You just have to admit that there is something darn sexy about the Big Apple.
Be it the bohemian cool of Greenwich Village, or the bustling cosmopolitanism of Manhattan, or the Statue of Liberty, almost everything about New York is iconic.
Where to stay
The Big Apple has hundreds of two- and threestar hotels that charge $80-$100 a day. Visit www.tripadvisor.com for details about New York hotels.
The day plan
Start with The Bronx Zoo, one of the best in the world. Home to 4,000 animals, you can see Andean condors, polar bears, Siberian tigers and snow leopards. Tickets start from $14.
You cannot come to New York and not visit the Empire State Building in Manhattan. The observation deck on the 86th floor offers fantastic views of the city. Tickets start from $18. To avoid rush, you can book online at www.esbnyc.com/tickets.
From here, make your way to the 843-acre Central Park. Take a stroll along the Mall, a rowboat ride on the lake or just lounge around. You can even visit Strawberry Fields, New York's loving shrine to John Lennon.
The most famous face of the Big Apple is the Statue of Liberty. Access to the interior of the statue is now restricted but you can take the ferry from Battery Park on the New York harbour for great views and memorabilia. Tickets: $10.
Where to eat
New York offers almost every cuisine known to man, and then some. There are restaurants to suit every budget and taste—from McDonald’s and Pizza Huts to the Zanzibar, in Times Square, that serves delicious Mediterranean-inspired food and exotic cocktails, to the BB King Blues Club and Grill restaurant near Times Square, which serves great Southern/Soul and Cajun/Creole food.
There are many reasons to see this jewel of Catalonia—the football, the bullfights, the angling, the beautiful people, the brilliant azure of the Mediterranean, sunshine, food and a fabulous nightlife… the list is endless.
Whatever your motive, Barcelona will not disappoint.
Where to stay
It's always a good idea not to spend too much on hotels. Two- and three-star hotel rooms are available for $45-$80. Visit www.hotelsbarcelona.org for details.
The day plan
Start your day by taking a leisurely ramble down the aptly-named Las Ramblas. One of Spain's most celebrated streets, it starts from the heart of the city, the Plaza de Cataluña, and goes all the way down to Port Vell by the sea.
Lined with markets, coffee shops, mime artists, art nouveau buildings like the opera house, the wax museum and the Museu de l' Erotica. Walk and shop your way through this charming thoroughfare. From Port Vell, turn north for the old town of Barri Gotic. The maze of narrow streets, which make up medieval Barcelona, hides delights like the Royal Palace, the Gothic Cathedral and the must-visit Museu Picasso.
The museum houses some of his most stunning works. Standard entry fee: m6 (Rs 336). You can also visit the awe-inspiring Nou Camp stadium, home to the Barcelona Football Club.
What to eat
While in Spain, do as the Spaniards do. Make lunch your main meal. The Spaniards like their siesta a lot, and they like to eat their fill before one. But first, know your Tapas. Anything can be Tapas—paella, croquettes, ham and cheese on toast. As long as it is small and served with your drink (either free or at a surcharge), it is Tapas.
There are restaurants and cafeterias all over Barcelona, so you can nibble on Tapas through the day. For lunch, try out a typical menu del dia (or meal of the day), usually a three-course meal, comprising two main dishes (meat or vegetables), bread, a drink and dessert. Dinners are expensive.
If you do go for dinner (never before 9 pm) try the racion (four to six Tapas) or the media racion (about two to three Tapas). One such plate will usually have a single item like ham and cheese or calamari. And remember: Don't go to Spain and not have Sangria.
A smart way to enjoy your stay is to buy the Barcelona card (2 days: m24 or Rs 1,345). It provides free entry to 12 museums and heavy discounts at others.
You also get free public transport, discounts at 15 restaurants and three bars/nightclubs. Even if you only spend one day there, the card is still good value for money.