We've all got our own motivations for traveling, so why not the 7 deadly sins? Here are our pick of the places that epitomize them the most, and a few that take the opposite virtuous approach!
Gluttony - Paris, France
For centuries the epicenter of epicurean delight, the restaurants of Paris risk making gluttons of us all. Although Tokyo sometimes trumps the French capital for sheer numbers of Michelin stars, dining by candlelight in a back-street bistro in the Latin Quarter is still divine. Guzzle a galette in even the humblest creperie and you'll wonder how they manage to make buckwheat pancakes taste so sublime. Or do what the locals do – pack a picnic and lunch alfresco in the playful Jardin du Luxembourg, where you can work off the calories with a Gallic game of boules.
Greed - Las Vegas, USA
Las Vegas' slogan could almost be 'greed is good'. The bandits here may be one-armed, but they're reaching for your money all the same. It's not just the casino owners – everywhere, glazy-eyed gamblers try to defy the odds and pile up the pennies. Come here to connect with your inner kitsch: acres of neon, rhinestone-encrusted showgirls and outrageously opulent casinos. This capital of capitalism is unlike anywhere else on earth – after all, there's no exceeding excess.
Wrath - Milan, Italy
It's easy to mistake the red flares burning at big Italian soccer matches for the red mist of rage – so fierce are some local encounters. Packed in amid seething crowds, you'd be excused a frisson of fear as decibels surge to ear-numbing proportions and the teams trot onto the pitch. For years some of the most wrathful rivalry has been at the San Siro stadium, where Milan take on their local arch-enemies Inter. When they do, the whole city is a riot of red and blue. Watching the big match on the TV at home will never be quite the same again.
Envy - Tokyo, Japan
Shoto in Tokyo's Shibuya district has some of the most expensive real estate in the world. At around US$1800 per square foot, it's beaten Barker Road in Hong Kong, Eaton Square in London's Belgravia and New York's Fifth Avenue to the title. Along with love hotels, gigantic street TVs and super-chic shops, you're likely to encounter a few green-eyed monsters in the district's frenetic neon-lit bustle. Soak up culture-shock Japan – but don't count on buying a home.
Sloth - Caribbean Islands
When it comes to laid-back chilling out, many minds turn languidly to the Caribbean. In this place limin' (watching the world go by) is a way of life. While away some lazy, hazy days in relatively undeveloped Tobago. Calypso music drifts by on the breeze, azure seas lap at pristine sands and turtles glide silently across coral reefs. When you've exhausted all your options for doing nothing, hike through ancient forests, get drenched at a cascading waterfall or join in the fun at a local festival – if you're here at Easter, watch out for the crab and goat racing.
Lust - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam is as notorious for its red-light district as for its tolerant approach to soft drugs, and the scantily clad women in the Wallen's well-lit 'window brothels' are still a big draw for the curious coach-party crowd. If all that risqué posing falls rather flat for you, develop a burning passion for Amsterdam's waterfront architecture instead. Some of the best canal-fringed streets in this city of 90 islands are in the Jordaan district – tiny and winding, they are crammed with funky clothes shops, markets and bars.
Pride - Los Angeles, USA
Los Angeles: land of big hair and small noses. Displaying more nips 'n' tucks than a street full of couture houses, this is a city that appears to have more plastic surgeons than palm trees. Cruise the boutique shops of Beverly Hills for some people-watching of the people who just loved to be watched. Giorgio, Jimmy and Ralph would love you to drop by. Or simply head to Hollywood for a burst of celebrity spotting, then road test the old theory that unless you look a million dollars it is very hard to get a smile out of the shop assistants on Rodeo Drive.
Do you waver on the side of nice rather than naughty? Here are three destinations that encapsulate some stand-up virtues:
Chastity - Vatican City, Rome
Where better to witness cardinal virtues than in a city full of virtuous cardinals. Only around 900 people live in this state within a city, but a fair few of those have forsworn the temptations of the flesh. The Holy See (Vatican City) is only just over 1000m long and 850m wide but there's a wealth of riches crammed into its tiny dimensions. Be dazzled by the beautifully baroque St Peter's Basilica, the artifact-packed Vatican Museums and Michelangelo's awe-inspiring creations in the Sistine Chapel. Here the visual journey from Genesis to the Last Judgment is via a vast vaulted, fresco-laden ceiling.
Charity - Kolkata, India
One of the iconic figures of the 20th century, Mother Teresa was legendary for her compassion for the homeless, sick and starving – her order still has more than 4000 nuns worldwide. This diminutive 'saint of the gutter' began working in the slums of Kolkata (Calcutta) in the 1950s. Her legacy is marked by a statue on Mother Teresa Sarani, formerly named Park St, in the heart of town. It's slap-bang in the midst of modern India: shopping malls and museums mingle with multiplex cinemas and exquisite Raj-era architecture – all in a city caught up in an IT boom.
Temperance - Kentucky, USA
Forgo the sore head and take a temperate approach to drinking in one of the USA's 'dry counties'. Here in an echo of Prohibition-era speakeasies and bootleggers, local laws limit (to various degrees) the sale of alcoholic tipples. These days Kentucky is less wet than most – 53 of its 121 counties are completely dry; partial restrictions in 38 others see them dubbed 'moist'. Best make sure you know what you can buy, and where, in time for the classy Kentucky Derby in early May – tradition dictates a bourbon-laced mint julep is raised to toast the riders as they take off.
Originally published as “Naughty or nice: travel by the deadly sins – and virtues” © 2011 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved.