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5 Whistle-stop Tours

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The next time you find yourself in these five cities and don’t have much time to be a tourist, follow these recommendations.

Sometimes, we may find ourselves in a new city for work. Unfortunately, this usually involves a tight schedule, with hardly enough time to take in a couple of the major sights. If you happen to be in these five cities with little time to spare, here is a shortlist of things you must see, eat and do.

Austin, Texas, USA
The capital city of Texas has one mission, to ‘Keep Austin Weird’. Packed with amazing food and quirky street art, this laid-back city has friendly folk who are welcoming and lively.

See: The Hope Outdoor Gallery, which will be relocated later this year to an area across from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, is a local favourite. With mural art on literally every concrete wall, this open-air gallery is an eye-opener.

Eat: Hungry? Why not try eating in a trailer park! The South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery serves up great bites in a friendly communal setting.

Do: Shopping in Austin really takes the weird quotient up a notch. SOCO and Uncommon Objects are just some of the places you can pick up odd treasures and souvenirs. At Roadhouse Relics, you can shop for some really cool neon relics. For those into art, try Mondo Gallery for original and limited edition screen-prints and cool vinyl collections.

Riga, Latvia
Set by the Baltic Sea, this UNESCO World Heritage site has some of the finest Art Nouveau buildings in the world. Take in the beautifully restored and elaborate buildings that are a short stroll around the outskirts of the old town.

See: The new architectural wonder of Riga, the Castle of Light, is like no other library in the world. Even if you have no time to read the books, just go and explore its amazing and beautiful interior.

Eat: If you’re lucky to be in the city on a Saturday, visit the Kalnciema Quarter for its famous market, where you find produce from local farmers, and artisanal art and crafts. Sample classic Latvian staples, such as dense rye bread and blood sausage, and all manner of seafood, cheese and beer in Central Market, one of Europe’s largest covered markets.

Do: Back at the market in Kalnciema Quarter, you can enjoy open-air concerts, plays and art exhibitions, most of them free-of-charge!

Tel Aviv, Israel
Known as the White City, Tel Aviv is a breathtaking mix of gorgeous beaches and energetic nightlife. Get swept up in sun, sea and hummus!

See: Tel Aviv Port is a must-visit, with amazing stores, bars, cafes and leisure centres. Walk along the wide wooden wave-shaped deck to enjoy the gentle ocean spray, or dine and shop while enjoying a great view of the sea.

Do: Take off in a hot air balloon from Yarkon Park, and enjoy a mesmerising 360-degree view of Tel Aviv from 120m up! For more down-to-earth fun, wander around the Jaffa flea market to look for vintage finds. If you have time, watch a performance at Nalaga’at Center, one of Israel’s most unconventional theatres, where deaf and blind actors take you on a magical tour of their inner world.

 Eat: The Jaffa flea market also boasts authentic street food.Hiroshima, Japan
Hiroshima, the City of Seven Rivers, is where you can reach a waterway easily. Make the most of the rivers by taking a water taxi to discover a different side to the city.

See: A must-visit is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. A beautiful and expansive park, this is where you can learn of the recovery of the war-torn city and its dedication to world peace.

Eat: Hiroshima is also famous for its oysters — enjoy plump oysters plain and raw, dipped in ponzu sauce, or simply grilled. Whichever way you prefer to consume the oysters, their freshness guarantees a delicious treat — and many food stalls and restaurants serve them. Another local favourite is Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. Learn to make your own at Okosta, located near Hiroshima Station. This is a popular spot for travellers and locals alike.

Do: Take a day-trip via ferry from Hiroshima to nearby Miyajima to visit the world-famous Grand Torii Gate, and make friends with the freely roaming deer on the island.Cape Town, South Africa
Whatever limited time you have on hand, spend it traipsing around Cape Town for an exhilarating time.

Do: If adventure is on your mind, try abseiling down the iconic Table Mountain, which stands 1,000m above sea level. This hour-long activity will get your adrenaline pumping! If surfing the seas isn’t your cup of rooibos tea, try sandboarding or quad-biking on the sandy Atlantis Dunes Field, located an hour out of the city.

See: To enjoy the amazing sights of the peninsula, take to the skies in a helicopter tour.

Eat: To end the day, enjoy a night out in one of the colourful night markets. The Blue Bird Garage Market is a popular hangout for the bohemian crowd. Located in an old postal plane hangar, this market brings together artisans, artists, bakers and brewers, and gives off a vibe that rivals New York City’s East Village.