We know choosing where to go and what to see is highly subjective, but if you’re having trouble planning your next vacation, then have a look at our list of places every woman should see—not to mention taste and smell. From inspiring architecture, natural beauty spots, and UNESCO World Heritage sites, our list of cities, beaches, and ruins may not be complete, but it should get you dreaming of your next great adventure.
1. Paris, France
If Havana is the Paris of the Caribbean, and Montreal is the Paris of North America, then what is Paris, France, exactly? We say it’s the mother of all great cities, the yardstick by which urban elegance will forever be judged. And like all great beauties, Paris will always evade you. Rather than trying to see it all, pick one arrondissement and make it your own. Get to know all its monuments, museums, shops, and restaurants. Our pick for must-see quartier? Le Marais, the city’s third arrondissement; Rue des Francs Bourgeois is paradise for boutique hoppers, Place des Vosges is a romantic spot for an outdoor meal, and the Picasso museum is the place to get your art fix.
2. Venice, Italy
Island-hopping at its finest. The city of Venice is actually numerous small islands linked by romantic bridges. It’s also the best place in the world to get lost—the maps never make sense, so don’t even bother buying one. The city’s size is surprisingly manageable, however. Take the vaporetto (water bus) from the train station to Saint Mark’s Square (cheaper than a gondola ride), pay a small fortune for an espresso with a view of the famous basilica, then get walking. The only way to truly appreciate this city is on foot, so bring comfortable shoes. Bonus: you’ll burn off regional specialties like risotto with peas and buttery biscuits dipped in sweet wine.
For cultured travelers
3. Havana, Cuba
See the city before Fidel departs for that humidor in the sky, and the ferry boats start arriving from Miami again. Don’t wait until the arrival of neon lights and Coke ads—go now, when the place still seems frozen in the 1950s and classic American cars clog its streets. Drink a daiquiri at its birthplace, El Floridita—one of the world’s most famous bars and a favourite of Ernest Hemingway. Follow that up with a mojito at equally renowned restaurant La Bodeguita del Medio, then take in a cabaret show at the Tropicana. The old town and its fortifications have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, but the entire city is a lesson in Spanish colonial history.
4. Machu Picchu, Peru
Another UNESCO World Heritage site. Cameron Diaz just stopped by this pre-Columbian city high in the Andes mountains. The ruins can be reached by foot along the Inca trail—a good way to combine culture and fitness. But start training now—“The Lost City of the Incas”, constructed in 1450, is 2,350 metres above sea level. If you’re not up to a four-day hike, you can always hop on the train to see the Temple of the Sun. The surrounding area is known for its splendid orchids, and the closest city, Cusco, is also rich in Incan treasures. Keep an eye out for llamas.
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