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Rediff.com  » Getahead » Travel 2017: Top 7 cities to head to!

Travel 2017: Top 7 cities to head to!

Last updated on: November 29, 2016 12:58 IST

2017 is full of long weekends! You won't regret planning your next trip to these wonderful cities.

Looking for some travel inspiration? We'll help you find your next escape. 

The National Geographic Traveler has released its list of go-to destinations for 2017, which they have further broken into three categories namely nature, cities and culture.

Presenting the destinations that featured in the second category: Cities.

Take a look at the Top 7 cities to visit in 2017.

1. Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakesh

IMAGE: The Djemaa el-Fna square in Marrakech. Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

This vibrant, exotic city is extremely popular with Europeans and Indians (of course) -- it has something in store for everyone. 

Shopaholics, you don't really need an excuse to shop at Marrakech, a trading town.

One of its most popular squares, the Djemaa el-Fna is a delight to visit with snake charmers, street theatre, restaurants with some of the most amazing grills and tandoors, musical performers, etc.

You must visit the souks (bazaars) at Marrakech, where you'll shop till you drop. You will end up walking a lot, so remember to wear flats when you hit the narrow alleys and streets searching for antiques, exquisite trinkets and handwoven carpets.

If you are a fan of Islamic architecture, the minarets and museums will impress you.

Food lovers get a culinary high with traditional Moroccan food like meats cooked in a tagine (earthenware pot), along with skewers of spiced and grilled meat.

Best time to go there: It is a year-round destination

2. Madrid, Spain

Madrid

IMAGE: Colourful umbrellas in Getafe, situated in the outskirts of Madrid. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

It won't be long before Madrid is touted as 'one of the most beautiful cities in the world'! We don't really see why you shouldn't be visiting this one! :)

The Baroque grandeur of the Royal Palace (one of the most beautiful palaces in Europe), its museums and galleries, and the famous Plaza De Espana, which has bronze sculptures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, his servant, are all worth a visit when in the Spanish capital.

The Plaza Mayor is full of intriguing legends and stories. Then there's the Temple of Debod, where you can enjoy a beautiful sunset. 

The food at Madrid is simply delightful. El Sobrino de Botin, a 300-year-old restaurant, draws crowds for its famous roast dishes.

The delicious Chocolate Con Churros with hot chocolate is such a treat for your taste buds. Not to forget Cociod (a traditional stew) and calamari sandwiches, which feature in almost every foodies' must-taste list.

Did you know that there's a 18th century door, Puerta de Alcala in Madrid that cannot be opened!

Best time to go there: May and October

3. Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage

IMAGE: Dogs race down 4th Avenue during the ceremonial start to the Iditarod dog sled race in downtown Anchorage. Photograph: Nathaniel Wilder/Reuters

This is one of the lesser-known places on this list and it's nice to see that people are beginning to mention it.

It's the largest city in Alaska and is surrounded by mountain ranges -- including Mount McKinley -- and has over 60 glaciers!

Go here if you love snow-clad mountain tops, breathtaking terrains, lush landscapes and abundant adventure. 

There's the small gold mining town of Crow Creek worth exploring. 

It features some of the best national parks (there are five including the Denali, Kenai Fjords, Lake Clark, Katmai and Wrangell-Saint Elias national parks) where you can experience Alaskan wildlife.

Best time to go there: Mid-May to mid-September

4. Seoul, South Korea

Seoul

IMAGE: A decorated Christmas tree is seen at the annual tree-lighting ceremony in front of Seoul city hall. Photograph: Han Jae-Ho/Reuters

Did you know that Asians have ranked Seoul as their favourite city for three years in a row? You don't really need a reason to visit Seoul but if you do, the famous Gyeongbok Palace could be it!

Seoul is not just known for its towering skyscrapers, swanky cars on the roads and fancy boutiques. It's also known for its (plastic) women, celeb stalkers, green tiramisu, live octopus, art exhibitions, soju martinis, palaces and Asia's largest underground mall! 

It has the best airport in the world, given that it is equipped with a golf course and skating rink (yes, you heard it right) and you will want to spend your entire vacation there! 

You can also experience life in a Korean village with its wooden homes!

Or if you love nature, take a trail and explore the mountains surrounding Seoul.

Best time to go there: March to May and September to November

5. Moscow, Russia

Moscow

IMAGE: Christmas celebrations in central Moscow. Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

The Russian capital has it all -- from medieval churches to skyscrapers, art galleries and museums to bath-houses. There's so much to discover in this city. 

Like the historic Red Square. St Basil's Cathedral, which was once ransacked by Napoleon's troops, stands on the eastern border of the Red Square.

Moscow also has a graveyard of fallen monuments, where statues of Soviet heroes were dumped. Creepy, isn't it?

History fans will be excited to see the table and chairs used by Josef Stalin, Franklin D Roosevelt and Winston Churchill during a conference in Tehran in 1943, displayed at the museum of the Great Patriotic War. 

Best time to go there: Early June

6. Cartagena, Colombia

Colombia

IMAGE: Tourists play with pigeons in the old city  in Cartagena. Photograph: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

It's a port city on Colombia's Caribbean coast.

Aspiring writers, did you know that this city inspired novelist Gabriel Gracia Marquez's book Love in the Time of Cholera, which was set in Cartagena?  

If you happen to be a fan of the popular TV series Narcos, this is the city to be in! Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar's mansion is located an hour off the coast. 

At Cartagena food is freely available on the streets and it's the city squares that are always bustling with activity. 

There's a festival for every occasion when you are at Cartagena and you'll never be bored here.

Best time to go there: December to mid-January

7. Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg

IMAGE: A night's view of the historical town hall in Hamburg is not to be missed. Photograph: Fabian Bimmer/Reuters

It's Germany's second largest city and biggest port.

You'll need to travel to Hamburg to truly understand why it has been nicknamed Venice of the North.

It's known for its canals and waterways, the legendary fish market Fischmarkt, and popular shopping streets.

Did you know that it houses the world's largest complex of warehouses, which are built on oak logs?

Hamburg has a dark history of spine-chilling true events which are worth exploring too.

Best time to go there: May and October