The word holiday often conjures up images of white sandy beaches, delicious fruity cocktails and a good holiday-read. However, here at Original Travel, we also pine for something a little more…dynamic. That is to say that we absolutely love a great city. Think culture, history and architecture, excellent restaurants and foodie scenes, bustling nightlife and some seriously impressive hotels… whether you're in need of a quick city-fix, or you are wanting to explore a city as part of a wider itinerary, we've got the inside track (and a network of local concierge contacts), to ensure the ultimate city adventure…
The bewitching city of New Orleans is the perfect first stop on any Deep South exploration, especially due to the new direct BA flights. With sensational Creole food and a buzzing atmosphere, this city is built on a heady mix of cultures and joie de vivre. Known as the birthplace of jazz & blues music and the apparent inventor of the cocktail, the city is perfect for a party. Should you get tired of good food, good music and good liquor (although we won't blame you if you don't...) there is far more to see in the city and surrounding areas; explore the old French Quarter, the sprawling plantation houses and the waterways of Barataria before moving onto Memphis or Tennessee. The big easy indeed.
We think Bordeaux is the perfect candidate for a city break. A short flight (or train ride) from London, an elegant city with amazing retail therapy options - what's not to love? The small city centre is easily explored on foot and is host to beautiful boutiques and the restaurants are a gastronomic dream. That's before we have even mentioned that the region is known as the wine capital of the world (discuss) and home to one of our all time favourite hotels, Les Sources de Caudalie. La vie en rose.
Fez has the draw of serious short haul exoticism (big short break anyone?) And despite being regularly compared to Morocco's other imperial city, Marrakesh, we think Fez just pips it to the post if you're after a more culturally authentic experience. The ancient (and car free) Medina is the main attraction and really is a magical experience that has been beguiling visitors and barraging senses for centuries. The city has not changed much since the medieval times and is one of the finest preserved Islamic cities. Enjoy exploring the famous tanneries and the exquisite wood carvings of the Bou Inania Madrase. After a day wandering through the souqs, head back to the oasis of calm that is the Riad Fes for some delicious local cuisine or a traditional hammam experience.
Cusco is built on layer upon layer of history, a city that was formed by the Incas in the shape of a sacred puma and is now a UNESCO world heritage site for obvious reasons. The colonial town is filled with bustle and colour, especially due to the carnivals and religious festivals which seem to occur in different areas of the city concurrently. The city is easily explored on foot and the Inca ruins and Baroque churches are a must see. After dark, the streets light up and the city turns into Peru's party capital. Pisac market and Macchu Pichu are also in easy reach once you have acclimatised to the altitude.
Tokyo is a microcosm for all that is great about Japan. From the hypermodern, to the ancient to the oh-so-different culture, it is certainly one of the world's most fascinating cities to visit. The Aman Tokyo is the place to stay in the city. A five star sanctuary at the top of the Otechami Tower, it boasts amazing vistas of the city and a typically sleek and stylish place to rest your head. You can't mention Tokyo without mentioning the food (or the fact that the city holds the most Michelin stars...) and we know all the best restaurants to try the famous flavours and local specialities so you'll never go hungry.
The ancient capital of Iran, Shiraz, is a city synonymous with intricate artistry, poetry and all things beautiful, which is always going to be a winner with us and any culture vultures out there. Marvel at the mirrored green glass walls of the Mausoleum of Shah Cheragh, wander through the splendid gardens, enjoy the overwhelming kindness and hospitality of the locals and greedily enjoy as much delicious Iranian cuisine as you can before moving onwards to the craggy landscape of Yazd on our highlights of Persia small group tour.