Jewel of the Dalmatian coast, girded in ninth-century walls that rise sheerly from the water's edge, Dubrovnik is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. Within the ancient fortifications is a labyrinth of narrow alleyways and a striking Renaissance boulevard called the "Stradun."
Katakolon is your gateway to Olympia, where the ancient Greeks flocked every four years for more than a millennium to celebrate the sacred games dedicated to Zeus. Visit the ruins of the Sanctuary, with its athletic quadrangles, stadium-temples and treasuries; then browse in the modern Archaeological Museum, a treasure house of Archaic, Classical and Roman sculptures, including the famous Niki "Winged Victory."
This typical Mediterranean town is located at the end of Kotor Bay, which sits on the Montenegrin coast in the southern Adriatic. Due to the history of Kotor, it is the oldest town in Montenegro and is now a historical monument protected by the state. This town of Kotor has belong to many countries, around 3 B.C. the town was colonized by the Greeks, and later was an affiliate of Roman and Byzantine empires. In 1797, this town became a vital naval base under Austria's possession. In 1918, after World War II, this town became the property of Yugoslavia and is now included in the constituent republic of Montenegro. Kotor has been a 16th century cathedral, town walls, and a medieval fort.
The narrow passageways of Mykonos are a twisted maze of whitewashed houses, miniature churches, lazy windmills, and tiny cafes serving up Greek specialties. Sample the freshest squid or lobster just snatched from the blue Aegean Sea, or shop for typical flokati rugs.
With its steep volcanic flanks looming straight up from the sea, and the tiny white village of Thira clinging high atop the cliffs, Santorini is perhaps the most breathtaking and legendary of all the Greek Isles. To the south is Akrotiri, where recent Minoan excavations support the theories that Santorini might be the fabled lost continent of Atlantis.
The Knights of St. John made this their base in the Mediterranean Sea. The castles, cathedrals and fortresses they built still are their remaining legacy. But Phoenicians, Romans, Carthaginians and Arabs preceded them and left their marks as well. Take a drive to M'dina, the former capital, and wonder at Europe's third-largest dome in Mostra.
Before the 1960s, Abu Dhabi was only a bleak fishing and pearling village. Now everything is modern, sleek and shiny and makes up 85% of the total area of the UAE. It has become the richest and most politically important of the UAE's seven emirates. It is a big city for doing business and considered safe and secure for foreigners as long as you avoid demonstrations and political gatherings. It has been accused of being a soulless place, but to be honest it does have its attractions. Some key attractions are the Al-Hosn Palace used by the Cultural Foundation, the beautiful Capital Garden of the Corniche, and the Women's Craft Centre where you will be able to shop for some very detailed souvenirs.
Piraeus is the seaport for Athens, the capital of western civilization, which boasts a fantastic mix of classical ruins and vivacious modern life. In a single day, you can climb the hill of the Acropolis to wonder at the Parthenon, join the lively Athenians in Constitution Square, and then find a welcoming taverna for some spirited bizouki music, plenty of ouzo to drink, and with luck, energetic Greek dancing.
Barcelona is the cultural heartland of Spain, yet its first language is Catalan, the native tongue of the proudly independent Catalonia region. Stroll down the shady, tree-lined Ramblas between street musicians and elegant bistros. Then perhaps visit the venerable Gothic cathedral, Picasso Museum or enjoy the architectural genius of Antonio Gaudi's Church of the Holy Family.
Despite the primeval desert that surrounds it, spirited Dubai has spent its oil income on modern architecture based on soaring Islamic spires. Explore the souk bazaars for gold and silks, Persian and Afghani rugs and more. And be sure to visit the Juneira Mosque.
A lovely seaport in its own right, Haifa is a departure point for Tel Aviv and Holy Land sightseeing. Jerusalem beckons with the Mount of Olives and the Western Wall. Jericho, Nazareth, Bethlehem, and the crusader city of Acre are also within reach.
Hamburg's port on the river Elbe has been busy since medieval times, when it was a cornerstone of the Hanseatic League. It is a graceful city of parks and lakes, and grand old buildings like the Rathaus (City Hall). Brahms and Mendelssohn were born here, and Hans Leip, who wrote Lili Marlene.
Known as the "Queen of the Riviera" this cosmopolitan resort city is abundant in boutiques, nightclubs and museums, including the fascinating Chagal Museum. Browse along the elegant beachside Promenade des Anglais. Or, venture further along the Cote d'Azur to witness the galleries of Vence, Monte Carlo's glamorous casino, or Monaco's royal allure.
The port of Civitavecchia is the gateway to The Eternal City, where all roads lead. Mad traffic careens past monuments of the great civilizations of the past. You will want to see it all: the soaring inspiration of St. Peter's, the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel; the flow of life along the Spanish Steps, the Coliseum, the Via Veneto and Trevi Fountain. Be sure to leave time for la dolce vita in one of the piazzas.
Venice enchants you from your first glimpse as your ship glides through the Grand Canal. A world power in the middle ages, its affluence lives on in its beautiful old buildings like those surrounding Piazza San Marco. Be sure not to leave without a romantic ride along the canals in a gondola.