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Situated on the Dutch border, Limburg is the easternmost province in Flanders, and the foremost fruit-growing region in the country. The lively, friendly market town of Hasselt is the provincial capital. It boasts a car-free historic center, with building dating back as far as the 11th century. Genk is another recommended stop. The city of 63,000 people is home to a zoo, a planetarium, De Maten nature reserve and Bokrijk, an open-air museum of 19th century Flemish architecture.
Lille is an architectural feast with strong Flemish influences from the Grand Place to the basilica of Notre Dame de la Treille to the quiet streets of row houses and gardens. For art buffs, Lille is home to the Musee d'Art Moderne and the Palais des Beaux Arts. Children will enjoy the Parc de Zoologique. Savvy travelers know that Lille has a fine public transit system, making this historical hotspot a pleasure to visit.
Touching Belgium on its west and just a few miles from Germany to the east, Maastricht is the capital of Holland’s southernmost region, Limburg. A town rich in history and culture, Maastricht boasts two wonderful town squares: Vrijthof, with Sint-Servaas Church, Sint-Jan's Cathedral and many bars, cafes and restaurants; and Markt, home to the town hall and, on Wednesday and Friday mornings, a fantastic vendor market. The city’s Vestigingswerken, or old town fortifications, are another big draw.
At Christmastime, the entire city of Valkenburg seems to sparkle with festive light. The annual underground Christmas market is a hallmark of the city, lasting from mid-November through December 23. It’s held in the Velvet Caves, a maze of 12th-century passageways that lies beneath the remains of Valkenburg’s hilltop castle. The caves and castle draw visitors year-round. Valkenburg is a biking city. It's a great base for cycling tours and is a two-time stage finish site for the Tour de France.
Eindhoven is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, but you’d never know it from the high-tech industry and cutting-edge design it’s currently known for. If you have kids obsessed by all things wheeled, they will love the trucks at the DAF Museum.
As Belgium’s largest coastal outpost, Ostend offers a rare taste of Flemish beach culture. Inland visitors flock to sandy beaches and the seaside promenade, while reminders of the city’s military and maritime history run deep in the old harbor town.
Holland's most modern city began as a fishing village in the 13th century. It was developing into an industrial and trading power when German bombers destroyed the city center and harbor in 1940. However, Rotterdam's unique architecture now brings many visitors to bike around this urbane, cosmopolitan city. Old Dutch-style houses can still be found in historic Delfshaven, from where the pilgrims set sail in 1620. Cultural offerings from summer's carnival to classical music give Amsterdam competition.
A British crown dependency, the sunny (well, relatively speaking) island of Guernsey boasts mild winters and warm summer months. From coasteering to kayaking, windsurfing to foodie foraging, outdoor enthusiasts of all types will love to roam this gorgeous Channel Island. A great base for fishing and angling trips, Guernsey also has plenty to see and do on the mainland. Explore Neolithic sites, stoic Castle Cornet, and ancient burial sites like Le Creux es Faies, a tomb that was once believed to be the gateway to a magical fairyland.
Just down the coast from Dune de Pilar, Arcachon’s golden beaches and 1950s villas make it a choice destination for sophisticated holidaymakers. The sweeping ocean views are best enjoyed alongside regional delicacies such as Arcachon oysters and Bordeaux wine.
As an ancient fishing village turned seaside retreat, San Benedetto Del Tronto is a highlight of Italy’s underrated Le Marche region. Its palm-fringed promenade is ideal for strolling, and its beach is praised internationally for its unspoiled beauty.
Dubai is a destination that mixes modern culture with history, adventure with world-class shopping and entertainment. Catch a show at the Dubai Opera, see downtown from atop the Burj Khalifa and spend an afternoon along Dubai Creek exploring the gold, textile and spice souks. If you’re looking for thrills, you can float above the desert dunes in a hot air balloon, climb aboard a high-speed ride at IMG Worlds of Adventure or skydive over the Palm Jumeirah.
Conquering New York in one visit is impossible. Instead, hit the must-sees – the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art – and then explore off the beaten path with visits to The Cloisters or one of the city’s libraries. Indulge in the bohemian shops of the West Village or the fine dining of the Upper West Side. The bustling marketplace inside of Grand Central Station gives you a literal taste of the best the city has to offer.
The windy city is a cornucopia of modern art, fine dining, cutting edge comedy, and die-hard sports fans. Snap a photo of your reflection in the silver Cloud Gate sculpture at Millennium Park before heading to Grant Park to get hit with the refreshing spray of Buckingham Fountain. There are dozens of museums and theater companies in Chicago, so a cultural experience is never hard to find. You’re sure to laugh your head off at the Second City Theater, the professional launch pad of many famous comedians.
From the Magic Kingdom to magical spa treatments, Orlando sparkles with the promise of adventure. Spend a day exploring the world-famous Disney theme parks or screaming your head off on a Universal Studios roller coaster. For a less adrenaline-pumping afternoon, enjoy the quiet natural beauty of the Harry P. Leu Gardens or enjoy a seaweed scrub at a luxury day spa. Savor fresh and local ingredients at one of Orlando’s James Beard-nominated restaurants.