Does your ideal holiday involve spending your days weaving through winding streets, coiffing coffee and local eats at hidden restaurants and immersing yourself in a completely new city? Then you've come to the right place. Here is our definitive list, which took much refining, of our favourite capital cities around the world...
Mexico City, Mexico
There is a lot to love about Mexico City but we would particularly recommend heading there to experience the Day of the Dead Parade celebrations at the beginning of November. While slightly more commercial than those celebrations around Oaxaca in the south, it's still an incredible experience. For a spot of history, take a helicopter ride over the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan, one of the largest cities in the world in its heyday of around 500 AD. Back on the ground, head out on a foodie walking tour through the city, sampling traditional delicacies and contemporary Mexican cuisine.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Easily one of the most vibrant cities in South America, Buenos Aires couldn't be missed off this list. This city is a perfect blend of European and Latin influences, highlighted by its nickname 'the Paris of South America'. We can arrange a private expert-led tour of Buenos Aires' street art where you can seek out the best murals in the city, and through them gain an insight into Argentina's socio-political past. Since you're in the home of tango, we can organise private classes for you with brilliant instructors, or if you'd rather leave it to the locals, head to La Boca to watch tango dancers performing on the street corners in front of the area's brightly coloured buildings.
Bangkok is a city crammed with culture and history to be discovered, and with the help of our expert local guides, we can make sure you get the most out of your stay. We can arrange a boat ride along the Thonburi Klongs, the network of canals on the rural western bank of the central Chao Phraya River, giving you a sense of the more rural lifestyles that live here compared with the city centre. Back on dry land you can then stop and explore the remarkable sites of Wat Arun temple, the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. To experience a more traditional side of Thailand, head out on a trip to the capital's outskirts to visit one of the floating markets such as Damnoen Saduak or Tha Kha.
This city is a microcosm of all things Japan, with a fascinating mixture of the old and new, from traditional Buddhist temples to modern skyscrapers, in a city with more Michelin star restaurants than any other in the world. On the more traditional side, we can organise a visit to Sensoji, the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo, a place of serenity away from the madness of the city; or arrange for you to spend the afternoon visiting a local karate dojo to learn the art of the famous Japanese martial art. For a taste of contemporary Tokyo, head out on a street photography tour, visit one of the weird and wonderful themed cafes (Cat Café, anyone?), or experience the hive of activity at the early morning Tsukiji fish market before heading to one of the best sushi restaurants in the area for breakfast.
One of the world's oldest cities is having a real 'moment', and we are firmly on board with that. The 'City of Seven Hills' (three guesses how it got its name) has had a host of new restaurant, hotel and gallery openings recently, and areas of the city that were previously rundown have been reinvented. While in holidays in Lisbon, journey up the hill in a traditional yellow funicular in Bairro Alto to survey the city from above, or head to the oldest part of the city, Alfama, to wander around the maze of steep cobbled streets and traditional buildings. You can't miss sampling the local delicacy of pasteis de nata (custard tarts) and our knowledgeable local guides can recommend the places to try the best ones (and don't worry, walking up and down the hilly streets will work off all those tarts no problem).