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Curfew, quarantine and lock down – different words with the same meaning, all of which have conspired to estrange the world from the great outdoors over the past few months.
But now that the pandemic which has upended everyone’s lives is slowing and restrictions are easing around the world, it’s time to reclaim your freedom but slowly and safely. And what better way to do that than with a walking tour of the city you’re in to explore new trails and re-discover old tales?
Opened in September 2019, the Grampians Peaks Trail in Grampians National Park in south-eastern Australia connects two of the region’s most spectacular peaks, Mount Zero and Mount Abrupt with a 160km walk between them.
The 13-day trek promises magnificent views of picturesque gulleys, ancient caves and breathtaking panoramas. But more than just a physical hike, there is much Aboriginal history and culture to be gleaned too – the area has been home to the Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung people for as long as 40,000 years.
Enjoy the finer things in life with a walking tour through one of the city’s hippest districts in Paris – the 10th Arrondissement. Running along the right bank of the River Seine, this area best known for its traditional butchers and spice stores also has the most restaurants listed in the Michelin guide.
Dotted with cool coffee artisans and farm-to-fork eateries, you can enjoy a mix of old and new Paris as you chance upon epicurean delights, such as a 17th-century cheese cellar, while meeting local shop owners and hearing their stories.
If you prefer historic sights, explore the City of Light’s landmarks from Fraser Suites Le Claridge Champs-Elysées. This award-winning property is housed in an early 1900s heritage building along the famed Avenue des Champs-Élysées, from which the magnificent Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, The Louvre and other popular museums and gardens are within walking distance.
And for business travellers, there is also the five-star Fraser Suites Harmonie Paris La Defense. La Defense is Europe’s largest purpose-built business district and also incorporates a shopping mall, restaurants and entertainment venues.
Celebrate the city-state’s bicentennial with a 3km-long walk through its historic centre. 2019 marked 200 years since Sir Stamford Raffles founded the island and to commemorate the milestone, the walk was created with two routes. One winds along the Singapore River, across Fort Canning Hill (pictured), while the other meanders through the colourful streets of Kampong Glam.
Along the way, you will hear tales of 13th century Sumatran kings, discover a war-time bunker, and find out more about the rise and fall of Temenggong (the Prince of Pirates).
There are six Frasers Hospitality properties in Singapore, all of which are extremely convenient to embark on a walking tour from. Fraser Suites Singapore, Fraser Place Robertson Walk and Capri by Fraser, China Square / Singapore are in the Civic District with its historic buildings, memorials and parks, as well as the vibrant Singapore River and heritage area of Chinatown.
Fraser Residence Singapore and Fraser Residence Orchard are next to Orchard Road, with all the attractions that Singapore’s famous shopping street has to offer, as well as easy access to the CBD or central business district.
Another business district is Changi Business Park, where Capri by Fraser, Changi City / Singapore is located – next to Singapore Expo MRT and minutes away from Changi Airport.
Just like Spain’s Camino Way, Japan also has its own spiritual trail. Trek along a self-guided walking tour on the Kumano Kodo trail in Wakayama prefecture in central Japan. This UNESCO pilgrimage route treks through the Kii Mountains and past important Shinto and Buddhist shrines.
For over a thousand years, Japanese from every strata of society, including the Kyoto and Nara emperors, would go on this spiritual retreat, purifying themselves along the way in the waters of the region’s hot springs. If you’d rather not soak, then refresh yourself with the spray from the country’s tallest waterfall at Nachisan temple.
Looking for more options? Travelling to Saiho-ji Temple (or Koke-dera) in Kyoto could very well be a pilgrimage in itself. A snail mail submitted two months ahead of your trip is a must to secure an entry pass into one of the world’s most unforgettable gardens. Inside, guests start their journey with a calming Buddhist practice of chanting and copying scripture before exploring the rest of the moss-covered garden.
If you’re in Barcelona, go on a tour with a cerebral difference. The Barcelona Architecture Walks are conducted by qualified architects, which means you can be assured that your walking tour leader is a certified expert!
One route is the new bespoke Barcelona Modernisme walk, covering 3.5km of the Catalan capital. Along the way, there are some of the first examples of modernism, as well as Antoni Gaudi’s most eclectic masterpieces, namely Casa Batlló (pictured) – the mansion dedicated to the legend of St George and the Dragon – and Casa Milà, the apartment block that looks like a whimsical stone quarry.
Another of Gaudi’s most well-known buildings, Sagrada Família, is a 20-minute walk from Capri by Fraser, Barcelona / Spain. The hotel residence is in Poblenou, one of the city’s coolest districts with its tech start-ups, art galleries and hip cafes. It is also a convenient location from which to stroll along to sprawling parks like the Parc de l’Estació del Nord and Parc de la Ciutadella; the Barcelona Zoo; the trendy El Born neighbourhood in the old town with its charming shops and eateries; and the beautiful beaches.
Together with the vibrant design and modern conveniences offered at one of Barcelona’s top hotels, there can be no better way to explore this captivating city.