Top 10 Things to Do in Vietnam

There is a lot to see and experience in Vietnam from lush nature to beautiful colonial gems. Here are Marco Polo’s top 10 for Vietnam:

Marco Polo Vietnam Guide

1. HA LONG BAY

Limestone karst formations, some as high as skyscrapers, smothered in dense vegetation, rise right out of the emerald green sea. The best way to explore this bay of sagas and legends is on board a junk.

2. OLD FRENCH QUARTER (SAIGON)

A stroll around the Old French Quarter in the shade of tamarind trees takes you past magnificent buildings from colonial days.

3. HOI AN

A waft of China hangs over this old port between pagodas, traditional merchants’ houses, dressmakers’ and souvenir shops.

4. HUE

Tracing how the emperors and kings once lived takes you to moss- covered palaces and burial sites with gardens and ponds. The imperial era is brought back to life in plays and dances.

5. SA PA

Bright green rice terraces, rounded mountain tops and colourfully clad ethnic mountain people – hiking here from one village to the next is like being in one huge landscape painting.

6. DRY HA LONG BAY

From a canoe you can marvel at the fairy-tale scenery of paddy fields gleaming in every conceivable shade of green framed by karst giants covered in tropical vegetation.

7. PHU QUOC

Vietnam’s largest island is a paradise for beach-lovers with endlessly long stretches of sand and tropical jungle as a backdrop. Diving grounds bursting with brightly-coloured sea creatures wait to be explored.

8. CU CHI TUNNELS

Here, one remnant of the Vietnam War and the Viet Cong resistance movement can be experienced first hand – even if only a few minutes and just for a couple of metres underground.

9. PHAN THIET & MUI NE

This peninsula with its 1.6km (1 mile) long beach attracts holidaymakers from all points of the globe to swim, surf or kite surf.

10. OLD QUARTER AND HO HOAN KIEM (HANOI)

Wander around the labyrinthine alleyways in the Old Quarter with their traditional craft shops, corner bars and cafés, boutiques and galleries.

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Top 10 Things to Do in Iceland

Volcanoes and glaciers – Marco Polo’s list of the top 10 things not to be missed in Iceland! Our best recommendations – from the top down – help you to plan your tour of Iceland’s most important sights.

Iceland by Sophie Boisvert

Picture credit: Sophie Boisvert, used with permission

1. GOLDEN CIRCLE

This day trip takes in the most beautiful sights in the vicinity of Reykjavík. The route includes Þingvellir, Geysir, Gullfoss and Skálholt.

2. BLÁA LÓNIÐ (BLUE LAGOON)

Milky blue, delightfully warm, mineral-rich water set in the midst of a bizarre volcanic landscape; a dip in the Blue Lagoon is a must on any visit to Iceland.

3. MÝVATN

The shores of the Mývatn (meaning “midge lake”) are covered with lush green vegetation but the surrounding area is an otherworldly volcanic landscape.

4. INSIDE THE VOLCANO

Ride an open elevator cable lift down 120m (395ft) into the magma chamber of Iceland’s dormant Þríhnúkagígur volcano.

5. HÚSAVÍK

The small village on the north coast of Iceland is one of the best places to whale watch in Europe. Sperm whales, humpback whales and finbacks are just three of the species you may be lucky enough to spot.

6. LÁTRABJARG

In summer, hundreds of thousands of seabirds nest on the North Atlantic’s largest bird cliffs, producing a deafening wildlife spectacle.

7. SNÆFELLSJÖKULL

The magical glacier, which inspired authors such as Jules Verne and Halldór Laxness, is the culmination of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula that juts out far into the sea.

8. GAMLA HÖFN

Reykjavík’s Old Harbour has developed into a vibrant new tourist area. It is the starting point for whale watching excursions and city tours, there are restaurants offering culinary delights and several museums to explore.

9. ÞJÓÐMINJASAFN ÍSLANDS

The National Museum of Iceland in Reykjavík provides a modern overview of the country’s cultural history – from the Vikings to the present day.

10. VESTMANNAEYJAR

A volcanic eruption in 1973 made the Westman Islands off the south coast world famous. Traces of this natural catastrophe can still be seen in the main town of Heimaey.

 

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Top 10 Things to Do in the Algarve

The Algarve is one of the most popular destinations in Portugal with its beaches and seemingly endless sunshine. With this Top 10 list of Marco Polo’s insider tips, you are sure to make the most of your time in the beautiful Algarve.

Marco Polo Portugal Guide

1. PONTA DA PIEDADE

Enjoy picture­ perfect views off the coast of Lagos – bizarre, majestic cliffs interrupted by a medley of natural arches and caves. They’re best experienced on a boat tour.

2. CABO DE SÃO VICENTE

Frequently whipped by hellish winds, this Cape, named after St. Vincent, plunges spectacularly down into the roaring sea below.

3. PRAIA DA FALÉSIA

This magnificent beach is the sandy flagship of the Algarve. Overlooked by imposing walls of rust­ red cliffs, the Praia’s sweeping expanse of sand lies in the east of Albufeira, a popular holiday resort.

4. OLHÃO

The fish market hall is a real high­light, and the fruit and vegetable stands are lively affairs, especially if you go on a Saturday.

5. PRAIA DO AMADO

A wildly romantic, rugged Atlantic beach near Carrapateira. It’s the perfect playground for surfers on the Costa Vicentina.

6. IGREJA DE SÃO LOURENÇO

This small church on the edge of Almancil enchants visitors with its azulejos – the tiled décor here is extremely hard to beat.

7. TAVIRA

With its river, churches, small castle, camera obscura and numerous refreshment stops, Tavira – the springboard for ex­ploring the Ilha de Tavira – boasts a selection of great attractions!

8. RIO GUADIANA

This border river flows peacefully past Vila Real de Santo António, the castle town of Alcoutim, and the bird­ rich wetlands of the Reserva Natural do Sapal.

9. ILHA DA CULATRA

This island, home to the pretty villages of Culatra and Farol, is in a world of its own. The boat ride through the Ria da Formosa nature park is worth the trip alone.

10. FARO

The Algarve’s largest city surprises visitors with its harbour, its historic architecture and its vibrant, bustling atmosphere. Check out the well­-preserved Old Town that’s surrounded by mighty walls.

 

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Top 10 Things To Do In Florida

Marco Polo’s list of the top 10 things not to be missed in Florida! Our best recommendations – from the top down – help you to plan your tour of Florida’s most important sights.

Florida Marco Polo Guide

1. FLORIDA KEYS
Florida Keys makes number 1 on our list thanks to its bewitching mix of liberality, a super relaxed lifestyle and a tropical climate.

2. SOUTH BEACH MIAMI
Crazy, creative, trendy and full of life: with its magnificent Art Deco architecture, the South Beach
neighbourhood is the very best reason to pay Miami a visit.

3. EVERGLADES
Meeting an alligator in these wetlands is an unforgettable experience – but don’t forget the countless other species that are also worth a look!

4. KEY WEST
Awash with artists, hedonists, Mojitos, Key Lime Pies, drag queens and Hemingway clones, this city on the Keys is the most liberal spot east of San Francisco.

5. MAGIC KINGDOM PARK®
Orlando has been shaped by Disney World®, the mother of all theme parks – and Cinderella’s castle in the Magic Kingdom Park® is the princess of all fairy tale castles.

6. KENNEDY SPACE CENTER
Get a taste of exciting contemporary history: it was from this space station that America took its first steps toward the stars.

7. PENSACOLA
Founded in 1565, Florida’s western most city is a pleasant, peaceful place. Alongside the Old Town, the gleaming white beaches are a magical attraction.

8. LITTLE HAVANA
Florida would be unimaginable without Cubans. Miami’s Little Havana – with the Calle Ocho at heart – brims with Cuban life like nowhere else in the USA.

9. ST. AUGUSTINE
With its romantic alleyways and plazas, St. Augustine – Florida’s birthplace – still has an unmistakably Spanish Colonial feel to this day.

10. TAMPA AREA BEACHES
Pinellas Peninsula by Tampa is a real tropical paradise. The soft, white, sugar fine sand makes the peninsula a real Mecca for all lovers of sun and fun!

 

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Top 10 Things To Do On Gran Canaria

Marco Polo’s list of the top 10 things not to be missed on Gran Canaria! Our best recommendations – from the top down – help you to plan your tour of Gran Canaria’s most important sights.

Gran Canaria Marco Polo Guide

1. MUSEO CANARIO
The most important museum in the Canary Island archipelago is to be found in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It sheds light on the life and culture of the island people in ancient times whose most famous artefact is the Idol of Tara.

2. DUNAS DE MASPALOMAS
A hint of the Sahara sweeps across this stupendous dune landscape between Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés. Some of the dunes are 10m (33ft) wide and up to 20m (66ft) high.

3. ROQUE NUBLO
A popular hiking trail leads up to these bizarre rock pinnacles from where the reward for the strenuous climb is a breathtaking view.

4. CENOBIO DE VALERÓN
This cave system, used by the island’s first inhabitants, comprises some 300 chambers carved out of tuff; it is regarded as one of the most important archaeological sites in the Canary Island archipelago.

5. CALDERA DE BANDAMA
The virtually round cauldron is the product of a massive eruption. Pico de Bandama nearby, offers a wonderful view of the volcanic scenery and the sea of houses that make up the island’s capital.

6. JARDÍN CANARIO
The botanic garden showcases the exceptional variety of plants on the Canary Islands, including several impressive dragon trees.

7. TEROR
Many of the old houses in the historical district of this little country town – considered the most ‘typically Canarian’ of all towns on the island – boast artistically crafted balconies and idyllic patios.

8. PUERTO DE MOGÁN
Gran Canaria even has its own ‘Little Venice’ – part of this beautiful coastal resort around the marina is built out into the water.

9. PALMITOS PARQUE
More than 200 different species of birds, as well as other animals, live in this park that extends over more than 49 acres. Its stars are those that perform in special shows.

10. ARTENARA
From here, the highest village on the island, and the Mirador de Unamuno, you have a spectacular view of the mountain scenery.

 

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Top 10 Things To Do On Tenerife

Marco Polo’s list of the top 10 things not to be missed on Tenerife! Our best recommendations – from the top down – help you to plan your tour of Tenerife’s most important sights.

Tenerife Marco Polo Guide

1. PARQUE NACIONAL DEL TEIDE
Towering over the volcanic landscape of the national park is the Pico del Teide, the highest mountain in Spain (3,718m/12,200ft). The cable car takes you up to 3,550m (11,650ft) and, if you wish, you can then climb up to the summit.

2. LA LAGUNA
As you stroll through the historic centre of this World Heritage Site, the cathedral, churches and cloisters are a clear reminder of Tenerife’s colonial past.

3. ICOD DE LOS VINOS
An enormous dragon tree is this small wine town’s main attraction. Just to the north, in the parish church, you can admire an imposing silver cross.

4. MASCA
The gorge that opens up by this picturesque mountain village in the Teno Mountains promises fit outdoor enthusiasts a spectacular experience.

5. PUERTO DE LA CRUZ
This popular holiday destination ranks highly for its attractive old town centre, and also for the Lago Martiánez swimming complex, designed by César Manrique, in which water activities and art flow harmoniously together.

6. LA OROTAVA
Even the famous German naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt could not resist the charm of the historic district’s streets and alleys.

7. SAN ANDRÉS
People from Santa Cruz love the fish restaurants here. What is more, Tenerife’s most beautiful palm-fringed beach can be found on the Playa de las Teresitas.

8. MONTAÑAS DE ANAGA
Tenerife’s hiking paradise offers a captivating mix of unspoilt laurel forests, panoramic views and remote mountain villages.

9. VALLE GRAN REY
A wonderful valley on La Gomera with beautifully laid terraces, palm groves and a touch of flower power.

10. PLAZA DE ESPAÑA & PLAZA DE LA CANDELARIA
These interlocking squares were given a makeover by London’s Tate Modern architects Herzog & de Meuron; their saltwater lake is particularly impressive.

 

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Top 10 Things To Do On Madeira

Marco Polo’s list of the top 10 things not to be missed on Madeira! Our best recommendations – from the top down – help you to plan your tour of Madeira’s most important sights.

Madeira Marco Polo Guide

1. ZONA VELHA
Funchal’s Old Town district with its restored houses and rustic restaurants is the absolute number one – night and day.

2. PICO DO ARIEIRO
In the area around Madeira’s highest peaks, the Pico do Arieiro and the Pico Ruivo, the island’s raw beauty is absolutely overwhelming.

3. MONTE
A hill village that resembles an enchanted fairy-tale park with lush vegetation and magical art.

4. PORTO MONIZ
One highlight of a visit to this pretty holiday town is a dip in the cool water lapping between the black lava cliffs.

5. CURRAL DAS FREIRAS
The view from Eira do Serrado down into the Nun’s Valley is absolutely breathtaking.

6. RIBEIRO FRIO
One of the best places to go to explore Madeira’s famous laurel forest – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is Ribeiro Frio (Cold Stream). A walk to the Balcões (Balcony) viewpoint takes you into the midst of this green splendour.

7. QUINTA DAS CRUZES
This venerable 18th century mansion is not only home to an impressive array of art treasures, it also showcases typical island architecture. The garden, which is full of archaeological gems, is a veritable oasis of calm in the town.

8. MACHICO
Madeira’s second largest town – after the capital of Funchal – boasts historic churches and fortresses as well as a golden yellow, albeit artificially created, sandy beach. Beach time!

9. SÃO VICENTE–PORTO MONIZ
Between Sao Vincente and Porto Moniz a road carved into the cliffside tunnels its way from one spectacular view to the next. Admire the unique coastal panorama at, for instance, the Véu da Noiva viewpoint not far from Seixal.

10. ADEGAS DE SÃO FRANCISCO
Madeira’s most valuable asset is a liquid asset: its golden Madeira wine, which is produced in, among other places, Adegas de São Francisco. You can try this fine wine in the former Franciscan monastery.

 

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Top 10 Things To Do On Fuerteventura

Marco Polo’s list of the top 10 things not to be missed on Fuerteventura! Our best recommendations – from the top down – help you to plan your tour of Fuerteventura’s most important sights.

Fuerteventura Marco Polo Guide

1. PLAYAS DE JANDÍA
Fuerteventura’s beach paradise is the main reason that millions of tourists flock to this island in the sun every year.

2. BETANCURIA
Located inland, away from the sea, the old capital retains its colonial flair and is one of the most popular day-trip destinations on the island.

3. ANTIGUA
A windmill forms the hub of a museum complex that also includes a botanical garden and a crafts centre.

4. ISLA DE LOBOS
It is possible to explore the uninhabited island just off the north coast by booking a boat trip combined with a short walking tour. The highlight is climbing the Montaña Caldera volcano.

5. CORRALEJO
A popular holiday destination on the north of the island is Corralejo; stretching along the coast to the south is a magnificent dune and beach landscape. At sunrise, the dunes look absolutely amazing.

6. LA OLIVA
In the north, the fortified Casa del los Coroneles provides an excellent view of the island’s turbulent past.

7. ECOMUSEO DE LA ALCOGIDA
In the intricately and lovingly designed open-air museum, five beautifully restored farmhouses demonstrate how the rural population used to live.

8. OASIS PARK
The large zoo, embedded in what for Fuerteventura could almost be classed as lush subtropical vegetation, is a favourite with children for its sea lion and reptile shows.

9. PARQUE NACIONAL TIMANFAYA
A day trip to the neighbouring island of Lanzarote introduces you to the wonderful volcanic legacy of the Canary Islands.

10. AMEOS DEL AGUA
The highlights of the fantasy grotto created by César Manrique inside this lava tube are a Caribbean-style pool and a cave-based auditorium famous for its fantastic acoustics.

 

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Top 10 Things To Do In Berlin

Marco Polo’s list of the top 10 things not to be missed in Berlin! Our best recommendations – from the top down – help you to plan your tour of Berlin’s most important sights.

Berlin Marco Polo Guide

Photo Credit: The Migrant Expats

1. PARISER PLATZ
This square comes top of our list with its captivating mix of the Brandenburg Gate, a classy hotel, embassies and the Academy of Arts.

2. MUSEUMSINSEL
Five different museums boasting one of the most valuable collections of art and historical artefacts in the world! The Pergamon altar in the Pergamonmuseum and the Neues Museum’s bust of Nefertiti are particularly worth a visit.

3. ALEXANDERPLATZ
Visit the Fernsehturm (TV Tower) for great views of the square, the World Clock, the Neptune
Fountain, the Rotes Rathaus, the Alexa Shopping Centre and many department stores.

4. REICHSTAG
The view from the glass dome of the Reichstag lets you keep an eye on the city’s government district while admiring the plenary chamber, the Brandenburg Gate and the old centre of Berlin.

5. SONY CENTER
Fantastic light effects make Potsdamer Platz particularly entrancing at night. The Film and TV Museum is a must.

6. GENDARMENMARKT
Found near Friedrichstraße, Berlin’s most beautiful square is home to the historic glory of the Konzerthaus and the German and French cathedrals.

7. SCHLOSS CHARLOTTENBURG
Berlin’s largest palace with private royal apartments, a valuable art collection and a French baroque garden. Queen Luise is entombed in the Mausoleum.

8. JÜDISCHES MUSEUM
Two thousand years of Jewish history are documented within Daniel Libeskind’s breathtaking architectural design.

9. KAISER-WILHELM-GEDÄCHTNISKIRCHE
The ruined old tower rises up high into the sky like an admonitory finger while the New Church’s 30,000 blocks of glass gleam next door.

10. HACKESCHE HÖFE
An ensemble of courtyards off the Hackescher Markt with shops, theatres and a cinema.

 

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Top 10 Things To Do In Dresden

Marco Polo’s list of the top 10 things not to be missed in Dresden! Our best recommendations – from the top down – help you to plan your tour of Dresden’s most important sights. 

Dresden Marco Polo Guide

1. FRAUENKIRCHE
This church is Dresden’s historic landmark. It disappeared from the cityscape for many years after being destroyed in World War II. Since 2005, the massive dome has once again dominated the silhouette of the city’s Altstadt.

2. ZWINGER & GEMÄLDEGALERIE ALTE MEISTER
A masterwork of Saxon Baroque: three of the most important museums in Dresden are housed in the pavilions and adjacent Semperbau.

3. RESIDENZSCHLOSS
Prince electors and kings resided here for over four centuries. Today, their treasures can be admired in the Grünes Gewölbe and in the Armoury. The panoramic view from the Hausmannsturm is a must.

4. SEMPEROPER & THEATERPLATZ
This square’s unique architectural ensemble creates the ceremonious setting for one of the world’s most famous opera houses.

5. BRÜHLSCHE TERRASSE
Locals and tourists alike admire the view from the “Balcony of Europe” down to the steamers on the Elbe and Dresden’s Neustadt quarter.

6. SCHLOSS & PARK PILLNITZ
The summer residence of the Dresden royal court is one of the most unusual castle complexes in Saxony and a perfect symbiosis of architecture and nature.

7. ELBE CASTLES
Three 19th century castles on the banks of the Elbe – between vineyards and parks – seem to be straight out of a fairy tale when seen in the morning mist.

8. KÖRNERPLATZ
Relax and unwind with a stroll around the square. There are half-timbered houses, handicraft shops, two funicular railways, cosy cafés and a view of the so-called “Blue Wonder” bridge.

9. GROSSER GARTEN
The most beautiful of the city’s parks has avenues of trees, ponds, open-air stages, a botanical garden, a park railway and a car factory.

10. ÄUSSERE NEUSTADT
There are countless pubs, bars, galleries and hip shops in the liveliest quarter in Dresden and this is also where you will find the Kunsthofpassage, a series of quirky, artistic courtyards.

 

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