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Romance seems to waft through the air on Capri, accompanied by the scent of lemon blossoms and fresh sea air. Leave the car on the mainland and join the masses who use water transport to flock to this dramatic Italian isle in the Bay of Naples. The luminescence of the Blue Grotto, the striking Faraglioni rocks and Palazzo al Mare add to the magical spell. Snorkel from Marina Piccola beach on the island's south side, believed to be the spot where Odysseus nearly succumbed to the Sirens' song.
Land of Mermaids. Land of Orange and Lemon Groves. Land of Colors. This small city in Campania has earned a plethora of alluring names. Famed for its sea cliffs, the town's steep slopes look out over azure waters to Ischia, Capri and the Bay of Naples. The birthplace of Limoncello liqueur offers some good diving, great sea fishing, boat cruises and appetizing restaurants. Excellent hiking trails cross the peninsula. Rent a car or take a taxi if the steep streets look too intimidating.
Serving as the main port town for the island of the same name, the town of Ischia has been inhabited for centuries, famous for its beaches and the healing waters of its spas. The town is divided in two: Ischia Porto is the harbor district and commercial center of the island, filled with brightly lit taverns and bars, and Ischia Ponte, the historic quarter, with its ancient castle and its stone streets seemingly frozen in time.
Once a vital part of a mighty sea power, Positano is today a sophisticated resort on the central Amalfi Coast. Moorish-style architecture rises up steep slopes that gaze out on the Sirenuse Islands. Smart boutiques, selling fashions for visitors to display on Grand Beach, abound in the village. And it’s a great base for exploring the area—you can easily travel by boat to Capri, Ischia and the Grotta dello Smeraldo cave.
The largest and many say most beautiful island in the Bay of Naples, Ischia is renowned for its curative spas. Ferries and hydrofoils connect Naples to Ischia Porto, the main town. Nearby at Ischia Ponte (connected to the main island by a foot bridge) are the magnificent Castello Aragonese and Guevara Tower. Forio on the island’s west coast, Lacco Ameno in the northwest and Sant’Angelo in the south are the liveliest resort towns. Casamicciola Terme in the north is one of Europe’s oldest spas.
Three miles of twisty mountain roads up from Amalfi, the gorgeous resort of Ravello has been attracting celebrities for centuries, including Richard Wagner, Greta Garbo, Gore Vidal and D.H. Lawrence, who wrote Lady Chatterley’s Lover here. Ravello’s Duomo (Cathedral) and Villa Cimbrone (both 11th century) and Villa Rufolo (13th century) are all magnificent sights. The annual summer Ravello Festival began as a salute to Wagner’s music, but now showcases a wide range of music and arts.
If it's your first time visiting the Amalfi Coast, chances are you'll do a double-take the first time you see a roadside lemon stand. Yes, those are lemons, and yes, they are the size of your head. But despite their freakish appearance, you will grow to love these lemons because the locals use them to produce limoncello. And take it from us, there's nothing like a glass of limoncello as you gaze out at the sea from the balcony of your hotel in Amalfi. It's pretty much perfection.
The region of Campania curves around the bays of Naples and Sorrento, with towering Vesuvius and mountain ranges and massifs looming above. Ancient classical ruins are scattered throughout the region, from the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum to the Greek temples in Paestum. Popular resort towns include charming Sorrento and Amalfi, upscale Positano and haven for the elite, Ravello. For even more memorable sights, catch a ferry from Sorrento or Naples to the isle of Capri, home of the magical Blue Grotto.
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.
Laid out by British architect Edwin Lutyens, the Indian capital is a striking modern metropolis. A gracious contrast to Old Delhi's winding streets, the grand avenues and stately buildings of New Delhi are rich with history and culture, from Gandhi's Delhi home (and the site of his assassination) to the tomb of Humayun, a complex of Mughal buildings reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. Chaotic traffic is best left to the locals. Negotiate a good price for taxis or travel on the new Delhi Metro.
East meets West in this sun-soaked state, where Indian culture intertwines with Portuguese influences left over from a 500-year occupation. The beaches have long served as a magnet for serene hedonists. To the north, the tourist-centric scene is prevalent, with an international flair that is now skewing more hip than hippie. Travel south for stretches of unspoiled sand and an escape from large resorts. Temples, mosques and wildlife sanctuaries provide diversions from the beach.
Want a taste of being royal? Eat in Hyderabad, where culinary traditions have been passed down from the Nizam monarchy. Arabic, Turkish and Mughlai influences are easily recognisable. The city is famous for its rich, aromatic biryani made with lamb, chicken or vegetables and served with fragrant basmati rice. Satisfy your sweet tooth with double-ka-meetha, a bread pudding.
Known as both the "Garden City" and "The Silicon Valley of India," Bangalore (officially "Bengaluru") is a techie’s paradise, boasting the highest concentration of IT companies in the country. When you’re done geeking out, there are plenty of gardens, museums, natural features, palaces and temples to fill your dance card. Visit Vidhana Soudha, Cubbon Park and the Ulsoor Lake of Bangalore, well known for its beautiful locales and boating facilities. Bangalore is also a major centre of Indian classical music and dance, and of vivid, cutting-edge nightlife.
Popularly referred to as Ooty, this gem among southern hill resorts is covered in eucalyptus and pine trees and coffee and tea plantations. On a clear day, it's possible to see as far as the Mysore plateau from Dodabetta Peak, the district's most prominent viewpoint. The Stone House, a landmark 1822 bungalow, and St. Stephen's Church are remnants of the area's first British settlement. Also noteworthy: formal botanical gardens, a children's mini-garden and a contemporary art collection.
Sprawling tea plantations surround the serene hills of Munnar, which attract adventure travellers hungry for paragliding, treks to Anaimudi (South India's highest peak) and hikes originating at the confluence of three mountain streams. The stone Christ Church, built by the British in 1910, is adorned with renowned works of stained glass, and Eravikulam National Park, about 10 miles away, is home to equally colourful wildlife, including the endangered Nilgiri Tahr (ibex), ruddy mongoose and 120 bird species.
The people of Tamil Nadu consider providing food to others a service to humanity. Thus the service in the state capital, Chennai, is first-rate. Treat your senses to some of the richest South Indian flavours in traditional dishes like sambar, rasam, fish curry or kootu. And don't forget to have a cup of full-bodied Tamil coffee, enhanced with chicory—no visit is complete without it.
Coastal charm meets cultural heritage in the sacred city of Puri, where pilgrims flock annually to celebrate the Ratha Yatra. Besides world-famous temples, Puri boasts beaches and markets that buzz year-round, while the wetland landscape beyond the city retains its wild edge.