Looking for an immersive getaway? One that gives you the perfect bang for your buck? Our world travel guide has you covered. We’ve listed down a set of countries that homes some of the world’s most amazing city breaks.
Australia – Melbourne and Sydney
The 123RF World Travel Guide ranks the land down under as one of the friendliest places to live. And why not? Sundays rarely get any better than a couple of beers and a barbie on your mate’s backyard. Australia’s diverse landscape also offers a treat for every traveler.
The charming Bondi beach and the gorgeous Great Barrier Reef are commonly found on every travel list. Meanwhile, the remote, rocky outcrops of Uluru and Kakadu are home to Australia’s diverse wildlife and sacred Aboriginal culture.
Additionally, Australia’s incredible cities offers a travel experience like no other. Sydney is the nation’s poster child, with the majestic Opera House at the forefront of every Australian postcard. Tasmania represents the ultimate laid – back travel experience. Meanwhile, Melbourne is all arts, with a spectacular food scene which satisfies every craving you could ever dream of.
Colombia – Bogotá and Cartagena
Colombia is buzzing, and it’s time for the world to take notice. While there are several reasons for this, Bogotá’s boom in its art scene has undoubtedly played a major role. The nation’s beating heart is famed for The Gold Museum and the Botero Museum.
The former homes more than 55,000 pieces of gold from the country’s pre-Hispanic cultures. Meanwhile, the latter displays works of Fernando Botero, arguably one the continent’s most renowned artist. Add the city’s revolving culinary scene to the mix, and what’s there not to like about this city?
However, Colombia also brilliantly retains its nostalgic charm with Cartagena. The jewel in the country’s crown is one of the most beautiful colonial cities in the continent. The town’s bougainvillea balconies, brightly colored buildings, pretty plazas and a maze of cobbled alleys promises to serenade you like a smooth Latin lover.
India – Punjab
In India, it’s all about the colors. The big, bright and bold colors that leap right towards you. And Punjab is India’s rainbow city. Feast your eyes to the royal blue outfits of the Nihang (Sikh warriors). The fiery red Punjabi suits and dazzling pink turbans worn throughout the city. The bright green paddy fields and vivid yellow mustard flowers as far as the eye can see.
What about the tasty treats? Be seduced by the deep, dark green platters of melt-in-your mouth saag (a spinach based dish). Add to that, rich, yellow spoonfuls of smooth ghee (clarified butter). As for dessert, devour the irresistible deep-fried orange jalebi (mini Indian pretzel-like sweets). In Punjab, witness the colors that celebrate life, like there is no tomorrow.
For a dose of the extraordinary, the 123RF World Travel Guide picks Amritsar. The sacred city is home to the heavenly Golden Temple. From afar, the golden dome simmers away under the sunlight. Each second spent in admiration only draws you closer for an eye-opening adventure.
An adventure that leads you right into the heart the massive 24/7 operated community kitchen. Each bite of a meal in the langgar (community kitchen) pays tribute to the sheer will of thousands of volunteers who sacrifice everything in the name of feeding a stranger. No matter your skin color, this Sikh house of worship promises a humbling experience. Here, the only currency that matters is one’s humanity.
Italy – Florence, Rome, Milan and Venice
For the 123RF World Travel Guide, it’s a crime to visit Italy and only spend a few days in a handful of cities. Such is the Italian charm. For art enthusiasts, Florence is an open museum. Its ancient buildings, amazing museums and winding streets are perfect for you to wander away, while devouring a tub of the best gelato.
For history buffs, nothing beats the city of Rome. The world’s capital during the golden age, Rome mimics the relationship of a grandfather and a grandchild. The city holds your tender hands and walks you down the many plazas while reciting tales of its glorious past. Like your old man, Rome too wears the scars of battle. Bruised but not battered, proud yet warm and welcoming, Rome sheds a tear when reconnecting with its faded past.
Meanwhile, for the fashion police, there’s no other place than Milan. Get ready to swipe the credit cards as you shop your way to the crazy glamour and splendor in the world’s fashion capital. For lovebirds, hop on a gondola with your special one and make the most of your Venice getaway. Just remember to order delightful pasta, for the chance to chew on the same strand until your soft lips interlock.
For seasoned Italian travelers, head over to the hills of Cinque Terre. Here, lend your eyes to the azure blue waters, your nose to the basil, your skin to the melted mozzarella, your ears to the crunch of the pizza and finally, your tastebuds to sips of the finest wine.
Japan – Kyoto and Wakayama
For the 123RF World Travel Guide, Japan is timeless. Ancient culture and tradition meet the cycle of a modern day life. Kyoto undoubtedly offers the best of both worlds. Japan’s spiritual heart is home to over 2000 temples, beautifully weaved and held together by the finest religious architecture ever seen.
The Fushimi Inari Taisha is the best and most important building in Kyoto. Situated at the base of a mountain, the endless chili red torii gates guides travelers into a world of its own, deep into the heart of the woodlands. The city’s grand architecture is also visible in the iconic Kinkaku-ji. This ‘Golden Pavilion’ simmers under the sunlight and is bound to attract travelers from far and wide. For something a little different, head to Gion. Origin of Kyoto’s popular geisha district dates back to the days of tea houses. Today, a stroll late in the evening is a great way to explore another aspect of this fascinating city.
Additionally, Japan’s fierce spiritual force is also seen in the celestial Okunoin. Built in the memory of Kobo Daishi, the massive Buddhist cemetery is set deep into the heart of the sacred Mount Koya. Here, over 200 000 graves of Buddhist monks are said to await resurrection from Maitreya Buddha. If the sheer history and significance fails to entice you, then the setting would. Experience the rays of light piercing through the canopy, vines intertwining like an eternal love story and incense sticks perfuming the entire woods. So, if you’ve ever wondered what heaven looks like, you’ve come to the right place.
Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Penang
The 123RF World Travel Guide relates Malaysia to a grandma’s hot wok. Be it fried rice, noodles or any other craving in demand, this Southeast Asian kitchen staple has fed hungry family and friends for decades.
Likewise, Malaysia has fulfilled a traveler’s hunger for a range of activities and attractions. For city kids, look no further than KL. The country’s capital is a perfect blend of delights like its plethora of 24/7 eateries and speakeasy bars that will take your Instagram game as high as the Petronas Twin Towers.
Penang meanwhile, is perfect for you to wander away and discover the legends of the Khoo Kongsi clan house and a quirky collection of street art. If the city heat becomes too hot to handle, head out to the island’s beaches and arm yourself with a cocktail or two. Additionally, Malacca is a must see for history buffs, especially since you can explore Portuguese and Dutch influence on colorful rickshaws, while lending your ears to Bollywood melodies. Talk about diversity.
Netherlands – Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Delft
The 123RF World Travel Guide identifies Netherlands as a goldmine for art enthusiasts. From Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh to Dam Square and Keukenhof, there’s always something available to treat your eyes and lenses. And that’s just in Amsterdam alone.
We’ve yet to dive into the masterpieces of Rotterdam and Delft. The former has some of the best architectural sites in the country. The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen homes stunning pieces of Rotterdam’s art scene through the ages. Meanwhile, the inverted u-shaped Markthal is a great way to spend some time in the city.
Alternatively, travel to the quiet town of Delft for a dose of Netherland’s past. This small town in the southern part of the country, is popular for its trademark blue pottery and gorgeous squares. Additionally, for the best views, climb the stairs of the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), just remember to bring along your camera.
Spain – Barcelona and Granada
There’s a reason why fiesta is the most popular Spanish word known to the rest of the world. We have Madrid’s extravagant nightlife to thank for this. Additionally, a strong case can also be made for the popularity of the word siesta. Because, that’s what sounds best, especially after a taste of the impeccable Spanish cuisine and its fantastic wine pairings.
However, for the best of both worlds, our world travel guide is heading straight for the capital of the Catalan state. Aside from its gastronomic delight in creative tapas bars and party scene in boisterous basements, Barcelona is also renowned for its art and architecture. Park Guell’s whimsical, Gaudi-inspired, colorful buildings are a testament to this.
For more art inspiration, travel to Granada. Set in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, this city is perhaps one of the world’s prettiest, with its grand fortresses paying homage to the royal Moorish architecture. And the awe-inspiring Alhambra is the most opulent example of this.
Looking for more travel inspiration? Remember to watch this space as we give your the best of the world’s adventures!