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Perfect for those times when you are looking to spoil yourself with a romantic getaway or special experience.Kendinizi romantik bir kaçamak veya özel bir deneyimle şımartmak istediğiniz zamanlar için mükemmeldir.Looking for a vacation of a lifetime? Or Marking a special occasion? See some exclusive inspirations.Bir ömür boyu tatil mi arıyorsunuz? Veya özel bir günü işaretlemek? Bazı özel ilhamlara bakın.

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10 Of The Very Best Places To Visit In Cuba / By Diana Rita Cabrera / Lonely Planet Editors / Istanbul / Travel Exclusive News / Janbolat Khanat Almaty Tourism News Office
Experience the very best of Cuba with these top places to visit © mrtom-uk / Getty Images
From gorgeous cities swaying to the beat of tropical rhythms to unspoiled, lush forests, Cuba delights travelers with a wide variety of contrasting places.
Travelers will find eclectic architecture, white-sand beaches and prime wildlife-watching spots across the country. Here are 10 places worth adding to your Cuba itinerary to truly experience the Caribbean’s biggest and most fascinating island.
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1. Valle de Viñales
Best for beautiful natural landscapes and tobacco
About 180km (100 miles) west of Havana, Viñales is one of the most beautiful places in Cuba. It was added to Unesco’s World Heritage list because of its dramatic landscapes of red soils and distinctive limestone outcrops called mogotes. 
Viñales has the best casas particulares in Cuba and some of the friendliest and most helpful casa owners who are the go-to coordinators for local activities. Choose from cycling, horseback riding or hiking to Los Acuáticos and Valle del Palmarito, or drive to the Gran Caverna Santo Tomás, Cuba’s largest cave system. 
Planning Tip: Touted as the growing spot of the world’s best tobacco, Viñales isn’t fully experienced unless you book an expert-guided tour inside the triangle-roofed drying houses scattered on local tobacco plantations.
Cuban musician playing trombone on the Malecon seafront.

Join locals on Havana’s Malecón © Buckhead720 / Budget Travel
2. Havana
Best Cuban city for art and architecture


The Cuban capital of Havana is packed with vintage cars, embellished with old-world cobblestoned plazas and silhouetted on the north by a five-mile sea drive known as the Malecón. Make sure you visit Habana Vieja’s old squares for a glimpse of the colonial architecture that shaped the city in the 1700s and 1800s, and admire the palatial mansions that now operate as museums and hotels. A walk along pedestrianized Obispo Boulevard offers art galleries, shops, music venues and incredible architecture, with buildings ranging from the 1700s to the late 1900s in just a mile.
Planning Tip: Art is everywhere in Havana, with plenty of galleries and artsy outdoor areas such as San Isidro Art District or Fusterlandia. For an in-depth session on Cuba’s artistic history, spend a day at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes – Arte Cubano.
3. Varadero
Best Cuban beach resort
Even if every tourist in Cuba decided to meet in Varadero, there’s still room for more. Varadero is Cuba’s best beach resort, with 20km (12 miles) of white, powdery sand and impossibly crystalline waters. You can stay in all types of accommodations, from top-end all-inclusive resorts to beautiful casas particulares (private homestays). Casas serve as B&Bs and range from budget-friendly rooms adjacent to family houses to classy hostels with private swimming pools. Families enjoy Varadero’s safe, shallow shores while revelers dance the night away at Casa de la Música or themed party nights at hotels.
Planning Tip: When you tire of the beach (if there is such a thing!), while away an afternoon sipping rum-infused cocktails at Mansión Xanadú’s rooftop bar while gazing out at the peninsula. 
Street musicians in Santiago de Cuba

Experience the rhythms of Santiago de Cuba © Benjamin Rondel / Getty Images
4. Santiago de Cuba
Best for understanding Cuba’s revolutionary past 


Considered the second capital of Cuba, Santiago de Cuba was the HQ of the revolutionary guerrillas in the 1950s, but there’s more to experience here. Caribbean rhythms, tropical flavors and frenzied festivals set the rhythm of this colorful city.
Start with a visit to Cuartel Moncada, one of Cuba’s best museums, with a curated collection of the guerrillas’ paraphernalia and a detailed explanation of the events that started the 1959 revolution. Continue your journey through the past at the Basílica de la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, Cuba’s most venerated church. It has an exhibition of offerings given to the patron saint, including those given by the bearded revolutionaries themselves in the 1950s.
Planning Tip: In symphony with its rebellious roots, Santiago bursts with a constant party-like atmosphere, reaching its pinnacle at the nationally famous Carnavales right after the Día de la Rebeldía Nacional on July 26. 
5. Trinidad
Best place to shop for crafts
Declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1988 and a World Craft City in 2018, Trinidad, full of cobblestoned streets and colonial-era mansions, is not only Cuba’s best-preserved “open-air museum,” but it’s also a cradle of the best handmade crafts on the island. Trinitarian needleworkers stitch their linen pieces at open-air markets, exhibiting handmade clothing, delicate embroidered tablecloths and garments such as guayaberas (Yucatán shirt).
Planning Tip: You’re likely to see local markets on pedestrianized parts of the town’s historical center, adjacent to the Playa Mayor, but artisans also display a daily fair on the base of Torre Manaca Iznaga 16km (10 miles) outside of Trinidad.
6. Baracoa
Best for wildlife and nature
Located in the easternmost tip of Cuba, just getting to Baracoa is an experience in and of itself. The road from Guantánamo leads to La Farola, a sinuous 60km-long (37-mile) road considered the most scenic drive in Cuba. Expect a three-hour trip through lush mountains, interrupted only by vendors of cucuruchos de Baracoa, a cone-shaped mix of coconut flakes, honey, guava paste and a fruity flavor (such as pineapple and orange rinds) all wrapped up in a palm frond.
Planning Tip: Río Duaba and El Yunque are great spots for hiking among abundant flora and birdlife, but if you’re looking for a deeper immersion into semi-virgin forests, book a tour at Parque Nacional Alejandro de Humboldt.
7. Camagüey
Best city for strolling
Elegant and artistic, Camagüey oozes charm and youthful energy, but it’s the surprisingly intricate street pattern of the city center that usually strikes visitors most. With most of the grid formed by one-way narrow streets, it’s almost impossible to sort it out if you’re behind the wheel. Instead, stroll around maze-like alleys to discover small but lovely plazas all within walking distance from one another.
Spend a day wandering between the artisan market in Plaza San Juan de Dios and the less-visited Plaza del Carmen, home of the inspiring art gallery of Martha Jiménez Pérez.
Planning Tip: Check out Cuba’s narrowest and shortest streets while you’re in Camagüey. Callejón del Cura is only 1.4m (4.6ft) wide, while Callejón de la Miseria is 15m (49ft) wide, with only two houses facing each another.
8. Matanzas
Best for live performances
Touted as the Athens of Cuba, Matanzas is the homeland of some of the country’s most cherished performers, such as Miguel Failde, creator of the cheek-to-cheek danzón (ballroom dance). The city is also the birthplace of rumba, an Afro-Cuban dance that 70-year-old music group Muñequitos de Matanzas has promoted worldwide. Look out for live music performances held weekly at the Museo Histórico Provincial – Palacio de Junco.
Local Tip: For travelers looking for a more Cuban Cuba – and not the usual tourist postcard of Varadero – Matanzas offers alluring architecture, featuring neoclassical buildings like the fully restored Teatro Sauto or living antiques like the Museo Farmacéutico, founded as the first of its type in Latin America in 1882.  
Catamaran on a day trip sailing to nearby islands from Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos is located on a natural bay that’s great for kayaking, fishing and windsurfing © Mark Read / Lonely Planet
9. Cienfuegos
Best place for activities at sea
Known as the Pearl of the South, Cienfuegos is Cuba’s French-inspired city, founded in 1819 on a beautiful natural bay. Deep enough to welcome cruises and mega-yachts, the bay is best enjoyed from Punta Gorda and the nautical centers at Club Cienfuegos and Marlin Marina Cienfuegos.
Planning Tip: Enjoy a day kayaking, fishing or windsurfing, but make sure you include an excursion to Laguna Guanaroca, Cienfuegos’ natural protected area, for a chance of birdwatching flamingoes and a boat trip on the lake.
10. Playa Girón
Best for diving and birdwatching
South of Matanzas province, Playa Girón has one of the country’s best diving sites that isn’t far offshore – no boat required! The clear Caribbean waters offer impressive clarity and a colorful variety of marine fauna. Go for a refreshing swim at a gorgeous cove at Caleta Buena or look for coral reefs at Punta Perdiz.
Playa Girón is also one of the best places in Cuba for bird watching because it is part of the Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata, which welcomes about two-thirds of the nearly 350 bird species of Cuba. 
Planning Tip: On the way from Playa Larga to Playa Girón, make sure you stop at Cueva de Los Peces, one of Cuba’s few cenotes.
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Travel Exclusive News / Istanbul / Turkey / 7 Of The Best Neighborhoods in Istanbul / By Jennifer Hattam

With its huge size and centuries of history, it would be impossible to see all of Istanbul in one trip – or perhaps even in one lifetime.

Still, its central neighborhoods are relatively compact, and each has its own distinct character and offerings. First-time visitors and those on a tight schedule will likely want to book a hotel in Sultanahmet, smack in the middle of Istanbul’s star attractions, while time spent in other districts gives insights into different aspects of local life in a city that contains multitudes.

Get to know Istanbul by each neighborhood one at a time.

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1. Sultanahmet

Best place to stay for unmissable sights 

The (seriously) historic center of Istanbul and the former seat of both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, Sultanahmet contains the majority of the city’s most-visited sights within walking distance of each other, making it a convenient base.

For historic atmosphere, it’s certainly hard to beat: the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque face off across Sultanahmet Square, with the storied Hippodrome alongside and the grandeur of Topkapı Palace just a stone’s throw away. Even seemingly nondescript parks, plazas and parking lots are built atop or alongside ancient ruins. 

With a dense concentration of hotels, accommodation options cater to every budget, including rooms in restored Ottoman mansions and simple pansiyons (hostels) with million-dollar rooftop views over the neighborhood’s domes and minarets.

The flip side is that little local life remains in Sultanahmet, and the generally tourist-focused restaurants hardly show off Turkish cuisine at its best.

People walking on Istiklal Street in Beyoğlu, Istanbul with a tram running up the center

Get a taste of Istanbul’s contemporary culture in Beyoğlu © Boris Stroujko / Shutterstock

2. Beyoğlu

Best neighborhood for contemporary art and culture

Across the Golden Horn (and a short tram ride away) from Sultanahmet, winding streets climb past the Galata Tower to İstiklal Caddesi, the pedestrian thoroughfare that cuts through the bustling Beyoğlu district.

Known in the past as Pera and Galata, this area has historically been home to many of Istanbul’s Christian and foreign communities. Today, it retains numerous – and sometimes beautifully restored – European-style apartments from the late 19th and early 20th century. 

Important cultural institutions such as the Pera Museum, the newly opened Istanbul ModernSALT BeyoğluSALT Galata (in the former headquarters of the Ottoman Bank), the Istanbul Research Institute and numerous small galleries have established themselves in some of these buildings, making the neighborhood ideal for an afternoon of art-going.

Though no longer the nexus of the city’s dining and nightlife scene it once was, Beyoğlu still has fine contemporary restaurants as well as lively meyhanes (taverns) where the raki and conviviality flow freely.

In addition to the large hotels around Taksim Square, you can find smaller hotels and rental apartments in the Cihangir, Çukurcuma, Galata and Karaköy quarters within Beyoğlu, each of which has an attractive atmosphere of its own.

3. Fener and Balat

Best areas for antiques and Instagram shoots

Traces of history blend with a stylish present in the adjacent neighborhoods of Fener and Balat, along the banks of the Golden Horn.

The landmark “iron church” and Patriarchal Church of St George attest to the area’s more cosmopolitan past, while colorful old homes and cobbled streets have become a favorite backdrop for film crews and Instagram influencers alike. 

Antique collectors, bargain hunters and nostalgia buffs descend on the neighborhood’s many antique stores, especially when they hold lively auctions, while the cafe culture here thrives.

This area doesn’t have many hotel or nightlife options, but a tram along the water – as well as a slower but more scenic ferry on the Golden Horn – make it relatively easy to get back to Sultanahmet or Beyoğlu after a day’s leisurely wandering. 

A couple take a smiling selfie as they ride on the ferry with the Istanbul skyline in the background

The ferry ride to Kadıköy is a quintessential Istanbul experience in itself © petekarici / Getty Images

4. Kadıköy

Best area for cafes and nightlife

The popularity of the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of Istanbul has exploded in recent years, creating a neighborhood that’s vibrant day and night, with third-wave coffee shops, hip boutiques, small independent art galleries, restaurants, cocktail bars, pubs and live-music venues. 

While the neighborhood has a few notable sights – a museum dedicated to a beloved Turkish rock star, a 1927 opera house, a mixed-use cultural center in a restored gasworks, a colorful street market – the main attraction is simply soaking in the scene and admiring the spectacular sunsets from the long waterfront park’s promenade.

This area has a handful of hotel options, mostly near the water, but it’s easy to hop over for the day or evening from Eminönü or Karaköy on a ferry ride – a quintessential Istanbul experience in itself. 

5. Nişantaşı and Teşvikiye

Best places to go for luxury shopping

Just north of Taksim Square, chic Nişantaşı and Teşvikiye draw a fashionable set with their leafy streets lined with designer boutiques and high-end department stores, stylish sidewalk cafes and grand apartment buildings.

This area has good restaurants and some luxurious hotels, too. The neighborhoods abut Maçka Park, one of the largest green spaces in the city center and a popular spot with picnickers, dog walkers and joggers. 

Though the area is in the central city, limited transportation links are a downside. Walking to the Osmanbey metro station or downhill to the buses and ferries of Beşiktaş are the best ways to connect to the rest of the city.

6. Kurtuluş and Bomonti

Best areas for market shopping and local life

Down-to-earth Kurtuluş and up-and-coming Bomonti are just on the opposite side of the Osmanbey metro station from Nişantaşı and Teşvikiye – but a world away in atmosphere.

Kurtuluş offers the best of traditional neighborhood life, with bustling streets and a wealth of small homestyle restaurants, bakeries, delis and other food stores. 

Anchored around the Bomontiada entertainment complex in a historic brewery building, Bomonti has a growing dining and nightlife scene, as well as some higher-end hotels. In between is Feriköy, where an open-air market is set up in a parking garage multiple times a week, with vendors selling organic produce on Saturday, antiques on Sunday and a mixed array of foodstuffs and homewares on Mondays and Thursdays.

Boats in the Bosphorus Strait near Ortaköy Mosque in Beşiktaş, Istanbul

If you want a luxury hotel on the waterfront, head for the neighborhoods of Beşiktaş and Ortaköy © Shchipkova Elena / Shutterstock

7. Beşiktaş and Ortaköy

Best places to stay for deluxe hotels with Bosphorus views 

The neighborhoods of Beşiktaş and Ortaköy along the Bosphorus are home to some of Istanbul’s most luxurious international hotels, boasting broad views across the famous strait.

Beşiktaş itself is a busy transit hub with a youthful vibe and lots of casual bars and restaurants around its lively market area. A group of restored late-19th-century Ottoman row houses in the Akaretler part of the neighborhood, near the Naval Museum, is now home to cafes and contemporary art exhibitions. 

Sitting under the first Bosphorus Bridge, Ortaköy has a beautiful baroque mosque and a popular waterfront area. Both areas have ferry docks, though Beşiktaş has more connections.

In between sits hilly, green Yıldız Park, former hunting ground to the sultan, now a popular place to have a big Turkish breakfast buffet in a century-old pavilion.

Travel Exclusive News / Istanbul / Turkey / 7 Of The Best Neighborhoods in Istanbul / By Jennifer Hattam / Jennifer Bar,Tony Bar, Sedat Karagoz / Istanbul,New York Travel,Tourism News Office / Janbolat Khanat / Almaty Travel,Tourism News Office

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