While nature vacations were all the rage in 2022, city breaks are set to be one of the biggest travel trends in 2023, according to Expedia’s 2023 travel trends report. More travellers are ready to get back to the bright lights and vibrant culture of the world’s greatest cities. If you’re ready for a cosmopolitan escape, here are six inspiring cities you dive deep into with Trafalgar, from the elegant streets of Paris to the megamalls of Bangkok to the diverse neighbourhoods of New York.
1. Paris, France
With 19 million visitors each year, Paris, France, is one of the most-visited and inspiring cities in the world. Its reputation is immortal, with endless icons like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the River Seine, and countless artists finding inspiration here. Ernest Hemingway once said, “There are only two places in the world where we can live happy – at home and in Paris.” Henry Miller said, “When spring comes to Paris the humblest mortal alive must feel that he dwells in paradise.” Meanwhile, Audrey Hepburn famously said, “Paris is for changing your outlook… throwing open the windows and letting in la vie en rose.”
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If you want to get to the heart of Paris and understand why the City of Love is so adored, come and take a deep dive on our 8-day Paris Explorer. We’ll see the highlights like the grand Champs-Élysées, Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe… But we’ll also experience Paris like a local. Wander through secret passages and hidden squares in historic neighbourhoods. Discover local favourites and indulge in a leisurely café au lait while watching Parisians go by. Walk in the footsteps of famous artists in Montmarte and explore the dazzling Palace of Versailles. Whether you want to indulge in Parisian cuisine or make your own unique fragrance at Fragonard Parfumerie, Paris will be an experience you’ll cherish forever.
GET INSPIRED BY: Paris Explorer
2. London, England
The capital of the United Kingdom is another showstopping city of Europe, boasting over 19 million visitors each year. It’s also one of those inspiring cities that’s been written about for centuries. Walter Besant said “I’ve been walking about London for the last 30 years, and I find something fresh in it every day”, while the fictional yet wise Paddington Bear said, “In London, everyone is different, and that means anyone can fit in.” It’s an apt description of this ancient city, where a melting pot of cultures collides to create something truly unique.
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Our 8-day London Explorer takes in the best of it. Get your royal fix at Windsor Castle, Kensington Palace, Westminster Abbey, and the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Stroll through Trafalgar Square, explore the history of the Tower of London, and admire the striking St. Paul’s Cathedral. Hear the bell chime at Big Ben and see the Houses of Parliament.
When you get hungry, head to buzzing Borough Market. It’s one of the oldest markets in the country, offering the best fresh produce for centuries. Dive into the exceptional British Museum, the Tate Modern and the Imperial War Museum. For a real London experience, cruise down the Thames to Greenwich and sail under the iconic Tower Bridge. Or take a trip up the Shard, the tallest building in Europe, and soak up the panoramic views of this great city.
GET INSPIRED BY: London Explorer
3. New York City, United States
New York, New York. The Big Apple. The city that never sleeps. The concrete jungle where dreams are made of. If you want to be a part of it – you’re not alone. Countless people have fallen in love with New York City in the United States, from F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, and Truman Capote, to Alicia Keys, Madonna and Carrie Bradshaw. Our 5-day New York Explorer will guide you through this hyper, hustling city and leave you with a deeper understanding of how New York became so iconic, built on the back of immigrants’ dreams. We’ll see all the unmissable sights like Central Park, Times Square, the Rockefeller Centre, and the views of the Manhattan skyline from the Top of the Rock.
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Go on a behind-the-scenes walking tour of Broadway and meet a Broadway performer. Take a deeper dive into vibrant neighbourhoods from the Upper East Side to the historic Meatpacking District, to the Hudson Yards and the High Line. Explore the superb Metropolitan Museum of Art. Board the Staten Island ferry for a Be My Guest lunch experience with the Nonnas of the World. Or indulge in all the best street food from bagels with cream cheese and lox to New York-style pizza. We’ll even show you how to do New York like a resident, from hailing a cab to eating at the local’s favourite haunts.
GET INSPIRED BY: New York Explorer
4. Bangkok, Thailand
Move over Big Apple and make way for the Big Mango. With almost 23 million visits every year, Bangkok takes the top spot as the most visited city in the world. As the capital of Thailand and the jumping-off point for Southeast Asia, this comes as no surprise. But Bangkok has plenty of treasures and a unique charm that are well worth exploring in depth. This may be a megacity full of glittering skyscrapers, gigantic malls, and bustling streets. Yet it’s one of the most congenial and inspiring cities on earth, where everyone is welcome. It’s also incredibly rich in culture.
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Our 9-day Saigon and Bangkok Explorer will take you from the gilded spires of the Grand Palace and the sacred Buddhist temple Wat Phra Kaew to the UNESCO-listed royal temples. Cruise the historic Chao Phraya River on an antique rice barge and enjoy a traditional Thai dinner. Or learn how to make Thai cuisine after visiting a food market with your host and preparing authentic Thai dishes.
Explore the open-air markets where you’ll discover traditional arts, crafts, cuisines, and more. See the famous Mae Klong railway market, where tents and stalls are speedily removed every time the train comes through, then returned as astonishingly fast. You can also visit the renowned Damnoen Saduak floating market, where fresh produce is sold on boats on the river. There’s nowhere quite like Bangkok.
GET INSPIRED BY: Saigon and Bangkok Explorer
5. Cape Town, South Africa
As the ‘Mother City’ of South Africa, Cape Town is a cosmopolitan wonder that will leave you mesmerised. Our 8-day Cape Town Explorer captures the very best of this stunning city from Table Mountain to the Cape Winelands and the Atlantic Seaboard. Start your adventure by taking the aerial cableway to the top of Table Mountain where you’ll soak up views of the iconic City Bowl and the rugged coastal landscape. See the Company Gardens, Bo-Kaap and the Castle of Good Hope, or take a drive around the spectacular Cape Peninsula.
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There really is something for everyone in this city. You could explore the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, hike to the summit of Lion’s Head, or indulge in local flavours at the Food Market. Learn about South Africa’s turbulent past with a visit to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his 27-year prison term. You’ll also visit the Amy Foundation as one of Trafalgar’s Make Travel Matter Experiences, and learn how the foundation has provided youth development programs for over 2,000 children.
You also can’t miss the stunning Cape Winelands, with a tour of the best spots like Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Whether you want to meet African penguins at Betty’s Bay or enjoy a traditional braai (barbecue), Cape Town is one special city.
GET INSPIRED BY: Cape Town Explorer
6. Amsterdam, Netherlands
The capital of the Netherlands has got to be one of the world’s most inspiring – and good-looking – cities. The home of clogs, cheese, canals, cyclists, and some of the world’s most famous artists, Amsterdam is a captivating city. You can take it all in on our 6-day Amsterdam Explorer. We’ll kick things off with a guided tour to see the perfectly-preserved medieval buildings and leafy canals. You’ll even take a leisurely cruise along the canals, and it’s the perfect way to get to know Amsterdam.
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You can’t visit this Dutch city without paying tribute to the Dutch masters like Rembrandt, Hals and Vermeer. Admire their masterpieces at the Rijksmuseum, the national art gallery. For more history, explore the grand Museum Van Loon and the magnificent Royal Palace in Amsterdam, still used by the Dutch Royal Family. Visit Anne Frank House, the former home and now biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank.
If you want to soak up the gabled houses and tree-lined streets like the locals, take a cycling tour. As you pedal over flower-lined bridges, you’ll stop by gems like the Westerkerk and the tranquil Jordaan and Vondelpark. Whether you want to savour local cheese and sweet poffertjes or wander among tulip gardens and windmills, Amsterdam is sure to charm you.
GET INSPIRED BY: Amsterdam Explorer
What are the best inspiring cities you love to travel to? Let us know in the comments below!