8 x tips for an Amazing Citytrip to Leeuwarden

Especially in autumn and winter time it’s a big YES for me to plan some extra citytrips. Sometimes to refuel my energy level, sometimes to discover new places. For sure I love to book a ticket to a sunny far far away gem, but what about our own lovely homeland? Together with a friend I jumped into the car and drove to Leeuwarden! Bye bye hustle and bustle of Amsterdam, hello hello fresh air, calmness and…Fries suikerbrood #dontcountcalories. 

In 2018 Leeuwarden-Fryslân has been chosen as the cultural capital of Europe

What to do in Leeuwarden
Okay, Leeuwarden isn’t that big, but it has such a variety of activities for you. A short selection of my highlights:

Explore the North
Let’s kick-off with the cultural festival Explore the North. In 2018 Leeuwarden-Fryslân will be the cultural capital of Europe, so cool! And that, that means this city has a lot in store – click here to take a look what to expect in 2018. As a sneak peek for this happening, they recently organised Explore the North, whereby the historic city centre is used as a stage for music, literature, visual art and other creative excesses. Liked the concept to plunge into a super creative world. I got my eye on the masterclass of Chassol (The inspiring French all-rounder who makes albums with sounds of self-produced film material), the Noord Nederlands Orkest and the fabulous Friday night show of comic Meindert Talma. Although I have an art academy background, sometimes the artistic experiences were a little too whiny for me. It’s purely a matter of taste. Despite this I’m really looking forward to the cultural capital year 2018, go for it Leeuwarden! www.explore-the-north.nl

Explore the North
Explore the North in November. Photo by xannevera

Street art tour Leeuwarden
Another noteworthy tip is the street art tour. Great way to start your day, especially after a heavy breakfast. In 1,5 hours, you learn more about the interesting city background. I loved the fact the talk was a perfect combi of historical and temporary facts. Guide Henk Leutscher and his team make so much fun of it! Check it out: a Guide to Leeuwarden.

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Street art Leeuwarden style, love it!

Hemrica House of Flowers Leeuwarden
This flower, fashion and interior shop in one surprised me completely. It wouldn’t be out of place in Amsterdam. Lots of trendy stuff to pamper yourself, be prepared shopaholics!

Leeuwarden: a natural beauty
And if you want to escape the city for a while, please, please, please explore the raw and wonderful natural surroundings of Leeuwarden! Next time, I definitely want to have a pitstop there.

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Where to eat in Leeuwarden

Roast Leeuwarden
Must-try hotspot Roast Leeuwarden. Located in the middle of the city centre, this recently opened cozy lunch, dinner and drink spot is one to remember. Really like the fact they’ve put together a very diverse and continually changing menu for every budget. Their signature dish: chicken. But no worries veggies and vegans, there’s also so much appetizing food for you. I ordered the tender bavette with lots of colours on the side and – for sure – the chocolate overloaded dessert, which were both so yummy. Oh, and they’ve got two really cool tables with table taps, a perfect way to trigger your inner bartender haha! roastleeuwarden.nl

Laura en de chef
Another spot which was highlighted to me was Laura en de chef. This breakfast and lunch hotspot just works with fresh ingredients and is figuratively allergic for E-numbers and other chemical stuff. I ordered a well-filled French toast and a fresh juice, you got me! www.lauraendechef.nl

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Sit back and enjoy @ Laura en de chef

De Neushoorn
My guide Henk told me about this must-visit…and he was right. It’s kind of a magical and vibrant place where music meets dance meets film. Visit one of the performances or feel free to pop by for a laid-back beer.

Where to stay in Leeuwarden
Last but not least, in case you’re thinking about a citytrip to Leeuwarden, definitely book a room at the charming Post Plaza****. They invited me to stay and for sure I said ‘yes’. To be honest, I’ve nothing but praise. Especially the hospitality and extravaganza wakey wakey breakfast with everything a sweet tooth with a bit of a sleepyhead wants …suikerbrood. Do I need to say more?

Post Plaza, Leeuwarden
Hotel Post Plaza

Explore the Friesland region and Leeuwarden if you get the chance!

Love,

Sharmaine

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

Christmas in London » Off the tourist track

Christmas in London without (a lot of) tourists? It is possible! Here are the top 5 tips to avoid the crowd and enjoy the most beautiful city of Europe during Christmas season.

Oxford Street Lights
When to go? After dinner 9-10 pm in soho, pop into Oxford street for a stroll
Oxford is not to missed during Christmas time. Switching on the lights is always a big event to kick off the festive season. From The Spice Girls back in the day to Rita Ora this year, turning on the lights is a big thing! Even if you’re not into shopping, it’s worth walking around for a bit. Take the Tube to Oxford Circus or Baker Street.

Carnaby street
When to go? After the shops close around 9-10 pm.
If you are at Oxford street, don’t miss the Carnaby street lights! There are some great pubs around to have a beer, grab a bite at Kingly Kourt and enjoy these colourful neon disco lights.

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Christmas in London is not complete without seeing the lights! Source

Winter wonderland
When to go? Before 5pm on a weekday
Every year a part of Hyde Park is transformed into a magical winter wonderland. Perfect to drink mulled wine and have fun in one of the rides. My favourite is the Bavarian village, make sure you’re early to grab a spot or book a table. Every night there is a German singer for all your guilty pleasures, so grab a pint and sing along! www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

Winterville
When to go? Any time!
Is Winter Wonderland still too much for you? Go to Winterville! It’s basically the hipster version of Winter Wonderland, this year hosted in hip and happening Clapham. Grab the London Underground with a couple of friends and enjoy! www.winterville.co.uk

Winterville, Christmas in London
Source

Colombia road
When to go? Wednesday night in December
It doesn’t get more British than this. Make sure you’re at Colombia road on 6, 13 or 20 December where you can enjoy late night shopping and best of all, a piano moves down the street and stops to sing Christmas carols with the locals, hosted by the local vicar. A magical Christmas in London! www.columbiaroad.info

Extra Tip: Not feeling it to go into the cold? Check out the Backyard Cinema or Pop-Up Screens around the city to see where they play a Christmas movie and snuggle up.

Happy Holidays!

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! Follow her on Instagram @jantinevanbloois.

Check all our City Trips here!

City trip Istandbul

A Quick Guide To Marrakech

The heat embraces me. I feel the sun burning on my skin and a small sweat drop sneaks away between my shoulder blades. The smell of fresh herbs, oils and food are seducing me to keep on walking towards the centre of the square. I stop, look around, and try to take it all in. Millions of colours, voices and people are surrounding me and stealing my attention. I’m standing in the heart of Marrakech, the structured chaos of Djemaa el Fna.

Marrakech

Marrakech can be overwhelming, breathtaking and confusing. It’s a city with many different faces and possibilities. I’m going to take you on a small (camel) ride to help you choose and plan your travels. These are my must-see tips for a short trip to Marrakech:

Shopping in the souks
I know, not the most original advice, but there’s no way you can miss out on this. The most famous souk of Marrakech is Djemaa el Fna and for a good reason, it’s huge! I got lost a million times even though I was only there for a few days. Not that it’s a bad thing. I found a really nice bag made of an old carpet and got some delicious Moroccan food while finding my way out.Djemaa el Fna is the biggest Souk but also the most touristic. For a more traditional experience I would recommend Marché el Mellah. But be warned if you’re an animal lover, you’re going to see a lot of animals (especially chickens)., and unfortunately, they’re not there for the cosiness.

The blues of Marrakech

Tip » Whilst Marrakech isn’t as conservative as many Arab countries, it is still a Muslim country and you should respect the culture. Leave your mini skirt and tank tops at home or just wear it in the Riad/hotel. Keep it cool on the streets in floaty clothing, it saves you a lot of sunscreen as well.

Jumping back in history at the ruins of El Badi Palace
There is not much left of El Badi Palace but the peace and space it gives you is unique in the centre of Marrakech. The palace took twenty-five year to build and was an excessive display of the best craftsmanship of the Saadian period. You can still see some of the expensive materials they used. Next to the beauty of the ruins, it’s a good place to catch your breath in the middle of the overly crowded city.

Tip » Don’t have enough time to travel to the Sahara? Dry your tears because I got a solution. Within a 20-minute car ride and with a spark of imagination it will feel like you’re in the Sahara while being just outside the city centre of Marrakech. Oke, you’re going to need a lot of imagination and a camel as well. But, when it’s all there you will feel like a true nomad. Note: a camel ride is a lot of fun and great holiday activity but please be aware that you book your trip at certified tour operations. We don’t want the camels to suffer for someone else’s enjoyment.

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Looking for that perfect Instagram spot? Bahia Palace is it.

Feeling like a princess at the Bahia Palace
Looking for that perfect Instagram spot? Think of mosaic floors, enchanting lighting and fairy-tale gardens. Bahia Palace is probably one of the most charming places in Marrakech. I do hope you’re more of a morning person then I am. You’ll have to get up early if you don’t want hundred of tourists taking photos of your own selfie.

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Tip » Getting hungry? Le Jardin in the centre of Marrakech is your solution. They serve amazing food, it’s stunningly decorated and, the best part, there are tiny tortoises just walking around. Too cute to be true.

Hippie side of live in Essaouira
If you’re looking for some fresh (sea) air, Essaouira is one of the nearby beaches. It only takes 3 hours by bus, which will cost you about 8 euros. Don’t expect a luxurious, seaside resort. They call it the hippy city of Morocco and that reflects in the low-key way of living in this city. Surfing all day and listening to live reggae music all night is the normal routine.

small-street Marrakech

Tip » You can make some great horse riding trips in Essaouria if you rather wouldn’t jump in the sea. Enjoy the sea, dunes and weather while getting your adrenaline pumped up by the speed of the horse.  Book your trip at Equi Evasion, they treat the horses very well. Howdy ho, cowboy!

riding horses at Essaouira

Marrakech was everything I imagined and nothing like it at the same time. Start your trip open minded. Savour the smell of spices, follow the colours and dive into little alleys and see where it takes you. A lot of Marrakech’s true beauty is hidden behind walls and crowded streets.

And before you go… don’t forget to practice your bargain skills! Prices are more then doubled and shop owners are ready for a tough negotiation.

Love,

Eva

*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.

 

Airbnb Experiences, now also available in Amsterdam!

Most travelers I know, have slept in or rented out an apartment via Airbnb once or twice. Airbnb has basically become part of our travel experience and they’ve recently added another feature to make your travel experience that extra bit special. Airbnb Experiences. Amsterdam follows cities like San Francisco, Paris, Rome, New York and launched Airbnb Experiences and is now one of the 12 cities that offers this latest feature.

Airbnb Experiences, how does it work?
Do you want to experience or host? That choice makes a big difference. On the Airbnb website you can select both. And while joining an experience is really easy, (just select and book) hosting one is another piece of the pie. You need to have an experience on offer that meets the Airbnb guidelines. So think about what you have to offer because not everyone is making the cut. For example; do you work at an aquarium? Maybe you can talk about the marine life and what people can do to save it. Do you have a talent like drawing or do you know everthing about cheese? Sign up! You might host an Airbnb Experience in your hometown. Besides the normal experiences, you can also offer an experience that help local non-profit organisations. This is called the Social Impact Experience. You can help fish plastic out of the canals in Amsterdam or offer cooking lessons for refugees, the options are endless.

canal-house

Together with a small group of journalists, I was able to test some of these cool experiences at a special Airbnb event in Amsterdam last week. We could choose between 3 different experiences that are currently offered on Airbnb. I decided to join the perfume workshop where I could create my own personal fragrance from scratch. The workshop was given by Frank Bloem from The Snifferoo who teaches you everything you need to know about making a perfume. I’m not sure if I created the best smelling fragrance in the world, but it was certainly fun doing it!

Airbnb Experiences Amsterdam
The Snifferoo giving a perfume experience

One of the the most booked Experience in Amsterdam at the moment, is the Motorcycle Tour with a sidecar which takes you along unseen country roads outside the city in the side-car of a vintage motorcycle. Airbnb Experiences gives people a chance to really get to know a city in a unique and local way, meet new people and give something back.

Have you booked your first Airbnb Experience yet?

Love,

Elke

The Wanderlust Barcelona Guide!

Barcelona is one of those cities that you keep coming back to. As much as we both love exploring new places, this Spanish delight keeps pulling us back every 2 years or so. It might has something to do with the fact that Barcelona has a wonderful beach combined with a vibrant nightlife that includes one of the best cuisines in Europe. We booked a weekend away with TravelBird and checked out the newest and best spots so you can relax and enjoy your citytrip. Here’s our Wanderlust Barcelona Guide!

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Why Choose TravelBird?
There are tons of travel agencies out there so we can imagine that it’s hard to pick an agency that really suit your needs. So why book with TravelBird? And why go with an travel agency at all? First of all, we noticed that the website of TraveBird is super easy to navigate on and looks fresh and modern. Secondly, once you’ve booked your trip, you will receive an inlog so you can quickly check all of your documents onto one page. You can find your boarding pass, hotel info, possible transfers and contact details. TIP: download the TraveBird App so you have everything on hand PLUS you can keep an eye on the latest travel deals! 

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Hotel Retrome

But the one thing we really liked is the diversity of destinations and type of accommodations they put on offer. Our hotel was a retro style boutique hotel named Retrome in the lovely area Eixample, close to pretty much everything including the beach. Even though we arrived during high season, the area we stayed in was peaceful yet full of local cafe’s and restaurants. The reception knew our names which made it feel very personal. Something you don’t see everyday. But let’s be real, they already had us when they offered us a free glass of cava ;-). The whole trip was just so well organized. All we did was book and go. And that’s pretty much all you want to do when you’re enjoying a weekend away right?

wanderlust Barcelona Guide

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
It’s one of the first things that comes to mind when you arrive. Food. Food. And more food. Barcelona is a city with many “hotspots” and these are our favorite ones!

» Lulu’s,  It’s a tiny cafe in El Born where you can eat healthy. There are a few tables outside and they serve Iced Matcha Latte’s!
» Nomads coffee, we passed this hipster coffee house by chance and grabbed a coffee to go. They take it serious, so expect a real tasty cup! nomadcoffee.es
» Brunch & Cake, Hotspot number one at the moment. They serve well known dishes in a very special way. Go for the Blue Acai Bowl, Green Bagel and try one of their juices! if you need to wait for a seat (chances are, you will) grab a lovely coffee at De La Crem right across the street. cupcakesbarcelona.com
» The Green Spot, brand new in Barcelona and already one of the best veggie spots in town. It doesn’t matter whether you are a vegetarian or not, the pretty dishes will make your mouth water. Prices are a bit higher than usual. encompaniadelobos.com
» Flax & Kale, not new but still hot, you need to check it out if you are around. Get your phones out, because this is Instagram worthy food! 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? teresacarles.com
» Tropico, for the best juices in Barcelona! Inspired by tropical destinations, this hotspot is something you cannot miss out on. tropicobcn.com
» The Surf House, next to the beach you can find this popular joint. The food is healthy, tasty and pretty. The vibe is just like you can imagine from a place like this. 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. surfhousebarcelona.com
» 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

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From left to right: Lulu’s, The Surf House, Brunch & Cake and Nomad Coffee

COCKTAILS & DANCE
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 trap and visit some other places where the cocktails are also flowing and the atmosphere is great.

» Champagneria, the name might ring a bell, Cava galore! Facebook
» The Mint, They say some of the best Mojito’s are made here..That’s enough right?! Facebook
» Yurbban, this hotel has a cool rooftop with one of the best views in Barcelona. You can only use the pool if you are a guest but you are welcome to enjoy a few drinks during the day or night. yurbban.com
» Jamboree, if you like jazz, this is your club! masimas.com
» Zero KM, combine dinner with drinks and stay until they close. They serve tapas with a twist and the food can be described at high end.
» La Terazza, 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. laterrrazza.com
» Elrow, 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. elrow.es

Yurbban Hotel Rooftop, Wanderlust Barcelona Guide
The rooftop of the Yurbban hotel

EXTRA TIPS
» Rent a bicycle we can’t say this enough. Really, it’s the best way to see the city. We got ours for 15 euro per 24 hours bit there are many options throughout the city where you can rent one.
» Visit Bunkers del Carmel aka “Bunkers” for the best viewing point. A friend tipped us about this old bunker build on a hill back in the 30’s. Not everybody knows about this special place and it’s worth seeing the sunrise or sunset if you have the time.
» Talk to the locals, we always do this and this trip was no exception. It brought us to a cool graffiti skate park!

Cycling in Barcelona, Wanderlust Barcelona Guide
Cycling had to be a part of our wanderlust Barcelona guide

Wanderlust Barcelona Guide
Cycling through the Parc de les Tres Xemeneies

I don’t think we need to convince you to go to Barcelona but maybe we have convinced you to go back, yet again. To book our trip and stay in the same retro hotel, check  www.travelbird.nl! For more inspiration and to get a chance to get featured, follow @TravelBird on Instagram!

Love,

Wander-Lust

*We collaborated with TravelBird for this article

More tips about other Spanish destinations? Check our Spain section!

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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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!

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!

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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

Travel to Zurich in style with SWISS

My first media trip for Wander-Lust was a fact. The destination to discover: Zurich! I never really had this city in my top 10 bucket list, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t worth exploring. Time to give it a try with SWISS!

Book a budget proof ticket with SWISS
So last week I tested the airline SWISS and flew to Zurich – two days, one night. Yehesss, I felt like a lucky bastard. Some nice to know facts of SWISS: They fly four times a day from Schiphol to Zurich and a retour economy class ticket only costs €129,- (incl. taxes and fees). For an airline with so much comfort and good service, I think this is a very good price to pay. Despite the fact I have wanderlust, flying is not my cup of tea but that didn’t spoil the fun. During my first flight with this airline I noticed that the service and seats were really Swiss style and definitely worth repeating. Small side note: the cold croissant has some room for improvement, but the Swiss chocolate was de-li-ci-ous!

Did you know that Swiss is part of the Lufthansa Group that exist out of Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings?

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SWISS economy seats..not bad!

Airplane meals with a story
What really makes  SWISS so interesting for me as a food lover, is the story behind their airplane meals: SWISS taste of Switzerland. Every 4 months they ask the crème de la crème among the top chefs to prepare a menu. Just one great chef from one of the Swiss regions is the lucky one. The big challenge for the master chef is to come up with airplane business and first class proof meals that are made with typical local, seasonable ingredients and specialties of that amazing region. During this trip I was at the food presentation for spring 2017, an overwhelming food walhalla created by the famous and commended Thomas Neeser. My oh my, so great to see so much passion, fun and creativity in one person. Not so surprising that SWISS have won so many awards with this unique food concept, thumbs up! Are you a vegetarian than this would be great news for you: SWISS cooperates with the world’s first vegetarian restaurant HILTL, who caters the vegetarian airplane meals day after day. Next week I tell you more about this extraordinary hotspot.

Checking out the new Swiss menu
Checking out the new menu for spring 2017

The chefs at Swiss
Thomas Neeser (left) at the menu presentation

Let’s go business class
The part of my trip I’ll never forget was my flight back. SWISS surprised me with a business class seat, OMG! Maybe you know what that means: entrance to the business lounge! A world full of food opened for me including my all-time favorite M&Ms – please, squeeze me here – chocolate desserts, oh and let’s not forget the champagne! It was all you can imagine. I flew back to Amsterdam, totally relaxed with,…more food and wine! I could get used to this. I hear you thinking: ‘my wallet does not allow me to buy a business ticket.’ No, mine does neither. But from €900,- you can fly business class during international flights. That means for a bit more you get much more luxury: lounge access, extra luggage, better meals, more legroom etc. The price differences in economy and business class aren’t always so huge, it was an eye opener for me. Tip » Always check the economy and business class prices, include a Saturday into your trip and book well in advance to get the scharpest price!

Business Class food at Swiss
Enjoying the business class food on the way back

Food allergies? No problem for SWISS
Last but not least, SWISS is an ideal airline if you suffer from a food allergy or intolerance, they even were the first allergy-friendly one in the world. You can contact the customer service prior to your flight and they’ll do everything they can do for you! They even have lactose free chocolate, that’s what I call Swiss service!

Wanna check out SWISS yourself? Visit the website.

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!