Off the beaten track: Discover

Photo: Adobe Stock

Off the beaten track: Discover hidden wonders of world-famous cities

Just around the corner of some iconic sights, there’s a little something extra special for the curious traveller.

Off the beaten track: Discover

Photo: Adobe Stock

You may have seen all the famous sights which have put these cities on the map, so how about exploring an underground wine bar in London, the best secret viewing platform in Tokyo and a nature reserve in New York?

Why not ditch that guidebook and look for a little more than the tourist checklist and usual landmarks and instead discover these local alternatives just around the other corner.

Gordon’s Wine Bar near Trafalgar Square, London

Trust London to play out of its boots with this one. Ever wished for a candle-lit subterranean wine bar where the tables are tucked under centuries-old and slightly wonky exposed stone walls? Well, it exists, right under your feet in Central London. 

Gordon’s Wine Bar, in London. Photo: Wine Mag (The Wine Enthusiast)

Government building near Meiji Jingu, Tokyo

Forget the tourist crowds and trust us on this one. A government building may sound like the most boring suggestion on the planet, but not when it has a terrace which offers the best panoramic view of Tokyo, including of the Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Tower.

View of Tokyo at night. Photo: Adobe Stock

La Caseta Del Migdia near the Catalan Art Museum, Barcelona

Hidden in the cliff tops of the Montjuïc neighbourhood, once you emerge through the forest into a pine-shaded clearing with panoramic ocean views, pull up a chair in the sunshine and overlook all of Barcelona.

La Caseta Del Migdia. Photo: Driftwood Journals

Jiantanshan Trail near Shilin Night Market, Taipei

Before you hit Taipei’s most famous night market, follow the Jiantanshan Trail as it snakes into the mountains for some serious views. Don’t scream it from the rooftops, but this is certainly the locals’ alternative to the 183m-high Elephant Mountain famous for its hiking trial and spectacular view of Taipei. .

Jiantanshan Trail near the Shilin Night Market, Taipei. Photo: Shutterstock

Le Jardin d’en Face near the Sacré Coeur, Paris

The Sacré Coeur is an obvious must-see, but Montmartre is also one of Paris’ most touristy neighbourhoods. Ditch the crowds and instead indulge in a Parisian bistro meal at this authentic local eatery, while feeling extra smug that you’ve avoided an overpriced ham and cheese baguette. 

Photo: Adobe Stock

Hallett Nature Sanctuary near Fifth Avenue, New York

A nature sanctuary just off Fifth Avenue? Who would have guessed? This pocket of Central Park was closed to the public for more than a century, but once you’re in this secretive forest, you may just forget that you’re in New York for a moment. 

Hallett Nature Sanctuary near Fifth Avenue. Photo: Adobe Stock