In a world where social distancing and hypervigilance have become the norm, cities across the world are having to be reimagined.
In a post-Covid-19 world, city breaks are changing, with alternative urban travel experiences that continue to engage and inspire visitors.
Under the overarching theme of Better City, Better Life, World Cities Day on 31 October, designated by the United Nations General Assembly, focuses on the development of cities and the urban challenges faced, whilst bringing attention to fascinating metropolises all over the world.
From a tranquil kayak journey through the mangroves of Abu Dhabi to a restorative hike in the Alpine mountains of Trento, here are three cities offering enticing travel experiences in the new normal.
CITY BREAKS – Explore enlightened awakenings in Vienna, Austria
2020 has been a time of self-reflection and reconnection for many. From when the world hit pause and isolation kicked in, to the present as the pandemic continues, awareness of mental health has never been more paramount. For travellers with a desire to explore such enlightened awakenings, a trip to Vienna, the city of the founding father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, has never been more apt. This year marks the 120th anniversary of Sigmund Freud’s ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ and also welcomed the re-opening of the new Sigmund Freud Museumin August. Following a 14-month renovation and expansion project, the museum (where Freud practised and lived with his family for 47 years), will take guests on an immersive experience which, for the first time ever, provides access to all of the Freud family’s private rooms. Vienna is not only one of Europe’s most beautiful cities but was, and still remains, a cultural hub. Renowned for its historical liberalism, forward-thinking outlook, capital of music moniker and museum highlights, Vienna is the ultimate city stop for travellers seeking to nourish their minds and indulge in an educational and enlightening trip. www.vienna.info
CITY BREAKS – Escape to the tranquil waters of Abu Dhabi, UAE
Abu Dhabi is a city made up of a multitude of islands, interspersed with mangroves, jutting out into the Arabian Gulf. Life flourishes in the calm warm waters that separate islands built for fun, business and living, with the lush green mangroves peering out from the water all around. Visitors to the UAE capital can find escapism at Mangrove National Park, the city’s green lung, which is home to a whole host of wildlife including dugongs and flamingos, offering peace and space to reconnect with oneself. A kayak or paddleboard will take explorers into the depths of the mangroves, from which the city’s skyline can be seen in the distance. For those who prefer to explore on foot, the new Jubail Mangrove Park to the east of the city offers a network of boardwalks crisscrossing the mangroves, allowing visitors to meander and learn about this special ecosystem. Of course, with water all around, Abu Dhabi also boasts beautiful white-sand beaches, including Saadiyat Island, which is home to endangered Hawksbill turtles that return each year to lay their eggs on the shore. Unlike other bustling metropolises, Abu Dhabi offers a relaxed city break where visitors can embrace nature, allowing time to restore. https://visitabudhabi.ae/en-gb
CITY BREAKS – Embrace the healing properties of nature in Trento, Trentino, Italy
Trento, one of Trentino’s main cities, makes for the perfect green city break, inviting travellers to venture beyond Italy’s most famous and crowded cities to find true Italian culture, cuisine and architecture in the great outdoors. Trento’s location at the doorstep of the Alps allows visitors the chance to breathe in the rejuvenating fresh mountain air on hikes or mountain bike routes. Combined with enchanting natural landscapes and beautiful parks, as well as the spectacular Sardagna waterfall, it is easy to see why nature is one of the city’s three pillars. A convenient 30-minutes south of the city is The Monte Bondone (the Alp of Trento), a nature reserve which in winter transforms into a family-friendly ski area, perfect for Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and snowboarding. There are few cities in the world where the slopes can be enjoyed during the day before venturing back into the city to enjoy its multitude of dining and entertainment options. www.visittrentino.info