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Columbus Day Travel: Historical Travel Destinations From Columbus' Journeys

First Posted: 10/03/11 06:40 PM ET   Updated: 12/03/11 05:12 AM ET

Columbus Day is almost upon us and -- aside from debates about the holiday's political correctness -- it makes a wonderful time to celebrate travel. After all, what bigger trip was there in 1492 than setting off on unknown seas in search of unknown lands?

True, first contacts between Spanish explorers and Western Hemisphere natives often resulted in clashes and death. But during his four journeys to the New World, Columbus landed in many now-hot travel destinations, meeting locals, learning native customs and surveying plant and animal life. If he weren't on what he believed was a divinely inspired mission for the Crown of Spain, he might've had a heck of a vacation.

To wit, these 10 destinations, all places where Columbus and his crew stopped, be it on a hunt for spices, a quest for a route to the East or just plain rest and relaxation. Call it a Columbus Day travel guide, with boatloads of historical accuracy.

Portovenere, Italy
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Not exactly one of Columbus's destinations, the Italian Riviera is nevertheless central to his life. Born in Genoa, Italy, towns nearby, including Portovenere, remain very popular with tourists.

Photo: OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images
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Filed by Paul Brady  |