Disarmingly blending sophistication and earthiness, Scotland’s biggest city has evolved over the last couple of decades to become one of Britain’s most intriguing metropolises.The soberly handsome Victorian buildings, legacies of wealth generated from manufacturing and trade, suggest a staid sort of place. Very wrong. They are packed with stylish bars, top-notch restaurants and one of Britain’s best live-music scenes. The place’s sheer vitality is gloriously infectious: the combination of edgy urbanity and the residents’ legendary friendliness is captivating.
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More attractive than most other Southern African capitals, Harare gets a bad rap and unjustly so. While it’s certainly not without its problems, overall it’s a safe and laid-back city where wide avenues are lined with dusty red earth, and indigenous plants and blooming jacarandas give it a lovely African summertime feel. While it’s tempting to rush off to your safari, it’s worth hanging around in Harare to sample its fine dining, museums, craft markets and varied bars.
The Seychelles – just the name conjures up images of golden sandy beaches, palm trees, turquoise waters, sunset cocktails and five-star beachside resorts. The islands are a luxurious enclave for honeymooners, celebrities and billionaires. Undeniably, the beaches are the big attraction, and what beaches: exquisite ribbons of pearlescent sand lapped by topaz waters and backed by lush hills and big glacis boulders. And hardly a soul in sight. Choosing your favourite beach is like trying to pick a flavour of ice cream – they’re all so good! Hot favourites include world-famous Anse Source d’Argent, secluded Anse Marron, sexy Anse Takamaka and picture-postcard perfect Anse Lazio.
Nigeria’s made-to-measure capital, Abuja was founded during the boom years of the 1970s. After the divisive Biafran War, the decision was made to move the capital from Lagos to the ethnically neutral centre of the country. Clean, quiet and with a good electricity supply, sometimes Abuja hardly feels like Nigeria at all. There’s not much to do, but it’s a good place to catch your breath and do some visa shopping.
After years of building a reputation as the destination for beer-swilling college students on raucous spring breaks, Fort Lauderdale now angles for a slightly more mature and sophisticated crowd. Think martinis rather than tequila shots, jazz concerts instead of wet T-shirt contests. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty of carrying-on within the confines of area bars and nightclubs. Truly, it’s hard to compete with beautiful beaches, a system of Venice-like waterways, an international yachting scene, spiffy new hotels and top-notch restaurants.