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Of all Europe’s capitals, Athens is probably the one that has changed the most in recent years. But even though Athens has become a modern metropolis, it still retains a good deal of its old small town feel. Here antiquity meets the future, and the ancient monuments form a classical backdrop to a new and trendier Athens – and it is precisely these great contrasts that make the city such a fascinating place to explore.
Fanciful architecture and hip restaurants have come together with the sunny southern Spanish climate and beaches. This has transformed Barcelona in just a few decades from a rough port city to one of Europe’s—if not the world’s—premier destinations. Stroll along La Rambla, admire the Casa Calvet’s façade or the Casa Mila designed by Gaudi, visit the Market of la Boqueria or shop at El Corte Inglés. Sample some of the many bars, cafés and late night haunts while you’re at it.
Bari, a typical maritime and market city, is the capital of the Apulia region and the second biggest city in the Italian south. The city developed industrially in the second half of the twentieth century and now boasts an important trade fair, the largest in the south. Tourists visit Bari for its historic buildings, art works and fascinating town centre, as well as for the beaches which surround the area.
As capital of the Emilia Romagna region, Bologna is an art city, a university centre and a place renowned for its excellent cuisine. It hosts important international trade fairs and is one of the world’s greatest motor cities. Ducati, Lamborghini and Maserati were all born in Bologna and Ferrari’s headquarters can be found in nearby Modena.
Brussels, a city that continues to surprise and move you. This city-region-capital of 500 million Europeans is waiting to share its treasures with you. It’s a fair bet that its stormy history is the reason for its open-mindedness, warmth and friendliness. You’ll feel right at home in Brussels! As well as its historic monuments, Brussels has so much to share with you: its comic strip speech bubbles, its Art Nouveau façades, the talent of its stylists and designers, its delicacies and its surrealism, which can be found on every street corner.
Bucharest is undoubtedly Europe’s best kept secret. Restaurants, bars, art galleries and museums are now springing up on every newly renovated corner. Travellers are steadily discovering this little gem of a city and seeking out Bucharest’s hidden character. Its treasures are well worth hunting for and visitors will find in their quest a place of warmth and spirit. Welcome to Bucharest!
Long considered to be the jewel of the orient, Cairo is an international city overflowing with an interesting mixture of different cultures. It is a city steeped in the early civilizations of the ancient pharaohs, blended with the history of Christian and Islamic cultures. It is all brought together by the modern sights and luxuries of a sophisticated and cosmopolitan city.
Catania is the second largest city in Sicily, framed by the Etna volcano to the west, and the Mediterranean to the east. It is a vibrant city with bars, cafés, honking cars and narrow alleys. Visitors can retreat to the cooler climate of the surrounding small mountain villages, or to the sea for a balmy swim.
Chania (say “Hanya”) must be the loveliest port town in Greece. Swallows soar in sheer blue skies above the semicircle of tall Venetian houses around its picture-perfect Old Harbour. The tables of scores of bars and restaurants line the quayside. Behind the harbour front, narrow, traffic-free shopping lanes thread through the atmospheric Old Town. On either side of the town, sandy beaches stretch along the coast.
Corfu is considered by many to be the most beautiful of all the Greek islands. It is the greenest of the Ionian Islands and probably also the best known. The island offers a beguiling landscape of wild flowers, cypress trees, olive trees and several seductively sandy beaches. Corfu also has a major vegetable garden which gives the fresh mountain air a pleasant scent. To the south of Corfu town is Moraitika and Messonghi which have beautiful scenery and beaches. However, the west coast of the island is the most attractive as that is the place where you will find some of the prettiest countryside around and it is also here that you will find the small coves with the sandy beaches surrounded by cliffs and trees. The north coast is more typical Greek with a rocky coastline where the crystal clear water has chopped into pebbled bays and coves.