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The Mediterranean's biggest island is separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina. A mountainous spot, Sicily's coast and its small islands sit at the foot of volcanoes, including Etna, Stromboli and Vulcano. The Greeks, Romans, Normans and Catalans all left their mark on the island in the form of Byzantine palaces, Gothic castles and Baroque flourishes in capital Palermo. Most larger towns offer interesting museums, but Etna and the Hellenic temples in Agrigento offer particularly unique sights.
If the mention of Mykonos doesn’t immediately bring to mind bright white buildings, turquoise skies and tanned bodies lining golden sandy beaches, you’ve been living under a rock. The most popular Greek Island in the Aegean Sea is all about energy and attracts a diverse and upscale crowd that thrives on its stylish nightlife. During the day some privacy can be had in the more secluded north beaches, but the south beaches are all party. Ski, jet-ski, windsurf, horseback ride, parasail or just save up your energy for the evening ahead, like most of your fellow travellers in Mykonos.
Over the centuries, many cultures have added their mark to this prized piece of land. Today, you can experience those influences firsthand by exploring Istanbul’s mahalles (neighbourhoods). From the holy sites of Sultanahmet and the 19th-century European elegance of Beyoğlu to the high fashion of Nişantaşı, the vibrant café society of Kadıköy and the football-loving streets of Beşiktaş, it’s easy to see why travellers say that Istanbul isn’t just one city, but many cities within one.
Lying in south central Turkey, the moonscaped region of Cappadocia, southeast of Ankara, is most famous for unique geological features called fairy chimneys. The large, cone-like formations were created over time by erosion of the relatively soft volcanic ash around them. Past cultures have dug into them to create dwellings, castles (like Uchisar) and even entire underground cities like Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, used as hiding places by early Christians. Nearby Kayseri is the gateway to the area.
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.
The Zanzibar Archipelago, located in the Indian Ocean 15 miles off the coast of Tanzania, is a breathtaking spot to escape from the world. You’ll enjoy clear, turquoise-blue water; shallow sandbars perfect for wading; and many small, nearly deserted islands virtually unvisited by tourists. Explore the World Heritage Site of Stone Town, Zanzibar City’s old quarter. Or just go beach to beach between tiny fishing villages—each one's better than the next.