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Nobody knows a city as well as the people who’ve lived there for years. Here, the Time Out team shares its expert advice on visiting ten fantastic locations they grew up in around the world.
As Dubai’s frenetic pace slows and the city grows quieter, many residents see summer as an opportunity to head off on an adventure and explore more hospitable climates. If you’ve already steeled yourself for pricier summer airfares (inflated by up to 15 percent in some cases), but aren’t sure where it is exactly you’re packing to go, our international team have pooled their expert knowledge of their home towns to get you feeling inspired. While you may think you already know everything worth seeing and everywhere worth eating or drinking in these exciting spots (yes, we promise even Aberdeen can be exciting), prepare to get a true local orientation from our insiders.
Athina Simeonidou, designer
Of course you have to visit the typical tourist attractions such as Acropolis, but there is also much more to see. Public transport such as the metro and tram are great ways to get around – but check for strikes, as these have been happening a lot lately. Greek people drink too much coffee, so we’re experts – for the best coffee in town, visit micro-roastery and café Tailor Made (www.tailormade.gr/en), where the staff also do amazing mocktails. If you have the time to visit an island (one or two days is enough), the tightly-packed four islands of the Argosaronic are great for a rejuvenating getaway.
London, Great Britain
Penelope Walsh, eating out editor
Art fanatics and history buffs are spoilt for choice in London; the city is awash with museums and galleries, and many offer free entry. Must-sees include the Tate Britain (for a shed load of Turner), and the British Museum for ancient artefacts (including many from civilisations of the Middle East). This summer (Until September 29), Somerset House is hosting the first restaurant-inspired art exhibition, ‘elBulli: Ferran Adrià and The Art of Food’. Markets such as Brixton Village (Honest Burgers is a must try), Maltby Market and Broadway Market all offer affordable eating experiences from artisanal to ethnic, with a few independent crafts stalls for good measure.
Hfu Reisenhofer, Guides Editor
The Austrian capital boasts world-class music, opera, art and museums. Culture vultures will be spoilt for choice, and first-time visitors needn’t venture far beyond the central and pedestrian-friendly Opernring, home to the grand Hofburg Palace, world-famous opera house and gothic St Stephen’s Cathedral, not to mention countless independent cafes that underline Vienna’s age-old and still thriving coffee culture. Don’t miss the Museum of Modern Art in the Museumsquartier for great permanent exhibitions, or the Palmenhaus greenhouse.
Seoul, South Korea
Jenny Hewett, Body & mind editor
Expat-friendly Itaewon is famed for its shopping and restaurants and is where you’ll find antique-style Korean furniture, tailors and jewellery. Make sure you also check out the epic Namdaemum market for inexpensive clothing, accessories, traditional snacks and flowers. To lap up some history head to the War Memorial of Korea and check out displays of tanks and planes. Also worth a visit is Baedongbaji in Samcheong-dong, where you can sample traditional Korean barbecue and delicacies such as mandu and bulgogi.
Simone GanNon, editor, Time Out Kids
Teeming with culture, friendly people and great shopping and nightlife, all dotted around beautiful cobble stone streets; Galway is at its busiest and most beautiful, in the summer. Head to Quay Street, in the oldest part of the city, for great food and live music at The Spanish Arch Hotel or pick up a bargain at the Galway Market, a famous weekly affair packed with hundreds of stalls selling fresh produce and locally produced crafts.
Angela Beitz, features editor, Time Out Abu Dhabi
A trip to Sydney simply wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Sydney Opera House overlooking the water and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Grab a seat at the Opera Bar and take in the views. Another must-see is The Rocks, nestled at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is the oldest area of the city and has recently undergone a transformation into a busy area with rows of cafes and restaurants. If it’s beach time you want then pop over to Bondi, which is all about sun, surf and fun. I highly recommend a drink at the very popular Icebergs looking over the bay.
Philip Borbon, content executive, timeoutdubai.com
There’s so much to see – the San Agustin Church, built at the turn of the 17th century, is the oldest in the Philippines and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while the Rizal Park is definitely worth a visit in the evenings, when Filipino families come together to picnic. Check out Spanish architecture in the old walled city of Intramuros, and make sure you see at least one sunset from Manila Bay, a natural harbour.
Rachel McKinnon, intern
The ‘Granite City’, Aberdeen, is known for its eternal summer sunshine making it best to visit in the warmer months. All the extra daylight means you can really enjoy the sparkly granite architecture and sandy beaches. Home to 326 restaurants and plenty of nightlife options Aberdeen is certainly happening. Some of the best haunts include Bar 99, electro club Snafu and BrewDog, a traditional Aberdonian nightspot.
Christian Kachacha, senior advertising manager
Beirut is well known for its lively nightlife – and the party doesn’t end when the weekend does. Saint Michael street in Achrafieh is where the booming nightlife scene takes hold, with lots of cool cafes, as well as Hamra street. Beyond the great clubbing, make sure you visit Faqra Club and try grass skiing. Check out the local boutiques and designer stores to see a side of modern Arabia and don’t forget to stock up on gifts for friends back in Dubai.
Cape Town, South Africa
Nadia Puma, head of design
Don’t miss a trip to the V&A Waterfront, a huge shopping centre on a working harbour. As well as better-known stores and restaurants, there are also a range of markets that are worth a visit, some selling fresh food and produce, while others focus on crafts. Stop in at the Two Oceans Aquarium to watch sharks being fed, or jump on the Robben Island ferry for a trip to see the old prison, which is now a World Heritage site and museum.
Time Out Dubai,