Rio de Janeiro is a huge seaside city in Brazil, famed for its Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, 38m Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado and for Sugarloaf Mountain, a granite peak with cable cars to its summit. The city is also known for its sprawling favelas (shanty towns). Its raucous Carnaval festival, featuring parade floats, flamboyant costumes and samba dancers, is considered the world’s largest.
Pula, a seafront city on the tip of Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula, is known for its protected harbor, beach-lined coast and Roman ruins. Settled in the prehistoric era and valued for its strategic location, Pula has been occupied, destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. The Romans, Ostrogoths and Venetians, as well as the Allied Forces in World War II, have each administered the city.
Riccione is a town on Italy’s Adriatic coast. It’s known for its vibrant party scene, water parks and broad beaches. Along the boutique-lined Viale Ceccarini, Papa Giovanni Paolo II Park has shaded paths. Nearby, the early-20th-century Villa Franceschi houses the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea. Artifacts from prehistory to Roman times, including a bison skeleton, are on display at the Museo del Territorio.
Palermo is the capital of the Italian island of Sicily. The 12th-century Palermo Cathedral houses royal tombs, while the huge neoclassical Teatro Massimo is known for opera performances. Also in the center are the Palazzo dei Normanni, a royal palace started in the 9th century, and the Cappella Palatina, with Byzantine mosaics. Busy markets include the central Ballarò street market and the Vucciria, near the port.
Vancouver, a bustling west coast seaport in British Columbia, is among Canada’s densest, most ethnically diverse cities. A popular filming location, it’s surrounded by mountains, and also has thriving art, theatre and music scenes. Vancouver Art Gallery is known for its works by regional artists, while the Museum of Anthropology houses preeminent First Nations collections.
Ravenna is a city in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. It’s known for the colorful mosaics adorning many of its central buildings, like the octagonal Basilica di San Vitale, the 6th-century Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo and the cross-shaped Mausoleo di Galla Placidia. North of the center, the Mausoleo di Teodorico built in the 6th century for King Theodoric the Great, is a Gothic, circular stone tomb with a monolithic dome.
Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, is known for its art and architecture. The fantastical Sagrada Família church and other modernist landmarks designed by Antoni Gaudí dot the city. Museu Picasso and Fundació Joan Miró feature modern art by their namesakes. City history museum MUHBA, includes several Roman archaeological sites.
Balneário Camboriú is a resort city in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. It’s known for its high-rise buildings and beaches like Praia Central. Bars, restaurants and shops line Avenida Atlântica, a busy boulevard next to the beach. Unipraias Park sits at the mouth of the Rio Camboriú, offering city views from zip lines and cable cars. The Cristo Luz Monument, a huge statue of Christ, overlooks the city.
The port city of Valencia lies on Spain’s southeastern coast, where the Turia River meets the Mediterranean Sea. It’s known for its City of Arts and Sciences, with futuristic structures including a planetarium, an oceanarium and an interactive museum. Valencia also has several beaches, including some within nearby Albufera Park, a wetlands reserve with a lake and walking trails.
Marseille, a port city in southern France, has been a crossroads of immigration and trade since its founding by the Greeks circa 600 B.C. At its heart is the Vieux-Port (Old Port), where fishmongers sell their catch along the boat-lined quay. Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde is a Romanesque-Byzantine church. Modern landmarks include Le Corbusier’s influential Cité Radieuse complex and Zaha Hadid’s CMA CGM Tower.