Top 10 old towns in the world

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Many of the world’s cities have ancient hidden treasures to discover in their historic quarters. This guide to the top 10 old town destinations in the world will help you to decide where to book your hotel.

Diverse culture in Jerusalem

Jerusalem’s old city walls enclose a melting pot of religion in one-third of a square mile. Walk the city walls for views of the marble mosaic Dome of the Rock shrine and listen in during prayer time at the Western Wall to the west of Temple Mount.

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Walking the ramparts in Dubrovnik

Circumnavigate Dubrovnik’s Old Town along its 2km defence of turrets and fortresses above the Adriatic Sea. Tread the ancient drawbridge, through the Gothic arches of the Pile Gate to the Old Town to start your rampart walk.

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Grand boulevards in Buenos Aires

In Buenos Aires’ old quarter, tree-lined boulevards pass blocks of colonial plazas. Follow the lavish Art Deco residences along Avenida de Mayo to Plaza de Mayo for the pink Casa Rosada where Eva Perón gave her balcony speeches.

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Quirky museums in San Diego

See over 1,700 rare vessels of tequila line the walls at El Agave Restaurant and Tequileria in the south of San Diego Old City. Explore Whaley House Museum, a Greek Revival-style former granary and courthouse, which is said to be haunted.

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A volcanic city Edinburgh

The smoky black, granite buildings of Old Town perch on the Edinburgh’s volcanic crag. At the pinnacle of Old Town, Edinburgh Castle’s portcullis and battery walls stand on the extinct volcano, which first appeared in 340 million BC.

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An old town square in Prague

Take the lift to the top of Old Town Hall’s 1338 clock tower for views over Prague’s 10th-century market square, Staromestske Namesti. Below, crowds gather on the hour to see a mechanical Christ and apostles march out of the trap door below the astronomical clock face.

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Little Holland in Jakarta

Dutch settlers first made their mark on Jakarta’s Old Town, or Old Batavia. See original Dutch maps and memorabilia in the colonial-style Museum Fatahillah, the former town hall.

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Bird’s eye view of Seville

Climb the ramps to the belfry at the top of the Moorish Giralda minaret for panoramas of Seville’s Gothic cathedral buttresses. Rest in the shade of orange trees on Patio de los Naranjos outside Christopher Columbus’s burial place. 

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Gastronomy in Vieux Nice

Carts of olives and cheeses and buckets of violets and mimosa fill the six-day flower and food market at Cours Saleya. Cafés serve up socca pancakes and salade niçoise washed down with local Bellet wine. 

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Hippie culture in Chicago

The Sixties’ hippie culture lives on in close-knit Old Town Triangle in Chicago. Streets lined with brick Victorian buildings are now one-off boutiques and music stores. Visit Old Town in June for the Old Town Art Fair. 

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