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Cape Town glistens at the southern toe of the African continent. Tourist brochure-views at Blaauwberg Beach and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens are within easy driving distance of "The Mother City." The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve provides sweeping sea vistas, hiking trails and wildlife encounters. On a more somber note, travellers can visit Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years.
From flat-topped Table Mountain down to the blue waters of Table Bay, Cape Town is simply stunning, but the city doesn't thrive by its looks alone. Proudly multicultural, its flourishing arts, dining, and nightlife scenes are proof of this modern metropolis' creativity and innovative spirit.
Shaded spots go early at Cape Town's crowded Camps Bay, where locals picnic and play in the strong Atlantic waves. Look for the flagged bathing areas for safer swims for all the family. Festive cafes sit adjacent to the sands, which are dramatically set at the foot of the Twelve Apostles Mountains.
Hiking trails and art galleries abound in Stellenbosch, but it's wine that takes center stage. More than 100 wine cellars, most open to the public, surround the oak-lined South African town, and tasting tours operate daily. Winter brings a four-day festival celebrating the local vintages. The historic town center houses the trading-post style shop Oom Samie se Winkel, the Neo-Gothic Moederkerk church, and museums dedicated to toys, military memorabilia, autos and early life on the Cape.
Sipping your way across the Paarl Wine Route is one of the most enjoyable ways to experience this South African town. Besides being part of the Cape Winelands region, Paarl is the place where the Afrikaans language was developed, a linguistic feat that’s commemorated by a dramatic monument. Cheer on your favorite pony at the Polo Club or hit the links at one of the area’s many beautiful golf courses.
The village of Franschhoek (French Corner), tucked into the Cape Winelands of South Africa, is known as the country's food and wine capital. Galleries and antique shops fill the tree-lined streets, and vineyards established more than 300 years ago cascade over the hills just outside town. Local activities range from wine-tasting tours to trout fishing and hiking. The Huguenot Memorial Museum honors the town's early settlers, who fled religious persecution in France.
Beautiful Hermanus is a South African seaside town that’s a popular whale-watching site. An initial visit to the Old Harbour Museum will acquaint you with the area’s rich fishing history and impress you with a massive exhibit of a whale skeleton. With dozens of area vineyards, Hermanus is a great base for a guided wine tasting tour.
Thanks to its location just to the south of Kruger National Park, Hazyview makes a great base for safari expeditions and adventure tours. It’s an animal lover’s paradise, with opportunities to engage with elephants, ride rescue horses through the hills, spot one or more species on “The Big 5” list, and much more. You can also tour coffee farms, splash in waterfalls or sink into relaxation at an area spa.
Argentina's top beach resort town, Mar del Plata boasts 10 miles of sandy beaches, from family-oriented La Perla in the north to very popular Bristol in the centre and sophisticated Faro in the south. Regardless of the beach, expect very dense crowds, particularly in the summer months. Once an elite enclave, it now attracts visitors of all budgets.
This village in the south of Crete sees its share of tourism, but retains its authentic charm, making it an enticing destination. You'll take in views of Agia Galini's port, the serene hills surrounding town and the Lybian Sea. Tranquil nearby beaches offer a chance to bask in the Mediterranean sun, while cultural diversions like the remains of the ancient Roman city of Gortyn and the stunning Minoan palace of Phaistos are within driving distance.
Dubai is a destination that mixes modern culture with history, adventure with world-class shopping and entertainment. Catch a show at the Dubai Opera, see downtown from atop the Burj Khalifa and spend an afternoon along Dubai Creek exploring the gold, textile and spice souks. If you’re looking for thrills, you can float above the desert dunes in a hot air balloon, climb aboard a high-speed ride at IMG Worlds of Adventure or skydive over the Palm Jumeirah.
Culture and scenery collide in Gran Canaria’s cosmopolitan capital, where baroque Spanish plazas and lively pedestrian malls are flanked by miles of urban beaches on two sides. Cruise ships, yachts, sunbathers, and surfers all congregate in the sheltered bays against a backdrop of colorful resorts.
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