Dubai can already be mistaken for a movie set featuring a futuristic metropolis, and there are big plans still in the works. In the middle of the desert where almost nothing existed 20 years ago, there are so many building projects that foreign construction crews vastly outnumber citizens. Everything is the biggest, tallest, and the first of its kind, including manmade islands shaped like palm trees and the world’s first underwater hotel. It’s a striking collection of styles, including modern interpretations of Islamic architecture. If the planet’s largest shopping mall doesn’t appeal, traditional souks do still exist, including a gold souk housing over 200 retail shops.
Athens has quite a reputation to live up to. Named for Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, the city is credited with being the cradle of European civilization and birthplace of democracy. Ruins and relics of its glory days are scattered throughout the modern city, popping up where you least expect them. Its crowning glory is the Acropolis, perched atop a hillside, and covered in carved and columned temples of varying degrees of antiquity. Not quite so old is the Plaka, an appealing neighborhood for a stroll down cobblestone streets, past old mansions and a plethora of outdoor tavernas ideal for watching the world go by, while munching tasty Greek snacks.
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