Lord Byron called Venice (Venezia) "a fairy city of the heart." La Serenissima, "The Most Serene," is an improbable cityscape of stone palaces that seem to float on water, a place where cats nap in Oriental marble windowsills set in colorful plaster walls. Candy-stripe pylons stand sentry outside the tiny stone docks of palazzi whose front steps descend into the gently lapping waters of the canals that lace the city.
A whimsical stroll through the city can lead one to a hidden world of ornately decorated piazzas and shops. As you explore colorful marketplaces and busy town squares, marvel at a priceless legacy of Baroque architecture. Admire the richness of St. Mark's Basilica and the lavishness of the Palazzo Ducale. Getting lost in Venice can be a truly delightful experience. The place of dreams, this romantic city will live long in your memory.
Rovinj (Istria), Croatia
Istria is a small heart-shaped peninsula located only a couple of hours by sea from Venice and Rovinj is its city of pure seaside bliss and offers some of the best foodie experiences in Croatia. From fresh seafood and hunting for truffles, to tasting-top quality extra virgin olive oil, wines and spirits. With its rolling hills swathed in vineyards and olive groves and topped by medieval hill towns, it's not surprising that Istria is often compared with Tuscany. It's climate and terrain is perfect for winemaking and it's limestone geology makes for an interesting variety of terror.
Known as the “Sunniest Place in Europe”, Hvar receives an average of 7.7 hours of sunshine per day. So sunbathing is a favorite pastime here, especially at the beaches of Dubovica and the Pakleni Islands. It also makes visitors a sporting proposition, offering them a money-back guarantee if there are seven consecutive days of snow!
There are plenty more jaw-dropping sights to see here: lush olive groves, fruit orchards, fields of lavender, and dozens of vineyards, since Hvar is one of the top winemaking regions in Croatia. Walk through history and view the longest and largest piazza of all the Croatian islands. Cars are banned from Hvar Town so its streets and people converge onto the expansive piazza. A thick-walled fortress overlooks the harbour and reaches down to the water where you can begin your walk into the old town and to the 15th-century Franciscan Monastery.
Split is the second-largest city of Croatia and lies on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea. Sometime around 300 A.D., Roman Emperor Diocletian built his retirement palace on one of the loveliest spots on the Adriatic Sea. Today his palace has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the heart of Split. Much of this beautiful sits on a peninsula on the island of Ciovo, a jewel in the Dalmatian Coast. Many intriguing relics from the Roman, Greek colonial and Medieval periods can be found in Split's archaeological museum which was founded in 1820, making it Croatia's oldest museum. One of the top outdoor attractions is the green oasis of Marjan Forest Park with is Zoo. There are also plenty of fine beaches.
The isle of Korcula is said to have been founded by a Trojan hero in 12th century BC, but reputed to be the birthplace of Marco Polo. So, you'll probably want to check out all things Marco-related: Visit the Marco Polo Museum and climb the steps of the Marco Polo Tower. Rich in vineyards, olive groves and small villages, and harbouring a glorious old town, the island of Korcula is the sixth-larges Adriatic island. Quiet coves and small sandy beaches dot the steep southern coast while the northern shore is flatter and more pebbly. Refresh yourself with a glass of grk white wine and local cheeses, then explore the marble streets of medieval Korcula town where tradition is alive and kicking with age-old ceremonies, folk music and dances still being performed.
Fronting the Adriatic Sea, this southern Croatia city is known for its distinctive Old Town, encircled with massive stone walls completed in the 16th century. Its well preserved building range from baroque St. Blaise Church to Renaissance Sponza Palace and Gothic Rector's Palace, now a history museum. Today, tourism is the most important industry in Dubrovnik and the proudest feather in Croatia's cap, an elite destination with one of the most beautiful towns in the Mediterranean. Adding to it's popularity in recent years, is its starring role in the HBO TV hit "Game of Thrones" where Old Town has stood in for fictional places in the TV series.
Located along one of Montenegro's most beautiful bays is Kotor, a city of traders and famous sailors, with many stories to tell. The Old City of Kotor is a well-preserved urbanization typical of the Middle Ages, built between the 12th and 14th century. Medieval architecture and numerous monuments of cultural heritage have made Kotor an UNESCO listed “World Natural and Historical Heritage Site". Through the entire city the buildings are criss-crossed with narrow streets and squares. At one of them there is the Cathedral of Sveti Tripun , a monument of Roman culture and one of the most recognizable symbols of the city. The Church of Sveti Luka (13th century), Church Sveta Ana (12th century) Church Sveta Marija (13th century), Church Gospe od Zdravlja (15th century), the Prince’s Palace (17th century) and the Napoleon Theatre (19th century) are all treasures that are part of the rich heritage of
Ajaccio, Corsica, France
Considered Corsica's primary commercial and cultural hub, the largest city and regional capital of Ajaccio is situated on the west coast of the island, approximately 400 miles southeast of Marseille, France. Founded in 1492, vestiges of ancient Corsica in this ville impériale revolve around the city's most famous son, Napoléon Bonaparte, whose family home—now the national museum Maison Bonaparte—pays tribute to the emperor's historical influence. Indeed, Napoléon takes center stage in this lively city of approximately 64,000 inhabitants, from the exceptional Palais Fesch/ Musée des Beaux Arts to eponymous street names and statues sprinkled around the town's accessible squares, gardens, and courtyards.
Remnants from what was originally a 12th-century Genoese colony are still visible around the Old Town near the imposing citadel and watchtower. Perfect for exploring, the luminous seaside city surrounded by snowcapped mountains and pretty beaches offers numerous sites, eateries, side streets, and a popular harbor, where sailboats and fishing vessels moor in the picturesque Tino Rossi port lined with well-established restaurants and cafés serving fresh local fare.
Nice is more than just a "nice" place to visit! Bristling with colorful buildings, towering palm trees, and a stunning harbor, strolling through Nice is like visiting a painting come to life. With its mix of real-city grit, old-world opulence, year-round sunshine, vibrant street life and stunning seaside location, no place in France compares with Nice. On your walk, you'll find Place Rosetti, home of the must-visit cathedral Saine-Réparate. Also nearby is Fennochios, a world-famous ice cream and sorbet shop where you can enjoy a delicious sweet treat.