Warm-natured, sun-kissed, and naturally good looking, Sydney is rather like its lucky, lucky residents. Situated on one of the world's most striking harbors, where the twin icons of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge steal the limelight, the relaxed Australian city is surprisingly close to nature. Within minutes you can be riding the waves on Bondi Beach, bushwalking in Manly, or gazing out across Botany Bay, where the first salt-encrusted Europeans arrived in the 18th century. You can understand why they never wanted to leave.
For that "I'm in Sydney!" feeling, nothing beats the first glimpse of the white-sailed Opera House and the iconic Harbour Bridge, which you can climb for a bird’s-eye view of the sparkling harbor. Move on to the Royal Botanical Gardens’ tropical greenery and the Museum of Contemporary Art's cutting-edge exhibitions. With 70 beaches close by—from the fizzing surf of famous Bondi Beach to Manly’s coastal walks and pine-flanked bays—it’s no wonder Sydneysiders look so bronzed and relaxed.
Don’t let the knockout views of Sydney Harbour distract you from your shopping in The Rocks’specialty shops and galleries, crammed with one-off gifts, quirky fashion, and hand-painted ceramics. Sydneysiders shop for designer styles under the soaring glass arches of the Queen Victoria Building. There’s also the city’s very own Oxford Street and the fashionable Surry Hills and Paddington suburbs. Combine a morning looking for vintage clothes and swimwear at Bondi Market with time out on the beach.
Dine on a different cuisine every night in multicultural Sydney—whether late-night noodles in Chinatown, tasty tapas in the Spanish Quarter, or authentic Thai curries on bohemian King Street. BYO restaurants and sensible prices make eating out affordable in all but the very top places—French-Japanese Tetsuya’s, for instance. Head to Circular Quay’s sleek waterfront restaurants for the Opera House view and Australia’s distinctive modern cuisine—a fusion of Australian, Mediterranean, and spicy Asian flavors.
There’s so much to do in Sydney that you could easily spend a week here and still not see it all.