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Robert Glazier Content Writer 9 months, 2 weeks ago

10 Cities That You Should Visit in Your Lifetime

  • Helsinki Old Town

There are so many wonderful cities to choose from when planning a vacation. The following are destinations I personally have visited and to which I would certainly return. With limited space, the following is a synopsis of reasons why you should add a given city to your bucket list. Goway offers travel arrangements to all of them.

1. Cairo

Cairo city scape

A visit to this city will reveal not only a glimpse into the past and the days of the Pharaohs but also what a fascinating contemporary metropolis has to offer on an Egypt vacation.

You should start with a visit to the Egypt Museum which contains one of the world’s most important collections of ancient artefacts and houses the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities including Tutankhamun, the boy pharaoh as well as his mummified body.

Then, having obtained a picture of ancient times, head to the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx which are located just outside the city boundary. They were constructed by thousands of workers and their purpose was to be the burial tombs for the pharaohs. It is the only remaining one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World that is still in one piece.  The legendary Sphinx next to the pyramids is a statue with a lion’s body and a human head which is purported to be one of the ancient pharaohs.

Moving on, here are two other not to be missed attractions on an Egypt tour. The Khan el-Khalili is located in the historic centre of Cairo and is an extensive bazaar with a mediaeval flavour. The shops are situated in narrow lanes and sell everything under the sun. It is a good place to find inexpensive souvenirs. The Citadel of Cairo is a mediaeval Islamic fortification containing mosques, palaces and museums, first built in 1176 AD as a fortification against the Crusaders. It was also the home of Egypt’s rulers for 700 years.

Discover tours of Cairo here

2. Tokyo

Tokyo Skyline

Tokyo is a real dichotomy of ancient and modern with both aspects intermingled with each other. Modern skyscrapers compete with old palaces and shrines. 

The best place to start on a Japan vacation is the Imperial Palace, home of the Emperor and Empress of Japan situated in the very heart of Tokyo. This castle-like building is surrounded by moats, tree-filled gardens and impressive stone walls. The attractive Imperial Palace East Garden and Outer Garden are open to the public.

Ueno Park is the place for culture as it is home to several of the most important museums and art galleries in Tokyo – the Tokyo National Museum with its collection of cultural treasures from early Japanese times to the present day, the National Science Museum which houses exhibits including some on space exploration, the National Museum of Western Art with its collection of Western art and the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum with its collection of works covering many periods.

The Asakusa District was once Tokyo's largest pleasure district and home to gangsters, geishas, writers, artists and beggars. This colourful neighbourhood contains the Asakusa Kannon Temple originally built in the 7th Century and Tokyo's oldest and most visited temple. Do explore the neighbourhood with its street market selling everything from snacks to typical Japanese souvenirs.

The Meiji Shrine, built in 1920, is dedicated to the first modern Emperor and Empress of Japan. There is a park with attractive paths along which to stroll.  You could be lucky and see a traditional wedding ceremony where the wedding party is often dressed in traditional costumes.

3. Rome

Rome Colosseum

You can spend weeks, months and not see everything in Rome. So, here are a few suggestions when time is limited on an Italy vacation.

The Vatican City is actually a separate state and the huge St. Peter’s Square is where the current pope gives his addresses. St Peter’s Basilica where Peter, the disciple was martyred, contains a large number of priceless works of art. Also in the Vatican City is the renowned Sistine Chapel with its wonderful frescoes.  The Vatican Museum contains very important masterpieces from the Egyptian Age to the late Renaissance period.

Although not in perfect condition, the Roman Colosseum is the arena where the gladiator games took place with space for 50,000 spectators. A tour can be taken beneath the arena to explore a network of underground passages. Nearby is the ancient Roman Forum which was used for celebrations, funerals and other events and interestingly enough only excavated in the early 1900s.

The Roman Pantheon is the best-preserved building from ancient Roman times built in the 2nd Century AD. It is a temple dedicated to the gods of pagan Rome.  Much later, the Pantheon was designated a tomb for some of the city's artists and notable Italians which included the painter Raphael and former kings of Italy.

The Trevi Fountain known by the song,” Three Coins in a Fountain”, is a Baroque architectural masterpiece which, when first sighted, almost takes your breath away with its beauty. If you throw 3 coins into the fountain, according to legend, you will either find love or return to Rome.

If you go to just one square, make it the Piazza Navona. It is the place to sit at one of cafes or restaurants and watch the world go by while surrounded by four of Bernini’s statues. Also, make sure to explore the narrow streets running off the square with their upscale shops selling clothes, shoes, souvenirs … and pastries.

The above just scratches the surface of the Eternal City on an Italy vacation.

Click here to view Rome and Italy tours

4. Edinburgh

Royal Mile Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the pride of Scotland h cities and no wonder.  Just walk down what is known as the pedestrian Royal Mile which goes all the way from Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle. Along the approximately 2 kilometre/1 mile route, you can stop to shop, visit pubs and cafes and visit the Writers’ Museum as well as other attractions.  The 12th Century Holyrood Palace is the Royal Residence when the Queen is in town.  At other times, you can visit the palace with its art gallery.  It comes complete with its own ghost! Edinburgh Castle, also dating back to the 12th Century, sits high up on a rocky promontory and can be seen from many parts of the city. If nothing, else, you can enjoy outstanding panoramic views. Just below the castle is Princess Street, Edinburgh’s main thoroughfare and the Princess Street Gardens.

If only visiting one museum, make it the National Museum of Scotland. Here you will learn about the country’s history as well as Scotland’s achievements in science, design and technology. Before concluding your stay in Edinburgh on a Scotland vacation, you really should have a glass of whisky, the country’s national beverage. The best place to enjoy this is at the Scottish Whisky Experience on the Royal Mile where you can both learn about the drink and also taste it.

5. Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires has been called the “Paris of South America”. This probably stems from its sophisticated ambience, its wide boulevards, its interesting and colourful neighbourhoods and its excellent food and wine, all to be enjoyed on an Argentina vacation.

The heart of Buenos Aires is the Plaza de Mayo which contains the unusual Casa Rosada, the presidential palace and the place where Eva Peron gave her speech from the balcony, the Metropolitan Cathedral where Pope Francis used to serve and the Cabildo, the seat of the former colonial government.  Not far away is the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires’ opera house visually eye-catching inside and out.  One of my favourite venues on an Argentina vacation is the Recoleta Cemetery. Simply wander around the grounds and marvel at the splendid mausoleums where prominent Argentineans are entombed including the Duarte tomb which is Eve Peron’s resting place.

Argentina is synonymous with the tango. It will not be difficult to find a tango show in one of the many clubs.  Or you can head to the La Boca neighbourhood and watch dancers performing the dance in the streets for the general public’s pleasure.  Another neighbourhood is San Telmo where, on Sundays, you can see the open-air market selling all kinds of merchandise. It is also a great place for restaurants.

The last word on Buenos Aires – don’t leave without enjoying a steak accompanied by excellent Argentinean wine at one of the many excellent restaurants.

Click here to view Buenos Aires and Argentina tours

6. Hong Kong

Giant Budah, Hong Kong

I don’t know of another destination which, at the same time, with not too much available acreage, is packed with people, buildings, markets and open spaces.  Let’s start with my favourite thing to do here – a ride on the Star Ferry which operates between the two halves of the country, Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. You will see the colourful harbour and the skylines on both sides all in one go. My second favourite is to take the Peak Tramway on Hong Kong Island to the top of Victoria Peak where the views of Hong Kong and the harbour are breathtaking. 

In Kowloon, at night, I suggest walking along the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade and view the illuminated skyscrapers on the other side of the harbour.  Every evening, you can enjoy the Symphony of Lights which is an outstanding Sound and Light show shining on the buildings on Hong Kong Island. Along this promenade is the Avenue of the Stars which, with handprints and sculptures, honours the Hong Kong movie industry.

Hong Kong is a shopper’s paradise.  On a Hong Kong vacation, head to Stanley Market on Hong Kong Island which spreads over several narrow streets selling anything and everything. Over in Kowloon, you can choose from a myriad of street markets. There are bargains galore at the Ladies Market especially for…ladies. The Temple Street Night Market is where you can not only find merchandise but also singers, buskers and fortune-tellers.

Want a unique dining experience? Aberdeen, once a fishing village, is now a place to enjoy authentic Chinese cuisine in one of its restaurants. A perennial favourite is the renowned Jumbo Floating Restaurant reached by ferry. 

7. Helsinki

Scenic winter view Helsinki

Perhaps this is not the city for a winter vacation unless a skier. However, in the spring, summer and fall, Helsinki is delightful. It is built around an attractive harbour and surrounded by the sea in most parts. Check out the daily colourful fruit and vegetable market along the harbourfront.

Over the water from the harbour are the islands of Suomenlinna connected by bridges. This UNESCO World Heritage site contains a fortress inside which are several museums (open in the summer only) Another island is Seurassari, an open-air museum which is made up of 80 historic buildings collected and moved from various parts of the country. They include farmhouses to churches all relating to local life between the 18th and 20th Centuries.

Temppeliaukio Church is very unusual.   This modern building is situated underground and was carved out of rock with the interior walls being left as is. The roof protrudes at ground level with skylights allowing light to penetrate inside. If you are fortunate, you might catch a concert.  Something else that is totally unique on a Finland vacation is the Sibelius Monument designed in honour of The country’s best-known composer.  It is a combination of 600 stainless steel pipes which resemble those of an organ with a bust of Sibelius on one side.

Now for the shoppers - the Design District is spread over 25 streets and involves 200 boutique-style shops, art galleries, museums and cafes. The emphasis in the shops is Finnish design naturally. 

Discover Helsinki Tours and Vacations

8. Prague

Prague on the river

What is it that attracts visitors to Prague? I believe it is the architecture first and foremost. There is also a distinct atmosphere about Prague which is unique.

The vast Old Town Square has its origins from the 10th Century AD. This is the heart and soul of the city hosting everything from political rallies to Christmas markets. There is both Gothic and Baroque architecture on view including the town hall and cathedral. The highlight is the centuries-old Astronomical Clock which, on the hour, opens up with 12 apostles who nod to the crowd below.

An enormous edifice is the 9th Century Prague Castle which dominates the skyline. Inside are 4 Palaces, 4 churches and 5 gardens plus a collection of museums and art galleries. The most important building is St. Vitus Cathedral, one of the richest cathedrals in Central Europe with a mixture of Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque styles plus beautiful stained-glass windows. Close by, straddling the Vltava River which divides the city, is the pedestrian Charles Bridge lined with 30 Baroque statues of priests. 

The Jewish Museum is a moving experience no matter your faith. It is the oldest active synagogue in Europe with, inside, a memorial to those that perished at the hands of the Nazis. One particular collection is paintings and drawings done by children who were held in a local concentration camp. The cemetery here contains about 100,000 graves dating back in time.

9. Sydney

Syndey Harbour at Night

With its location on scenic Sydney harbour and its cosmopolitan vibe, this is a world-class city that should not be missed on an Australia tour. 

It makes sense to start your explorations at The Rocks, Sydney’s historic district and first European settlement in the 18th Century. Today, it has become gentrified but still retains much of its original character and architecture.  You can spend time in its shops, pubs and cafes while on a stroll around the district.

You will not be able to miss the Sydney Harbour Bridge, an icon along with the Sydney Opera house. Both dominate the city skyline. A pleasurable activity is a cruise around the harbour or a ferry trip to Manly to view The Heads, the gateway to the ocean. Also, visit one of the beach suburbs such as Bondi or Bronte to see how the locals enjoy their leisure time.

I also recommend heading to Paddington with its individually designed colourful Victorian terrace houses and Darlinghurst, a restored slum which is now full of lively bars, pubs and designer and vintage boutique stores.  

You can’t beat Sydney for culture and leisure pursuits. You have the New South Wales Art Gallery, the Australia Museum, the Museum of Sydney, the Australia National Maritime Museum, the Sydney Aquarium and Madame Tussauds and the Royal Botanical Gardens plus much more.

Expect to be overwhelmed with a visit to one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities anywhere.

Discover Vacations and Tours of Sydney and Australia

10. Dubai

Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Dubai is a city like no other.  Words like dynamic, vibrant, futuristic come to mind. Here you have a contemporary city in the middle of a desert region. The architecture is ultramodern. The world’s tallest building is the Burj Khalifa with 148 stories (imagine the view from the top). Dubai has the world’s largest shopping mall containing every item imaginable in its 1200 stores. Add to this a lively nightlife scene and arguably, the most luxurious hotel in the world, the Burj Al Arab designed like a sail located out over the water.

However, don’t think of Dubai as just a “concrete jungle”. There are numerous excellent beaches lined with resort hotels and you can head off to neighbouring Abu Dhabi and view the opulent Emirates Palace which is the most expensive palace ever built. You can take a tour to the desert and have a desert safari and ride in a 4 x 4 jeep over the dunes and you can have a cruise on a traditional dhow along the Dubai Creek to view the city from a different perspective.

Dubai – an oasis in the desert!

13 Feb 2020, 8:35 p.m.

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