Willemstad, Curaçao

Gazing across Sint Annabaai at the colourful townhouses lined up on the shore, you might think that you’re in the Old Country. Until you remember that the sun is shining, it’s 28°C (82°F), and you’re on your way to the beach. Despite the flawless weather, Willemstad feels like a Dutch city, complete with waterways and street cafes.
Residents live in the hills surrounding Schottegat, the deep inland harbour. Much of the sprawling city is traffic-clogged and rather mundane. But the crowded streets of Punda are packed with galleries and shops, while nearby Pietermaai is coming alive with restaurants, bars and clubs. Throughout the old town, the architecture is rich, with stunning examples of 17th- and 18th-century fortifications, Dutch colonial planning and diverse building styles, all of which earned this city its Unesco-protected status.