The Best of Brabant

We’re going for a ride. No fast cars, touring buses or cute Volkswagen vans (I desperately want one though). This time we’re doing it the Dutch way, by bicycle. A ride that will take you from the industrial hotspots to picturesque villages. From Mondriaan to Dutch Design. All in the art heart of Brabant. So hop on the bike with me and I’ll show you the must-visit places of this pop-up cycle route, temporarily on from 2 until 24 September.

Did you know Brabant is the most hospitable province of the Netherlands?

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Did you know Brabant is the most hospitable province of the Netherlands? It is well-known for it’s friendly, warm hearthed people who know the best way to enjoy the good things life has to offer. Brabant is also easily accessible by bus or train from Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels or Cologne because of its central location. Enough reasons to experience the famous Brabant hospitality yourself.

Hotspot 1: Werkwarenhuis
In the creative center of ‘s-Hertogenbosch you’ll find the mini-society, Werkwarenhuis. This initiative from Social able shows you design is much more than creating beautiful (and mostly extremely expansive) products. Design has the power to spread a message, connect people, pull them out of their comfort zone and motivate them. Werkwarenhuis is an inspiring, workplace were people who don’t participate that easily will find themselves connected. And that, that’s the true power of design: a strong social value that can’t be expressed in money.

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The best part it, you can buy the products that they create and the location is gorgeous as well. At least, if you like pink as much as I do. Cause literally everything is pink at the Werkwarenhuis, everything. So, hello cute Instagram photo’s!

Hotspot 2: Heusden
After a 40 minute bicycle ride from ‘s-Hertogenbosch you will arrive at Heusden, a romantic surprise you didn’t expect. Imagine small houses, mills, wooden bridges and narrow streets. If feels like we stepped back in time, in the best way. You won’t see any neon signs or commercial chains: the village breathes authenticity. With its many studios and galleries, the charming fortified city Heusden is a great destination for lovers of art and culture. You will find many traditional crafts, like a couturier, hatter and perfume maker. A perfect gift for your travel partner if you want to add a little spark to the romance. Tip » Brabant even provides you with your very own tour guide! He follows you every step and you don’t even have to be social with him. O btw, I’m talking about an app guide, not about one from flesh and blood. The ‘Routes in Brabant‘ app gives you the ideal guidance during the most beautiful cycling routes they have put together for you. It doesn’t only inform you about cultural history facts and landscape features, also restaurants and cozy cafes are included.

Heusden, Brabant
Heusden

Hotspot 3: Oisterwijk
The nickname of Oisterwijk, (yes, the letter i is no typo), Pearl In The Green, is well deserved. The village is surrounded by green and forest. The Burgundian lifestyle is well represented by the many nice restaurants, sunny terraces and luxurious shops. This creates a perfect getaway with a spark of flamboyance. Enjoy the forest, laid back with a glass of wine or go shopping. Everything is possible.

Oisterwijk Brabant
Sundaymorning@ekwc

Hungry for some more design? You can’t miss out on Sundaymorning@ekwc, an international workplace where artists, designers and architects whom explore the technical and artistic possibilities of ceramics. Taste a freshly roasted cup of coffee from Rozema&VanSchijndel while enjoying the beautiful, ceramic art projects that decorate the industrial building.

Coffee in Brabant
Coffee at Rozema&VanSchijndel

It’s time to put my bike back in the barn, but you can still enjoy the pop-up route till the 24th of September. It’s also possible to split the route in multiply days, so enjoy everything at your own pace. If you are looking for a place to stay the night I would recommend Huizebergen.nl. A monumental Villa from 1916, hidden in a beautiful park with ancient trees.  Scared for the rain or simply not in the mood for cycling? Everything on the route is easy accessible by car and public transport.

Get inspired by nature, design and charming cities while enjoying the Brabant hospitality. And for now, as they say in Brabant, allé tot in den drooij!

Love,

Eva

Do you want to take the same route as Eva, check the website!

Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heals at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.

More of The Netherlands? What about a getaway/glamping holiday on Terschelling

Terschelling glamping

Olympus OM-D launch Event in Berlin

Last week I was invited to Berlin by Olympus together with 30 different European Photographers, Influencers and Instagrammers to put the new Olympus OM-D camera to the test. I was the only press representing the Netherlands so I was exited and couldn’t wait to see what the new camera had in store.

 
Visit Berlin like an insider
After a bumpy plane ride, I was driven to the Catalonia Hotel in Mitte, a vibrant area in Berlin. The hotel almost looked like an old school building and has an industrial look will graffiti on some of the walls. Olympus clearly wanted us to experience something different. I’ve been to Berlin a few times and somehow you always seem to visit the same places and do the same things. Not on this trip. It started from the moment we got on the boat towards a place only the insiders know called Jackie O. It’s a hidden spot directly at Rummels-burger Bucht and it’s everything Berlin stands for. Thanks to the clever yet “secret”marketing, Jackie O remains to be an insider tip far from any touristic  or mainstream location. It has it’s own pier where boats can dock and the hammocks will be waiting for you underneath a ceiling of white balloons hanging from the trees. When we arrived there was a DJ playing, and lunch was being prepared. Oh, and let’s not forget about the colorful food truck with the coffee I so needed that day. The area is used for private events, parties or just to relax. We got a good chance to test our new camera’s with all the cool objects that were around.

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Berlin Calling

Jackie O, Berlin
Relaxing at Jackie O

Jackie O, Berlin
The secret oasis of Jackie O

After an inspiring afternoon at Jackie O, it was time to fresh up and go for dinner at yet another special place. Dinner at Freischwimmer. It’s a restaurant located next to the Spree river. The ambiance here is great and the food is tasty and fresh. They play minimal house/techno music (me like!) and you can sit in or outside. There is one thing though..if you hate spiders you’re not going to like it here. They are everywhere! On the ceiling, next to the windows and I even saw a few crawling over the tables. One positive thing; no mosquito bites! (still made me stand in the middle of the restaurant like a cry baby)

The Olympus Perspective Playground
After dinner we made our way to the highlight of the evening. The Olympus Perspective Playground. If you love photography and art, this is the place to visit if you’re in Berlin this month. It’s basically an innovative playground where you are handed over an Olympus camera to play with. Large and innovating art pieces that move or shift are ready to be captured. It’s not the first time Olympus has organized a photography playground. Back in 2013, the first Playground was also held in Berlin and was very successful. This year they host a new concept with new fascinating artist, such as Thilo Frank, Xaver Hirsch and many more. The location this year is at the Kraftwerk in Berlin Mitte and has 3 floors full of artwork. The Perspective Playground is open until the 24th of September. Get your free tickets here!

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The Olympus Perspective Playground

To end the weekend we visited the Tempelhofer Feld that used to be an airport that closed in 2008. A little history lesson; this airport was once the largest airport in the world and was also used by the Nazi’s until the 2nd world war ended. Underneath the airport the Nazi’s build massive tunnels where they secretly build bomber planes that were then pushed onto the runway. After the war, Berlin was divided into separate areas where West Berlin was cut of the rest and people literally lived on an island. At one point all the roads were blocked and no food supplies could come in. The only way people got their food was by planes dropping food at Tempelhofer Airport. Every 30 seconds a place landed or took off during this time. This is also when the “Candy Bomber” became famous for dropping candy out of his plane for the children that would stand by the fences of the airport. There is so much history at this place, it’s almost unreal. The government wanted to build new apartments after the airport closed, but the people of Berlin held a referendum and voted against it which means the park will stay as it is, at least until 2025. People go here for a picknick, BBQ, skating, walking their dogs or work in the community urban garden. A must visit in Berlin!

Tempelhofer Feld, Berlin
I always wanted to walk down an airport runway

Movement at the Tempelhofer Feld, Berlin
Capturing movement with the new ART setting (Dramatic Tone 1)

Picknick at Tempelhofer Feld, Berlin
Picnic at the Tempelhofer Feld

After that it was time to head home but wow, what a cool experience. I know you are all curious about the new camera but I will post a total review next month! The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark 3 is available to buy in about 1 weeks time and will cost €649,-.

Love,

Elke

All the images in this article were shot with the new Olympus OM-D

Want to know how to take travel photo’s like a boss? Check our tips!

The diversity of Basque Country, Spain

Perhaps Basque Country has never come to mind when thinking of a Spanish holiday but this green part of Spain will pleasantly surprise you.

Basque Country is situated near the border of France and has a landscape that includes mountains, green valleys and coastlines. You can find different scenery all into one region and that’s what makes this place so amazing. It’s a region that is often overlooked in favor of more conventional destinations in Spain. If you decide to visit Basque Country after reading this article (chances are, you will), we have a few tips lined up so you can enjoy everything in just a couple of days.

There are 5 Guggenheim Museums located in Europe. Guess where you can find one of them?

The 3 Cities and their Culture
Basque Country is full of culture. Every year, especially during summer, you can enjoy several exhibitions, activities and events. This year, the capital of Bilbao celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum, where you can find high quality exhibitions that are well worth the visit. The famous landmark is covering a wide variety of artists and themes in both contemporary and modern art. The Guggenheim Museum is housed in Bilbao, Surrounded by mountains and sea, from its origins as
an industrial hub, it has evolved into an international reference point for urban design and has set the standard as a model of urban regeneration. Internationally renowned architects showcase the model regeneration of Bilbao. A city that has managed to find a different way to express itself with design firmly at its heart.. Tip » buy the Bilbao Card to get free access to several museums and attractions. With this card you can travel with Bilbao’s public transport.

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The Guggenheim Museum

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Puppy & Torre Iberdrola in Bilbao

San Sebastián, also locally named Donostia, is a beautiful coastal city close to France. It has even won the prestigious title of European Capital of Culture back in 2016. Surrounded by mountains and located next to the sea, it’s a popular place for tourists. Did you know San Sebastián has one of the most beautiful bays in the world with 3 city beaches? Close to San Sebastian, you will find the Cristobal Balenciaga Museoa. This museum is a homage to one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th century and you can see selected pieces of his collection. This year, the fashion brand exist a staggering 100 years! 

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A perfect viewing point over San Sebastians bay

Once voted the “European Green Capital”, Vitoria-Casteiz is surrounded by stunning nature

The third city we need to mention is Vitoria-Gasteiz, once voted the “Green Capital” of Europe. This city is surrounded by nature and is also the most important centre for logistics in Northern Spain. To do’s here are; taking a stroll through the “Green Belt” which is full of flora and fauna and includes wetlands and lakes. There are also some great Jazz festivals and events happening in Victoria, with the best ones in April and August. Another popular attraction is the old quarter they call the “Medieval Almond” where you can find the Cathedral of Santa Maria and a unique project called “open for work” inspired Ken Follet in his novel “World Without End”. To find out more about these 3 amazing cities, check here.

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The streets of Vitoria

849.00 KM. 7 stages. 109 landscapes.
Another popular thing to do, is to take a roadtrip through the beautiful landscape of Basque Country. On this route you will find beaches, quaint little villages, vineyards and forests. We can imagine that it’s hard to choose between the many options, but you can easily find the route that suits your needs. There are also 3 pilgrim trails that will take you to the more offbeat corners of the Basque Country; The St. James’ Way Coastal Route, which takes you around the countryside and ever changing landscapes. The St. James’ Way Inland Route where you will pass coastal landscapes, greenery, farms and even industrialized localities. You can also opt for the Ignatian Way, a trail that covers 675 km. To find more info about all these routes, check this link. Another highlight is San Juan Gaztelugatxe, a small island connected to the mainland by a man-made bridge. 

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San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

Wine & Dine
If you’re a real foodie like us, you’re at the right place. The food and drinks are very affordable and locally produced, so you can really taste the different regions. Because the gastronomy, from the most traditional to the most innovative, is one of the hallmarks of the Basque Country and is deeply rooted in the daily lives of the people, linked to its history, customs and leisure activities. The secret? The excellence and diversity of the raw materials that the sea and land of the Basque Country provide and the expertise of the great Basque cooks.

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There is an unmistakable joie de vivre in Basque Country

Whether you are looking for a lazy beach holiday, a culture trip or an adventurous trail through nature, Basque Country has it all. Maybe it’s time to opt for a different kind of Spain when you book your holiday next time?

Wander-Lust
www.wander-lust.nl

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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!

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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?

 

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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