The troubled history of Algiers is manifested in its cityscape, architecture and culture. The capital (and the largest city) of Algeria holds impressive monuments and curious surprises for visitors. French and Islamic influences exist next to each other and make it a place as diverse as its people. Visit richly coloured mosques, discover sights and ruins of days gone by, and taste the spicy and delicious food of northern Africa.
Long considered to be the jewel of the orient, Cairo is an international city overflowing with an interesting mixture of different cultures. It is a city steeped in the early civilizations of the ancient pharaohs, blended with the history of Christian and Islamic cultures. It is all brought together by the modern sights and luxuries of a sophisticated and cosmopolitan city.
Like so many of the towns and cities of Egypt, Hurghada as well as Luxor and Marsa Alam are living history museums. These three cities are positioned as three corners of a triangle in the Eastern Desert. Hurghada, a former fishing harbour, stretches some 15 miles or so along the waterfront and is one of the foremost areas for water sports. Marsa Alam is also found by the Red Sea coast, and tourism is just starting to make an impact. The city of Luxor, with its jaw-droppingly beautiful monuments built by the hands of ancient craftsmen, lies 150 miles or so inland on the banks of the mighty River Nile.
Cape Verde’s unique geographic location, troubled history of slavery and invasion, and fascinating mix of transatlantic cultures has given rise to a place unlike any other on the globe, a place as joyful as it is full of longing, a fact perhaps best reflected in Cape Verdean music and the hauntingly beautiful ‘morna’. The sometimes harsh, drought-prone conditions of this mid-Atlantic scattering of islands have seen the flourishing of a fascinating Creole culture and the most stable democracy in Africa, which is currently enjoying its moment as a sought-after, yet still under-discovered, vacation destination.
Hectic, bustling, chaotic, Dhaka is an enormous city of endless possibilities with energy to spare. Though it can seem a bit overwhelming at first, visitors who take take the time to explore all it has to offer will find the experience most rewarding. Delicious food, bustling markets, serene parks and gardens, lazy river cruises and death-defying rickshaw rides, fascinating museums and captivating history, temples and mosques to ease the soul, and tantalising musical and dance performances; all this and more awaits the adventurous traveler who dares to venture into this unique city.
As Pakistan longs for a surge of international visitors, its second city – Lahore – sits at the gates, prepared to swing them open at first notice. The capital of Punjab and recognised cultural centre of the country, Lahore holds some rare remnants of Mughal rule, Pakistan's largest number of academic institutions, splendid gardens, and endless culinary delights, living up to its reputation of a gastronomic paradise.
Sharjah, the not-so-obvious UAE destination for many, unjustly remains in the shadows of its glistening immediate neighbor of Dubai. In the meantime, few are aware Sharjah was named Capital of Islamic Culture (2014) and Cultural Capital of the Arab World by UNESCO sixteen years prior - and for good reason. Sharjah's Heritage Area is home to multiple historic sites and museums, and the Emirate itself boasts recent, modern additions to its art and entertainment scenes enough to compensate for the strict "no-alcohol" regulations.
With its awesome glass skyscrapers that reflect the bustle of daily life, magnificent buildings such as the Emirates Palace, its lively souqs, excellent international restaurants and long stretches of white beaches lapped by the crystal clear waters of the Gulf, Abu Dhabi is a city of outstanding contrasts. The throbbing heart of the city lies 250 metres off-shore on an island linked to the mainland by the Al Maqtaa Bridge and Mussafah Bridge. Home to the respected Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation and the Al Hosn Palace museum, along with numerous venues for the arts, the wealthy city is the cultural as well as the commercial hub of the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
From a humble village to a cosmopolitan city Dubai has transformed from a humble fishing village to one of the most cosmopolitan and innovative cities in the world today. Tracing its origins back to 3,000 BC, Dubai's inhabitants made their livelihood from fishing, pearl diving, boat building and sea trading, before the discovery of oil in the late 1960s. In 1971, Dubai joined its neighbours to form the United Arab Emirates, safeguarding the area's prosperity.
The eclectic mosaic that is Mykonos is made up of pristine beaches, elegant boutiques, fine dining restaurants, rowdy bars and dazzling nightclubs all packed onto one tiny piece of land a mere 15km long at its widest point. Partying is a round-the-clock affair here, happening against the backdrop of scenic whitewashed houses crowding up the old town and iconic windmills perched atop the hills overlooking Little Venice.
Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon, has a privileged location with an equal distance from Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao. The city counts on an international airport and the high-Speed line (AVE). The destination has a delicious gastronomy and a rich heritage of historical monuments (Basilica del Pilar, Cathedral of San Salvador, Aljafería Palace, the paintings of Goya or the Mudejar–UNESCO Heritage of Mankind). The city also has renewed infraestructures from the 2008 International Expo (Water Tower, Bridge Pavilion or river Aquarium).
Linz – a cultural metropolis, and an oasis of green. Linz an der Donau is an innovative, contemporary city. It is a place where nature, culture and business come together to form a harmonious whole. The 2009 European Capital of Culture sports the slogan “Linz, verändert” (“Linz, changes”), and lives up to the slogan in full. Linz, a successful location for business, has emerged as an outstanding destination for culture, offering dynamism and a high quality of life. The capital city of Upper Austria is a showcase for theatre and music, but equally for contemporary art, history and science.
A well preserved, colonnaded medieaval old town with its world renowned Golden Roof. Right next to this there's a brightly coloured, sparkling imperial palace, the Hofburg - baroque and monumental. A stone’s throw away is the Hofkirche, a court church containing larger-than-life bronze statues, the Schwarze Mander, standing guard around the (empty) tomb of Emperor Maximilian I., a truly breath-taking sight and unique in Europe. High above this superb architecture towers the Nordkette, a magnificent mountain range between 2300 and 2500 m.
Salzburg offers art, culture, historical and modern sights, thrilling events, living tradition, pleasure, relaxation and great food – and nearly all within walking distance. These are all part of the multitude of options open to holidaymakers in Salzburg that guarantee an unforgettable city break at this world cultural heritage site. The city of Salzburg is a stage for over 4000 cultural events every year and is home to around 20 baroque period churches. Salzburg was added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site list in 1997.