South Africa’s bustling City of Gold isn’t necessarily associated with romance but the vast metropolis offers a plethora of experiences couples can enjoy. From unmatched views over the expansive skyline to remote day trips, Johannesburg has something for everyone.
Find some quiet at the many art galleries
Johannesburg has no shortage of art galleries, and visiting one is the perfect opportunity for taking a stroll through a quiet space while checking out local and international talent. The city boasts one of the biggest galleries in sub-Saharan Africa, JAG, as well as many contemporary galleries displaying the best of local artists. Whether you’d like to spend hours browsing art or pop in and out of different galleries, most are situated in busy areas so grabbing a bite to eat before or after is easy. Make a day of it and explore the city’s trendy neighbourhoods.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Picnic in the botanical gardens
Few things are more romantic than a picnic set in a beautiful garden and the city boasts not one, but two botanical gardens ideal for lazing around. The Johannesburg Botanical Garden and the Walter-Sisulu National Botanical Garden are both important green lungs and offer beautiful landscapes filled with fauna and indigenous flora. If you want to step up your game, get in touch with Dial-a-Picnic – they offer ready-made baskets filled with mouthwatering treats and will even lay it all out, so all you have to do is show up.
Stargaze at the planetarium
A visit to the Wits Planetarium will earn you major brownie points as it’s an unusual and unforgettable experience. A knowledgeable astronomer will share fascinating facts about the galaxy while you stare up at the stars above you. One of the best parts is when guests are shown what the stars above Johannesburg would have looked like if there was no light and air pollution. The planetarium lights up during this display and is sure to fascinate everyone present.
Spend a day relaxing
From budget-friendly to over-the-top, there’s a whole range of spas to choose from. One of the most recommended is Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa. The beautiful Balinese-style spa offers a wide range of therapies including signature Asian-inspired treatments and the heated plunge pool, spa bath, steam rooms and sauna allow you and your SO to completely relax.
Get into the wild
If you’re after a bit of adventure, grab your safari outfit and wander just outside of the city where you’ll find a game reserve filled with wildlife and unmatched experiences. Situated in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, The Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve calls itself “the nearest faraway place”. The privately owned game reserve is home to many different animals, including rare and endangered species. Guided walks are on offer and a visit to the Neck & Deck Café will allow you to get up close and personal with one of Africa’s most majestic creatures, the giraffe.
Treat your tastebuds
Take your pick of fine dining restaurants in Johannesburg. Patrons can try everything from local fare to international cuisine all while seated in a beautiful space and being waited upon by the best trained staff. At DW Eleven-13 you can enjoy experimental cuisine and traditional dishes with a twist, while Level Four at 54 on Bath is all about classical dining with contemporary influences. The list goes on and on, just take your pick and remember to make a reservation.
Watch the sunset while listening to live music
Rooftop bars are scattered all over the city, and over weekends most have live music to perfectly end a balmy summer’s day. Crafter’s Rooftop Bar in Norwood is buzzing with creativity and is one of the best rooftop bars to enjoy delicious craft drinks. At Skye Bar situated on the ninth floor of the Holiday Inn Hotel in Sandton, you’ll have panoramic views complemented by niche cocktails. And let’s not forget Living Room, a rooftop favourite in the trendy Maboneng neighbourhood, decorated with plenty of greenery and set against an urban backdrop.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.