For many travelers, travel decisions are largely determined by the destination itself. Prague or Budapest? Australia or New Zealand? The USA or Canada? We choose places based on a multiplicity of criteria such as proximity, accessibility, cost, uniqueness, safety and a whole host of other qualities. Increasingly though, travelers (and experienced travelers in particular) are choosing destinations based more on what they can do when they get there. The destinations themselves still must tick many of the same boxes as already described above but they also need to offer some other points of differentiation. Some people choose to visit Amsterdam, so they can try their first joint without having to do so surreptitiously down a dark alley. Others like to visit Paris or Rome so that they can explore those cities vast catacomb complexes. Some who want to experience what it’s like to fire a Glock, AK47 or minigun may choose destinations in Lithuania, Thailand or the USA to pander to those urges.
They call it experiential travel and its more about where you need to go in the world to have certain types of experiences rather than the destinations themselves. Obvious exceptions to the rule might be activities such as skiing, scuba-diving or trekking where the destinations — whether they be mountain ranges, pistes or coral reefs are equally important. In much the same way that there is only one Duomo (Florence), one Taj Mahal (Agra) or one Empire State Building (you know where that is!), so too does it often apply to experiences.
Most of us are familiar with the iconic bridges that span rivers in London (Tower), New York (Brooklyn) and Prague (Charles) but whilst all of them allow you to walk across them, how many of them can you actually climb? The Sydney Harbour bridge immediately comes to mind but you’re hardly going to travel half way around the world just to do that and — let’s call a spade a spade here — the cost of climbing that bridge (between AUD$278 and AUD$363) is nothing less than a rip-off!
You can, however, experience what it’s like to climb a bridge here in Europe and just for the princely sum of 12.50. OK, the views may not be as spectacular or the bragging rights as impressive, but a bridge climb is a bridge climb and its location is just two hours away in the utterly charming Portuguese city of Porto. Built in 1963, the Arrabida bridge has only made itself available for bridge climbs within the last year and thus is still not on many peoples’ radar but it is an experience well worth doing, given that it is the only bridge in all of Europe that you can actually legally climb! You will need a bit of a head for heights; it is a little bit arduous, but it is a rewarding and fun experience for those wishing to do something a little bit out of the ordinary during the course of a city break.