Istanbul, Turkey

Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

 

The megacity of Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, and the third largest in Europe. A booming center of finance, economics, and culture, Istanbul’s metro area is home to over 13 million people. The city is considered by some to be the epitome of East meets West culture. Istanbul has been known by many other names, most notably Constantinople and Byzantium. With a rich cultural heritage, it’s no wonder that the city is home to a variety of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Also notable is the Byzantine and Ottoman architecture present in the city, and picturesque mosques such as the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Visitors to this fine city can enjoy all the pleasures and excitements any big city affords, and there is something fun to do for any budget.

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Credit: Imran Rashid

Istanbul, Turkey

Credit: maistora

Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Credit: Kuzeytac

Washington DC, United States

Capitol Building, Washington DC, United States

 

Washington DC is the capital of the United States. More formally known as the District of Columbia, this federal district is not part of any one state, though it is bordered by the states of Maryland and Virginia. Washington DC is home to many of the important government buildings of the United States, including the White House and the US Capitol Building. But that’s not all this magnificent city is known for. Washington DC is also a hotbed a culture, housing some of the finest art and history museums in the United States. And of course, there are the many impressive monuments, including the Lincoln Memorial, the towering Washington Monument and reflecting pool, the Jefferson Memorial, the National World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the US Marine Corps Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Other popular stops for visitors include the Library of Congress, and the 19 museums operated by the Smithsonian Institution. The city is also known for its performing arts centers, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (home to the National Symphony Orchestra), the Washington National Opera, and the Washington Ballet. Nature-loving tourists flock to the city in the spring when the cherry blossom trees that line the city’s streets are in full bloom.

Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, United States

Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, Washington DC, United States

Jefferson Memorial, Washington DC, United States

Capitol Building at night, Washington DC, United States

Credit: Mark Nester

Vietnam Veterans Memorial at night, Washington DC, United States

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington DC, United States

Credit: Micha84

Tidal Basin Cherry Blossoms, Washington DC, United States

Credit: John J Young

Capitol Building, Washington DC, United States

Singapore

Singapore

Credit: Jim Boud

With a population of over 5 million people, the tiny island country of Singapore is the second most densely populated country in the world. A bustling center of commerce and a melting pot of cultures, the country is known for its legendary food, highly organized transportation systems, high achieving students, ease of doing business, and incredibly low crime rate. Despite its small size, Singapore has an impressively diverse population. Its inhabitants are a mixture of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and expats from many countries that have immigrated to Singapore for business. Singapore is one of the safest major cities in the world, as long as you follow the rules. There are severe penalties imposed for many infractions of the law, including a mandatory death sentence for many drug offenses, caning for overstaying your visa or entering illegally, and fines for everything from chewing gum to spitting. Since Singapore the city is so well developed, getting there, getting around, and finding a place to stay couldn’t be easier.

Singapore

Credit: fiftymm99

Singapore

Singapore

Credit: fiftymm99

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

London, England

Tower Bridge, London, England

London, the iconic capital city of England, is the largest metropolitan area in the European Union, with an estimated population of around 14 million people. Once the most populous city in the world, London is now a hotbed of cultural and historical richness, with countless museums, galleries, libraries, and important sites. Some popular tourist stops include the British Museum, the National Gallery, Tate Modern, the Natural History Museum, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Big Ben, Kew Gardens, Palace of Westminster, Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge, the historic settlement of Greenwich, and much more. Important historical religious sites include Westminster Abbey, St Margaret’s Church, and St Paul’s Cathedral. London is also home to the oldest underground railway network in the world, known as the London Underground. London is a major air transportation hub so getting there is a breeze. The city is also a major tourist destination, so finding a place to stay and things to do is even easier!

London, England

Credit: Jason Hawkes of National Geographic

Big Ben, London, England


London, England

Credit: London Snap

Tower Bridge, London, England

London, England

London Eye, London, England

London, England

Big Ben, London, England

Tower Bridge, London, England

New York, New York, USA

Manhattan Skyline, New York City, New York

 

New York City: bustling metropolis of culture, commerce, fashion, and art, home to over 8 million people (18 million in the metro area), and absolutely brimming with must see attractions. This megalopolis in the state of New York is the most populous city in the United States. The city’s five boroughs (The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island) feature a vast array of events to attend, restaurants to try, and sights to see. Some of the city’s more famous attractions include Times Square, Central Park, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. Cultural attractions in New York City (aka New York or NYC) include the Broadway Theater district, the Apollo Theater, Carnagie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Radio City Music Hall, just to name a few. Besides the endless attractions, NYC has accommodations and culinary options for every budget.

New York City, New York

New York City, New York

New York City, New York

New York City, New York

New York, New York

New York, New York

New York, New York

Times Square, New York, New York

Central Park, New York, New York

Statue of Liberty, New York, New York

Moon over Manhattan, New York, New York

Sydney, Australia

Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia

 

With 4.5 million residents, Sydney is the largest and most populous city in Australia. The city is located on the Southeastern coast of Australia on the Tasman Sea. Sydney is well known for being an international center of commerce, culture, entertainment, and tourism. The city features many iconic places, structures, and parks, including the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach, Hyde Park, Luna Park, and the Royal Botanical Gardens. The city is also known for its stunning architecture in a variety of both classic and contemporary styles. Sydney is also famous for its love of sports, the most popular being rugby. Visiting the city is a breeze with an impeccable public transportation system and a massive range of accommodation options.

Sydney, Australia

Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia

Downtown Sydney and Waterfront, Sydney, Australia

Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia

Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia

Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia

St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg, Russia, is celebrating its 20th anniversary of being “St. Petersburg” this year. The city was called “Leningrad” for the 67 years preceding the name change to “St. Petersburg” in 1991. Today, St. Petersburg is a bustling metropolis of just under 5 million residents. Its rich modern culture combined with is significant historical and cultural heritage makes this city a popular tourist destination. Second in population to Moscow, St. Petersburg (or more commonly just “Petersburg”) has a very large number of cultural sites, including more than 220 museums, 2000 libraries, over 80 theaters, 100 concert organizations, and 45 galleries / exhibition halls. Some of the more famous tourist stops are the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ (aka Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood), Catherine Palace, Peterhof Palace and Garden, the Smolny Convent, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace, and Mariinsky Theater, among many others.

Catherine Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia

Peterhof, St. Petersburg, Russia

Credit: NN

Ceiling of Peterhof, St. Petersburg, Russia

Credit: ISIK MATER

Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ (Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood), St. Petersburg, Russia

Peterhof, St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg, Russia

Credit: Sisse Brimberg of National Geographic

Paris, France

Paris, France

 

Paris, the capital of France, and to many, the cultural capital of the world, has been a prominent tourist destination for decades. Yearly, over 45 million people visit Paris to see an experience its fascinating sights and rich culture. Most famous of the sights is the stunning Eiffel Tower which dominates the Paris skyline. Other popular attractions include the Louvre Museum, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame cathedral. Paris is also home to multiple opera houses, endless exquisite restaurants, and incredibly hotels. It’s a tourist friendly city that is easy to explore on foot, by bike, hop-on hop-off bus, or public transportation.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Champs Elysees, Paris, France

Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

Notre Dame, Paris, France

Paris, France

Opera House, Paris, France

Champs Elysees, Paris, France

Pyramid at Louvre Museum, Paris, France

Paris, France