Ranked the world’s most livable city six years in a row and regarded as the “cultural and sporting capital” of Australia, Melbourne is as a diverse as its multicultural heritage. The city hosts numerous international festivals, as well as the most prestigious sporting events in the country and our baristas brew the best cups of coffee you’ve ever tasted. If that isn’t motive enough to book your flight to Melbourne here are a whole list of reasons why you should visit the city at least once.
It’s the world’s most livable city
Since 2011 the prestigious Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability Index has rated Melbourne as the world’s most liveable city. For six years Melbourne has scored highly in stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. Melbourne is also known as a leading financial city in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia’s culture and sporting capital and is recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature.
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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.
With a caffeine addiction to rival that of Lorelei Gilmore Melbourne is the best place in Australia to order an authentic cup of joe. Preferring boutique coffee shops over global chains Melburnians appreciate the art of coffee making and while lattes are the most popular choice Melbourne’s expert baristas can brew everything from espresso to cold drip, pour over and the classic cappuccino.
Melbourne is the sports capital of Australia
Sport is ingrained into the Australian culture and nowhere is that truer than in Melbourne where we observe public holidays for the Melbourne Cup and AFL Grand Final. Among the events hosted yearly in Melbourne are the Australian Open, Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Boxing Day Test, the Spring Racing Carnival and the AFL Grand Final just to name a few. The city is also home to an impressive list of facilities includes the MCG, AAMI Park, Etihad Stadium and Melbourne Park and Sports Business named Melbourne as the Ultimate Sporting City in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2016.
Navigate your way through Melbourne’s labyrinth of laneways, and you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring street art, quirky bars, and hidden cafes. Check out the sought-after urban canvases in Hosier, Union, ACDC and Duckboard Lanes as well as Flinders Lane for great restaurants. Other hidden gems include Rankins Lane, Centre Place, Somerset Place and Tattersalls Lane.
The diverse culture
Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs are a multicultural metropolis home to people from approximately 200 countries, with 260 languages spoken and 135 religious faiths represented. Italians, Chinese and Vietnamese people make up a substantial portion of the population while Melbourne is home to the largest Greek population of any city outside Greece.
The incredible food
From fusion restaurants, fine dining and food truck precincts, to ice creameries and late night souvlaki Melbourne is a place where people love to eat and as a multicultural melting pot Melbourne’s food scene is diverse, to say the least. For authentic Italian food visit Lygon Street, while Victoria Street’s strong Vietnamese presence is the place to find pho soup. On Brunswick Street, you can’t pass up Bimbos’ $4 pizza, while any of Neil Perry’s restaurants on Southbank will give you an unforgettable culinary experience.
All year round Melbourne plays host to world-class festivals. From music festivals including Sugar Mountain, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival and the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Virgin Australia’s Melbourne Fashion Festival, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Moomba Festival, Melbourne Writers Festival and Melbourne International Film Festival just to name a few.
Stereotypically black, layered and sophisticated Melburnians are a well-dressed bunch who seamlessly blend underground, high street and high-end labels. Each year Melbourne hosts the Virgin Australia’ Melbourne Fashion Festival and Melbourne Spring Fashion Week and the Spring Racing Carnival’s Fashions on the Field. For some retail therapy hit are Bourke Street Mall, The Emporium, Collins Street and Chapel Street.
There are four seasons in one day
Melbourne’s temperamental weather has to be seen to be believed. The seasons are fashionably late and unpredictable. In summer it’s best to always take a jumper wherever you go and an umbrella just in case, while in the colder months you’ll find yourself ripping off the layers when the sun reappears with a vengeance. Our infamous weather even inspired the Crowded House hit song Four Seasons in One Day.
The trendiest nightlife spots in Melbourne are found on rooftops and accessible only via hidden elevators and dingy staircases. From restaurants to bars and cinemas Melbournians like to take in the sparkling city skyline under the stairs. Among the best are Naked in the Sky, Goldilocks and Rooftop Bar which transforms into a cinema in the summer.
If you’re a late riser then you’ll appreciate Melbourne’s flourishing brunch scene. With crowds peaking at 11 am you can cruise from breakfast to lunch at your own pace. Favourites on the menu include Bircher muesli, smashed avocado on toast, and hotcakes. Be warned although Melbourne is teeming with cafes you may have to wait in line for brunch on the weekends, but if you’ve never experienced this mid-morning ritual than the wait will be worth it.
Between the bargains, haggling and hidden treasures, markets in Melbourne are a must-see for visitors. For fresh produce head to The Prahran Market or stop by the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere Queen Victoria Market. For vintage trinkets, knickknacks, and hot jam donuts visit Camberwell Market and one for one-of-a-kind artistic creations take a wander through Rose Street Artists’ Market.
Meandering through the heart of Melbourne is the Yarra River. Lined with restaurants, shops and footpaths the banks are always bustling with activity. Whether you take a boat ride, prepare a picnic stroll along the adjacent promenade or enjoy a meal with a view at Southbank’s entertainment precinct the Yarra River will play a part in your trip to Melbourne.
The incredible beaches
Tourists are often surprised to find so many beaches right on Melbourne’s doorstep. Only six kilometres south-east of the city is St Kilda where you can bask on the beach, stroll down the pier and watch cruise ships drift in and out of the harbour. Travel further down the coast and you’ll reach Dendy Street Beach which offers panoramic views of the city and is home to Brighton’s historic bathing boxes.
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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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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.