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111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603, USA
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See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. The Art Institute of Chicago hosts the first exhibition devoted to Britain’s rising-star architect David Adjaye in September. Also in the fall, the world’s leading design talents will gather for the...
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51 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604, USA
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Chicago’s beloved South Side hat shop, Optimo, recently opened a downtown location in the historic Monadnock building. A favorite of Johnny Depp and former Mayor Richard Daley, the new shop sells handmade felt fedoras and porkpies that appear to...
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130 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601, USA
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Tavern at the Park is an amazing foodie destination in downtown Chicago. The menu is full of delicious creations, including some nice variations on classic dishes. I found their wings (which are rubbed and then grilled, not fried) to be amazing,...
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201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602, USA
FREE
Upon wondering around in Millennium Park in Chicago, admiring collection of art and architecture, I couldn't help by notice the landscape design in Lurie Garden. The five-acre garden represents Chicago's urban green living where plants rise taller...
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65 E Adams St, Chicago, IL 60603, USA
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Tesori is a new Italian restaurant located in the heart of the Loop. It features a wonderful bar area to pop in for a quick drink, or a large dining room for a more in-depth food experience. But the real treat is that it's located in the same...
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141 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604, USA
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You could say unmixed drinks are the specialty at this bar on the ground floor of the Chicago Board of Trade Building. Order a rum and Diet Coke and you'll get just that: a glass of rum with a can of Diet Coke on the side. This is a Monday through...
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1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
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Dinosaurs, pyramids, cave paintings, sharks—if you don't like the Field Museum then you must never have been a kid. Home to an extensive assortment of magical displays highlighting all facets of natural history from around the world, the...
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Streeterville, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
The architectural boat tour of downtown Chicago is the single best way to see this city in a whole new way. From first-timers to lifers, it doesn't matter how long you've been in town, this perspective is going to be new to all. There are many...
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1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
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My three year old was fascinated by the Jellies Exhibit—one of many engaging displays—at the Shedd in Chicago. What a joyful moment, capturing the wonder of a young mind.
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5700 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
Anyone who's into model trains should visit the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Originally opened in 1941, The Great Train Story was the largest model train of its day. After being briefly shuttered in 2002 for extensive additions, this...
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4100 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60653, USA
Riding bikes or walking along the Lakeshore Path is one of the greatest things about Chicago. So much green, public space is wonderful to take advantage of for FREE!
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1655 W Cortland St, Chicago, IL 60622, USA
To find the Trap Door Theatre, you walk down a narrow walkway between two white brick walls. A steel door opens onto the kitchen of Jane's Restaurant. A second door leads to a small black box theater. There, for the last 15 plus years, the Trap...
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955 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
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At visionary chef Grant Achatz’s bar, vessels such as “the Porthole” (pictured) are as original as the drinks. The chef-trained bartenders use fresh herbs, small-batch spirits, and hand-carved ice in their cutting-edge libations....
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2119 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608, USA
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Chicago, known for its broad shoulders and its International appeal, is also an amazing spot for up-and-comers. The city holds an open forum for the new—be it art, performance, or food, the city promotes an energy for experimentation. Pilsen,...
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2148 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, USA
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Little known fact: After Los Angeles and Houston, Chicago has the third largest Mexican population in the United States. Unlike those two cities, the praises of its deep Mexican heritage and food have yet to be sung. Consider me, then, the fat guy...
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1612 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622, USA
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Housed in an old bank vault, The Bedford affords you a glimpse into the world of finance. Inspired by the era of Al Capone crime and tommy gun holdups, this throwback lounge in Wicker Park puts a contemporary twist on old time cool. Slide past the...
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1727, 7311 Madison St, Forest Park, IL 60130, USA
This tea merchant is the real deal. If you're accustomed to mass retail merchants, you've missed out on having an authentic experience of international tea shopping. The Todd Holland staff is knowledgeable, as they are prepared with a verbal and...
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21, 200 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60606, USA
If you're driving to Chicago, make sure you drive along Lake Shore Drive. It's beautiful in any day of the year. You'll see people biking or running with their dogs in the summer time. And during winter, you'll most likely see the entire lake...
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Highland Park, IL 60035, USA
Every year around Halloween the family heads over to the gardens to take in the fresh air and changing colors. The spooky doggy day parade is our family ritual. Its the one day the gardens allows dogs in. Dude, our chocolate lab, has a field day!
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1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 60022, USA
Far from the madding crowd, Japan has quietly nestled in Illinois. There are other Japanese gardens in the U.S., but here—this is another kind of serenity. There is a zigzag bridge, and small huts with notes that explain how bonsai works. The lake...
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Chicago, IL 60626, USA
Pick up your morning coffee at one of the many local coffee shops, and walk to Rogers Beach (known by locals as Lighthouse Beach). The sunrise over Lake Michigan is stunning! Locals fish off the lighthouse pier in the early morning semi-darkness....
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100 Linden Ave, Wilmette, IL 60091, USA
While visiting family in Chicago, my cousin and I went for a drive and came across this intricately carved structure just north of the city. The Baha'i Temple in Wilmette is an unexpectedly stately building on the shores of Lake Michigan. With...
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1137 W Argyle St, Chicago, IL 60640, USA
I'm a huge fan of Pho soups but I'm picky too—I want a rich broth with light springy noodles and slivers of meat, a contrast of textures and tastes. Pho 888 is not only reasonably priced but offers up some of the best Pho I've had in North...
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141 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604, USA
For their roving, event-based Volume Gallery, Claire Warner and Sam Vintz pluck contemporary American designers like Thaddeus Wolf and Rich Brilliant Willing and set up short-run installations at galleries all over Chicago. One of Chicago’s own,...
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West Town, Chicago, IL, USA
The annual Design Harvest festival brings more than 50 vendors to West Grand Avenue. Oversize tents fill up with metal sculptures, handmade messenger bags, and beautiful wooden furniture by Chicago designers such as Jason Lewis. September 29–30....
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1521 S Linn White Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
Many people who visit the U.S. immediately think of New York as the quintessential American city. But they are missing out. Chicago is a world-class city with so much to offer. From shopping on Michigan Avenue to renowned chefs/dining to the Bean...
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233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606, USA
100+ stories, on top of the world, at the skydeck of the Willis Tower in Chicago. The city is extremely beautiful, and especially awesome from up here. On a pretty clear day like this one was, you can see quite far in all directions. This is a...
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2519 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657, USA
B.L.U.E.S. is not a big bar, but they play plenty of great blues (and have been voted best blues club on Chicago's North Side). Primarily local artists play in this comfortable, intimate setting. If you want a seat, push way in past the stage and...
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1417 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Sprout was a suggestion from dear friends who had just returned to Chicago after years living and eating in NYC. Sprout has a menu that notes tastes not necessarily ingredients. Ask your server to explain what is what. This is not your standard...
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201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602, USA
FREE
Part of the fun of visiting famous destinations in the USA is coming up with unique, original ways to photograph them. I've seen hundreds of images of Cloud Gate in Chicago's Millennium Park, but I wanted to come up with something that was wholly...
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51 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604, USA
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After reading an article on a new location for Optimo Hats on page 26 of the September 2012 issue of Afar, we decided to visit Optimo ourselves. We chose to go to the original location in South Chicago, which is 20 minutes south of downtown....
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1120 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
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Since my friend Lisa worked in Yolk where was ranked as #1 breakfast place in Chicago, there's no reason for me not trying something there. I ordered a fresh-squeezed strawberry orange juice with my friend's suggestion. I could say it’s the best...
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875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
Are you ready? Behold because I never thought I'd get a view from the Hancock Tower like this for free. It's in... the women's bathroom. Yes, bathrooms are more than for gossiping and refreshing your lipstick. They are also used to take photos of...
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875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
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Skip the ticketed admission to the John Hancock Observatory on the 97th floor and take the elevator to the “Signature Lounge at the 96th” floor of the John Hancock Tower at no charge. The Chicago skyline glitters at night, but sorry gentlemen, the...
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5547 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640, USA
I wrestled with even posting this highlight, since this is hands down the best sushi joint in Chicago. It's up north, it's BYOB, it plays only music from the 80's, you can get reservations at the drop of a hat, the sushi chefs are personable, they...
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3215 E 1969th Rd, Ottawa, IL 61350, USA
Nothing beats the adrenaline, and sheer rush of falling from 13,500 ft. at 120 mph. That is, as far as I've known. I have nothing but great things to say about Skydive Chicago. They were very apt at making me comfortable with jumping out of a...
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1230 W Greenleaf Ave, Chicago, IL 60626, USA
For the most relaxing beach experience, travel a short distance north on Lakeshore Drive and you will find idyllic beaches that you can have almost all to yourself. Here you'll feel free to play, exercise or take a romantic stroll away from the...
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58 E Oak St, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
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Inside the newly renovated landmark Esquire Theater in Chicago, the 24,000-sf Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House is one of the largest steak houses in the city, located 15 minutes from the convention center. The 500-seat restaurant opened this...
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4621 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625, USA
Nestled in Lincoln Square, Fine Wine Brokers will truly cater to your needs. They have one of the more eclectic selections of choice wines anywhere in the city of Chicago. There are tastings on the weekends, and grand gala events every few months...
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1531 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, USA
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Everyone knows Big Star is famous for its cheap and tasty tacos but it's the queso fundido that really wowed my tastebuds. Melted queso Chihuahua cheese compliments the peppers and meaty chorizo in this dish. I didn't even use the tortillas. It's...
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800 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
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Why the best burger in Chicago is served at a bar with a French name might be a question for the ages. But rather than question it, just go there! The single burger at Au Cheval is actually a double, and don't even ask about the double...
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1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613, USA
Steeped in history, loved my many, loathed by some, and sorely in need of a championship, Wrigley Field is a true cornerstone of the always controversial sporting world. No trip to Chicago is complete without a visit to this monument to to...
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615 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661, USA
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Please get the bacon wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo. They are incredible and it's hard not to sop your bread up with that sauce. I was also impressed with the chicken thigh. A lot of the other small dishes were good but not amazing,...
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840 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
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I'm sure anything you get at this swank bar in the heart of the West Randolph restaurant loop is worth it but this bone marrow did NOT disappoint! Smooth and just salty enough with a touch of sweetness from the jam and the heartiness of the toast,...
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619 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661, USA
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Blackbird opened in 1997, and its Paul Kahan won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in 2013. I spent five hours there on New Year’s Eve eating a 10-course tasting meal with some of my best friends. We were a relatively large group in...
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4803, 505 N State St suite 101, Chicago, IL 60654, USA
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I had one of the most delicious drinks I've yet had the pleasure of experiencing at Sable. Chicago knows its mixology, and I was lucky to have insiders lead me to this bar located inside the swank Palomar Hotel on North State Street. Their head...
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954 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
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I was tempted to come here by the name here alone. Then I realized its location in Fulton Market is across from The Aviary. LSC and Fulton Market remind me of the Meatpacking District without the pretension. The pisco sours are the perfect mix of...
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1023 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, USA
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Yes, this is technically a chain restaurant throughout the United States, but it's a really good one. Being a die hard carnivore my entire life, this place was incredibly eye-opening to me. Never did I expect to be wowed by an entire menu that is...
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Oia 847 02, Greece
At the northern edge of Oia lies a pool lounge overlooking the Aegean Sea – a peaceful place to stay while cruise crowds storm the town in the afternoon. The pool is open to the public and makes money off the purchase of snacks and drinks from...
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Kidathineon 41, Athina 105 58, Greece
While sitting outside at a café in Plaka, the historical neighborhood in Athens, a brightly colored wall across the way—filled with bottles—caught my eye. Ouzo was something I wanted to try, as it is for many first-time visitors to Greece, but...
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17680 Tenedos/Çanakkale, Turkey
In the Aegean Sea, not far off the west coast of Turkey is the little-known island of Bozcaada. Here, time stands still in the most nostalgic of ways. Old men gather in town square to play backgammon over tulip glasses of Turkish tea, shops open...
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Obala kralja Zvonimira 13, 21220, Trogir, Croatia
My mom kept urging me to go to Croatia because she had seen images of the beautiful Dalmatian coast. I resisted because Croatia was not on my travel agenda at the time. I finally caved in and I’m so glad I did because it’s a gem of a country! Most...
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m.Mpotsari 6, Οία 847 02, Greece
For one of the best views and best meals in Santorini, try Red Bicycle. Located at the tip of Oia on the northern part of the island, the restaurant is housed in a 19th-century Santorini mansion with a 180-degree view of the famed sunset and the...
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Għar Lapsi, Malta
After braving the Blue Lagoon and Azure Window crowds, Ghar Lapsi is the ideal spot for swimming in Malta's pristine waters. A tiny inlet and small fishing village, this is the place to experience Maltese summer like a local. The calm waters and...
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Platja Portlligat, s/n, 17488 Cadaqués, Girona, Spain
After falling in love with Salvador Dali at his museum in Figueres, we caught one of three buses out to the cliffside town of Cadaques where you can get to know Dali a bit more intimately by touring his house. Full of odds and ends, including mini...
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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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Presqu'île de la Parata, Route des Sanguinaires, 20000 Ajaccio, France
Young and poor, but frequent-flier-mile rich, my wife and I were able to go to Corsica for our first anniversary...Staying with friends always helps...They lived in Ajaccio, (birthplace of Napoléon Bonaparte), and at sunset one evening, they took...
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Lake Bled, 4260 Bled, Slovenia
Castle above, gleaming lake below, historic church on jigsaw-perfect island - what is there not to like about Lake Bled. I can recommend walking around the lake itself, exploring the well groomed track surrounded by an abundance of trees, and then...
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97100 Ragusa, Province of Ragusa, Italy
We drove into Ragusa - Sicily in the late afternoon, walked the cobbled streets, devoured a locally made nougat gelato and on the drive back down from the old town were met with the beautiful sight of the traditional houses lit up by their...
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29780 Nerja, Málaga, Spain
Nerja was the find of a monthlong trip to Europe one May. We took a flight from Barcelona to Málaga with the intention of riding a bus along the coast. We rode the bus all the way to the last town Nerja and decided to spend the night there. We...
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Metelkova ulica 11, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
The ‘Metelkova City Autonomous Cultural Center‘, in Ljubljana, Slovenia—more commonly known and much easier said ‘Metelkova’— is a composition of seven buildings and outdoor space run by independent leaders of civic engagement, political action...
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98055 Vulcano Porto ME, Italy
Just off the coast of Sicily you'll find the archipelago of the Aeolian Islands noted for its volcanoes and rugged beauty. The islands can be reached by hydrofoil or ferry boat from Milazzo. Lipari is the largest of the islands, but is still only...
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I took this image the first morning I woke up at the Karia Bel' Hotel in Bozburun, Turkey (a small, quiet town of about 2000). The Aegean Sea was like glass, so still. There was a perfect reflection of the sailboat. It was a moment!
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Alaçatı Belediyesi, 35930 Çeşme/İzmir, Turkey
We went to a great little surf town called Alacati. It was a glorious few days of relaxing and eating wonderful fresh food (mmmm the olives and cheese and veggies!). We hung out at the beach, just soaking in the sun and watching the surfers....
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Sir Herbert Miles Rd, Gibraltar GX11 1AA, Gibraltar
The Mediterranean lies below the sheer faces of the rock, where cargo ships look like bathtub toys and streets and buildings that hug the base of the rock look like scale models of seaside resorts.
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Jendouba, Tunisia
I discovered a couple years ago that if you have a penchant for ancient Roman ruins, it’s far better to go to Tunisia than Italy. The quality of preservation is far superior to many Italian sites and the lack of tourists is more refreshing than...
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Lake Bohinj, 4265 Bohinjsko jezero, Slovenia
It's a bit cold, yes - even in August. But the spectacular views and pristine water easily make up for the chilly swimming. We packed our beach towels, bought a few cold beers, and hiked around the lake for awhile until we found a more secluded...
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Praça D. Filipa de Lencastre 62, 4050-259 Porto, Portugal
Book Restaurant (which is next door to Infante Sagres hotel) is designed as a library as well and reflects the connection between literature and gastronomy in a very contemporary way. The architect is Pedro Trindade and the chef is John Mendes...
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Chouran Street, Beirut, Lebanon
A stunning set of rocks welcome you to the city of Beirut. Pigeons’ Rock (also known as the Rock of Raouché) is located at Beirut’s western-most tip, the two huge rock formations stand like gigantic sentinels to the city. Locals love to walk along...
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Palmotićeva ul. 4A, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Wine is an integral part of life on the Dalmatian Coast, a region with many indigenous varietals; a visit to Dubrovnik shouldn’t go by without a glass of local wine. Tucked away on Palmotićeva Street off the main Stradun, D’Vino offers...
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Situated not far from Meknes, between Fes and Rabat, the Roman ruins of Volubilis stand as a testament to a culture that changed the world forever. In the fertile area that the ruined city is located, it's difficult to remember you're in Morocco....
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Podgorica, Montenegro
It doesn't get any better than Kotor, Montenegro - really, it doesn't. The landscape is stunning, the weather is mild and the architecture is lovely. Throw in a vibrant Southern European culture, and you're really, really close to perfection....
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Santorini's Red Beach is one of the most unique beaches in Greece. The stretch of pebbly sand is surrounded by high, bright-red cliffs. It's not one of the most popular beaches on the island for sunbathing, but it's still worth a visit. A short...
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Dhërmi, Albania
Dhermi is a paradise. We found that the best place to eat in this secluded oasis along the stretch of Albanian coastline that straddles the Adriatic and Ionian Seas was the restaurant of the Hotel Lućiano. On their rickety deck hanging along a...
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Poros, Greece
Mention 'Greek Islands' and one instinctively thinks of Santorini or Crete. But there are literally thousands of other islands scattered between Greece, Turkey and North Africa. The smaller ones like Poros (above) are just as charming. I don't...
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Mykonos, Mikonos, Greece
Just a short stroll to reach Yialos beach for the action packed beach experience and heavy summer crowds. We preferred the Petasos SLH Hotel, with its the private beach, it sits on a peninsula, surrounded by the breathtaking Aegean sea.
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SP94, 07021 Arzachena OT, Italy
There are few places that blend dramatic scenery, old-world history, and stellar food culture as beautifully as Sardinia. In early summer, wildflowers color the island, cherries are at their juiciest, and many regions are surprisingly tourist...