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Monaco is famous as Côte d’Azur’s playground. With spacious beaches, elegant hotels and lively nightlife, this tiny domain is a jet set favorite and home to some of the world's most expensive real estate. In addition to luxury hotels and beautiful beaches, Monaco is noted for mild climate and magnificent scenery. Monaco and Monte Carlo rank high on every visitor’s must-see list. Monaco-Ville is the old city and seat of Monaco’s government. The 19th-century Romanesque cathedral Prince's Palace contains impressive works of art and the tomb of Princess Grace, while the Parliament building and Oceanographic Museum, under the auspices of the Jacques Cousteau Society, offer additional sights. Monte Carlo spells sophistication, elegance, and glamour. Every year the rich and famous gather here to bask in the sun, gamble at the world’s most opulent casino and attend spectacular parties. The most splendid hotels, several fine theaters, museums and excellent restaurants cater to the elite. Nothing typifies more the elegant lifestyle of the Côte d’Azur than glamorous Monte Carlo.
Located between Toulon and Marseille, Sanary Sur Mer is a town rich in old world charm combined with modern conveniences. Take a stroll along the colorful harbor, breathe in the fragrance of the flower market while sitting on the town hall steps, succumb to the happy atmosphere of village life. The town offers diving, sailing, tennis and squash, plus a golf course not far away. Attend a show at the Galli Theatre, see a film, take a boat ride, enjoy the various entertainment provided on the sea-front or visit the sights of the town. Sanary caters a visitor's every wish. The Automobile Museum, which presents the history of cabriolets and roadsters over the last 50 years, is situated very near the Botanical Garden, home to a rare collection of plants and animals.
Barcelona, the self-confident and progressive capital of Spain, is a tremendous place to be. Though it boasts outstanding Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings, and some great museums – most notably those dedicated to Picasso and Catalan art – it is above all a place where there's enjoyment simply in walking the streets, stopping in at bars and cafés, drinking in the atmosphere. A thriving port and the most prosperous commercial centre in Spain, it has a sophistication and cultural dynamism way ahead of the rest of the country. In part this reflects the city's proximity to France, whose influence is apparent in the elegant boulevards and imaginative cooking. But Barcelona has also evolved an individual and eclectic cultural identity, most perfectly and eccentrically expressed in the architecture of Antoni Gaudí. Scattered as Barcelona's main sights may be, the greatest concentration of interest is around the old town (La Ciutat Vella). These cramped streets above the harbor are easily manageable, and far more enjoyable, on foot. Start, as everyone else does, with the Ramblas.
The Balearics are comprised of 16 islands; the three principal ones are Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca. Lying just 60 miles off the Spanish mainland, the islands’ lush and rugged landscape combined with an extremely mild, sunny climate prove irresistible. The Balearics boast cosmopolitan resorts with lively nightlife and plenty of sports activities. Palma de Majorca is the capital of the archipelago. A cosmopolitan city with sophisticated shops and restaurants, it also offers buildings of spectacular Moorish and gothic architecture. Museo de Mallorca housed in the Palacio Ayamans boasts an interesting collection of Moorish, medieval and 18th- to 19th-century art. Those who wish to explore the northern end of the island will enjoy the dramatic land and seascape of Cabo Formentor at the end of a long, narrow peninsula. A winding road with magnificent views leads to the luxury Hotel Formentor, beautifully situated above the bay. The lighthouse of Cabo Formentor is the most northerly point on Majorca.
Today Spain's major commercial port and naval base, Cartagena lies on the coast of Murcia, its great indented bay guarded by rocky promontories, each topped by a fort. The city contains the remains of old walls, a castle constructed probably in Carthaginian times, and a church that was formerly a 13th-century cathedral. Attractive promenades extend along the harbour, while to the northeast is the famous beach and watersports resort area of the lagoon-like Mar Menor.
Malaga is a popular holiday destination - known as the birthplace of Picasso and for sweet Malaga dessert wines from vineyards outside of town. Points of interest include impressive Gothic architecture, remains of a Moorish castle and interesting museums. Malaga is a popular starting point for trips to Granada and resorts along Costa del Sol. Splendid Granada and famed Alhambra are the region’s most outstanding attractions. Magnificent Moorish palaces and fortifications contrast sharply with Christian churches from Spain’s 1492 Reconquest era. Ronda's incredible location affording spectacular views over the valley and distant hills. Malaga Fine Arts Museum holds works by Spanish artists of the 16th to 20th centuries and by artists from Malaga, including Picasso. Marbella, which has been favored by the rich and famous, is a very popular holiday and yachting resort destination. One of the first resorts of the Costa del Sol, Torremolinos has luxury hotels, busy plazas and shopping streets, a lively art scene, a Wax Museum created by Madame Tussaud, and a glitzy casino.
Gibraltar is the famous promontory located at the western entrance of the Mediterranean, with Spain to the north and, across the Straits, Morocco to the south. The Straits are a channel connecting the Atlantic with the Mediterranean. Africa is clearly visible on a fine day. In ancient times, the Rock, as Gibraltar is popularly called, and its counterpart on the African side, Mount Abyla, were known as the Pillars of Hercules. Visitors enjoy historical sites, magnificent views and beautiful beaches. A favorite pastime is strolling along Main Street to browse and shop in the duty-free shops or stop in one of the pubs. Many visitors come to see Gibraltar's curiosity, the Barbary Apes. According to legend, the British will remain as long as the apes survive. Alemeda Botanical Gardens is where the British troops mustered for their parades. Trafalgar Cemetery was named for the casualties of the Battle of Trafalgar. On the fringe of the downtown area is the Cable Car Base Station where the car runs to the rock top.
The "Gateway to Africa," located at its northwestern tip, Tangier is a fashionable resort retaining its age-old mystery and excitement. French and Islamic influences meet and merge in this fascinating old city. Mosques and minarets overlook the shadowy streets of the bazaar, while the higher part of town, with its broad boulevards and lovely parks, looks down on the ocean.
Cadiz is an old city with Andalusian character. The magnificent Baroque cathedral and impressive mansions were built with gold. Cadiz’s modern-day treasure lies 30 minutes to the north in the rolling hills of Jerez - where production of the liquid gold, as the famous sherry is often called, ensures a booming economy. Visit one of the bodegas for a tour and tasting. The Historic City Center of Old Cadiz is a pedestrian zone for a pleasant stroll. The monument to "Las Cortes" is the Spanish Parliament established in Plaza de España. The 18th-century golden-domed Cathedral of Santa Cruz looms over the whitewashed houses. The dazzling interior contains a magnificent collection of sculptures and art objects. The Museum of History features an outstanding model of Cadiz in ivory and mahogany that illustrates what the town looked like at the end of the 18th century. The small, colorful Flower Market offers much local flavor. The Moorish-style Alameda Apodaca Gardens serve as a reminder of the Moors’ occupation in past centuries.
Founded as Portus Hannibalis by the Romans, Portimão is a port and one of the major resorts on the craggy Atlantic shores of Portugal's sunny Algarve. It boasts a bustling harbour overlooked by two castles and a pedestrian centre abounding in shops, bays and restaurants - while just two miles away is delightful Praia da Rocha, setting of a stunning beach, honey-hued cliffs and striking wind-and-sea-sculpted rock formations. Also from here you can visit Albufeira, the area's largest resort, the 12th century sandstone fortress at Silves, Fortaleza de Sagres and Cabo de Sao Vicente.
Portugal’s capital is an 18th-century city - elegant, open to the sea and carefully planned. Most places of interest are within easy walking distance. Rossio Square, the heart of Lisbon since medieval times, is an ideal place to start exploring. Many rebuilt houses with original façades provide stores and restaurants with modern interiors. High above Baixa is Bairro Alto - with its teeming nightlife. There are many monuments and museums, such as San Jeronimos Monastery, Royal Coach Museum and Gulbenkian Museum. Two well-known landmarks are the Monument to the Discoveries and the Tower of Belem. A statue of Christ looms above Europe’s longest suspension bridge. Madragoa, Bica and Bairro Alto, Lisbon’s older sections, offer a variety of sights: the Church of Sao Roque, with its beautiful tiles; St. George Castle, which offers a splendid view from its location above the Alfama quarter; the botanical gardens, featuring an unusual, cold greenhouse; and the cathedral, stunning with its Moorish design. Renowned Gulbenkian Museum is the cultural center of Portugal.
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