Faster Travel

Six most braggable travel experiences

Looking for that ultimate travel moment to inspire envy? Travel writer Lauren Steventon picks six new experiences to get to before anyone else does

PeaceWalk
1

Cross Europe’s new mountain bridge

Seen the Matterhorn? We bet you’ve never seen it like this. Coinciding with the 150-year anniversary of the first ascent of Switzerland’s famous mountain, a new suspension bridge offers visitors another way to see the summit. The Peak Walk by Tissot hangs at 3,000 metres, connecting the View Point and Scex Rouge peaks in Gstaad. It’s the world’s first hanging bridge connecting two peaks and offers 107 metres of walkway with views over spectacular Alpine scenery. It’s what the panoramic setting on your camera was made for.

2

Visit South Africa’s hottest city

Visiting South Africa usually means the Cape and Winelands, safari or Johannesburg. But there’s a new kid on the tourist block. Durban has been undergoing a renewal, starting with street food and stalls at market Morning Trade, continuing with new theatres and boutiques, until finally the entire Riverside District will have been renovated. The city is also a great hop-off spot for South Africa’s other adventures – with Tala Game Reserve an hour away, the beach on the doorstep and one of the country’s most renowned rugby teams – all with the bonus of a city stay in the ‘real South Africa’.

ElBlok
3

The cool Caribbean island

The Caribbean is all about sun, sea and sand – but what if you threw a happening new chef into the mix? Winter sun suddenly has serious cool factor. Boutique hotel El Blok (above) has just opened in Vieques, Puerto Rico. Its blend of modern interiors and an innovative Latin American restaurant come courtesy of music executive Simon Baeyertz and José Enrique, Food & Wine magazine’s ‘Best New Chef’ 2013. It eschews the usual fly-and-flop mentality for experiencing the culture of Puerto Rico in a new, exciting way.

4

Catch the midnight train to Georgia

No, it’s not just a catchy ’70s soul song, it’s a new railway line from Baku in Azerbaijan to Kars in Turkey via Georgia’s Tbilisi. The project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2015 and offers a new way to see all three countries. It’s part of the high-speed rail corridor from Europe to Asia, which provides a direct link to Europe. With Azerbaijan’s burgeoning cultural scene and the lure of the less-travelled path to Georgia, it’s a sure-fire, envious ‘like’.

Congo
5

A new way into the wild

Lion tracking? Old hat. What you really need to wow your Facebook feed is a gorilla, and there’s no better place to spot the elusive lowland variety than the Republic of Congo. Not to be confused with the DRC next door, the Republic of Congo has been working itself on to the tourist map for some time, but with the 50th anniversary of the All-Africa Games this September, the infrastructure is rapidly improving. Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (pictured) has been described as the ‘last Eden’ by National Geographic – and with good reason: the country’s vast rainforest makes it an eco-tourism haven.

6

Extreme local food

Bored with repeated Instagram pictures of fancy plates of holiday food? Silence everyone by dining out with Eatwith. It sets up travellers with local chefs, who serve traditional meals in their own homes – sort of an Airbnb for foodies. Guests pay a nominal fee to cover costs and get to hang out with like-minded diners from the city they are visiting. There is a big selection of affordable experiences on offer, from rolling sushi in Tokyo to a market tour and brunch in Tel Aviv.