Where to stay and what to do when you’re there
You might not know this, but the holiday rental service now offers far more than swanky city apartments at a fraction of the price of local hotels. It now provides Airbnb experiences that hook you up with local tour operators – vetted by the company – that guarantee you a fitness and culture fix in every corner of the globe. Follow our quick-fire guide from the experts at Airbnb and then start putting in your holiday requests at work.
Located along the Douro River estuary in northern Portugal, Porto is one of the oldest European centres, and its historical core was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. Port wine, one of Portugal’s most famous exports, is named after Porto, since the local cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia were responsible for export the fortified wine. That’s your post-dinner drink sorted, then.
What to do:
Upgrade your morning cardio with a private, guided 10K. You’ll cover aspects of history and Portuguese culture while running through the city’s historic centre, the riversides and other stunning vantage points. Most impressively, you’ll cross Luiz I iron bridge and pass through the Port cellars’ district in Gaia.
Take the short journey out of the city and start an 8km hike, which will take you to 10 magnificent natural pools situated in the heart of the park. Dive in for a bit of cold water therapy and enjoy the calm of the great outdoors.
Where to stay: Beautiful Rua das Flores apartment in the historical centre of Porto.
The city is known for its harbour, for its natural setting in the Cape Floristic Region, and for landmarks such as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Recently Cape Town was named the best place in the world to visit by both The New York Times and The Daily Telegraph. Once you visit one of its many beaches, you’ll see why.
What to do:
Head to the iconic Camps Bay beach and join in a game of 3-on-3. Work up a sweat on the sand and make some new friends for lunch later, before cooling off in the ocean.
Up and at ‘em champ. Join a Muizenberg sunrise sparring session. It’s a high-intensity workout against a stunning backdrop, both of which will take your breath away. You are guaranteed to burn a load of calories, learn some new boxing skills and leave with a smile on your face.
Where to stay: City Penthouse in Central Cape Town.
The historic centre of Mexico City and the floating gardens of Xochimilco in the southern borough have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. If you’re as keen on culture as you are wellness, then the city also has about 160 museums, over 100 art galleries, and some 30 concert halls, all of which maintain a constant roster of activity during the year.
What to do:
Discover Acro Yoga and use gymnastics and yoga techniques to build strength, flexibility, trust and teamwork between partners. You can enjoy all of this set against the leafy, quiet backdrop of the park before returning to the hubbub of the heart of the city.
This expedition starts with a 50-minute hike to the peak of Xitle to take in the view over Mexico City and the crater. After continuing on to the cave, you’ll abseil down and start exploring. After trying not to get lost it’s up to you to climb back, hike home and enjoy some hard-earned quesadillas.
Where to stay: Stunning Apartment with Terrace in Roma Norte.
The Russian capital is the northernmost and coldest megacity on Earth. The city is well known for its architecture, particularly its historic buildings such as the colourful Saint Basil’s Cathedral. With over 40 percent of its territory covered by greenery, Moscow is also one of the greenest capitals in the world, so there’s plenty of scope for adventure in the city’s urban forests, too.
What to do:
The benefits of saunas and steam rooms are well known, but no one really does them like the Russians. In addition to sitting in the steam room the guide can also order you a “banshik”. A local man will then treat you by slapping you with brooms made of branches, waving hot steam onto your body while you’re inhaling the scents of birch or oak trees. It’s bloody invigorating, if not a little painful. Your post-steam vodka will be well-deserved.
Visit the largest artificial cave in the Moscow region, it has more than 15 km of tunnels with a lot of chambers, narrow paths and large halls. Once you’ve ticked off the landmarks above ground, test your mettle and stamina climbing through the catacombs of the cities underbelly.
Where to stay: Central 1 bedroom modern apartment with balcony.
A recent TripAdvisor World City Survey ranked Tokyo first in its “Best overall experience” category. The city also ranked first in the following categories: helpfulness of locals, nightlife, local public transportation and cleanliness of streets. Not a bad awards haul. The Michelin Guide has also awarded Tokyo by far the most Michelin stars of any city in the world. But bring plenty of pocket money, the Japanese capital also ranks as the 2nd-most expensive.
What to do:
First comes training in basic Samurai movement, including the Ninja-walk. Then move to lessons with weapons of your choice; katana – metal sword, wooden sword, double-swords, or naginata, a Japanese long halberd. Not only will you learn proper form but you’ll get an insight into the long-held samurai code of honor.
Go one step further and join this 3-hour experience and learn kyudo, the Japanese art of archery. Don a traditional kyudo uniform, channel your inner samurai, and aim at the middle of the target! Usually when people take up kyudo in earnest, it takes several days of practice before they are allowed to actually shoot at a target.
Where to stay: Simple 1 bed flat 10 minutes from central Tokyo.