, decked out with tourist facilities. Port Elizabeth has a few museums and a small oceanarium, as well as the Nelson Mandela Stadium, which was built for the 2010 World Cup and dominates the cityscape.

The nearby Donkin Reserve provides a pleasant day trip as do Seaview Game and Lion Park and the Kragga Kamma Game Park, and slightly further afield visitors can see the Big Five at Shamwari Game Reserve, Amakhala Game Reserve, and Addo Elephant Park.

Port Elizabeth is generally a transfer point for travellers, as opposed to a destination in itself, but the city is worth a day or two of exploration.

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SOUTH KOREA

Busan Travel Guide

Home to some of South Korea’s most popular beaches, hot spring resorts and numerous historical attractions, Busan is an integral part of any trip to South Korea. Busan, formerly known as Pusan, is the largest port and the second largest city in South Korea and is a quick three-hour KTX (bullet train) trip south of Seoul. Busan often goes unnoticed as visitors flock to get a taste of the bright lights and big city feel of Seoul, but many Koreans will tell you that Busan is one of South Korea’s friendliest and most relaxed cities.

From beaches to mountains and temples Busan has many attractions on offer. The coastline is one of the main draw cards, with beaches like the beautiful Haeundae and Gwangalli some of the best the country has to offer. The Busan Aquarium is Korea’s largest and best, and is one of the highlights of a trip to the city. Visitors interested in temples and historical sights can visit the Beomeosa and Yonggungsa temples as well as the Geumjeong Fortress. The markets in Busan are also an attraction in and of themselves. They offer wonderful photographic opportunities and can sometimes be a real eye-opener, particularly Jagalchi Fish Market.

Visitors to the city during summer should try and include a trip to one of the local baseball games on their Busan itineraries. The local team, the Lotte Giants, is based at Sajik stadium and a baseball game in Korea is a cultural experience. Baseball games are held every weekend during summer. Busan also has great shopping and dining out opportunities. Visitors will find that this seaside city has a lot of heart and may even prove to be the highlight of a trip to South Korea.

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Seoul Travel Guide

Adored by the tech-savvy and globe-trotting expats, Seoul is an economic powerhouse built on the foundations of a rich ancient culture:

In recent decades Seoul has reared its commercial and sporting head from obscurity, becoming an Asian metropolis that no self-respecting world traveller or businessman can ignore. A holiday in Seoul is full of surprises, revealing a city of towering skyscrapers and sleek freeways that preserves a hidden treasure-trove of ancient palaces, temples and beautiful gardens. Although Seoul is one of the most high-tech cities in the world, the traditional culture remains remarkably intact despite the competitive modernity, thanks to decades of relative isolation.

Serious sightseers who are intent on delving beneath the glittering surface of the modern city will delight in a holiday in Seoul, where the downtown area boasts plenty of traditional buildings and bustling markets. The city is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with another looming on the outskirts. Apart from the cultural wealth, travellers will find the residents of Seoul polite and friendly, the nightlife varied and energetic, and the touristic amenities first class.

Best time to visit Seoul

The best seasons to travel to Seoul are spring and autumn, when temperatures are comfortable and skies are blue. Summers (June to August) can be uncomfortably hot and tend to be wet, with the monsoon rains falling between June and September. Winters (December to February) bring bitterly cold conditions, although Seoul is undeniably beautiful blanketed in ice and snow. Read more on Seoul’s Climate and Weather.

What to see in Seoul

-Explore the grand palaces of Seoul, including Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung.

-Stroll through the lovely Namsan Park, home to many other attractions.

-Visit the UNESCO-listed Jongmyo Shrine.

-Experience something of Korean Buddhism at Jogyesa Temple.

What to do in Seoul

-Enjoy thrills and spills at Lotte World, the largest indoor theme park in the world.

-Trawl the charming antique shops and art galleries of Insadong.

-Party the night away in the friendly Itaewon district.

-Sample Korean cuisine at the Galbi Restaurants, a fun cultural experience.

Beyond Seoul

Many pleasures await travellers just beyond Seoul: Incheon, where most visitors arrive, is a bustling port city with hot springs and great food; the Korean DMZ awaits those who enjoy the thrill of conflict zones and militaristic displays; the UNESCO-listed Hwaseong Fortress is an imposing landmark just south of Seoul; and Everland, South Korea’s answer to Disneyland, waits on the outskirts of the city to delight kids.

Getting there

Located 43 miles (69km) west of Seoul, Incheon International Airport is the primary airport for South Korea and is widely acknowledged as one of the best airports in the world, having won many prestigious awards. Get more information on Airports in Seoul.

Did you know?

-Seoul is the most wired city in the world: incredibly, 95 percent of Korean households have broadband connection, and wifi is almost unavoidable.

-The number four is considered extremely unlucky in South Korea; many buildings in Seoul don’t have a fourth floor.

-Due to the wet climate, fruit is very expensive in Seoul and is considered something of a treat.

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SPAIN

Alicante Travel Guide

Alicante is situated on the east coast of Spain and is the centre of the popular Costa Blanca holiday region. Although Mediterranean in style, Alicante also has an African flavour with women clad in caftans and hawkers selling African carvings along the waterfront and esplanades. Alicante’s historical central district, though, is filled with Baroque buildings, bearing testimony to the city’s rich history and former status as a major seaport.

The main thoroughfare of the city is the Rambla, lined with palm trees, outdoor cafes and ice-cream parlours serving the unusual local drink, horchata, made with almonds. There are shops aplenty, parks and gardens, marble-paved plazas and the broad Explanada d’Espanya encircling the yacht harbour with its mosaic promenade. Visitors come to Alicante mainly for the beaches, particularly San Juan which is surrounded by attractive villas, hotels and restaurants.

With a resident population of more than 300,000, the low season doesn’t seem to affect Alicante as much as purpose-built holiday resorts like nearby Benidorm, and no matter what time of year you choose to visit, Alicante will be alive with music, food and entertainment. With a large variety of bars, nightclubs and cocktail lounges scattered throughout the resort city, visitors will be hard pressed to name their favourite spot. The bars and clubs near the marina area seem to be the trendiest and are a hive of activity with tourists and young locals. El Barrio, in Alicante’s old quarter, also features some great bars along its narrow streets and party animals looking to dance the night away will be pleased to know that most clubs carry on going until sunrise.

The city has an international airport that makes it the gateway to the nearby package tour resorts such as Benidorm and Torrevieja, and ensures that the city is crowded with tourists during the holiday season. Alicante’s energy reaches a peak during the last week of June each year when holiday makers and locals alike throw themselves into celebrating the unrivalled fiesta of Saint Joan.

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Barcelona Travel Guide

Barcelona promises legendary architecture, delicious Catalan cookery, a festive beach culture, and plenty for party animals:

Barcelona is a thrillingly unique city, home to some of the most famous and bizarre architecture in the world, and the playground of exciting modern artists like Joan Miro, Picasso and, of course, Antonio Gaudi. Travel to Barcelona and you will land in sunny Spain’s major holiday city, cosmopolitan and lively, with superb shopping, a great climate, beautiful beaches, a fun nightlife, and plenty of Spanish pizzazz. The city is the gateway to the Costa Brava and Costa Dorada, with their many popular beach resorts, but the interesting sightseeing and the treasures of centuries, not to mention the great restaurants and vivacious locals, will keep visitors happily occupied within the city itself. A visit to Spain is not quite complete without a stroll down the iconic Las Ramblas pedestrian street in Barcelona.

Best time to visit Barcelona

It is always the right time to holiday in Barcelona, with its long, hot summers and mild winters. The best months to travel to Barcelona are between June and September, but those who find the heat and crowds taxing should avoid mid-summer (August). Read more on Barcelona’s Climate and Weather.

What to see in Barcelona

-Catch a football match and take a tour at the famous FC Barcelona Museum and Stadium.

-Admire the bizarre and beautiful work of Antonio Gaudi at La Sagrada Familia and Guell Park.

-Visit the Joan Miro Foundation to see the colourful art of another iconic Catalan artist.

-Marvel at the views of Barcelona from the hills of Montjuic and Tibidabo, which boast many other attractions.

What to do in Barcelona

-Take the kids into the enthralling underwater world of the Barcelona Aquarium.

-Enjoy the sun, sand and sea, as well as the festive atmosphere, on Barcelona’s beaches.

-Explore the Museum of Contemporary Art, a fun, creative space.

-Picnic and stroll in the lovely Parc de la Ciutadella in the centre of the city.

Beyond Barcelona

Many exciting excursions are possible from Barcelona, which is the gateway to the resort destinations of the Costa Brava and Costa Dorada, including the popular Sitges, just a few miles south of the city, and the quaint Tossa de Mar, a short way north. Other wonderful daytrip destinations include the lovely Catalan town of Figueres, the birthplace of Dali; the famous monastery at Montserrat, founded in 1025; and the UNESCO-listed Parque Natural de Bardenas Reales.

Getting there

El Prat Barcelona Airport, situated seven miles (12km) southwest of central Barcelona, is one of the busiest international airports in Spain, with direct flights arriving from numerous cities in the US and UK, as well as Europe. Get more information on Airports in Barcelona.

Did you know?

-Barcelona has 12 abandoned metro stations which are said to be haunted and can be explored on ghost tours.

-There were no beaches in Barcelona until 1992, when the coastal leisure zone was created for the Olympic Games.

-Barcelona’s stunning and unique Sagrada Familia Church has taken longer to build than the Great Pyramids!

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Bilbao Travel Guide

The industrial port city of Bilbao is the political capital of the nationalistic Basque people, who inhabit Spain’s three northern provinces (an area known collectively as Euskadi). The city is not exactly beautiful – the buildings are soot-stained and the Nervion River running through it is one of Spain’s most polluted waterways – but Bilbao does have some wonderful surprises to offer visitors, and there are plenty of attractions in the surrounding countryside and around the coast on the Bay of Biscay, which can be easily reached on excursions by rail or road.

The main attraction in the city is the controversial Guggenheim Museum, relatively new on the scene, having been opened in 1997. The city fathers regard this avant-garde building as the beginning of Bilbao’s revitalisation, and the city has also recently acquired a new metro system and airport terminal. Bilbao has some good beaches and a few scenic spots – a favoured picnic site is on Monte Archanda, north of the old town, accessible by funicular. Of the beaches Getxo is the favourite, particularly with surfers, and features a 100-year-old suspension bridge and some lively bars and nightclubs. Bilbao is an interesting, industrial city which is steadily increasing in popularity with tourists and makes for a fantastic weekend getaway.

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La Coruna Travel Guide

Known for its food, beaches, and nightlife, the ancient city of La Coruna has steadily been growing in popularity as a base for travellers in northern Spain. The bustling coastal centre has a busy port, a gorgeously long beachfront, and a reputation for liberalism. La Coruna was first inhabited by a Celtic tribe and was colonised by the Romans in the second century BC (the Romans called the city Brigantium). Today it is a cosmopolitan, proud city, popular with expats: foreigners make up more than five percent of the population.

The main attraction for sightseers is the Roman Tower of Hercules, a lighthouse which has been in continuous use since the second century AD and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tower, which has been repaired and renovated many times over the centuries, is surrounded by a large public park and golf course.

La Coruna’s Old Town, Ciudad Vieja, is picturesque, with some noble old buildings and a lively medieval fair in July, but La Coruna is actually a strikingly modern city. The newest and most talked about attraction is the MunCyT, Museo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, technological museum, a glass and concrete monument to modernism which attracts day-trippers to the city.

Another feature that gets visitors very excited is the beachfront promenade, one of the longest in Europe, which winds past many of the city’s best attractions, and forms the backdrop for its stunning, urban beaches. The Orzan and Riazor Beaches, in the heart of La Coruna, are both Blue Flag accredited and immensely popular in the summer months.

For delicious and authentic Spanish food visitors should head to the prime tapas territory of Calle Estrella, which is lined with bars and restaurants and will justify the city’s reputation as a culinary centre.

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Madrid Travel Guide

A lively, sexy city which beguiles visitors as much with its vibrant soul as its many cultural treasures, Madrid is unquestionably one of Europe’s great urban destinations:

The glorious art scene and nightlife are the two main reasons to choose a holiday in Madrid, Spain’s energetic capital city. Madrid’s many art galleries contain such a wealth of great artworks that anyone would be hard put to see them all, while the legendary bars and nightclubs rock till the small hours. Art lovers are naturally enthralled by Madrid’s Golden Triangle of world-class art museums: The Reina Sofia, The Prado, and Thyssen-Bornemisza. However, the city has something to offer anyone who enjoys exploring the world’s great capitals, with many lovely parks, sprawling flea markets, fascinating museums, grand palaces, historical monuments and a renowned restaurant scene.

Best time to visit Madrid

The sky above Madrid is usually blue, brushed with puffy white clouds, and the city enjoys a pleasant Mediterranean climate. Hordes of tourists descend on Spain for the hot summer months of June, July and August and Madrid is no exception; however, the city is perhaps at its best in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn, in May or October, when it is less crowded and not as scorchingly hot. Read more on Madrid’s Climate and Weather.

What to see in Madrid

-Learn about Spain’s rich history at the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid.

-See the Plaza Mayor, Madrid’s arcaded central square, dating back to 1619.

-Marvel at Goya’s famous fresco and tomb in the Glorieta de San Antonio de la Florida.

-Visit the Sorolla Museum, the former home of another beloved Spanish master artist.

What to do in Madrid

-Stroll and picnic in the beautiful and lush Parque del Buen Retiro.

-Tour the massive, oppulently decorated Royal Palace.

-Treat the kids to a whirlwind of fun at the Parque de Atracciones amusement park.

-Explore the Royal Botanical Garden, one of the oldest of its kind in Europe.

Beyond Madrid

Madrid is located smack in the centre of Spain, making it a convenient travel hub as well as a glorious destination in its own right. Many worthwhile excursions from the city are possible and the most popular daytrips for travellers in Madrid include visits to four spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the magnificent hilltop city of Toledo, the charming village of Cuenca, the ancient Roman town of Segovia, and the royal complex of the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

Getting there

The Madrid Barajas Airport is the busiest airport in the country and the entry point for many international visitors to Spain. The airport is huge and modern, situated just eight miles (13km) from central Madrid. Get more information on Airports in Madrid.

Did you know?

-Madrid has been the capital of Spain since the 17th century and is the largest city in the country.

-Flamenco originated in Madrid and still provides wonderful entertainment for visitors and locals.

-Madrid is said to enjoy more blue skies than any other European city.

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Palma De Mallorca Travel Guide

Palma, capital of the autonomous region of the Balearic Islands, is a lively, cosmopolitan city in true Spanish tradition, its centre forming a bustling maze of shopping centres, narrow lanes, and restored buildings surrounded by ruined ancient city walls, and modern boulevards. Like mainland Spain, Mallorca was under Moorish control between the ninth and 13th centuries, until the re-conquest by Jaume I of Aragon. The Moorish heritage is still evident, as are the remnants of Palma’s golden years when it rose to wealth and prominence in the 15th century as the main port of call between Europe and Africa. Later the city, set on the beautiful bay Bahia de Palma, became the favoured royal retreat for Fernando and Isabel, which helped it to become the popular Spanish beach holiday haunt and favourite weekend city break destination of the rich and famous. Despite the invasion of foreign tourists, Palma has kept its local flavour, particularly in its old quarter, which is still lined by cafés and tapas bars. Often the native dialect of Mallorquin is the only language heard in the backstreets, a fine Palma de Mallorca trait.

Palma de Mallorca boasts a huge variety of restaurants and has plenty to offer tourists. The biggest concentration of restaurants is in the centre of town, at El Terreno, and around the Paseo Maritimo. For some of Spain’s best Basque food head to Koldo Royo. Palma de Mallorca’s key activities centre around its nightlife and the town is well known for its foam parties, discos, bars and nightclubs. In fact, some of Spain’s biggest nightclubs are in Palma de Mallorca and the city is a great destination for those seeking a party. It is also a good shopping destination, and shoppers will particularly enjoy exploring the streets of the old town.

Of course, the city also has some interesting sightseeing attractions, including the beautiful La Seo Cathedral, the fortress of Palau de l’Almudaina, the unusual Castell de Bellver, and some good museums. Unfortunately, the city doesn’t have good beaches, but there are many nearby. Popular excursion destinations include the Aqualand theme park, a short drive away from the city, which is great fun for the whole family. There are several excellent golf courses around town, as well as good hiking trails in the rocky Majorcan hills.

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Santiago De Compostela Travel Guide

The small city of Santiago de Compostela is a big destination for the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims that trek there every year along The Way of St James. Santiago de Compostela is located in the northwestern corner of Spain in the autonomous community of Galicia and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. While it represents the culmination of many a spiritual journey, the town has a lot more to offer than just an end point for pilgrims. The spectacular and awe-inspiring Roman Catholic cathedral, and burial place of St James, in the centre of town is a showstopper. Other sights of interest throughout the small Galician town include the Cathedral Museum, Pilgrimage Museum, Museum of Galician People, Galician Centre of Contemporary Art, the Praza do Obradoiro, the Rajoy Palace and Praza de Quintana (Quintana Square).

The cathedral’s history is particularly interesting, having passed from Christian to Moorish and back to Christian occupation between 1060 and 1211; however, the grave of St James, beneath the cathedral, remained untouched throughout this period. The Cathedral Museum provides visitors with interesting stories about the cathedral and cloisters, and the Pilgrimage Museum provides a fascinating account of the history of the Way of St James as well as maps of the various routes available.

Santiago de Compostela is a city that needs to be walked and the easiest way to get around Santiago de Compostela is on foot. As thousands of pilgrims make their way to the central cathedral, thousands more walk through the city getting to know its streets and quaint alleyways lined with family owned and run shops, boutiques and delicatessens. Some of the best areas to walk, people watch and shop in Santiago de Compostela are Zona Vella (the Old District), for exquisite ceramic souvenirs, Zona Nova (the New District), for clothes and other brand name items, and Area Central in Fontinas for more fashion shops and grocery stores. The city has a cheap and efficient bus service and taxis are also available, but they are expensive and not really necessary.

Santiago de Compostela is ideal for visitors to Spain who want to experience something different. It may not be off the beaten track – in fact it is the culmination of thousands of well-trodden paths – yet the town has retained an aura of spirituality and mystique that can only enrich a Spanish tourist experience.

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Seville Travel Guide

Spain’s great southern city of Seville has a romantic past and a rich Moorish heritage. Seville is the perfect setting for high culture and romantic operas like Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro, and the romance is not just cultural: the poet Byron famously rated Seville for its women and oranges. Modern visitors might add flamenco, tapas and bull fighting to the list of attractions.

The soul of the city is best epitomised during its two passion-filled grand festivals, the Semana Santa, held the week before Easter, and the Feria de Abril, held two weeks after Easter Sunday. Seville has an impressive collection of historical sights, including its cathedral, which is one of the largest Gothic buildings in the world. Having been occupied by the Moors for 500 years, the city also has a legacy left by the Arab kings in the form of the Alcazar, a palace-fortress that is regarded as one of the finest surviving examples of Moorish architecture.

Seville is the regional capital of Andalucia, which contains the densely populated beach resorts of the Costa del Sol along its southern reaches, and the mountain villages of the Sierra Nevada range further inland, about 25 miles (40km) from the coast.

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Valencia Travel Guide

Valencia was founded by the ancient Romans in 137 BC and has been pillaged, burned, and besieged numerous times by various conquerors since, but vivacious Valencia has nevertheless sailed into the second millennium as a sophisticated, modern holiday city, a favoured location for the America’s Cup yacht race. Situated on the Mediterranean coast about four hours south of Barcelona, Valencia is spread out around its busy port and backed by hills which give way to the plains of Aragon.

Valencia oozes traditional character, particularly in its old town (El Carmen), and has retained its cultural heritage not only in the form of medieval architecture but also in its quirky, exuberant festivals (like the Battle of the Flowers, the fireworks of Fallas and even one dedicated to tomato-hurling). The Valencians even have their own language. Interspersed with the old and historic, however, there is much that is new in Valencia, including its major attraction, the seemingly futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, which draws around four million appreciative visitors each year.

Outdoors, it is hard to beat the golden beaches which fan out from the port along the coast, and the sprawling city offers plenty of green parks for strolling, cycling or simply lolling on a bench to get your breath back after indulging in the vibrant life of the city. Football is a local passion, and fans should not miss the atmosphere at one of the carnival-like Valencia FC home matches.

When night falls, dine on paella, which originated here, and then hit the town, because Valencia is renowned for its lively collection of bars and clubs.

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Vigo Travel Guide

Vigo is situated in northwest Spain and is the biggest city in Galicia, as well as one of the fastest growing cities in Europe. The strategic natural port has been the making of Vigo, and has been in use since Roman times; the city retains a strong maritime flavour and lures tourists with unspoilt beaches, old fishing districts, coastal fortifications, boat trips, and spectacular seafood.

The partially preserved fortifications of the city, built in 1656 to prevent Turkish invasion, can be viewed at sites like the Castro Fortress, which is now surrounded by gardens and offers spectacular views over the port it once defended. The city’s historical quarter (Cidade Vella) centres on the old maritime neighbourhood of O Berbes, near the port, where a labyrinthine network of narrow streets reveals hidden historical gems, including the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria, built on the remains of a Gothic church said to have been burnt down by Sir Francis Drake.

The main attraction of Vigo, however, is the coastline itself: the Vigo estuary is blessed with numerous white, sandy beaches, many of which are Blue Flag accredited and connected by pretty coastal walking trails. The bustling port offers ferries to nearby towns like Cangas and Moana, and boat trips are available to the unspoilt Cies Isles, rugged islands with pristine beaches that form part of the National Park of the Atlantic and are home to thousands of migratory birds.

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SRI LANKA

Colombo Travel Guide

Sri Lanka’s capital is a vibrant and interesting collage of cultural and historical influences with some very pretty neighbourhoods. This bustling city is built along the coast and is close to many of the country’s greatest holiday destinations, including Galle on the southern coast, and Kandy in the central highlands. Colombo is not generally considered a destination in its own right, but it is the starting point for most holidays in Sri Lanka and has some worthy attractions.

Frenetic traffic fills the main Galle Road that runs through the city from the district of Fort, parallel with the coast, and connects all the suburban enclaves down to the town of Galle in the south. Fort is the historic centre of the city and has become the main business district, filled with shops, office blocks and government buildings. It is here that most of the gracious old buildings from the Dutch, Portuguese and British colonial eras can be seen. East of Fort is the exciting Pettah bazaar district, where the streets are crammed with shops and stalls selling all manner of goods from vegetables to gemstones.

Further south the city’s seafront is known as Galle Face Green, where locals enjoy games of cricket, fly kites or take evening strolls watching the sunset. Beyond this lies Colombo’s upmarket Cinammon Gardens neighbourhood, boasting elegant mansions, tree-lined streets and the lovely Viharamaha Devi Park. The closest beach resort to Colombo is Mount Lavinia, about six miles (10km) from the city.

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SWEDEN

Stockholm Travel Guide

A delightful mélange of medieval charm and cutting-edge modernity:

Stockholm’s beautiful buildings and suburbs occupy 14 main islands and appear to exist harmoniously with the natural environment: the city is said to be one third water, one third green space, and one third buildings, and is known to have remarkably clean air. All of these factors conspire to make Stockholm a breathtaking feast for the eyes, with colourful buidlings reflecting off the water and golden sunlight filtering through the trees.

Endless summer days, a cosmopolitan nightlife, miles of pretty waterways, gourmet restaurants, interesting museums, superior shopping, numerous parks, and an historic medieval enclave all contribute to making a holiday in Stockholm a memorable experience. It is a trendy city which has a lot to offer fashionistas and gourmets as well as those looking to do some quality traditional sightseeing. Stockholm also benefits from the fact that it is not yet overrun by tourists, despite its myriad charms.

Best time to visit Stockholm

A city for all seasons, a holiday in Stockholm can be enjoyed at any time of year, but the best months to visit are June, July and August. Sun-lovers are advised to travel to Stockholm during summer, the most popular season for tourism, when daylight extends well into the night and the pavement cafes remain bathed in sunshine for almost 24 hours. In winter the chill and darkness sets in, but travellers can always retreat to the cosy pubs, gourmet restaurants, or fascinating museums.

Read more on Stockholm’s Climate and Weather.

What to see in Stockholm

-Discover Sweden’s fascinating history and Viking heritage at the Museum of National Antiquities.

-Visit the Stockholm City Hall and marvel at its elaborate interior.

-Stroll through five centuries of history at the outdoor Skansen Museum.

-Marvel at the salvaged Royal Warship Vasa, which sank in 1628.

What to do in Stockholm

-Treat the kids to a day of amusement park fun at Gröna Lund.

-Explore Royal Djurgården, an island chock full of tourist attractions.

-Cruise around the many islets of the Stockholm Archipelago.

-Take a tour of the Royal Palace, one of the largest palaces in Europe.

Beyond Stockholm

Apart from the many delights of the islands that form the Stockholm Archipelago, the historic attractions of Uppsala are within very easy reach for excursions out of the city, and the beautiful Gotland, Sweden’s largest island, is a short flight away. A short drive will bring tourists in Stockholm to the old Sala Silver Mine, which offers thrilling underground tours.

Getting there

Generally known as Arlanda Airport, the Stockholm Arlanda Airport is the main international flight hub in Sweden. The airport is situated 28 miles (45km) north of Stockholm. There are direct flights to Stockholm from cities in the UK and the US, and most European capitals.

Get more information on Airports in Stockholm.

Did you know?

-Stockholm’s nickname is “Venice of the North”, owing to its striking beauty and watery surroundings.

-Stockholm’s subway is considered the world’s longest art gallery, with sculptures, mosaics and paintings in most stations.

-One of the oldest surviving buildings in Stockholm is the Riddarholm Church, built in 1270.

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Gothenburg Travel Guide

The second-largest city in Sweden, and Scandinavia’s most important port, Gothenburg (or Göteborg) is situated on the west coast of the country, at the outlet of the Göta Canal which links Gothenburg to the Baltic Sea, and indirectly to the country’s capital, Stockholm.

Gothenburg was founded in 1621 by King Gustav II Adolf to secure access to the Atlantic, but the city was settled and planned by Dutch merchants who used it as their base for trade. The numerous canals and gabled houses are evidence of this early influence. Shipping and commerce have always been important industries in Gothenburg and the port is a popular arrival point for visitors.

Gothenburg is a beautiful city with its waterside location, green open spaces and fine architecture, and a wide selection of cultural establishments. The main street, Kungsportavenyn, known simply as Avenyn, is alive with edgy bars, cafes, and trendy shops – which point towards Gothenburg’s status as a more down-to-earth, youth-driven city than Stockholm (Gothenburg still has its fair share of sophistication, but is certainly more grounded than the capital), augmented by the large student population of the University of Gothenburg. While certainly not as magnificent as Stockholm, Gothenburg is often regarded as friendlier and cheaper, and certainly has enough going on to keep even the most energetic travellers occupied.

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SWITZERLAND

Zurich Travel Guide

Zurich Travel Guide

Set beneath snow-clad peaks on the shores of a glittering lake, a holiday in Zurich will move you not only with its typical Swiss neatness but also with its scenic beauty.

While browsing in the elegant boutiques along Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse, one of the most beautiful shopping areas in Europe, you’ll notice that the streets may not be paved with gold, but you can be certain that a couple of metres below, unimaginable treasures are lying in underground vaults.

Zurich is the world’s banking capital, but as well as being a city of fat cats parading in pin-stripes, glued to their mobile phones and swinging patent leather briefcases, you’ll also discover that this is the city that gave birth to the avant-garde Dadaist movement, and where James Joyce wrote Ulysses. The city’s Museum of Fine Arts houses one of Europe’s most extensive collections, from 15th century religious iconography to the modern art works of Dali, Arp, Hockney, Cezanne, Monet, Gaugin, Munch and Picasso.

Visitors can spend days exploring Zurich’s cobbled streets, wandering through its museums, exploring its flea markets or walking away with free gifts from its chocolate factories. The quays, with their promenades, are made for walking, especially along the shores of the lake. Zurich also lays claim to an active restaurant and café culture that’s ideal for people-watching, and a lively, multi-ethnic population to rival any other major European city. The exacting order of the Swiss, with their passion for neatness and precision, may create an impression of rather a prim and staid society, but visitors will discover quite the opposite when exploring Zurich’s nightlife. With more bars, clubs and restaurantsthan you can shake a stick at, as well as a calendar packed full of street parades and festivals, a holiday in Zurich can exhaust even the most energetic party animal.

Best time to visit Zurich

The best time to travel to Zurich for a holiday is during the height of summer, in July and August, when the best weather is experienced. Spring and autumn are also good times to holiday in Zurich, but winter is cold, overcast and damp. Read more on Zurich’s Climate and Weather.

What to see in Zurich

-Marvel at modern architecture in the Museum of Design.

-Take in the panoramic views while you ride the Polybahn and Rigiblick Funiculars.

-Bring along the kids for a trip to the Zurich Zoo.

-Explore the narrow, winding lanes of Niederdorf.

What to do in Zurich

-Spend a few hours exploring the fascinating Swiss National Museum.

-Marvel at the spires of the beautiful Fraumünster Church.

-Soak up some high culture at the Kunsthaus Zurich (Fine Arts Museum).

-Stroll alongside the Limmat River to visit the Centre Le Corbusier.

Beyond Zurich

As a hub for railways, roads, and air traffic to both Switzerland and Europe in general, the city’s importance as a base for travelling in and around the region is well recognised and often serving as the entry point for foreign tourists. From Zurich one has easy access to the Swiss Alps, as well as the other major city of Geneva.

Getting there

Flights to Zurich land in Zurich Airport, situated in the Kluton district on the outskirts of Zurich, a short ride to the city centre. Get more information on Airports in Zurich.

Did you know?

-The St. Peter church in Zurich has the largest clock face in Europe.

-You will have the choice of 1200 different fountains in the city to take your photograph.

-Albert Einstein attended the University of Zurich, where he later became professor.

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Geneva Travel Guide

With a pleasant setting, green parks, colourful gardens and lakeside promenades, Geneva is considered one of the healthiest places to live in the world.

The city sits astride the River Rhône, where it streams into Lake Geneva, and is set against a dramatic backdrop of mountains. At the lake’s south shore the Jet d’Eau shoots water 460ft (140m) into the sky from the end of a pier – the city’s landmark attraction and Europe’s most powerful fountain.

Undoubtedly Switzerland’s most cosmopolitan city, Geneva’s reputation for religious and political tolerance dates back more than five hundred years. In the 16th century the city spawned the religious teachings of John Calvin, and Geneva was where Lenin spent his ‘years of recreation’. Little of their Puritanism is left today – stately homes line the banks of the lake, overlooking an armada of luxury yachts. Jewels and designer labels spill out of exclusive boutiques and into chauffer-driven limousines that glide down palatial avenues.

As well as a host of museums and fine galleries, Geneva has a lively cultural calendar. Most notable is the celebration of l’Escalade in December, which involves costumed and torch-lit processions through the town, and the consumption of sickly amounts of chocolate and marzipan.

Geneva is a gateway to Switzerland’s luxury ski resorts, an important banking centre and home to thousands of international delegates and diplomats. Among the many international organisations based in the city are the United Nations and the International Red Cross.

Best time to visit Geneva

The best weather for a holiday in Geneva is experienced during the height of summer, July and August, but this is also the time when the city attracts thousands of tourists. Spring and autumn are less crowded and a pleasant time to travel to Geneva, although rain can be expected all year round. During late winter many travel to Geneva to access nearby ski resorts, and in December the city sees many tourists for the annual l’Escalade Festival. Read more on Geneva’s Climate and Weather.

What to see in Geneva

-Take in some culture at the Barbier-Mueller Museum.

-Marvel at one of the tallest fountains in the world, the Jet d’Eau.

-See true Swiss craftsmanship at the Patek Philippe Museum.

-Visit the cultural hub of Geneva, Place Neuve.

What to do in Geneva

-Bask in the stained classed windows of St Peter’s Cathedral.

-Experience the grand headquarters of the United Nations.

-Visit the cutting edge Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

-Explore the captivating Museum of Art and History.

Beyond Geneva

Geneva has an excellent network of transport including railways, roads and airlines. It is easy to get anywhere in and around Switzerland from Geneva; it is one of the best connected cities in Europe. From Geneva one has easy access to the Swiss Alps and other major attractions and ski resorts in the country, including the breathtaking Château de Chillon and the scenic town of Lausanne situated on the sparkling shores of Lake Geneva.

Getting there

Flights to Geneva land at Geneva International Airport, located just two and a half miles (4km) from central Geneva. Get more information on Airports in Geneva.

Did you know?

-With 40 percent of its residents coming from outside of Switzerland, Geneva is the most international city in the world.

-Lake Geneva, located adjacently to the city, is the one of the largest lakes in Europe.

-Geneva has the shortest commuting time for any city in the world.

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