With these 10 quirky tours, not only do you get to explore more of a destination than you ever could doing it alone, the actual method of transport is an experience in itself! Ditch the car and pick up the paddle, scooter or bus pass instead and uncover a new way to travel.
Running, Cape Town, South Africa
Heart pumping, feet pounding with the sights of beautiful Cape Town to inspire you. It doesn’t get any greener than this! Run Cape Town has a set of seven tours, all led by an accredited guide, that take you everywhere from Table Mountain and across the coast to pounding the pavement in the historic heart of the city to jogging through the vibrant Gugulethu township. The distance, pace and number of stops can all be adjusted to suit the needs of the runners. Tours are offered in English, Afrikaans, Spanish, French and German, and your guide will carry water, cameras and any small items for the group, leaving you free to enjoy the sights. They’ll also be snapping away as you run making sure no sweaty moment goes uncaptured!
Snowshoeing, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Here’s a tour that will have you trekking your way across fresh drifts of fluffy white snow and through frosty weather as thoughts of the steaming hot chocolate and fondue that await keep you toasty and warm. Fun and easy to pick up, snowshoeing has become quite a trend as far as winter outdoor activities go. No one knows exactly where and when the snowshoe came into existence, but it’s thought to date back more than 4,000 years to Central Asia. The shoes’ use was widespread throughout the indigenous North American population. Snowshoe design has come a long way from the large wooden-framed latticework of the past (think tennis racquet) to the lightweight synthetic shoes we see today. The crew at Mt Seymour’s Snowshoe Centre has six guided tours including one for small children, a fitness fanatic power hike and a slightly more leisurely Saturday-night tour that finishes with a feast of chocolate fondue in a hand-carved snow lounge. Private tours and independent snowshoeing are also available.
Vespa, Rome, Italy
Anyone who has been to Rome will be familiar with these zippy little two wheelers racing around the narrow streets. Take a seat behind one of the drivers from Bici & Baci for a classic taste of Rome as they guide you on one of 10 itineraries. From the passenger seat of the world-famous Vespa, you’ll wind your way through alleyways and squares taking in all the iconic sights and soaking up the Dolce Vita atmosphere.
Swamp Boat, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
For a first-hand look at the bayou, try a cruise through the Louisiana swamps with Spanish moss hanging all around and alligators gliding just below the water’s surface. Using small, 22- and 10-seat boats, the team at Cajun Encounters gets you right up close to the plants and wildlife that call Honey Island Swamp home. You’re in good hands with expert local guides who know all the gators by name, and are able to coax the creatures out of the water with mini hotdogs and marshmallows (yes, marshmallows). Highlights of the tour include raccoons, owls, wild boars, snakes, turtles, bald eagles, an authentic Cajun village, black bears and, of course, alligators!
Paddle Board, Byron Bay, Australia
You’ve probably seen them popping up at beaches across the world this summer. Originating in Hawaii, the stand up paddle board is the latest trendy water sport suitable for all ages and abilities. Throw on your bathing suit and follow your guide from Byron Bay Stand Up Paddle through the Byron Marine Park. Spot native birds, fish and baby stingray, and enjoy the lush native bush. Tours include an introduction to paddle boarding, refreshments and photos.
Supertrike, Napier, New Zealand
A five-seater, three-wheel motorbike – seriously, how can you not look at that and smile? You’d be hard-pressed to find a more smile-inducing way to discover Napier and Hastings – famous for its stunning Art Deco architecture and world-class vineyards – than on the back of a Supertrike. Driver/guide Vic offers four tours ranging in length from 30 minutes to two hours. Cruise through the heart of the city, along the Pacific coast and up into the lush Hawkes Bay countryside.
Bicycle, Berlin, Germany
As a rather spread-out city, Berlin is probably best experienced by bike. Take to the streets to cover a lot of ground while saving your feet a pounding. Heading out with Fat Tire Bikes will help you cover that ground and dive headfirst into the city’s rich and turbulent past. The guides are a mix of locals and expats who each have a unique take of the city’s culture and history. Fat Tire’s All-In-One tour is the perfect introduction to the city, helping you get your bearings and find out what you want to explore in more detail. The All-In-One tour runs year round, rain or shine (or snow!) and there are another five specialist tours that run during the summer.
Public Transportation, San Francisco, California, United States
If you want to get to the heart of a town, you’ve got to go where the local people are. In San Francisco, they’re moving about on the city’s cable cars, Buses, Muni Metro and BART. Real S.F. Tour’s signature city tour takes you to 11 of the most popular San Francisco neighbourhoods with public transit as your carriage. Kick things off with a ride on the historic California Street Cable Car, sample tea and fortune cookies in Chinatown, bus to Russian Hill and Pacific Heights, Muni Metro to the Castro District. See the big tourist attractions and the secret local spots all in one trip.
Kayak, London, England
Winding its way through the heart of London, the River Thames is an iconic part of the city’s identity and the perfect place from which to see the city. The team at Kayaking London will have you paddling past centuries of history including famous sites like Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge from the comfort of a double kayak. The boats are extremely stable and no experience is required to take part. You’ll learn all about London, its history and landmarks, plus your guide will snap the all-important photographs as you go.
Beer Bike, Amsterdam, Netherlands
A people-powered bar that doubles as a guided tour of Amsterdam complete with drinks – certainly a unique way to travel! One for adults only, the wonderfully fun Damtours Beerbike will have you peddling your very own moving bar across this notorious party city while your guide makes sure you don’t miss the history, culture and sights along the way. The bikes can take up to 17 drinkers and can be booked as a group or you can ride with other travellers. Pour yourself a pint, cheer with a few bottles of prosecco or bring your own beverages on board.
Featured image by Supertrike