The 10 Places to Visit as Soon as You Retire [Slideshow]

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©Nicolas Loison/Flickr, Creative Commons

Marseille, France

Best for: Culture Enthusiasts

Marseille reestablished its image over several decades from a dockside town to an energetic city that honors its roots. Take a day trip to explore the towering limestone cliffs in Parc National Des Calanques on foot—guided park hikes in the summer mean great birding opportunities—or by boat cruise. 

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©Chris Goldberg/Flickr, Creative Commons

North Fork, Long Island

Best for: Relaxation

This sibling peninsula to Long Island’s famed Hamptons is a much more laid-back locale. Enjoy seasonal produce in farm-to-table cuisine, spectacular fall colors and long pours from local wineries. 

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Courtesy Emerald Waterways

Rhine River Cruise

Best for: Luxury

River cruises—from opulent, luxury cruises to budget adventures and everything in between—are gaining popularity throughout Europe as a laid-back option to travel cities that still allows for daily excursions. Dozens of routes are available but we love cruising down the Rhine River for its abundance of stops through small, German towns like Koblenz.

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©littleny/Shutterstock

Tarpon Springs, Florida

Best for: Culture and Relaxation

An influx of Greek immigrants moved into Tarpon Springs in the in the 1880s to harvest fresh sponges from the Ancolte River and never left: Enjoy Greek cuisine and culture—plus fresh sponges—this small town roughly 20 miles from Clearwater, Florida.

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©Paul Woods/Flickr, Creative Commons

Listowel, Ireland

Best for: History Buffs and Literary Lovers

This heritage town is home to Irish creatives and tastemakers. Explore winding streets full of galleries and historic, local pubs—stop into the John B. Kean, named for local son and famed playwright. 

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©Angela Rutherford/Flickr, Creative Commons

Yarra Valley, Australia

Best for: Wine Connoisseurs

The Yarra Valley—just an hour from the bustle of Melbourne—lives in the shadow of Adelaide’s lush wine country fame. Explore a network of more than a dozen wineries through Yarra Valley small towns, each offering things to do in addition to afternoons spent sipping at craft vineyards.

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©ermess/Shutterstock

Maremma, Italy

Best for: History Buffs

The southwestern region of Tuscany hugs the Tyrrhenian Sea. Miles of Italian coast and the small, historic towns that dot this area are the ultimate place to explore the Tuscany that everyone loves without running into crowds.

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Courtesy Salamander Hotels & Resorts

Middleburg, Virginia

Best for: Outdoor Enthusiasts

Middleburg, Virginia, is an equestrian capital in the U.S. Expect luxurious offerings at hotels, inns, b&bs and resorts like the Salamander Resort & Spa. Middleburg annually hosts more than 100 equestrian events in a 50-square-mile radius but there are plenty of things to do and explore like the local cidery and a quaint farm home store on E. Washington St. 

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Courtesy Branson CVB

Branson, Missouri

Best for: Americana Enthusiasts

This capital of kitsch is a fun place to take in a show on the theater-lined Country Blvd. and enjoy a leisurely trip on Table Rock Lake aboard the Branson Belle, the town’s historic showboat. 

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©Jim Sullivan/Castello di Amorosa

Calistoga, California

Best for: Wine Connoisseurs

Castello di Amorosa—a luxurious castle based on 13th century Tuscan designs—is one of the highlights of this Napa Valley wine town. Stay for a sommelier-led tour of the castle and vineyard then explore Calistoga's natural hot springs and miles of hiking trails.

Retirement opens up doors to open-ended travel, allowing time to explore destinations more thoroughly than ever before. 

While Paris, Rome and other popular destinations are always a great time, enjoy celebrating in a chic—yet off-the-beaten-path—locale that offers a glimpse into people's daily lives more clearly than a whirlwind trip would allow.