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Top 10 Amazing Race Destinations

"Travelers are dreamers who make their desire for adventure a reality."

I have been addicted to the "Amazing Race" again (it had been a long while since I had watched it). If you haven't indulged in this globe-trotting reality show, you really should check it out if you are a travel lover. The show is just finished its 35th season and has traveled to 94 countries since 2001. The contestants (in pairs) race against other duo teams from country to country solving puzzles, participating in adventures and cultural experiences and navigating through foreign places. It is heartfelt, at times; nail-biting at other times; and truly an adventure to vicariously enjoy. In this post, I will highlight some of the incredible destinations that the show has ventured to.

AFRICA

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town's blend of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and historical significance makes it a captivating destination for travelers seeking unforgettable experiences. Whether you're exploring the city's iconic landmarks, indulging in culinary delights, or immersing yourself in its vibrant arts scene, Cape Town offers something for every visitor to enjoy.


When teams arrived in Cape Town during Season 2, Episode 3, they traveled to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, and then took the ferry to Robben Island.

Best time to visit: Spring or Fall


Where to stay:

Victoria & Alfred

4-Star Hotel

History and modern luxury merge at the Victoria & Alfred Hotel. Experience the allure of Cape Town for yourself at this landmark that boasts views of the harbor and Table Mountain from its ideal location in the heart of the V&A Waterfront. The restaurant Ginja caters to guests of the Victoria & Alfred Hotel as well as other patrons. A stone’s throw from the water’s edge in the heart of the V&A Waterfront, the restaurant exudes a wonderful atmosphere, enhanced by its contemporary interior and superb views of Table Mountain.


The Cellars Hohenort

5-Star Hotel

Elegant country manor. Contemporary foodie escape. The Cellars-Hohenort wears many hats. This 17th century farm estate had Dutch East India Company connections and while it has transformed into a modern boutique hotel, it retains its heritage, character and sublime grounds. Flowing across nine acres- there are bountiful rose gardens, ancient Camphor tree groves and woodlands to explore, not to mention the kitchen plots. Savor produce grown on the estate for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even High Tea at The Conservatory filled with light from the windows framing views of the grounds. For indulgence of a different kind, The Cellars-Hohenort spa stirs the senses with treatments using South African mud, volcanic stones and bamboo. They are perfect after a day of adventure in the great outdoors, whether that is trekking up Table Mountain, seeing the penguins on Boulders Beach, tracing the wine routes or exploring Cape Town. All are on the doorstep of The Cellars-Hohenort. The Cellars-Hohenort is a Small Luxury Hotels of the World property.


Things to do in Cape Town:

  • Table Mountain: One of the most iconic landmarks in Cape Town, Table Mountain offers breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding coastline. Visitors can hike to the summit or take a cable car ride for panoramic vistas.

  • Robben Island: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were incarcerated during the apartheid era. Guided tours of the island offer insight into South Africa's history and the struggle for freedom.

  • Cape Winelands: Just outside of Cape Town lies the Cape Winelands region, renowned for its picturesque vineyards, historic towns, and award-winning wineries. Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl are popular destinations for wine tasting and culinary experiences.

  • Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope: Located within Table Mountain National Park, Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope offer dramatic coastal scenery, hiking trails, and opportunities to spot wildlife such as baboons, ostriches, and antelope.

  • Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden: Situated at the eastern foot of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch is acclaimed as one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world. Visitors can explore diverse flora, enjoy outdoor concerts, and take leisurely walks along scenic pathways.

  • Bo-Kaap: This colorful neighborhood in the heart of Cape Town is known for its vibrant houses, cobblestone streets, and rich cultural heritage. Visitors can learn about the area's Malay history, sample Cape Malay cuisine, and explore local shops and galleries.

  • Boulders Beach: Famous for its resident African penguin colony, Boulders Beach offers a unique opportunity to observe these charming creatures up close. Visitors can relax on the sandy shores and swim in sheltered coves while enjoying the company of penguins.

  • Chapman's Peak Drive: This scenic coastal road winds along the Atlantic seaboard, offering stunning views of sheer cliffs, turquoise waters, and rugged coastline. It's a popular route for leisurely drives, picnics, and sunset viewing.

  • Township Tours: For a deeper understanding of South Africa's social and cultural landscape, guided tours of the townships provide insight into daily life, history, and community initiatives in areas like Langa and Khayelitsha.



Marrackech, Morrocco

Touring Marrakech offers a sensory journey through centuries of history, culture, and tradition, making it a truly unforgettable destination.


When teams visited Marrakech in Season 3, Episode 6, they visited a carpet shop in the Jemaa el-Fnaa Market, stayed in a Riad for a Pit Stop, enjoyed mint tea at the Palais Gharnata and rode quad bikes through the desert for a Detour.

Best time to visit: Spring or Fall


Where to stay:

Riad Catalina

4-Star Hotel

Riad Catalina is located close to Jemaa el-Fnaa, and provides free continental breakfast, a poolside bar, and a terrace. Treat yourself to a massage or other spa services. The onsite Moroccan cuisine restaurant, Marocain, features garden views and brunch. Stay connected with free in-room WiFi, and guests can find other amenities such as a coffee shop/cafe and a garden.


The Oberoi

5-Star Hotel

The Oberoi Marrakech has beautiful gardens and architecture inspired by the ancient Moroccan palaces. The resort is just 20 minutes from the airport and the city center and offers views of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains. The main building has been laid out around a large central pool and is embellished with traditionally handcrafted mosaic wall tiles and Arabic phrases, features inspired by the design of the 14th century Medersa Ben Youssef.

There are four restaurants in which to enjoy the culinary delights of Morrocco. A spa is also on property for your wellness and relaxation.


Things to do in Marrakech:

  • Medina: Marrakech's old city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its maze-like streets, bustling souks (markets), and historic architecture.

  • Jemaa el-Fnaa: This bustling square is the heart of Marrakech, where you can find street performers, food stalls, and a lively atmosphere day and night.

  • Koutoubia Mosque: This iconic landmark is the largest mosque in Marrakech, featuring stunning Moorish architecture and a towering minaret.

  • Souks: Marrakech is famous for its vibrant markets, where you can shop for spices, textiles, ceramics, and more. The souks of Marrakech offer an opportunity to haggle and experience the lively atmosphere of Moroccan commerce.

  • Majorelle Garden: This botanical garden, created by French painter Jacques Majorelle, is a serene oasis in the heart of the city. It features exotic plants, vibrant blue buildings, and the Museum of Islamic Art.

  • Bahia Palace: Built in the late 19th century, this ornate palace showcases traditional Moroccan architecture and design, with intricately carved woodwork, colorful tiles, and lush gardens.

  • Culinary Delights:  Sample traditional Moroccan dishes such as tagine (slow-cooked stew), couscous, and pastilla (a savory pastry filled with meat and spices).

  • Street Food: Explore the food stalls in Jemaa el-Fnaa for a taste of Moroccan street food, including grilled meats, kebabs, and freshly squeezed orange juice.


For more on Marrakech, see my blog post on Top 10 Bucket List Countries (wanderlusttravelbucketlist.com)


Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zanzibar, an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa, is renowned for its stunning beaches, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant atmosphere.


Teams visited Zanzibar in Season 29, Episode 3 where they took a ferry from dar es Salaam to Zanzibar, visited Stone Town, found Freddie Mercury's childhood home and visited the Darajani Market.

Best time to visit: June to October


Where to stay:

Nungwi Beach Resort

4-star Resort

Located directly on the Nungwi beach, Nungwi Beach Resort by Turaco is 75 minutes away from Abeid Amani Karume International Airport, offering access to 2 restaurants, 4 bars, a coffee shop and a wide variety of recreational and sightseeing activities. Relax by the private beach, cool off in the outdoor freshwater pool or simply treat yourself to relaxing massage at the Wellness Centre.



Zuri Zanzibar

5-star Hotel

Zuri Zanzibar is a member of Design Hotels - Zuri Zanzibar offers a completely unique experience in Zanzibar for anyone that wants to try something off the beaten African tracks - a place that allows guests a feeling of peace and tranquility. Experience Zuri's stunning accommodation - choose from 55 bungalows -suites and villas -overlooking the beach and close to the mesmerizing azure waters of the Indian Ocean. Well recognized designers elegantly combined the 21st century tourism requirements with the environmentally friendly architecture and unique atmosphere of Zanzibar Island.

Things to do in Zanzibar:

  • Explore Stone Town: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a labyrinth of narrow streets, historic buildings, and bustling markets. Don't miss attractions like the Palace Museum, Old Fort, and Forodhani Gardens.

  • Relax on the Beaches: Zanzibar is famed for its pristine beaches with powdery white sand and turquoise waters. Head to popular spots like Nungwi, Kendwa, and Paje for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports like snorkeling and diving.

  • Visit Spice Plantations: Take a tour of the spice farms to learn about Zanzibar's rich spice heritage. You can see and taste various spices such as cloves, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

  • Go on Safari: Zanzibar offers opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts to explore nearby national parks such as Jozani Forest Reserve, home to the endangered Red Colobus Monkey.

  • Snorkel or Dive: Zanzibar boasts vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. Popular dive sites include Mnemba Atoll, Leven Bank, and the Pemba Channel.

  • Take a Sunset Cruise: Experience the beauty of Zanzibar's coastline on a dhow cruise. Enjoy breathtaking sunset views while sailing along the Indian Ocean.




ASIA

Agra, India

Touring around Agra, India, offers a captivating journey through history, culture, and architectural wonders.


Teams visited Agra in Season 1, Episode 8 and visited the Taj Mahal and the Moonlight Garden.

Best time to visit: November through February


Where to stay:

ITC Mughal

5-star Hotel

Sprawled over 23 acres of luxurious gardens, ITC Mughal, a Luxury Resort & Spa in Agra is a fitting tribute to the great Mughal builders of the past. The only Indian hotel to have won the prestigious Aga Khan Award for its excellent representation of Mughal architecture. With a platinum grade commitment to our guests and the planet, ITC Mughal, is certified with a LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum rating for globally recognized planet positive endeavors. In close proximity to the Taj Mahal, this luxury resort offers 233 opulent rooms and suites, a resplendent spa, signature cuisine offerings and a range of elaborate banqueting facilities. It recreates a paradise for the contemporary Mogul - exemplifying the splendor and perfection that was the hallmark of the Mughal Dynasty. Savor gourmet international cuisine in our upscale dining establishments, Peshawri and Taj Bano. This prime location enables you to explore the wonder of the city at your leisure.


The Oberoi Amarvilas

5-Star Hotel


Things to do in Agra:

  • Taj Mahal: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is undoubtedly the crown jewel of Agra. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, it's an architectural masterpiece and a symbol of eternal love. Witness the mesmerizing beauty of the marble mausoleum at sunrise or sunset for an unforgettable experience.

  • Agra Fort: Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Agra Fort, also known as the Red Fort of Agra, is a massive fortress constructed by Emperor Akbar in the 16th century. Explore its impressive palaces, courtyards, and gardens, and enjoy panoramic views of the Taj Mahal from certain vantage points within the fort.

  • Fatehpur Sikri: Located around 40 kilometers from Agra, Fatehpur Sikri is a well-preserved ancient city built by Emperor Akbar in the 16th century. Marvel at its architectural grandeur, including the Buland Darwaza (Gate of Magnificence) and the Jama Masjid.

  • Itmad-ud-Daulah's Tomb: Often referred to as the "Baby Taj," this exquisite tomb is an architectural precursor to the Taj Mahal. It's known for its intricate marble inlay work and serene gardens.

  • Mughal Heritage Walk: Embark on a guided heritage walk through the old city of Agra to explore its vibrant markets, ancient alleyways, and hidden gems. Learn about the city's rich history and interact with locals along the way.

  • Mughlai Cuisine: Indulge in the rich flavors of Mughlai cuisine, which is characterized by aromatic spices, slow-cooked meat dishes, and delectable sweets. Don't miss iconic dishes like biryani, kebabs, and petha (a local sweet).

  • Art and Handicrafts: Agra is famous for its marble handicrafts, including delicate inlay work known as "pietra dura." Visit local workshops to witness artisans creating intricate designs on marble pieces, jewelry, and decorative items.


Beijing, China

As the capital city, Beijing is not only the political and cultural center of China but also a major tourist destination. Beijing offers a fascinating blend of ancient treasures, cultural experiences, and modern marvels, making it a must-visit destination for travelers interested in exploring China's rich history and dynamic present.


Teams in Season 1, Episode 11 got to take a ride in a Pedicab to Quan Xin Yuan Restaurant. They also visited the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City in Season 10.

Best time to visit: Spring and Fall


Where to stay:

Conrad Beijing

4-Star Hotel

The hotel is strategically located in the Chaoyang District, and enjoys close proximity to the Central Business District, embassies, entertainment districts and popular tourist attractions. The hotel’s 289 spacious, contemporary guest rooms with oriental influences, including 17 Suites, feature three-meter ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows with picturesque views of Tuanjie Lake Park, the iconic CCTV building and the captivating Beijing skyline. The 59 Executive Rooms and Suites offer the desired convenience of private check-in and an exclusive Lounge on the 29th floor serving complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails. Conrad Beijing is a trendsetter with innovative and exciting selection of restaurants and bars that will delight every palate and occasion. Best of all, it has a well-stocked wine cellar featuring new and old-world wines. To keep up with a healthy lifestyle in the cosmopolitan city, guests are able to access the 25-meter swimming pool and health club for a workout at their own leisure. Guests can also seek solace and relaxation at the Spa, where skilled therapists will help them escape a hectic current world and bring them to a quieter place to recover, so that they can dive into life again - energized.



Aman Summer Palace

5-Star Hotel

Just a few steps from the East Gate of the vast Summer Palace grounds, Aman Summer Palace offers a selection of heritage-imbued dwellings including those once used by guests awaiting an audience with the Empress. Embracing traditional Chinese layouts, peaceful internal courtyards are crossed by pathways shaded by bamboo and indigenous trees. High-ceilinged rooms boast original wooden beams and floors finished in polished Jin clay tiles. Enjoy traditional herbal body treatments, Chinese massage and daily tai chi sessions at the expansive multi-sensory spa. Dotted across the property a range of restaurants serves up traditional Cantonese cuisine western dishes and Japanese-influenced French kaiseki fare. The dignified ambiance is perfectly suited to romantic courtyard weddings festive New Year celebrations and business retreats.


Things to do in Beijing:

  • Great Wall of China: One of the most famous attractions globally, the Great Wall is accessible from Beijing. Sections like Badaling, Mutianyu, and Jinshanling offer stunning views and hiking opportunities.

  • Forbidden City (Palace Museum): This vast imperial palace complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to numerous palaces, halls, and courtyards that once housed Chinese emperors.

  • Tiananmen Square: Located in the heart of Beijing, Tiananmen Square is the largest public square in the world and an iconic symbol of China. It's flanked by significant landmarks like the Monument to the People's Heroes and the Mao Zedong Mausoleum.

  • Temple of Heaven: Built in the Ming Dynasty, this complex served as a ceremonial site where emperors prayed for good harvests. It features magnificent architectural structures and serene gardens.

  • Summer Palace: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Summer Palace is a vast imperial garden with beautiful pavilions, halls, and lakes, offering a glimpse into China's imperial past.

  • Hutongs: Explore Beijing's traditional alleyways known as hutongs by taking a rickshaw ride or leisurely stroll. These narrow lanes are lined with courtyard homes, boutique shops, and local eateries.

  • Peking Opera: Experience traditional Chinese opera performances at venues like the Liyuan Theater or Huguang Guild Hall, where elaborate costumes, intricate makeup, and acrobatic performances mesmerize audiences.

  • Local Cuisine: Sample Beijing's diverse culinary delights, including Peking duck, dumplings (jiaozi), Beijing noodles (zhajiangmian), and street snacks like fried scorpions and tanghulu (candied fruit skewers).


Java, Indonesia

Java offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and urban excitement, making it an enchanting destination for travelers seeking diverse experiences in Indonesia.


In Season 19, Episode 3, Teams explored the largest Buddha temple in the world.

Best time to visit: May to October


Where to stay:

Four Points by Sheraton

4-Star Hotel

Designed for today's traveler, Four Points by Sheraton Bandung offers everything you need to travel in comfort and convenience. Enjoy an ideal location in Dago near shopping, restaurants and historic sites such as Gedung Sate and Cihampelas Walk Shopping Mall. Sit down to authentic Indonesian cuisine at Saffron Restaurant, scenic views on the 12th floor at Edelweiss Sky Lounge or barbeque by the pool bar. After a full day of business, shopping or exploring, order dinner and relax. Your spacious hotel room or suite is simple yet stylish and offers modern amenities with sprawling views of the mountains or cityscape.


Amanjiwo

5-Star Hotel

Framed by emerald-green rice plains and the peaks of the Menoreh Hills in rural Central Java, Amanjiwo lies within view of the mystical stupas of Borobudur - a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Buddhist monument directly informs the design of Amanjiwo a temple-like hideaway with a towering domed roof colonnades and walls built of local blush-beige paras stone. Intersperse days of sightseeing - at serene Borobudur bustling Yogyakarta or any number of vibrant villages - with spells of relaxation at Amanjiwo's spa, 40-metre pool and romantic open-air restaurant. The Spas treatments include Mandi Lulur a centuries-old wedding day body-polishing ritual for Javanese royalty. The Restaurant with a silver-leaf ceiling and views of Borobudur and volcanoes serves Indonesian and Western cuisine. Amanjiwo's setting suits all manner of events which can be complemented by Javanese folk dances and music.


Things to do in Java:

  • Mount Bromo: Witness the stunning sunrise over the otherworldly landscapes of Mount Bromo, an active volcano in East Java. You can hike to the crater rim or take a jeep tour for panoramic views.

  • Ijen Crater: Trek to the rim of Ijen Crater in East Java to see its turquoise sulfur lake and the mesmerizing blue flames emitted from the volcanic vents at night.

  • Dieng Plateau: Explore the highland retreat of Dieng Plateau in Central Java, known for its volcanic landscapes, ancient temples, and colorful lakes.

  • Ujung Kulon National Park: Discover pristine rainforests, secluded beaches, and rare wildlife, including the endangered Javan rhinoceros, in this UNESCO World Heritage Site in West Java.

  • Tangkuban Perahu: Visit this active volcano near Bandung, West Java, to hike to its crater, witness volcanic activity, and relax in nearby hot springs.

  • Borobudur Temple: Marvel at the intricate carvings and stupas of Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, located near Yogyakarta, Central Java.

  • Prambanan Temple: Explore the Hindu temple complex of Prambanan, adorned with towering spires and intricate sculptures dedicated to the Hindu gods, near Yogyakarta.

  • Wayang Kulit (Shadow Puppetry): Attend a traditional Javanese wayang kulit performance, where shadow puppets enact ancient stories accompanied by gamelan music.

  • Batik Making: Learn the art of batik, Indonesia's traditional textile technique, by visiting workshops in cities like Yogyakarta and Solo, where artisans create intricate designs using wax and dye.

  • Javanese Dance Performances: Experience the grace and beauty of Javanese dance forms like the Ramayana ballet, featuring elaborate costumes, intricate movements, and live gamelan music.



Central America

Panama City, Panama

Exploring Panama City offers a fascinating glimpse into Panama's rich history, cultural heritage, and natural beauty, making it a memorable destination for travelers.


In Season 29, teams had to drive themselves to the Miraflores Locks in order to find their next clue, which instructed them to search the canopy tower of the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center for their next clue. Teams also had to paddle a traditional Panamanian vessel called a cayuco and had to beat a pair of professional canoers in a regatta in order to receive their next clue. Teams had to row to a marshy area and use a bow and arrow to shoot down two silver fish hanging on a cluster of bamboo poles in order to receive their next clue. After the Detour, teams had to check in at the Pit Stop: Cinta Costera III in Panama City.

Best time to visit: January to April


Where to stay:

The Westin Playa Bonita Panama

4-Star Hotel

Surrounded by many of the city's most prominent destinations, The Westin Playa Bonita Panama offers guests an idyllic retreat on the golden sands of Playa Bonita Beach. The Pacific Ocean and lush, tropical rainforests are only steps away from our doors. Vacationers will delight in our three infinity-edge pools, six restaurants and Sensory Spa. Discover your best self in one of the 611 rooms and suites, which offer spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean or rainforest, as well as 24-hour room service, flat-panel TVs and pillowtop mattresses.


Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo

5-Star Hotel

Welcome to the unparalleled experience of Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo Panama City, where luxury meets the serene beauty of waterfront living. Nestled in the heart of Panama City’s historic district, Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo is not just a destination; it’s a journey through a rich blend of French elegance and Panama’s vibrant culture. Behind its historic façade, Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo stands as an exclusive private oasis, merging a storied past with modern splendor. Here, discerning guests don’t just stay – they become part of a legendary narrative. Our luxurious waterfront rooms, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, along with our world-class dining experiences and holistic spa, ensure every aspect of your stay is designed to enchant and inspire.

Things to do in Panama City:

  • Panama Canal: A visit to the Panama Canal is a must-do experience. Witness the operation of the locks at Miraflores Visitors Center, where you can learn about the canal's history and engineering marvels.

  • Casco Viejo (Old Town): Explore the historic heart of Panama City, Casco Viejo, with its colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and charming plazas. Don't miss attractions like Plaza de la Independencia and Panama Viejo.

  • Panama Viejo Archaeological Site: Discover the ruins of the original Panama City, founded in 1519, at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the remnants of churches, convents, and other structures from the colonial era.

  • Amador Causeway: Enjoy panoramic views of the Panama City skyline and the Pacific Ocean from the Amador Causeway, a scenic waterfront promenade connecting four islands. It's a popular spot for jogging, cycling, and dining at waterfront restaurants.

  • Biomuseo: Designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, the Biomuseo explores Panama's biodiversity and ecological significance. Its colorful exhibits and interactive displays make it an engaging experience for visitors of all ages.

  • Panamanian Cuisine: Sample traditional Panamanian dishes like ceviche, sancocho (chicken soup), and arroz con guandú (rice with pigeon peas) at local restaurants and markets.

  • Market Visits: Immerse yourself in Panama's vibrant culture by visiting local markets like Mercado de Mariscos (Seafood Market) and Mercado de Abastos (Public Market), where you can taste local flavors and shop for souvenirs.

  • Cultural Performances: Experience traditional Panamanian music, dance, and folklore at venues like the Anita Villalaz Theater or during festivals and celebrations throughout the city.

  • Metropolitan Park: Escape the urban hustle and bustle at Metropolitan Park, the largest urban park in Panama City. Enjoy hiking trails, birdwatching, and panoramic views of the city skyline and Panama Canal.

  • Causeway Islands: Explore the islands of Naos, Perico, Flamenco, and Culebra along the Amador Causeway, where you can relax on beaches, dine at waterfront restaurants, and enjoy water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding.

  • Ancon Hill: Hike to the top of Ancon Hill for sweeping views of Panama City and the surrounding rainforest. It's a popular spot for birdwatching and picnicking.



Europe

Chamonix, France

Chamonix, France, nestled in the heart of the French Alps near the borders of Switzerland and Italy, is a world-renowned destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.


In Season 28 Episode 4, teams had to visit the Traiangle de L'Amitie and Paraglide above Chamonix.

Best time to visit: Summer or Winter


Where to stay:

Lykke Hotel & Spa

4-Star Hotel

Treat yourself to a room with a balcony and mountain views at Lykke Hotel. Built entirely of wood, in the style of a true Savoyard chalet, our hotel in Chamonix has 13 seminar rooms for hosting your business events. Whether you're in the garden, in one of the cozy lounges or on the vast terrace of Le 4810 bar, the ambiance is always warm. Make the most of your stay by indulging in a massage, and then come to La Cordée restaurant for fine regional wines and classic dishes from Savoie and Italy.


Hameau Albert 1er

5-Star Hotel

Delightful in time and space, this serene and bucolic enclave generates an immediate sense of well-living. The Hameau Albert 1er, Relais & Châteaux shaped by the Carrier family, who have been rooted in Chamonix for several centuries, embodies a mountain lifestyle nourished by a deep attachment to genuine values deeply rooted in their native land. In the Hameau, the words identity, commitment, and hospitality have meaning. The fascinating and mineral beauty of the surrounding peaks is complemented by the gentleness of a lush and beautifully flowered garden, punctuated by charming old chalets and a vegetable garden that serves as inspiration for the chefs of the two restaurants, from generous beehive filled with honey! The pride of the Albert 1er is its stone-built structure, dating back to 1903, which engages in a dialogue with the old wooden farms imagined at the end of the 20th century to Maison Carrier, a delightful country restaurant, a superb indoor and outdoor pool, a cozy spa, and cozy suites. Lastly, within the Hameau's nectar-filled park, there is "Le Fenil," a contemporary and discreet architectural gem that hosts seminars, as well as a warm and stylish independent family suite with a spacious terrace open to nature and Mont Blanc.


Things to do in Chamonix:

  • Mont Blanc: Europe's highest peak, Mont Blanc, dominates the skyline of Chamonix. Spectacular views of this majestic mountain can be enjoyed from various viewpoints around the valley.

  • Aiguille du Midi: Ride the Aiguille du Midi cable car to the summit for breathtaking panoramic views of the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps. The viewing platform offers stunning vistas of Mont Blanc and surrounding peaks.

  • Mer de Glace: Explore the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice), one of the largest glaciers in the Alps, accessible via the Montenvers Railway. Visit the ice cave to learn about glaciology and explore the glacier's icy tunnels.

  • Montenvers Railway: Ride the historic Montenvers Railway from Chamonix to the Mer de Glace, enjoying scenic views of the valley and surrounding mountains along the way.

  • Skiing and Snowboarding: Chamonix is a mecca for winter sports enthusiasts, offering access to world-class ski areas like Brevent-Flegere, Grands Montets, and Les Houches. The resort boasts challenging terrain for all levels, including off-piste skiing and snowboarding.

  • Hiking and Mountaineering: In the summer months, Chamonix transforms into a hiking and mountaineering paradise. Explore a network of trails that lead to alpine meadows, crystal-clear lakes, and breathtaking viewpoints.

  • Climbing: Known as the birthplace of modern mountaineering, Chamonix offers numerous climbing routes suitable for climbers of all abilities. Ascend iconic peaks like the Aiguille du Midi and the Dent du Géant under the guidance of experienced guides.

  • Paragliding: Soar above the Chamonix Valley on a tandem paragliding flight, taking in bird's-eye views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

  • Chamonix Town Center: Explore the charming streets of Chamonix's town center, lined with boutique shops, cafes, restaurants, and art galleries. Don't miss the Alpine Museum to learn about the history and culture of Chamonix and its mountaineering heritage.

  • Alpine Markets: Experience the local culture and taste regional specialties at the weekly markets in Chamonix, where you can sample artisanal cheeses, cured meats, fresh produce, and handmade crafts.

  • Alpine Cuisine: Indulge in traditional Savoyard cuisine at local restaurants, savoring dishes like fondue, raclette, tartiflette, and hearty mountain stews.


Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy

Cortina d'Ampezzo, often referred to simply as Cortina, is a picturesque town located in the heart of the Dolomite Mountains in the Veneto region of northern Italy. Renowned for its stunning alpine scenery, outdoor activities, and chic atmosphere, Cortina is a popular destination for both winter and summer tourism.


In Season 2, Episode 1, teams took a ski lift to the top of the Dolomite Mountains.

Best time to visit: Summer and Winter


Where to stay:

Hotel de Len

4-Star Hotel

Hotel de LEN is a tribute to its place and to the natural element of wood. A story of well-being and sustainability that begins in the heart of the structure. Minimal interiors, modern lines which harmonize with the territory. The element of continuity throughout the space is wood, which interacts perfectly with the other innovative and sustainable materials. Nutrition embodies the essence of wellbeing when it becomes a conscious and sustainable choice of raw ingredients, a profound search for local products with the tradition of simple flavors in the restaurant and bar. One of a kind, the rooftop spa looks out over the valley and the Olympic ski facilities of Cortina. Here, wellbeing is explored in all its dimensions, celebrating the Ampezzo area and leading guests on a journey to discover Happiness.


Grand Hotel Savoia

5-Star Hotel

A timeless landmark and an iconic destination rich in extraordinary experiences, the Grand Hotel Savoia, Cortina d’Ampezzo was constructed in 1912 and sits at the cultural heart of this remarkable mountain town. Now a Radisson Collection Hotel, the hotel stands tall and proud of its rich heritage at the base of the dramatic Dolomites mountain range. Soak in the beauty of this alpine setting as you enjoy warm hospitality and impeccable service and discover the essence of exceptional living. Retreat to the spa to revive and rejuvenate. Plunge into the heated indoor pool and unwind with a few laps after a full day of exploring Cortina’s intriguing landmarks. Or head to the state-of-the-art fitness center where, upon request, dedicated personal trainers are waiting to help you achieve your fitness goals. Set against the backdrop of the Dolomites mountain range, the Grand Hotel Savoia, Cortina d’Ampezzo, offers a culinary and visual experience that guests will never forget. Enjoy dramatic surroundings and seductive international recipes at Ristorante Savoy. Alternatively, wind down at the end of the day with a meal and signature cocktail at 1224 Bar Lounge & Terrace's expansive terrace. After dinner, catch a sporting event with friends at The Sports Bar.

Things to do in Cortina:

  • Skiing and Snowboarding: Cortina is part of the Dolomiti Superski area, one of the largest ski resorts in the world. With over 1200 kilometers of slopes, including gentle beginner runs and challenging black diamonds, it caters to skiers and snowboarders of all levels.

  • Cross-Country Skiing: Explore the pristine landscapes surrounding Cortina on over 75 kilometers of cross-country skiing trails. The Nordic skiing center in Fiames offers groomed tracks and beautiful scenery.

  • Snowshoeing: Discover the tranquility of the snowy wilderness on snowshoeing excursions. Guided tours are available for all skill levels, allowing you to explore remote valleys and forests.

  • Sleigh Rides: Experience the magic of winter with a horse-drawn sleigh ride through snowy meadows and pine forests, accompanied by breathtaking mountain views.

  • Summer Activities:

  • Hiking and Trekking: Cortina is a paradise for hikers, with a vast network of trails ranging from gentle strolls to challenging alpine routes. Explore the dramatic landscapes of the Dolomites, including the famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

  • Climbing and Via Ferrata: Adventure seekers can test their skills on Cortina's numerous climbing routes and via ferrata (iron pathways). These protected climbing routes offer thrilling experiences and panoramic views.

  • Mountain Biking: Discover Cortina's scenic beauty on two wheels with a network of mountain biking trails catering to riders of all abilities. Bike rentals and guided tours are available in town.

  • Golf: Tee off against the backdrop of the Dolomites at Cortina's golf course, one of the most scenic courses in Italy. The 9-hole course offers stunning views and a challenging layout.

  • Cortina Town Center: Explore the charming streets of Cortina's town center, lined with boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and artisan shops. Don't miss the chance to sample local specialties like hearty alpine cuisine and fine Italian wines.

  • Cultural Events: Cortina hosts a variety of cultural events and festivals throughout the year, including music concerts, film festivals, and traditional celebrations that showcase the region's rich heritage.

  • Wellness and Relaxation: Unwind after a day of outdoor activities at one of Cortina's luxury spas and wellness centers, offering rejuvenating treatments, saunas, and indoor pools with mountain views.


United Arab Emirates

Dubai

Tourism in Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is characterized by its futuristic skyline, luxurious attractions, and vibrant cultural scene.


Teams in several seasons enjoyed Dubai's fantastic city (seasons 5, 15, 23, 28 and 3). They sky dove off the tallest building, enjoyed a four-by-four adventure in the desert, hit the ski slopes, raced cars in the Autodrome, visited the Gold Souk, saw the Dubai Garden Glow, rode a zipline, rode the Leap of Faith Waterslide, as well as the Revenge of Poseidon Waterslide, saw Al Ain Oasis and rode down the river rapids.

Best time to visit: November to March


Where to stay:

Gevora Hotel

4-Star Hotel

Enjoy record breaking heights with the best views over Dubai at Gevora Hotel. Standing tall at 356 meters (1,167.98 feet), the hotel features 529 deluxe rooms to Penthouse suites rooms, 5 unparalleled dining experiences, leisure facilities with a main pool deck, a fully equipped health club.


Burj Al Arab

5-Star Hotel

The spectacular Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, designed to resemble the graceful sails of an Arabian dhow, rises to a height of 321 meters, dominating the Dubai coastline. The all-suite hotel is situated on a man-made island some 280 meters offshore and is linked to the mainland by a slender bridge. Each of the 202 suites is arranged over two floors, and all come with floor-to-ceiling windows and views of the sea. The highest standards of personal service are enhanced by private reception desks on every floor. A brigade of exclusive butlers provides around-the-clock assistance and unrivaled attention that never ceases to amaze guests. The hotel offers top rated dining options and a luxurious spa.

Things to do in Dubai:

  • Iconic Landmarks: Dubai boasts several iconic landmarks that attract tourists from around the globe. The Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, is a must-visit attraction offering breathtaking views of the city from its observation decks. The Palm Jumeirah, an artificial archipelago in the shape of a palm tree, is another popular destination featuring luxury hotels, resorts, and entertainment options.

  • Luxury Shopping: Dubai is renowned for its luxury shopping experiences. Malls like the Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates offer a wide range of high-end brands, designer boutiques, and entertainment facilities such as indoor skiing and aquariums.

  • Cultural Attractions: Despite its modernity, Dubai also offers glimpses into its rich cultural heritage. The Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood showcases traditional Emirati architecture and culture, while the Dubai Museum provides insights into the city's history and development.

  • Desert Safari: Visitors to Dubai often partake in desert safaris, where they can experience the thrill of dune bashing in 4x4 vehicles, camel rides, traditional Bedouin-style camps, and entertainment such as belly dancing and falconry.

  • Theme Parks and Entertainment: Dubai is home to numerous theme parks and entertainment complexes. These include IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai Parks and Resorts (featuring Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, and Legoland Dubai), and Dubai Miracle Garden, among others.

  • Culinary Experiences: Dubai's diverse culinary scene offers a blend of international flavors and local cuisine. Visitors can enjoy dining at world-class restaurants, street food stalls, and traditional Arabic eateries.

  • Events and Festivals: Dubai hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, attracting tourists with interests ranging from sports and entertainment to culture and art. Events like the Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai World Cup are particularly popular.

  • Beaches and Water Activities: Dubai's coastline offers pristine beaches where tourists can relax and enjoy water sports such as jet-skiing, parasailing, and kite surfing. Jumeirah Beach and Kite Beach are among the most popular beach destinations in the city.

  • Hospitality and Luxury Accommodation: Dubai is known for its luxurious hotels and resorts, offering world-class amenities and services. From extravagant 7-star hotels like the Burj Al Arab to internationally renowned chains, the city caters to all types of travelers.


Please note: Information about the "Amazing Race" locations was gathered using The Official Amazing Race Travel Companion.


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