Each city you visit is a chance to create wonderful memories, to learn more about a country and its culture, economics, customs, politics, and more. It’s a chance to meet new people, to visit amazing places, and even to buy a special travel souvenir. Here are the best things to do in each city you visit to have a memorable trip.
Try a local dish
I know, sometimes this can be scary. Especially when it’s a different part of the world. But give it a shot. Try to experiment a little.
Try a fruit you never tasted before – if you want something easier (though some fruits are definitely a challenge themselves.) Try something that you think you may like – maybe that dish uses most of the ingredients you’d use or a preferred meat… Start with something familiar and go from there.
Or, if you are a risk taker, try something completely different. Go all in. even if you won’t like it, you’d at least know what it tastes. And if you’ll like it – well, make sure you take photos first, so that you can show them to your friends and family when telling them what you tried and how well it tastes. Or maybe you’ll learn how to prepare it and make it at home, who knows!
See the landmark(s)
I know, many people say that they stay away from famous attractions because they are crowded and touristy. While that may be true, some are true treasures – like famous museums or archaeological sites, for instance. And, if those landmarks are something you’d visit – for instance, if it’s a museum, like the Louvre in Paris, and you fancy museums anyway – then all the better.
I admit that I like to say that I liked or didn’t like a famous tourist attraction after visiting it. Yes, the Eiffel Tower, Paris’ landmark, was a bit crowded (we waited in line for a while), but, after seeing it featured in so many movies, after my husband previously visited it in a business travel, after seeing so many gorgeous pictures online, I wanted to get on top of it (OK, as high as possible, with the elevator) and I admit I don’t regret one moment.
Learn some basic words and phrases
This is a lot of fun and it’ll give you the chance to better interact with locals. Learn at least the common “thank you”, “please”, “excuse me”, “hello”, “how much” and the numbers at least from 1 to 10.
Sure, this will be easier to do in some countries that have a language you have an affinity for – for instance, as I am from Romania, a latin country, even if I didn’t study Spanish or Italian in school, I can easily understand many words and phrases and learn the basics in one day for a trip, while learning Japanese or Indian is a lot harder for me.
Saying “hello”, “please”, and “thank you” in the locals’ language will take you a long way as people will appreciate your effort.
Interact with locals
If you want to learn more about a country or a city, interacting with locals is the perfect way. Sure, people have different political views and different perception of their country/city situation, but you can find out numerous tips, off the beaten path places to visit in a city, and more.
Interacting with locals is definitely one of the top things to do when visiting a city in order to have a memorable trip. They will most likely share things that are not in guides, insights, recommendations (food, what to visit, etc.).
Go off the beaten path
I mentioned visiting the famous landmarks, but many gems are lesser known and promoted as tourist attractions. So, try to find out beforehand what are these special places.
You can read travel guides that include off the beaten path things to do – on this blog the free guides we publish feature both the popular things to do in a city, as well as such lesser known attractions recommended by locals or people who know that city or area very well.
When creating your itinerary, try to include both type of attractions – famous and less popular – on your list. One important note though: make sure to also read about safety in the area you are visiting.
The research part is very important and I’d never recommend wandering around without knowing first if it’s safe or not. There are cities with neighbourhoods that are better to be avoided or places where it’s best not to go at night, as a tourist, for example. Safety first.
You can also just wander around a bit – again, with safety recommendations in mind. You can go on the adjacent streets of a museum or famous attraction or the hotel’s. I did that in Paris and ended up in a residential area. Yes, common apartment blocks, but it gave me a different perspective of Paris. Same in Vienna, same in Brno, etc.
Try a fun/unusual activity
Based on your own preferences and on what the given city has to offer, you can decide to do something fun. Maybe it’ll be something specific to that city – many have unusual attractions – or maybe it’ll be something you usually like to do, but you can experience it in that city as well.
Think unusual activities such as throwing axes, driving big machinery or similar. You can also go for something that’s fun, but easier or with less thrills. Maybe it will be a cooking class (as I mentioned above learning how to prepare a local dish so that you can make it at home.) Maybe it’s a painting class or maybe is rock climbing – you can find something tailored to your needs and preferences.
Buy (or make) a souvenir
I mentioned classes – and I have to say that there are some art classes in some cities that will allow you to create something special that you can take home with you. For instance, if you go to a pottery class, you may be able to take home a plate you make. If you go to a jewellery class, you can create a bracelet or a pendant to take home.
If you don’t like to take such classes, then maybe you can find an interesting, local souvenir. I know, now all people have where to keep these souvenirs, but, if you have room for them, you can choose something symbolic. It can be one of the interesting things to do in all the cities you visit.
I admit I have fridge magnets, a manual fan – handmade and painted – from Spain, pens, a collection of mugs from different cities and countries, a carousel from Vienna, and more. I am not set to buy something, but if I see something that I really like, then, if I have the budget, I buy it.
What about you: what are the things you like to do in the cities you visit?