Crystal Compass

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Discover amazing cities

Visit a new city and understand why most of the people have an unforgettable experience.

Featured Destinations

Featured Destinations in April

 

25 Featured Attractions

Gardens & Parks

Botanical Gardens

Part of the oldest botanical gardens in Sweden, the Uppsala University gardens were funded by donations of money and land from King Gustav III and established in 1807 by Carl Peter Thunberg, a protégée of the world-famous botanist Carl Linnaeus. Sitting close to Uppsala Castle, the gardens display more than 9,000 plant species, some rare and many ancient, including potted laurel trees that were planted by Linnaeus himself.The central feature of the landscaped parklands is the formal Baroque Garden, designed by landscape architect Carl Hårleman in the 1750s. Today the garden is still faithful to its original layout, thanks to extensive restoration work in 1974; the neat rows of topiary, tinkling fountains and manicured lawns all leads to the imposing Neo-classical Orangerie, added in 1787 by Jean Louis Desprez and the site of occasional botanical exhibitions.

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Buildings & Structure

Plaza de Mayo

Plaza de Mayo is Buenos Aires’ political heart, first mapped out in 1580. Today, the grassy, treed plaza attracts visitors with cameras and relaxing locals, and is also the venue for rallies and gatherings. The center of the plaza features an obelisk called the Pirámide de Mayo, erected to commemorate independence from Spain. Grand 19th century buildings line the plaza, but the colonial arches that once circled the plaza are long gone. Nearby are the city council buildings known as the Cabildo, the Casa Rosada government buildings and fine bank buildings.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Krakow Old Town (Kraków Stare Miasto)

The cobblestone Main Square (Rynek Główny) of Krakow Old Town is Central Europe’s largest and has been the center of the city’s social, religious and political life since the Middle Ages. Today it still serves as Krakow’s modern pulse, dominated by the splendid Renaissance arcades of the Sukiennce (Cloth Hall), the lop-sided St Mary Basilica and an endless supply of cafés and bars.From the square, Krakow’s complex medieval alleyways peel off in all directions and work as the focus of most visits. The district contains Baroque churches by the handful, a gorgeous ensemble of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture, as well as about 25 museums covering subjects as diverse as Japanese manga, photography and stained glass. The standout historical collections are found in the many branches of the National Museum and in the Rynek Underground below the Cloth Hall.

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Gardens & Parks

Garden of Gethsemane

In Jesus’ day, the Garden of Gethsemane at the base of the Mount of Olives was an olive grove, and according to some botanists, some of the ancient olive trees still growing in the gardens likely predate Christianity itself. While the word “gethsemane” means “oil press,” the Garden of Gethsemane is much better known for its prominence in New Testament scripture as the site where Jesus was betrayed and arrested after the Last Supper.In the center of the garden sits the Church of All Nations, a mosaic-covered church built in 1924 by architect Antonio Barluzzi. Within the church sits the Rock of Agony, believed by some to be the place where Jesus wept and prayed for the city of Jerusalem.

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Places of Natural Beauty

Sunset Beach

White sand, blue sea, great waves and shady palms. If it sounds too good to be true, it must be Sunset Beach!This 2-mile (3 km) stretch of sand is targeted by swimmers and snorkelers in the calm of summer, and by the world’s best surfers during December and January, when the wintertime waves are at their lethal best for pro surfer tournaments. Pack a picnic to enjoy under the palms, go swimming in summer under the watchful eye of the beach lifeguards, and collect shells in tidal pools when the tide’s out.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa)

The Via Dolorosa is the path within the Old City of Jerusalem that Jesus is said to have took carrying the cross to his crucifixion. Known in Catholicism as the Stations of the Cross, the entire path is marked on the streets and major landmarks it passes through in order for pilgrims to retrace.Although the path has changed several times over the course of history, today the main route is taken with 14 stations along the way, as it was done by early Byzantine pilgrims.

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Sights & Landmarks

Piazza del Campo

Every Italian city has its central piazza where the city's political, social and cultural business took place, and Siena's is pretty magnificent. The Piazza del Campo was developed in the mid-14th century by the ruling Council of Nine who, naturally, divided the space into nine sectors, each representing one of them. Never be in any doubt that a lot of self-aggrandizement existed during this period.At one end of the square is the magnificent Palazzo Pubblico, or town hall (now also housing the Museo Civico) and from here the shell-shaped space radiates out. The bell tower of 1297, Torre del Mangia, rises from the palazzo and from up here there are great views. Enclosing the remainder of the square are the Late Gothic palaces of the grand medieval families of Siena. The Fonte Gaia, or fountain of life, is a white marble focal point and meeting place at the top end of the piazza. Twice a year, in July and August, the madness of the traditional bareback horse race.

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Sights & Landmarks

Bangkok Cruise Port (Laem Chabang)

The capital of Thailand, Bangkok is an electric, cosmopolitan city boasting over 11 million residents. With a vibrant nightlife, bustling markets, grand temples and palaces and enough canals to merit the moniker “Venice of the East,” the city has something for everyone.There is so much to see and do in Bangkok, one day really isn’t enough; to make the most of your visit, you may be well advised to book an organized excursion to save time.

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Sights & Landmarks

Restauradores Square (Praca dos Restauradores)

Restauradores Square in Lisbon commemorates Portugal's liberation from Spanish rule. The Spaniards controlled Portugal for 60 years until Portuguese nobility started a revolt on Dec. 1, 1640, which began the 28-year Restoration War. In the center of the square is an obelisk that stands more than 98 feet tall and has two bronze figures on the pedestal representing Victory and Freedom. The monument was designed by artist and architect António Tomás da Fonseca and built in 1886. The bronze statues were created by sculptors Simões de Almeida and Alberto Nunes.Several important buildings are located on Restauradores Square. The most prominent one is Foz Palace which was once the residence of the Marquis of Foz and now houses the national tourism office. The former Eden Theater, one of Lisbon's most beautiful art deco buildings, is also located here. The theater closed down in 1989 and became a hotel in 2001.

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Sights & Landmarks

Ravello

Ravello is a tiny village, with only about 2,500 permanent residents, but it has a history and cultural life that belie its size. The Romans founded the city in the 6th century, escaping the barbarians and no doubt appreciating the lovely views Ravello offers.The annual Ravello Festival is one of Italy’s finest and celebrates the music of one of Ravello’s greatest fans, the German composer, Richard Wagner, who was inspired by the architecture of the magnificent Villa Rufolo when he stayed there in 1880. Since then the Arab influenced villa and its splendid garden has hosted luminaries such as Jacqueline Kennedy and Hillary Clinton.The other villa worth seeing is Villa Cimbrone, dating from 1905. Also of note is the Cathedral of San Pantaleone, dating originally from the 11th century. Less hectic than some of the other towns along this coast, Ravello is the place to go for some elegant respite from the madding crowds. It lies only a few miles from Amalfi.

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Sights & Landmarks

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

Nature certainly has its miracles and you can see one of its highlights at the Chittenden Locks & Fish Ladder, locally known as the Ballard Locks, where you can see salmon fighting their way to their spawning grounds in the Cascade headwaters of the Sammamish River, which feeds Lake Washington.Watching the salmon climb the fish ladder is pretty exciting. You can watch the fish from underwater glass-sided tanks or from above (nets are installed to keep salmon from over-leaping and stranding themselves on the pavement). In the past, the fish runs at Chittenden Locks & Fish Ladder have attracted sea lions that try to swallow the salmon as they go by. On the northern entrance to the Chittenden Locks & Fish Ladder is the Carl English, Jr., Botanical Gardens, a charming arboretum and specimen garden. Trails wind through gardens filled with mature trees and flower gardens. Flanking the gardens is a small museum and visitors center documenting the history of the locks.

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Sights & Landmarks

Purmamarca

Considered one of Argentina’s most postcard-worthy towns, Purmamarca lies in the province of Jujuy just north of Salta, beneath the shadows of the spectacular Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colors). The area's collection of adobe houses and 17th-century Spanish colonial church are pretty in their own right, but the backdrop of jagged hills displaying layers of red, purple, yellow and orange makes for a particularly vivid sight in the early hours when the rising sun illuminates the natural tapestry. Within the town itself sits one of Argentina’s oldest and prettiest churches, the centuries-old Iglesia de Santa Rosa de Lima, constructed from adobe and thistle wood and dating back to 1648. The sleepy pueblo serves as a favored base from which to explore some of the region's other natural attractions, including the equally spectacular Salinas Grandes and Quebrada.

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Gardens & Parks

Waimea Valley

Once named the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” by Mark Twain, Waimea Valley is the gateway to one of Kauai’s most impressive natural sights, Waimea Canyon. At 26 miles across and 21 miles long, Waimea Canyon has crags, gorges, and rugged mountains characterized by a variety of colors. Natural green, red, and even purple and blue hues appear in various degrees along the eroded mountain sides. The canyon was carved thousands of years ago from waters flowing from the top of Mount Waialeale, still today one of the places on Earth with the most rainfall. There are still dozens of hidden waterfalls and pools to explore throughout the valley. Waimea Valley, with all its natural beauty, was considered sacred by the ancient Hawaiians. Archaeological sites and more than 700 years of native Hawaiian history can still be seen, while visitors can also enjoy panoramic views of the valley from one of several lookouts or explore by foot on one of the area’s many hiking trails.

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Well-known Landmarks

Hoi An Ancient Town

History lovers flock to this 2,000-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site, where Hindu, Arab and Chinese influences are reflected in breathtaking architecture, eclectic food and rich culture.Naturalists will appreciate the quiet beaches just a short bike ride from the city center, while wanderers will love the pedestrian-only streets of Ancient Town lined with quaint shops and bustling vendors.Urban skyscrapers and big-city development have yet to touch this former shipping port, which means travelers can enjoy a taste of what Hoi An once was and what Vietnam used to be.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Jerusalem Jewish Quarter

This religious and spiritual destination is one of four historic quarters that make up the famed city of Jerusalem. Travelers seeking a touchstone to the past will find just what they’re after on a visit to this place that dates back to the Roman Empire.Ancient ruins uncovered by archeologists from Hebrew University are in a handful of museums and parks in the Jewish Quarter, including a 2,200-year-old image of a Temple menorah and portions of the Israelite Tower. A stunning pool built by the Romans was discovered in 2010. Travelers will find this homage to another lifetime filled with terracotta roof tiles, mosaic floors and regal steps. In addition to archeological ruins, visitors can tour several of the other historic and religious sites that are scattered across the Jewish Quarter. The famous Western Wall, several synagogues, a handful of Yeshivas and an abandoned mosque offer insight into the culture and traditions of this diverse city.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Chiado

Squeezed between downtown Baixa and the nightlife party-central of the Bairro Alto, glossy Chiado is within shouting distance of the romantic ruins of Carmo Church (Igreja do Carmo) and the hidden treasures in the Church of St Rocco (Igreja de São Roque). It is also home to glorious Art Nouveau shops, old-world Lisboa cafés with window displays brimming with delicious pastries, and timeless antiquarian bookshops. Amid the fine 19th-century townhouses fronted with wrought-iron balconies and the piazzas with madly patterned mosaic sidewalks stand top-end fashion designers, jewelers, theaters, concert halls and posh boutique hotels. An eclectic mix of restaurants – from Michelin stars at Belcanto to basic snacks at neighborhood tapas bars – adds to the cultural soup of this sleek hillside enclave.

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Sights & Landmarks

Las Vegas Strip

The Las Vegas Strip is an All-American road show, home to the most famous hotels and casinos in Las Vegas. With famous spots like Paris, Treasure Island, the Venetian, Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace and the MGM Grand, it’s no wonder that the strip is the most popular destination in Las Vegas.The Las Vegas Strip houses entertainment, bright lights, other-worldly architecture, and the city's trendiest clubs and nightlife. It's a Disneyland for adults, a place where fun and fantasy meet. Watch Elvis impersonators or avant-garde performances by Cirque du Soleil, or try your luck on a slot machine. There’s something for everyone in Las Vegas.

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Sights & Landmarks

Garden District

New Orleans' Garden District is the epitome of "Southern Charm". Plantation style mansions have wrap-around porches and verandas, where friends and family enjoy sweet tea and stories in the humid New Orleans climate. Streets are separated by stretches of green parks and the historic cable car line that runs along St. Charles Avenue. Take a walk around the Garden District's lush avenues and you'll feel transported into a southern oasis shaded by blossoming magnolia trees. This district is more than a picturesque neighborhood, some of New Orleans' best boutique shopping can also be found along Magazine Street. Stroll by historic Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 where the last names of New Orleans' wealthy families dot the headstones, while establishments along the "Irish Channel" testify to the city's history of immigrant populations.

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Sights & Landmarks

Mallory Square

Few things are as beautiful as a Florida sunset, so while you are in Key West, be sure to celebrate the sunset in true Key West style - at Mallory Square. Every night, starting two hours before the sunset, the square hosts its "Sunset Celebration." Arts and crafts exhibitors, street performers and food carts descend on the square providing you with fun entertainment to enjoy in the last daylight hours.During the daytime, Mallory Square offers numerous attractions at its many restaurants and shops. While you are there, you should also check out the famous Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden. Open since 1997, the garden contains 36 bronze busts of the men and women who have had the greatest impact on Key West. The most famous of these are renowned writer Ernest Hemingway and President Harry S. Truman.

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Gardens & Parks

Boston Common

The starting point of the Freedom Trail, Boston Common is the oldest park in the country. At 50 acres/20 hectares, the Common is the anchor for the Emerald Necklace, a system of connected parks that winds through many of Boston’s neighborhoods. The Common has served many purposes over the years, including as a campground for British troops during the Revolutionary War. Today, though, the Common serves picnickers, sunbathers, and people watches. In winter, the Frog Pond attracts ice-skaters, while summer draws theater lovers for Shakespeare on the Common. Spend a day wandering freely in the Common. Walking paths crisscross its green, which is dotted with such monuments and memorials as the Boston Massacre Monument, the Great Elm Site, and the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial. Nearby sites include the Central Burying Ground and the Boston Athenaeum.

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Sights & Landmarks

Casco Viejo

Panama City's oldest surviving neighborhood is also its most defensible, a tejas-tiled cluster of primly painted colonial buildings at the tip of a heavily fortified peninsula. These ramparts successfully protected the first Spanish settlement on the Pacific Coast, today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After decades of neglect, Casco Viejo is finally being revitalized. New hotels and restaurants, some quite elegant, are occupying the centuries-old buildings. Iconic landmarks like El Arco Chato (Flat Arch), which may date to neighborhood's founding in 1671; the 1798 Metropolitan Cathedral; and many other pretty plazas, palaces, markets, and gold-gilt churches have been refurbished, as have the narrow streets, draped in flowery French balconies, which connect them. Well worth a wander.

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Sights & Landmarks

Nice Old Town (Vieux Nice)

Nice Old Town (known locally as Le Vieux Nice) is a lovely honeycomb of narrow streets, dotted with beautiful Baroque churches, vibrant squares, shops and restaurants. Thronging with tourists eating the famous ice-cream during the day, at night it becomes one big party with bars and nightclubs spilling out onto the streets.The key things to see are the Cours Saleya (the open air market), Chapelle de la Miséricorde (a wonderfully ornate Baroque church dating from 1740), Chapelle de l'Annonciation (known locally as Sainte-Rita), Eglise Saint-Jacques (dating from 1612 and built by the Jesuits, it has some excellent frescoes), the Cathedral Sainte Réparate (1699), and the Palais Lascaris (paintings and statues).

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Sights & Landmarks

Brera

In a city of many trendy neighborhoods, the Brera district in Milan is one of the most charming. Located very close to the Duomo in the historic center, this is the part of Milan that might make you forget about the city’s hustle-bustle reputation.The Brera neighborhood is a maze of narrow, cobblestoned streets lined with boutiques and cafes - during nice weather, cafe life spills onto the sidewalks and makes for an excellent place to do some serious people-watching. The designer shopping district called the Quadrilatero d’Oro is nearby, so you can get a peek at some of Milan’s shopping class making their rounds, too.Aside from just wandering through the Brera and enjoying the scene, the main attraction in the neighborhood is the Pinacoteca di Brera, a fantastic art museum with works by Botticelli, Raphael, Hayez, Titian, Caravaggio, Tintoretto, Mantegna, Piero della Francesca, Rembrandt, and Rubens.

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Well-known Landmarks

Sintra

Once a hotspot destination for Portuguese royalty, Sintra is offers beautiful greenery, gorgeous mountains and amazing neo-Gothic structures.In Sintra there are a number of places to experience the culture from the Museum of Modern Art, to the exotic villa and the Palacio de Monderrate. Then at Quinta da Regaleira and its Palace you can see the best architecture of the Gothic era with gargoyles, towers and amazing stone facades.Also be sure to make your way up to the 10th-century Castle of the Moors, where you can walk along the castle walls and take in the great scenery and the castle's impressive history.

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Sights & Landmarks

Bangkok Chinatown (Yaowarat)

Chinatown - or Yaowarat - is a vibrant area, packed with shops, markets, restaurants and hotels, mostly concentrated along Thanon Yaowarat (Yaowarat Street). Markedly different from the rest of Bangkok, Chinatown is relatively untouched by modern development and has the highest concentration of gold shops in the city. There is also a smaller network of roads and alleys, which reveal markets crammed with anything from hair slides to cutlery.Having been settled in the area since the 1700s, Bangkok's large Chinese community has a unique and fascinating history. You can now get a sense of that at the relatively new Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Centre in Wat Trai Mit Witthayaram. The center details the evolution of Chinatown and its people, from their earliest migration from China to the present day.

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