1192 Chapters
Medium 9781628870190

1. THE BEST OF SOUTH FLORIDA

David Paul Appell FrommerMedia ePub

1

THE BEST OF SOUTH FLORIDA

The bright lights and thumping clubs of Miami Beach; the vast, unspoiled expanse of Everglades National Park; and the “back country” of the Keys—South Florida has a little something for everyone. And don’t be fooled by the glammer-than-thou celebrity playground known as South Beach. While the chic elite do, indeed, flock to Miami’s coolest enclave, it’s surprisingly accessible to the average Joe. For every Philippe Starck–designed, bank account–busting boutique hotel on South Beach, there are Deco digs that are much less taxing on the pockets. For each pan-Mediterranean-Asian-fusion haute cuisine restaurant, there’s a down-home, no-nonsense Latin bodega serving up hearty fare at surprisingly cheap prices.

Beyond all the glitzy, Us Weekly–meets–beach blanket bacchanalia, Miami offers an endless number of sporting, cultural, and recreational activities to keep you entertained. Its variety of beaches includes some of America’s best. Plus, it has an array of shopping and nightlife activities including ballet, theater, and opera (as well as all the celebrity-saturated hotels, restaurants, bars, and clubs that have helped make Miami so famous).

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Medium 9781628872347

10 SANTIAGO DE CUBA

Boobbyer, Claire FrommerMedia ePub

10

Santiago de Cuba

The country’s second-largest city, Santiago de Cuba swings to the sound of son and salsa. Vibrant, tropical, and often sweltering, Santiago is the country’s liveliest cultural showpiece, outside of Havana. With a population just under a half-million people, Santiago is a world apart, with a unique history and rhythms all its own. The city has produced some of Cuba’s greatest contemporary musicians as well as several of its most stalwart revolutionaries, and has served as the stage for some of the most storied events in Cuba’s modern history. As the capital of the old Oriente province, it has the largest Afro-Cuban population in Cuba and a resolutely Afro-Caribbean feel that distinguishes it from the rest of Cuba.

Founded in 1515, Santiago was one of the first of seven towns in Cuba and the Spanish colony’s capital until 1553. Diego Velázquez, the founder of the original seven villas, built his mansion here, and the house still stands in the heart of the historic quarter. The Spanish character of the city would soon be supplemented by other influences. After the 1791 revolution in Haiti, a large number of French coffee plantation owners fled with their African slaves and made their way to Santiago. Black Haitian workers followed, as did large contingencies of West African slaves, sold to work on the plantations.

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Medium 9781628871289

2 The Best Special-Interest Tours: Grand Canal, Byzantine Venice, Venice's Best Churches, Art in Venice, Places to Escape Crowds, Venice's Best Squares, Venice's Memorable Views

Stephen Brewer FrommerMedia ePub

Take a gondola ride in the back-alley canals of Venice.The Grand CanalMain Street for Venetians is the Grand Canal, an S-shaped, 2-mile-long stretch of busy waterway between San Marco and the train station. Commerce has long thrived on the canal, and for centuries, nobility built their palaces on the banks. The half-hour vaporetto trip up the canal not only reveals the city’s past grandeur, but also provides an exhilarating look at life in present-day Venice. START: Vaporetto from San Marco/Vallaresso toward Piazzale Roma.Dogana da Mar. Dogana da Mar. The 15th-century triangular Customs house at the entrance to the Grand Canal was at one time a mandatory stop for all vessels entering Venice. Adjacent warehouses are now filled with the works of the Centro d’Arte Contemporanea de Punta della Dogana. Santa Maria della Salute. A baroque fantasy in white marble, this church designed by Baldassare Longhena and built as an offering to end an outbreak of the plague hints at the architectural wonders that line the canal ahead.

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Medium 9781628871609

5 Side Trips from Los Angeles

Christine Delsol FrommerMedia ePub

5

Side Trips from Los Angeles

by Christine Delsol

Los Angeles may be one of the world’s most stimulating cities, but don’t let it monopolize you to the point of ignoring its diverse, scenic side trips—from sun-filled South Coast beach towns to the island oasis of Catalina. And, of course, Disneyland.

The Disneyland Resort

The Disneyland Resort is the undisputed front-runner in family-friendly vacation destinations in Southern California. Often-overlooked Knott’s Berry Farm (see box), a short drive away, actually hosts a better selection of high-speed roller coasters, making it hugely popular with thrill-seeking teens.

The Disneyland Resort

33 miles S of Los Angeles

There are newer and larger Disney parks in Florida, Tokyo, France and Hong Kong, but none has the personal stamp of Walt Disney found in the original. (Walt and Lillian even lived in an apartment above the Main Street Fire Station while the park was being built.) In 2001, Disney unveiled a sister theme park, Disney California Adventure, along with the shopping/dining/entertainment district called Downtown Disney.

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Medium 9781628871487

12 GIRONA & THE COSTA BRAVA

Harris, Patricia FrommerMedia ePub

Off the beaten path in Cadaqués.

Spain’s northeast corner was almost ruined in the 1960s when real estate speculators somehow decided that its medieval fishing coves could be turned into sun-and-sea resorts to rival the already overgrown Costa del Sol in Andalucía. Fortunately, geography conspired against the Costa Brava, or “Wild Coast” (as the region was dubbed), from going too far down the road of overdevelopment. Yes, there are some blights on the landscape, and some of the communities closest to Barcelona sold their character to the holiday package industry. But other communities resisted and have preserved their identities along with their historical buildings, wild natural scenery, and sweeping crescent beaches.

GIRONA

Girona is Barcelona’s country cousin—slower-paced and more compact, yet strikingly sophisticated and cosmopolitan. It is the perfect escape valve when the pressure of the Barcelona crowds begins to get to you. Girona is simply a charming, disarming Catalan city with lots to look at and some delicious things to eat. It was founded by the Romans on a hill crouching above the Ríu Onyar, and the shape of the city remains as Roman as it was 2,000 years ago. As those Romans realized, the river crossing here was so strategically important that Girona has been besieged 25 times over the centuries, beginning with Charlemagne in 785. The most devastating siege was by Napoleon in 1809, when he starved the city into submission.

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