Why the Paris region is this year’s Winter Destination

Ah Paris, beautiful, romantic Paris. We all know the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elysées and the Notre Dame. But Paris is more than the usual highlights and this winter, you can enjoy festivals, many exhibitions, shopping sprees and unique hotspots to celebrate the winter in style.

Winter Wonderland
There are a few places in the world where the Christmas season is that little bit extra special. Paris and it’s region is one of those. The light, the ambiance and the special events during the winter period. Let’s start with the three main Christmas Markets this year.

  • Grande Arche in business district la Défense with 250 wooden chalets! It’s there until the 28th of December.
  • Notre-Dame, for local crafts, fashion and accessoires designs. It’s on from the 15th until the 24th of December.
  • Champs de Mars From the 21st of December until January 8th you can stroll over this Christmas market at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. It has gourmet food, gift ideas and crafts.

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Celebrate New Years Eve watching the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower

Ice-skating on top of the Observatoire Panoramique, how cool!

The Sky is the Limit
If you like to see Paris from a different point of view this winter, you have a few options. Take a ride on the largest ferris wheel in Paris on Place de la Concorde, at 70 meter high you have an amazing view over the city and Champs-Élysées. Another must do, is ice-skating on top of the Observatoire Panoramique on the Tour Montparnasse. How cool! The ice-skating ring is 210 meters high above the city and open from the 14th of Feb until the 6th of March. The nearest metro station is Gare Montparnasse and Ice-skates are available to rent on the spot.

Paris Christmas Destination

Shop till you drop
Sorry but not sorry. If you are in Paris, you need to go shopping! Even if it’s just for walking passed the shopping windows. For the best Christmas themed windows, you need to go to Boulevard Haussmann where you can find the best warehouses. Shopping centre Galeries Lafayette always has something special going on and transforms in a fair with a huge Christmas tree in the middle. This years theme is Carnival so we can only imagine what that’s going to be like! Are you more for the boutique shops? Then you should go to the Montmartre & South of Pigalle district. Marais is great for small shops and may even look a bit medieval at times. 

Musée des Arts Forains
Musée des Arts Forains © Sébastien Siraudeau

Parisian Tasty Hotspots
Chocolate, breakfast, macarons and other Parisian indulgences are all to be found in Paris. During the winter time you want to eat comfort food and drink the best hot chocolates. These are the hotspots where all of this is possible!

  • Brasserie Lipp is one of the oldest Parisian brasseries and offers a typical French menu from Escargots to céleri rémoulade. 
  • Paperboy Paris for the best bread rolls and sandwiches! They are located in the Le Marais area and is a favorite breakfast spot, also for the locals!
  • Jaja is the perfect place for a meal away from the crowd. Go here for comfort food Parisian style and enjoy the pretty courtyard. 
  • Wynwood is the perfect brunch spot with everything organic and a cute interior. Tip: Try the taco’s from the special menu!
  • Miss Kale Paris, if you love healthy food, this spot is for you! Vegan bowls, Poke bowls, Asian style bowls and of course bowls with kale!
  • Braun Notes Coffee is for coffee lovers who like to drink them pretty. They create the best coffee designs and also offer a great brunch menu that includes fruit in a coconut! 

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Wynwood Source: Wynwood

Exhibitions
It might not be on top of mind when visiting Paris region but there are many exhibitions and places worth visiting this winter. Never been to the amazing Château Versailles? Now is your chance and see Voyage en Hiver, a unique contemporary art exhibition through the groves of the castle. Or check Museum Marmottan-Monet where you can see the famous paintings of French artist Monet with your own eyes (remember the painting from Titanic?) and find out what he held in his private collection.

Voyage en hiver, Paris
Château Versailles during winter. Source: Versailles © EPV/Thomas Garnier/Skydrone

Reasons enough to head over to Paris and it’s surroundings this winter, to enjoy the lights and festive season when you still can!

Love,

Wander-Lust

This article was written in collaboration with the France Tourism Development Agency and Paris Region
*Header photo by @MaureenPowel

The Antwerp City Guide by Wander-Lust

If you live in the Netherlands, Antwerp is the perfect place to escape to for a city break, especially during the wintertime! We’ve been there many times and checked out some of the best spots for you to enjoy food, drinks and more. Here’s our Antwerp City Guide!

How to get there
Well, you have 2 options and they are both as easy. You can take the train or you can go by car. Both options take around the same time (2 hours) but we prefer the train because you can chill, look out of the window and you will arrive at one of the most beautiful and impressive trains stations in Europe. A  return train ticket from Amsterdam to Antwerp will cost around 30 -40 euro. If you go by car, you might arrive earlier but if you are unlucky, you will get caught in slow traffic and your trip might take up to 3 hours plus you will have to pay for parking.

“This Antwerp City Guide is for wanderers who love food, shops and exploring”

Antwerp City Guide

Where To Eat?
The most important question of course! Well, in Antwerp you won’t be short of food choices. Especially lunch! There are so many hotspots around that we can’t mention them all, but these are our favorites!
» Tinsel, some say that you can get the best breakfast in town here. Tinsel is located near the water where you will find tons of other restaurants. www.tinsel.be
» Native Bio Bistro, This hidden pearl is by far our favorite lunch spot in Antwerp. This bistro serves fresh, original, and good quality food. It’s organic, locally produced with sustainable ingredients, this is Native! Vegan and organic food lovers will love this place! During the summer they open a very nice terrace. www.native.bio
» Bubble Waffle, located in the Mercado foodcourt, this tasty waffle stand awesome! Go here if you feel like something sweet. www.bubblewaffle.be
» Divers, a smoothie-bowl bar for your healthy cravings. Great for some Instagram worthy pics, if that’s what your after. They are located in the Volkstraat 9.
»De Broers van Julienne, when we need to grab a quick and healthy bite, we go here. In a side street of the Kammenstraat – with lots of boutiques – you will find this small cute little restaurant. You can take away the best quiches, soups,  salads and other warm healthy dishes. Besides that, they sell oil, wine, coffee, juices and other delicatessen. They  also offer catering and cook workshops.
» Raw Salad Company, unfortunately they’ve closed their doors in Antwerp but they promised to be back soon with a new location. The name gives it away. Raw salads galore. The salads are extremely tasty and fill you up enough to get on with your day. They also sell juices, wraps, cakes and other healthy snacks. We will keep you updated if they open a shop.
» Umami
, fine dining Japanese style. They restyled not long ago and you can eat amazing Dim Sum here. www.umami-antwerp.be

» Il Famosi, this is by far the best Italian restaurant in Antwerp. Go here for a romantic dinner and if you want more than just pizza.

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From left till right: Raw, Umamian and Il Famosi

Antwerp City Guide where-to-eat-in-antwerp
Bubble Waffle from Mecado (source) and Divers (photo’s by David Plas)

Where To Drink Coffee?
» Mirlo’s, the coffee is great and the location is cute. They also serve breakfast and lunch and it’s all homemade. www.mirlos.be
» Buchbar, surrounded by literature and stories, this coffee bar is different than others. Owned by actress Kim Hertogs, you can feel the passion for books, women empowerment and people. Find more info about this special spot on their website.
» Butchers Coffee, located in a former butcher, this trendy coffee bar takes the coffee business serious and are planning to create their own coffee blend. If the sun is out, you can sit outside on the benches. You can find it on the Kasteelstraat 57.
» Caffenation, self blended coffee and probably the oldest one in Belgium as they started more than 13 years ago. Besides the coffee it’s also a shop and a great place to hang out. www.caffenation.be
» Texas Coffee, for pink latte’s and coffee served in an ice-cream cone! 

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Coffee and brunch at Mirlo’s

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Pink latte at Texas Coffee

Antwerp City Guide. The Buchbar
The Buchbar

Where to Shop & Stroll?
You have many options in Antwerp when it comes to shopping. No matter what type of person you are, there will be a shopping district that will suit your needs. We have selected 3 area’s that we love.
» Kammenstraat & Kloosterstraat, these 2 streets in South Antwerp offer vintage, exclusive boutiques, living and alternative shops. While most shops are closed on Sunday, the kloosterstraat is one of the only streets open from around 12pm.
» Het Eilandje, this is especially great during summer because you can find a lot of outside patio’s here. Worth mentioning is the MAS Museum where they have many exhibitions on display. The museum is set next to the little harbor and owns a large rooftop which has free entrance.
» De Volkstraat, go here for boutiques, concept stores, perfume and coffee.

» The Meir, this is Antwerp’s highstreet. Although it’s not our favorite place to shop, we need to mention it because here you will find all the shops you need. From Zara, Mango, Levi’s, it’s all here. The street is beautiful but always busy. Watch your purse and don’t stay too long!

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The MAS Museum at “Het Eilandje”. Source

Where To Sleep?
Somehow we always end up in the same hotels. Never change a winning team! These are our 3 favorite places to stay.

» Hotel Franq, is a new kid on the block and super cool! Just recently opened in October, the building used to be a bank and you can still find the big safe intact which is now being converted into a gym. When you enter the impressive foyer, you almost forget you set foot in a hotel. The rooms are stylish and have a large bathroom with rain showers. When it’s nice weather, you can sit outside in the garden overlooking an old victorian house. www.hotelfranq.com

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Hotel Franq

» Hotel Les Nuits, we love boutique hotels and this hotel is one of the cutest ones out there! All 21 rooms are designed a bit different but have the same style and feature impressive en-suites. They have recently changed their reception area and removed their suites rooms which is a shame because I really loved those but this way the hotel is more compact and fits better together. Breakfast is great and the location is great! Book a room here!

Antwerp City Guide. Elke in Hotel Les Nuits
Breakfast in bed at Hotel Les Nuits

» Banks, another great hotel at a very central location. It’s modern and a great place to meet people downstairs. Oh, and they also have a rooftop terrace so this is a great option during the summer. Then again, you will be out exploring Antwerp..;-) Book your stay here.

So are you planning your next tip to Antwerp yet? 😉 

Love,

Wander-Lust

More City Guides? ↓

Wanderlust Barcelona Guide

8 x tips for an Amazing Citytrip to Leeuwarden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Street art Leeuwarden style, love it!

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

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

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Where to eat in Leeuwarden

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

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

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Sit back and enjoy @ Laura en de chef

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

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

Post Plaza, Leeuwarden
Hotel Post Plaza

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

Love,

Sharmaine

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

Christmas in London » Off the tourist track

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

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

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

carnaby-st, Christmas in London
Christmas in London is not complete without seeing the lights! Source

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

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

Winterville, Christmas in London
Source

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

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

Happy Holidays!

Jantine

*Jantine is a hip hop & cheese enthusiast and a city girl with a love for everything local. After having explored everything there is in Amsterdam while living there, London became her new playground. Her best days are spent exploring the city off the grid, into neighborhoods where you can eat, drink, dance and chat with locals and become one yourself. She will write for Wander-Lust on a monthly basis where she will tip you about the places to be in London! Follow her on Instagram @jantinevanbloois.

Check all our City Trips here!

City trip Istandbul

A Quick Guide To Marrakech

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

Marrakech

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

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

The blues of Marrakech

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

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

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

kameel

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

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

bahia-palace_1

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

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

small-street Marrakech

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

riding horses at Essaouira

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

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

Love,

Eva

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

 

City trip to Dublin

When you think of a new city trip destination, Dublin may not come to your mind. Which is a shame, because the city is amazing and very cosy. The capital of Ireland has an interesting and grim history, but the Irish people are very welcoming and lovely. The city is not that big, but there are lots of nice things to do in and around the city.

Walk and cycle through the city
First of all, since the city is not that big, everywhere you go is walkable. But if you want to cycle like Dutch people do best, then take a Dublin city bike to cross around the city. A ticket for three days is only 5 euros, so it’s very affordable. But mind you, the Irish drive on the left side of the road just like in Great-Britain!

the-river-liffey, Dublin
The river Liffey, Dublin

Look everywhere for nice places to eat
Dublin is an ideal place if you want have a bite or drink. At every corner you can find a nice place to sit and eat nice food for affordable prices. Brasserie Sisty6 is a really nice place if you want to taste one of the best truffle pasta’s in town for only 10 euros. I would also recommend the 100{8b669be72a7f340f9ef2d6d852585cd40ddf0e79ccf763f3ea93c1234c3d888b} Irish burger there. But you can find literally anything to eat in the city, just walk around and go to a place that speaks to you.

Food in Dublin

Visit a (free) museum
A really nice thing about Dublin is that many of their museums are for free. The Museum of Decorative Arts and History, the National Gallery and the National Museum of Modern Art are freely accessible and very interesting. When the weather is not that great you should definitely visit one of these three museum for some culture. Also check out the library of the Trinity college, stunning!

Library, Dublin
The library of the Trinity college

Even if you don’t like beer, this place is worth visiting!

Visit the Guinness Storehouse
The Guinness Storehouse is a very touristic place but definitely a must-visit in the city. You might not be familiar with the dark brown beer, but it is quite famous in Ireland and abroad. If you want to know how the process of making Guinness beer goes, this is the place where you can learn everything about it. The history behind the beer is also explained in various ways and the whole tour in the Storehouse is interactive with a cinema, iPads, television screens and more. You can join a tasting where you can drink a tiny beer and at the end of the tour you can drink a big pint of Guinness with a panorama view over the entire city. Even if you don’t like beer, this place is worth visiting!

Take a bus tour through the Irish nature
Ireland has a beautiful landscape that is worth discovering. Escape the busy city and go on a bus tour to either County Wicklow or the Cliffs of Moher. I’ve experienced the tour to County Wicklow and I loved it. You’ll go on a tour through the beautiful nature and you’ll visit the Guinness lake in the Wicklow Mountains National park. This lake is just as black as the Guinness beer, hence the name. You will also go to the graveyard in Glencree and you can take many Instagram worthy pictures and the famous PS I Love You bridge.

guinness-lake, Dublin
Guiness Lake, Dublin

The Cliffs of Moher tour is really cool because you will visit the cliffs at the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a breath-taking view. You will also visit the Medieval city Galway where Ed Sheeran filmed his whole videoclip for the song “Galway Girl.” There are many other tours to choose from, but these two are really amazing. The weather might not be great every day in Ireland, so make sure you pick the right day with (semi)-good weather.

Enough reason to visit Dublin and it’s surroundings!

Love,

Merel

*Merel is one of our guest editors from Utrecht who describes herself as a daydreaming student who has wanderlust ever since she travelled to Jamaica for three months. She can’t wait to travel the whole wide world after she finishes her bachelor. Check her out on Instagram

The Best of Brabant

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heusden, Brabant
Heusden

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

Oisterwijk Brabant
Sundaymorning@ekwc

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

Coffee in Brabant
Coffee at Rozema&VanSchijndel

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

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

Love,

Eva

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

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

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

Terschelling glamping

Olympus OM-D launch Event in Berlin

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

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

Berlin
Berlin Calling

Jackie O, Berlin
Relaxing at Jackie O

Jackie O, Berlin
The secret oasis of Jackie O

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

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

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The Olympus Perspective Playground

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

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

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

Picknick at Tempelhofer Feld, Berlin
Picnic at the Tempelhofer Feld

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

Love,

Elke

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

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

The Wanderlust Barcelona Guide!

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

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

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Hotel Retrome

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

wanderlust Barcelona Guide

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

» Lulu’s,  It’s a tiny cafe in El Born where you can eat healthy. There are a few tables outside and they serve Iced Matcha Latte’s!
» Nomads coffee, we passed this hipster coffee house by chance and grabbed a coffee to go. They take it serious, so expect a real tasty cup! nomadcoffee.es
» Brunch & Cake, Hotspot number one at the moment. They serve well known dishes in a very special way. Go for the Blue Acai Bowl, Green Bagel and try one of their juices! if you need to wait for a seat (chances are, you will) grab a lovely coffee at De La Crem right across the street. cupcakesbarcelona.com
» The Green Spot, brand new in Barcelona and already one of the best veggie spots in town. It doesn’t matter whether you are a vegetarian or not, the pretty dishes will make your mouth water. Prices are a bit higher than usual. encompaniadelobos.com
» Flax & Kale, not new but still hot, you need to check it out if you are around. Get your phones out, because this is Instagram worthy food! 80{8b669be72a7f340f9ef2d6d852585cd40ddf0e79ccf763f3ea93c1234c3d888b} of the food they serve is plant based and their slogan is Eat Better, Be Happier, Live Longer. Well, that never hurt anyone, right? teresacarles.com
» Tropico, for the best juices in Barcelona! Inspired by tropical destinations, this hotspot is something you cannot miss out on. tropicobcn.com
» The Surf House, next to the beach you can find this popular joint. The food is healthy, tasty and pretty. The vibe is just like you can imagine from a place like this. Book activities such as paddle surf , beach workouts and surfing of course. Also keep an eye out for their mobile food truck that you will find around Barcelona. surfhousebarcelona.com
» Blai Tonight It’s not big, it might be a bit too popular but we still think you should try it. Blai tonight is located in the Poble Sec area and has been voted as one of the top 10 places to go when it comes to your value for money. Their famous Pinchos only cost €1,50 and if you do it well, you can eat for only 10 euro per person including your drink! Facebook

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

COCKTAILS & DANCE
Barcelona offers a great nightlife. As a first time visitor you may run to the Las Ramblas but we would advise you to avoid this tourist trap and visit some other places where the cocktails are also flowing and the atmosphere is great.

» Champagneria, the name might ring a bell, Cava galore! Facebook
» The Mint, They say some of the best Mojito’s are made here..That’s enough right?! Facebook
» Yurbban, this hotel has a cool rooftop with one of the best views in Barcelona. You can only use the pool if you are a guest but you are welcome to enjoy a few drinks during the day or night. yurbban.com
» Jamboree, if you like jazz, this is your club! masimas.com
» Zero KM, combine dinner with drinks and stay until they close. They serve tapas with a twist and the food can be described at high end.
» La Terazza, this club and bar is tucked away in the Olympic village, so you must know that it’s there. This outdoor club hosts parties and plays good music until the early hours. laterrrazza.com
» Elrow, If you feel like a real crazy party with confetti, attributes and costumes, you must visit an El Row party. Originated from Barcelona, this infamous techno club is now making waves all over the world with parties in Amsterdam, Dubai and New York. Some of the best DJ’s play at the club and during the summer months there are several events so keep an eye out on the website. elrow.es

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

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

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

Wanderlust Barcelona Guide
Cycling through the Parc de les Tres Xemeneies

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

Love,

Wander-Lust

*We collaborated with TravelBird for this article

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

The diversity of Basque Country, Spain

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

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

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

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

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The Guggenheim Museum

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Puppy & Torre Iberdrola in Bilbao

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

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A perfect viewing point over San Sebastians bay

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

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

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The streets of Vitoria

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

gaztelugatxe
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

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

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There is an unmistakable joie de vivre in Basque Country

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

Wander-Lust
www.wander-lust.nl

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