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6 Travel experiences that are more than just sightseeing

Get ready to get more out of your next vacation.   

Sightseeing is a typical part of any vacation. Taking in landmarks and historical spots can be breathtaking, but there are better ways to build a connection with your destination. On your next trip, consider “sight-doing” rather than just sightseeing.  

For travellers looking to gain new experiences, look for opportunities to explore local cultures on a deeper level. Sight-doing means experiencing rather than just seeing. It’s more than just learning about a destination; it’s about actively learning and participating in the culture and traditions. Get off the beaten path and try local activities and celebrations. By learning from locals through activities, tours, and courses, you’ll get to know your destination better and pick up some lasting skills.   

Interested in sight-doing but not sure where to start? Here are six travel experiences to help you get more out of your destination.   

Try to tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Street artist woman teaching tango to tourist on Caminito, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Frazao Studio Latino | iStock

The Argentine Tango is a dance of passion and expression. Originating on the streets of Buenos Aires in the late 1800s, the Argentine tango blends Cuban and Spanish influences with the Argentine milonga. Dancing in the streets and dance halls in the lower-class districts of Buenos Aires, the tango saw a revival in the 1980s, bringing Buenos Aires’s sensual dance to the world stage.   

Today, the tango is danced across Argentina by locals and professionals alike. The dance differs from the Spanish tango and other ballroom-style dances as it is all about expression, with room for improvisation and personal flair. Taking lessons in the birthplace of the Argentine tango is a great way to learn the history of the dance while taking in Argentinian traditions. The dance is about learning and listening to your partner and can take years to perfect. However, a lesson while you visit Argentina’s capital will leave a lasting impression and be an experience you will remember. 

Sniff out truffles in Tuscany, Italy

dog and hand holding truffle mushroom
Smederevac | iStock

Truffle hunting in Italy is a time-honoured tradition for generations in rural Italian communities. Listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, truffle hunting and extraction in Italy are characteristic of a rural Italian lifestyle. Truffles are a major aspect of Tuscan cuisine, dating back to Roman times. Finding these coveted fungi requires knowledge of growing seasons, ideal locations, and soil conditions. This knowledge is typically passed down through families, cementing the hunting and extraction of truffles as a cultural experience.  

On your next trip, get involved in the hunt. In Tuscany, you can hunt truffles year-round, depending on the type. A truffle hunting excursion is usually led by an expert and a truffle dog, specifically trained to sniff out, but not disturb or eat, the truffles they find. You’ll learn from the experts on how to find and extract truffles. For the ultimate Tuscan experience, join our 11 Days in Italy group itinerary. Enjoy your stay in a historic villa once used as Grand Duke Ferdinando I de Medici’s hunting lodge. Plus, you’ll explore the history and traditions of Tuscany like a local. What better way to learn culinary Tuscan history than foraging for these coveted fungi and immersing yourself in the cultural practice of truffle hunting?    

Enjoy harvest season In Bordeaux, France

Vineyards of Saint Emilion, Bordeaux Vineyards in France
samael334 | iStock

For wine lovers, there’s no better travel experience than the grape harvest in Bordeaux. Wine grapes are usually harvested between August and October, based on conditions and the decisions of the grower. See first-hand how wines from Bordeaux are made, and how the grapes are harvested. The wine harvest, known as “La vendage” is unique in French culture, referring only to grapes harvested for wine. 

The harvest season in Bordeaux is full of celebration and activity that you can join in on. Work alongside winemakers, family, students and workers to harvest grapes and get to know the wine making process. While comes vineyards do use machine harvesting, many still choose to harvest by hand. Bordeaux grapes are meticulously inspected to ensure only the best grapes are used to make wine. Taking part in Bordeaux’s harvest season offers a unique experience to get to know the wines produced in the area. 

Join a culinary class in Barcelona, Spain

Michael Watz | iStock

In Barcelona, learn how to make paella and tapas with a cooking class that lets you explore the sights and tastes of Barcelona. While paella may have originated from Valencia, you’ll enjoy creating this traditional Spanish dish with ingredients found at Barcelona’s infamous La Boqueria Market off Las Ramblas. Barcelona cooking classes offer the perfect blend of sightseeing and sight-doing as you are guided through the large market in the city centre.  

Trying out local cuisines while you travel is a great way to experience the culture of a destination and learn history through traditional dishes. Consider taking a cooking class while you travel and try your hand at making a local delicacy. Cooking classes and food tours will help you better understand the traditions and foods of your destination, all while gaining some new skills in the kitchen.   

Experience a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, Japan

Guests Being Instructed at Japanese Traditional Tea Ceremony
halbergman | iStock

Engage in a peaceful and meditative ritual while learning about the rich cultural significance of tea in Japan. Kyoto is famous for its tea ceremonies and practices. The ceremony is a traditional practice involving the ceremonial preparation and drinking matcha. Take a moment to enjoy this practice steeped in the rich history of tea in Japan. Today, tea ceremonies are practiced informally across Japan as a way to show hospitality and welcome guests, but you can still take part in more formal and traditional ceremonies while you visit Kyoto.  

As an experience rich in Japan’s tea culture, the ceremony is grounded in mindfulness. Traditionally held in a Tatami tearoom surrounded by tranquil gardens, the environment reflects serenity and tranquillity. This almost meditative experience reminds guests to slow down and search for calmness in a busy life.   

Celebrate Diwali in Jaipur, India

Ralf Menache | iStock

Diwali is one of India’s most important and widely celebrated festivals, perfect for tourists wishing to experience Hindu traditions. Celebrating the victory of light and good over darkness and evil, people light up their homes and towns for Diwali. Markets and food stalls come to life with colourful decorations, selling handcrafted jewelry and decor. 

One of the best places to take in Diwali celebrations is Jaipur. Each year, Jaipur welcomes people from India and around the world to take in the bright and colourful decorations that adorn the city. The city comes to life as it is decorated with string lights and oil lamps that blanket Jaipur in a warm glow.  Keep your eye out in the markets for marigold flowers often used to decorate in Jaipur. You’ll also find Rangoli art on the floors of nearly every household. These vibrant patterns are made with coloured powders and fresh flowers to represent a home’s happiness, liveliness, and positivity. Attending Diwali in Jaipur allows you to blend sightseeing with experiencing Jaipur as a local. 

Experience more with CAA

Are you ready to book your next trip? Book an appointment with a CAA Travel Consultant to start planning your next vacation. Plus, our consultants can help connect you with travel partners around the world to find you the experience that suits your vacation.  

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