China Dont let the regal beauty of Beijing or the fast-paced pizazz of Shanghai overshadow the up-and-coming tourist hotspot of Guangzhou, which is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in Chinese tourism. From the imposing contemporary architecture of the colourful Canton Tower and the surrounding high-rises to the serene natural beauty of Conghua, theres nothing that cant be experienced in Guangzhou. The cuisine of the city is famed for being the best in China, known for its elaborate recipes and somewhat experimental flare. Favourites include the intrepid (steamed frogs legs on lotus leaves and snow fungus soup) to the classic (deep fried sweet and sour chicken and traditional chow mein). 3. Mexico City, Mexico With over 20 million inhabitants in the greater urban area, Mexico City is more than just a capital. The Centro Historico offers insight into the citys beginnings, Polanco is an affluent neighbourhood full of the most exclusive entertainment in the city, San Angel offers a gentrified upscale neighbourhood with delightful restaurants, Xochimilco is known as Mexican Venice for its canals and colourful gondolas, Coyoacán provides world-class museums and an authentic colonial town lost in the urban sprawl, Zona Rosa is the heart of the city with the CBD, the gay district and Little Seoul and the list goes on. 4. Porto, Portugal Nestled quietly on the northern coast of Portugal, this city packs a punch with its drastic hills that create spectacular views from almost everywhere in the city. And theres no better place to enjoy the vistas not only is the city anchored by the winding currents of the Douro River, but the architecture was made to be marvelled. The historic centre ensured the city was awarded with World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1996, but the modern architecture is what really impresses. Check out some local music at the Casa da Musica, which is home to the National Orchestra of Porto and stands proudly as one of the citys remarkable gems of contemporary design. 5. Perth, Australia If you want a getaway and to really get away, theres no better place to visit than Perth. All on its lonesome in Western Australia, this cosmopolitan metropolis offers all the cultural attractions of a big city in an isolated location surrounded by untouched beaches. Explore the cityscape and stunning coastline of the city, and venture out to the Margaret River wine region, which offers and abundance of boutique-size winemakers. Alternatively, a morning exploring Perths coastal strip before lunch in the buzz of the city centre and an afternoon of rejuvenation at the Shambhala Urban Escape Spa. Filip Boyen is Chief Executive Officer of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.Anyone reading this doesnt need to be told where to go. On the contrary the savvy traveller knows exactly where to go. But at the heart of it all, exploring and discovering is something we all crave when planning our holidays. Travel can refresh your senses and revitalise your take on the world, shaking you back to life with the unexpected razzle dazzle of an unexplored city, the intoxicating introduction into a fresh new culture, and the shocking realisation that its taken you so long to discover your latest location. Theres nothing more exciting than uncovering a place not always frequented by hoards of tourists, so heres a list of the top 5 city break suggestions for independently minded travellers. 1. Riga, Latvia The rich history, intriguing present and vibrant future of the biggest city in the Baltic States is evident from the get-go Riga has seen it all. The beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the city centre and its more than 800 revered Art Nouveau buildings is a stark contrast to the relics of the citys Soviet past, seen in hidden architectural treasures dotted around the city. A burgeoning café scene leaves many European capitals for dead, with a quirky style and a true penchant for quality coffee. For a tasty treat in a contemporary setting in the heart of the city, head to Restaurant Bergs for stylish décor, a varied menu and an extensive wine list. 2. Guangzhou,
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