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South Africa’s most popular tourist destination offers the urban thrills of Cape Town, its adjacent wine country and an aura of the rich political history of South Africa. The Overberg's perfect whale-watching perches provide excitement of a different nature. The Garden Route's lakes and forests and the Klein Karoo's ostrich-farming towns and vineyards present another take on the Cape. For extra kicks, try bungee jumping or cage-diving among Great Whites.
The Zanzibar Archipelago, located in the Indian Ocean 15 miles off the coast of Tanzania, is a breathtaking spot to escape from the world. You’ll enjoy clear, turquoise-blue water; shallow sandbars perfect for wading; and many small, nearly deserted islands virtually unvisited by tourists. Explore the World Heritage Site of Stone Town, Zanzibar City’s old quarter. Or just go beach to beach between tiny fishing villages—each one's better than the next.
Former palaces and Arab mansions along the twisting streets of Stone Town hint at a grander age for this port city on the western coast of Zanzibar. The Old Fort, built in the 1700s to fend off the Portuguese, now hosts local performances, a café and an art gallery. Overstuffed bazaars lend an air of nonstop bustle. Mafia Island Marine Park sits just offshore, a haven for snorkeling the local reefs. Day tours visit working plantations where the island's legendary spices are grown.
A group of islands and islets some 25 miles off the Tanzanian coast, the Zanzibar Archipelago is headlined by Unguja (often referred to simply as Zanzibar) and Pemba. Once a separate nation, Zanzibar has a long history of trade with the Arab world, dating back to at least the 11th century. The capital, Stone Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has many interesting historic attractions. Zanzibar's bright white beaches and nearby coral reefs make it very popular with the sun and sea set.
The birthplace of the tango is, like the dance itself, captivating, seductive and bustling with excited energy. Atmospheric old neighbourhoods are rife with romantic restaurants and thumping nightlife, and Buenos Aires' European heritage is evident in its architecture, boulevards and parks. Cafe Tortoni, the city's oldest bar, will transport you back to 1858, and the spectacular Teatro Colon impresses just as it did in 1908. Latin America's shopping capital offers the promise of premium retail therapy along its grand, wide boulevards.
One of the three principal islands of the Maltese archipelago, the island of Malta is the largest of the chain. Its capital Valletta, a lively, bustling city with many buildings dating back to the 16th century, teems with cathedrals, palaces and forts. The impressive Grand Harbour offers a dramatic arrival. The top archaeological attraction is the UNESCO-designated Hypogeum temple ruins, a macabre, 5400-square-foot underground necropolis and the world's only underground prehistoric temple.
Founded in 1565 by the Order of St John as a refuge for soldiers returning from the Crusades, Valletta is now the capital of Malta and a piece of living history. With an unsurpassed collection of original Baroque architecture, fortified city walls overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, and the spectacular Co-Cathedral of St John, which features intricately carved stone vaults and a famed painting by Caravaggio, it is no wonder that this smallest of European capital cities is a world heritage site.
Look for spicy dishes flavoured with tamarind and coconut in Kochi, and don’t be surprised if your dinner is served up on a banana leaf. The region is a major banana-growing area, and traditional Kochi cuisine employs the fruit in many dishes, both sweet and savoury. Coconut water provides a refreshing and sweet contrast to the piquant food.
On the Turkish Riviera, traditional fishing villages such as agiz nestle alongside the modern resort destinations of Marmaris and Antalya. Unspoiled yellow sandy beaches and pine forests line this history-rich coast whose illustrious former residents include St Paul. Buses make easy connections between the coves, castles and cities beside the turquoise waters of what the Turks call the "White Sea". Don't miss the awe-inspiring eternal fires of Chimaera at Olympos - most impressive at night.
To the first-time visitor, Palermo is a city of ever-changing character. An abundance of dusty museums, Arabian domes and flourishes of baroque splendor jostle with boisterous markets, chaotic traffic and oppressive summer heat. The Sicilian hotspot is a noisy, polluted, often dangerous, but always fascinating city. Don't miss marvels of Arab-Norman architecture, such as 12th-century Palazzo dei Normanni or San Giovanni degli Eremiti. Ask your hotel to arrange cabs and negotiate fares before setting off.
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