Find Your Personal Nirvana in Budapest, Copenhagen, or Curaçao
Budapest: Exploring exquisite architecture
With an awe-inspiring skyline set against the backdrop of the glorious Danube River that divides the undulating urban landscape, the city of Budapest features incredible design throughout its two separate sides, referred to as “Buda” and “Pest.” This fairy-tale like Hungarian city is best discovered through its distinctive architecture, with diverse styles reflecting Roman, Greek, Art Nouveau and others. Strolling around town’s hilly terrain, you’ll be inspired by the historic and elegant Chain bridge; the majestic Parliament building and the Castle district -- all hallmarks of the city. Admire even more design by taking a dip in one of Budapest’s famous thermal baths, which feature grand architectural Roman and Turkish elements dating back centuries. Over 100 natural springs run beneath the city, with waters known to possess healing properties. These traditional baths are gathering spots that offer visitors the chance to truly intermingle with residents and get a firsthand feel for everyday life in the city. Afterward, check out the hip “ruin pubs” that have transformed a once-blighted neighborhood abandoned during WWII into a vibrant area that attracts locals and tourists alike with multi-floors of bold and unexpected pop art mixed with surprising and spirited designs.
Copenhagen: Tasting culinary creations.
Timing is everything, and this charming seaside city’s culinary scene is booming. Elevating itself into a major food lover's destination, Copenhagen has evolved from its former reputation known for serving bland, unappetizing dishes into a world-famous restaurant hub featuring cuisine from around the world. This Danish city is now home to a multitude of Michelin-starred establishments – including chef Rene Redzepi’s Noma, which was voted the “Best in the World in 2010.” Featuring locally-sourced products, authentic ingredients and inventive dishes, Noma has raised the bar high and has become a culinary leader in the Nordic culinary community. As the city boasts enthusiastic chefs who are introducing inventive cuisine, eateries here are attracting globe-trotting food-lovers who desire a big taste of the palate-pleasing creativity emerging from Scandinavia. (Of course, smart food-focused travelers should plan their dining strategies before the trip and make their reservations in advance). Several other hot restaurants that are changing the city’s culinary landscape include: Kiin Kiin, one of the few Thai restaurants with a Michelin star not located in Asia; Kong Hans Kaelder situated in the oldest building the city and in former home of famous writer Hans Christian Andersen; and Formel B, a chic French eatery with a menu that changes monthly.
Curaçao: Caribbean Paradise
As the understated letter “C” in the A-B-C islands that include Aruba and Bonaire, the enchanting oasis of Curaçao is ready for its close-up. This sedate Western Caribbean destination is a bit under-the-radar, despite being a quick 30-minute flight from its popular big sister, Aruba. Part of the Netherlands Antilles, this island is a tranquil spot, offering a pristine getaway with gorgeous, dramatic scenery and exquisite restaurants -- as well as an array of cultural activities. With about 40 picturesque beaches to choose from, you can easily spend the day relaxing in the sunshine, snorkeling beneath the waves and swimming in the sea. Known for world-class diving, Curaçao attracts visitors from across the world to explore its famed reefs, which are teeming with colorful and abundant sea life. For a taste of history and culture, you can spend the day meandering around quaint Willemstad, the island's lively capital, which features Dutch-influenced architecture and rows of pastel-colored buildings. An array of restaurants with outdoor terraces surround the harbor, offering a variety of local delights -- including fresh seafood and Caribbean specialties. Food lovers also enjoy sipping the destination’s specialty liquor, the turquoise-hued Blue Curaçao, an authentic spirit that is often mixed into tropical cocktails. Perfect for toasting your vacation!