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In 1857, our very own Queen Victoria chose this city to be the capital – but not of England. In the land of moose, maple syrup and ice hockey, this city is the seventh coldest capital in the world, hot on the heels (or not so hot, in this case) of sixth place – Tallinn, Estonia. It’s also home to a Unesco World Heritage canal, which turns into the world’s longest ice rink come winter.
While lions guard the monument built to commemorate naval hero Admiral Horatio Nelson, this city’s bell tower, taxis and phone boxes are some of the most photographed on the planet. English is the most widely used language, but there are more than 300 others spoken by its residents. It is also home to the only street in the country where you are legally permitted to drive on the wrong side of the road.
If you like sugar-dusted croissants, buttery baguettes and pocketsize pâtisserie, then you’re going to love your visit to this European capital. Looking for romance? Thanks to a chap called Georges-Eugène Haussmann, who renewed the city in the mid-19th century, today it boasts an enchanting mix of cobblestone streets, glassy galleries and manicured gardens. You could say he gave it that je ne sais quoi.
Where the Aperol spritz runs free and there’s no such thing as ‘too much pasta’: going back in time is a tasty ride in this ancient city. Summers are a scorcher here and sightseeing is thirsty work, so it’s a good job this city has more fountains than any other in the world. It also has more Christian churches per capita and its ancient amphitheatre is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
The skyline of this coastal city includes creations by the finest roll call of architects, from Charles Rennie Mackintosh to Foster + Partners (with the ‘Armadillo’). Paolo Nutini, Texas and Travis are just a few of the musicians who began their careers here. Perhaps it was local specialities such as Cullen skink and sampling of the local grain-based tipple that kept them going through the colder days.
The largest metropolitan area in the world, this eastern capital is the Technicolor home to more than 36 million people (the city even employs ‘pushers’ to make sure all the commuters squeeze on to their rush-hour trains). At this time of year, cherry blossom is taking over the city parks, as the country’s most famous snow-capped mountain looms in the distance. Be sure to bring your appetite: it boasts the most Michelin-stars of any global city.
One of a number of places to be known as the ‘Venice of the East’, with its soothing lakes, glittering palaces and maze of alleyways it is well deserving of the moniker. This Indian city, in the northwest of the country, has provided the backdrop for a number of blockbusters, including the James Bond film, Octopussy and, more recently, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Being one of the world’s oldest cities, of course its 2,400-year-old ruins are a draw, but there are also fresh-off-the-grill souvlaki joints, buzzing tavernas and plenty of edgy street art to admire. Many visitors don’t stay long, preferring instead to spend their days exploring the many famed islands nearby.