Friday, 23 February 2018

Looking for An Adventure? 7 of the World’s Most Exciting Cities*

7 of the World’s Most Exciting Cities
*sponsored post* (Photo by Tomas Sobek)

The entire planet is packed with fascinating destinations, so if you’ve got the travel bug it can be difficult to decide where to go first. As you've probably noticed, I do have the travel bug lately. So I've narrowed it down to seven of the world’s most exciting cities to give you a head start, and there’s something for everyone.

1. Queenstown, New Zealand

Where better to start than the adventure capital of the world? An adrenaline junkie’s paradise, Queenstown is home to the first-ever commercial bungee jump (or bungy jump, as New Zealanders call it) and visitors can also enjoy white-water rafting, skydiving, and canyon swinging — literally swinging yourself off a giant cliff (it's a no from me). Back on the ground, there are plenty of hiking routes, biking trails and golf courses to keep you busy, or you could just sit back at one of the wineries and watch the world go by. I've always been in awe of this city since Owls and Stags visited, it's so beautiful.

7 of the World’s Most Exciting Cities
(Photo by David Rodrigo)

  2. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

A glittering metropolis surrounded by desert, there’s nowhere quite like Dubai. There are towering buildings everywhere you turn, many of them unique, and the mix of cultures (90% of residents in the UAE are expatriates) sets this modern, Middle Eastern city apart. Thrill-seekers can take their pick from skydiving, an indoor ski slope, and a desert safari, where you’ll enjoy dune bashing, sandboarding, quad biking and even camel rides.

There are lots of opportunities for shopping, with enormous malls and souks filled with traditional goods — find the best places in this guide to the top souks in Dubai. No trip to Dubai would be complete without a visit to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world. Head to the 124th and 125th floors and marvel at the views below, where the skyscrapers suddenly look very small indeed. All I can think about is the shopping though!

7 of the World’s Most Exciting Cities
(Photo by Christopher Burnson)

 3. Sydney, Australia

Sydney may be laidback as far as cities go, but don’t be fooled — it’s fun, outdoorsy, and certainly not short on adventures. Set off on the Bondi to Coogee trail to see some of the area’s most stunning beaches in one go: Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly, and Coogee. Down by the coast you can take your pick from surfing, jet boat rides, and diving with sharks, or just enjoy the hike. (Planning on taking part in adventure sports? Make sure your travel insurance policy covers everything, just in case.)

Then there’s the famous harbour, where you may want to spend several days exploring. The beautiful Royal Botanic Garden has tours and displays year-round, there’s the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, and you can even take a backstage tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House (complete with breakfast). Walk across the Harbour Bridge, or arrange to climb it if you’re feeling brave. You’ll probably be hungry after all that, but Sydney’s got you covered. The food scene is highly regarded, whether you want sophisticated tasting menus or casual lunchtime dishes. And don’t miss the city’s nightlife — there are lots of basement-turned-speakeasies to discover. I don't know how many people I have went to school with who moved here and never came back!

4. Barcelona, Spain

You’ll love Barcelona if your favourite way to explore a new place is on foot, since it’s an easy city to walk around in, plus there’s something to see wherever you look. The influence of the architect Gaudí is everywhere, so look out for his modernist work, including La Sagrada Familia, a basilica, and La Pedrera, Gaudí’s last residence. Both are World Heritage Sites.

Barcelona has a thriving cultural scene, so head to Museu d’Historia de Barcelona to learn about the city’s history and don’t miss Museu Picasso for a look at the artwork of one of the most famous artists. And if you’re tired after all that walking? There are stretches of clean, sandy beaches to settle down on as you soak up the sun. Spain’s traditional tapas is renowned throughout the world, so be sure to try lots of these delicious small plates, including patatas bravas (diced potato in a spicy tomato sauce) and calamares (battered squid). There’s also the less-known pintxos: bite-sized food served on a piece of bread. Diners use toothpicks to eat the food and the bill is calculated from the amount of toothpicks used.

This is one of the places I'm debating for my friends hen do next year, I need to see the La Sagrada!

7 of the World’s Most Exciting Cities

5. New York City, USA

This iconic city is well worth a visit — it’s not known as the city that never sleeps for nothing. Spend your days at famous landmarks like the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and the 9/11 Memorial, take in the skyline from one of the many viewpoints (Top of the Rock is a favourite), and try and pick from the plethora of restaurants and cafes lining the city’s streets.  You could try every cuisine imaginable if you wanted to, but be sure to check out the homemade pizza, bagels, and overflowing sandwiches, plus American classics like chicken and waffles. (Want more food inspiration? Check out 50 Places to Eat in NYC before you die)

Also, don't forget to check out my 11 Things to know before going to New York!

6. Tokyo, Japan

A fascinating mix of the modern and the traditional, Tokyo is not a city to visit if you want a chilled out holiday — something is always happening. Get involved with the hustle and bustle of the Shibuya Crossing, one of the busiest intersections in the world, then take a break to people-watch as everyone goes about their day. Ramen and soba dishes are easy to find, and you can even buy food from the many vending machines around the city (dreams). History buffs will love sites like the Meiji Shrine and the Imperial Palace, while anyone with an interest in technology will enjoy spending time at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Tokyo is also home to some fun shopping districts, such as Ginza and Harajuku, where the bold fashions will catch your eye At night, pay a visit to Golden Gai, where over 200 tiny 12-seater bars are located in six alleys, or climb the Tokyo tower for incredible panoramic views of the city’s neon lights.

I had never thought of Tokyo as a holiday place until I saw photos on Instagram, it's so so beautiful!

7. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 

With its beautiful golden beaches and breathtaking mountains, Rio de Janeiro has lots of opportunities for sports and adventure activities, including surfing, hang gliding, and Brazil’s most popular sport, football. You can even take a guided tour of the Maracanã stadium or watch a game.

Time your visit right and you could end up at the Rio Carnival — the biggest festival in the world, with parades, samba dancing and street parties to enjoy. Even if you don’t make it to Rio for the carnival, there’s still Rio Scenarium, where you can join the locals in dancing to Brazilian music. During the day, enjoying strolling around the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon or botanical gardens, or take a tram ride up to the Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue. One of the seven wonders of the world, it can be seen from most areas of the city but is especially impressive up close.

What is the next city you would love to visit? I don't know if I could choose!

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*This is a collaborative sponsored post - See disclaimer

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