10 sexiest cities revealed
Bookings for city breaks in 2010 have increased as UK holidaymakers cut back on the 2 week summer holiday; but where do you go to still find that holiday buzz?
Lisa Gerard-Sharp is an MSN Travel contributor. These are her top 10:
1. Beirut - Lebanon
Stylish Beirut shows off contemporary art and centuries of history in its museums; even its fast-developing business centre surrounds Roman relics.
2. Sydney - Australia
Take a setting so enticing that it lures everyone outdoors (to surf or simply to enjoy a plate of Sydney rock oysters on the grill), add the outgoing Aussie personality and you will understand Sydney's allure.
3. Cartagena - Columbia
For an unforgettable night in Cartagena, take in some of the bars, cafes, casinos and discos that the city has to offer. Some of the most popular areas to have fun are the Carralito of Stone, the Street of the Arsenal and Bocagrande.
4. Istanbul - Turkey
Eastern spice, funky fashion and mosaic-filled mosques lie gracefully along the deep blue Bosphorus, with street markets providing Istanbul's life and soul, beckoning you to plunge into a spicy haze.
5. Rio de Janeiro - Brazil
Rio's unique landscape turns practically every activity into a sightseeing experience and is hard to beat in the overtly sexy stakes.
6. Marrakech - Morocco
Morocco's most decadent city is a contradiction: dirty but chic, louche but demure, trend-setting but traditional. When the light is fading over the city's ramparts and souks they can melt your heart away.
7. St Petersburg - Russia
St Pete's wears its new-Russia gloss lightly and hasn't succumbed to rampant consumerism yet. This ice maiden among Russian cities is at its most seductive in snow flurries and during the White Nights in June, when the sun never sets.
8. Paris - France
Image-conscious and culture-mad, Paris is a vast street theatre where appearance counts. Join in the performance - pose at a terrasse café, stalk the wide Haussmannian boulevards, shop 'til you drop, reflect by the Seine and soak up the culture, from the Louvre to the Pompidou Centre. It's another world!
9. West Hollywood - US
Glitzy and glamorous, West Hollywood is anything you want it to be. Scratch beneath the shiny surface of la-la land to find the real truth beyond the Hollywood dream. Irresistible!
10. Barcelona - Spain
A riotous mix of fantastical architecture, medieval streets, Cava bars and fresh seafood restaurants. From skinny Gothic spires to Gaudí's undulating mosaic-tiled chimneys, this waterfront city bursts with Catalan culture. If the pace of late-night partying gets too much, the beach is just a hop away.
With Spring now upon us, the urge to visit any of these cities for a pre-summer break is understandable. If you are lucky enough to go, don't forget to buy your travel insurance policy.
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If you are travelling soon, have a great trip!