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01.03.145:45 AM ET

Catch Beatles Fever! Ten Essential Travel Destinations for Beatlemaniacs

It’s been 50 years since the Beatles landed in New York in 1964, changing pop music forever. Here are 10 must-see stops on a Magical Mystery Tour that all fanatics will love.

Reeperbahn, Hamburg, Germany

(L-R) Joe Flannery, former booking manager of the Beatles, sponsor of the square Frank Otto, Organizer Stephan Heller and musician Lee Curtis pose during the opening of the "Beatles Platz" (Beatles square) in Hamburg September 11, 2008. The new square with steel figures in the silhouettes of the Beatles is shaped like a record and is placed on Hamburg's famous red-light district Reeperbahn.  REUTERS/Christian Charisius  (GERMANY) - RTX8NXH
Christian Charisius/Reuters

John Lennon once said, “I might have been born in Liverpool, but I grew up in Hamburg.” This raunchy city was so instrumental to the early Beatles that a plaza in the St. Pauli district was named “Beatles-Platz” in 2006. The plaza, paved black to resemble a vinyl record, is in the heart of the Reeperbahn, a street known for its nightlife and Hamburg’s red-light district. From 1960 to 1962, the leather-clad Fab Five (including original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe) played hundreds of gigs in this naughty neighborhood, though most of the clubs have closed down.

The Indra Musik Club, site of the first Beatles gig in Hamburg, still hosts live music.

Cavern Club, Liverpool, England

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09:  Tribute band the Mersey Beatles play on the stage of the famous Cavern Club on the 50th anniversary of the first time The Beatles played at the basement club on February 9, 2011 in Liverpool, England. The fab four took to the stage on 9 February 1961, 50 years ago today. Fans from around the world celebrated the occasion by watching tribute bands and taking in the atmosphere of the Mathew Street Cavern Quarter in the heart of Liverpool.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Christopher Furlong/Getty

No one could have guessed that four working-class lads from Liverpool would become bigger than Elvis. But Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, it happened. The earliest sounds of Beatlemania could be heard at the Cavern Club, a tiny live music venue that is still open today and has also hosted bands like the Who, Oasis, and the Arctic Monkeys. For fans searching for the Beatles’ roots—all you need is Liverpool. From Penny Lane to the former Strawberry Fields children’s home behind John Lennon’s aunt Mimi’s house, the city is a living, breathing Beatles museum.

The Beatles Story Museum features a replica of the Cavern Club and a Fab 4D animated cinema show.

Strawberry Fields, New York City

Cyndi Lauper performs at Strawberry Fields during Cyndi Lauper performs "Strawberry Fields" at Strawberry Fields at Central Park as part of TNT's John Lennon Tribute at Central Park in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)
Theo Wargo/WireImage

A simple memorial garden that has become a global symbol of peace, Strawberry Fields is one of the most tranquil corners of Central Park. Founded on October 9, 1985, the 45th anniversary of Lennon’s birth, near the Dakota Building where he was killed, the garden was designed by Yoko Ono and architect Bruce Kelly. The black-and-white meditative mosaic made by Italian craftsmen revolves around one word: “Imagine.” Lennon, who Ono said was born a New Yorker, moved to the Big Apple in 1971, first living in Greenwich Village, and even recorded an album called Sometime in New York City.

Lennon’s only full-length solo concert was played at Madison Square Garden, which hosts NBA games and big-name music acts.

Paradise Island, the Bahamas

Paradise Island
Dustin Abbott/Getty

Following the success of their first film A Hard Day’s Night, Beatles director Richard Lester had a bigger budget for Help!. Cheekily, the Beatles requested the Bahamas as a location simply because they hadn’t been there. So in February 1965, they arrived in the city of Nassau on New Providence Island, connected to Paradise Island by a bridge. However, the band didn’t have a single day off on Paradise Island, which also features in the James Bond films Casino Royale and Thunderball. Paradise Island is now home to Vegas-style casino resorts and the Aquaventure Waterpark, with its mammoth Mayan Temple waterslide. 

Read here for information on hotel resorts and nightclubs, as well as diving and watersports. 

Rishikesh, India

Beatles George Harrison and John Lennon, background, sit on rocks by a river in Rishikesh, India, in 1968.  They are studying transcendental meditation with their yogi.  (AP Photo)
AP

After the Beatles met a giggling guru called the Maharishi (meaning “enlightened spiritual one”) in London in August 1967, they were eager to “turn off their minds” with more transcendental meditation. So in February 1968 they joined Donovan, Mia Farrow, and Mike Love from the Beach Boys at the Maharishi’s ashram, located in the Valley of the Saints on the River Ganges in the foothills of the Himalayas. The Beatles stayed for six weeks and wrote much of The White Album here. Rishikesh is now considered the yoga capital of the world but is also a center for whitewater rafting and treks in the Himalaya.

Trains run from Delhi to Haridwar (five hours), from where it is a 45-minute bus ride to Rishikesh. Check here for direct overnight buses.

Gibraltar 

A cloud partially covers the tip of the Rock of the British territory of Gibraltar at sunrise from La Atunara port before Spanish fishermen sail in their fishing boats with their relatives to take part in a protest at an area of the sea where an artificial reef was built by Gibraltar using concrete blocks, in Algeciras bay, La Linea de la Concepcion in southern Spain August 18, 2013. For just over an hour some 30 fishing boats circled where 70 3-tonne concrete blocks were dropped in July to form a reef that Spain said was not legal and prompted the government to ramp up border checks with the British overseas territory. REUTERS/Jon Nazca (SPAIN - Tags: POLITICS ENVIRONMENT MARITIME CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX12PNC
Jon Nazca/Reuters

On March 20, 1969 John Lennon tied the knot with Yoko Ono on the Rock of Gibraltar, a small British territory off the southern coast of Spain. They had tried to get married in Paris a few days earlier but failed, so they flew into Gibraltar and went straight to the British Consulate to be married by a registrar. Lennon said the episode, as depicted in the song “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” was very romantic with the rock symbolizing the foundation of their love.

Walk to Gibraltar across the border at La Línea in Spain (74 miles east of Malaga).

The Mirage, Las Vegas, Nevada

LAS VEGAS - JUNE 27:  Performers ride a Volkswagen Beetle across the stage during a preview of "The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil" at The Mirage Hotel & Casino June 27, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show, a joint artistic venture between The Beatles' company, Apple Corps Ltd., and Cirque du Soleil, will hold its gala premiere on June 30.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty

Although money can’t buy you love it can buy you a ticket to Love, the Cirque du Soleil show. Featuring remixed Beatles music by original record producer Sir George Martin (the real fifth Beatle) and his son Giles, the show plays at a specially designed theatre at the Mirage, a sprawling hotel and casino resort on the Las Vegas Strip. The opening of Love in 2006 reunited Paul and Ringo with the widows of George and John, who unveiled a plaque in memory of their husbands. Visitors can take a behind-the-scenes tour of the theater and party at the psychedelic Revolution Lounge.

Another Cirque du Soleil show, Michael Jackson ONE, runs at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort.

Obertauern, Austria

This ski resort in the Austrian Alps was chosen as a location to film part of the Beatles’ second film, Help!. Legend has it that the Beatles were so stoned during filming that when George shouted his line “Run, Ringo!” both Ringo and Paul ran over the next hill. Obertauern is located in the southern Bundesland region, 55 miles south of Salzburg, and is still a major ski and snowboarding resort. While filming here in 1965, the Beatles were based in the Edelweiss Hotel, which now has a spa and a children’s ski center and is close to the Lürzer Alm Chalet nightclub.

Salzburg is famous for another music giant, Mozart: each January it holds the Mozart Week Festival at the Mozarteum University.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

A woman visits on February 18, 2011 the Beatles museum, in Buenos Aires, owned by Argentine Rodolfo Vazquez, 53, who is in the Guinness Book of Records for owning the biggest Beatles collection in the world -- some 8,500 pieces. The world's tango capital is dancing to a new beat at Latin America's first museum devoted to the Beatles, displaying items from boots to wigs and even condoms stamped with John Lennon's picture. Although none of the 2,500 articles on display actually ever belonged to a member of the Fab Four, thousands of visitors have already poured through the doors of the Buenos Aires-based museum since it opened a few weeks ago.  AFP PHOTO/MAXI FAILLA (Photo credit should read Maxi Failla/AFP/Getty Images)
Maxi Failla/AFP/Getty

More commonly associated with tango than Ringo, the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, is actually home to one of the world’s biggest collections of Beatles memorabilia. Opened in 2011, the Museo Beatle in Buenos Aires is the brainchild of lifelong fan Rodolfo Vazquez, who collected over 8500 rare items including records, gadgets, and puppets. Next door to the museum is a clone of the Cavern Club, the Beatle Café and the Sala John Lennon stand-up comedy theatre. The museum is part of the Paseo La Plaza complex on Corrientes Avenue, the “Broadway of Buenos Aires” lined with theatres, bars, and tango clubs.

The Museo Beatle is open daily from 10 a.m. to midnight (from 2 p.m. on Sunday); for details and tickets go to www.thecavern.com.ar.

Abbey Road, London, England

A print of the famous Abbey Road Beatles record cover is pictured at the same pedestrian crossing on Abbey Road, in north London, on August 7, 2009. Fans of the Fab Four are flocking to the most famous crosswalk in Britain for the 40th anniversary on Saturday of the taking of one of the greatest images in rock 'n' roll history. It was outside the Abbey Road recording studios at 11.35 am on August 8, 1969, that the Beatles strutted purposefully from one side of the street to another, for the cover of what would be their final album as a group. AFP PHOTO/Carl de Souza (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)
Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty

Initial ideas for the cover of the Beatles’ final album included a photo shoot at Mount Everest but in the end they chose to take six photographs at the zebra crossing right outside EMI Studios in leafy north London. The iconic cover of Abbey Road, featuring a barefoot McCartney, has spawned a million imitations and a few conspiracy theories concerning the death of Paul. Abbey Road Studios, where Pink Floyd and Radiohead also recorded, is closed to the public but it does run a live webcam of the crossing, where fans infuriate the beeping cars on a daily basis.

The closest tube station to Abbey Road is St John’s Wood. Nearby, the Beatles Coffee Shop offers Beatles walking tours.

Originally published as “Ten Essential Travel Destinations for Beatlemaniacs" in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014 © 2013 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved.