Columns

One of the best ways to see the University of Cambridge is by punting on the River Cam.

Cambridge and Oxford have been in a centuries-long competition as England's top two universities -- but I've always felt that seeing one is enough. The big question is: Which one?

For years, I've had it lodged in my mind that Cambridge was much better to visit than Oxford. But on a recent visit, I changed my view. Though it's a close call, I'd give an edge to bustling Oxford -- the more substantial town with plenty to see and do. Cambridge is a close...

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Cast in bronze, with a marble base, the Three Graces fountain (1869) in Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux, France, depicts Zeus’ daughters Aglaea (Splendor), Euphrosyne (Mirth) and Thalia (Good Cheer).

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 515th issue of your monthly foreign-travel magazine, which, nearly 43 years ago, became the first travel publication to print travelers' brutally honest assessments of tours, airlines, cruises, etc., without regard to whether or not a company was an advertiser or a potential advertiser.

But we are fair. When a letter of complaint about a travel firm comes in to ITN from one of our subscribers, the staff collects more information or...

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Chef Myint Oo and a bowl of the Rakhine Hot and Spicy Chicken Curry with garnish. Photos by Sandra Scott

When the leaves start to turn red and yellow, my mind begins to think of winter getaways. My first thought is always of beautiful Ngapali Beach in southwestern Myanmar — my happy place.

In 2008, when my husband, John, and I first stayed at Amazing Ngapali Resort (Ngapali Beach, Rakhine State, Myanmar; phone +95 43 204201, www.amazingngapaliresort.com), there were virtually no tourists, and it was the only hotel on the 2-mile stretch of beach on the Bay of Bengal. The...

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Brazil is the only country that crosses both the equator and a tropic (Tropic of Capricorn). Uruguay is the only South American country completely outside the tropic latitudes.

Porto Venere is the perfect jumping-off point for scenic boat rides along the Italian Riviera. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

When it comes to basking in the beauty of Italy's Riviera, the Cinque Terre is tops for me. But there's much more to this region on the Mediterranean coast than those famous five villages.

A handful of charming towns lie within an hour of the Cinque Terre, with posh ports set against rugged mountain backdrops that have drawn poets, authors and romantics over the years, from Lord Byron to Elizabeth Taylor.

To the north of the Cinque Terre is a trio of beach towns...

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View of the Mediterranean from the terrace of our apartment “Promenade” in Nice.

The last thing I expected to find in the French Riviera city of Nice was the ruins of a 2,000-year-old Roman city. The Mediterranean, miles of beaches, the famous Promenade des Anglais adjacent to those beaches, yes. Several fabulous art museums, certainly. Cafés, bistros, restaurants, of course. But a Roman city just a few miles from Nice's alluring beachfront was a surprise.

Located in the upscale residential area of Cimiez in Nice, with villas set in lush gardens, what...

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Ronda is the birthplace of modern bullfighting and home to a venerable bullring that dates to 1785.

When my travel dreams drift off to Spain, they often include visions of Andalucía, the southern part of the country that feels so quintessentially Spanish. With a string of whitewashed hill towns, sunny skies, vibrant festivals and tempting tapas, Andalucía is the soul of Spain -- almost stereotypically so.

Most tourists hit Andalucía's three great cities -- Granada, Córdoba and Sevilla -- or the Costa del Sol. But for something more authentic, I like...

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Guided food tours provide thoughtful explanations of the authentic foods we travel so far to taste.

When I arrive in a new city, I book a private guide straightaway -- someone who can bring the architecture, history and culture to life. Lately, in the spirit of experiential sightseeing, I've been taking specialized tours that highlight unique, local experiences or historical themes. Particularly in big cities, I've found all kinds of focused tours, from guided night walks to musical pub crawls.

One of the most popular sightseeing trends is food tours, which reward travelers...

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