Europe’s best Christmas Markets 2018

Whether you’re ready or not, December is here and with that the holiday season has arrived. One of the things that we love are Christmas Markets. So where can you stroll for hours and drink the best glühwein in Europe? We’ve selected the best Christmas Markets in Europe where you can do it all.

1. Dresden Christmas Market, Germany
When?
 28th November – 24th December 2018

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

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

2. Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market, Copenhagen
When? 17th of November – 31st of December 2018
With 60 stalls, this is a market full of lights. For children and adults, you shouldn’t miss this one if you’re visiting Copenhagen in Nov-Dec.
There are concerts, decorations, lights and sweets to feast your eyes on. Adults need to pay about 13 euro’s admission, kids are free. www.tivoli.dk

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

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

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

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

4. Viennese Dream Christmas Market, Austria
When? 17th of November – 26th of December 2018
This fairytale Christmas Market is located right in front of the city hall and makes the backdrop a one of a kind. This market is also very suitable for kids as they have a dedicated kids area, where they can create Christmas cookies and candles. Find all the info here.

Vienna Christmas MArket

5. Old Town Christmas Market, Prague
When? 1st of December – 6th of January 10am-10pm 2018/2019

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

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(Source: Flickr)

6. Bruges Christmas Market, Belgium
When? 23rd of November – 1st of January 11am-10pm 2018/2019
Bruges already looks amazing because of the historic buildings, cobbled streets and medieval sights. 
But when it’s Christmas, this town really blooms. The magical shopping streets are lit up with colorful lights and there’s a ice skating ring on the “Grote Markt”. For a fairy-tail Christmas feeling you’re at the right address. Shop unique findings, eat waffles and drink delicious hot chocolate to top the day. More info here.

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

7. Christmas in Paris, France
When? up until the 6th of January 2019
La Défence is a ginormous Christmas village at the end of Metro Line 1. As soon as you walk out of the station, you’ll see hundreds of Christmas stalls lining up side by side, offering delicious mulled wine and hot chocolate for only €3! Grab yourself a raclette sandwich or a tartiflette, you’ll need the energy to power through all that Christmas shopping! In the city centre, you’ll find a smaller version of the English Winder Wonderland at Jardin des Tuileries, outside of the Louvre. Unlike the one in La Defence, this has games, rides and a ferris wheel – a more family friendly option than the one in La Défence. You’ll also find Christmas markets along the street of Place Saint-Germain des Près from now until the New Year. Fancy some more iconic Parisian locations? From 14th December to 23rd December, you can surround yourself in a festive atmosphere outside the Christmas markets at Notre Dame Cathedral or the one outside Hotêl de Ville until 6th January 2019. More info here.

Christmas market in Paris

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

Love,

Wander-Lust

P.S: If you’re looking for the Christmas Spirit in Amsterdam, you should check out these 10 Christmas markets in Amsterdam this month!

10 x Christmas Markets in Amsterdam

It’s Christmaaaaaaaaas! (ok, not quite, but almost!) It’s the first time in three years that I’m celebrating Christmas at home in Amsterdam. One of the things that really gets us in the Christmas Spirit are the markets in the month December. You don’t have to look far to find some of the best Christmas Markets in my hometown. Here are 6 amazing Christmas Markets in Amsterdam you should visit this month!

Museum Market Christmas Edition
When? 9th of December, 12pm – 6pm at Museumsquare
Every third Sunday of the Month, the Museumplein will be filled with stylish stands full of design. In between the main museums around the pond you can meet the (Dutch) designers yourself, shop for their products and enjoy the great food and atmosphere. Info

Vogue Christmas Market
When? 9th of December, College Hotel
It’s the first ever Vogue Christmas market in Amsterdam, so you can’t miss this one! There will be beautifully decorated Christmas stalls with amazing brands and gifting. Drink glühwein at the Vogue café, go crazy in the photo booth and score Vogue goodies! Kids are welcome! More info here.

Christmas market

Van der Helstplein Weinachtsmarkt
When? 8th & 9th of December 12:30 – 22:30, van der Helstplein
This German inspired Christmas Market, will be about family & friends (or making new ones!). Traditional glühwein, apfelpunch, currywurst, hot choco or winter beer, you will find it here. There will be stuff to buy, live music and entrance is free! Facebook

Scandinavian Christmas Market
When? 7th & 8th of December, Muiderkerk
Get into the Scandinavian spirit with this special market where you can knit and make decorations for “jul”: the wheel of time that spins the year into lighter days. The market is not complete without some real Scandinavian flavours (like cookies) of course! Facebook

Sissy Boy Christmas Market
When? 15th of December, Aambeeldstraat 34 (Sissy Boy Office)
This is one of the winter markets we are looking forward to the most! Besides the usual Sissy-Boy fashion, interior and accessories, you can also enjoy glühwein, live music, nice food and of course many different stands with all your winter wannahaves!  To find out which brands you can find at this years market, check the Facebook event.

Ruige Kerstmark
When? Sat 15 December 12.00-18.00 / Sun 16 December 12.00-18.00, Ruigoord
Two days X-mas shopping Ruigoord style. Winter Wondermarket with 40 to 50 hand-picked stands with handmade, art, fashion & lifestyle, delicious food, kids activities, glühwine, music & lots of wonderful vibes. Free entrance and also indoor! Check Facebook for all the details.

Christmas Maker Market
When? 15th & 16th of December, De Hallen
The Christmas specials of the market where it all began for Sisters James and us. If you’re stuck for Christmas gifts for friends and family, look no further. This market is jam-packed full of beautifully crafted local Amsterdam products. Facebook

Sushi & Japan Food Festival X-Mas Edition
When? 15th & 16th of December 12 – 9pm, NDSM Loods
Sushi & Christmas? Yes, it’s happening in the NDSM Loods in North Amsterdam! Who doesn’t love Sushi or Ramen, or Takoyaki? Japanese food is something you can eat anytime of the day. Any day of the week and any week of the year. are available from €8,-.

Funky X-Mas Market (Sunday Market)
When? 16th of December 12- 6pm, Westergasterrein
THE place for your funky Xmas presents! For the 10th year running you will find lots of beautiful stands full of original creations. Of course there is great food & drink (mulled wine), live music and more!

Pure Wintermarket at Amstelpark
When?  16th of December
Go here for your organic and fairtrade Christmas products. Local produce and goods make this one of the nicest Christmas Markets in Amsterdam and one of a kind. It’s the last Pure Market before heading into 2017 so grab your winter coat and check this one out. Info


Also worth visiting:

Het Amsterdamse Winterparadijs
When? 21st – 30st of December, RAI Amsterdam
Like last year, this massive winter wonderland will be open during December at the RAI in Amsterdam. This year it will be even bigger! There will be an ice-skating ring in and outside, music performances from Lil Kleine, Xander & friends, food, tube sliding, kids activities and everything to get you into the Christmas spirit. Tickets cost €5 euro, or €17,50 when you include activities. www.hetamsterdamsewinterparadijs.nl

Christmas Market at Floor 17
When? 1st of Dec – 11th of Jan 
Get into the winter spirit and get your skates on! The rooftop of the Ramada Hotel in Amsterdam West is hosting this wonderful ice-skating ring where you can enjoy the view whilst sipping on hot chocolate and curry sausages. Check out the curling games on the 16th of December. For more info visit  www.floor17.nl/rooftop-terrace

Floor 17 ice skating

Christmas Ice Village, Museumsquare
When?  Until the 30th of December
From December 17th – 30th, Amsterdam hosts the magical and tasty Ice Village Amsterdam at the Museumplein. A true adventure of warm winter chalets who offer you a variety of lifestyle, fashion, Christmas gifts, live entertainment and delicious food. Info

Haarlem Christmas Market
When? 8th & 9th of December in Haarlem
Not in Amsterdam, but only 15 minutes away and so worth visiting! The main square and streets are filled with more than 300 Christmas stalls, food, wine, lights and music. Bring the whole family and go shopping. www.facebook.com/HaarlemKerstmarkt

Which ones are you visiting?

Love,

Elke

 

 

 

5 x Amazing Turkish Breakfast in Amsterdam

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and the Turks know this like no other.  In Turkey, breakfast is a culinary ritual that contains different cheeses, olives, egg dishes, jams, grilled sausages, fruits and many cups of sugar infused black tea. Lucky for us, Amsterdam has a few places where you can enjoy such a wonderful Turkish Breakfast, and we have selected the best ones!

Meram Osdorp
So far, this place has been our favorite Turkish breakfast that we have tasted. Wow. They offer an open buffet-breakfast from 9am till 2pm. It’s only 12,50 per person, and you eat as much as you can. Kids under 6 years old eat for free! The buffet seems like it never ends. Fresh fruit, grilled zucchini, mushrooms, traditionally eggs heated in yoghurt (must try!), pancakes, olives, fresh orange juice, and of course the Turkish black tea. Meram Osdorp is located right next to the Sloterplas, so you have one of the best views in the area. It’s on a walk-in basis, so make sure you arrive in time during the weekend, especially Sunday is very busy. They also serve a Turkish breakfast buffet at their Bos & Lommer location, but we prefer the Osdorp location because of the interior and view. www.meram.nl

Turkish Breakfast Meram Osdorp
Our favorite thing; Turkish Tea!

Breakfast buffet Meram Osdorp
The impressive breakfast buffet at Meram Osdorp

It’s more than just eating, it’s catching up, and enjoying each others company

Mozaïk
No buffet, but this Turkish Breakfast is served per table when you order. Your table will be filled with all the favorite Turkish dishes to keep you full till after lunchtime. It’s served only during the weekend from 10am until 3pm, and when the weather allows it, you can sit on the outside terrace.  www.podiummozaiek.nl/cafe-restaurant

Podium Mozaïk
Photo courtesy of Mozaïk

Florya
Another big favorite for a tasty (and generous) Turkish breakfast is Florya. Located in Bos & Lommer, this restaurant also offers an outside terrace with a wonderful view of the water. They also serve delicious cocktails, soups, salads and grilled dishes, but for breakfast they offer a buffet. The buffet is open from 8am until 2pm, and refilled, so you won’t miss out when you arrive a bit later. You pay only €10,- per person and kids from the age 4 till 9 years old, only pay €4,95,-. www.floryarestaurant.nl

Florya Amsterdam
A walking buffet at Florya

Hanimeli
This Turkish restaurant in Amsterdam North, is not specialised in a huge Turkish breakfast buffet, but they open at 10am during the weekend, and serve their wonderful soups, pide’s, tea and freshly made pomegranate juice. www.hanimeli.nl

Hanimeli Amsterdam
Photo courtesy of Hanimeli

Erva
At Erva you can also enjoy a daily Turkish Breakfast, but for 17,95 for 2 people. You will get a table full of sweetness and savoury dishes that you can share. A Turkish breakfast is all about sharing the food with the people. It’s more than just eating, it’s catching up, and enjoying each others company. www.ervacaferestaurant.nl

Erva Amsterdam
Breakfast at Erva

Afiyet Olsun! (Enjoy your meal!)

Wander-Lust

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.

a-guide-to-leeuwarden-street-art-tour-saskia-van-uylenburg-by-klaas-lageweg
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.

leeuwarden-emmakade-winter

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

laura-en-de-chef-leeuwarden
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

Post Plaza
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 …sugarbread. Do I need to say more?

Post Plaza, Leeuwarden
Hotel Post Plaza

Van Der Valk Hotel
We like this hotel because they have the BREEAM-NL certificate. This means that they are putting a lot of focus on being sustainable. For example, the heat from their restaurants is collected and re-used for the meeting rooms and kitchen. They hace also installed bee hotels and a harbour to maintain biodiversity. It’s also a great hotel for families with kids, due to the family rooms and possibilities. Book your room here!

Van der valk hotel Leeuwarden
Van Der Valk Hotel

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!

Moxy Amsterdam, the Hotel for Millennials

Want to go for a swim? Sure you can! Up for a game or two? What about seven? Want to have a workout at the gym? Of course. Looking for that amazing breakfast buffet? You’re at the right address. We checked out the Moxy Amsterdam. This place will meet more of your needs than most of the hotels you’ve stayed.

A Quiet Location
The closer you’ll get to the hotel, the more you’ll feel lost. Don’t get me wrong, this definitely is a good thing. In the Amsterdam I know, you have to watch your back so you don’t get run over. This part of Amsterdam was new to me: quiet and serene, but still warm and cosy. From Central Station it takes around 15 minutes by bicycle and 20 minutes by public transport to get to the Moxy Amsterdam which is located at the Houthavens, an area in Amsterdam that is under major development. The building is not easy to miss in the industrial area by the waterfront, it’s the only building lit up in purple.

This is a place where you can enjoy yourself endlessly

Moxy Amsterdam

Each corner has its own vibe
While checking we could barely keep our attention towards the receptionist. There is so much to do and see in the lobby. Plants, ropes, funny lamps and chairs hanging around. The vintage corners that will take you back in time and invites you to play a lot of fun games like huge Jenga and ‘What do you Meme?’. Overall, this is a place where you can enjoy yourself endlessly and take many Instagram-worthy photo’s.

Larissa in Moxy Amsterdam

the bar is open 24/7

Good food for good cravings
Good news for the wicked ones who don’t need any sleep: the bar is open 24/7. And also for those of you with serious night cravings, we all know how annoying that can be. Even at 3 a clock at night you’re welcome downstairs for a late night snack, so after you can step back into that heavenly bed to catch your beauty sleep.

Eat more of what makes you happy

Speaking of food, the breakfast is amazing. Breakfast is the first thing I look for in reviews of a hotel. How you begin your day is important and fortunately, Moxy Amsterdam understands that. With an open buffet, you can eat as much as you can. Healthy choices as fresh bread, eggs, cheese, greens, yoghurt, fruits and granola, but also not so healthy but delicious choices as waffles, bagels, cinnamon buns and croissants. As Moxy quotes: ‘Eat more of what makes you happy’

pool moxy Amsterdam

Staying in?
Most of the time we book a hotel to get ourselves a bed to sleep in at night. Nothing more, nothing less. Of course the Moxy Amsterdam also provides you in this need, but there is so much more to do here. In the neighbourhood you won’t find a lot of things to do, so everything happens at the Moxy. Get yourself in shape in the gym, book a massage, have a morning swim, relax in the sauna, enjoy yourself with a lot of fun games to play in the lobby and take place at the computer table if you still have some work left to do.

Bed Moxy Amsterdam

Moxy Amsterdam
Danzigerkade 175, Amsterdam
Website

Love,

Larissa

*Larissa is one of our guest editors from The Netherlands. She is only 22 years old, and just graduated, but already runs the two lifestyle magazines BLVD and MisterDaily for two years. Her dream is to write a book one day, but now she’s focussing on her writing and content creation for brands and magazines among which Wander-Lust. Follow her on Instagram!

New Restaurant in Amsterdam! The Veronicaschip

Pretty sure you’ve ever heard of the offshore radio station Radio Veronica, which was settled on the eponymous ship back in the 60’s and 70’s. After a huge makeover and many wanderings later, since five years the pirate ship is docked in the NDSM wharf of Amsterdam. What started with Club Noorderschip, is from now on extended with a promising café-restaurant, Veronicaschip.

Veronicaschip

Aye Aye Captain
Even though I mostly associate Amsterdam North side, considered as one of the hippest neighbourhoods in the world, with a lot of travel time, Veronicaschip is just an one-minute walk from the NDSM ferry. From Thursday till Saturday you can enjoy a local and organic ‘fish, veggies, wine and cocktails combi’ dinner with a so-called circular movement in mind. They want to do the best for the guests, farmers and environment. Every product is used from top to bottom, thumbs up. Fine portions to share are in the lead. 

Veronicaschip

Eat & Dance
Close your evening out with a drink and swing at the dancefloor which sits underwater at the boat’s hull. On weekends they’re even up and running for a (hangover-busting) brunch and lunch. What kind of food they’ve in store for you? For example daydream about sea bass as a ceviche with kiwi berry and a sweet touch of white chocolate or wild kingfish served on stew of Jerusalem artichokes, salsify and Chinese radish. And also the glimpse I’ve got of the dessert department doesn’t lie: vegan cake soaked in syrup and with a fresh pear compote. I’ve had a bit of a few things, and it tastes for more, chef Bryce Steba!

herfst menu Veronicaschip

Veronicaschip

food Veronicaschip

A spot for a lot of chitchat, food, drinks, beats and dance moves, but it doesn’t stop there. During the week you can drop by for inspiring, cultural (evening) programs. So keep an eye on Veronicaschip, a perfect place if you’d love to escape the urban chaos.

Don’t be afraid for sea-sickness, Veronicaschip won’t float away. Brunch, lunch and dinner with a beautiful view, it’s definitely worth the ferry trip!

Cheers,

Sharmaine

Veronicaschip
NDSM-pier 1, Amsterdam
Website / Facebook

Opening hours: Thursday: 16:00 – 02:00
Friday: 16:00 – 05:00
Saturday: 11:00 – 05:00
Sundays: 11:00 – 01:00

*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!

 

Deer Mama Vegan Mylk & Burger Bar

The vegan hotspots are currently poppin’ out of the ground like mushrooms, and we don’t mind at all! With the focus on animal welfare and climate change, people are more open than ever to try something vegan. Good news for those who love this “green” trend, because this Friday, Deer Mama Vegan Mylk & Burger Bar will open up in Amsterdam.

Not Just Burgers
The people behind vegan hotspot Dophert, wanted to create a fresh concept, that would be approachable for everyone, vegan or not. During the day you can order all day breakfast, lunch and cakes. When the evening comes, it will turn into a funky burger bar with vegan mylkshakes and local draft beers. A good juicy vegan burger is not always easy to find, so we can’t wait to taste the Deer Mama burgers that are offered on their menu. But besides the burgers at Deer Mama, you can also order miso glazed cinnamon buns, peanut butter brownies, donuts, sweet potato meringue pies, brownie bottom banana cheesecake, cookie dough cookies, mama’s spiced pineapple cake, YOU NAME IT. 

deer mama burger


Vegan Mylkshakes

Deer Mama Amsterdam bar

Guilty Free Eating
Eating something that is better for the planet, your body and animal welfare, is earning you personal karma points. Years ago, vegan food may have been a bit plain and tasteless, but nowadays the flavours are incredible and most of the time, all natural. At Deer Mama they work with natural ingredients 

Deer mama vegan mylk & burger bar
Feast your “vegan” eyes!

The Interior
We are pretty confident that you are going to love this. It will be full of happy pastel colours such as pink, mint and blue. There will be plants everywhere, and there will be a American diner style bar where you can order beers and vegan ice-cream. Very Instagrammable! 

Deer Mama Amsterdam

Dear Mama opens this Friday at 4pm, so get ready to stand in line! 

Deer Mama Vegan Mylk & Burger Bar
Ceintuurbaan 71, Amsterdam
Website / Facebook

Love,

Elke

Curious to some more lesser known vegan spots in Amsterdam? Click below!
https://www.wander-lust.nl/5-vegan-spots-in-amsterdam-you-probably-havent-heard-of/

LUST Spots

A little town called Durham

Whether you’re a fan of Harry Potter or not, everyone loves a bit of magic. Durham is truly a magical city, an ancient county, and one of the most beautiful places in England. You may have passed it on your way to Newcastle or Edinburg, but unless you study or live in the area, it is unlikely that you would make the effort to stop by this little town. However, I am about to change that, and hopefully inspire you to pay a visit to this very much underrated yet extraordinary place in the North East of England.

What to see

Durham Castle – This UNESCO World Heritage site used to be a fortress and a palace. However, since the 19th century, it has become the University College, also the home to over 100 students. Think the Gryffindor dormitory in Hogwarts. Book yourself onto a guided tour to marvel at the spectacular exhibitions, as this is the only way for general public to visit the University College, unless you are a student. If you get a chance, be sure to also visit the college bar – the Undercroft, for some cheap pints.

Drone view from above of the local landmark the Bowes Museum, a historic building in French chateau architectural style among gardens, built in the 19th century housing the art and ceramics collection of its founder and his wife, John and Josephine Bowes.

The coastline at Blackhall Rocks on the North sea coast. A shingle beach and cliffs. Sunset.
The coastline of Durham

Durham Cathedral – Located right opposite the Castle is the first of the two UNESCO World Heritage sites in town. It is also one of the first to make it to this honourable list, alongside the Palace of Versailles and Taj Mahal. The Cathedral is undoubtedly the most magical place in town, which I’m sure you will agree with me as soon as you enter its front doors. *Queue Harry Potter theme song* As you make your way down the hallways, it will be hard not to imagine the Quidditch scenes playing right there in the courtyard.


What to do

Walk around the Market Place – Not only will you find the usual high street stores on Silver Street, there are also many independent boutiques along Saddler Street. Every Friday, vendors set up their stalls in the Market Square for the weekend, outside the indoor market hall which houses over 50 independent traders. From fruit and veg, to arts and crafts; you will find everything in this enclosed but lively space.

Take a stroll – Durham is small but hilly. Several colleges are situated on the top of the hills. Except for the few infrequent buses, there are hardly any traffic. You are free to walk on the main roads, up the hill, down the allies, along the riverbanks or into the woods, whatever takes your fancy. If you want an extra challenge and adventure, take the route through King’s Lodge archway to a public footpath along Flass Vale Local Nature Reserve.

Gin Festival – this joyous event is held at the Durham County Cricket Club annually in May. There, you can taste over 100 types of gin, as well as attend exclusive masterclasses. Once you feel giddy enough, you can dance to the live music and devour some mouth-watering street food to satisfy those munchies. We know what it’s like.

Durham

Durham street


Where to stay

  • Hotel Indigo – a boutique hotel in the centre of the city, with a medieval feel to it! Despite its Victorian ambiance, the rooms are elegantly furnished for your modern day needs.
  • The Kingslodge Inn – a sophisticated stay in a tranquil part of Durham, still within walking distance to the city centre. Top up your stay with a full English breakfast or a cheeky pint at the onsite bar and restaurant.
  • The Town House – voted as Britain’s Top 50 best affordable hotel, this 18th century town house  only has 11 bedrooms to guarantee each of their visitors the most luxurious and indulging stay.     
  • Durham Castle – perfect for those who fancy a one-of-a-kind experience. The Castle transform into a B&B during University vacations. Caution: long waiting list

Hotel indigo Durham
Hotel Indigo (source)


What to eat

Proper Italian – Owned and operated by passionate Italians, La Spaghettata offers big portions of Italian delicacies at an affordable price. For more sophisticated options, pay Capriccio or Bistro Italiano a visit.
Burger heaven – If you like to get your hands greasy, Tango and Fat Hippo are your friends. They offer vegan options too for those conscious eaters.
Tia’s – opens only at 5pm, just in time for happy hour. Aside from their spicy enchiladas, they do jars of frozen margaritas. You’re guaranteed a good time!
Lebaneat – super affordable and authentic Lebanese cuisine, which an outdoor shisha shed.
The Cellar Door – Enjoy a posh, modern British cuisine and its relaxed ambience underground. Mind your head as you enter.

coffee in Durham

No matter where you stay or what you eat, you are guaranteed a magical time in this magnificent little town. I can’t wait to hear about your experience! 

Love,

Chantelle

*Chantelle is one of our guest editor from Hong Kong. She has lived in three different countries and have travelled across many continents. Having been in England for the past nine years and 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. You can follow her on Instagram.

Create our own organic skin products at DIY Soap

Hello winter equals hello to dry skin. For me at least. As soon as the heating at home goes up, and the leaves are starting to fall down the trees, my skin reacts as if it knows it needs some extra attention. There are sooo many products and brands out there that promise you a soft skin but I’m not a big fan of all the chemicals that are added. Gladly I discovered this briljant store called DIY Soap, a shop in Amsterdam where you can create your own scrubs and creams made out of natural and organic ingredients.

DIY Soap

Pure Ingredients
At DIY Soap you can shop in two ways; you can buy a ready-made scrub or cream, or create your own from scratch. The last option is more fun so that’s exactly what I did! In the store you can find a rack where you can find cans of oils to create your product with (coconut, almond, olive). Next to that you have a table where you can find salts, sugars, coffee and concentrated oils such as lavender, orange or roses. Pimp your product with some flowers, dried fruits or lavender pieces. Every product is vegan except the honey. (but rest assured it comes from a local and organic beekeeper).

diy soap products
The corner of ingredients!

DIY Soap Oil
Adding some oil

DIY Soap
Final touch

Sustainable Packaging
One of the great things about creating your own product, is that you can bring your own packing materials. DIY Soap highly encourages to re-use your old shampoo bottles or cream containers. The packaging at DIY Soap is made out of glass and is always re-usable. This way, you only need to come back for the ingredients! You can also buy sustainable products like re-usable make-up removal pads. If you don’t live in Amsterdam, you can shop the products online (www.diysoap.nl) and in several stores across The Netherlands and Belgium (concept store Hutspot being one of those).

DIY Soap, coffee scrub
Trying my DIY Wanderlust Coffee Scrub

The people behind the product
besides the ingredients and packaging, they also have a great behind-the-scenes-story. The people who make the ready-to-buy products are created by people with a minor mental disability, at the Gemiva centre in the city of Leiden. How beautiful is that!

diysoap-kerst

Elke

DIY Soap
Van Woustraat 48, Amsterdam
Website

Vondelpark3 Amsterdam launched their new Keto Menu!

Vondelpark, one of the most beautiful (green) gems of Amsterdam. A perfect place for a lazy Sunday walk, a giant playground for dogs, or for a really surprising lunch or dinner at Kitchen & Bar Vondelpark3. Even as a local resident, I’ve never eaten here before, so this had to change. Let’s zoom in on the so-called ‘living room of the vondelpark’ that has just launched a new “interesting” menu.

Vondelpark3, home away from home
With expectations on mode zero and totally soaked, my boyfriend and I walked in for a date night. Immediately, my eyes were caught by a couple of cognac colour Chesterfields, absolutely loved it. Furthermore, the wooden interior with a touch of pastels was on fleek. And what about the ambiance? From entry it really felt like home away from home. Let’s say ‘laidback’, ‘cosy’ and ‘warm.’ They had set the tone with their unique identity!

Food at Vondelpark3

In short, Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers lots of health benefits.

Menu based on the Keto diet
The brand new menu is inspired by the Ketogenic diet. Keto what?! To be honest, I had never heard of the Keto diet. Searching on the web gave me an overload of scientific data, I was even stumbled on a diet buzzword. In short, Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers lots of health benefits. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state which stimulates to use fat as a primary fuel source instead of the carbs. Heya fat burner! A couple of months ago the sympathetic chef Dave was inspired by one of Belgians most cutting-edge vegan and Keto chefs. With his wealth of experience – from brown café till Michelin-starred restaurant – he was motivated to do something quite different ánd healthy. Et voilà, a menu based on the Keto diet was the outcome.

Vondelpark3 new menu

It’s up to you whether you pick a real Keto dish or a healthy dish with just a little bit more fat or carbs.

Healthy food without compromises
Curious what’s on the ‘wholesome pleasures’ menu? What do you think of Cauliflower Power, Wealthy Wagyu, Tempting Tempura or Shocking Choco. Whatever you choose, colourful veggies are in the lead. Carbs don’t take centre stage. It’s up to you whether you pick a real Keto dish (marked with a ‘K’) or a healthy dish with maybe just a little bit more fat or carbs. So, something for everyone. By checking out the rich menu your eyes will caught by the nutritional values. They’ve nothing to hide. And why would they if all their food is high in vitamins. The Keto menu is a dinner concept. But I’ve been told that also their breakfast and lunch contain healthy and even vegan options.

food

This spot really deserves the claim ‘one size fits all.’ From a runner who needs a coffee with apple pie break till a relaxed business dinner. Looking sharp or comfy, come as you’re. Thanks for having me Vondelpark3, it was a great pleasure!

P.S. Mark the 15th of November in your agenda, because they’ll organize their first wakey-wakey event: Prework. Early birds expect live beats, hearty and healthy breakfast and a talk from an inspiring TEDx speaker. Stop hitting the snooze button, kick-start your workday.

Cheers,

Sharmaine

Bar & Kitchen Vondelpark3
Vondelpark 3, Amsterdam
Website

Opening hours: Mondays till Tuesdays 10:00 – 18:00
Wednesdays and Saturdays: 10:00 – 0:00
Sundays: 10:00 – 20:00

More tasty hotspots?