Originally a fort built by the U.S. Army in 1838 during the Second Seminole War, Fort Lauderdale welcomes visitors with broad, palm-fringed beaches and an easy pace of life. Stroll along fashionable Las Olas Boulevard with its stylish shops or enjoy a sightseeing cruise through the city''s canals, boasting more waterways than Venice. Or, venture out and explore the cosmopolitan city of Palm Beach, or the wildlife sanctuary of the Everglades.
A town of churches, bridges and pubs, Cork is best known for Blarney Castle where you are invited to kiss the famed stone to acquire the "gift of gab." St. Patrick Street, the town's main thoroughfare, is good for shopping and people watching. See the Shandon bells in St. Anne's church. Those who are willing to climb the 134 winding steps to the top of the steeple will be rewarded with a wondrous view of the city, harbor and hills.
A crossroad in the English Channel for centuries, Zeebrugge is the entry to Flanders, whose golden age heritage resides in three historic cities: Ghent, Antwerp and Bruges-a jewel of a town beribboned with picturesque canals and a truly charming medieval beauty. In this region, museums proudly display the glories of the old Flemish masters, from Van Dyck to Rubens, and summertime is delightful when window boxes boast colorful flowers and the graceful arcs of windmills can be seen.
Norway's political and cultural capital, Oslo was recently selected as the city with the highest quality of life in Europe. It's not surprising, considering the city's treasures: beautiful Frogner Park filled with modern sculpture, the emotional power of the Munch Museum and the Viking Ship Museum, together with forested mountains and secluded coves, all within the city limits.
From Warnemunde, you can travel on the autobahn or railway to Berlin to view the Brandenburg Gate, Kaiser Wilhelm Church, Checkpoint Charlie Museum, the Reichstag and the collected wonders of the Pergamon Museum. Or stay down by the sea, and visit medieval Rostock and the spas of the Baltic shore.
Tallinn is the capital of the recently independent republic of Estonia. In the medieval old town, with its winding cobbled streets, there is a marvelous cathedral and Gothic town hall dating from the 14th Century.
Finland's national capital is a spacious Neoclassical city in fine white granite, whose upbeat pace and fashion sense belie the Finnish reputation for conservatism. The massive Temppeliaukio Church is carved out of solid stone, while on the Esplanadi, famous Finnish designers like Marimekko or Iitala demonstrate a lighter, more modern style.
Distributed across fourteen immaculate islands in a sheltered Baltic bay, crisscrossed by scenic bridges, Sweden's capital is one of the most beautiful cities on earth. It is a sightseeing smorgasbord, including the medieval "city between the bridges," the vast Royal Palace, and the City Hall, which hosts the yearly Nobel Prize ceremonies.
Situated on the Swedish isle of Gotland, Hanseatic Visby was one of the most powerful cities in Europe. Today quaint homes and churches huddle together inside 13th-century walls. In former times, it was called "the city of ruins and roses," for along with its rose-covered churches, there is one somber sight - Gallows Hill, a place of execution so villains "might die looking at the loveliest spot on earth."
Green Bornholm island is a favorite escape for Danes in the summer. The sea is blue, the sun is warm, the fields are bright with flowers, and the island is blessed with picturesque, round, whitewashed churches. On a bluff overlooking the sea: a ruined castle. For lunch, try local smoked herring.
The European culture capital in 1996, Copenhagen is Scandinavia's liveliest city. The musical and artistic pageantry are rivaled only by the changing of the guard ceremony in front of the Amalienborg Palace, home of the royal family since 1794. Yet certain parts of Copenhagen maintain a village-like feel, like the winding streets around the Raadhuspladsen and enchanting Tivoli Gardens.