From breathtaking bays to magnificent mountains, Rio de Janeiro is intoxicating. Long considered one of the world’s most beautiful and alluring cities, Rio overwhelmed Portuguese settlers who arrived in the 16th century. Believing they were at the mouth of an immense river (it was actually Guanabara Bay), they named their settlement the River of January, honoring the month of their arrival.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
Fans of the big island of Hawaii are people with big appetites — they will pass on the glass half full, preferring it overflowing. “More” is the new “less” and “plus-sized” is not necessarily a bad word. They want the yin and the yang. In the Big Island these over-achieving travelers have found a kindred spirit. Forget a warm tropical climate — the heat rises from the jet-black lava fields in miragelike waves. View from a nice mountain vista? Why not go all the way and head to the 13,800-foot summit of Mauna Kea? You want to snowboard and surf this vacation? Book the next flight to Hawaii.