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Adelaide has a reputation as a quieter place than some of the other state capitals and relishes the peace of its parklands and surrounding vineyards. In many ways it's something of a throwback to the comfortable lifestyle of 1950s Australia -- a lifestyle that the more progressive state capitals have left behind.

Numerous parks and gardens, wide tree-lined streets, the River Torrens running through its center, sidewalk cafes, colonial architecture, and, of course, the churches help make the "city of churches" a pleasant, open city, perfect for strolling or bicycling.

Though the immigrant population has added a cosmopolitan flair to the restaurant scene, Adelaide still has a feeling of old England about it. That's not surprising when you learn that Adelaide was the only capital settled by English free settlers rather than by convicts, and that it attracted more after World War II, when Brits flocked here to work in the city's car and appliance factories.

But it was earlier immigrants, from Germany, who gave Adelaide and the surrounding area a romantic twist. Arriving as refugees fleeing religious strife in their country in the 1830s, German immigrants brought winemaking skills and established wineries. Today, more than one-third of all Australian wine -- including some of the world's best -- comes from areas within about an hour's drive from Adelaide. As a result, Adelaidians of all socioeconomic groups are more versed in wine than even the French and regularly compare vintages, winegrowing regions, and winemaking trends.

Any season is a good time to visit Adelaide, though May through August can be chilly and January and February hot.