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Monaco is famous as Côte d’Azur’s playground. With spacious beaches, elegant hotels and lively nightlife, this tiny domain is a jet set favorite and home to some of the world's most expensive real estate. In addition to luxury hotels and beautiful beaches, Monaco is noted for mild climate and magnificent scenery. Monaco and Monte Carlo rank high on every visitor’s must-see list. Monaco-Ville is the old city and seat of Monaco’s government. The 19th-century Romanesque cathedral Prince's Palace contains impressive works of art and the tomb of Princess Grace, while the Parliament building and Oceanographic Museum, under the auspices of the Jacques Cousteau Society, offer additional sights. Monte Carlo spells sophistication, elegance, and glamour. Every year the rich and famous gather here to bask in the sun, gamble at the world’s most opulent casino and attend spectacular parties. The most splendid hotels, several fine theaters, museums and excellent restaurants cater to the elite. Nothing typifies more the elegant lifestyle of the Côte d’Azur than glamorous Monte Carlo.
Marseille is a vibrant, cosmopolitan port in the Provence region of France. Craggy mountains provide a spectacular backdrop. As a Mediterranean melting pot, the port virtually rubs shoulders with intimate, picturesque old harbor, the Vieux Port. Packed with watercrafts, this is the heart of Marseille. Two fortresses guard the harbor: Fort Saint Nicolas and Fort Saint Jean. Several vantage points offer spectacular views, including the impressive Basilica Notre Dame de la Garde - a prominent landmark overlooking the city that is crowned by a monumental, gilded statue of Virgin Mary. Marseille boasts numerous fine museums well worth a visit. Sitting at one of the many outside cafes or strolling the streets of the old port area lets you experience the unpretentious charm of this city. Other sights include Chateau d'If - a 16th century fortress-turned-prison; Basilica St-Victor - Marseille's oldest church with the appearance of a fortress; and La Canebiere - a broad boulevard with everything from hotels to cafes and shops.
Barcelona, the self-confident and progressive capital of Spain, is a tremendous place to be. Though it boasts outstanding Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings, and some great museums – most notably those dedicated to Picasso and Catalan art – it is above all a place where there's enjoyment simply in walking the streets, stopping in at bars and cafés, drinking in the atmosphere. A thriving port and the most prosperous commercial centre in Spain, it has a sophistication and cultural dynamism way ahead of the rest of the country. In part this reflects the city's proximity to France, whose influence is apparent in the elegant boulevards and imaginative cooking. But Barcelona has also evolved an individual and eclectic cultural identity, most perfectly and eccentrically expressed in the architecture of Antoni Gaudí. Scattered as Barcelona's main sights may be, the greatest concentration of interest is around the old town (La Ciutat Vella). These cramped streets above the harbor are easily manageable, and far more enjoyable, on foot. Start, as everyone else does, with the Ramblas.
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Cadiz is an old city with Andalusian character. The magnificent Baroque cathedral and impressive mansions were built with gold. Cadiz’s modern-day treasure lies 30 minutes to the north in the rolling hills of Jerez - where production of the liquid gold, as the famous sherry is often called, ensures a booming economy. Visit one of the bodegas for a tour and tasting. The Historic City Center of Old Cadiz is a pedestrian zone for a pleasant stroll. The monument to "Las Cortes" is the Spanish Parliament established in Plaza de España. The 18th-century golden-domed Cathedral of Santa Cruz looms over the whitewashed houses. The dazzling interior contains a magnificent collection of sculptures and art objects. The Museum of History features an outstanding model of Cadiz in ivory and mahogany that illustrates what the town looked like at the end of the 18th century. The small, colorful Flower Market offers much local flavor. The Moorish-style Alameda Apodaca Gardens serve as a reminder of the Moors’ occupation in past centuries.
Portugal’s capital is an 18th-century city - elegant, open to the sea and carefully planned. Most places of interest are within easy walking distance. Rossio Square, the heart of Lisbon since medieval times, is an ideal place to start exploring. Many rebuilt houses with original façades provide stores and restaurants with modern interiors. High above Baixa is Bairro Alto - with its teeming nightlife. There are many monuments and museums, such as San Jeronimos Monastery, Royal Coach Museum and Gulbenkian Museum. Two well-known landmarks are the Monument to the Discoveries and the Tower of Belem. A statue of Christ looms above Europe’s longest suspension bridge. Madragoa, Bica and Bairro Alto, Lisbon’s older sections, offer a variety of sights: the Church of Sao Roque, with its beautiful tiles; St. George Castle, which offers a splendid view from its location above the Alfama quarter; the botanical gardens, featuring an unusual, cold greenhouse; and the cathedral, stunning with its Moorish design. Renowned Gulbenkian Museum is the cultural center of Portugal.
The seaport of the city of Oporto (Porto), Leixoes provides easy access into the city, which is famous for its port wine. Other attractions in Oporto include Torre dos Clérigos, a baroque tower; the two-storied Dom Luis bridge across the Douro River; the Crystal Palace; and the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art.
La Coruna is the largest city in Spain's Galicia region and among the country's busiest ports. Today the city's significant expansion is evident in its three distinct quarters: the Ciudad (City), and town center located along the isthmus; the business and commercial center with wide avenues and shopping streets; and the Ensanche to the South, built up with industry. La Coruna's beautiful main square, Plaza Maria Pita, has many buildings in the old section which feature characteristic glazed facades, which have earned La Coruna the name City of Crystals. Santiago de Compostela is located only 37 miles from La Coruna. The City is the original town with narrow, cobbled streets and quaint squares. Avenida de la Marina, running parallel to the waterfront, is lined by typical tall houses with glazed balconies at every floor. Mendez Nunez Gardens lie between the harbor and Los Cantones in a bustling quarter of the city. Once used as a prison, San Anton Castle now houses the Military and Archaeological Museum. The Roman lighthouse Hercules Tower is said to be the oldest in Europe.
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St.Helier is a parish and the capital of Jersey, Channel Islands. It is a very urban destination, with many accommodations, restaurants and shopping opportunities. There are plenty social events planned year-round with many of these involving sailing/yacht rallies.
Portsmouth is the United Kingdom's only island city and is located on Portsea Island in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England.
Zeebrugge is an important port city in Flanders, connecting Belgium’s intricate railway and canal transportation systems. It is the gateway to medieval Bruges, one of northern Europe's most picturesque old cities and Brussels with its tree-shaded boulevards, splendid parks, imposing monuments, and beautiful buildings.
Cosmopolitan Amsterdam is most famous for its narrow, gabled houses lining the canals. Interesting attractions include the medieval weighhouse, Royal Palace on Dam Square, and New Church. Its most glamorous industry is the diamond trade. Not too far from Amsterdam are the flower centers of Aalsmeer, the picturesque fishing villages of Volendam and Marken, cheese markets at Edam and Gouda, and historic Haarlem, the main center of the bulb-growing industry. Enjoy the city’s sights from a glass-topped sightseeing boat which passes characteristic gabled houses and negotiates picturesque arched bridges. Facing Dam Square, the Royal Palace was built in 1648 and is still officially the royal residence, although the royal family resides in The Hague. The marbled Citizens Hall with inlaid maps of the world is worth seeing. One of Amsterdam’s most visited sites is historic Anne Frank House. Rijksmuseum, the city’s most prestigious museum, houses the largest collection of Dutch paintings in the world. Van Gogh Museum houses a striking collection.
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