10. Unter den Linden – Berlin, Germany
You may not have heard of this one, but Unter den Linden really deserves attention. Stretching at the heart of the historical section of Berlin, from the Schlossbrücke at the Museum Island to the Brandenburger Gate at the Pariser Platz, the prestigious boulevard lined with rows of linden trees makes for a pleasant saunter between Berlin’s two major attractions. During the day, it fills with tourists toting cameras and eager to see its numerous historical landmarks, but when the night hits the scene, Unter den Linden shows its second, more easy-going face, with club hopping youth, food stalls and a little rowdy vibe.
9. Rua Augusta – Lisbon, Portugal
You’re gonna love this one for its versatility. Joining two magnificent squares in the heart of Lisbon (Praça Rossio and Praça do Comércio), Rua Augusta is a place you just want to hang in to no end, and everyone feels great here – from hurried businessmen and weary tourists to flower peddlers, chestnuts sellers and street artists entertaining you all along the way. Welcoming outdoor cafés unfold on mosaic pavements and brilliant shopping opportunities abound. Whatever you’re looking for – books, clothes, jewelery or works of art – you’re bound to get it in Rua Augusta’s high end stores, numerous market stalls or from wandering vendors that chat you up every now and then.
8. Oxford Street – London, England
If shopping is your thing and you’re by any chance in London, don’t waste time and head to the West End. With approximately 550 shops, many of which open also on Sunday, Oxford Street is every retailer’s paradise and is quite rightfully called the busiest shopping street in Europe. All the major department stores are to be found in the section from Marble Arch to Oxford Circus, let alone the awesome opportunities for people watching. From fashion freaks to mainstream trendsetters, people are as important an element of Oxford Street’s iconic status as the very shopping.
7. Las Ramblas – Barcelona, Spain
This major thoroughfare that connects Plaça Catalunya in the centre with the Christopher Columbus monument at Port Vell has all sorts meanings to Barcelona: it’s the city’s green lungs where you can find refuge on scorching summer days, one of the best recognized landmarks alongside Sagrada Familia and Gaudi’s masterpieces, a favorite meeting place of young Catalonians, a tourist magnet, and a welcoming stage for numerous street artists. You can walk Las Ramblas from end to end and never get bored. Take an invigorating breath as you pass the flower stalls, lend your ear to the cheerful twitter in the famous bird market, send a smile to the passer-by, and enjoy life southern-style.
6. Lombard Street – San Francisco, USA
Ordinary terraced houses, with ordinary people living their ordinary loves – there’s nothing exceptional about Lombard Street … except for its crookedness. And that very fact is enough to draw a bevy of excited motorists who refuse to leave San Francisco until they have challenged the tight hairpin turns. The one-way section on Russian Hill has eight sharp switchbacks, whose design was dictated by the need to compromise the hill’s considerable steepness. The crookedest street in the world is also a real feast for the eyes, with beautifully manicured hedges and impressive views over the Bay.
5. Zlata Ulicka – Prague, Czech Republic
Short in size but long in history, the narrow street at the end of the Prague Castle complex is one of the cutest places in Europe to do souvenir shopping. Zlata Ulicka (The Golden Lane in English) dates back to the 16th century and is lined with adorable, tiny houses that used to be inhabited by King Rudolph II‘s castle guards and later by craftsmen, most of whom were goldsmiths. The legend has it that the Emperor had his best court alchemists accommodated in the Golden Lane, where they worked hard on ways to turn metal into gold. But this is just the story. The fact is however, that the house no. 22 was inhabited by Franz Kafka at the time of WWI. Today, every little shop entices you to explore its multicolored, finely crafted riches. Do come in. Watch your head though.
4. The Strip – Las Vegas, USA
Well, it’s hot. And it’s not only aboutthe oppressive temperatures. All the reasons why Las Vegas is calledthe City of Sin can be found right here, along the Las VegasBoulevard, which is commonly known as ‘The Strip’. This 24/7cabaret of neon glitz and hedonistic attractions is really able tomake you dizzy, or even baffled if you’re not used to such horrendousnoise and crowds. People ceaselessly stream in every possibledirection, the coin-clinking sounds drill into your ears and theexuberant hotels blind with their pulsating lights. As for thearchitecture, you may either love it or hate it. The circus tent, thefaux Eiffel Tower, the pyramid with the cardboard Sphinx orBellagio’s choreographed fountain shows – they may all be kitsch ashell, but there’s something that anually draws 36.7 million visitorsto the Strip, and that very fact is enough o make it iconic.
3. Canal Grande – Venice, Italy
So what it’s not paved? At first glance it’s hard to call it a street, but, on the other hand, isn’t it one? The most famous waterway in Venice winds through the historic center of the enchanting city on water and showcases enough landmarks to qualify as iconic (Rialto Bridge, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute Palazzo Dario, Ca’ d’Oro , to name just a few) . As you float across the Grand Canal in a traditional gondola (traghetto), have your camera up and ready to shoot. Impressive Gothic arches, fabulous Renaissance palaces, colorful frescoes and historic tenements melt into a mixture of marble and gold all along the way. It’s hard to resist the atmosphere of love and romance on a “walk” like that.
2. Avenue des Champs Elysées – Paris, France
Originally it was nothing but fields; today it is one of the mostfamous streets in the world. Stretching from the world-renowned Arcde Triomphe at the Place Charles de Gaulle to the Place de laConcorde, the impressive promenade in Paris is truly a tourist magnetand a place where all the major celebrations take place. The veryname derives from Greek mythology and translates into “the placewhere heroes come to relax,” which is pretty much what people cometo do here these days. Joe Dassin sang: “If it’s raining or if thesun is shining, if it’s noon or midnight, you have anything you wantat ChampsÉlysées.” It’s not really clear why the avenue hasbecome so iconic, but with its landmarks, cinemas, cafés, luxuryspecialty shops, and the curious mixture of Parisian chic andnonchalance, the place has indeed quite a lot to offer to anyone whoenjoys the “straight from the guidebook” kind of attractions.
1. Broadway – New York City, USA
It may not be the favorite spot of New Yorkers themselves (except for New Year’s Eve, when hordes gather to watch the annual ball drop down the One Times Square building), but tourists often make it a priority to step into the heart of the American Theater Industry. And its not so much for the musicals, but rather for New York‘s archetypal street buzz and the world famous, scintillating billboards strung all over the Time Square area. Few people know that Broadway is one of the longest streets in the words. No wonder – it is its short section adjacent to Time Square that receives all the attention and has become the place to be for both performing artists and the lovers of urban action. After dark visits advised. Stay away if you mind crowds.