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There’s a reason that the Wright brothers picked the Outer Banks to take their first flight: reliable breezes, wide open, non-vegetated spaces, and 100-foot dunes—the tallest on the Atlantic coast—where even novices can fly safely before alighting in soft sand. Your first flight in a hang glider “might just change your life,” says Andy Torrington, who has been teaching the sport near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, since 1991.

The pillars of the Acropolis are glowing in sunset gold and crimson glory as I meander down Ermou Street to Monastiraki—a pedestrian enclave in the heart of old Athens. The lively scene is a far cry from the smoggy, traffic-clogged city I remember in my youth. Now Athens is the place to be.

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in September.

Like their American counterparts, the cowboys, France’s gardians cut a dashing figure and loom large in the culture of the southern France. Part of a brotherhood formed in the early 16th century, the gardians are the caretakers of the herds of beautiful gray horses and black bulls that roam the largely unfenced Camargue region.

Michigander Luke Lienau’s relationship with Macau began in 2002 with a visit to see his girlfriend, a native of the Chinese Special Administrative Region. In the course of traveling back and forth for nearly a decade, he became fascinated with the city and its changes. When Luke finally decided to move to be with his now-wife…

#NGTRadar: Travel Lately

The Radar—the latest and best from the travel blogosphere—is a regular feature on Intelligent Travel every other Wednesday. You can play, too. Follow us on Twitter @NatGeoTravel and tag your favorite travel stories #NGTRadar to help us find the crème de la crème on the Web. Here are our newest picks.

Out of the Ashes: Valparaíso

Though just 70 miles south of Chile’s capital, Santiago, Valparaíso is a destination in its own right. The port city’s economy may not be what it was, but the vibrant culture you’ll find there remains, despite a flagging maritime trade and earthquakes that have shaken it to its core. As the city and its people rebuild and heal after a catastrophic fire claimed homes and lives, there has never been a better time to visit. Here’s why.

The Roman Empire may have fallen off the map centuries ago, but to a modern traveler, the center of Italy’s capital city may feel just as vast. While walkable, distances between monuments within Rome’s historic core can be a haul—made worse if the tiny, twisty streets turn your sense of direction to mush. The city…

Tea reigns in Darjeeling, where life is marked by the four harvest seasons: first flush in spring, the second flush in June, monsoon season (yes, it’s a tea season) July-August, and the autumn flush from October into November. No matter how you take your cuppa, here’s a short and sweet guide to visiting this world-renowned tea mecca.

In 1979, I was a young backpacker in search of paradise. I found it in southern Thailand. Lost on Ko Phangan, I stumbled upon the brilliant sands of Haad Rin. I stayed there a month, made a hand-drawn map of its location, and vowed never to let the secret out. But others discovered it. Today Haad Rin represents tourism gone wrong.

Virginia may be for lovers, as the commonwealth famously claims on its license plates, but it’s also for travelers eager to experience the simplicity of the country life. Here are three rural paradises worthy of enthusiastic praise.

Asin Sharma is a Kathmandu native whose love for her home city has only grown over time. To be sure, this passion drove Asin to pursue a career as a writer for NepalAdvisor.com, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t indulge her wanderlust once in a while. “I love traveling alone with a map in my hand…and an adventure right in front of me,” Asin admits. But her heart will always be in Kathmandu. Here are a few of her favorite things about the culturally rich capital she calls home.