A little Romance on Sicily

We all know, Italy is for lovers. And so is Sicily. Lovers of people. Lovers of food. Lovers of ocean views and mountain roads. It doesn’t really matter what kind of love, Sicily is the perfect place to enjoy it. And here’s exactly where to do that in the North-Western side of this stunning island.

Dine your way through Trapani
The small city of Trapani isn’t the first spot people think of when they want to book a trip to Sicily. Which leaves Trapani a little bit undiscovered, always a good thing! It’s the type of town where you will get lost the first few times you walk around the city-center and every time you’ll discover something else to marvel about. Maybe an ancient church, the magnificent views from the boardwalk or a cute little cafe in a corner somewhere. Here you will find the most delicious food and drinks in narrow Italian alleys or on grand marble boulevards. Everything for very reasonable prices. And by reasonable I mean you can go for breakfast, lunch and dinner every night without a worry in your wallet. Feeling romantic? A must-go is Osteria I Vitelloni, situated in one of the main streets in the centre of Trapani. Order the tuna in a pistachio crust and let them pick the wine. But, skip the dessert. You’ll need some room for an amazing ice-cream at Panna & Co. If that isn’t love in a cone.. You can thank me later.

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Osteria I Vitelloni

Scooter your way around
Trapani is also a perfect gateway to a ton of other places you must see while you are on this side of the island. A scooter will take you and your loved one(s) everywhere! Go to Marsala for instance, a famous wine town a little drive to the south. Along the way you’ll see the salt pans this area is known for and feel the wind in your hair. A little more inland (after a fun drive) you can find the majestic temple complex of Segesta. A history lesson has never been more exciting as you climb the ruins and check out those magnificent views. Another piece of the past can be found in Erice, a medieval town which you can find hovering on a mountain above Trapani. Get there by scooter, or by cable car! And try not to get lost in all the bumpy, winding streets. Although I didn’t try it, I have been told you can buy the best canolli on the whole island here (why I didn’t try it myself will always be a mystery).

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Whatever you do in Trapani, don’t forget to visits the Egadi Islands. They are only a boat ride away but you’ll feel as if you travelled back years in time. The little villages cannot be any more picturesque and the surrounding waters couldn’t be more azure. If you have the chance to stay a few days on one of these islands, go for it. Opting for a day trip? Don’t fall for the tourist trap, the packed boats. If you are on a ‘everything is possible’ trip, book the catamaran. Little more of a budget? Just take the ferry to one of the islands and rent a bike once you are there. Exploring a tiny tiny island together, oh the romance.

San Vito Lo Capo, just the sound of it makes you want to go
Trapani is the perfect place to stay and to explore this side of Sicily. However, if you are a beachlover, this town’s city beach won’t fulfil your sandy and salty dreams. Luckily there are some options for you to get your toes touching some lovely blue water. When traveling a lot to find that perfect spot isn’t your cup of tea, then head over to San Vito Lo Capo. It’s possible to scooter there for a day trip from Trapani, or if you want to lounge around the beach for a few days you can book a place to stay. It is a bit more touristy, best don’t expect the Robinson Crusoe vibe and book your accommodation in advance (in the high season from June to August). This little coastal village offers a beach that makes you feel as if you are on a tropical island. There are plenty of cute shops and spots to grab a bite, put on your holiday hat and enjoy. Every year in September they host the Cous Cous Fest in San Vito. Do check it out whenever you are in the area at the right time and feed each other some couscous!

Not far from San Vito Lo Capo lies the Riserva Naturale Orientata Dello Zingaro, a nature reserve which holds some beautiful bays with rocky beaches and ridiculously azure water. Bring your goggles for some underwater fun with the fishes! The park is not accessible for cars or any other type of vehicle, be prepared for some hiking. It’s worth it!

Chill in Cefalu
Want to head over to a different side of Sicily to chill? Cefalu is your town! From Trapani you can book a ticket with public transport and it will take little over half a day of travel by bus and train. Cefalu looks like the Italian coastal towns that you see in paintings. It’s got the maximum idyllic factor. There’s lots to do here if you want to, from sailing to an active volcano-island to day trips to other well-know Sicilian places like Taormina. Or you can just stroll through the paved alleys, have an iced-cappuccino every once in a while and stretch your legs on the beach. I have to admit, that latter was how I filled my days in Cefalu.

Sicily Cefalu view point

Even if you are feeling the lazy vibe, you should get of your beach bed once to climb Rocca di Cefalu. This massive rock towers above Cefalu and will give you some breathtaking views and historical facts. It is quite the climb, leave your flip flops at home and put on some more solid footwear. Once you’re on the top, there are loads of spots for that perfect lovey-dovey selfie. Just like in Trapani, San Vito Lo Capo and probably all the Sicilian towns, the food in Cefalu is amazing and the amount of restaurants to try is enormous. You cannot leave without trying at least five different types of pasta (more is better in this case). Many restaurants have hidden terraces overlooking the sea, be there in time for sunset!

Give each other a kiss, and book that ticket to this North-Western part of Sicily!

Love,

Jill

*Jill is one of our guest bloggers living in Amsterdam (@jillgwendolyn) where she works as a content manager for a digital agency. She’s Crazy about traveling and has spend her studies in New Zealand . You can read a new article from Jill in every 3rd week of the month!

10 X Child Friendly Hotspots in Barcelona

The summer is getting closer and it’s the perfect time to go out of your house and sit down in a nice café for a brunch or “merienda”. If you are a parent and want a café where you can easily get in with your stroller and enjoy an amazing coffee and at the same time let your baby have a great time; we have the perfect places for you! It is easy to fall into routines and always go to the same places, doing the same things. Let’s switch things up for the summer! Here are 10 child friendly hotspots in Barcelona curated by The Nannyline.

Parc de la Ciutadella
Passeig de Picasso, 21

Near Arc de Triomf we find the beautiful Parc de la Ciutadella, “the central park of Barcelona”. This 17 hectare big park is filled with fun, exciting things that the kids will love! We find a little café next to a majestic fountain. Right next to the café you can take a 30 min row boat ride in a little lake. The park also has a greenhouse, The Umbracle, filled with tropical plants. Moreover, probably the most exciting for the kids: The Zoo! Parc de la Ciutadella is nevertheless the ground for Zoo of Barcelona. Perfect place for your nanny to bring your kiddo. Test your kids animal knowledge outside the children’s books! In the zoo you will meet hippos, flamingos , monkeys and much more. Parc de la Ciutadella is undoubtedly a park you can spend countless hours in. This is the place for both expats, tourists and locals to hang and enjoy the amazing city of Barcelona.

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CosmoCaixa Barcelona
Carrer d’Isaac Newton, 26

Too hot outside and in need of air conditioning? Explore the wonders of science in CosmoCaixa’s Science Museum! Your nanny and kid will definitely be entertained by this museum placed in northern Barcelona, Sant Gervasi. Boost your kid’s curiosity and creativity and explore the different interactive workshops and activities! They have a recreation of an Amazonian rain-forest (Flooded Forest “Bosc inundat”), a planetarium taking you on a journey through space and time, and a creative space with experiments and games suitable for kids from 7 years and older. They also have workshops like ¡Toca-Toca! and Clik, where you are not only allowed, but supposed to touch, play and interact with different things.

Beach
Build sandcastles, maybe play a little football and take a refreshing dip in the water: the beach is one of the best things of Barcelona. A big city with an accessible beach; can it be any better? You can take your nanny with you to the beach so you can relax for a bit and let the nanny babysit the kids. Here are some suggestions for beaches where you, your child and nanny can go:

  • Sant Miquel and Sant Sebastià
    Near hotel W we find these two beaches. Great for kids because the water is shallow.
  • Nova Mar Bella
    A bit more quiet with space for a picnic and there is a playground nearby.
  • Ocata beach
    A bit outside of Barcelona heading north we find Ocata beach. A big, wide beach with white sand. Perfect if you have the time and ability to go outside the city.

Aquarium
Moll d’Espanya del Port Vell, Website

Barcelona’s aquarium “ L’Aquàrium de Barcelona” will bring you on an fascinating underwater experience. Prepare to meet lots of different little and big sea friends. You have the guided Discover the L’Aquàrium’s secrets tour where they talk about how the aquarium works and how they take care of their fishes. A fun experience with lots of fun, new facts. You and your babysitter can of course also decide your own tour strolling around as you like. Barcelona’s aquarium also offers a clue game, handicraft workshop and a Q&A with the carers while they feed the fishes.

Parc del Laberint d’Horta
Passeig dels Castanyers, 1

Play in the maze of Parc del Laberint d’Horta! Barcelona’s oldest park located in Sant Andreu is the perfect place to spend a weekend or an afternoon. The green garden is filled with small squares, mythological sculptures, flower beds and a waterfall has a truly enchanted feeling to it, great for exploring! Have a picnic, get lost in the maze and discover all the different corners and places of this beautiful park.

Pudding coffee shop
Avinguda Diagonal, 515
Open hours: Mon – Sun 9.30 – 21.30

The wonderful coffee shop Pudding will make anyone fall for it’s charm . Beside the brunches, sweets and good food they offer they also have a special kid’s club. The club can both help you fix an awesome birthday for your child or provide you with a babysitting service. Located at Carrer de Pau Claris near Urquinaona metro station this coffee shop is a must when you are in Barcelona!

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Pudding Coffee Shop

Parc Turó de Can Mates
Carrer de Josep Irla, 50

This park , located in Sant Cugat del Valles is a lovely playground to bring the kids to. Parc Turó de Can Mates has four different zones: a flat green area with some trees and an outdoor gym, one area with long and fun slides, a climbing frame and a big sandbox. The park is easily accessible and has a good parking lot. Ask your nanny to take your kids here for the afternoon and let them explore the different areas of the park. Play in the sand, slide down the slides and climb the climbing frame!

Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens
Ctra. de Miramar, 50-58

Open hours: Mon – Sun 10.00 – 19.00
Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens is a botanical garden at the foot of Montjuïc. Here can your child explore over 800 different sorts of plants. The garden was actually built as an outdoor classroom for students of Escuela de Jardinería de Barcelona but is now open for the public. Take this opportunity to teach your kids about nature while looking at this rather unusual garden. Make sure to not stick yourself on the cactus spines!

mossen-costa-i-llobera-gardens

Baby Deli
Avinguda Pau Casals, 6
Open hours: Monday – Saturday 10:15-14:30 and 16:30-19:45
Baby Deli is a combined store and café. With a sophisticated interior design Baby Deli welcomes us with a warm feeling. This is the perfect place for the whole family. They sell baby food, amazing coffee, toys and clothes. While parents can enjoy a cup of coffee and maybe some snacks, the kids are free to play with a variety of books and toys. It is located close to Francesc Macià and has a nice park just one minute walking distance away. Definitely a new favorite place for the summer!

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Family Room Café
Carrer Joan Gamper, 13
Open hours: Tuesday, Wednesday 09:00-21:00, Thursday, Friday 09:00-00:00, Saturday 10:00-00:00 Sunday 12:00-20:00
Vergós 55. Open hours: Tuesday – Friday 08:30-21:00, Saturday 09:30-21:00
Family Room Café is based on the idea of being “a place for families”. They offers healthy food and a cozy atmosphere on two locations; one in Les Corts and one in Sarrià. The café is spacious and light with nordic inspired interior design. The dried flowers in vases on the wooden tables gives the café a fresh, organic feeling. They have a playground for the kids in both cafés. In Les Corts they have cute wooden houses, toys, a little kitchen and a wooden horse. The Sarría café just opened about two weeks ago and offers a whole floor just for the kids! This is a place where you want to sit down for a couple of hours, eat brunch, drink coffee, relax while the kids have a whole room full of things they can enjoy. A must-see during the summer!

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Family Room Café, Les Corts

Love,

The Nannyline

*The Nannyline is an international agency with highly educated, experienced and enthusiastic nannies based in Barcelona. Find out more at www.nanny-line.com

8x tips for a weekend citytrip to The Hague

I love springtime! For me it’s the best time for a citytrip. Last weekend I played the tourist in the royal, majestic The Hague. Let’s zoom in on some great trendy and even some vintage hotspots I figured out for you. Here’s the wanderlust citytrip to The Hague. 

Where To Eat
Food, food, food. I can think about it the whole day long if you give me the chance. Because I really see the daily ‘food moments’ as something important, I don’t take pleasure with every standard looking food spot just around the corner. It’s a discovery tour to find the gems! Below you’ll find a couple of (coffee) spots which caught my attention. pistachecafe.nl

Pistache Café
Located behind the royal palace ‘Noordeinde’, this healthy oriented hotspot is definitely one for your food bucket list. Why? The Pistachers only work with fresh ingredients and are figuratively allergic for E-numbers and other chemical stuff. Most of the foodies tried the bread with avocado, looked finger lickin’ good! I ordered the sweet potato pancakes – what a surprise – which were also yummy, but a bit too little if you’re hungry after a city walk ;)

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Pistache Café, one of the hotspots I’ve tried during my citytrip in The Hague

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Blij
Drop by and enjoy a good cup of coffee, fresh juice, breakfast, lunch or dinner. I’ve tried the Eggs Florentine which was really delicious. Tip: order the hollandaise sauce on the side. Especially, I would like to point out the genuine hospitality of the staff, thumps up for them.
Little V – This Vietnamese hotspot is tha bomb! They’re famous for their homemade ice teas, worth to try. If you’ve ever been to Vietnam you definitely will taste the real Vietnamese buns, pho’s and spring rolls in the beating city heart of The Hague. Also the laid back ambiance is great. And for the dessert lovers? The chocolate mousse with a Vietnamese touch is the one you definitely have to order! *Update, we are told that Blij is sold to new entrepreneurs and is called restaurant KADE from now on.

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Vietnamese food lovers, this is your spot to drop by in The Hague

The Hague Bookstore
Located in the city center, this is the vintage spot for your shot of caffeine, cakes – the cake of dates is heavenly – and books. They have a kind of a garden where you can escape the hustle and bustle of The Hague. Sit back and relax! Website.

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The Hague Bookstore, the place during your citytrip in The Hague for a relaxation moment

Lola  
A bike and coffee shop in one, love the concept! It’s a heaven on earth for cycling enthusiasts, no doubt about that. Expect an easy-going atmosphere – even in the weekend -, superb coffee and cakes ánd friendly staff who like to make a chitchat. lolabikesandcoffee.nl

LISTed
You definitely will fall in love with this fashion meets coffee concept store. They have in my opinion the coolest Scandinavian clothing brands, original accessories and…coffee! Girls, take your time, the boyfriend will enjoy their coffee with a book in the chill chesterfield. Win – win! Facebook

Where To Stay
The best way to explore The Hague is to stay a night in one of the mostly classical designed hotels or Airbnb’s. I tried the budget proof The Student Hotel, located nearby the train station The Hague HS. It’s a place where students can live for a couple of months and design-savvy travelers can stay for a few nights. My opinion? It’s a modern, simple and very clean hotel (room) with all the facilities you need. No foolishness, only functional design. I really loved the helpfulness of the receptionists, credits for them. Besides I prefer the smaller boutique hotels instead of the – with all the respect – more ‘room factories’ like The Student Hotel, I absolutely recommend The Student Hotel when your budget isn’t sky high. You can book your room here. Book your stay here.

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The Student Hotel, my stay during my citytrip to The Hague

Oh and by the way: In 10-15 minutes you’re in Scheveningen by tram, the place to be when it’s a blue sky, sunny day. There are a lot of beach resto’s where you can have a pit stop for nibbles, drinks and more. Locals told me the less touristic spots are located around the ‘Zwarte Pad’ (Black Path).

Keep the above tips in mind and go for your The Hague citytrip as soon as possible. The welcoming inhabitants are waiting for you!

Love,

Sharmaine

Check Sharmaine’s midweek citytrip to Maastricht and get all the tips! Follow Sharmaine on Instagram.

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12 x Tips for a Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht

We Dutchies are globe-trotters with a capital ‘G’ and an exclamation mark. Our travel-around-the-world-craving seems to become bigger and bigger, year after year. But besides all the international magic, did you know our own Dutchieland has just as much to offer as the most distant destinations? A nice side note: you save yourself a pricey ticket and killer jetlag (here’s how to avoid one). Let’s go back to our roots! Last midweek I traveled to Maastricht and it’s surroundings. Wander-Lust received the invite by the VVV Zuid-Limburg and Marketing Maastricht to experience how interesting and beautiful it is to go on a discovery trip in your own country. I can tell you, it was livin’ the good life.

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht in a nutshell
Would you like to experience life like the Maastricht citizens do? Drop by on a Sunday afternoon till Thursday and you’ll get that slow living, enjoyable feeling! No hustle and bustle, just everything at ease. The authentic atmosphere of Maastricht made me feel like I was on a laid back mini vacation abroad – and that wasn’t just because of the lovely spring sunshine, cold beer with Italian nibbles and a hospitable community. There is so much to explore, let’s zoom in on a few highlights and to do’s I’ve tried & tested.

Where to Stay
In my opinion the best district to stay is without doubt the hip and lively district ‘Wyck’. Extra plus: it’s near the train station, which is super convenient. Let me give you three really cool hotel tips for your citytrip in Maastricht:
» The Dutch: My first choice in Maastricht. The colorful, trendy design with international allure would certainly not be missed in Amsterdam, London or Barcelona. I’m in love with their breakfast bag, which they hang on your door in the early morning, so cute. Food allergy, vegan or other wishes? No problem for the genuinely friendly staff! www.hotelthedutch.com

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht The Dutch

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht The Dutch
The Dutch, one of my stays during my midweekend citytrip in Maastricht

» Kaboom Hotel, are you smart, worldly-wise and a tad of a rebel? Did you hear yourself saying three times ‘yes’ than you definitely have to stay here. Rewarded as the best hotel concept in 2015 according to Entree Magazine, good job! Oh and they’re nice for your wallet: budget-friendly without feeling cheap. Book your stay here.
» Townhouse Hotel. They want to give you the feelin’ like home-away-from-home experience: rent a goldfish for one night – how funny is that! – and enjoy their homemade soup or a little alcoholic drink in one of the comfortable, retro sofas. If you prefer a pure and ‘down to earth’ hotel, this is your match! Book here!

Townhouse Hotel
The Townhouse Hotel

Where to Eat
Oh Yes, we have arrived (figuratively  speaking) at my favorite chapter: Food! During my citytrip in Maastricht I spotted many pretty new hotspots.
» Jack White’s, I’ve started my food fest at Jack White’s creative fish & chips, a fairly new resto. Normally fish & chips is made of a white fish, mostly codfish. The heroes of Jack White’s have given it an original twist. They can do the same delicious, fried trick with fresh salmon, mackerel and even sea bass. Give it a try with a Goose Islands beer during your citytrip! Facebook
» Mr. Smith, Say hi to this new kid in town. A stylish cocktailbar of two hipsters. This cocktailicious hotspot is one you need to know, otherwise you will spontaneously go along. Press the bell and a small-scale, hidden cocktail heaven will open in front of you. Go for their fresh GT’s or ask the staff for a tasty advice. In advance #sorrynotsorry for your hangover. mrsmithmaastricht
» De Poshoorn, on Sunday evening I went to the well-known De Poshoorn. In the past a brown, tiny unobtrusive pub, nowadays a vibrant beer café with a fresh, contemporary atmosphere. Sixteen beers on tap and hundred on bottle. Go local and try the ‘Mestreechs Zoervleis’, a local food specialty. In spite of the fact the Maastrichtians see this dish as something unique, for this girl from above the rivers it’s a look-alike of the meaty hachee, so delicious! www.poshoorn.nl
» De Tapijn, is a very cool 4-year catering project in a former barrack. Relaxed location near the park, welcoming staff, a huge terrace and yummy food. I love the fact they know the origin of the fresh, local ingredients. This alone makes the food even better. Lunch, dinner or a Friday drink with friends, this hotspot in Maastricht has it all! www.tapijn.nl

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht
Jack White’s, one of the hotspots I’ve tried during my citytrip in Maastricht

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht
Never mind the beer! ;-)

What To Do
Boy o boy where to start, there’s so much to do during a (mid)weekend Maastricht and other parts of South Limburg! Here are my favorite highlights:
Let’s start with the city walk through the urban part of Maastricht. Honestly, the excitement of the guide is essential for making or failing it, but luckily I had an amazing time with Lianne Schuuring, credits for her. She showed all the interesting ins and outs of Maastricht from the history till today. Bucketlist proof!

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht
Sightseeing Maastricht, a must do during your citytrip!

Midweekend citytrip to Maastricht

If you’d rather ride a bike than walk, rent a mountainbike and work on your condition in this hilly area. There’re so many bike routes. I cycled to the newly opened ENCI-quarry, a wonderful spot for a swim in summertime. Just a guess, I think you’ve never thought about a kickbike tour in the caves of Zonnebergust. In the Maastricht underground nothing is too crazy. Although I do not have much with visiting caves, the whole new experience ánd power chick Niké Hermans made it really enjoyable. See the Southern part of South Limburg from a fascinating, different angle. Are you claustrophobic? Let shake hands…but I can tell you this wasn’t too claustrophobic for me, so don’t worry.

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Entering the cave

A herbal walk in Maastricht or other parts in South Limburg, have you ever done it? Come one, once has to be the very first time. Definitely book it via the enthusiastic master herborist Anne van der Linden. She’s is a running encyclopedia, she really knows everything about herbs and their special function: tea of nettle for blood purification, the juice from the dandelion for drying out annoying pimples and so on, and so on.
If you’re very interested in the history of historical buildings go to Abdij Rolduc in Kerkrade and book a tour. To be honest, it wasn’t my favorite, but I can imagine you don’t want to miss it during your midweekend in Maastricht and surroundings. Afterwards you can have some food in the Brasserie or have a quick look in the microbrewery, a hidden gem!

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Maastricht

An information overload summarized in a city guide for you, you’re welcome ;)
I’ll definitely go back to the south if I need a mini-break!

Love,

Sharmaine

Read more of Sharmaine’s foodie tips here!

Budapest » A Citytrip To ‘The Pearl of the Danube’

Just a short two hour flight from Amsterdam and you’re in Budapest. Budapest is the capital of Hungary and is also known as The Pearl of the Danube – a title the city rightfully carries with pride. Buda and Pest used to be two separate cities and were divided by the Danube. The two were joined together in 1873 to form one big capital known as present day Budapest. This city breathes history and with so much to do and see it definitely deserves a top spot on your city trip bucket list.

Sightseeing Heaven
Start the day early in Buda, and make sure you’ve got your camera ready and your walking shoes on because your first day in Budapest is going to be a sightseeing fest. Imagine yourself back in the 13th century whilst walking around Buda Castle, enjoy the marvelous architecture and views at the Fisherman’s Bastion and walk over the first permanent stone bridge, the Chain Bridge, that connects Buda and Pest together whilst enjoying your view over the Danube. Once in Pest don’t forget to check out St. Stephen’s Basilica and last but definitely not least wander around the impressive and gigantic Parliament.

Chain Bridge Budapest
Chain Bridge

Budapest
Fishermans Bastion 

Parliament by day Budapest
Parliament by day 

Gliding down the Danube
After having strolled around the city for hours your feet probably need some rest. And when you’re visiting The Pearl of the Danube a boat trip on this river shouldn’t be left out whilst exploring this city. There are many operators in Budapest that offer boat trips up and down the Danube, and some of them also make a stop on the little island between Buda and Pest called Margaret Island. Some tours are including drinks and dinner but here are also tours that just offer a boat ride. Make sure you pick a company that offers unlimited 24-hour boat rides so that you can go on a day tour, and on a day night tour. You haven’t been to Budapest if you haven’t seen it by night, it’s just magical!

Sightseeing Budapest

What time is it? Spa o’clock!
Budapest is not only famous for its countless historic buildings, it is also famous for its thermal baths. There are many natural hot water springs under the city and therefore a lot of spas have made their appearance ever since the old days. Go to one of the many spas to relax, play a little chess and enjoy some more gorgeous architecture. Try to go early cause I have been told the spas can get a bit dirty at the end of the day…

Budapest has so much to offer, and the above is just a small glimpse of it. Whether you’re planning a short visit or you’re going to stay there for a week: you’ll love this city.

Love,

Evelien

*Evelien is one of our guest bloggers who currently travels and lives in Australia. Follow her on Instagram (@eefexplores) or check out her website!

The Best Terraces and Rooftops in East London

Outdoor drinking spots where you can actually catch some sunshine are rare in London. But when you know your way around you’ll find some hidden treasures all around the city. East London has a couple of the best outdoor vibes for the weekend, enjoy the sunshine, creative vibes and this list of the best terraces and rooftops in East London.

People’s park tavern
360 Victoria Park Rd, London E9 7BT
In Victoria park lies my absolute favourite beer garden: the people’s park tavern. It’s so much more than just a garden, situated in the beautiful park. The tavern hosts mini golf for the kids, has an amazing BBQ going on, and on the weekends it’s the best place to enjoy some live music and chat with some locals. Oh. And did I mention it’s HUGE?

 

peoples-park-tavern, The Best Terraces and Rooftops in East London
Isn’t it huge?

Pub on the Park
19 Martello St, London E8 3PE
London Fields just off Broadway market is one of the few parks where you can actually have a BBQ in London. You’ll find loads of twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings chilling with their mates on a sunny day here. The Pub on the Park with their big terrace overlooking the park is the perfect spot to enjoy the weekend and get a bit of colour.

pub-on-the-park, The Best Terraces and Rooftops in East London

Boundary rooftop
2-4 Boundary St, London E2 7DD
In the centre of Shoreditch, east London, you’ll find my fave street; Redchurch street. This street has a great selection of shops, street art, cool cafe’s and the hidden rooftop bar at Boundary where you can enjoy the sun all the way until it goes down.

boundary-rooftop, The Best Terraces and Rooftops in East London
Boundary Rooftop. Source

The Aviary
10th Floor Montcalm Royal London House, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX
This cool new hotspot just off Liverpool street station just opened it’s doors a couple of months ago. The decor has the ultimate Instagram factor, the view is stunning and the roof terrace brings you back to a beach bar vibe with a sophisticated style. There’s an outside bar and the sofa’s and chairs are so comfy that you never want to go home…

aviary, The Best Terraces and Rooftops in East London
Stunning views at The Aviary

Netil 360
1 Westgate St, London E8 3RL
Cool workspace, cafe, restaurant, outside movie theater… Netil360 has the whole package of the East London creative scene. They spent months revamping the rooftop bar and on the 1st of April doors opened again, check it out because it was definitely worth waiting for and belongs to the one of the best terraces and rooftops in East London.

The Best Terraces and Rooftops in East London

Colombia road on Sunday
Ezra St, Bethnal Green, London E2 7RH
Not necessary a terrace, but Colombia road should be on this list. There’s a sunny little square on Ezra street, just off the flower market. Pop into the royal oak for a cold one and just chill on the street listening to some live bossa nova by street musicians to complete your perfect Sunday.

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The real East London vibe at Colombia Road

Love,

Jantine

*Jantine is a hip hop & cheese enthusiast and a city girl with a love for everything local. After having explored everything there is in Amsterdam while living there, London became her new playground. Her best days are spent exploring the city off the grid, into neighborhoods where you can eat, drink, dance and chat with locals and become one yourself. She will write for Wander-Lust on a monthly basis where she will tip you about the places to be in London!

A Guide To Malta

If you are reading this, changes are big you’ve got a serious case of wanderlust. We all do. Wanting to travel as far, as much and as long as possible. But, we tend to forget that sometimes, far and long isn’t necessarily what we need. Or what we are capable off (those damn bosses that wont let us travel the world whenever we feel like it). If a 10 day break is all you need, want and can pull off, there are still plenty of places to go where you will feel just as far away as if you traveled all the way to the other end of the globe. We shouldn’t forget those little gems closer to home (well, in case you happen to live in Europe, if not, then this story is not about close to home but still very much worth it ;-)). One of those gems is the medieval and exotic isle of Malta.

Hidden between Italy and Africa, Malta is easily overlooked. A shame, since those pristine beaches, ancient cities, spectacular cliffs, amazing architecture and so much more, is worth every bit of your attention. Whether you want to dance all night long in one of the many bars in St. Julian, work on your tan in Qawra, visit ancient ruins or sniff on some culture in Valetta, you’ll enjoy every bit of it, hassle free. And even though it’s always charming to discover places where you don’t speak the language, the fact that English is the second official language on Malta, makes your trip even more relaxing. Another important detail that will definitely make you want to book: the climate. Between May and October, the average temperature is 26 degrees celsius. Wintertime on the island means an average of 12 degrees. Not too bad eh?

Where to stay
There a enough villages on Malta where you can book your stay, from simple apartments to all-inclusive resorts. Where to stay all depends on your main goal of the trip. Want to head over to one of those resorts? Then Qawra, Bugibba and St. Pauls Bay are your towns. However, don’t expect much of the true Malta here, these towns are full of concrete and tourists. So make sure you have a damn nice resort if this is your home away from home. The true party animals among us should go to St. Julian. This is one of the most vibrant towns, filled with clubs, bars and cocktails. You’ll dance the night away and thanks to the many happy hours, won’t feel robbed inside your wallet. Just be careful here at night, if you don’t watch your belongings closely, you might get robbed for real (oh yeah, my pretty iPhone was a goner after one night in St. Julian’s barstreet, and I wasn’t the only one). So leave your phone at home and party on. The best of both worlds, in my opinion, is the more relaxed but still bustling Sliema. This seaside town, across the water from Valetta, offers nice walks down the boulevard, some great restaurants, good places to stay as well as some more quietness.

Hey, bus driver
Since Malta is home to so many different types of fun, there is one thing you definitely need to do: grab the bus. Until 2011 the island was populated by a large amount of bright yellow, orange, blue and red oldtimer buses, most of them enhanced with religious artifacts of the owner of the bus. It was a sight to be seen and even more an adventure to drive. Unfortunately those buses have disappeared since then, but that does not mean that it isn’t still the best way to make your way around the country. ‘It’s not about the destination but about the journey’ couldn’t be more true here. Just staring lazily out of the window, admiring the landscape zoom by, is the most relaxing way to travel. Best part of it, it’s pretty affordable. Specially when you plan to discover a different part of the island every day. In that case you can buy an unlimited bus pass for 7 days. This ‘ Explore’ card is just 21 euros (yes, they have euro’s) and will get you anywhere you want, day and night. You can buy these passes at a number of sales offices, including the airport. Just ask for the Tallinja Explore card.

Old bus on Malta

Right, so you have your transport all sorted out. Now, where to go?

Fabulous Valetta
This is the countries’ capital, UNESCO recognized, and it’s fabulous. The city is surrounded by water and makes you feel like you have traveled back in time to the middle ages. It has some beautiful churches, St. Johns Cathedral to name one, harbors and tiny alleys to get lost in. If you want to chill out for a while, reading a book or just watch people (or boats), go the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Full of shady places, little fountains and birds. Don’t be scared when they fire the canons that are stationed below the gardens, that just happens. Valetta offers lots of little and big cafe’s and terraces, restaurants and bars. And of course a ton of nice little shops, museums and everything you need for a hot day in the city.

Comino
Wherever you are in Malta, on almost every street corner they’ll try to sell you a cruise to Comino, a small Island where the water is bluer than blue in the Blue Lagoon. This cruise will sail you along the Maltese coastline, it’s super pretty. However, in the summer season, it’s also super crowded. If you happen to find yourself on Malta before June or after September, take the cruise. Just make sure you pay a little extra for the more luxe cruise on a Turkish wooden vessel, you’ll get everything you need including a little mattress on the deck for sunbathing. Don’t go for the cheaper, massive tourist boats. Unless you like to sit on an uncomfortable plastic chair, almost on the lap of your sunburned English neighbor for the entire day. If you don’t fancy the cruise (in the high-season) or if you are on a budget, take the bus! Go to Cirkewwa in the north and embark on of the ferries to the Blue Lagoon. Once arrived, you can stay as long or short as you like. Go early if you want to avoid the crowds (there will be crowds, trust me, but the water is worth it).

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Ghajn Tuffieha Bay & Golden Sands
Hey beach bum, this is the place to go for a tranquil day in the sand. There is, as far as I know, only one resort near these beaches, so it’s much less crowded than the sandy options near the resort towns. Ghajn Tuffieha and Golden Sands are next to each other and the bus stop is in the middle of nowhere. The beaches look like hidden bays and you’ll find a lot of locals here as well. There are not many restaurants, so make sure you stock up before you go. All you need to do once you have arrived: find a spot and enjoy. Oh, and to make sure you are back at the busstop in time for the final bus to avoid being stuck here for the night (unless you are up for and adventure, of course).

Hidden Ghar Lapsi
After a long busdrive, you’ll arrive at Ghar Lapsi. At first you will doubt whether you are at the right place and whether you should catch the bus right back. Then you will walk down the street, and see the stairway between the rocks. Climb down and smile, you are in the right place. A natural pool between the rocks is the perfect place to cool down and to chill in the water. Want to chase some fish? Just swim from the pool to the open water, put on your goggles and enjoy the underwater-world. This is a mostly known as a dive site and a far journey from almost all of the villages, so you’ll see more Maltese seniors bathing there than hungover tourists. It’s pure heaven.

Eat cake in Mdina
Exactly in the middle of the island, the medieval town of Mdina arises. Hardly any cars are allowed in this thickly walled city, so you can look around and simply be amazed by the wonder of the buildings, the doors (yes the doors), the views, the smells and the cake. Yes, the cake alone is a reason to catch those buses heading to Mdina. Search for Fontanella Tea Garden, find a spot on top of the city walls, take in the views and the most amazing cakes. If you don’t mind death by chocolate, take the choco one and thank me later.

Malta Mdina

Spinola bay stroll
If you’re staying in Sliema or St. Julian, don’t forget a stroll around Spinola bay. Full of nice places to dine or drink or just soak up the many lights and sounds. There is only one word that describes this bay: lovely.

The colours of Marsaxlokk
Google Malta images and you’ll find the colorful boats of Marsaxlokk. Not a sight to miss. This little fisher town is not spoiled by large apartment buildings and will give you the authentic Malta vibe. The boulevard is the perfect place to grab a bite, since the many little cafes offer great fish meals for very reasonable prices. If you are there on Sunday, the big market will tickle all of your senses.

I think I haven’t covered half of the adventures you can have on Malta, but you get the picture. This is one perfect island, combining sightseeing and other day trips with lazily hanging on the waterfront. There is no need to head over to the other side of the world to experience true adventures. Just make sure to catch the bus on time!

Love,

Jill

The Antwerp City Guide by Wander-Lust

If you live in the Netherlands, Antwerp is the perfect place to escape to for a city break. We’ve been there many times and checked out some of the best spots for you to enjoy food, drinks and more. Here’s our Antwerp City Guide!

How to get there
Well, you have 2 options and they are both as easy. You can take the train or you can go by car. Both options take around the same time (2 hours) but we prefer the train because you can chill, look out of the window and you will arrive at one of the most beautiful and impressive trains stations in Europe. A  return train ticket from Amsterdam to Antwerp will cost around 30 -40 euro. If you go by car, you might arrive earlier but if you are unlucky, you will get caught in slow traffic and your trip might take up to 3 hours plus you will have to pay for parking.

“This Antwerp City Guide is for wanderers who love food, shops and exploring”

Antwerp City Guide

Where To Eat?
The most important question of course! Well, in Antwerp you won’t be short of food choices. Especially lunch! There are so many hotspots around that we can’t mention them all, but these are our favorites!
» Tinsel, some say that you can get the best breakfast in town here. Tinsel is located near the water where you will find tons of other restaurants. www.tinsel.be
» Native Bio Bistro, This hidden pearl is by far our favorite lunch spot in Antwerp. This bistro serves fresh, original, and good quality food. It’s organic, locally produced with sustainable ingredients, this is Native! Vegan and organic food lovers will love this place! During the summer they open a very nice terrace. www.native.bio
» Bubble Waffle, located in the Mercado foodcourt, this tasty waffle stand awesome! Go here if you feel like something sweet. www.bubblewaffle.be
» Divers, a smoothie-bowl bar for your healthy cravings. Great for some Instagram worthy pics, if that’s what your after. They are located in the Volkstraat 9.
»De Broers van Julienne, when we need to grab a quick and healthy bite, we go here. In a side street of the Kammenstraat – with lots of boutiques – you will find this small cute little restaurant. You can take away the best quiches, soups,  salads and other warm healthy dishes. Besides that, they sell oil, wine, coffee, juices and other delicatessen. They  also offer catering and cook workshops.
» Raw Salad Company, unfortunately they’ve closed their doors in Antwerp but they promised to be back soon with a new location. The name gives it away. Raw salads galore. The salads are extremely tasty and fill you up enough to get on with your day. They also sell juices, wraps, cakes and other healthy snacks. We will keep you updated if they open a shop.
» Umami
, fine dining Japanese style. They restyled not long ago and you can eat amazing Dim Sum here. www.umami-antwerp.be

» Il Famosi, this is by far the best Italian restaurant in Antwerp. Go here for a romantic dinner and if you want more than just pizza.

food-antwerp
From left till right: Raw, Umamian and Il Famosi

Antwerp City Guide where-to-eat-in-antwerp
Bubble Waffle (source) and Divers (photo’s by David Plas)

Where To Drink Coffee?
» Mirlo’s, the coffee is great and the location is cute. They also serve breakfast and lunch and it’s all homemade. www.mirlos.be
» Buchbar, surrounded by literature and stories, this coffee bar is different than others. Owned by actress Kim Hertogs, you can feel the passion for books, women empowerment and people. Find more info about this special spot on their website.
» Butchers Coffee, located in a former butcher, this trendy coffee bar takes the coffee business serious and are planning to create their own coffee blend. If the sun is out, you can sit outside on the benches. You can find it on the Kasteelstraat 57.
» Caffenation, self blended coffee and probably the oldest one in Belgium as they started more than 13 years ago. Besides the coffee it’s also a shop and a great place to hang out. www.caffenation.be

Antwerp City Guide -mirlos
Coffee and brunch at Mirlo’s

Antwerp City Guide. The Buchbar
The Buchbar

Where to Shop & Stroll?
You have many options in Antwerp when it comes to shopping. No matter what type of person you are, there will be a shopping district that will suit your needs. We have selected 3 area’s that we love.
» Kammenstraat & Kloosterstraat, these 2 streets in South Antwerp offer vintage, exclusive boutiques, living and alternative shops. While most shops are closed on Sunday, the kloosterstraat is one of the only streets open from around 12pm.
» Het Eilandje, this is especially great during summer because you can find a lot of outside patio’s here. Worth mentioning is the MAS Museum where they have many exhibitions on display. The museum is set next to the little harbor and owns a large rooftop which has free entrance.
» The Meir, this is Antwerp’s highstreet. Although it’s not our favorite place to shop, we need to mention it because here you will find all the shops you need. From Zara, Mango, Levi’s, it’s all here. The street is beautiful but always busy. Watch your purse and don’t stay too long!

MAS Antwerp
The MAS Museum at “Het Eilandje”. Source

Where To Sleep?
Somehow we always end up in the same hotels. Never change a winning team! These are our 2 favorite places to stay.

» Hotel Les Nuits, we love boutique hotels and this hotel is one of the cutest ones out there! All 21 rooms are designed a bit different but have the same style and feature impressive en-suites. They have recently changed their reception area and removed their suites rooms which is a shame because I really loved those but this way the hotel is more compact and fits better together. Breakfast is great and the location is great! Book a room here!

Antwerp City Guide. Elke in Hotel Les Nuits
Breakfast in bed at Hotel Les Nuits

» Banks, another great hotel at a very central location. It’s modern and a great place to meet people downstairs. Oh, and they also have a rooftop terrace so this is a great option during the summer. Then again, you will be out exploring Antwerp..;-) Book your stay here.

So are you planning your next tip to Antwerp yet? ;-) 

Love,

Wander-Lust

These are the 10 most visited cities in the world

In at number one is Hong Kong! Yes, this expats city has topped the charts with 26 million international arrivals in 2015. The report was published yesterday by the Euromonitor’s annual rankings. It beat Bangkok, which saw 18.8 million international tourist arrivals. One thing is for sure, Asia is a popular Continent! Here is the full list of the most visited cities!

1. Hong Kong 26.7m
2. Bangkok 18.7m
3. London 18.6m
4. Singapore 16.9m
5. Paris 15m
6. Macau 14.3m
7. Istanbul 12.4m
8. New York 12.3m
9. Kuala Lumpur 12.2

Euromonitor rankings only has 2015 as the most recent year available to be able to create a comprehensive list. Expected is that Istanbul and Paris will vanish of the top 10 list due to the recent events in 2016. Asia will probably still top the list when the new report comes out next year. Hong Kong is doing so well not only because it’s a perfect layover between many Asian countries but the city is vibrant, has a growing food culture (not just in Chinese food) and 70% of the city is green and great for hiking. Read our DimSum report about Hong Kong.

Elke in Hong Kong
In Hong Kong 

The cities with the largest growth are:

  1. Osaka, Japan – 52 per cent rise in visitor numbers
  2. Kyoto, Japan – 48%
  3. Chiang Mai, Thailand – 40%
  4. Tokyo, Japan – 35%
  5. Agra, India – 28%
  6. Delhi, India – 26%
  7. Mumbai, India – 26%
  8. Milan, Italy – 18%
  9. Mecca, Saudi Arabia – 17%
  10. Pattaya, Thailand – 17%

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

Love,

Elke

A City Trip To Zurich

Do you know a heavenly feeling? I had that sensation when I got the sympathetic invitation from airline SWISS to discover Zurich. OK to be honest, I’ve seen a lot of our beautiful world, but I ‘used’ Switzerland only as a handy transit country. Why did I never go there for a holiday? Maybe because of my prejudices: ‘Oh boy, it’s far too expensive, too quiet for me and perhaps more fun for the elderly.’ I grabbed the opportunity to uncover if those ideas were real and flew to Switzerland for a city trip to Zurich (and if the chocolate is that yummy!)

Zurich in a nutshell
Where Amsterdam is full of hipsters, clumsy tourists on bikes and busy city sounds, Zurich is a bit of the opposite. It’s as big as our intimate Utrecht. When I arrived in the afternoon I was surprised by the calmness in the picturesque downtown streets. But when it became dusky and when the festive Christmas lights went on, Zurich seemed to awaken. One moment I thought I stepped into a scene, loved it! Not even to mention the cute Christmas stalls with the mulled wine and raclette smells throughout the city. Add the majestic buildings to that and you’ll get a very nice winter holiday feeling.

The town of Zurich
The cutest streets

Where to sleep?
After an active day full of impressions there’s nothing as good as ‘coming home’ in a nice boutique hotel room. My amazing, stylish room in the Marktgasse hotel did it for a 100%. I don’t know what it is, but I’m in love with boutique hotels and this great, tad upscale place from the 15th century has captured my heart. Nice to know: try the handsome cocktail bar on the ground floor. Tell the cocktail shaker what you prefer and he’ll blow you away with a custom made mix, just do it! www.marktgassehotel.ch/en

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What to do
So just so you know, I had less then 24 hours discovery time, but I can tell you that Zurich is very suitable for short city trips. Recommended is to do the traditional culinary Gourmet Tour or learn more about the interesting stories of the old city with the Old Town Tour, like I did. For sure they also have a lot of cool shops, like grocery shop Schwarzenback or taste the best sausages of Zurich at Sternen Grill.

Where to eat
I know it’s not my best kept secret that I’m a food lover, sweet tooth and gourmet to the max. Not so surprisingly I was so excited to discover if the Swiss had a good flavor…no doubt they have! I had my lunch break at Baltho Restaurant & Bar – it’s part of the Marktgasse hotel. My gosh, it was a food walhalla to share that opened in front of me: falafel with homemade baba ganoush, juicy Boeuf Bourguinon, bang-bang chicken and so on. You name it, we had it. Mouth watering, right?

Food at the Marktgasse Hotel
Typical Swiss food at the Marktgasse Hotel

Another tip >> HILTL. According to the Guinness Book of World Records they are the first registered vegetarian restaurant in the world and nowadays they’re even the supplier of the vegetarian meals on SWISS flights, how cool. HILTL started more than one century ago with this very trendy and successful concept. In addition to their à la carte, they also have a buffet. Although ‘buffets’ often haven’t the best associations for Dutchies, I gave it a try. Wow, I’ve never seen something like that before – fresh, veggie food all over. Funny fact: they let you weight your food on a large scale as you know it from the supermarket. You pay a certain amount per 100 grams, as they want to avoid food waste. Good thinking!

Breakfast tip >> Delish is the other restaurant of Marktgasse Hotel. The crew is so enormously hospitable – Amsterdam can learn a lot of this welcoming, pure people – plus my poached eggs with avocado where very tasty. Give it definitely a spot on your food bucket list!

delish-salad-selection_print
Salads at Delish

So this was exploring a city trip to Zurich through the eyes of a 26-year-old ‘wanderlust’ enthusiast. It’s a city that I would visit once in about five years again. For this it’s perfect. Big pluses were the fresh food and the hospitality in every shop, restaurant and bar. But one side note for your wallet: please be aware of the enormously high prices. I paid almost 11 euros for a healthy, takeaway shake at Juicery21 << hotspot alert >> So my prejudice about it’s far too expensive became a harsh reality, but the yummy Swiss chocolate made me forget it for a sec.

Juicery 21 Zurich
Juicery 21

wander-lust-friends-in-zurich
The blogger crew in Zurich (Sharmaine 3rd from left)

Love,

Sharmaine

*Sharmaine is one of our guest bloggers from the Netherlands with a sweet tooth. The sweeter, the better! She’s no kitchen princess but always in search for the best hotspots in Amsterdam! You can expect an article from her once a month! Check her out on @sharriefromsandmountains!

Sharmaine flew to Zurich in style! Check her review here:
Swiss in the sky