These are the best beaches and natural pools on Madeira

Madeira may not have that many sandy beaches, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sunbath on the island. The volcanic rocks created many natural pools and there are also plenty of man-made beaches and sundecks to choose from. We’ve selected the best ones for you.

Natural pools on Madeira

  • Porto Moniz are probably the most popular natural pools on the island. Mind you, it can be busy during the summer season.
  • Seixal Natural Pools are surrounded by stunning nature and a black beach. You can rent a lounger here.
  • Pocas Do Gomes/Doca Do Cavacas are not big but quite worth a visit! There is a natural pool next to the normal one and you can see the fish swim around your feet!
  • Cachalote Natural Pools are located at the entrance of Porto Moniz Village, right next to Cachalote restaurant and to the Aquarium at São João Baptista Fort.


View down on to the lava swimming pools at Porto Moniz on the island of Madeira.

Seixel Natural Pools Madeira
Seixal Natural Pools

  • Lido Galomar Bathing Complex is located in Canico and it combines a normal pools with a natural pools.
  • The Quinta do Lorde belongs to a luxurious resort which offers its guests this natural sea pool.

natural pools Madeira

Beaches on Madeira

  • Prainha is one of madeira’s best natural beaches and located near popular Ponta de São Lourenço. It offers sun beds, parasols and toilets.
  • Calheta, this man-made beach has a beach restaurant and bar and is also popular with the locals.
  • Porto do Seixal Beach, is a natural black sand beach located right next to Seixal harbour. It has no services and you should bring your own parasol when it gets hot.


Calheta Beach

  • Praia das Palmeiras is a rocky and popular beach that gets very busy during summer. It’s great for kids because there are free beach toys to play with and there is a lifeguard on site. The beach is separated into 2 different area’s. The pool (various opening times) and the pebbled beach which is open anytime.
  • Paul do Mar Beach, also known as Ribeira das Galinhas (Chicken’s River), is one of the most popular pebble beaches on the western coast, due to the pleasant atmosphere and beautiful landscape. The beach however, is rocky.
  • Ribeira do Faial is situated next to the wonderful Miradouro do Guindaste (see photo) Its not big but there are toilets, a restaurant plus an area for playing football.

Concrete beach Madeira

Happy swimming!

Wander-Lust

Are you looking for the full Madeira Island Guide

Madeira Guide

Madeira Island Guide | Europe’s Hawaï

We won’t blame you if you have never been to Madeira. The Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean isn’t that easy to find on the world map. However, once discovered, you won’t leave her out of your sight. Here’s your travel guide the island they call the Hawaï of Europe. Madeira.

Good to know

  • Transavia and TUI offer direct flights to Madeira which both take about 4 hours.
  • If you visit Madeira, it can be a good idea to hire a car. This way you are able to see most of the island. This also means that you can pick your accommodation outside of the busy and touristic town of Funchal.
  • There is always a breeze on Madeira! Because of this, the weather can change on each individual side of the island. Bring enough clothes to adapt. Bring your hiking boots!
  • Football player Christiano Ronaldo is from Madeira a therefore a national hero. You will see his face everywhere and the airport has even been named after him.

Madeira

Recently, Madeira has won the best island of Europe Award. It is the 4th time they have won this prestigious award.

More than a hiking destination

Most people that have heard of Madeira know that it’s a great hiking destination. But did you know that you can also sail, spot dolphins & whales, participate in abseiling and kayak activities and do so much more. Discover the infamous levada walks and surround yourself with lush green scenery, natural pools and waterfalls.

Levada walks Madeira

Hiking in Madeira
Hiking around the Levadas Madeira

Dolphin Watching Madeira
Jump! Dolphin watching on Madeira was one of the highlights!

Tip: Visit Ponta do Sol, the sunniest town on the island! There is a road nearby with tunnels and a little bit further you will find a waterfall that comes out on the road. Get a free car wash or take a refreshing shower!

Waterfall Madeira
Natural road showers

Funchal Town

There is enough nature on Madeira, but if you are looking for a short city escape with lot’s of restaurants, a few bars and shops, you should visit Madeira’s capital. Some highlights in Funchal that we recommend are:

  • Merdaco dos Lavradores, the market that is popular with travelers and locals alike. A place where the colours of fruit the smell of fresh herbs come together.
  • Walk around the old town to spot the ‘Street Art’ on almost every door. Houses and abandoned shops are now colourful displays since this art project launched a few years ago.
  • Visit a traditional Poncha bar! Poncha is the nr. 1 national drink mixed with rum, honey and fresh juice. Try Clementine, it’s my favourite!

Funchal Madeira
Walking around in Old Town, Funchal

Market Madeira

Fruit market Madeira
Merdaco dos Lavradores

Tip: From Funchal you can take the cable car to the historical village Monte that offers beautiful houses, churches and gardens.

Where to stay

There are many hotels and guesthouses to choose from, but at Wander-Lust we like to tip you with the most unique and special accommodations on the island of course! During our stay we stayed at 2 different hotels/villa’s. However, we have a few extra tips for the best place to stay for each budget.

  • Fajã dos Padres is only accessible by cable car or boat which makes this place a hidden gem. On the premises they grow bananas, mango’s and figs. Warning: If you have a dislike for spiders, beware that you are staying in the middle of nature. I was confronted by one in the bathroom and it wasn’t pleasant haha. Bungalows are available from around €70,- Book your stay here.
  • Estalagem da Ponta do Sol is a luxurious hotel that used to be a historic land house that has been refurbished and extended. The hotel is located in the sunniest town of Madeira. Jump in the wonderful pool or dine with sea view. During high season rooms go between €139,- and €300,-.
  • If you are looking for a private apartment with sea view, book Castelo Áustria Studio for just €100,- per night. You can easily share.

Fajã dos Padres, Madeira
The organic banana plantage at Fajã dos Padres


The spacious rooms at Estalagem da Ponta do Sol

What to eat

On Madeira you can enjoy a good meal for a reasonable price. Fish and shell fish are often caught locally and the black fish with banana (Espada com Banana) is a local favourite that you will find on every menu. Another dish that we love is the grilled octopus with potatoes and garlic olive oil. Funchal has many restaurant options, but if you want our recommendations, we advise you to check out these restaurants:

  • Quinta do Furão for the best lunch view! It’s located on top of the mountain so perfect to combine this with a road trip over the island.
  • Vivaldi is located in the busy Funchal so perfect for drinks afterwards. The food is OK but not out of this world.
  • Fajã dos Padres, this is also where we stayed. It was the best lunch we had on the island! Their herbs come straight out of their own garden.
  • Nini Design Centre for a lavish dinner overlooking the port. This design centre used to be a nightclub but now offers exhibitions and events.

Food on Madeira
Grilled Octopus with potatoes

Lunch view Madeira
Quinta do Furão overlooking the North East Coast of Madeira

See the sun set & see the sun rise

Drive up to Ponta do Pargo, the most western part of Madeira. You can easily park your car here and have dinner at a restaurant with sea view. If you want, you can also hike past the beautiful cliffs. Here you can see the sun set in the sea. If you are a morning person, we highly recommend you to book the sunrise tour with Hit The Road Madeira. You will have to get up around 5am, but the views are absolutely worth it! Tip: dress warmly, it can get windy and cold up the Pico do Arieiro mountain. This sunrise tour also takes you on an off road jeep adventure around Cova da Roda (hold yourself because it can get bumpy).

Pico do Arieiro, Madeira
Sunrise tour at Pico do Arieiro

Beaches & Natural Pools

Madeira is not known for her beautiful sandy beaches because it’s a volcanic island. However, there are some beautiful rocky bays and nice man-made beaches around. Next to that, Madeira offers some nice natural pools! Here are the best ones:

  • Prainha is one of madeira’s best natural beaches and located near popular Ponta de São Lourenço. It offers sun beds, parasols and toilets.
  • Calheta, this man-made beach has a beach restaurant and bar and is also popular with the locals.
  • Porto do Seixal Beach, is a natural black sand beach located right next to Seixal harbour. It has no services though.

beach Madeira
Calheta beach

  • Porto Moniz are probably the most popular natural pools on the island. It can be busy during high season.
  • Seixal Natural Pools are surrounded by stunning nature and a black beach. You can rent a lounger here.
  • Pocas Do Gomes/Doca Do Cavacas are not big but quite worth a visit! There is a natural pool next to the normal one and you can see the fish swim around your feet!
  • Cachalote Natural Pools are located at the entrance of Porto Moniz Village, right next to Cachalote restaurant and to the Aquarium at São João Baptista Fort.

Natural pools Madeira
Pocas Do Gomes/Doca Do Cavacas

Tip: If you really want the golden sandy beaches you can take a day trip to sister island Porto Santo, also named the “Golden Island”.

Must visit places on Madeira

  • Camara de Lobos is a cute fishers-man village with a few bars and restaurants. Take a seat where the locals sit and enjoy the easy life.
  • Miradouro do Guindaste in Faial is the spot that you see on the header photo of this article. Do we need to say more?
  • Ponta de São Lourenzo is one of Madeira’s most stunning cliff sides and therefore also very popular with tourists. However, we thought it was worth it and if you come late afternoon, it won’t be too crowded.
  • Achada do Marques is a tiny village that is only accesible by foot and surrounded by green mountains. We got this tip from a local, so this is off the beaten track!


Ponta de São Lourenzo reminds us of Nusa Penida

In conclusion, Madeira really surprised us! This is an island for those that love a bit of adventure and don’t always need a sandy beach to complete their holiday. The locals are very proud of their lush volcanic island and people that have been, always seem to return. 

Love,

Elke

Have you read our Marrakech Guide for 2019 yet? Click on the picture to read!

Marrakech streets

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

7 hotels with the perfect view

We’ve stayed in many hotel rooms and some are better than others. There are several factors that make a stay memorable and one of those important factors has got to be the view from our hotel room. Feast your eyes on these hotels with a picture perfect view!

Overlooking the Big Ben, London

Stay at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel if you want to have the best view of the Parliament House and Big Ben. It offers stylish rooms, studios and apartments plus the award-winning Brasserie Joel features classic French bistro dishes with a twist. The modern hotel is an excellent choice if you want to stay in the heart of London and take a picture of this historic monument from your bedroom window.

big-ben
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge

Looking at the historic Acropolis, Athens

Across the Acropolis, you will find the stylish AthensWas Hotel offers a phenomenal view of the Parthenon. The Modern Rooftop Restaurant is located on the 7th floor of the hotel and is the perfect spot to enjoy modern cuisine with a refreshing cocktail. The evening illuminates acropolis which makes it the picture opportunity.

athenswas-hotel
Credit: AthensWas Hotel

The Empire State Building, New York

The iconic American building, across from your bedroom? Yes, The Langham Place in New York makes it happen. Located in midtown on Fifth Avenue, features modern rooms and a Michelin Star restaurant. Because the hotel is just 300 meters away from the Empire State Building, you can easily visit the famous skyscraper in the late hours and avoid the long queues.

the-langham-place, accommodations with an amazing view
Credit: The Langham Place

Get up close with the Eiffel Tower, Paris

Résidence Charles Floquet is located in a renovated historic building just 50 meters from the Eiffel Tower. It offers spacious accommodations with private cooking facilities and views of the Eiffel Tower, which after sunset gives a brilliant light show. Sounds ‘formidable’ right?

Dreaming of the Taj Mahal, India

Just 600 meters from the Taj Mahal, you will find The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra. This accommodation has luxurious rooms, a wonderful spa, beautiful gardens, an outdoor pool, four restaurants and a great view of the Taj Mahal. Guests can enjoy delicious traditional Indian specialties in the restaurant or enjoy a good glass of wine overlooking the imposing Taj Mahal.


Credit: The Oberoi Amarvilas

Overlooking the Duomo, Florence

People visit Florence because of the many Musea and beautiful architecture. Hotel Firenze Rentals Corso 12 is located in central Florence and a 5-minute walk from the architectural sight they call the Piazza del Duomo. This beautiful property features self-catering apartments and the balcony overlooks the famous Duomo.

Florance
Credit: Firenze Rentals Corso 12

Skyline & Marina Bay, Singapore
Wow, this must be the ultimate skyline view from a bedroom in the Ritz-Carton, Millenia. Okok, we’re talking about the Ritz here of course and there is always a price tag attached. But hey, we can dream of staying here one day, can’t we?!  

ritz-carton-singapore
Credit: Ritz-Carlton Singapore

All there is left to say now is; we are looking forward to see your stunning bedroom shots soon! If you have any tips on accommodations with a picture perfect view, let us know and we might add it to the list!

Love,

Wander-Lust

Ever wondered what the most sustainable hotels in Amsterdam are? Check them here:

how to decrease your ecological footprint

Glamping 3.0 » Sleeping in a Wine Barrel!

I’m always open to new things when it comes to travel so when I heard about this camping in Germany where you could sleep in a wine barrel, I got pretty exited. It all started when I planned a visit to my sister, who lives in the south of Germany. It takes about 7 hours to drive there as she lives near the black forest, close to Switzerland. So why not make a stopover? Germany is a beautiful country full of hills, cute towns and nature parks. But when I stay somewhere, I want it to be something special, something I haven’t done before. This is when Camping Rissbach caught my eye.

The Camping
You love it or you hate it. Campings. I use to camp with my parents since the age of 3 but we did it in Greece which is nothing compare to a Dutch camping where everything is well organized. No, we did it back to basic style so I don’t have a lot to compare with. My boyfriend loves camping so I thought it would be nice to surprise him with something special. The camping I choose was perfectly situated between Amsterdam and my sisters house in Germany. After a 4 hours drive we arrived at Camping Rissbach, situated perfectly next to the Moselle river which flows through France, Luxembourg, and Germany. The camping exist 10 years and is run by a Dutch family. The atmosphere is relax and laid back. Like all campings, you can bring your own caravan, tent or camper. But this camping is extra special because of their luxe glamping options. Sleeping in a Wine Barrel.

Sleeping in a Wine Barrel
I booked a XXL Wine Barrel to sleep in and it was so cool! The Wine Barrel has everything you need. A fully functional toilet, washing sink, table, refrigerator, a 2 persons bed and the possibility to make 2 extra beds. I felt like a total gypsy sleeping in here! There are 4 XXL Wine Barrels available and 6 normal size. The normal size barrels don’t have a toilet and only one entrance instead of 2. The Wine Barrels are all stationed alongside the river which is a great way to wake up! You can get freshly baked bread at the campings bakery and have breakfast in front of your accommodation. 

Sleeping in a Wine Barrel
There are 4 XXL accommodations available to rent and 6 normal size

Inside of the Wine Barrel
Sleep tight..how romantic!

The Area
Traben-Trabach is a great area for cycling and walking. I really don’t think hiking is just for “older” people. Raised in a country without hills or mountains, I love hiking! Moselsteig is the area’s most lover hiking trail. At 365 km, it’s voted as the most beautiful long distance route in Germany. I only managed to walk a very short part of it due to lake of time but I did walk up to the old fortress (which was a pretty steep climb!) From here you have a beautiful view of the Moselle river and area. You can book a walking tour via camping Rissbach. Pauze for a coffee and enjoy the view of the many wineries. Yes, Traben-Tribach is full of them! This place is renowned for the steepest wineries in the whole of Europe. There are many wine cellars and wine tastings all year round and I was so lucky to witness such an event during my stay. All the wine farmers around the area showcasing their best wines and I got to taste it? Sleeping in a wine barrel fits quite well don’t you think? If you want something traditional you should eat at Zunft Shüne restaurant. It’s like walking into a museum with hundreds of attributes and different rooms. Walk towards the village past the Moselle river to get there in 15-20 minutes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Restaurant Zunft Shune

Sleeping in a wine barrel in Traben-Trabach
Tasting wine, dinner at Zunft Shune and the view of the Moselle river

Sleeping in a wine barrel at Camping Rissbach
Stop at the fortress for a coffee

View over the Moselle River
After a steep walk you are rewarded with this view (with the wineries on the right)

Curious to see what this part of Germany has to offer? Book your stay in a Wine Barrel here!

Love,

Elke

Camptoo, the Airbnb for Campers!

As a traveler, you always have a few things on your bucketlist that NEED to be done. These could be destinations, but also experiences. Most people would agree if I said that taking a camping roadtrip with an old Volkswagen Van would be one of them. 2 years ago I was so lucky to cross it off my bucketlist! Camptoo, the Airbnb for campers and mobile homes, asked me to take an oldtimer Volkswagen T2 for a little roadtrip.

What is Camptoo?

It’s too easy to compare Camptoo with Airbnb but it’s really the best comparison to make. It Basically works like this; most mobile-home owners only use their ride half the time so it just sits there, in front of their garage. Camptoo makes it possible for those owners, to rent out their camper. Take a look on their website and select the camper you want, for how long and for which date. As a result you get several options and all you need to do is to pick your favorite and send the owner a message. Finally you will see which camper is available and if they’ll accept your request.

After a quick check up, we were handed over the keys and headed on our little adventure.

Once accepted you will receive a confirmation email plus a text message. I picked a beautiful Volkswagen T2. Not really knowing what to expect, me and my family drove down to her house where Nicole explained everything we needed to know about her precious ride. Camptoo makes sure that you are all-risk insured and you pay a deposit to cover yourself for any damages along the way. Just make sure to have your travel insurance sorted. After a quick check up on damages and details, we were handed over the keys and headed on our little adventure.

On an adventure with Camptoo

I was worried about the cold,  would the rain drip inside? What if the van breaks down?! 

Volkswagen dreams. Camptoo

The Route

The first thing I noticed is that driving a car like this get’s a lot of attention. A lot. People waving, throwing up peace signs or giving you a thumbs up out of respect. Pretty cool. We decided to drive to The Ardennes, an area with hills and greenery and lot’s of adventurous roads. From Limburg we had about 2 more hours to go and we found this amazing camping online called Les Cabanes De Rensiwez. Here you can camp but also rent the most amazing lodges such as treehouses, Norwegian style cabins and hobbit-like-houses. Our campervan included a little kitchen with a stove so we could prepare dinner and make some tea. No camping adventure is complete without a little thunder storm and boy did we have one on the first night! It rained and rumbled for about 3 hours but it just made the whole experience even more special and cozy. TIP: Bring your own pillows for comfort and a (extra) warm sleeping bag as it get’s very cold at night even during summer. Many camper owners have blankets available but they can be too thin for your liking.

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Bohemian dream
Yep, this is soo me!

Breakfast at the camping
A breakfast basket brought to our camper

The next we drove down to a special place called the Jan Foppen Forest. This is a small forest on top of a hill where you can do crazy survival stuff like abseiling, climbing, paragliding, horse riding and much more. Definitely check out this spot if you’re heading to the Ardennes. 

Camptoo at The Foppen Bos
Our VolkswagenT2 at the Foppen Forest

On our last and final day we really got to drive through small towns where we stopped if we saw something nice such as a little Sunday market or a beautiful viewing point. The Van had to be brought back to its owner in the early afternoon so we decided to sleep at a camping in Limburg, near the Belgian border. This camping was very modern and even had a swimming pool, restaurant and beautiful forest nearby to walk in.

La Roche
We stopped at La Roche, a town visited by many cyclist 

My Verdict

A dream come true. honestly. Ok, I didn’t have a lot of sleep like I would have in a 5 star hotel but that’s not what camping is about. Camping and especially, camping in an oldtimer, is about the magic of it. The adventure without knowing where you will sleep the next day and to follow your own path. I felt like a true nomad and besides that, the whole thing was so well organized from beginning to the end.

Me and the VolkswagenT2, Camptoo

Do you want to go on the same adventure? Visit Camptoo’s website, Facebook & Instagram for inspiration!

Check out my video to get a good impression!

Love,

Elke

This is most Instagramable hotel in the world

The Maldives is home to endless coconut trees, white sandy beaches and one ama-zing hotel. Looking at the photo’s, it’s no wonder that Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas has been voted Most Instragrammable Hotel in the World by Luxury Travel Advisor.

Most instagrammable hotel in the world
Well hello!! Photo source

Luxury Travel Advisor is the insider’s publication for travel and tourism operatives, detailing what’s happening, in trend and upcoming in the world of hospitality. The inaugural contest saw 121,000 votes cast online, with Anantara Kihavah taking the lead!

Most instagrammable hotel
Photo by @Mvandersluis

The hotel is Designed by Maldivian architects Group X Design Associates, and offers guests the world’s most stunning backdrop. Even though luxury to the mex, it still feels natural and laid back. 

ANANTARA KIHAVAH MALDIVES VILLAS
Jealous making jacuzzi shots by @Mvandersluis


Ride a white bicycle to get to your villa. Photo credit: @ulianaberdysheva

The hotel offers one in a lifetime experiences such as underwater dining, overwater stargazing, and swimming with mantas and turtles and plenty of photo opportunities! 

ANANTARA KIHAVAH MALDIVES
Dinner with the fishies

Situated on the western Baa Atoll in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Anantara Kihavah is a 30-minute seaplane flight from Malé and Velana International Airport. If you want to go and see it for yourself, you need to save up some cash because a villa at the Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas start from £787. (and yes, that includes the devine breakfast) 

For ore info about the hotel visit this Website.

Love,

Elke

River Cruise though Holland with YOU as the captain!

Remember that we told you about that amazing river cruise with Nicols last year? Well, now it’s possible to do this in The Netherlands and you can win a boat cruise for 2 people this summer!

Last summer I sailed across the Saône river in France with a huge boat owned by Nicols, a boating company that offers a variation of boats that you can rent at different locations across Europe. The cool thing is, that you don’t need a boat or sailing license to do this. Boating holidays like these are popular with the French, English and the Germans, but in the Netherlands it is relatively new. Until now.

boat cruise
Last summer in France

Jachthuren.nl is the company that’s going to roll out the Nicols boats in The Netherlands and for the first time it’s possible to sail across the rivers in Holland without a boat license. Jachthuren offers 4 different boats from 4 to 8 people. All boats are equipped with a bedroom, a bathroom and kitchen. You can relax on the back deck or sit at the top, where the captain (hey, that could be you!), can sit also.

Estivale DUO Nicols
The Estivale DUO, perfect for a couple

Holland
Pass endless Dutch landscapes along the way

There is no need to be an experienced captain, but there are some things that will be explained before you depart. On most routes you will pass a few locks (sluizen) that you will need to open before you can continue. This is a bit nerve-racking at first, but also a lot of fun! After 2 locks you are a pro.

Nicols boot cruising
In one of the locks

The Route
There are 9 Dutch routes to choose from, but some are only available for those that book a midweek or longer. All boats start from Kerkdriel, located in the South of Holland. From there you have many options. If you want to cruise the river Maas for a weekend for example, you’ll make your way up to Heusden – Woudrichem and back to Kerkdriel. On your way you pass characteristic villages with places to relax and eat. If you have more time on your hands, opt for the full week river cruise where you pass some of Hollands prettiest cities like Utrecht, Maarsen, Leiden, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. You can decide yourself where to stop, as long as docking is permitted and you are following the route.

Here’s an example of some of the best routes:

Weekend – Kerkdriel > Heusden > Gorinchem > Kerkdriel
100 kilometer / 2 locks / 12 uur varen

Midweek – Kerkdriel > Biesbosch > Kerkdriel
120 kilometer / 0 locks / 15 uur varen

1 week (retour) – Kerkdriel > Rotterdam > Gouda > Gorinchem > Heusden > Kerkdriel
200 kilometer / 9 locks / 25 uur varen

1 week ( 1 way) – Kerkdriel > Gouda > Amsterdam > Utrecht > IJsselstein > Montfoort
220 kilometer / 8 locks / 28 uur varen

2 weken – Kerkdriel > Bois-le-Duc > Veghel > Maastricht > Venlo > Ravenstein > Kerkdriel
350 kilometer / 22 locks / 60 uur varen

boat cruise

WIN A RIVER CRUISE!
We are super exited that we are able to give one of you the chance to experience this brand new boat cruise in the Netherlands! All you need to do is to comment bellow and tell us why you really want to experience this boating holiday this spring. Please name the person you want to take along with you. To have even more chance, follow us on Instagram share a story about this competition by tagging @wanderlust.nl. Yes, the more we see you, the more chance you have!

There are a few rules:

  • We offer a Estivale DUO boat, which is perfect for 2 people with a maximum of 4 people (1 bedroom, one sleeper)
  • You must depart between April – June (subject to availability)
  • We offer a long weekend trip or midweek or longer (subject to availability)
  • Bedding, towels and fuel is included.
  • Exclusive of €1.000,00 deposit on your credit card, which you will get back after the trip.

We might see you sailing across Dutch waters this spring!

Love,

Wander-Lust

Find out more about the rivercruise that Elke did last summer.

 

A Guide To Malta

If you are reading this, changes are big you’ve got a serious case of wanderlust. We all do. Wanting to travel as far, as much and as long as possible. But, we tend to forget that sometimes, far and long isn’t necessarily what we need. If a 10 day break is all you need, want and can pull off, there are still plenty of places to go where you will feel just as far away as if you traveled all the way to the other end of the globe. We shouldn’t forget those little gems closer to home. One of those gems is the medieval and exotic isle of Malta. Here’s the ultimate Guide to find your way.

Underrated

Hidden between Italy and Africa, Malta is easily overlooked. A shame, since those pristine beaches, ancient cities, spectacular cliffs, amazing architecture and so much more, is worth every bit of your attention. Whether you want to dance all night long in one of the many bars in St. Julian, work on your tan in Qawra, visit ancient ruins or sniff on some culture in Valetta, you’ll enjoy every bit of it, hassle free. And even though it’s always charming to discover places where you don’t speak the language, the fact that English is the second official language on Malta, makes your trip even more relaxing. Another important detail that will definitely make you want to book: the climate. Between May and October, the average temperature is 26 degrees celsius. Wintertime on the island means an average of 12 degrees. Not too bad eh? Malta is also home to one of the best dance festivals in the world, enough reason to visit!

Malta Sea

The fact that English is the second official language on Malta, makes your trip even more relaxing

Where to stay

There a enough villages on Malta where you can book your stay, from simple apartments to all-inclusive resorts. Where to stay all depends on your main goal of the trip. Want to head over to one of those resorts? Then Qawra, Bugibba and St. Pauls Bay are your towns. However, don’t expect much of the true Malta here, these towns are full of concrete and tourists. So make sure you have a damn nice resort if this is your home away from home. The true party animals among us should go to St. Julian. This is one of the most vibrant towns, filled with clubs, bars and cocktails. You’ll dance the night away and thanks to the many happy hours, won’t feel robbed inside your wallet. The best of both worlds, in my opinion, is the more relaxed but still bustling Sliema. This seaside town, across the water from Valetta, offers nice walks down the boulevard, some great restaurants, good places to stay as well as some more quietness.

Popeye Village, malta
Popeye Village

It’s not about the destination but about the journey’ couldn’t be more true here.

Hey, bus driver

Since Malta is home to so many different types of fun, there is one thing you definitely need to do: grab the bus. Until 2011 the island was populated by a large amount of bright yellow, orange, blue and red oldtimer buses, most of them enhanced with religious artifacts of the owner of the bus. It was a sight to be seen and even more an adventure to drive. Unfortunately those buses have disappeared since then, but that does not mean that it isn’t still the best way to make your way around the country.  Just staring lazily out of the window, admiring the landscape zoom by, is the most relaxing way to travel. Best part of it, it’s pretty affordable. Specially when you plan to discover a different part of the island every day. In that case you can buy an unlimited bus pass for 7 days. This ‘ Explore’ card is just 21 euros and will get you anywhere you want, day and night. You can buy these passes at a number of sales offices, including the airport. Just ask for the Tallinja Explore card.

Old bus on Malta

Right, so you have your transport all sorted out. Now, where to go?

Don’t be scared when they fire the canons that are stationed below the gardens, that just happens.

Fabulous Valetta

This is the countries’ capital, UNESCO recognized, and it’s fabulous. The city is surrounded by water and makes you feel like you have traveled back in time to the middle ages. It has some beautiful churches, St. Johns Cathedral to name one, harbours and tiny alleys to get lost in. If you want to chill out for a while, reading a book or just watch people (or boats), go the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Valetta offers lots of little and big cafe’s and terraces, restaurants and bars. And of course a ton of nice little shops, museums and everything you need for a hot day in the city.

Comino

Wherever you are in Malta, on almost every street corner they’ll try to sell you a cruise to Comino, a small Island where the water is bluer than blue in the Blue Lagoon. This cruise will sail you along the Maltese coastline, it’s super pretty. However, in the summer season, it’s also super crowded. If you happen to find yourself on Malta before June or after September, take the cruise. Just make sure you pay a little extra for the more luxe cruise on a Turkish wooden vessel, you’ll get everything you need including a little mattress on the deck for sunbathing. Don’t go for the cheaper, massive tourist boats. If you don’t fancy the cruise (in the high-season) or if you are on a budget, take the bus! Go to Cirkewwa in the north and embark on of the ferries to the Blue Lagoon. Once arrived, you can stay as long or short as you like. Go early if you want to avoid the crowds (there will be crowds, trust me, but the water is worth it).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ghajn Tuffieha Bay & Golden Sands

Hey beach bum, this is the place to go for a tranquil day in the sand. There is, as far as I know, only one resort near these beaches, so it’s much less crowded than the sandy options near the resort towns of Malta. Ghajn Tuffieha and Golden Sands are next to each other and the bus stop is in the middle of nowhere. The beaches look like hidden bays and you’ll find a lot of locals here as well. There are not many restaurants, so make sure you stock up before you go. All you need to do once you have arrived: find a spot and enjoy. Oh, and to make sure you are back at the busstop in time for the final bus to avoid being stuck here for the night (unless you are up for and adventure, of course).

Hidden Ghar Lapsi

After a long busdrive, you’ll arrive at Ghar Lapsi. At first you will doubt whether you are at the right place and whether you should catch the bus right back. Then you will walk down the street, and see the stairway between the rocks. Climb down and smile, you are in the right place. A natural pool between the rocks is the perfect place to cool down and to chill in the water. Want to chase some fish? Just swim from the pool to the open water, put on your goggles and enjoy the underwater-world. This is a mostly known as a dive site and a far journey from almost all of the villages, so you’ll see more Maltese seniors bathing there than hungover tourists. It’s pure heaven.

Eat cake in Mdina

Exactly in the middle of the island, the medieval town of Mdina arises. Hardly any cars are allowed in this thickly walled city, so you can look around and simply be amazed by the wonder of the buildings, the doors (yes the doors), the views, the smells and the cake. Yes, the cake alone is a reason to catch those buses heading to Mdina. Search for Fontanella Tea Garden, find a spot on top of the city walls, take in the views and the most amazing cakes on Malta. If you don’t mind death by chocolate, take the chocolade one and thank me later.

Malta Mdina

Spinola bay stroll

If you’re staying in Sliema or St. Julian, don’t forget a stroll around Spinola bay. Full of nice places to dine or drink or just soak up the many lights and sounds. There is only one word that describes this bay: lovely.

The colours of Marsaxlokk

Google Malta images and you’ll find the colorful boats of Marsaxlokk. Not a sight to miss. This little fisher town is not spoiled by large apartment buildings and will give you the authentic Malta vibe. The boulevard is the perfect place to grab a bite, since the many little cafes offer great fish meals for very reasonable prices. If you are there on Sunday, the big market will tickle all of your senses.

Boats on Matla

I think I haven’t covered half of the adventures you can have on Malta, but you get the picture. This is one perfect island, combining sightseeing and other day trips with lazily hanging on the waterfront. There is no need to head over to the other side of the world to experience true adventures. Just make sure to catch the bus on time!

Love,

Jill

Where to find the best Tulip Fields in the Netherlands

The tulip season is here and they are more popular than ever! We’ve selected a few regions in the that are just out of this world.. Here are the best tulip fields in the Netherlands.

Noordoostpolder
This tiny place is located in the Flevoland province and has an amazing backdrop with windmills and the sea. Car and bicycle routes have been voted one of the best in the world because of the tulip fields you are about to see here.

Noordoostpolder Tulips
Photo by Peter Abbes

Tulips are only blooming between April and May

Schagerbrug
If you’re looking for beautiful purple tulip fields and flowers, you need to visit the area of Schagerbrug. The fields here look like a Dutch painting because of the windmill that is situated here. If you come during the morning, you will have the best photo’s at sunrise.

Tulip field North Holland
Photo by GroovyPat

Goeree-Overflakkee
Another lesser known area to spot some of the largest and most beautiful tulip fields in the Netherlands. Goeree-Overflakkee is an island located in Zeeland, which is the south west of Holland. There are around 18 tulip fields on the island, in all different colours. Because these tulip fields are less known, you won’t find many tourists or locals walking around, winning! From Amsterdam, it’s about 2 hours drive.

Goeree-Overflakkee, Netherlands

Tulips were originally imported from Turkey in the 16th century, and later produced in The Netherlands

Bollenstreek: Lisse / Hillegom / Noorwijkerhout
One of the more popular tulip destinations. Lisse is near Amsterdam, so it explains why so many people go here. If you can, visit these tulip fields during the week, and early morning. If you go by car, you can drive through the whole area and make several stops.

Lisse tulip fileds

Polderbaan Schiphol
Next to the longest runway in Amsterdam Schiphol, you will find a few tulip fields. Combine this with a trip to the Polderbaan to see airplanes take off and land. This is also the tulip field you see in the header photo of this article.

Tulip Field next to Polderbaan
Relaxing in the Tulip field next to the Polderbaan

Keukenhof
We have the Van Gogh Museum, and we have the Keukenhof. It’s the one place all travelers know about. Mind you, if you visit the Keukenhof, you will share the tulip watching with thousands of tourists from all over the world. Buy tickets to the Keukenhof

There are over 150 species of tulips with over 3,000 different varieties.

Important note:
Please be aware that you cannot walk into every tulip field. If you see the farmer, please ask for permission. Otherwise respect their crop and do not walk in between the flowers (only the ground/sandy parts). There are wider area’s that you can take photo’s from. This year many tulip farmers have decided to close their fields with gates because there are so many tourists ruining their tulip field. 


Treat yourself to some flowers at the Bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam!

Enjoy!

Wander-Lust