Bristol, UK

Set on the Avon River in England’s West Country, Bristol has a real buzz: its docks are tourist honeypots, its galleries and theater are thriving, and the area of Clifton, beside Brunel’s great suspension bridge, is as elegant as ever. Visit Brunel’s SS Great Britain for an insight into how passengers used to have to … Read more

Vientiane, Laos

As capital cities go, Vientiane feels little more than a country town. A broad, open community beside the Mekong River, it’s largely on the flat and ideal for walking around (though a tuk tuk will help you through the traffic). The temples and stupas are the highlights, particularly Wat Si Saket and Pha That Luang. … Read more

Taos, New Mexico, USA

Surrounded by ski mountains and broad plateaus, Taos is a picturesque town that was a favorite with artists at the beginning of the 20th century. They were drawn here by the walled adobe Taos Pueblo, which dates back nearly a thousand years and is still inhabited by villagers today. Head for the Harwood Museum of … Read more

Nancy, France

Stand in the middle of Nancy’s Place Stanislas and at once you feel an exhilarating sense of style and space. Around you, the magnificent Hôtel de Ville, the theater, and the Musée des Beaux Arts are as fresh and dazzling as the day they were completed more than 250 years ago. This is a lovely … Read more

Salvador, Brazil

More Caribbean in outlook than most of Brazil, Salvador is a laid-back town that likes to party. Music follows you wherever you go – on the beautiful palm-backed beaches or around the old district of Pelourinho, which has some of the finest colonial architecture in South America. This is the third-largest city in Brazil, and … Read more

Kanazawa, Japan

Nowhere in Japan can you feel so close to the days of its feudal lords. Little remains of Kanazawa Castle except a rebuilt gate and walls, but within its grounds lies the exquisite samurai Seisonkaku Villa. Nearby there are samurai mansions and two geisha districts of traditional wooden buildings, including a teahouse where you will … Read more

Isfahan, Iran

It’s hard to think of a city center as beautiful as Isfahan’s Imam Square (see pp120–21). Nor can there be bazaars more exciting nor mosques more exquisite than the brilliantly tiled examples here. A day’s sightseeing is best ended on the two-story Khaju Bridge, where young people meet to enjoy themselves on warm desert evenings. … Read more

Montevideo, Uruguay

“The highest quality of life in South America” is a statement that’s often made about Montevideo, and it’s easy to see why. This is a prosperous, sophisticated, and relaxed city, with wide avenues, handsome European-style buildings, and all the trappings of modern life. The beaches are pretty wonderful, too. The best place for a stroll … Read more

Aix-en-provence, France

As you wander Aix’s fountain-filled streets, you can’t help but be seduced by the joie de vivre. The town’s ongoing love affair with art can be seen in the cathedral, with treasures such as the 15th-century Burning Bush triptych by French artist Nicolas Froment.

Udaipur, India

Resplendent with a score of maharajas’ palaces, the “City of Lakes” in Rajasthan is one of the most beautiful, tranquil places on the whole subcontinent. Anybody who stays in one of the former palaces that are now hotels is liable to feel like a maharaja, too. City Palace is the largest in Rajasthan and dominates … Read more