We’ve all been there: one of you wants to check out some ancient ruins before breakfast, jog back to the hotel via a local market, and then really start the day. The other one of you wants to sleep late, have a leisurely breakfast, maybe check out a museum before lunch.
Making sure that extroverts see and do everything they want to, while also making sure that introverts have time to recharge can be a delicate balancing act. So we’ve pulled up a list of the best city breaks for active adventurers and tranquil travellers.
The Ile de N'Gor, off the north shore of Dakar
Like any other capital city, Dakar is hectic and the tiniest bit overwhelming, but it’s full of small pockets of calm that are perfect for unwinding and recharging. While extroverts explore the city, introverts can make the short journey to Senegal's Pink Lake (Lac Rose), or visit the Ile de N’Gor, a small island off the north shore of Dakar. Here you’ll find relaxing beaches and waterside restaurants with views of the city.
As a coastal city Dakar is a popular spot for seabird watching and many of the taller buildings are set up with observation decks which offer respite from the busy streets. At the end of a long day sightseeing, grab a drink at the hilltop Phare des Mamelles, an open-air bar, or retreat to the private gardens and pool of La Residence.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The Perdana Botanical Gardens in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is known for its colossal number of sightseeing opportunities, but Malaysia’s capital city also has plenty of specifically designed oases, even in the city’s most crowded areas. One such area is the city-centre Lake Gardens, 91.6 hectares of calming, carefully-maintained landscape, including a hibiscus garden, an orchid garden, an aviary, a butterfly park, and a deer park.
In addition to Kuala Lumpur's city parks it’s easy to reach the green areas surrounding the city, such as the KL Forest Eco Park, an artificially created urban jungle located next to the KL Tower. And when it comes to accommodation the Majestic Hotel will put extroverts right at the heart of the city, while giving introverts plenty of peace and quiet.
The underground Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki
Some of the most outstanding architecture in Helsinki is showcased by the city’s churches. Built specifically to be avaliable for all religions and non-denominational meditation, the central Kamppi Chapel is known as The Chapel of Silence. And Temppeliaukio Church, an underground place of worship, carved out of bedrock, filled with miniature waterfalls and haunting organ music.
Finland’s capital city is also sprinkled with little cafés and bookshops, especially in the streets surrounding the city’s Design and Museum districts. Perfect for introverts in need of a breather while their extroverted companions continue exploring. Check into the Hotel Katajanokka, a converted prison that is only a few minutes’ walk from the city centre and a place that guarantees guests a retreat.
Salt Lake City, USA
Salt Lake City's skyline, with the Wasatch mountain range in the distance
Salt Lake City has an array of outdoor and nature-based activities, including the Great Salt Lake, Red Butte Gardens, and the City Creek Canyon. Extroverted travellers will feel like they’re making the most out of their time in Utah, while introverts will enjoy the slow-paced environment.
And Salt Lake City doesn’t only host Sundance Film Festival. The city loves all kinds of cinema so there’s nearly always a festival or film programme on offer, and the local film society hosts two rolling schedules of classic and new releases. When it comes to choosing somewhere to stay Grand America Hotel is a city-centre hotel that offers frazzled guests the use of its private spa.
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
A view of Hong Kong from Victoria Park
As the city with the largest number of bookshops per person in the world * , a trip to Hong Kong is the ultimate introvert/extrovert city break. Visitors here are never far from a beach; either the city beaches like Repulse Bay and Shek O, or the less touristy beaches in the New Territories.
In the evening head to Victoria Park (known locally as The Peak) a mountain to the west of Hong Kong Island. Take the Peak Tram for an uninterrupted view of Hong Kong’s nightly Symphony of Lights. Hotel Stage hits just the right balance with a central location and connections to all of Hong Kong’s tourist highlights, while still creating a calm atmosphere for guests via soothing interior design and excellent soundproofing.
** According to the World Cities Culture Forum 2016 report, Hong Kong has 21 bookshops per 100,000 people.