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Downtown Toronto is a buzzing area filled with skyscrapers, restaurants, nightlife, and an eclectic mix of neighbourhoods. It’s also home to iconic attractions like the CN Tower, St. Lawrence Market, and the Royal Ontario Museum, with exhibits on natural history. Bloor Street is an upscale shopping area, and the Eaton Centre is a huge, multistory mall. On the lake, the Harbourfront area has parks and cultural venues.
Vancouver, a bustling west coast seaport in British Columbia, is among Canada’s densest, most ethnically diverse cities. A popular filming location, it’s surrounded by mountains, and also has thriving art, theatre and music scenes. Vancouver Art Gallery is known for its works by regional artists, while the Museum of Anthropology houses preeminent First Nations collections.
Montréal is the largest city in Canada's Québec province. It’s set on an island in the Saint Lawrence River and named after Mt. Royal, the triple-peaked hill at its heart. Its boroughs, many of which were once independent cities, include neighbourhoods ranging from cobblestoned, French colonial Vieux-Montréal – with the Gothic Revival Notre-Dame Basilica at its centre – to bohemian Plateau.
Calgary, a cosmopolitan Alberta city with numerous skyscrapers, owes its rapid growth to its status as the centre of Canada’s oil industry. However, it’s still steeped in the western culture that earned it the nickname “Cowtown,” evident in the Calgary Stampede, its massive July rodeo and festival that grew out of the farming exhibitions once presented here
Manhattan, New York
Manhattan is the most densely populated of New York City’s 5 boroughs. It's mostly made up of Manhattan Island, bounded by the Hudson, East and Harlem rivers. Among the world’s major commercial, financial and cultural centers, it’s the heart of “the Big Apple.” Its iconic sites include skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building, neon-lit Times Square and the theaters of Broadway.
Los Angeles is a sprawling Southern California city and the center of the nation’s film and television industry. Near its iconic Hollywood sign, studios such as Paramount Pictures, Universal and Warner Brothers offer behind-the-scenes tours. On Hollywood Boulevard, TCL Chinese Theatre displays celebrities’ hand- and footprints, the Walk of Fame honors thousands of luminaries and vendors sell maps to stars’ homes.
Miami, officially the City of Miami, is a coastal metropolis located in Miami-Dade County in southeastern Florida. With a population of 442,241 as of the 2020 census, it is the second-most populous city in Florida, eleventh-most populous city in the Southeast, and 44th-most populous city in the United States.
Houston is a large metropolis in Texas, extending to Galveston Bay. It’s closely linked with the Space Center Houston, the coastal visitor center at NASA’s astronaut training and flight control complex. The city’s relatively compact Downtown includes the Theater District, home to the renowned Houston Grand Opera, and the Historic District, with 19th-century architecture and upscale restaurants.
Madrid, Spain's central capital, is a city of elegant boulevards and expansive, manicured parks such as the Buen Retiro. It’s renowned for its rich repositories of European art, including the Prado Museum’s works by Goya, Velázquez and other Spanish masters. The heart of old Hapsburg Madrid is the portico-lined Plaza Mayor, and nearby is the baroque Royal Palace and Armory, displaying historic weaponry.
Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, is known for its art and architecture. The fantastical Sagrada Família church and other modernist landmarks designed by Antoni Gaudí dot the city. Museu Picasso and Fundació Joan Miró feature modern art by their namesakes. City history museum MUHBA, includes several Roman archaeological sites.
The port city of Valencia lies on Spain’s southeastern coast, where the Turia River meets the Mediterranean Sea. It’s known for its City of Arts and Sciences, with futuristic structures including a planetarium, an oceanarium and an interactive museum. Valencia also has several beaches, including some within nearby Albufera Park, a wetlands reserve with a lake and walking trails.
Seville is the capital and largest city of the Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville. It is situated on the lower reaches of the River Guadalquivir, in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula.
Shanghai, on China’s central coast, is the country's biggest city and a global financial hub. Its heart is the Bund, a famed waterfront promenade lined with colonial-era buildings. Across the Huangpu River rises the Pudong district’s futuristic skyline, including 632m Shanghai Tower and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, with distinctive pink spheres. Sprawling Yu Garden has traditional pavilions, towers and ponds.
Beijing, China’s sprawling capital, has history stretching back 3 millennia. Yet it’s known as much for modern architecture as its ancient sites such as the grand Forbidden City complex, the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Nearby, the massive Tiananmen Square pedestrian plaza is the site of Mao Zedong’s mausoleum and the National Museum of China, displaying a vast collection of cultural relics.
Chongqing is a sprawling municipality at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers in southwestern China. In the city center, the large, domed Great Hall of the People complex stands above pedestrianized People's Square. On the other side of the square, the Three Gorges Museum features artifacts from the construction of the Three Gorges Dam as well as ancient art.
Guangzhou is a sprawling port city northwest of Hong Kong on the Pearl River. The city features avant-garde architecture such as Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House (known as the “double pebble”); the carved box-shaped Guangdong Museum; and the iconic Canton TV Tower skyscraper, resembling a thin hourglass. The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, a temple complex from 1894, also houses the Guangdong Folk Arts Museum.
Rome is the capital city of Italy. It is also the capital of the Lazio region, the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, and a special comune named Comune di Roma Capitale.
Milan, a metropolis in Italy's northern Lombardy region, is a global capital of fashion and design. Home to the national stock exchange, it’s a financial hub also known for its high-end restaurants and shops. The Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral and the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent, housing Leonardo da Vinci’s mural “The Last Supper,” testify to centuries of art and culture.
Venice, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals – including the Grand Canal thoroughfare – lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces. The central square, Piazza San Marco, contains St. Mark’s Basilica, which is tiled with Byzantine mosaics, and the Campanile bell tower offering views of the city’s red roofs.
Naples, a city in southern Italy, sits on the Bay of Naples. Nearby is Mount Vesuvius, the still-active volcano that destroyed nearby Roman town Pompeii. Dating to the 2nd millennium B.C., Naples has centuries of important art and architecture. The city's cathedral, the Duomo di San Gennaro, is filled with frescoes. Other major landmarks include the lavish Royal Palace and Castel Nuovo, a 13th-century castle.
Istanbul is a major city in Turkey that straddles Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait. Its Old City reflects cultural influences of the many empires that once ruled here. In the Sultanahmet district, the open-air, Roman-era Hippodrome was for centuries the site of chariot races, and Egyptian obelisks also remain. The iconic Byzantine Hagia Sophia features a soaring 6th-century dome and rare Christian mosaics.
Izmir is a city on Turkey’s Aegean coast. Known as Smyrna in antiquity, it was founded by the Greeks, taken over by the Romans and rebuilt by Alexander the Great before becoming part of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. Today, its expansive archaeological sites include the Roman Agora of Smyrna, now an open-air museum. The hilltop Kadifekale, or Velvet Castle, built during Alexander’s reign, overlooks the city.
Antalya is a Turkish resort city with a yacht-filled Old Harbor and beaches flanked by large hotels. It's a gateway to Turkey's southern Mediterranean region, known as the Turquoise Coast for its blue waters. Remnants remain from Antalya's time as a major Roman port. These include Hadrian’s Gate, built to honor the Roman emperor’s visit in 130 A.D and 2nd-century Hidirlik Tower, with harbor views.
Ankara, Turkey’s cosmopolitan capital, sits in the country’s central Anatolia region. It’s a center for the performing arts, home to the State Opera and Ballet, the Presidential Symphony Orchestra and several national theater companies. Overlooking the city is Anitkabir, the enormous hilltop mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk, modern Turkey’s first president, who declared Ankara the capital in 1923.
Also known as the Latin Quarter, the 5th arrondissement is home to the Sorbonne university and student-filled cafes. It's also known for its bookshops, including the famed Shakespeare & Company. Family-friendly attractions include the Jardin des Plantes botanical gardens and the National Museum of Natural History. The stately Panthéon building holds the remains of notables like Voltaire and Marie Curie.
Marseille, a port city in southern France, has been a crossroads of immigration and trade since its founding by the Greeks circa 600 B.C. At its heart is the Vieux-Port (Old Port), where fishmongers sell their catch along the boat-lined quay. Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde is a Romanesque-Byzantine church. Modern landmarks include Le Corbusier’s influential Cité Radieuse complex and Zaha Hadid’s CMA CGM Tower.
Lyon, the capital city in France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, sits at the junction of the Rhône and Saône rivers. Its center reflects 2,000 years of history from the Roman Amphithéâtre des Trois Gaules, medieval and Renaissance architecture in Vieux (Old) Lyon, to the modern Confluence district on Presqu'île peninsula. Traboules, covered passageways between buildings, connect Vieux Lyon and La Croix-Rousse hill.
Toulouse, capital of France’s southern Occitanie region, is bisected by the Garonne River and sits near the Spanish border. It’s known as La Ville Rose (‘The Pink City’) due to the terra-cotta bricks used in many of its buildings. Its 17th-century Canal du Midi links the Garonne to the Mediterranean Sea, and can be traveled by boat, bike or on foot.
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If you’re having any trouble deciding on where you want to travel, feel free to browse through our many blog posts on the subject. Our blogs and inspirational stories are well researched and written by experts so you can get the best, most accurate information on where the best places to travel to are
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