Discover Vilnius, the underrated gem of Europe!

Vilnius is a place with lots of amazing architecture and delicious local cuisine. This guide will tell you about the best hotspots and foods that Vilnius has to offer!

Truth be told, I didn’t know anything about Vilnius or Lithuania in general. It is quite an unknown city in Europe, but it turned out to be a great place for a city trip with a variety of hotspots, historical buildings, culture, history and especially loads of foods. 

How to get there

Lithuania is situated in the north of Europe and is part of the Baltic states. There are several flights to Vilnius from Amsterdam, however only with Air Baltic you can fly directly from Amsterdam to Vilnius in 2 hours and 15 minutes. Other airlines like Lufthansa and LOT offer flights with one transfer. The airport of Vilnius is very close to the city centre and you can easily reach the centre by bus or train for less than €2.

Lithuania – a place just a 2-hours flight away from Amsterdam– is still fairly unknown as a tourist destination.

Where to stay

Vilnius is not that big so the city’s highlights are relatively close. There are many hostels for the budget traveller and hotels are available for as little as 30 euros per night for two persons. We stayed at the Amberton hotel which had the perfect location on Cathedral Square right in the middle of the city centre. If you want to have a really luxurious stay, I would recommend design hotel Pacai, which is modern and unique with authentic details like frescoes.

Pink Building Vilnius

What to see in the city centre

Not surprisingly, Vilnius Old Town is full of historical buildings with impressive architectural styles. I was amazed by all the architecture; around every corner you will find a building that takes your breath away. The streets of Vilnius are not very crowded and you can enjoy the beauty of the city without being disturbed by many tourists. Furthermore, everything is walkable! Here are some of the top spots of the city.

  • Cathedral Square
    This square is the heart of the city. You can spot the Cathedral Bell Tower, where you can climb to the top to have a perfect panoramic view of the city. You can also visit the Vilnius Cathedral and right next to it you’ll find the Grand Dukes Palace. In December there’s a Christmas market with a beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the middle.
  • The Uzupis area
    Uzupis is the oldest suburb of Vilnius and has been declared as the Republic of Uzupis by Lithuanian artists. Just walk around and take a look at the street art and beautiful buildings. Make sure you go to Paupio Street where you can find special plaques with 41 rules of the Republic in various languages. Close to Uzupis you can visit the Gothic St. Anne and St. Bernardine churches from the 15th century which are very impressive and statuesque. The beautiful St. Michael the Archangel Church is also nearby.
  • The Church of St. Casimir
    This building was one of my faves, mainly because of the beautiful pink exterior with baroque architecture. Since many of the houses surrounding the churches and historical buildings are quite small, you can spot the church from many different places in town. It’s easily recognizable with a golden crown on top of one of the towers.
  • Turgus Hales
    Many locals come to this market hall to do their shopping and you’ll occasionally spot a tourist. Roots is a particularly interesting little store, because it has the largest selection of Lithuanian handcrafted cheese in the country. The lovely ladies there are happy to let you try some of the cheeses.

Street Lithuania

Vilnius Church

Things do in and around Vilnius

  • Go by bike or step or make a trip with a hot air balloon
    You can easily get bikes in the city or rent an electric step to discover the Old Town. During spring and summer, you can even take a balloon ride over the historical city centre. Breath-taking views guaranteed!
  • Visit a museum
    Vilnius has various museums. The National Museum portrays the history and culture of Lithuania, but if you are particularly interested in the Soviet period of the country, you should visit the Museum of Genocide (KGB museum). The exhibition tells more about the terror of the Soviet Union in Lithuania and you can visit the prison complex.
  • Visit historical town Trakai
    Trakai is a small town with a rich and interesting history. It’s only a half-hour drive away from Vilnius. The Trakai castle is based on an island in the middle of the lake. You can visit the museum and find out more about the medieval history of Trakai and its inhabitants. If the weather is good you can also take a boat ride across the lake to see the castle from various viewpoints.

Trakai Castle
Trakai Castle

The city of great food

If you are a food lover, Vilnius will not disappoint. The locals really value their local produce and everywhere in the city you can find shops that sell unique local products. Cheese, fruit wine, rye bread, kvass (a soft-drink) and tree cake are popular amongst locals. Going on a food tour is a must-do if you’re a foodie! Vilnius has various restaurants with local cuisine, the ones below are definitely worth a visit!

  • Queensberry
    A special product of Lithuania is wine made of fruits like rhubarb, raspberry, and cherry. Queensberry is a good place to go if you want to try the different types of wines in combination with modern Lithuanian food. Do try the fried rye bread with cheese dip, it is so yummy!
  • Ertlio Namas
    Ertlio Namas is a very special restaurant where authentic Lithuanian cuisine is mixed with modern cuisine. You can choose a 4-course or 6-course tasting menu and the enthusiastic waiters will tell you a historical background story with each course.
  • Augustas ir Barbora
    If you want to visit a cafe which is Instagram worthy, then you should go here. The interior is filled with pink chairs and flowers on the ceiling. Grab a coffee here, have breakfast or enjoy various pies and tasty pastries.

Terrace Vilnius

Vilnius is the hidden gem of Northern Europe, so go there in 2020 (find out which destinations we recommend for this year) before everyone else knows about it!

Love,

Merel

*Merel is one of our guest editors in Rotterdam. She describes herself as a daydreaming student who loves to travel. Last year she made a 5-month backpacking trip through Asia and she can’t wait to see more of the world. Check her out on Instagram: @merel_d94.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE AMMAN GUIDE 2020 | JORDAN

“Welcome to Jordan”, is a phrase you will hear time and time again in this majestic land from the locals who are delighted to have visitors in their country.

From the moment you step off your flight and arrive in Jordan’s capital Amman, you’ll be impressed with the best of the Middle East this 2020.

Where to stay in Amman

There’s only one place to head to as soon as you arrive in frantic Amman and that’s the city’s 4th tallest building, otherwise known as the W Hotel. At a striking 150m high, it is a towering spectacle within Amman’s skyline. When you enter you are immediately blown away at the interior. It features a canyon – designed in homage to the country’s most famous archaeological site, Petra. The W Hotel is somewhere you want to wake up again and again. The 240 rooms are contemporary in look and feel, yet bring local characteristics through colours and textures.

W Hotel Entrance, Amman
Entrance of W Hotel Amman

Hotel bedroom Amman

Take time to explore the hotel in full: you’ll have a luxury spa to visit (we recommend the reflexology and full body massages). Aswell as a gym and not to mention the picturesque roof top poor which delivers quite a luxe experience. The rest of the hotel offers a Living Room area for guests to chill and read many of their impressive coffee table books while enjoying a cocktail. After dark the area becomes one of the best bars in the city with a who’s who of Amman flocking to be seen alongside an international array of guests. Book your stay here.

W Hotel Rooftop Pool

Jordan is one of the most progressive and modern countries in the Middle East and it’s also one of the safest. Woman have equal rights to men and the royal family have a huge influence on their people by championing education.

What to do in Amman

If you can tear yourself away from the W Hotel to marvel at the sights of Amman there’s plenty to do! (Though don’t get us wrong – the best of Jordan lies outside of the capital). Amman was built on seven hills so be sure to wear your most comfortable walking shoes as they’ll be putting in the hard work. The hustle and bustle of the capital city is sure to inspire and delight..

City of Amman, Jordan

Plan a morning exploring the Citadel which sits on the highest mountain in the city so provides the best point for getting your bearings. Built during the Bronze Age, the site was destroyed by an earthquake in 749AD and never rebuilt yet it’ll leave you with a sense of a time gone by. The scale of the columns still standing provide insight into how magnificent the site once was. From here you’ll be able to see the Roman Theatre which provides a 7,000 seater stadium. You can buy tickets to music and theatre performances.

Amman Citadel
The city’s Citadel

Theatre Amman, Jordan

Rainbow Street acts as a central hub of restaurants, bars and coffee shops which cater for tourists and locals alike. If you want to eat like a king you’re best to set off for Hashems which has hosted royalty here since it opened in 1953. This legendary eatery is famed for its falafel and hummus! You can order a classic lunch meal for around 3JD and be sure to sip their mint tea too. 

Amman City, Jordan

Culture

After you’ve refuelled with falafel, the Jordan Museum is not to be missed. Built in 2014, this is a modern building in the centre of the city. Its home to some of the most incredible ancient treasure in the land. The experience here is entertaining, informative and like no other. You’ll first be guided around the Jordan exhibition which tells the rich history of this nation. Illustrating the countries impact and evolution within the surrounding Middle East. The space also holds the oldest-known human statues. But it’s what lies at the very end which is why this stop is firmly on our must-do list: the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed here. These biblical manuscripts are one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century! When in 1946 a Shepard stubbed across them in a cave near to the Dead Sea. They give great historical, religious significance from the era when they were written from around 300BC.

Roman Theatre, Amman

The last cultural stop on your Amman to-see list should be the vast King Abdullah Mosque. This blue-domed landmark is open to worshipers as well as non-Muslin visitors. (But only during certain hours and if you’re a female you’ll be asked to wear a abayas. Standing as a some-what timeless looking building, over 7,000 people come on a daily basis to pay their respects. It’s a peaceful and reflective experience – while the outside is covered in decorative mosaic tiles.

King Abdullah Mosque, Amman

Where to Eat in Amman:

  • Wild Jordan Cafe (good for a a healthy lunch)
  • Shams el Balad (an outdoor hipster hangout with the most delicious beetroot hummus)
  • Levant (great for dinner – order everything on the menu, nothing will disappoint)
  • Primal (for anyone following a Paleo diet)
  • Sufra (a Rainbow Street must-visit)

Good to know ahead of visiting Jordan:

  • Buy the Jordan Pass for £75. This includes your tourist visa as well as entry fees for the likes of the Citadel in Amman as well as Petra and the Dead Sea.
  • There are 9 million people who live in the country, while only 8 years ago there were 6 million. The sudden rise of inhabitants is due to the influx of refugees coming in from their neighbouring countries. 4.5 million people live in the capital city Amman.
  • Weekends in Jordan fall on a Friday and Saturday, so it’s likely that shops, some attractions and restaurants may be shut on a Saturday.
  • Smoking is allowed indoors, so don’t be surprised when people light up in hotels, restaurants and shops.
  • All hotels have their own airport-like security in the entrance meaning that your suitcase and day bag will need to go through the x-ray scanners every time you enter the building.
  • Uber is currently available in Jordan, however they can’t pick up from the airport. If you’ve not arranged airport transfers via your hotel, you’re best to use a licensed cab when you land and be sure to tip the porter.

In short, before you head into the rest of Jordan, Amman is a worthy stop for a few days!

Love,

Stephanie

ESSAOUIRA MOROCCO | The Alternative to Marrakech

Get away from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech and find yourself in the most magnificent hotel in the argan-tree hills of Essaouira.

It’s maybe a 3 hours’ drive away but with only 60-80 kilometers allowed and flat landscapes, the road to Essaouira takes quite long. But wait when you get there! Located on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, we want to tell you about this special region and a magnificat hotel Jardin des Douars. 

Essaouira Pinterest

Jardin des Douars

We stayed in the most amazing hotel secluded from the city. An otherworldly escape with brilliant terra-cotta buildings with rough lush greenery, with more than 100 various types of plants and trees. There are two amazing infinitely pools with pool bars where you can order drinks and finger food during the day. Even more, you can have dinner on the amazing terrace outside where they serve Moroccan dishes with French influences. At winter time when it gets cold in the evening you can have dinner inside right at the fireplace in their very cozy spaces.

Each morning a beautiful peacock welcomes you around the property


The stunning Jardin des Douars terrace, in Essaouira

Total relaxation

Very special for this region is the argan oil. The Berber women use argan oil for culinary and cosmetic purposes. At Jardin des Douars they use it in the treatments in their spa. Likewise, the rooms in the hotel are just perfect! With the most comfortable king-size beds, white soft linen, and a private outside terrace with a stunning pool view.  All rooms have private sun beds, a bathroom with separate shower and bath with a mini hammam kit. Nothing makes a room feel cozier than a fireplace. Our room had two! Don’t forget to treat yourself to discover the night skies which are some of the clearest in the world up here. Would you like to explore this amazing hotel yourself, book here.

Essaouira

Only 15 min away from the hotel you reach Essaouira, a great alternative to Marrakech. The pearl of the Atlantic Ocean is very famous for its windsurfing, surfing and Kitesurfing thanks to the strong winds. It is a Mediterranean style fishing port.

Women in Essaouira
Women walking in Essaouira

There was a time when Essaouira was a popular destination for Orson Welles, Jimi Hendrix and Cat Stevens. Locals tell you with proud that Jimi has spent part of his time at a beachside hotel next to Essaouira’s old medina. Take a stroll in the city and visit the bustling medina where you can buy lots of local treasures, like colourful blankets and rugs. Would you like to have some fun in the sand dunes and small desert, ride a camel, quad bike or horse. 


Horse riding in Essaouira


Squad ride in Essaouira

Essaouira is easy accessible from Marrakech, Casablanca and Agadir

Eat & Drink in Essaouira

First of all, Medina isn’t as difficult to navigate as Marrakech for example. It’s less busy, less streets, so it’s easier to find your way around. Similarly, is the amazing cuisine you’ll find here. Maybe some places are less “trendy” than you’ll find in Marrakech, but you will find some amazing local spots. Places like Tara CafeTaros and Triskala Cafe, Ocean Vagebond, La Table de Madada are favourites.

Taros Cafe Essaouira
Lively cafe & bar Taros


Delicious fish platter at La Table de Madada

How to get from Marrakech to Essaouira

Although it takes a little longer, it’s quite easy to get around by bus that departs to and from Marrakech. It takes around 3 hours including a 20 minute stop. Check the bus times and fares. Additionally, you can also rent a car and drive around the region yourself. This gives you the freedom to explore and enjoy the magical landscapes and stop wherever you want. It’s also a bit faster, plus you can listen to the Moroccan radio, which adds to the experience of a road trip.

In short, there’s just something so special about visiting Morocco. It’s unlike so many places you can visit which offer so much diversity. If you are in the neighbourhood, go visit Essaouira and explore it yourself.

Love,

Sarah

SEE LONDON IN THREE DAYS

London is a city that’s ever changing when it comes to restaurants, clubs and other hotspots. Time for an updated city guide!

Because most people visit London for a long weekend, we’ve created a guide that you can use if you only have three days to see London. Don’t worry, the options are endless!

How to get there

Thankfully, you can now easily travel to London by train. As we would have normally flown over, we decided to give the train a go, which is better for the environment and more comfortable. From Amsterdam it only takes 4,5 hours. The best thing is that you arrive in the middle of the city centre! Tip: Buy yourself an Oyster Card at the train station, this way your can easily check in and out, plus you travel with a discount.

London Tube


Where To Stay

ibis Styles Southwark London

During our most recent stay in London we stayed at ibis Styles Southwark. ibis Styles is actually the hip and creative sister hotel of the well known ibus hotels and rooms are available to book for as little as £199,-. Yes, it’s London people, you’re not going to get anything for a better price at a top location like this one. The reception setup is spacious and welcoming with lounge chairs and a bar. 

Reception ibis styles

The whole hotel has a broadway theme which makes it fun and colourful! It was the first time we stayed in Southwark and we can highly recommend it! Around the corner you’ll find many nice eateries and bars like the Iron Flat Square, a hub of food stalls and bars that is open every day of the week. Next to that you have the London Borough Market around the corner which is a must visit! From the hotel, you can also easily walk to the Thames River and see the Tower Bridge. Book your stay here. Curious about our ibis Styles stay in Paris? You can read it in our Paris Guide!

Collage ibis Styles Southwark
Our spacious bedroom, the breakfast room and Flat Iron Square around the corner


Where to Eat in London

Honestly, where do we start! London is full of hotspots, but there are only a few I will mention. We all know Sketch by now, so you won’t find that one on this list. These are our favourites!

» Circolo Popolare
They’ve been open for a few months and it’s almost impossible to make a reservation. Luckily, we managed to get a spot but make sure you reserve on time. Once inside you won’t believe your eyes, what a place! It looks like something out of an Italian fairytale with flowers hanging from the ceiling and the walls covered in drinks. We would have expected hyped places to lack in taste and service but Circolo Popolare completely swept us of our feet. The service for one was amazing and the food..don’t even get us started. We ordered a salad which was big enough for two and a freshly oven baked pizza. Tip: Definitely order one of their inventive cocktails and the tiramisu was the best we have ever tasted.

Circolo Popolare London

» Seabird
Like ibis Styles, Seabird is also located in Southwark. This wonderful rooftop restaurant has an amazing outside terrace overlooking the city of London. They serve a wonderful selection of seafoods with Spanish and Portuguese influences, including 15 different oysters! The inside looks like a decor created in Tulum, which includes a bar where they create amazing cocktails served in tropical animal glasses. seabirdlondon.com

Seabird terrace London
The amazing terrace of Seabird

» GBR London
If you wanna go posh, plus British, you need to visit GBR. Situated in The Dukes hotel, it’s British food at it’s best. The interior is classical British with a James Bond vibe. Furthermore, the staff is lovely and are happy to accommodate you with special requirements. They also offer all day dining and a killer high tea, so if you’re up for some great British flavours, you should check it out. www.gbrrestaurantslondon.com

» Ping Pong
It was there 10 years ago, and it’s still good. Ping Pong is an Asian Fusion restaurant with incredible dimsum dishes. It’s great for lunch and even better for dinner. Don’t forget to order the Jasmine flower tea, because it’s an actual flower opening up in the clear tea glass. 

» Saint Aymes
This place is good for pink latté’s and your instagram account. The outside is such a treat with the pretty (fake) flowers. 

» Elancafe
Again, a wonderful place for your insta feed. The walls are covered in roses and the interior features marble tables where you can perfectly pose against the rose wall. Oh, this place is also famous for it’s cakes and great looking coffees. (almost forgot about that part!) 

» Camden Lock
I used to work in Camden Town and this area is a food Walhalla. There are many international food stands with delicious, homemade foods and vegans can go crazy here. Rumer has it, that you can find the best vegan burgers here.. www.camdenmarket.com

Camden lock, London City Guide
Vegan food at Camden Lock

» Pachamama Bar & Kitchen
They serve a killer Peruvian lunch, brunch, dinner and create wonderful cocktails. 

» Farm Girl Café
They are a holistic Australian farm café with delicious (and healthy!) foods. They are based in Chelsea, Soho and Nothing Hill. Make a reservation to avoid a fully booked café. 

» Boxpark Shoreditch
It’s been around for a few years now, but if you like to try quality streetfood, you should eat at Boxpark. There are options enough to fill your tummy and you can go shopping after that (then again, maybe before is better, otherwise you might not fit those new pants) Check here for the latest food stands.

» Duddell’s London
Located in the historic St. Thomas Church in the heart of London Bridge, minutes from Borough Market, Duddell’s London is offering an authentic and delicious Cantonese cuisine. Just look at the interior, wow! The dim-sum here is hand-crafted and the cocktails are Asian-inspired. 


Duddell’s London


Where to Shop
Shopping in London is something that you can’t get around. Depending what your taste is or how much you want to spend, there are options for everything. We’ve highlighted our personal favourite shopping districts and added a few that you just have to see for yourself.


Shopping in London’s high street

» Oxford Street
It’s the largest and longest shopping street in London. You will find all the commercial brands here like ZARA, Mango, Nike, H&M etc. Also check out the shopping mall Selfridges. It’s amazing!

» Knightsbridge
This is for the Chanel lovers among us. Big brands show off their impressive shopping windows and you can find Harrods here, the topnotch shopping warehouse that is worth checking out, especially the food hall and the toy kingdom.

» Camden Town
One of my favorite shopping area’s in London! It used to be a horse stable market so you will find many alleys and secret corners here. It’s great for bargain shopping and you can find local goods, weird stuff, plus there is even a crazy techno/house store which you need to check out, it’s like walking into a club!

» Carnaby Street
This street is full of amazing shops! Some are boutique, others are more mainstream like Adidas or Superga. Sneaker lovers should check Carnaby Street!

» Boxpark Shoreditch
There we have the boxpark again! Yep, this place is well worth checking out for speciality clothes and unique items. I bought some glitter socks there, I mean, what a catch! Read our full Shorditch Guide!


What To See & Do

Like New York, London is a city where you can’t get bored. There is lot’s to see and do, but to narrow it down, these are my personal tips.

» Visit Some of London’s Parks
London is greener than you might think. There are several parks to choose from besides the famous Hyde Park. Primrose Hill, Regents Park and lesser known Hampstead Heath are my favourites. They are more local and offer stunning views and nature. If you are in Primrose Hill, make sure you walk into the neighbourhood and check out the coloured houses.

Primrose Hill London

» Sky Garden
I didn’t manage to go because I forgot to make a reservation but if you do have the time, visit the Sky Garden. Stunning views over the city with an indoor tropical garden. Entrance is free but you need to book a time slot. They do accept walk-ins after 6pm during the week. skygarden.london

Bonus » If you like gardens, check out Kew Gardens. It’s about 30 minutes travel from Central London and their Victorian glasshouse just opened. See over 10,000 plants in the world’s biggest glasshouse. www.kew.org

» Coal Drops Yard
Currently, it is the place to be. Hip and happening with restaurants, cafés and business all tucked into one. Find out what’s it like.

Coal Drops Yard

» Covent Garden
What’s not to love about this area. Street theater, live opera singers, musicians, local goods, shops, restaurants and a market. Covent Garden is the place I never skip when I’m in London.

» Museum in London are free!
Oh yes, they should do this anywhere in the world don’t you think? We love the Natural History Museum, Tate Modern and The Victoria & Albert museum.

Neill's Yard London
Neill’s Yard, near Covent Garden

Whale skeleton Natural History Museum

We hope you are able enjoy London in three days! After all, it was Elke’s “home town” for many years. Let me know if you’ve used our tips, we’d love to hear it!

Love,

Wander-Lust

THE BEST OF DOHA, QATAR

Doha is considered the pearl of the middle east that set itself on the map after being elected for the 2022 World Cup. Time to find out why it’s good to travel to Doha now, before it’s becoming the next Dubai.

The city of Doha has many amazing sky scrapers, entertainment, shopping, glitch and glamour, yet it still offers an authentic culture and history. We were invited by Qatar Airways to see the best of Doha.

HOW TO GET THERE

Given that Qatar Airways is officially the best airline in the world, I was happy to fly with them for the first time. Luckily, I was upgraded into their QSuite (O Em Gee), which has been voted as the best business class by the Yearly World Airlines Awards, the oscars of aviation. For someone with a fear of flying, this was the most relaxing flight I had ever experienced. A direct flight to Doha takes about 6 hours, so that’s pretty reasonable. Qatar Airways for that matter, is offering Doha as a stopover, which you can add to your booking. As a matter of fact, if you fly with QR, you can get a discount on hotel prices. 4-star hotels are available for as little as 23USD! Nice to know: Qatar Airways offers all passengers 1 hour free wifi!


Business Class Qatar Airways
Enjoying the QSuite

THE STORY ABOUT QATAR & DOHA

First thing to remember is that Qatar is a reasonably small country which makes it fairly easy to travel around if you want to. You can actually drive from North to South Qatar in approximately 3 hours. As you may have heard, Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world due to their gas & oil, but it wasn’t always like this. For centuries, pearl harvesting used to be the main source of income for Qatari people. But due to the great depression and competition, pearls lost their value and the country needed to find other ways to earn a living. The pearl however, remains an important symbol of Qatar until this day.

Baskets at Souq Waqif

Doha on the other hand, is only 40 years old, which explains the modern vibe and ongoing construction. People often compare it to Dubai, but the people who live here, find Doha to be very different. For one, Dubai is all about entertainment, luxury and shopping. While Doha is certainly up there when it comes to luxury hotels, restaurants and bars, but also offers culture, sports and traditions.

GOOD TO KNOW

The best time to visit Doha is from October until the end of April. It must be remembered that the weather is undoubtedly less hot during those months with temperatures between 25 and 35 degrees. While this still seems quite warm, during summer period it can get up to 50ºC! It also has to be considered that Qatar is a muslim country, so dress accordingly. This means long dresses or trousers and try to cover your upper arms. On the contrary, you can wear pretty much whatever you want in most hotels. Alcohol is not served in public spaces, but only inside some restaurants and bars. That being said, I never heard a police siren while I was there, something I haven’t experienced in a city before.

Skyline

WHERE TO STAY

In general, there is enough choice when it comes to accommodation in Doha. For the most part, there are many big hotels, but the city also offers boutique style hotels and homestays. The best place to stay in Doha is in the West Bay area. Here you are near the airport, museums, and Souq Waqif. During my three-day trip I stayed in the following hotels.

  • Mandarin Oriental

    Brand new in Doha so modern and stylish. The rooms are truly exquisite and spacious. The hotel has an outdoor pool, 3 restaurants and a spa. Their latest gastronomic addition is Mosaic, an international kitchen with an Arabic twist. The location of the hotel is recently build, so taxi drivers may not find it that easily. On the positive side, Mandarin Oriental is located at walking distance of Souq Waqif!

Hotel pool

  • Marsa Malaz Kempinski

    In contrast to the Mandarin Oriental, Kempinski is more classical and larger. The entrance is quite impressive and the hotel offers a large pool area and a beach. They have a very cool must visit rooftop bar named Secret Garden and club that is only accessible via the parking lot. Bare in mind that the dresscode is smart/casual and visitors must bring their passports. Ask the reception for all the details.

Hotel bed

Kempinski Hotel Doha

The above mentioned hotels are both amazing but understandably not for every budget, so you are best to compare the best rated hotels online.

WHERE TO EAT

Luckily, Doha offers a wide range of cuisines and flavours. Even vegetarians have plenty of options! Here is a list of some must try restaurants.

  • Al Mourjan Restaurant offers some of the best Lebanese food in Doha. From the outside terrace you have an amazing view. Try the lemon/mint juice, amazing!
  • Nobu Doha is famous for sushi, but the same goes for their good service. The Japanese chefs welcome every new customer with a traditional greeting while working their magic behind the counter. Upstairs you can enjoy a drink at the bar, which overlooks part of Doha’s skyline. Nobu is part of the Four Seasons Hotel, due to open in early 2020.

Mezza in Doha

  • Apparently, Spicemarket is the best rated Asian restaurant in Doha. The restaurant which is located in the W-hotel, takes you on a journey across South East Asia and brings the authentic flavours to the table.
  • If you are a brunch person, go to Arc Brunch Eatery! Apparently they serve a killer coconut latte.
  • As previously mentioned, Mosaic is the newest restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental hotel. They offer a variety of Arabic food with a twist!
  • Spots like Soul Bowl and Evergreen Organics are made for those that crave something healthy and vegan. Plus both locations look cute!

Mosiac

Nice to know: Little did I know, but coffee is a thing in Doha! You’ll find many trendy coffee bars around the city and our favourites café’s are Flat White, Cue Café, Fleurs at Café, 20 Grams Coffee Bar, MIA Café and Tea Garden.

Coffee bar Doha
Cue café, in the Pearl (source)

CULTURE & TRADITIONS

You may not expect it, but Doha is full of culture and traditions. For example, the falcon, Qatars symbol and bird, is still as important as centuries ago. Some falcons even travel first class with their owners! At Souq Waqif you can find a falcon market where the birds are sold and traded. There is even a falcon hospital to keep them in good shape. The traditional Souq itself is also worth a visit. During the evening it gets more crowded but if you come between 7:30 – 12:00, you can take photo’s without hardly any people. They sell everything from handmade baskets, colourful carpets, spices, sweets and tools. The souq is also the best place for traditionally Arabic food, but you can also find Indian, Lebanese and Iranian food here.

Souq Waqif
Souq Waqif during the day

Doha Falcon

Museums

I never expected to find the best museum I have ever visited in Doha, but I did. The National Museum of Qatar is truly impressive. The design – inspired by a desert rose, is incredible. But once inside, NMOQ is curated beautifully. It takes you through the ancient times, including the amazing displays of  different species that live in Qatar. How pearls came and went, war and traditions. Not to mention that kids will love the interactive and playful set ups, while adults enjoy the beautiful indoor architecture and information.

NMOQ in Doha
The stunning National Museum of Qatar

But this is not the only museum Doha has on offer. MIA (Museum of Islamic Art) is also one of the city’s pride and joy. The building portraits a Qatari woman wearing a bourqa. From here you have a stunning view of Doha’s skyline. If you like modern art, check out Mathaf, Arab Museum of Modern Art. With new exhibitions each month, Doha also has many galleries. Find out more here.

MIA Museum in Doha
MIA Museum

THINGS TO DO IN DOHA

Equally important are the activities Doha has on offer. A unique selling point has to be the desert with one of the world’s natural wonders; the inland sea. Next to Namibia, Qatar is the only place on earth where the sea reaches the desert. You can book several tours that will take you dune bashing. If you come in the beginning or end of the month, the sea will reach the sand dunes completely, otherwise the sight of it may be a bit disappointing.

Desert Qatar
Me, in the desert. Photo by Roel van der Krabben

Desert and sea
Camels standing at the inland sea

Visit Banana Island

Besides the thrilling desert of Qatar, you can also spend an afternoon at the luxurious Banana Island Resort. From Doha City you can take a ferry in just 35 minutes that will take you to the man-build island. There are a few restaurants, pools and beach area for visitors to enjoy the day. If you want to stay the night, you need to bring your credit card, because it ain’t cheap! Even so, it’s perfect for honeymooners or to escape the city.

Banana Island entrace
The entrance of Banana Island Resort

Katara Cultural Village

What’s more, a whole village was build to bring different cultures together through art and creativity. There are shops, restaurants, theatre, exhibition area’s and festive events. Doha is full of expats and they love to come here to listen to familiar sounds and meet friends. There is also a stunning mosque which was designed by a woman, which is quite special.

Mosque
The Mosque at Cultural Village

MY VERDICT

Having experienced Doha for a few days, and can say that it’s the perfect city for a stopover before heading home or continuing your trip. With this intention you can truly enjoy the best of Doha. In short, the capital of Qatar can be quite expensive indeed, but if you if you want, you can go all out here and treat yourself to great food, sunshine, glitch and glamour. Hop from hotel bar to beautiful restaurants or experience rich culture the sand dunes and meet some of the nicest people as a bonus, both expats and locals.

And remember that Dubai once started out as Doha. Quietly and full ambition. I think it’s time to visit this relatively unknown destination and enjoy it before it becomes a place where you’ll become just another tourist.

Love,

Elke

 

 

 

 

The Paris City Guide

With Paris so easy to reach via train and car, it is no surprise that the French metropole is one of the most visited cities in Europe. 

We created a brand new guide that you can use for your next trip to Paris, France.

WHERE TO EAT

First thing to remember is that you may come back from Paris with a few pounds extra. But who cares! When you are in the city of love, you will have many amazing places to choose from. These are by far our favourites!

  • Terrasse de l’Alcazar

    This is by far one of the best locations in Paris. Tucked away in a side street of the 6th arrondissement, is this trendy restaurant has an indoor garden and international cuisine. They do Sunday brunch and cocktails.

Terrasse de l'Alcazar Paris
The amazing Terrasse de l’Alcazar

  • CoCo Paris

    Undoubtedly, CoCo is one of the most impressive spots located in Paris. Relatively new, they opened in the summer of 2019, next to the Opera. Inside you’ll find palmtrees and a luxurious setting. 

  • Daroco

    Located in Jean Paul Gaultier’s former flagship store, right next to Galerie Vivienne, a beautiful arcade built in 1923. The decor is aaa-mazing, and they serve traditional Italian food.

Restaurant Daroco Paris
Daroco

restaurant CoCo Paris
CoCo

  • Dalmata

    On the other hand, if you like to keep it low key and casual, check out this pink pizza heaven. These Italians are doing it right.Their concept? 202 pizzas maximum are served daily (101 at lunchtime and 101 at dinnertime) to enjoy on the spot or to take away. To get an idea of how many pizzas are left, a counter has been put at the entrance of the restaurant. Brilljant and we are loving the no waste policy!

Dalmata Paris
Dalmata

  • Maison Sauvage

    Regardless if you like hotspots or not, this place looks damn cute. With two floors and an outside terrace, this restaurant makes it work in busy Saint-Germain-des-Prés. They serve healthy comfort food, juices and coffee.

  • Peonies

    Unquestionably, Peonies is our happy place and belongs in this Paris City Guide. They are a café and florist combined and serve a killer Matcha Pink latte including beautifully made pastry, whilst surrounded by fresh flowers. 

Maison Sauvage Paris
Maison Sauvage

  • Café Berry

    Besides being a café, this self-entitled wellness café, has an in-store beauty and nail bar. Needless to say that they are located in the trendy neighbourhood of Le Marais.

Colourful lattes Cafe Berry
Source: Café Berry

  • LouLou

    This Australian lunch spot is always buzzing and serves delish bowls, salads and sandwiches. Furthermore, the service was good and friendly while I was there.

  • Le Pavillon au Canaux

    When you enter the spacious terrace, it is hard not to fall in love with this place. Calmly situated next to the canal, the restaurant has a unique design. If you like, you can dine in a bathtub not to mention the bedroom next door where you can drink your coffee. 

Cafe Paris
Le Pavillon au Canaux

  • Kozy Paris

    If you like pretty food to pimp up your Instagram account, the 3 locations of Kozy Berry will do it for you. 

  • Le Potager de Charlotte

    Vegan or not vegan, you will appreciate this amazing dishes at Le Pontager de Charlotte. Our guest editor Chantelle reviewed them and other vegan restaurants in Paris when they recently opened their second location. Therefore we highly recommend this place to anyone that loves belly friendly foods.

Vegan food in Paris


WHERE TO DRINK

Paris is full of amazing cocktail bars and places where you can drink wine alongside a delicious French cheese platter. These are the best places to do it!

  • Candelaria, 52 rue de Saintonge
    On first sight, you think this is just a tiny taco bar with nothing more than a few tables and a bar. But behind the white door is a secret cocktail bar that takes you down into a Mexican allure with candle lights and an amazing vibe.
  • Comptoir Général, 80, quai de Jemmapes
    This bar has been features in almost all best-bars lists, that being said, it totally deserves to be in those lists. It can be busy during the weekends!

Secret cocktail bar
Just a taco bar?


WHERE TO STAY

Because Paris isn’t the most affordable city, we decided to stay just outside the centre to see what it was like. Surprisingly, the centre of Paris was only a 20 minute metro ride, plus I got to see a more local side of Paris.

  • ibis Styles
    Located at Mairie de Montreuil, the place where the art of cinema started in the early twenties. At first, you may feel that  you are miles away from the heart of Paris, but as shown above, the metro that is located almost next to the hotel, takes you to the city pretty fast. Hotel ibis Styles is the more playful & creative sister of the Ibis you may know. In particular, this hotel has recently been renovated and like all other ibis styles hotels, it took on the theme of the neighbourhood, in this case cinema.

ibis Styles Marie de Montreuil

Given that ibis styles is for every budget, don’t expect anything too fancy. However, the beds are really comfortable and the shutters in the rooms make you sleep like a baby. All rooms are equipped with a flatscreen and designed to match the film theme of the hotel. The breakfast buffet is filled with French pastries, fresh orange juice, cheeses and baguettes. If you want, there is also a fresh authentic bakery across from the metro station that is wonderful. 

Bedroom ibis styles Montreuil

Around the area

The area has a few shops, florists, bakeries and an amazing organic supermarket with options to go plastic-free. You can refill almost anything from oils, coffee, tea, nuts, seeds and even washing detergents! There is also a nice sushi restaurant on the corner from the hotel. Rooms at ibis Styles Paris Marie de Montreuil are available from 120 euro per night.


WHERE TO HANG OUT

As you may know, Paris is huge! That being said, there are a few places we have lined up where you can relax and chill after walking around the city of love all day.

  • The parks in Paris
    There are many parks in Paris but check this overview that we made for you last spring to find the most pretty ones!
  • Anywhere along the Seine! 
    There are many benches around the seine for you to enjoy passing boats, or seeing oil painters creating art in front of you. Crab a baguette and enjoy Paris.
  • Le Marais
    In our opinion, one of the best area’s in Paris. In either case, you will find many café’s, shops and restaurants where you can hang.

Parks in Paris

Paris in a nutshell

In summary, Paris can never be summed up into one city guide as it constantly evolves. However, these places in the French Metropole makes us happy, and we hope they do the same for you.

Bisou,

Elke

Ostrava | Czech charm meets industrial chique

The Czech Republic is certainly no stranger to foreign tourism. However, most tourists who take a visit to this country limit themselves to Prague. The vibrant city Ostrava often gets overlooked by travellers but has a lot to offer.

From skating down the Pustevny mountain to exploring underground coal mines and even partying at one of the best music festivals in Europe.. Bringing a visit to Ostrava will be a pleasant surprise for anyone looking to get off the beaten track..

Where is Ostrava?

The city isn’t too famous so there’s a big chance that most people don’t know about this place. That given, Ostrava is the third largest city in the Czech Republic and it’s located in the very Northeast of the country. The city was for a long time known (among Czechs) for being unattractively industrial because it was historically associated with the production of pig-iron and coal. Its reputation as an industrial workaday city has prevented it from seeing the tourism it deserves. Although it is not as classically beautiful as some other Czech cities, its history as the epicentre of the country’s mining industry makes it a very fascinating place to visit. Let’s delve into some of the awesome things to do in Ostrava and unique features of the city.

What to do

Masaryk Square:

It is safe to say that Masaryk Square is the central point of the city. It is surrounded by pretty pastel coloured houses with decorated facades. There are quite a few cafés on Masaryk Square, where you can relax after strolling around. The central square is a gorgeous setting and therefore a must-see in Ostrava.

City Hall Tower:

is the Czech Republic’s highest city hall tower! It offers a wonderful panorama view of the surprisingly green city of Ostrava and its surroundings from a height of 73 metres above ground level. On a clear day you can see many of the coal mines and blast furnaces in the area and you can even get a glimpse of the Poland borders.

Ostrava Center

Landek Mining Museum

If you want to learn about the history of Ostrava, the Landek Mining Museum is your calling. This mining museum is the biggest one in the Czech Republic and you get a unique peek behind the curtains of the harsh circumstances the miners worked in. The guides are former mine workers themselves and have a lot of knowledge about the mine. The absolute highlight is going down with an elevator shaft into a restored section of the underground mine. Hungry after the tour? Next to the Museum is a good traditional restaurant with national dishes.

Landek mine Ostrava

The Ostravice river

Is a beautiful river that flows through the city. Great for walking, running, cycling or hanging out in the adjacent park. Looking for more adventurous activities? Rent a raft or canoe and head down the river. It’s a really beautiful trip on the water where you can spot many wild animals. We spotted a baby deer, drinking water at the shore!

Dolní Vítkovice

is a former industrial site used for mining and iron processing. It’s an atmospheric and almost otherworldly industrial area (it looks like something out of a Mad Max movie set) which is being turned into a cultural centre. You can go up in the Bolt tower with a lift and have a view over the whole city. It’s really cool (and a bit scary) when you get to the top, and a great place for photography because of all the surrounding old buildings. The international multi-genre music festival Colours of Ostrava is organized on this venue every year.

Dolci Ostrava

Pustevny mountains

Equally worth visiting are the Pustevny mountains, about half an hour’s drive from Ostrava. A ski lift will take you 1 km above sea level. Once there, you can hike another 100 meter up a wonderful Himalayan inspired walking trail. On the top of the trail you can find a short skywalk with a glass floor where you will enjoy a beautiful view. To get back down the mountain, you can take the ski lift again or rent scooters on which you can drive down (adrenaline-kick assured!).

Bridge Ostrava

Where to stay

Harmony hotel Ostrava:

This hotel is a treat. The beds are very comfortable, the room gets cleaned every day, and the view of the city is amazing. The biggest surprise however is its breakfast. They offer a large selection of fruit, eggs, bacon, vegetables, bread and various types of cheese and salami as well as pancakes and brownies.

Airbnb:

In and around Ostrava there are quite a lot people who offer their room, apartment or house for rent. The advantage of renting an Airbnb is that you can cook for yourself (which saves costs), and you normally have more space than in a hotel room. It is also nice to be among locals if you rent a room in someone’s house! Renting an Airbnb in Ostrava is very affordable. For a small apartment you pay around 25 euros per night.

How to get there

A distance of 1.300 km needs to be covered if you travel from Amsterdam to Ostrava. Taking the airplane is the fastest option. From Amsterdam you can fly to Ostrava via Prague. Another option is flying to Prague and then take the train (3,5 hour) to Ostrava. If you prefer to travel on your own, a car is recommended for transportation. For this you invest half a day on a direct ride, but you can make your holiday a lot more interesting if you dive into the cities that you pass along the way. Berlin and Prague are perfect stopovers to hop through for example. Not in possession of a car and driver’s license? Take the train and go interrailing!

Train to Ostrava

Conclusion

In conclusion, I must say that the entire city has a certain atmosphere, there is something very interesting about Ostrava. The old buildings, abandoned factories, green parks and the nice architecture of the old town all add up to this. In short: there is plenty to do and see in Ostrava! Combining the festival and sightseeing in the city makes up for a perfect Czech trip, and is wholeheartedly recommended!

Are you planning to visit Ostrava one day? Let us know in the comments!

Love,

Iris

*Iris is one of our guest editors from The Netherlands. She’s got a big interest in photography, fashion, spirituality and traveling. She was 3 months old when she was on the plane for the first time and has been to every continent in the meantime. You can follow iris on Instagram.

Konstanz City Guide

Berlin, Hamburg or München. All cities that you have heard of. But today we want to introduce you a lesser known German city that deserves a mention; Konstanz.

Located next to Lake Constance (Bodensee) and near the border of Switzerland, Konstanz is a great option if you want to combine more destinations in a short period. It has the charm of a German city, yet it feels more like a southern holiday destination, especially during summer. The easiest way to get here is by train or car because it doesn’t have an airport. That saying, it depends on the destination you’re traveling from of course.

City Guide Konstanz

Konstanz can be described as a peaceful city where people enjoy the outdoors and enjoy long summer evenings with friends.

Where to stay

Hotel prices can be quite expensive in Konstanz so it’s great to have an option that is reasonably affordable plus comfortable. We stayed at ibis Styles, which is playful, stylish and low key. You’ll find all sorts of travellers here. Families, couples, old & young and even business travellers. Every ibis Styles hotel is unique and has its own style and theme. Because Konstanz is located next to the water, it was no surprise that the hotel played into that.

ibis styles Konstanz
The bar at ibis Styles Konstanz

Our Room

We stayed in a family room on the top floor which was perfect because it had 2 separate parts but could also be transformed into one large area. This meant our little boy could sleep peacefully while we watched our favourite series. It includes a small kitchen with a fridge and a bar.

Ibis Styles Konstanz
ibis Styles Konstanz

Breakfast was actually surprisingly good! Croissants, crunchy bread rolls, fruit and healthy oats could be found at the morning buffet. Nice to know: they are currently refurbishing their garden that will feature a Jeu de Boules area and plenty of space for outdoor seating.

WIN WIN WIN

Because we are this years ibis Styles ambassadors, we can make ONE lucky person happy with a free night for 2 people at an ibis Styles Hotel of choice, located in the Benelux! Your free stay will include free wifi and a good breakfast of course. All you need to do is, comment below or below our Facebook post about Konstanz and tag the person you want to take with you! *Please note, that travel cost are not included.

Konstanz City Guide
Yes, that’s me swimming in the river of Konstanz

What to do

  • Schänzle
    Locals enjoy the sunset here and socialise with friends. Locals come here to relax, eat and drink.
  • Bodensee Therme Pool
    If you have kids, you should visit this fun and beautiful outdoor swimming pool. Next door is a therma bath which you need to pay extra for if you want to use it, but you can also swim in the lake. Plenty of slides and a kiddies pool fo the little ones.
  • Strandbad Horn
    Right next to the pool, there is a free sunbathing spot that is lovely. You can swim in Lake Constance and there is a sandy area, plus enough space.
  • Mainau flower island
    Just offshore from Lake Constance you’ll find this very special island with greenhouses, rose gardens, and acres of other beautiful flowers. Because of Konstanz semitropical climate, some of the most stunning flowers grow here.

Swimmingpool Konstanz

Konstanz, Germany
Shopping at Das Voglhaus

Where to Eat

The most important thing about a travel guide is the food right? Konstanz has plenty of choice, but there are some that stand out from the bunch.

  • Holly’s
    Such a nice place by the water with friendly staff and plenty of food choices! The interior is funky stylish, plus they have a huge outside terrace. Oh, and they also have an ice-cream bar that is just too good to skip. hollys.de
  • Wohnzimmer
    Translated to living room and that is exactly what the vibe is. Comfy chairs and sofa’s make it feel like you are stepping into your mothers living room. They mainly serve meat but also veggie burgers. Facebook
  • Das Voglhaus
    This all vegetarian and mostly vegan spot has been around for over 20 years! You can get healthy juices, good coffee, homemade cake and lunch here. Sustainability and animal wellbeing is key here, but they mannaged to combine that with a modern style which turned Das Voglhaus the hotspot of Konstanz. If you walk to the downstairs toilet, you end up in their next door gift shop which is also worth a visit! www.das-voglhaus.de
  • Hafenhalle
    Next to the harbour of Konstanz, you’ll find this traditional Biergarten, bar and restaurant. The food is local and mostly homemade. Come here and stay until the stars appear. www.hafenhalle.com

Hollys Konstanz
Holly’s Konstanz

food and drink at Kon
Veggie hotspot Das Voglhaus

Das Voglhaus Konstanz
Vitamins at Das Voglhaus

In short, Konstanz is a great alternative for a city trip if you are planning to travel through Germany or Switzerland!

Love,

Elke

*This article was written in collaboration with ibis Styles

 

The Manchester Weekend Guide

Manchester is one of the, if not the most, fastest-growing cities in England. Below, we have handpicked and tested some of the newest restaurants and stayed in the snazziest new boutique hotel to make sure your next city break is nothing but top-notch.

Whether you are travelling from within the United Kingdom or further out, Manchester is pretty easy to get to by both train and flights – no excuse not to visit it. If you are not yet convinced about visiting this North-Western city, see here for five reasons why it’s better than London

All the up and coming places in Manchester for your next city break

Where to stay in Manchester

The chic hotel chain Dakota has recently opened its fifth hotel in the country right in the centre of Manchester. It is a maximum five-minute walk from Piccadilly train station. Whilst there are plenty of hotels in Manchester, Dakota is probably the most elegant one you’ll find. I felt like an A-list staying there and that is no exaggeration. Before you even step foot into its front doors, you are greeted by the brightest of smiles and throughout your stay, the staffs are attentive without being intruding, which I find can sometimes be the case with other hotels. Book your stay here.

Dakota Manchester

Breakfast Manchester Guide
Breakfast at Dakota

Where to eat in Manchester

Generally speaking, the food scene here in Manchester is pretty impressive. I’d say its variety of restaurants is almost as competitive as London. Many chains had their first restaurants in London have now made their way up to the North, starting right here in Manchester, and Dishoom is no exception. The menu at this Bombay restaurant works just the same as the ones they have in London, with a few dishes that are exclusively available in Manchester. This includes the delicious and generously portioned Chef’s special and the spicy chilli chicken. Go there for a meal or even just for drinks at night before you hit the clubs next door!

Manchester

But first..

For a nice cup of coffee, head over to Over Under for your caffeine fix. This chic new place in town is a coffee shop by day and a cocktail bar by night. You know who’ll be staying there all day!

Enjoy the creative spin on the modest English dish, fish and chips.

If you’re feeling fancy, indulge in a meal like no others at Six by Nico, a fabulously new restaurant open by the Michelin chef Nico Simeone. While fine dining can be intimidating, Six by Nico makes the experience accessible to all, in its concept and price, and super enjoyable. The six-course meal is the chef’s creative spin on the modest English dish, fish and chips. There’s also an option to take it up a notch by adding an expertly paired wine to your six-course meal for only £26. For those who have to be more cautious with their diet, 3Squared is the first Free-From restaurant in town, serving deliciously good food with care and without 9 of the inflammatory ingredients that are known for causing some of the most common allergies.

Six by Nico Manchester

Worth a mention

While this isn’t exactly a new spot, I couldn’t not give Brewski a shout out – they do the best mac and cheese in town and also a selection of brunch food, coffees and alcoholic beverages! Go there and see (and try) it for yourself! Don’t want to limit yourself to just one cuisine? Make sure you check out the biggest and apparently, the best street food fair every Friday and Saturday at Grub. They also do Plant Powered Sundays with a selection of vegan food for grab with live music. Perfect place to spend your sunny weekend!

You can find beautiful handmade crafts and vintage clothes every first Sunday of the month

What to do in Manchester

To begin with, make your weekend a fun one by challenging your friends to a game of minigolf at Junkyard Golf or a few rounds of darts at Flight Club. This isn’t your usual pub game. This is the most innovative and thrilling game of darts you will ever play, trust me! Can’t decide between shuffleboard or beer pong? In this case, go to Roxy Ball Room on Deansgate and do both!

Markets

Since you’re there for the weekend, why not check out the weekend markets in town? The Makers Market happens twice a month in Manchester. You can find beautiful handmade crafts and vintage clothes every first Sunday of the month in the big open space at Great Northern. Secondly, on the second Sunday of the month on the other side of town in the Northern Quarter, you’ll find everything from freshly baked goods to arts and crafts. For all other Sundays, smell your way to the street food market up in the Piccadilly Gardens

Manchester Guide

What are you waiting for? Book your next weekend getaway to Manchester right now and let us know if you try any of the recommendations above!

Love,

Chantelle

*Chantelle is one of our guest editor from Hong Kong. She has lived in three different countries and have travelled across many continents. Having been in England for the past nine years and graduated with a Law degree, she is now taking a break in Paris for the year as she figures out her next step in life. Always passport ready, she is an expert at traveling light and on a budget, although she still enjoys the occasional indulgence in a luxurious holiday. You can follow her on Instagram.

More city Guides?

 

 

 

 

7 x Hidden Gems in Valencia

The Spanish city Valencia is the perfect weekend (or holiday) get-away and is only a 2.5-hour flight from the Netherlands. City, beach, park, and sailing, it is all there!

However, if you feel like getting off the beaten path and see something different, here are some hidden gems and places in Valencia that are often overlooked. Luckily, you can easily book your Valencia tickets in no time, for a break in the sunshine.

Bluebell Coffee

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

Bluebell Valencia

Petticoat Vintage

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

Vintage store Valencia

Almalibre

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

Jardines de Monforte

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

Valencia

El Saler Beach

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

San Tomasso

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

La Fabrica de Hielo

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


Extra tips:

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

Love,

Iris