Hugging the sweetly named Darling Harbour and with architectural icons like the Sydney Opera House and arched Harbour Bridge, Australia’s largest city is super stylish and it knows it. Much of Sydney’s charm can be found in little neighbourhoods with diverse histories and architectural quirks. From the Greek enclave of Glebe to the harbourside suburb of Mosman, all of Sydney’s faces can be experienced within easy reach of the CBD. Sleep well, wake up refreshed, then hop on a bus, train or ferry to do some exploring.
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.
Chic Veriu Broadway is close enough to the Sydney CBD to be convenient, but far removed enough that guests can get a taste of daily life in Sydney’s less-visited neighbourhoods. The hotel provides complimentary bikes that guests can use to ride into the city or to the nearby Glebe Markets, University of Sydney campus and Victoria Park. It’s in a refurbished old warehouse and makes the most of its industrial past through exposed beams and concrete. Try to bag one of the rooms with a balcony and skyline views.
If the views at the Sir Stamford at Circular Quay weren’t enough – like the Opera House, Royal Botanic Gardens and Circular Quay – the chandeliers and antique furnishings at this boutique hotel will have you extending your stay. English-style high teas are held on Saturdays, and the whisky bar takes its inspiration from Scotland. And did we mention the Italian silk-covered walls in the Presidential Suite?
St Marks Randwick focuses on longer-stay guests, with exclusive weekly rates making this boutique stay a great choice for students, business travellers in town for conferences or families seeking a comfortable base in the city. The Randwick neighbourhood adds to the homely appeal, with cool leafy streets – so important during a Sydney summer – and a sleekly designed, art deco cinema. The soft sands and warm shallows of Coogee Beach are just a short stroll away, too.
History buffs will especially enjoy staying at the Harbour Rocks Hotel, a boutique hotel in an 1887 building in the heart of one of Sydney’s oldest European areas. You don’t even need to step beyond the hotel for top-notch dining: the on-site Tayim Restaurant specialises in Middle Eastern cuisine, and Creperie Suzette offers the French classic for breakfast and lunch. It’s just a five-minute walk from Circular Quay, so Sydney’s vast ferry and train network is right on your doorstep.
Surry Hills is one of Sydney’s most stylish inner-city suburbs, and the Crystalbrook Albion hotel is a handy base for exploring the nearby cafes and restaurants. To have a local show you around their neighbourhood, the hotel can arrange – for a fee – private walking tour guides. Domestic travellers who want to travel with their four-legged friends are also in luck, as the Crystalbrook Albion welcomes dogs and cats.
Come for the location, stay for the bathroom accessories. The Haven Glebe equips its guest rooms with luxury L’Occitane toiletries, so you won’t need an excuse to take extra showers – although a workout session at the on-site gym would count. The outdoor common areas, shaded with plants, create an inviting atmosphere for catching up on some work. Then, the nearby Glebe Markets, Glebe Foreshore Walk and Darling Harbour will tempt you out to go exploring.
Just around the corner and over the hill from Circular Quay, Watsons Bay feels like a totally different part of Sydney. Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, on the foreshore, makes exploring this coastal neighbourhood easy. Stand-up paddle boards are available to hire nearby, and walking trails lead as far afield as Bondi, along coastal paths. Between May and October you don’t even need to leave the hotel to see thousands of whales and dolphins migrating right past the window.
In an old stately home built in 1886, the Albert Hotel Mosman is a convenient option for access to both the city and the Northern Beaches. Cast iron bathtubs are a reminder of the hotel’s Victorian-era past. Balmoral Beach is the local strip of white sand, perfect for a summer swim, and Taronga Zoo is a five-minute drive away. Buses from Mosman travel up to the Northern Beaches, including Palm Beach – also known as Summer Bay – and the Barrenjoey Headland in the north.
The complimentary evening canapes at Spicers Potts Point are just what you need after a day on nearby Bondi Beach – or to get you ready for a night out at Kings Cross, Sydney’s lively nightlife area that’s right on the hotel’s doorstep. With just 16 rooms, this is an intimate and homely boutique hotel that makes a quiet haven from the partying outside. It even offers a remote office day package for local workers needing a change-up from working from home – join them with your laptop and a flat white.
With almost 300 rooms, Sydney’s Little National Hotel is actually anything but small. But the outdoor rooftop terrace, lounge and winter garden, with a fireplace and bar, provides an oasis of intimacy. The library, complete with USB ports and a wireless printer, is ideal for business travellers. It’s all just above Wynyard Walk, a futuristic pedestrian tunnel that links Wynyard Station to the CBD – so getting around the city centre is a cinch.
Still haven’t found your ideal Sydney stay? Book one of the best holiday rentals in the city, one of these hotels by Bondi Beach, or one of the best spots for a truly local experience, now via Culture Trip. Fill your itinerary with the best family-friendly activities in town and the best shopping centres. After a long day, get treated to gorgeous food at the local restaurants that should have a Michelin star. For more great places to stay in Australia, check out our pick of the best hotels in Kiama, New South Wales, bookable on Culture Trip.
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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.