Even though the name “Madrid” might be over 2,200 years old, the city of Madrid has only been the capital city of Spain since the 16th Century. In the time between then and now, Madrid has grown to not only be the largest city in Spain, it is also the third largest city in the European Union. In addition to being one of the largest of Europe’s cities, it is also the continent’s suniest. There are more days of sunshine in Madrid than any place else in Europe. Madrid is also considered to be one of the cultural capitals of the European Union. This would explain why the city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, if not the whole world.
If you have dreamed of visiting the canals of Venice, Italy, but aren’t overly thrilled about having to contend with the large crowds that flock to the beautiful coastal town of Italy, you may want to think about visiting Bruges, Belgium instead. Located less than an hour away from the capital city of Brussels by train, the small town of Bruges is frequently voted as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe because of its breathtaking canals, unique and wonderful architecture, long and interesting history, and tasty cuisine. The city of Bruges might be small, but it is home to more castles per square inch than any other country on this planet. In fact, roughly 50 of the 470 castles that are found in the Flanders region are located around Bruges.
Established in 1842, and now the capital city of the Australian state of New South Wales, Sydney is the largest city in Australia by both population and by size. While its size is impressive, the city is as busy as it is big, with roughly 10 million domestic visitors and 4 million international visitors coming to Sydney each year. With over 200 beautiful beaches, ranging from a few feet in size to several kilometers long, it is no wonder that Sydney attracts so many people from around Australia and the rest of the world. In addition to the beautiful beaches, the amazing Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House are a few of the other popular tourist draws in the city.
The city of Seville in Southern Spain is well-known to most travelers for its incredible beauty, but many travelers are unaware of the deep historical and cultural significance of this amazing town. For instance, if you ask I am sure that most travelers wouldn’t know that Seville is the birthplace of Spanish Tapas, the final resting place of the famed explorer Christopher Columbus, and the location where many of Hollywood’s most infamous movies were filmed. These are just some of the many reasons why the city of Seville continues to be one of Spain’s best kept secrets.
If you are an outdoor adventure enthusiast, there may be no location on Earth that is better suited to fulfill your dreams than the city of Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island. Widely regarded to be the “Adventure Capital of the World”, every year Queenstown attracts millions of tourists from throughout the world who flock to the city to test their mettle bungy jumping, skydiving, jetboat riding, canyon swinging, downhill mountain bike riding, and a myriad of other amazing outdoor adventures. Around every corner in the city it seems is the headquarters of another adventure activity.
At 9,252 feet (or 2,820 meters) in elevation, the city of Quito, which is Ecuador’s capital city, is the highest capital city in the entire world. Not only that, but the city of Quito was also one of the very first World Cultural Heritage Sites designated by UNESCO back in 1978. The city’s beautiful historic center, with its cobblestone streets and beautiful 16th Century stone houses, is absolutely beautiful. Touring this area of the city alone is worth a visit to Quito. Not to be forgotten, Quito is the perfect city to fly into to launch a trip to another Ecuadorian treasure, and the world’s very first Cultural Heritage Site, the infamous Galápagos Islands.
There are a lot of cities with a deep and rich history in Europe, and the city of Florence, Italy is certainly no exception. Founded by Julius Ceasar in 59 BC and considered to be the “cradle of the Renaissance” in the time of legendary artists and scholars such as Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Galileo, today Florence is consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful cities in the world and attracts millions of tourists each year. Visitors flock to this amazing city to visit its many wonderful museums and art galleries, eat the delicious food served in its restaurants, and tour the many structures that were built by this amazing culture.
While Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon may not be as well-known as some of the other parks in the Western United States, that doesn’t mean it isn’t every bit as beautiful. In fact, as lake parks go, it may be the most beautiful in America. Centered around a deep, water-filled volcanic crater that has formed the deepest lake in North America, Crater Lake is also well-known for its rough wilderness and great hiking and snowshoeing trails. If you aren’t into hiking, getting out on the crystal blue waters of Crater Lake to Kayak or go for a swim may be just what you are looking for. Regardless of what you do when you visit, one thing that won’t be in short supply during your stay is tranquility.
New Zealand has an abundance of breathtaking national parklands, especially on the country’s South Island. This is what has made the South Island of New Zealand one of the top destinations for travel photographers and travel adventurers from around the world. Out of all of the beautiful parklands the country has, the most well-known may be the stunning Aoraki\Mount Cook National Park. In addition to being the home of Mount Cook, which is New Zealand’s tallest mountain, it is also home to the Tasman Glacier, which is the largest glacier in New Zealand.
Nestled deep in the rolling hillside of the Peruvian Andes, the city of Cusco seems to capture the imagination of travelers more than most other South American cities. Because of its remote location in the mountains, the city has remained insulated from the hustle-and-bustle of modern life in many ways. Though you can find beautiful five-star hotels and most of the amenities that you find in bigger cities like the capital city of Lima, the city of Cusco still retains much of its small-town feel.