Citytrip Almere | What to see and do

When you first think of a citytrip Almere you might think of modern and innovative architectonic buildings, a shopping area without much ambiance, and always a breeze at hand. In all honesty, we didn’t know Almere as well as we thought. But the youngest city of the Netherlands has more to offer than meets the eye.

How Almere captures your heart

Recently, I received a secret invite for a ‘Destination Unknown Experience.’ Obviously, it triggered my interest. Little did I know that together with some other nosey parkers we got on a speedboat – a rapid Rib with 100 km/h on the meter – and after an adrenaline rush for 30 minutes, we arrived in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nature. ‘Welcome to Almere ladies!’ This wasn’t in line with the City I met years ago. I had to give this municipality a second chance.

Almere citytrip
What a way to enter the city!

One of the things I was mostly surprised by, was the immense natural character

A 24h citytrip in Almere

If you are planning a city trip to Almere you have many options, but I will give you a glimpse of my one-day citytrip. The city is surrounded by five natural areas: Oostvaardersplassen, Lepelaarplassen, Pampushout, the Vroege Vogelbos and Almeerderhout. Consequently, nature-lovers will dig this. And did you know that Almere has twice as many bridges as Venice? After floating through the canals, we arrived at Boathouse Almere. A beautiful place where you can dock your boat. I can tell you, you’ll stay here a little longer than initially planned. Expect a menu with something for everybody. From a club sandwich to fish & chips or bao with pulled jackfruit. After an appetizing lunch break we continued our journey by…Segway! Thanks to Segs in the City (see what they did there?), we drove around Almere’s many cycle paths, which is a great way to explore the city.

The boathouse Almere
Boathouse Almere

Segway Tour Almere

Did you know that Almere Centrum won the title Beste Binnenstad 2017 – 2020?

High Tea & Bubbles

Being a segway driver makes you hungry, so our next stop was at a culinary gem: The Black Cockatoo. It’s the first 100% vega(n) hotspot in town where you can indulge yourself with lots of treats. Mostly locally produced and – as far as possible – organic ingredients. The black Cockatoo will always be marked as the place where I had my very first ever vegan hot chocolate milk with whipped cream. And they also had me at ‘vegan brownie.’ Heavenly soft inside, literally and figuratively finger lickin’ good. 

Champagne Almere
Cheers to Almere!

The Black Cockatoo, Almere

High Tea Almere
Happy tummy, happy sweet tooth at The Black Cockatoo 

Lifestyle Salon and Spa knows how to pamper you!

Take a break and Relax

Almere has a lot of shopping opportunities (there are more than 400 stores!) and after all that walking around the city center, your body may need a little pampering. Go to Lifestyle Salon and Spa. Firstly, you can get your hair and make-up done or get a fresh haircut. Secondly, the ladies at the salon offer head and full body massages. Pedicures? You name it, they have it. And all with the idea that beauty is a combination of inner and outer well-being. The crew is very professional, honest and has a ‘what you see is what you get’ mentality. You will love the laidback vibe here, as it is the perfect spot to recharge yourself.

Beauty salon Almere
The ladies at Lifestyle Salon & Spa know how to treat a lady

CULTURAL: visit Vis à Vis open air theater

In the evening we went to Vis à Vis, a theatre company which plays open air shows at a permanent location at Almeerderstrand. Light-hearted comedy, astonishing spectacle and ingenious storylines lead the audience with a wink to the abyss of serious dilemmas. Even though I’m always in for some theatrical violence, I’ve never seen something like this before. Never. In 1,5 hours you’ll be amazed again and again. Step into a world full of extraordinary humor and surprises. Even the air is part of the decor and this is not comparable with a traditional indoor show. In case you’d love to have a complete night out, you can reserve a spot in De Rode Haring with simple (buffet) dishes and long Biergarten tables, a much-vaunted food formula.

Vis a Vis Almere
A must see in Almere!

Where to stay

After a very long, but overwhelming day, we were dropped off at Lodgerie Het Groene Geheim. This is exactly what you need after a full day Almere. A luxury lodge with all comforts including a huge bubble bath with a fantastic view over the countryside. When I woke up I didn’t had the idea I stayed in in a city. Nature everywhere, and this was suppose to be a city trip? Well, I’m sold.

Accommodation Almere

Lodgerie Het Groene Geheim Almere
Heart shaped bubble bath at Lodgerie Het Groene Geheim

Maybe it won’t be love at first sight if you stroll through city centre, but a citytrip to Almere is absolutely worth a try. Nature, city beaches, wellness, shopping, culinary spots makes me wanna say; see you soon?

Special thanks to Visit Almere for this wonderful trip!

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 Instagram!

Learn more about the Netherlands here!

 

 

 

11 x rooftops in Amsterdam

When you want to see Amsterdam from a new perspective, you go up! We tried & tested several rooftops over the years and we came down to this selection. Complete your summer drink and dine under the stars this season.

HoogtIJ

This new rooftop location in Amsterdam North is mainly used for events and pop-ups. It has a beautiful glass greenhouse in the middle which is used for hosting dinners and workshops. However, this summer you can enjoy the Groovy Tables concept, a collaboration between chefs of restaurant Daalder and De Artiesten. Enjoy a 6-course menu with performances and music while sitting underneath the stars. There are only 2 weekends per month available to book a table, so don’t wait too long!

HoogtIJ Rooftop Amsterdam

NEMO

Good news because the rooftop from science museum NEMO is open all summer until 9pm, with live music on Thursday! The summer roof will be opened on Thursday the 4th of July with music and bites. More info about the NEMO rooftop here.

NEMO summer rooftop Amsterdam
Summer at NEMO

Bureau

This hidden spot is rooftop heaven. You must visit Bureau if you haven’t been! Enjoy the herb garden, chickens and sustainable design. Besides being selected as one of the best outside terraces in Amsterdam West, Bureau also has one of the best rooftops in Amsterdam. 

Rooftop restaurant bureau amsterdam
Maximum sun hours at Bureau

Skylounge at Double Tree Hilton

Located next to central station, this rooftop on top of the Double Tree Hilton hotel has one of the best views of central Amsterdam. Dress up nicely because this is not your local hang out. You pay a bit more than usual, but you will feel like royalty (they serve the best sweets with their coffee!). For events and more info visit the website.

W Amsterdam

The WETDECK has recently re-opened so you can enjoy your cocktails on top of the W hotel in Amsterdam. This is the only rooftop in Amsterdam with a pool and people always return to this trendy hotspot. Go here for cocktails and champagne or a jump in the pool. www.wamsterdam.nl

w-hotel-best-rooftops-in-amsterdam
W Amsterdam

Floor 17

On top of the Ramada Hotel in West, you will find Floor 17. Although it’s a popular hotel for tourist and business trips, this is a rooftop that’s worth the visit. You can sit inside where you can eat in the restaurant or you can enjoy the sunshine outside. They host several events per year and at the moment they feature a huge air-bubble on one side of the rooftop that you can sleep in.

Inside the Air-Bubble on Floor17
The Air-Bubble at Floor 17

Hopp at Hotel Casa

A hidden gem if you ask us! Situated near Amstel Station, this is a wonderful rooftop for after work drinks with your friends. No need to dress up, because casual chill is the dresscode. Just enjoy the sunshine on the 8th floor of hotel Casa and have a good conversation. They are only open if it’s dry so check the weather forecast before you head over! 

nest-best-rooftops-in-amsterdam
Source: Nest

Blue Amsterdam

Right in the heart of Amsterdam, you will find Blue. You wouldn’t know this place has a rooftop, if no one has told you about it. Many tourist discover it by chance because it’s located near the popular shopping district, inside the Kalvertoren. www.blue-amsterdam.nl

blue-best-rooftops-in-amsterdam
Source: Blue

Zoku Amsterdam

It’s not one of the largest rooftops around but it’s innovating and a must visit if you’re around. Zoku is great for breakfast, lunch or for staying the night. If you want to find out more about this place, check our article.

zoku-best-rooftops-in-amsterdam
Photo by lucasvasilko

Canvas at the Volkshotel

This rooftop restaurant/bar has been around for years. It still has what it takes. Dinner or lunch, it doesn’t matter because the mood is always good. Their outside area isn’t huge but good enough for us! More info here www.volkshotel.nl/nl/canvas

Adam Tower

Let’s not forget about the ADAM Tower across the Central Station. This rooftop is not free to go to the top, but the view from is magnificent once you get there. What you can also do is, swing over the edge. Only for daredevils though! 


Bonus: Club Jack

In Amsterdam South East, you’ll find the lesser known Club Jack, where art and music comes together. The rooftop is a green oasis with a terrace and bar. During summer you will find a lot of parties on this rooftop. Nice to know: Enjoy the first rooftop night market on the Friday 28th of June from 5 till 10pm. The market is inspired by the colourful rooftop markets in Johannesburg South Africa and the night markets in Bangkok. 

 

 

 

Are you ready for summer in the city?

Love,

Wander-Lust

7 x Hidden Gems in Valencia

The Spanish city Valencia is the perfect weekend (or holiday) get-away and is only a 2.5-hour flight from the Netherlands. City, beach, park, and sailing, it is all there! However, if you feel like getting off the beaten path and see something different, here are some hidden gems and places that are often overlooked.

Bluebell Coffee

In the neighbourhood of Ruzafa you will find many trendy restaurants and bars. When you are there, take a visit to Bluebell Coffee for a delicious and healthy lunch. On the menu you will find homemade treats such as vegan tarts and banana bread, salads, avocado toast and fresh smoothies. The lovely inner garden is reminiscent of a tropical mini jungle. Carrer de Buenos Aires, 3

Bluebell Valencia

Petticoat Vintage

In trendy Ruzafa, you will also find many designer studios, art galleries and vintage shops. If you are a real vintage fanatic, you will become a real fan of the vintage store Petticoat. As a result, you will find unique pieces of good quality for a very nice price. Carrer de Sueca, 36

Vintage store Valencia

Almalibre

In the historic centre of Valencia, you will find the Açai bar Almalibre. Super fresh, super tasty and with a small terrace, making it the perfect place for lunch in the city centre. On the menu they have many goodies based on the Açai berry, all ecological and responsible. Carrer de Roteros, 16

Jardines de Monforte

The famous Turia park is one of the main attractions in Valencia. Another (smaller) park that is definitely worth a look is the Jardines de Monforte. These gardens are a stone’s throw away from the Turia park, but are skipped by many people. Because the gardens are somewhat hidden, you have to know of its existence to be able to enter it. Therefore, the park is perfect for when you want to enjoy some tranquillity. Carrer de Montfort, S/N

Valencia

El Saler Beach

El Saler beach is a good option if you want to escape the busier city beach. El Saler beach is located about 12 kilometres to the south of the city. The beach is surrounded by nature and has a relaxing dune landscape, with here and there paella restaurants. El Saler

San Tomasso

Stumbling upon this Italian restaurant in the city centre, was like finding a hidden treasure on a pretty lane, with great food and a delightful atmosphere. Secondly, waiters are quite fluent in English and the food was really more than excellent here. Carrer de la Corretgeria, 37

La Fabrica de Hielo

Although there is not much to see on the outside, inside this factory building is a gem that is host to live music, concerts, art workshops and locally sourced food. A wonderful place that is good for the eyes, ears and soul! Almost every day a live band performs in this venue, you can check their daily program hereCalle José Ballester Gozalvo, 37


Extra tips:

  • Ubify is the Uber in Valencia. Download the app and get home easily after a night out!
  • There is a ferry from Valencia to Ibiza, which takes approximately 5 hours. A fun and affordable way to explore Ibiza as well!
  • You can find even more Valencia tips and hotspots in this Guide if you are planning to visit sunny Valencia!

Love,

Iris

 

Discover North Western Sicily

We all know that 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. Go for amazing ice-cream at Panna & Co. If that isn’t love in a cone.. You can thank me later.

osteria-i-vitelloni-sicily
Osteria I Vitelloni

Palermo

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. 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! 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).

fre-sonneveld-19374

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.

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 beach lover, 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 even though it’s is a bit more touristy. 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. 

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 fish! 

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

Take a hike!

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!

Club Med Cefalù

Give each other a kiss, and book that ticket to the North Western side of Sicily!

Love,

Jill

Yuan’s Hot Pot | Traditional Chinese Fondue

Preparing food in a hotpot is a traditional Chinese cooking method where a simmering pot of Chinese soup base fills the middle of the dining table. During dinner, guests drop their favourite fish, meat, frogs (oh yes) or veggies in the bubbling hot pot (Chuan Chuan Xiang). You can compare it to a traditional fondue, but better and also a bit healthier because you are not frying your ingredients. Yuan’s Hot Pot is the first of its kind based in Amsterdam. 

Yuan's Hot Pot

How it works

You start off by picking the base of your soup.Tip: be careful with your choice in the level of spice. These levels are curated on the tongues of the Asians, therefore, the half-half spicy is already very spicy! You can try it out anyway if you’re a bit stubborn, they can also make it less spicy by adding some more cooked water. Whatever you’ll choose, there are enough ingredients to choose from. At Yuan’s Hot Pot, you order your favourite dishes and drinks on a tablet and add them into your digital basket. Very 2019. What you order arrives at the table on bamboo skewers. The hot pot keeps simmering while you place the skewers into the soup and wait a couple minutes until it’s cooked and ready to eat.

Yuan's Hot Pot Amsterdam

Bring your friends!

In my opinion Yuan’s Hot Pot is not the kind of restaurant you’ll bring your date to, but I’ll leave that up to you. The interior doesn’t scream “Instagram hotspot” but this is what makes it authentic and traditional. As a result, you will see a lot of Asian customers and this is always a good sign! You’ll have more fun with family or friends around the table and time flies by while the soup boils. It’s also nice to reserve a table with more people than two, because you will be able to try and share more. This way you might be brave enough to order the frog legs, which are a real recommendation! Another option and less scary than the frog legs: shrimp dumplings (we ordered this up to five times). If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you have plenty of choice too!

Yuan's Hot Pot Vegetables

Yuan’s Hot Pot is the first restaurant in Amsterdam with this Hot Pot concept.

Why visit?

In conclusion, at Yuan’s Hot Pot, you’ll experience the real authentic taste of the Chengdu Hot Pot. This is the first restaurant in Amsterdam with this Hot Pot concept. They pamper their customers with much kindness and their secret family recipe and dishes. Sounds good right? A recipe that has been passed down from generations must be good!

Yuan's Hot Pot

YUAN’S HOT POT
Rijnstraat 51, Amsterdam
Website / Instagram
Monday – Sunday: 12:00 – 22:30

Love,

Larissa

More Tasty Spots in Amsterdam?

11 x City Beaches in and near Amsterdam

With the sun out, the urban jungle of Amsterdam can be hot during the summer months. If you don’t have time to get to the nearest coastline, you will be happy to know that you can find some awesome City Beaches in and around Amsterdam where you can put your toes in the sand.

Strandzuid

This sandy spot is really unique because it’s located next to the waterfront and the middle of Amsterdam’s business district. The city beach location has recently opened for their spring/summer season and has a brand new menu to go with it! We tried the vegetarian vegan carpaccio made from watermelon (must try!) and the Moroccan style Tahine. If meat is your thing, you will be pleased to hear that they use the amazing Josper grill, which gives meat and fish that ultimate bbq flavour. Strandzuid is also a popular place for after work drinks with colleagues, and on Fridays it’s full house around the beach bar. You’ll almost forget that you are in the middle of Amsterdam when you chill on the beach chairs. Strandzuid opens daily for lunch, brunch and dinner.

Strand Zuid Amsterdam
Swinging at Strand Zuid

Strand Zuid diner
Watermelon carpaccio!

DOK Amsterdam

DOK is the place where you can do more than just chill in the sand. From an intimate party in the quirky shed to a mini festival on the recently moved city beach. The most important ingredients? DJs, drinks and casual enjoyment! Good news for people with kids because on July 7th they will host a kids festival, how cool! DOK opens their new location this weekend and entrance is free of charge. See you there?

Dok City Beach Amsterdam
DOK

Paaseiland

They call themselves a beach resort so they needed a location near the water. They found it at Het Stenen Hoofd, which is located near Central Station and overlooks the IJ. This location is often used for food festivals, open air cinema’s, and was originally build for the Holland-America cruise liner back in the day. On the menu? They served Laska curry soup, fish burgers and a vegan crispy tempeh burger. For dessert they finished the evening with a delicious coconut-guava cake. Paaseiland isn’t a large beach area, but it has one of the best locations!

Paaseiland beach Amsterdam

Amsterdam Roest

They closed and then they re-opened, just for this summer. Goof news for us because Roest is such a nice getaway in the city. Located next to the water and enough playroom for the kids, this is a favourite for parents. Roest will close down after summer because of extensive site building, but after that they will return with a bang. Enjoy the summer at Roest while you can!

Roest

Sloterpark Beach

I live here so I know this area very well. The water is around 35 meters deep and the East and West side of the Sloterplas are available for swimming from the grass, where you will find actual swimming-pool-like-stairs going in the water. The newly refurbished man-made beach is better than ever with newcomer Hotel Buiten, that serves a tasty lunch, but also sells ice-cream and drink to take to the beach area.

Sloterpark beach

Pllek

An all time favourite city beach in Amsterdam North! Located on the industrial NDSM Werf is the charming Pllek. It doesn’t really matter what kind of weather it is, Pllek is always filled with people. During the weekends you can enjoy live music andDJ’s. Most of the menu is organic and local. Check the agenda for events.

Pllek city beach Amsterdam

Overlanden

This beach spot next to the Nieuwe Meer has stayed untouched so plants had a good change to grow in their natural habitat. Don’t be surprised if you see a herd of Scottish Highlanders grazing around, they maintain the natural balance in an ecologically responsible way. They won’t bother you unless you don’t bother them. The best other thing about this park is that you have plenty of secret swim and sunbathing spots. So you can get a tan without getting disturbed. Bring you own food and drinks because there is only one small café. 

Oeverlanden

Jaap Eden strand

The ice-skating ring makes place for a man-made sandy area where you can relax and sunbath. There is no pool to cool off in, but there is food & drink and lazy sun chairs, so  that’s fine by us. The beach area is open from Thursday to Sunday and there are activities for kids during the weekend. www.jaapeden.nl

Jaap Eden City Beach

Thuishaven

This party location isn’t free of charge, but it’s still one of the best weekend spots for those that want to party with their toes in the sand. Underground DJ’s and bigger names in the Techno and House scene play tunes in – and outside. If you haven’t been yet, you should check it out. Tickets are reasonably priced and there are a few food trucks to fill your tummy. www.thuishaven.nl


Just Outside Amsterdam

De Oerkap, Haarlem

Okok, we know this is outside Amsterdam, but it is just too nice not to mention. We recently had a look at De Oerkap, a city beach at the beginning of Haarlem city. It’s very child friendly and they serve speciality beers. Enjoy simple but filling lunch and organic ice-cream popsicles. See the trains pass while you enjoy the sunshine. De Oerkap is open everyday! Check their website for opening times. www.oerkap.nl

De Oerkap city beach

‘T Twiske

Here you will find several man-made beaches with many natural swim spots, also on the gras. You can participate in relaxing activities such as playing golf, fishing, hiking, cycling or  you can enjoy a BBQ. There is even a nudist beach area so eh..if you want to swim in your birthday suit, you can do it here! Parking cost €3,50 for the first 3 hours. www.twiske-waterland.nl

'T Twiske Amsterdam

Coming soon..

Noordkust. This spot certainly belongs to the list of City Beaches but is being build on as we speak. It will be finished this summer we hope and is located on the NDSM Werf! You will hear it here first!

Enjoy these City Beaches this summer!

Love,

Wander-Lust

The Shoreditch Guide | London

Quite possibly home to one of the coolest streets in London, Shoreditch is that rare gem of a neighbourhood that fuses ye-old London Town with a ‘right here, right now’ sensibility. Shoreditch High Street is where the main hustle and bustle is taking place. Spending a day here guarantees top quality breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktail options. The adjoining side streets will delight and distract you with temptations coming from an eclectic range of boutique shops, hotels and other look-in spots.

Shoreditch Guide

If you’re an early riser then look no further than Albion – a trendy all-day British cafe, bar and grocery shop which sits as part of the Boundary Project Hotel. Famed for its simple yet delicious food the menu delivers seasonal produce and artisan ingredients. The grilled sweet potato plate with English feta, avocado and spinach will keep you well stocked for the day ahead and is quite the pairing with a Mimosa. Take a seat outside and watch the world go by – the locals here have a distinctive dress sense which will surely inspire.

Shoreditch London

Shopping

Looking to lighten your wallet and hit the shops? You have plenty to choose from here. Firstly, the quirky interiors emporium House of Hackney hits the spot for anyone looking for bold prints and exotic patterns. Secondly, Pam Pam is a womenswear clothing and lifestyle store and is a must visit for any millennial looking for a new sneaker. Finally, A.P.C. and Aesop also have outposts here that invite you in to wish up your Christmas list.

Shop Shoreditch, London

For something a bit different Barber & Parlour is a space to shop and relax in while also specialising in grooming for men and women. Owned by the famed Soho House Group (Shoreditch House occupies the building opposite). This casual-cool establishment offers everything from hairdressing to beard grooming, massages and mani/pedis all available on a walk-in basis. Their onsite cafe serves up an all-day breakfast and brunch menu and stellar cocktails. While the Electric Cinema in the basement gives audiences a unique cinema-going experience. Mainstream, independent and world cinema, you can find it here.

Street Art

Shoreditch also delights visitors and locals alike with its vibrant graffiti and street art scene. If you’re looking to discover more behind this once taboo art form, The Alternative Walking Tour of East London will help you discover the past and present of this cultural and creative hub through an illustrated and fascinating adventure.

Shoreditch, London

Kick start your night at Pizza East with rustic hand-made pizzas served in an atmospheric hall-like environment. This popular joint is situated in a former tea warehouse. With daily-changing specials and wood-wood-oven pizzas, this is a must visit. The veal meetball pizza on their a la carte menu ticks many a box.

Pizza East, Shoreditch
Pizza East

Other recommendations

To cram into a day out in Shoreditch include: Box Park – a pop-up mall for independent and global lifestyle store and street-food options with a difference. Each vendor is housed in a shipping container. Dishoom – is always worth a visit – is a beautifully decorated Indian brasserie with a bohemian feel and incredible menu. If you’re there for breakfast try the Bacon Naan Roll, you won’t be disappointed. The Ace Hotel has an outpost further up on Shoreditch High Street and delivers a premier hipster hotspot with working spaces, stylish rooms and the ever-popular Hot Polloi restaurant. East London also offers some very nice rooftops, so when the weather is nice, go up!

cafe in Shoreditch

In conclusion, Shoreditch embraces an ever-changing culture. Step in and experience life as if there wasn’t a care in the world. If you’ve got anywhere from an hour to a full day to spare in this city, head along as soon as possible.

Love from London,

Stephanie

*Stephanie is our guest editor from London. She works for a large fashion brand and loves to explore new eateries and pretty corners whenever she has the chance. Follow her on Instagram

The 3-day London Guide is here!

3 days London City Guide

Maison Suisen in Paris | The Spa that brings you to Japan

Whether you’re based in Paris or just visiting, you’ll eventually find yourself caught up in the fast-paced lifestyle on the chic Parisian streets. After living in Paris for almost a year, I have just discovered the perfect way to escape all of this and it does not even require you to board a plane! Spa Maison Suisen will bring you to Japan.

Maison Suisen

Located in the buzzing quarter of La Marais, spa Suisen is the perfect escape from the hectic Parisian lifestyle. Sounds ironic doesn’t it, that the calmest and most relaxing spot in town is situated in the middle of the busiest part of Paris. But trust me, once you step through the door of Spa Suisen, you’re immediately transported to the faraway land of Japan. As the door closes behind you, blocking your daily stress and worries out.

Maison Suisen

Maison Suisen

All-around wellness from the moment you enter

Yes, Suisen is a place where you enjoy the most luxurious Japanese massages, but that’s not all of it. Here at Maison Suisen, both your physical and mental wellness will be taken care of by perfectly trained experts from the moment you step into the centre. To start your me-time right, the house offers you a perfectly brewed cup of Houjicha, a gentle and light toasted green tea imported directly from Japan to unwind you. As I took my first sip of the tea, my body immediately felt relaxed. Take your time and enjoy the tea as you prepare your mind and body for the treatment that follows.

Massage room Maison Suisen, Paris

Total passion for the Japanese art of shiatsu

Before being led to the second floor where the three massage rooms are, Sandra, the owner of Suisen, explained to me in detail, the concept of the centre, the different functions of each tea they offer in house, which are also available for purchase, and the differences between the four treatments they perform and have mastered the art of. As she spoke, I sense a total passion and adoration she holds for the Japanese culture which she has effectively introduced and brought over to Paris.

Each treatment places an equal focus on both the mental and physical aspects of the client.

Maison Suisen, Paris

Complete relaxation for the mind and the body

Time to change into my Japanese outfit and lay down on the tatami, a traditional Japanese mat that is placed on the floor for sleeping or massages. These, too, are flown in directly from Japan, as well as being bio and organically made. Sandra recommended the traditional Shiatsu, which does wonders for my circulation and immune system. There are other options, such as body toning, facial treatment and full body shiatsu with aromatic old to target muscle tension.The masseuse applied pressure to all the right spots, loosening all the tensions in my body. As enjoyable as the physical massage was, I particularly loved the smell of the scented serviette that covered the top half of my face, leaving everything below my nose exposed.

Each inhale smelt better than the last. It was their secret recipe of aromatic fragrances, as I was told.

Massage Maison Suisen

Further indulgence for a perfect end

The hour flew by too quickly. I woke up completely relaxed and despite all the pressured applied to my body, I felt lighter. After the masseuse said her goodbye and left the room, I lazily changed back into my outfit and headed downstairs for another cup of freshly brewed tea. This time, I had Sencha, an energy-boosting green tea with vitamin C. This has a completely different taste to the Houjicha, yet both were equally delicious. My tea came with a citron macaron. You have the option of a Matcha one too! I left Suisen feeling the most relaxed I have ever been and I cannot wait to revisit it.

My Verdict

Aside from the massage, my daily routine had remained the same. Yet, last night, I slept so much better and woke up more rejuvenated than I have been throughout the past week. If it wasn’t the massage, I do not know what it could possibly be!

Spa Suisen
7 rue de Thorigny 75003 Paris
France

Website / Instagram

Love,

Chantelle

*Chantelle is one of our guest editors from Hong Kong. Graduated with a Law degree, she is now taking a break in Paris for the year as she figures out her next step in life. Always passport ready, she is an expert at traveling light and on a budget, although she still enjoys the occasional indulgence in a luxurious holiday. Follow her on Instagram.

 

North Iceland | Off the beaten track

Iceland has become one of the most popular adventure destinations over the last couple of years. The Southern part however, has been getting the most attention. As a result, the infamous Blue Lagoon has become crowded and large tour busses are driving around the golden circle like there is no tomorrow. Dutch tour operator Voigt Travel thought it was time to shed some light on the often forgotten Northern part of Iceland and now offers direct flights to Akureyri with Transavia. Wander-Lust was invited to travel around North Iceland for 6 days and we’re here to tell you why this part shouldn’t be overlooked.

Good to know

  • During spring/summer, it won’t get dark. Even though the most hotels offer good curtains, we advise you to bring an sleeping mask
  • The weather can change drastically. Therefore, pack your sweater, raincoat, sunscreen and bikini (for the natural pools).
  • The people of Iceland still believe in the existence of the Huldufolk translated to, hidden people. Apparently these are like elves and wander around the island. Don’t underestimate their believe, you may find yourself in a heated discussion if you tell them otherwise.
  • Respect the vulnerable moss! Although Iceland is rocky and full of lava remains, moss grows on the rocks and takes decades to grow. Be careful when walking around, because you can easily damage it.
  • The tap water in Iceland is one of the best and widely available. Bring a flask or bottle so you avoid using plastic.

Northern Iceland
Always bring your raincoat (raincoat by Rain Couture)


The Route

Because of the new flight to Akureyri, you can start your trip from there and move around the Northern part, but we did it a little different. Starting in Reykjavik, we drove past the West coast up to North Iceland. This way, you can really see the landscape changing. Check the highlights on the map below.

North Iceland mapSource: Visit North Iceland

Tip: Drive over the Artic Coast Way, which officially opened on the 8th of June 2019 and has been voted in in the top 3 “Best in Europe” by the Lonely Planet. It highlights a less traveled route in Iceland and runs 900km long. In this guide we will show you the route we took plus we will highlight the extra options available in the area.

Artic Coast way
The Artic Coast Way

Day 1 | Drive up North:

From Reykavik drive for about 2 hours to get to North East Iceland where we started our adventure. Stop over at Gauksmýri and meet the animal that you will see loads of, Icelandic Horses. Family owned horse farm Gauksmýri lodge offers traditional horse shows and a nice lunch or dinner. If you are not into horses you can drive to Hvammstangi where you can visit the oldest wool factory in Iceland where you can also buy hats, gloves, scarfs and warm jumpers.

Icelandic Horses North Iceland

Where to stay?
We advise you to take it easy on the first day because you may need to get used to the fact that it won’t turn dark during spring/summer. We stayed in Hotel Laugarbakki, basic but fine, especially because it’s a great starting point for the next day.


Day 2 |Hvammstangi:

If you like to you can go seal watching today. Gear up warmly because it can get cold on the boat. We saw many seals playing in the water or chilling on shore. The Seal Watching Company provides you with binoculars and hot chocolate on board. We enjoyed a nutritious lunch right next door at Sjavarborg Restaurant, with a sea view. They offer burgers, vegan curry and daily fish specials.

Seal Watching North Iceland
Seals used to be hunted in Iceland, but now people let them be and enjoy them differently.

Along the way you are going to see various types of landscapes. The Fjörds, rocky mountains and fields of grass with Icelandic sheep jumping around. Tip: stop at Ánastađastapi, a rock formation less known, but just as impressive as the infamous Hvitserkur. Legend says, that Hvitserkur is in fact a troll that was turned into stone by the sunlight. Whatever the truth is, take a close look when it’s low-tide so you can walk on the black volcanic beach.

Ánastađastapi North Iceland
Ánastađastapi

Hvitserkur North Iceland
Troll or rock? Hvitserkur, North Iceland

Soon enough you’ll find yourself in Sauðárkrókur, which was once the battleground for vikings. The area has many historical sites, museums and exhibits. Tip: In town you should have dinner at KK Restaurant. Lobster pizza is one of their specialities! Be aware though, they also serve Greenland shark and foal meat (yes, this is a baby horse). If you are vegetarian, just mention it and you will be taken care of.

Dinner at KK restaurant
Dinner at KK Restaurant

Where to stay?
You have several options, but we stayed at www.siglohotel.is. This hotel is really amazing but not the most affordable! Big plus; they have great curtains that make your room really dark, so no eye mask is needed!


Day 3 | Húsavík:

You are now driving into the territory famous for Whale Watching, Húsavík! Book your tour in advance, especially during the high season and bring your camera! We booked our Whale watching tour with Whale Watching in Hauganes. Nice to know:  This company is carbon neutral and compensates their CO2 emissions by planting trees. Tip: Take a lunch break at the traditional Icelandic Baccalá Bar where you can eat the catch of the day!

Whale Watching North Iceland
We saw a Humpback Whale but even Blue Whales have been spotted here!

There are quite a few spa’s in Iceland but the one you must try is this rather unusual one: The Beer Spa – The first Beer Bath in the Nordics, linked to the first microbrewery in Iceland. The bath water contains 10 litres beer, hob and herbs. You will be surprised how extremely soft your skin and hair will feel afterwards! The best thing? You can tap your own beer while relaxing in the bath! 

Beer Spa Northern Iceland
Beer anyone?

If you are more into a natural bath, check out Geo Sea, a relatively new natural pool with a stunning view over the Fjörd of Húsavík. Thanks to the underground heat, the seawater in the baths is warm and comfortable and the mineral-rich water will caress your skin. 

Geo Sea Baths
Relaxing at the Geo Sea Baths

Not far from Goðafoss (20 min drive) you’ll find the cutest Icelandic turf houses, Grenjaðarstaður. It used to be home to several families since the 1800’s. Since 1958 they were made into a museum, so people can take a look inside and keep the traditional Icelandic housing alive.

Icelandic Turf Houses Northern Iceland
Traditional Icelandic Turf Houses

Other highlights in/near Húsavík:

  • When you continue your way, there is an option to stop over at the Kolugljúfur Waterfall, the first one we saw along this trip. (many will follow!)
  • Goðafoss waterfall is a stunning waterfall that turns into river Skjálfandafljót. It is 30 meters wide and falls 12 meters down.
  • If you like museums you have plenty of choice; the Whale Museum, the Exploration Museum, and the Culture House are all located in Húsavík.

Goðafoss waterfall North Iceland
Goðafoss waterfall

If you have time to drive up to Raufarhöfn, one of the most remote and northernmost villages in Iceland, you will find Heimskautsgerðið (The Arctic-Henge). Similar to ancient wonder Stonehenge, the Arctic Henge is like a huge sundial. For instance, the structure seems to play with shadow and light which gives it a stunning appearance. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see it because of lack in time, but if you extent your visit to 7 days you should be able to make it.

Arctic Henge, North Iceland
Arctic Henge, located in one of the most the remote areas of North Iceland. Source: Visit North Iceland


Day 4 |Vatnajökull National Park:

Drive from Húsavík towards the green valley and canyon region. On your way you can stop over at Skúlagarður for lunch with a breathtaking view. Mind you, the place is pretty basic, but if the weather is nice, you must enjoy the outside seating area with a piece of pie.

After a while you will arrive at the foot of Ásbyrgi, a natural wonder and part of the Vatnajökull National Park. The park reaches from highway 85, by Asbyrgi south to Dettifoss, covering an area of 120 km2. However, a little warning for drone fanatics; keep your drone packed because you are not allowed to fly here (they are very strict on this!). There are many beautiful  hiking trails available and you can get all the information at the information kiosk where you can also park the car. We decided to walk on top of the Canyon so we had a nice view looking down. This took us about 1,5 hours.

Ásbyrgi North iceland

Ásbyrgi, North Iceland
Ásbyrgi Canyon

Other highlights near Ásbyrgi:

  • Visit Dettifoss – the most powerful waterfall in Europe and This results in a natural shower if you stand close enough! The sun was shining at the time of our visit, which created a beautiful rainbow. Tip: Make sure you wear your raincoat if you walk down to see it!
  • Hljóðaklettar rock formations  a cluster of columnar rock formations standing at the entrance to Vesturdalur, down by the Jökulsá á Fjöllum River. The columns lie at all angles, and it could be an entertaining exercise for one’s imagination, to interpret their patterns in as many different ways as possible.
  • Dimmuborgir rock formations – also named Dark Fortress has several hiking trails. After a volcanic eruption, this area became as it now stands, lava that has turned to stone and many deep cracks into the ground.

Detifoss waterfall
The most powerful waterfall in Europe; Detifoss

Hljóðaklettar, North Iceland
The landscape in North Iceland keeps you guessing 

Hljóðaklettar
Dimmuborgir. Photo by Henk Boltof.

After a full day of hiking, it’s time to make your way up to Myvatn, a volcanic area with craters, boiling mud holes and natural pools. From Ásbyrgi, it will take you about 1,5 hours to drive there. Myvatn, famous for its large lake and volcanic activity, actually translates to Mosquito lake and is one of the few places where mosquito’s live in Iceland.

End the evening at the Mývatn Nature Baths. These natural water pools are like the Blue Lagoon, but like most of North Iceland, less crowded and it has a better view. There is a steam room and you can order beers while relaxing in the warm water which can rise up to 41°C. Visit their website for more info on pricing and opening times.

Myvatn Nature Baths, North Iceland

Where to stay?
If you can afford it, stay at the stunning and relatively new Foss hotel. It was build from wood features low-environmental impact materials. And boy, the view is priceless as you can see the craters from the dining room! We also enjoyed dinner at the Foss Hotel as there are not many restaurants around.

Foss Hotel Myvatn
Foss Hotel, Myvatn


Day 5 | Mývatn:

Use this day to explore Lake Mývatn and the surroundings. Everything is close by in North Iceland so you can pick and choose.

  • Namaskard Geothermal Area You probably haven’t seen a landscape like this one before. It feels like you have anded on Mars. Prepare for the smell of sulphur which you can compare to rotten eggs.
  • Hverfell Crater Mountain although we didn’t get a chance to see it up close, its said to be well worth going up here for a full circle hike.
  • Skutustadagigar Pseudocraters cool places attract tourists, and this is exactly what you will see here. Nevertheless, if you drive past, get out and try to take a picture of the row of bizarre and beautiful pseudo craters.
  • Grjotagja Hot Spring Cave  this hidden natural cave pool has become somewhat famous after a love scene in Game of Thrones. I was used as a natural pool by locals up until an earthquake made the water too hot and dangerous. Entering the cave is at your own risk.
  • Enjoy a healthy and organic lunch at the Cowshed Restaurant – which is set next to the stables of the cows. They produce their own milk, cheese and meat, and they serve an amazing vegetarian plate too!

Námaskarð Pass, North iceland
Namaskard Geothermal Area

And last but not least, take a little detour and go visit Aldeyjarfoss. This stunning waterfall is not easy to get to because you need to drive over dusty and unpaved roads. However, this is why touring busses and many other tourists skip this sight. We were there all by ourselves and it was truly amazing.

Aldeyjarfoss North Iceland
Off the beaten track: Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall


Day 6 |Akureyri:

After Reykjavik, Akureyri is the largest city of Iceland. If you decide to start your trip here and you can make a circle through North Iceland and fly back to the Netherlands. Here you will find coffee bars, lunchrooms and even sushi restaurants. A nice details; the traffic lights contain heart shaped lights, spreading love throughout the city. The airport is only 5 to 10 minutes away from the city centre which makes it easy to get in and out of town compared to other cities in Europe. For more info about Akureyri, check www.visitakureyri.is

Akureyri North Iceland
Akureyri street art

In short, if you are ready to go off the beaten track and see a different Iceland, visit the North. You won’t be disappointed. 

Voigt Travel offers flights, excursions and routes in 8 different countries and has recently included Iceland in their portfolio. Like us, they believe that every trip should be a new experience, enriching your life. Therefore, they try avoid the usual touristic routes and focus on those hidden gems in the world. 

Happy Travels,

Elke

Amsterdam Event Calendar for June 2019

We haven’t published our monthly event calendar for the last 2 months due to deadlines and press trips, but it’s back! Enjoy our brand new event calendar for June with loads to do in Amsterdam!

The Taste Of Amsterdam

When? 1st – 3rd of June | Amstelpark
Restaurants, chefs and foodie brands showcase the best of the best. Another food festival? Yes, but this one is a bit different. A bunch of amazing restaurants and chef’s introduce their best flavors to the public. You can think of it this way; going out for dinner or lunch, but at several places at on the same day! Besides eating there are workshops and many many great drinks from coffee to G&T’s! www.tasteofamsterdam.com

Sneakerness

When? 1st – 2nd of June | Kromhouthal
After many successful Dutch editions the main sneaker event in Europe returns to Amsterdam on the 1st and 2nd of June. This time Sneakerness takes place in the beautiful Kromhouthal in Amsterdam North. Brands, shops and private sellers from all over Europe come to Amsterdam Noord to showcase a superb selection of the latest, most rare and vintage sneakers. Info & tickets (€14,-)

Sneakerness Amsterdam

Roef Festival

When? 7th & 8th of June | Rooftops in Amsterdam
Rooftops participating are QO, Nemo, Hopp, Volkshotel, W Amsterdam, Sea Palace, ADAM Tower, Zoku and more. You get to explore innovative roofs, green havens, live music, and theatrical surprises. Silent disco dancing until the sun comes up. For more info visit their website

Bacchus Wine Festival 2019

When? 7th – 10th June & 14th – 16th June | Amsterdamse Bos
When you say wine, Amsterdam is listening. This time Bacchus is striking down for 2 weekends and is also open on the bankholiday Monday! There will be wine, cava, champagne, rosé and food to go with it. Kids have free entree and can play in the “Chateau Migraine” play corner. Tickets are €15,- and include a glass of wine.

Wine festival

Redlight Jazz

When? 7th – 9th of June | Redlight District
Red Light jazz is an annual jazz festival in and around Amsterdam’s famous Red Light District. Started in 2014, initiated by local entrepreneurs, Red Light Jazz highlights the rich tradition Amsterdam has as a true jazz city. For tickets and more info about all the locations and artists, check www.redlightjazz.com

Komm Schön Alter Festival

When? 22nd of June | Tuinen van West
This festival is one of our favorites. This small and intimate festival welcomes a crowd from 24 years old and over, only. By doing so, the festival has a wonderful family feel to it, with no (too) drunken teenagers running around. This year, the line-up includes Einmusik, Gabriel Ananda, Arjuna Schiks, Miss Melera, Oxia and more. www.kommschonalter.de

wanderlust festival guide 2018

24H Zandvoort

When? 15th of June | Zandvoort
Ok, this is not in Amsterdam but not too far! 24H is usually hosted in the different district of Amsterdam but this time they wanted to highlight the coastal town that is hosting the F1 race next year. More info. Looking for the best beach clubs in The Netherlands? 

5 Years Ceuvel Festival

When? 15th of June | Café Ceuvel
Art, music, food and drinks meet at Ceuvel for this 5 year festival celebration. The programme includes music on stage, yoga workshops, a rain bar (bring your raincoat), inspirational talks and more. Entrance is free up till 6pm and evening tickets are €10,-. More info.

ceuvel festival Amsterdam

Doek Festival

When? 14th -16th of June | Bimhuis
For two days full of music and art the Bimhuis will be transformed into a meeting place where all sorts of exchanges take place, from goods and services to smells, flavours, cultures, sounds, glances, blushes, curses and currency. Market stalls offer music, art, and more. Doek Festival is an initiative from 8 musicians that combine their love for art and music. More info

Its Festival

When? 19th – 24th of June | Nes
The ITS Festival 2018 is a six-day-long vibrant place where a new generation theatre makers, professionals and their audience meet. The festival is hosted at the Brakke Grond in Amsterdam, which is a place for art, food & drinks. Graduating artists from theatre and dance schools in The Netherlands and Belgium will present themselves on the stage, definitely worth checking out! www.itsfestival.com

Tony’s Chocolonely Serious Friend Event

When? 20th of June | Tropen Museum
The slave free chocolate brand is hosting a serious party, for serious friends. There is an exposition, music, drinks and a little surprise! Join this event by making yourself a serious friend of Tony’s and be there! 

CV Workshop & Personal Branding

When? 22nd of June | House of Watt
Started applying for jobs but somehow you find yourself lost in the jungle that is called “The Dutch Job Market”? Expat Republic in cooperation with Edith Veerhoek offer you a masterclass in wich you’ll learn about the Dutch job market, how the recruitment process works, and how to beat the system! You’ll also learn how to write a resume with which will help you stand out. As a bonus you’ll get an explanation on how to update your LinkedIn profile! More info

Fête du Champagne

When? 28th – 30st June | Rembrants Park
With more than 100 different champagnes, this festival celebrates it’s first ever edition! Located in the wonderful Rembrants Park, surrounded by trees and flowers, the setting is going to wonderful. Yes, there will be food and music too. Play some Jeu de Boule, play the ultimate Champagne quiz and let your kids play dress up. www.feteduchampagne.nl

Vondelpark Open Air Theater

When? 2nd of June – Sept 2019
This open air theater in the middle of the famous Vondelpark has been organizing music performances since 1974. For the next 5 months you can enjoy performances and concerts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. For all the dates check www.openluchttheater.nl

More than enough to keep you busy this month!

Love,

Wander-Lust