Last updated: 03:00 AM ET, Mon March 23 2015

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  • Nicole Connolly | March 23, 2015 3:00 AM ET

    Top 5 Cities For Architectural Travel (and Great Food)

    Top 5 Cities For Architectural Travel (and Great Food)

    Photo courtesy of the Tourism Institute of Spain

    There is nothing better than knowing that one’s next destination is aesthetically appealing and full of delicious things to eat. After all, one has to have something tasty to snack on while taking in all the extraordinary designs that the world has to offer travelers. Keeping both of these highly important factors in mind, we have decided to compile the top 5 cities for architectural travel, with an eye on the local culinary offerings as well.

    Barcelona, Spain

    Various styles collide in the works of Antoni Gaudí, a renowned Catalan architect, who helped create the current Barcelona landscape. Samples of his work can be found in places ranging from the La Sagrada Família cathedral to the former private home known as the Casa Batlló. The brightly colored mosaics and elaborate wrought iron used in many of Gaudí’s creations are now commonly categorized as an excellent example of the Catalan Modern design. A number of other interesting architectural structures can be found throughout Barcelona, no doubt helping make it one of the most popular cities for travelers to visit in Spain. The region is also known for its fine wines and pork-based Mediterranean-style dishes so guests will certainly not go hungry.

    Florence, Italy

    This city was the birthplace of the Renaissance, and the styles found in this location reflect that fact. The columns, domes, and realistic artwork of the period can be seen in various places throughout Florence such as the Duomo and the Santa Maria Novella Basilica. This city is also home to numerous examples of baroque, neoclassical, and medieval designs as well as those that reflect a more modern style. Italy is well-known for its delicious cuisine which includes treats like gelato and pizza that have gained a worldwide following. Meanwhile, Florence was named one of the best cities in the world by Condé Nast Traveler in 2013.

    Photo courtesy of the Morocco National Tourist Office

    Marrakech, Morocco

    Traditional Moorish architectural elements as well as more modern designs are on display in this city. Of especial note are the riad-style houses with their unique features such as clay walls, interior courtyards, gardens, and skylights. There are many beautiful buildings to be found here such as the Ali Ben Youssef Madrasa and the Marrakech Palace. A number of noteworthy and decorative mosques are also interspersed throughout the city, and several can be found near the historic marketplace area. Marrakech has extensive clay ramparts that surround it. These fortifications dates back to the Middle Ages and the tinge of these walls give rise to its nickname, “The Red City.” Travelers will also be happy to hear that Moroccan cuisine is known for its deliciously spicy tagines, pastilla, and couscous dishes.

    Athens, Greece

    Famous for its architectural styles, the capital of Greece has inspired several revivals of its classic designs. Temples, statues, and elaborate mosaics are the draws at this location, but the history of the city cannot be ignored. Among the most famous places in Athens are the Parthenon, which was built to honor the town’s patron goddess Athena, and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a classical style theatre that is still in use to this day. The ancient Greeks also planned sophisticated cities and elaborate homes, the remains of which can still be seen to this day in a number of locations. As for the cuisine, it goes without saying that Greek food is among the world’s best ranging from honey-soaked baklava to gyros, grilled meats, and fresh seafood.

    Photo courtesy of Janeen Christoff

    Beijing, China

    Although the Great Wall is easily accessed from Beijing, the city has far more to offer architecture enthusiasts than traditional Chinese buildings. In honor of the 2008 Olympics, a number of modern, asymmetrical structures were erected in the city as well. These buildings were meant to draw the eye and impress international visitors. Among the noteworthy modern constructions found in the city are the Watercube National Swimming Centre, the National Library, and the National Grand Theater of China. However, both older and newer constructions are alike in that they show great attention to detail. Of course, no visit to this town would be complete without taking in traditional places such as the Forbidden City and the Tianning Pagoda. Visitors are sure to work up an appetite with all their sightseeing but will have plenty of delectable options on hand. The Chinese capital has culinary offerings that meld the strictly traditional with the most innovative in gastronomic techniques. Yet, it is still a good place for wonton soup as well as sweet and sour pork, but that’s not all that can be found here.


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Nicole Connolly Suitcase Stories' Luxe Life Travel Tales and Tips

Nicole Connolly Nicole, along with her husband Michael, left her ordinary life behind for a life of extraordinary travel. The couple left Australia in March 2012 and have been traveling ever since. Nicole has a penchant for all things luxury and this shows in their lifestyle. They may live the life of a gypsy but they certainly know how to do it in style. Their goal is to share their experiences and show others how a life of luxury is possible without the big bank account. Follow their adventures at
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