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Montréal’s Notre Dame Basilica in Quebec, Canada, is one of the most stunning examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the world. Built in 1823, this beautiful Roman Catholic church is a popular tourist stop for its amazing architecture, dramatic interior, and enthralling choral and organ performances. Notre Dame Basilica is a National Historic Site of Canada and a Montréal landmark. The church was also the wedding site of Celine Dion, a singer famous for her chart-topping hit “My Heart Will Go On” from the Titanic soundtrack.

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If an expansive white sand beach is what you’re looking for, Noordhoek Beach near Cape Town, South Africa can’t be beat. Only 35km (22 miles) from the center of Cape Town, Noordhoek beach is ideal for walkers and those seeking a horseback ride on the beach. There are also two excellent surf spots off the beach called the Hoek and Dunes. On the southern end of the beach you can find a century old wrecked steamship named the “Kakapo.” The beach is fairly isolated and lacks development so swimmers and surfers should use caution in the water. There are a couple restaurants near the beach, but for accommodation your best bet will be in Cape Town proper. A gorgeous view of the beach can be had from the top of nearby Chapman’s Peak.

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Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island off the Eastern coast of Australia is said to be the whitest beach in the world. The sand is made almost entirely of silica which provides the incredibly white color. The sand is so pure, NASA has used it to make special telescope lenses. Whitehaven beach stretches for over 7 km (4 miles) along the largest of the Whitsunday Islands. Trips leaving from mainland Australia to visit the beach leave multiple times a day, and there is a variety of accommodation on Whitsunday Island. Visitors shouldn’t miss a trip to the nearby outer Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

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The beautiful and somewhat eerie ruins of Kilchurn Castle lie on the northeastern shore of Loch Awe in Scotland. Its construction dating back to the 15th century, Kilchurn Castle was originally built on a tiny island. The loch’s water levels were changed in 1817 causing the island to connect to the mainland. While the oldest part of Kilchurn Castle was built in 1450 by Sir Colin Campbell, subsequent residents continued to add on to the castle until 1681. The Kilchurn Castle ruins are open to the public only during the summer months, via the A85 road.

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Washington DC is the capital of the United States. More formally known as the District of Columbia, this federal district is not part of any one state, though it is bordered by the states of Maryland and Virginia. Washington DC is home to many of the important government buildings of the United States, including the White House and the US Capitol Building. But that’s not all this magnificent city is known for. Washington DC is also a hotbed a culture, housing some of the finest art and history museums in the United States. And of course, there are the many impressive monuments, including the Lincoln Memorial, the towering Washington Monument and reflecting pool, the Jefferson Memorial, the National World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the US Marine Corps Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Other popular stops for visitors include the Library of Congress, and the 19 museums operated by the Smithsonian Institution. The city is also known for its performing arts centers, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (home to the National Symphony Orchestra), the Washington National Opera, and the Washington Ballet. Nature-loving tourists flock to the city in the spring when the cherry blossom trees that line the city’s streets are in full bloom.

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Yosemite is one of the most well known national parks in the world. With over 3.7 million visitors every year, this California park is an incredibly popular nature destination in the United States. Yosemite National Park is known for its awe-inspiring granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and over 800 miles (1,300 km) of hiking trails. Half Dome, a massive granite cliff jutting out of the earth, is one of the famous icons of the park, along with Cathedral Peak and El Capitan. Most of Yosemite’s iconic peaks, lakes, and waterfalls are located in the tourist-heavy 7 square mile (18 sq. km) area of Yosemite Valley, but the entire park actually encompasses an area of 1,189 square miles (3,080 sq. km). Yosemite has the honor of being the first national park ever designated, thanks in large part to conservationists like John Muir and Galen Clark. These men and others worked hard to protect the park both for the impressive diversity of plants and animals that lived there, and also for the enjoyment of future generations. Today, the park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a favorite destination for hikers, rock climbers, campers, and nature lovers of all kinds.

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The megacity of Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, and the third largest in Europe. A booming center of finance, economics, and culture, Istanbul’s metro area is home to over 13 million people. The city is considered by some to be the epitome of East meets West culture. Istanbul has been known by many other names, most notably Constantinople and Byzantium. With a rich cultural heritage, it’s no wonder that the city is home to a variety of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Also notable is the Byzantine and Ottoman architecture present in the city, and picturesque mosques such as the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Visitors to this fine city can enjoy all the pleasures and excitements any big city affords, and there is something fun to do for any budget.

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Fingal’s Cave is located on the uninhabited rock island of Staffa, off the West coast of Scotland. This fascinating cave is formed from hexagon shaped basalt columns. The basalt formed into hexagonal columns when a lava flow cooled in the ocean. The lava flow that created Fingal’s Cave also created the amazing Giant’s Causeway rock formation in Scotland. In Gaelic, Fingal’s Cave is known as Uamh-Binn, meaning “cave of melody”, due to the lovely sounds made by echos of waves crashing inside.

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