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Nordurljosavegur 9, 240 Grindavík, Iceland
Iceland’s largest and most famous geothermal spa lies around an hour outside Reykjavik, quite close to Keflavik Airport. With a dramatic setting amidst large black lava boulders, the steam-filled, creamy-blue pool area is a striking and...
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Hamzalısüleymaniye Mahallesi, Akropol Cd. No:6, 35700 Bergama/İzmir, Turkey
“The ruins of himself! now worn away, with age, yet still majestic in decay.” —Homer. The best way to see the Acropolis of Pergamon is to take the cable car up (they will try to sell you a return ticket, but insist on one-way) and then walk down...
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Freyr 12, 5540 Hastière, Belgium
With hundreds of castles and chateaux in Belgium, open to the public, it's hard to know which ones to visit. The castle of Freÿr, in Wallonia, is a great place to start. This grand building has remained in the same family for 20 generations and...
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Budapest, Kelenhegyi út 4, 1118 Hungary
Throughout Budapest are a whopping 123 therapeutic hot springs, but these, in the stately, slightly dusty Hotel Gellért (built in 1918) might be the most famous. The communal bath in the center of the hotel spa is for everyone, but the most...
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10 Place de l'Opéra, 75009 Paris, France
The Palais Garnier, the national opera house of Paris, is a magnificent building dripping in ornate details and glittering with gold. The five-ton chandelier, made famous in The Phantom of the Opera, still takes center stage in the auditorium. It...
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Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, 11, 41001 Sevilla, Spain
Colour, music and dancing are an integral part of life in Andalusia, Spain. For a taste of the region's Flamenco, head to El Patio Sevillano in Seville (Sevilla). A variety of dancers, in colourful traditional costumes, will whirl and stomp across...
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Calle Real de la Alhambra, s/n, 18009 Granada, Spain
A visit to Granada, Spain isn't complete without a stop at the Alhambra. The Moorish architecture, robust gardens, and stunning views of Granada combine to make a truly memorable experience. Start your day with a tour of the Generalife Gardens....
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1000 Brussels, Belgium
Every even-numbered year, for a week, in August, Brussels' beautiful Grand Place is even more stunning. The ground is covered in 600,000 flowers, creating a unique pattern. Thousands of visitors flood the market square to capture the perfect photo...
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Calle Cardenal Herrero, 1, 14003 Córdoba, Spain
The landmark cathedral in Cordoba, Spain is the Mosque of Córdoba. You might be amazed by the bell tower, the stone path, and the orange trees. However, the moment you stepped into the prayer hall, it will take your breath away.
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Estrada de Monserrate, 2710-405 Sintra, Portugal
While the tourist hordes in beautiful Sintra, Portugal, are flocking to Pena Palace, head instead to Monserrate. The gardens here are massive and have been recently restored. We wandered here for hours without hardly seeing another person. The...
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Gibraltar GX11 1AA, Gibraltar
The weird and wonderful pile of rock, known as Gibraltar, is worth a day-trip if you are visiting Andalusia, Spain. There are plenty of strange sights: the airport runway crossing the main street, a concert hall inside a cave and miles of tunnels...
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Calle Judíos, Córdoba, Spain
If you are looking for truly unique and beautiful gifts from Andalusia, Spain, look no farther than the Zoco Artisan Market in Cordoba. This shop is filled with jewelry, hand painted tiles, shawls, pottery and other local crafts. There are...
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Rue de l'Abbaye 55, 1495 Villers-la-Ville, Belgium
Most people know some of Belgium's best beer is brewed by monks in abbeys. These abbeys are still active and thriving. However there are many ruined abbeys dotting the countryside. Villers Abbey is one of the most beautiful and atmospheric. The...
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Praça do Império 1400-206 Lisboa, 1400-206 Lisboa, Portugal
Jerónimos Monastery, also known as the Hieronymites Monastery, or Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Portuguese, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lisbon. This stunning building took 100 years to build and it's no wonder once you experience the level of...
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Calle Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, 11, 11688 Zahara, Cádiz, Spain
While on a road-trip through Andalusia, we spent a day exploring the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. The twisting mountain roads took our breath away at regular intervals. The region is famous for its Peublos Blancos (or white villages). One was...
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In such a densely populated and developed little country, it seems impossible to escape civilization. But there is one beautiful corner of Belgium where you can be truly alone—the Hautes Fagnes Natural Reserve, in Belgium's Eastern Cantons. The...
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Station House, Dart Bridge Rd, Buckfastleigh TQ11 0DZ, UK
Otters and Butterflies may seem like an unlikely combination, but you'll find them together at the Buckfast Butterflies & Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary, in Dartmoor National Park. I can think of few animals more adorable to watch than playful otters,...
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Athinas, Athina 105 51, Greece
The noisy, smelly, chaos of Athens Central Market is an experience no foodie (or photographer) should miss. The colours, shapes and patterns are a compositional dream, but the market is not for the squeamish. You can find every conceivable...
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Buizingen, 1501 Halle, Belgium
Hallerbos (Flemish) or Bois de Halle (French) is a beech forest just south of Brussels. It's a popular spot for walking, cycling and horseback-riding. Every spring, for a few short weeks, the forest makes a magical transformation into a blue...
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Athens 105 57, Greece
In front of the Parliament House in Athens, the Evzones, an infantry unit of the Greek Army, guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Evzones wear traditional Greek red and blue uniforms. The changing of the guards takes place every hour and...
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Ul. od Sigurate 7, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
A city of red-tiled rooftops, pine- and cypress-shaded hills, and sparking turquoise waters, the Old Town of Dubrovnik stuns with both its architecture and scenery. Its surrounding stone walls, built between the 11th and 13th centuries to protect...
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This dramatic two-tier waterfall, whose name translates as "Golden Falls," a reference to the shimmering mist that sometimes appears around the falls, is one of Iceland’s most famous—which is saying something in a country...
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Nordurljosavegur 9, 240 Grindavík, Iceland
The weather outside may be frightful, even in summer, but the waters of the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa in Iceland are always delightful. We visited the Blue Lagoon Spa during an 8-hour layover in Reykjavik. All inclusive round-trips are available...
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Budapest, Andrássy út 22, 1061 Hungary
Budapest, Hungary is brimming with art, culture and a touch of decadence. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the Hungarian State Opera House on the luxurious Andrássy Way. If you don't have the time or money to take in a concert in this...
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2 Rue du Château, 64000 Pau, France
If you're looking for the prefect French vacation destination, the picturesque city of Pau, in Southwest France, may just have it all. Its location is perfect, almost equidistant from the stunning Pyrenees Mountains, for hiking and skiing, and the...
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Sankt Annæ Gade 29, 1416 København, Denmark
You can see the black and gold spiral steeple of the Church of our Saviour, or Vor Frelsers Kirke, all over Copenhagen. It's not until you are standing beneath it you realize that golden spiral is actually a staircase—on the outside. If you are...
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Øster Voldgade 4A, 1350 København, Denmark
Unfortunately I spent most of our trip to Copenhagen in soggy tennis shoes cursing the weather and complaining that we couldn’t picnic in the rose gardens of Rosenborg castle. To escape a sudden downpour we hustled inside the castle to quickly dry...
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Rue au Beurre 46, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
If you could only do one thing in Brussels (and frankly, that would be a tragedy), it would have to be a visit to the Grand Place. Also called the Grote Markt, in Flemish, Grand Place is Brussels’ UNESCO-listed central market square. Standing in...
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Rue Montagne de la Cour 2, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
My favourite building in Brussels is the Old England on Mont des Arts, just around the corner from Place Royal. It’s a striking concoction of steel and glass in the Art Nouveau style Brussels is so famous for. But what’s on the inside is just as...
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50170 Mont Saint-Michel, France
This must-see spot in Normandy is a little city on an island just off the coast that gets cut-off by the tide on a daily basis. At the peak of the town (is nice walk up!) is the Abbey of Mont Saint Michel where you can see a view for miles, once...
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Griboyedov channel embankment, 2Б, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 191186
Late summer is the time to explore the 42 islands that make up St. Petersburg. Daylight stretches past 11 p.m., and a burgeoning arts and nightlife scene keeps locals on their toes well into the bright nights. On July 31, the party hits the port...
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Estrada do Bom Jesus, 4715-056 Tenões, Portugal
Only the a local would have known to take us to Bom Jesus. While staying with a host through Airbnb, two friends and I had the opportunity to spend the day with her and explore Braga. She told us, in her broken but sufficient English, of a church...
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Praça do Império 1400-206 Lisboa, 1400-206 Lisboa, Portugal
The churches in Portugal are uniquely beautiful in a way that is is ornate but not flashy or gilded. The Manueline style of architecture used to build the St. Jeronimos Monastery was a transitional style that combined Renaissance and Gothic...
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20 Deans Yd, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA, UK
Beautiful arch and vault inside of the Westminster Abbey frames the colorful glass windows, and defines a small area when the sunlight cast through.
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Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Walk into Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) and look up to the heavens to see why so many conquerors and their respective religions claimed this basilica turned mosque turned museum as their own. Visitors will swoon over the Byzantine gilded mosaics,...
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III. nádvoří 48/2, 119 01 Praha 1, Czechia
The Prague Castle complex, which sits on the top of the hill above the city, dominates the skyline, and houses multiple palaces, churches, halls, and museums. The crown jewel of the complex is St. Vitus Cathedral. Construction of...
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Scandinavia
Reminiscent of building of the kingdom of Rohan from Lord of the Rings, Norway's stave churches are impressively built in a Viking style featuring incredible craftsmanship and inspiring spiritual contemplation. On our visit to Norway, we visited...
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Rooseveltplatz 8, 1090 Wien, Austria
Inside of the Votive Church (Votivkirche) in Vienna, Austria. Absolutely stunning gothic church with gorgeous stained glass--a must-see in Vienna.
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00120, Vatican City
When I walked into the World's largest Church, I had two feelings : I felt lucky and exhilarated. But when I started walking under the epitome of Renaissance art, I had a feeling that has no defination or boundaries.The Biblical narration of...
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Largo do Carmo, 1200-092 Lisboa, Portugal
In 1755, Lisbon was all but devoured by an earthquake so strong that it still ranks as one of the most destructive in recorded history. One of the few structures to survive somewhat intact was the Carmo Convent—an impressive feat,...
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Oxford, UK
Oxford is a picturesque town full of history and impressive architecture at every turn. Just an hour's train ride from London, it's a perfect day trip destination. The town is super walkable, with helpful street maps on every other corner. Make a...
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The Pends, St Andrews KY16 9QL, UK
Often called, "Scotland's Greatest Cathedral" the now-ruined medieval St. Andrews, overlooking the North Sea in its namesake town, is a splendid sight any time of day or night. However, in my several days of residence in the town made famous by...
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6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
For a first-time visitor to Notre Dame, investing in the audio guide is essential to immerse in and understand this overwhelmingly significant Paris icon. There's a lot to see and absorb—history, architecture, artifacts,...
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Calle de Bailén, 10, 28013 Madrid, Spain
After paying your patriotic fee of 10 Euro to enter the Royal Palace, you will notice the Almudena Cathedral beyond the courtyards gates. While I was too late in the day to be graced with the inner divinities of this structure I did in fact, get...
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Kylemore Abbey, Pollacappul, Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland
Before reaching this incredible castle, you will be astounded by the beautiful pastures and lakes along the roadside. Lambs occasionally trot across allowing a great opportunity for photos. Upon reaching Kylemore, you will enter through a quaint...
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Exo Gonia 847 00, Greece
Yes, Vegas would do the trick, but a 12 days hopping between the Greek islands of Santorini, Folegandros, and Sifnos will be a matrimonial send-off you’ll actually want to remember. Cannonball into clear coves reachable only by boat, and...
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1 Place du Général Eisenhower, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Is Strasbourg really in France? A decade ago I lived here for a semester abroad, and although it's only 2 hours east of Paris, Strasbourg seems so different, so special. It must be the proximity of Germany that separates, or rather mixes with the...
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Agiou Dimitriou, Thessaloniki 546 33, Greece
Hagios Demetrios is known as the largest church in all of Greece, and while this interior doesn't look as large as other European churches, the entire building and grounds are a true showing of historic periods coming and overlapping one another....
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Orval 1, 6823 Florenville, Belgium
You cannot visit the current Orval Abbey but for a small fee you can visit the Orval Abbey ruins. By the 12th century, this Cistercian abbey isolated in the Gaume Forest had become one of the most famous and richest in Europe. After a film on...
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Piazza Santa Chiara, 1, 06081 Assisi PG, Italy
The stories around St Francis of Assisi are relatively well-known, and of particular interest with the election of a Roman Catholic pope who took his name. St Francis was born wealthy and eventually had a spiritual awakening which let him to...
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Domkloster 4, 50667 Köln, Germany
August 6th, 2004 As a non-religious person, I am still a big fan of church architecture. Its hard to get more iconic than the Cologne Cathedral. If you visit and arrive from the train station, you are dumped out directly beside it. Climb the...
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Place de l'Evêché 1, 7500 Tournai, Belgium
Tournai is the perfect place to spend a Saturday afternoon. Visit the amazing Notre Dame Cathedral, go up in the Belfry which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List or just have a coffee at a cafe in the square and watch the world go by. Looking...
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Rue du Bienvenu, 14400 Bayeux, France
Experience one of the best Cathedrals in Europe. We went to Bayeux to see the tapestry and discovered this amazing place and were blown away when we got inside. If you go to Normandy do not pass this town, the Bayeux tapestry, 70m of tapestry...
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Carrer de la Marina, 253, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
The art nouveau buildings of Antoni Gaudí, the 19th-century architect whose works are some of Barcelona’s most iconic sights, can be seen throughout Catalonia, but Barcelona has the best examples of his genius at work. Former...
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76400 Fécamp, France
Walking around Fécamp, a major town on the Alabaster Coast of France, you cannot miss this beautiful church. Although ancient documents (1006 and 1088) attest to the establishment of the church of Saint-Etienne, it is very likely that it already...
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76400 Fécamp, France
The extraordinary history of Benedictine starts at Fecamp Abbey where the Benedictine monks lived. The visit consists of two parts, one being the history and the second, the crafting of the Benedictine liqueur. You start in the Gothic Room. Here...
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17850 Besalú, Girona, Spain
A short trip from Barcelona via bus or car, explore Besalú's medieval old town. Cross its restored 11th century bridge into a picturesque village with cobblestone streets. Shop for handmade trinkets or stop off for a meal or a drink in bars and...
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Mambal, Abiansemal, Mambal, Abiansemal, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80352, Indonesia
It took three years to realize this passion project: a spa retreat built mainly of bamboo. Book a riverfront suite, or the hotel can arrange a stay in a rural family’s home. This appeared in the January/February 2013 issue.
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Terraced like the surrounding rice paddies, Soori Bali occupies an undeveloped stretch of fertile coastline roughly 25 minutes from Tabanan, a town northwest of Denpasar known for traditional farming and artisan crafts. The resort’s modern...
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100 Beach Drive, Dorado, 00646, Puerto Rico
The Ritz-Carlton does an excellent job of providing their guests a secluded, intimate experience with the tropical beauty of Puerto Rico—and that certainly extends to the spa. When I arrived, I was one of 4 other women and once my treatment was...