WASHINGTON (Feb. 3, 2012)—The world’s greatest cities are showcased in a new National Geographic “walking guide” travel series, with detailed neighborhood itineraries, insider tips on how to get to highlighted destinations and key information to get the most out of these urban adventures (National Geographic Books; on sale March 6, 2012; London ISBN: 978-1-4262—0870-6; New York ISBN: 978-1-4262-0873-7; Paris ISBN: 978-1-4262-0871-3; Rome ISBN: 978-1-4262-0872-0; $14.95 trade paperback).
The guides take readers step-by-step through some of the world’s most visited cities. In 2010, New York received 48.7 million visitors, up nearly 7 percent from 2009. London and Paris average around 26 million and 27 million visitors per year, respectively, and Rome was visited by around 11 million tourists last year.
The walking guides each offer 15 carefully curated itineraries, written by expert travel writers, which showcase each city’s best sights. Features include in-depth looks at major icons, “best of” lists of quintessential things to see and do and insider sidebars full of local knowledge. A “travel essentials” section has planning tips and hand-picked hotel and restaurant recommendations. Travelers will find top-notch, streamlined and useful information that goes beyond the Internet basics to ensure a rewarding, authentic and memorable urban experience. For example:
- London’s St. Martin-in-the-Fields: If this royal church built by James Gibbs in 1726 looks familiar, it is because it has been much copied, especially in New England. The royal coat of arms above the colonnaded entrance indicates that it is the parish church for Buckingham Palace — one can see the royal box on the left as one enters the restrained interior. Known for its music, the church hosts regular concerts. The Café in the Crypt pulsates to jazz on Wednesday nights.
- After the École Militaire (Military Academy) was built in Paris in the mid-18th century, the land between it and the Seine was named the Champ de Mars and used for military parades and maneuvers. Now, the lovely green space lined with elm trees and benches is used for festivals and special events, such as fireworks on Bastille Day.
- Rome’s Piazza del Popolo was once the spot where religious heretics were executed. It is now the “people’s square” and a venue for mass political gatherings. From here a Roman road called the Via Flaminia began its journey north up the Italian Peninsula. On the square’s southern side, baroque twin churches — Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Montesanto — flank the Via del Corso. The whitewashed Porta del Popolo on the northern side was Rome’s primary gateway through much of the Middle Ages and beyond.
- New York City’s High Line: This unusual, slimline park, 30 feet above the ground, was created in NYC around 1.45 miles of disused freight track. Miniature landscapes, such as wildflower meadows and tree plantings, adorn the walking trail from Gansevoort to West 30th Streets; en route you can pause on wooden loungers and viewing platforms, and peruse temporary art installations. With views of the Hudson River, the streets below and surrounding neighborhoods, the High Line is a special place to watch the sun set over the city.
No one knows the world like National Geographic, renowned for exploring the globe. These new travel guidebooks capitalize on core strengths of National Geographic in photography, cartography and travel expertise. Each itinerary includes on-the-ground information, allowing the traveler to avoid long lines, visit at the most opportune time and see the sights in the easiest ways possible.