On the island of Crete, the Samaria Gorge is a top attraction for lovers of the great outdoors. Measuring 16 kilometers in length and, at its narrowest point, only four meters wide, it runs from Omalos (1,250 meters) in the White Mountains down to Agia Roumeli, on the Libyan Sea.
One of Greece’s top tourist destinations, Corfu sits in the Ionian Sea off the west coast of the mainland. The capital, Corfu Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, thanks to its elegant Italianate architecture — it was ruled by the Venetians for several centuries. Explore its romantic pedestrian-only streets to discover two 16th-century fortresses and the arcaded Liston, lined by old-fashioned cafes.
Considered the symbol of Athens and Greece, and indeed of Western civilization, the Acropolis is a rocky mound rising in the heart of modern Athens, crowned by three magnificent temples dating from the 5th century BC. The best known and most distinctive is the Parthenon, originally made up of 58 columns supporting a roof and decorated by ornate pediments and a frieze.
No visit to Scotland is complete without visiting at least one or two sites associated with the country’s most famous son: poet Robbie Burns. A great way to experience a little of Burns’ life and times-as well as seeing some of the most beautiful parts of the country-is along the Burns Heritage Trail.
Poised like dabs of white frosting atop the steep crags of southern Andalucía, the White Towns are not just beautiful, they speak of this region’s long and fascinating history. West of Gibraltar, mountains rise straight from the sea, and among them hide these White Towns, each on its hilltop.
Liseberg is one of the most popular destinations in Sweden and each year, the park lures more than three million visitors. It has a huge range of attractions, from children’s carousels and a fairy-tale castle to adrenalin-pumping rides for speed demons, bumper cars, and four roller coasters. The park stages concerts in summer too and it’s a real favorite with both Swedish families and visitors from abroad. At Christmas, the park hosts an excellent market. There are plenty of places to eat and beautiful flowers in bloom during the summer. For the best views in Gothenburg take a ride on the Big Wheel.
Imagine a sparkling blue lake surrounded by mountains, a car-free medieval old town, covered bridges, waterfront promenades, frescoed historic buildings, and sun-splashed plazas with bubbling fountains. No wonder Lucerne (in German, Luzern) is a top spot for tourists. Famed for its music concerts, this quintessential Swiss town lures renowned soloists, conductors, and orchestras to its annual International Music Festival. The Culture and Convention Center is home to one of the world’s leading concert halls.
These busy locks northwest of Seattle Center are also known as the Ballard Locks. Besides watching the boat traffic move between Puget Sound and the lakes, visitors can seek out the fish ladder, where salmon struggle upstream. Nearby, the Carl S. English, Jr. Botanical Garden is a quieter spot to rest and appreciate well-tended gardens.
Toronto zoo has an outstanding and diverse collection, with approximately 5,000 animals. Some of the favorites include pygmy hippos, lions, tigers, giraffes, penguins, orangutans, and many more. The zoo is divided into several sections, each representing a major region of the globe. Some of the other highlights at the Toronto Zoo include the Gorilla Rainforest; the Tundra Trek, featuring polar bears; and the Great Barrier Reef.
Vancouver’s first tourist attraction opened in 1889 and has been thrilling visitors with its swaying bridge over a plummeting canyon ever since. The footbridge spans a 70-meter deep river canyon leading to an activity park filled with forest trails and a treetop walk through old-growth giants. There’s also a collection of totem poles and a transparent suspended platform known as the Cliffwalk.
For many Vancouver visitors, Canada Place is where a trip begins. The unusual roof creates the impression of a huge sailing vessel. The architecturally remarkable structure is part cruise ship terminal, part convention center and hotel, and part hub for sightseeing bus tours. At the end of the pier, there are panoramic views and the Flyover Canada attraction – a fun flight simulator and Canadian geography lesson. Also nearby, Waterfront Station is a major transit hub with ferries departing for the public market at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.
On a hillside overlooking the city from across the Potomac River, Arlington National Cemetery is filled with memorials to American history and the men and women who were part of it. Its best-known landmarks are the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, President John F. Kennedy’s gravesite, and the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial depicting the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima in World War II. The Welcome Center has maps, information (including the locations of specific graves), exhibits telling the story of Arlington National Cemetery and its monuments.
The National Zoo is another part of the Smithsonian, where nearly 2,000 different animals, birds, and reptiles live in habitats replicating as closely as possible their natural environments. Of the several hundred species represented here, about a quarter are endangered. This is one of the world’s best zoos, not only for the quality of the visitor experience, but for its leadership in areas of animal care and sustainability.
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness showcases some of Colorado’s most spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery and offers a chance to get out of your car and into nature. This area has six mountains over 14,000 feet, along with forests, alpine lakes, meadows, and 175 miles of trails to help you explore the terrain. Alternatively, you can enjoy the views on some of the scenic drives.
Long Beach is another community in the Los Angeles area where you can easily spend a day exploring. Bordering LA to the south, about 20 miles from downtown, Long Beach extends along San Pedro Bay. Things to do here include a visit to the historic Queen Mary ocean liner, now converted into a hotel and museum; the Aquarium of the Pacific; and exploring the unique shops at Shoreline Village. You can also catch the Catalina Express from Long Beach for a trip to Santa Catalina Island.
Santa Monica is a unique destination that is both chic and laid-back, with a population that ranges from surfers, skateboarders, and yoga devotees to techies and business people. The beautiful stretch of golden sand along the coast and the famous Santa Monica Pier, with its iconic Ferris wheel, are what most tourists come to enjoy, but you can find a variety of experiences in this beachfront city next to LA.
The Coral Castle is the result of one man’s 28 years of carving, using his own home-made tools. This incredible creation, made of limestone, was built by Edward Leedskalnin between 1923 and 1951. He kept his methods private and would not allow anyone to watch him work, leaving many people to wonder how he did it. Today, you can tour the property and see the most famous structure, a giant stone gate, which opens effortlessly with the touch of a finger, as well as carvings that include stone tables and chairs, unique figures, and other pieces.
This National Historic Landmark, set on 28 acres, was the luxurious winter home of 20th-century industrialist, James Deering. Built in 1916, the mansion features 34 rooms arranged around a central courtyard. It took more than 1,100 workers and craftsmen to complete the Vizcaya project, many of whom were brought over from Europe to ensure authenticity in design. The Italian Renaissance-style villa is filled with an impressive collection of European furniture and decorative arts from the 15th to 19th centuries.
Balboa Park encompasses a 1,400-acre site with historical buildings, numerous museums, gardens, and green space. The park was created for the Panama California Exhibition of 1915-1916, and most of the buildings remain from that event. The predominant architecture is Spanish-style low-rise buildings that blend in with the natural surroundings. Among the highlights of the park are the botanical gardens and lily pond, the Museum of Man, the Museum of Natural History, the San Diego Museum of Art, and the famous San Diego Zoo. Even if you never go into a building, the park is simply a beautiful place.
The Asian Art Museum is unquestionably one of the most important museums in San Francisco. The museum opened in 1966, with the basis of the collection coming from art collector Avery Brundage. Brundage built up a private collection, which in 1959 he offered to the city of San Francisco “to bridge the gap between East and West.” The museum building was constructed, and on his death in 1975 at the age of 88, the museum also received the rest of his collection of works of art in the form of a legacy.