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.

royal-oak|
The real East London vibe at Colombia Road

Love,

Jantine

*Jantine is one of our guest bloggers, born in The Netherlands and now living in London. 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

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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

11 tips for a City Trip to Barcelona

Oh how we love Barcelona! The city that has a beach and some of the best food cultures in Europe! We’ve written a few articles about this vibrant city but we’ve never actually given you a small city guide which will make your stay even better. (we hope!). Enjoy our 11 tips for a city trip to Barcelona!

FOOD
Let’s start with some amazing food spots because one of the things you want to do when you find yourself in Barcelona, is eating. A lot. Besides the traditional Tapas and Paella, there are more restaurants and cafes to make you wild.

  1. Surfhouse Barcelona The perfect spot for the kids of Barcelona. The food is healthy, tasty and pretty. The vibe is just like you can imagine from a place like this. It may feel like you’re in California for a minute because of the surfers vibe. Book activities such as paddle surf , beach workouts and surfing of course. Also keep an eye out for their mobile food truck that you will find around Barcelona. www.surfhousebarcelona.com
  2. Blai Tonight It’s not big, it might be a bit too popular but we still think you should try it. Blai tonight is located in the Poble Sec area and has been voted as one of the top 10 places to go when it comes to your value for money. Their famous Pinchos only cost €1,50 and if you do it well, you can eat for only 10 euro per person including your drink! Facebook
  3. Trópico Just check out their Instagram account and your mouth will begin to water. Inspired by tropical destinations, this hotspot is something you cannot miss out on. www.tropicobcn.com
  4. Candendê Breakfast and Brunch for champions! They prepare your eggs in the best way possible and they serve some killer pancakes and bagels. www.candende.com
  5. Flax & Kale We know this isn’t new but we needed to add it on the list. Get your phones out because every dish is Instagramable! (is that even a word?) 80% of the food they serve is plant based and their slogan is Eat Better, Be Happier, Live Longer. Well, that never hurt anyone, right? www.teresacarles.com

Surfshop Barcelona
Pretty food at the Surfhouse Barcelona Source

Flax & Kale Barcelona
Still popular and not without reason. Flax & Kale Source

DRINKS & DANCE
After some good food Barcelona offers a great nightlife. As a first time visitor you may run to the Las Ramblas but we would advise you to avoid this tourist area and visit some other places where the cocktails and atmosphere are great.

  1. El Row If you feel like a real crazy party with confetti, attributes and costumes, you must visit an El Row party. Originated from Barcelona, this infamous techno club is now making waves all over the world with parties in Amsterdam, Dubai and New York. Some of the best DJ’s play at the club and during the summer months there are several events so keep an eye out on the website. www.elrow.es
  2. La Terrrazza This club and bar is tucked away in the Olympic village, so you must know that it’s there. This outdoor club hosts parties and plays good music until the early hours. www.laterrrazza.com
  3. Dry Martini Cocktail Bar This is one of the most famous cocktail bars in Barcelona if not in the world. It first opened back in 1971 and was famous for their dry martini’s. They now serve exiting and innovating drinks you should try out! You can find bars in Europe, USA and Asia. www.drymartiniorg.com
  4. Pulitzer Hotel Rooftop or Grand Hotel Skybar It’s hard to make a choice between these two because one is cozy and tropical (Pulitzer) and the other (The Grand Hotel) has an infinity pool. Both are great for evening drinks! www.hotelpulitzer.es / www.grandhotelcentral.com
  5. Makamaka Also great for food but maybe even better for cocktails! Ironically a couple of Dutch guys were involved in this project back in 2012. It’s where the locals and travelers meet. Start sipping on the cocktails early before heading into town! www.makamaka.es

La Terrazza Barcelona
Summer parties at La Terrrazza Source

infinity-pool-grand-hotel-barcelona
The Skybar at The Grand Hotel Source

STAY
There are many good options in Barcelona but we love El Born. This little Barcelona maze is a barrio perfectly located near the beach, the center of the city and Parc de la Ciutadella. Its filled with bars, little shops and locals.

  1. AB Apartment Barcelona If you’re looking for a place to stay, this is the website you want to look at. Full with apartments in all different shapes and sizes throughout the city, it’s perfect for a city break or holiday period. It’s the home from home and all apartments include a kitchen, allowing you to prepare your very own home-cooked meals, or even try some Mediterranean inspired dishes! Bonus: when you book here you’ll also get great discounts on many top attractions and activities throughout the city. www.apartmentbarcelona.com

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One of the AB Apartments in Barcelona

We hope these tips for a city trip to Barcelona will make your stay even more enjoyable!

Love,

Wander-Lust

*We’ve collaborated with AB Apartment Barcelona for this article.

3 magical cities to visit during your Christmas holiday

Are you also looking forward to the upcoming holidays, like Christmas and New Year’s Eve? If you want something different this year, I can recommend the following cities as the perfect get-away.

1. Paris
The city of love; even more with all the Christmas decorations. Paris is the perfect city if you’re looking for a romantic weekend. Highlights are off course the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum (free admission for people under 25), the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre Dame, the Champs-Élysées, Place de la Concorde, Centre Pompidou, Panthéon and Sainte-Chapelle. The most romantic part of town is the Montmartre district, with its cozy, little, cobbled streets with lots of art studios and its beautiful Sacré-Coeur. If you have enough time to go outside the city center, the Palace of Versailles is definitely worth a visit. You can spend all day wandering around the palace of Louis XIV, the house of Marie-Antoinette and the amazing gardens (free admission for people under 26). And, if you want to get back to your childhood, you should go visit Disneyland to meet all your favorite Disney characters. A Paris Visite Travel Card for 1 day is € 12,85 for the city center or € 26,95 to include destinations like Versailles and Disneyland.

montmartre-in-christmas-ambiance
Montmartre in Christmas ambience

2. London
Looking for a good place to do all your Christmas shopping? London is the place to be! By plane you can get there in 1 hour, but there are also a lot of bus companies that offer a 1-day trip. Check this blog for the best Christmas shopping hotspots: http://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/shopping/christmas-shopping-hotspots. For an easy tour around town, you can catch a hop-on hop-off bus and see all the highlights like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge, London Eye, Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey. If you want to explore the city by yourself, you can best take the Tube (Metro). You can buy a Day Travelcard (£12,10 for travelling in the city center) or a so-called Oyster card; this card costs £3 and you can put as much credit on it as you want/need. Don’t forget to pass by Harrods which is amazing during the Christmas period.

harrods London
Harrods London (source)

3. Berlin
Berlin is a city with a lot of history and is therefore a city you should definitely see. Basically, you can go there all-year-round, but in the winter it has an even more special vibe because of all the Christmas markets. You can find most of them around Alexanderplatz. Definitely go for a Glühwein or Currywurst here. If you’re interested in the history of this city, there are some places to visit next to the well-known highlights like The Wall and CheckPoint Charlie. Quite interesting are for example the museum The Story of Berlin, the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial (a former detainment and transit camp and later on Stasi prison), and the ‘Berliner Unterwelten’, in which you can do multiple tours to discover the history of Berlin’s underground (and see for example escape tunnels built during the Cold War). Best way to travel around town is by S-bahn and U-bahn (a one-day ticket for the city center costs €7,-).

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Brandenburger Tor during Christmas 

There you have it, 3 magical cities to visit during your Christmas holiday. Where will you go this year?

Love,

Dionne

*Dionne is one of our guest bloggers from the Netherlands, currently living in Den Bosch. In everyday life she works as a marketing-communications professional. She loves to travel to distant destinations, but she also enjoys a city trip closer to home.

Europe’s best Christmas Markets to visit in December

Whether you’re ready or not, December is here and with that the holiday season. One of the things that I love are Christmas Markets.
So where can you stroll for hours and drink the best gluhwein?

Here are our top 5 Christmas Markets within Europe.

1. Dresden Christmas Market, Germany
When?
 24th November – 24th December 2016

Leading the pack is this German Christmas market that has been around since 1434(!)
Named after a sweet Christmas cake, this market has it all. The highlight is without doubt the largest wooden pyramid with carved wooden figures that stands tall at 40 meters. It has a a romantic feel about it and this is how a Christmas market should be. Watch craftsmen at work or buy pottery, gingerbread, candle holders or other Christmas decorations. Check a video impression here.
www.germany-christmas-market.co.uk

German Christmas Markets are the best
Source: Tim A. Bruening via flickr

2. Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market, Copenhagen
When? 19th of November – 31st of December 2016
With 60 stalls, this is a market full of lights. For children and adults, you shouldn’t miss this one if you’re visiting Copenhagen in Nov-Dec.
There are concerts, decorations, lights and sweets to feast your eyes on. Adults need to pay about 13 euro’s admission, children are free.
www.tivoli.dk

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The entrance of the Tivoli Christmas (source: Tivoli DK)

“Christmas Markets originated in Germany, Austria, South Tyrol in Northern Italy and the eastern French regions.” 

3.  Berlin Christmas Markets
When? Check here for the different opening dates and times
Not 1 but 60 markets in one city! Berlin is the capital of the German Christmas markets.
Big and smaller, you won’t be bored in and around Berlin if you visit the German capital during the winter months.
The most famous ones are; the Potsdamer Platz Christmas Market for ice-skating, smell the sweet scent of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church Christmas Market and spent hours at the large Spandau Christmas Market.

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Gingerbread sweets at the Kaiser WM Church Christmas Market Berlin (source: Mtrip)

4. Old Town Christmas Market, Prague
When? 26th of November – 6th of January 10am-22pm 2016/2017

Find a variety of foods at this market like barbecued pork, Czech muffins, conkers, beer, mull, mead and other typical gastronomical specialties from Old Czech cuisine. If you don’t feel the Christmas spirit, then you will get it when you go here. Christmas carols are sung throughout the day by different performers.
Another market worth checking is Wenceslas Square, which is about a 5 min walking distance from old town square.

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(Source: Flickr)

5. Bruges Christmas Market, Belgium
When? 25th of November – 1st of January 11am-10pm 2016/2017
Bruges already looks amazing because of the historic buildings, cobbled streets and medieval sights.

But when it’s Christmas, this town really blooms. The magical shopping streets are lit up with colorful lights and there’s a ice skating ring on the “Grote Markt”.
For a fairy-tail Christmas feeling you’re at the right address. Shop unique findings, eat waffles and drink delicious hot chocolate to top the day.

Ice Skating at one of Bruges Christmas Markets
Ice skating in Bruges, Belgium (source: short-breaks.com)

So which of the above Christmas Markets will you be visiting this year?

Love,

Elke

P.S: If you’re looking for the Christmas Spirit in Amsterdam, you should visit the Sunday market, Pure Market and Neighborhoods Foods Market this December. Also worth mentioning is the Christmas Market in Haarlem which is held on the 10th and 11th of December.

*Featured image source: www.europelandtravel.com

What to do when you have a stopover in Toronto

Considering a transfer in Toronto? You might want to extend your time in-between flights, because it’s only a 30-min train ride to the city center from the airport and there’s a lot you can see and do. Here are some tips if you have a stopover in Toronto.

Have lunch at the CN tower
The CN tower is thé trademark of Toronto. Most people just go up to see the view around the city, but there’s an even better way to spend your time up there: have lunch at 360 The Restaurant. Lunch at this restaurant may seem a little bit expensive (2-course lunch is $56; 3-course is $69), but compared to the general admission ($35) it is not that big of a difference. The main advantage of having lunch here is that you don’t have to get in line, you can just get to the reservation desk of the restaurant, you can take a separate elevator (for which there also is no line) and once you’re at your table in the restaurant you can see all over Toronto in just 45 minutes while having a great meal. www.cntower.ca

view-from-cn-tower Toronto
View over Toronto from 360 The Restaurant

Stroll down the Old Town
There’s a lot to see in Old Town Toronto. Start your walk at The Toronto City Hall, which lies right next to the Old City Hall. A little bit further north you’ll find Yonge-Dundas Square, which gives you a little bit the impression you’re on Time Square in New York or Piccadilly Circus in London. This is a lively square that hosts community celebrations, theatrical events, promotions, and concerts. End your walk at St. Lawrence market; in the North building you’ll find weekly farmer’s markets and antique markets and the South building locates the number 1 food market in the world, with over 80 vendors selling fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, fish and sandwiches.

Visit Chinatown and Kensington Market
Want to see a completely different side of Toronto? This city has one of the largest Chinatowns in North America and it is definitely worth a visit. Even the street signs are in Chinese in this neighborhood. You’ll find a lot of small Asian shops and markets, as well as great restaurants which are relatively cheap. And while you’re in the area, don’t forget to take a detour to Kensington Market, which is also a very vibrant, little bit alternative, neighborhood with lots of nice bars, food stores and shops.

kensington-market
Kensington Market

Watch the Toronto Maple Leafs
If you’re into sports and have a bit of money to spend, you should definitely go and see an ice hockey game of the Toronto Maple Leafs. They play around twice a week; tickets range from $50 to $400. Other interesting sports to see are Basketball (Toronto Raptors), Baseball (Toronto Blue Jays) or Football (Toronto Argonauts). If you’re more into museums around sports, you should pay a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame, which gives a lot of info on the history of ice hockey and has a great hall of fame that exhibits great players, teams and trophies.

Take the ferry to Toronto Islands
The Toronto Islands are a nice contrast to the crowded city center of Toronto. It takes only 10 minutes to get here by ferry. You can have a tasty picnic in one of the scenic picnic spots, take a walk or bike tour to one of the beaches or you can go canoeing or kayaking on the water and see the impressive skyline of the city. Perfect for a stopover in Toronto! For kore info check out www.torontoisland.com

toronto-islands on your 1 day in Toronto

Please note that from November 9 (2016) onward you need an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to visit or transfer through Canada by air. This costs $7 and you can easily get it online.

Love,

Dionne

*Dionne is one of our guest bloggers from the Netherlands, currently living in Den Bosch. In everyday life she works as a marketing-communications professional. She loves to travel to distant destinations, but I also enjoy a city trip closer to home. Read her article about 7 highlights in Cuba here!