Planning your next vacation is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. Where do you go first, what should you eat and which photo spot should you definitely not miss? We’ve put together a whistlestop tour of 14 of the world’s most iconic destinations. From the bright lights of Toronto to the floating villages of Siem Reap, energetic Buenos Aires to ancient Varanasi – are you ready to go?
1. Berlin (Germany)
Berlin has reinvented itself over the years, transitioning from a gritty and divided city to an artsy capital. It’s fitting, then, that its best view is emblematic of this forward-looking spirit. Head to the Panoramapunkt to see the futuristic TV Tower, built to symbolize East Germany’s march to modernity, before making your way to the stately Brandenburg Gate, whose central arch was once reserved for the Kaiser’s use. Of course, no visit to Berlin would be complete with currywurst – a pork sausage covered with curry powder and spicy ketchup. It’s the perfect fuel for cycling on the Mauerweg, following the lines of the old Berlin Wall.
4. Dubai (UAE)
The sail-like form of the Burj Al Arab marks the skyline of Dubai, one of the most recognizable cityscapes in the world. Pop over to Palm Jumeirah for the best public photo spot. For a quick refresher, sit in the shade and try qahwa, a strong Emirati coffee served in distinctive silver pots. This is a city of superlatives, so it naturally has the world’s tallest building: the Burj Khalifa. Its observation decks are open to tourists, so you can embrace the modernity before experiencing the city’s traditional side with matchbous, or spicy lamb and rice, and a desert safari on camelback.
8. Paris (France)
Paris is one of Europe’s most elegant cities, with sweeping Haussmannian boulevards and monumental public structures. The most famous is the Eiffel Tower, best viewed from Place du Trocadéro. If museums are your thing, you won’t want to miss the Musée du Louvre’s extensive collection, including the Mona Lisa and Michelangelo’s Dying Slave. Take a short break to enjoy a macaron, a patisserie favorite, before heading to the Catacombs, which hold over 7 million bodies reinterred from cemeteries in the 1780s.
14. Venice (Italy)
With renaissance architecture lining its many canals, Venice is like a living museum. Start off at the Rialto, a symbol of the city with its arched span crossing the Grand Canal. For a bird’s-eye view, head to the Campanile tower and look out over the church of Santa Maria della Salute to the lagoon. Visit Doge’s Palace to recall Venice’s storied past and see masterpieces by Titian and Carpaccio, then feast on sarde in saor, or marinated sardines, which recalls Venice’s more humble origins. Take a final gondola ride to see the city at its best – from the famous canals.
These are some of the most popular visitor destinations on the planet. If you’re planning a vacation, why not visit one of these cities to really take in the sights and stories that inspired the nicknames?