The Top 10 City Circuits - Page 2

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Plaza de La Virgen, Valencia, Spain
Plaza de La Virgen, Valencia, Spain  (Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Bucharest, Romania
Communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu's extraordinary Palace of the Parliament, the world's largest civilian administrative building, is the centerpiece of the Bucharest Ring, designed in 2007 and host to auto-racing events that year and the next. The circuit of around 2 miles (3 km) heads off down Calea 13 Septembrie—the street to the left as you look at the building—then right up Strada Izvor and along Bulevardul Naţiunile Unite and back to the front of the parliament building. PLANNING: A tour of the palace is highly recommended. It's open every day, though you may have to book some hours in advance, and it can be closed for state occasions. www.bucharest-ring.com

Paris, France
Nobody today could get away with the tour of Paris shot in a single take by filmmaker Claude Lelouch at dawn one day in 1976. C'était un Rendez-vous lasts nine minutes, the time it took Lelouch to hurtle across the city from Porte Dauphine to Sacré Coeur, taking in the Champs-élysées and Place de l'Opéra. Reaching speeds of 85 mph (137 km/h), and sometimes on the wrong side of the road, he was afterward arrested. PLANNING: www.virtualglobetrotting.com/map/route-during-the-rendez-vous-movie

Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Monte-Carlo seems to have been built for the roar of its springtime race. At just over 2 miles (3 km), the slowest and toughest of the F1 Grand Prix circuits starts at the back of the harbor (two drivers have ended up in the drink), twists up and around the casino and Grand Hotel hairpin, then roars through a tunnel back to the harbor. PLANNING: You might want to stay over the border in France, where prices are lower and parking is easier. www.grand-prix-monaco.com

Valencia, Spain
The Grand Prix street circuit in Valencia covers 3.3 miles (5.3 km) of the city by the marina, which has become one of the most prestigous berths in the Mediterranean after being spruced up for the 2007 America's Cup. The circuit starts at the back of the marina, goes over a specially built swing bridge, then heads for an inland loop before returning to the port. PLANNING: Valencia has good temperatures year-round. www.valenciastreetcircuit.com

Marrakech, Morocco
The medieval walls of Marrakech form the backdrop for a recently designed 2.8-mile (4.6 km) circuit, located five minutes from the medina (old city). Head up Avenue Mohammed VI, then navigate a hairpin bend onto Route de l'Ourika and loop back to the start. When you've finished, how about drinks at the world-famous Hotel La Mamounia? PLANNING: The Grand Prix event takes place in April. www.raceofmorocco.com

Reproduced with permission from Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Most Spectacular Trips, 2010, National Geographic. All rights reserved.

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Best Hotels in Bucharest

$83-$111
Average/night*
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#1
K+K Hotel Elisabeta
$106
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#3
Pullman Bucharest World Trade Center
$248
Average/night*
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#4
Radisson Blu Hotel, Bucharest
$86
Average/night*
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#5
CENTRAL

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