10 X MOVIES THAT WILL TRIGGER YOUR WANDERLUST

toDo you need some inspiration for your travel bucket list? Or can you use a good dose of wanderlust on a rainy afternoon? Travel movies offer the solution! So sit back and dream for an hour or two with visuals of beautiful places which you can hopefully visit someday afterwards.

In my opinion, these are 10 of the most beautiful travel movies that you must see.

Into the wild (Alaska)

A wonderful movie about traveling solo. The main character, Christopher McCandless, gives away everything he has to prove that he does not need material to live. A special film about freedom, solitude and nature.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Hawaii)

The devastated Peter is going to Hawaii so he can relax and deal with the recent break-up with his ex-girlfriend. Once he is there, he finds out that his ex is staying at the same resort and she’s bringing along her new boyfriend. A hilarious film that is perfect for getting into the tropical Hawaiian atmosphere.

Hawaii | travel movies

The secret life of Walter Mitty (Greenland, Iceland, Afghanistan)

Who doesn’t want a great and compelling life, full of adventure and beautiful journeys? That is exactly what the protagonist Walter Mitty wants. He is a man who dreams of a new life, far away from his office. A recommendation if you want to see a feel-good travel movie that takes you to the most stunning places.

Midnight in Paris (Paris)

The movie Midnight in Paris is about a harmless yet clumsy American (Gil Pender) who is tired of his wife’s lack in interests. He decides to spend his time in Paris exploring its artistic and literary history. After watching this movie, I can assure you that you will fall in love with the French! Have you read our brand new Paris Guide yet?

Paris Guide 2020

Slumdog Millionaire (India)

In contrast to Paris, Slumdog Millionaire takes mostly place in the slums of India and shows a whole new side of the country. The film follows the 18-year-old Jamal who participates in the game program “Who wants to be a millionaire?” Let the movie take you on a fairy-tale journey through hectic India.

Eat pray love (Italy, India, Indonesia)

In the film adaptation of the book Eat Pray Love we follow Liz (Julia Roberts) on her journey of self-discovery through 3 countries. The first time I watched the movie I fell in love with all three locations where she ate (Italy) prayed (India) and found love (Bali).

Wander-Lust in Bali

Lost in Translation (Japan)

In the same fashion, this movie is also about love and friendship, set in Tokyo. The overwhelming metropolis is fairly truthfully portrayed. It is a must see for anyone traveling to Japan, but even without specific travel plans you can dream away due all the beautiful images that pass by.

Chef (U.S.)

This movie follows Chef Carl Casper as he tries to find meaning in his life and work by traveling from Miami to Los Angeles in his food truck. It’s an entertaining and very lovable feel good movie that makes you want to road trip through the U.S. and try out all kinds of food.

Wild (West America)

Unquestionably, Wild is appreciated by backpackers across the globe. Cheryl (Reese Witherspoon) decides to abandon her normal life and goes on a journey on her own. She has put set her sights on the Pacific Crest Trail, which is a long path that runs from the border with Canada in the north of America to the border with Mexico in the south of America.

Gift ideas for backpackers | Wander-Lust

Lord of the Rings (New Zealand)

From time to time, a travel movie like the Lord of the Rings captivates millions of fans all around the world. The fictional Middle-earth, where the story take place, seems to be a completely different world, although all scenes were shot in New Zealand (of course with editing, but still). It may be a fantasy adventure film; it remains one of my favourites. After watching, I always feel like planning a trip to beautiful New Zealand.

New Zealand travel movies

Happy watching!

Iris

Calabria | The last Undiscovered piece of Italy

Italy remains an ideal holiday destination. Places like Rome, Toscana, Milano and Positano are visited by millions of tourists every year. The southern province Calabria however, has been untouched by mass tourism but is just as beautiful as other Italian region.

If you want to avoid the usual tourist routes but you still want all the goods Italy has to offer, keep on reading! In this guide you will find the perfect stopovers for a wonderful off the beaten track trip through Calabria. I was invited by Enotria Travel, which is especially designed for those that want to discover the less traveled and authentic places in Italy. Its owner, Tina Altieri was born in Calabria and has been living in the Netherlands for over 25 years now. Needless to say that she knows the region inside out! I would therefore definitely recommend consulting this organization if you prefer not to arrange a trip to Calabria yourself.

Renting a car is the most convenient option because many of the finest spots are remote.

How to get there?

Calabria is located in the toe of the Italian boot, the far south of Italy. Lamezia Terme Airport is centrally located in Calabria, so from here you can reach various cities in the region easily and quickly. Tip: Always check how to compensate your CO2 emissions! At the same time, it is also possible to travel by car or train, although it will take you around 22-25 hours from Amsterdam.

Rotonda

To begin with, our first stopover is in Rotonda which is less than a 2-hour drive away from the airport in Calabria. It is an atmospheric town where you hardly meet any other tourists. The village is an excellent base to discover the Parco Nazionale dell Pollino. Consequently, this park is the largest protected nature reserve in Italy and covers around 200.000 hectares. You can go rafting, tubing, mountain biking, river walking, trekking, yoga and much more. If you are interested in such an activity, River Tribe organizes the best excursions and outdoor activities for this part of Calabria.

Rotonda, Calabria Italy
Rotonda, Calabria

Rafting on the Lao river is absolutely recommended, because the trail is exceptionally beautiful. When traversing the canyon, you witness the prowess of 300 meters high rock walls, with rays of sunlight shining through, leaves whirling around and drops of water falling down. Thereupon, you’ll truly feel like you are in some sort of fairy tale!

Rafting Calabria
Stunning nature in Calabria

From Rotonda it is also worthwhile to visit the village Altomonte, which lies on a mountain top (approx. 490 meters above sea level). Walk to the charming 14th-century church Santa Maria della Consolazione on top of the mountiain and enjoy the view over the surrounding landscape.

Altomonde, Calabria

Accomodation tip:

Il Borgo Ospitale is an albergo diffuso with 13 rooms and a restaurant, right in the historic center of Rotonda. Basically, an albergo diffuso is a “scattered hotel” meaning that the accommodation is located in different houses and apartments in the same village. The fun thing about this concept is that your neighbours are probably locals. Particularly, this is a perfect solution for anyone who wants something else than your typical hotel experience.

Scilla

Scilla is called “the little Venice of the Tyrrhenian Sea” for a reason. This little atmospheric village is astonishing beautiful. Small houses that are built on the water give a romantic feeling throughout the place. It is by walking through the narrow streets where you come across old fountains, little chapels and hidden pathways to the sea. The village is famous for their pesce spade (swordfish) plus the harbour is studded with blue and green coloured traditional fishing boats that don’t seem to have changed much through centuries. Scilla is a special place you won’t easily forget!

Scilla also has a cozy beach with a view of a big rock formation with a castle on top of it. You can go snorkelling and diving around this rock. Due to the sea currents, special anemones grow there and many different fish species can be seen.

Gerace

Gerace is an exceptionally picturesque village with a whole load of history. You can wander around for a couple of hours in the small alleys where you constantly come across special historical buildings. One of the oldest churches dates from the year 900 and one of the highlights is the majestic Cathedral of Gerace. For me, it really felt like I was back in the middle ages when I strolled through the streets of this village.

Calabria streets
Scilla, Calabria

Fun fact: Gerace has 250 inhabitants and 40 remaining churches. This means that every family could have their own church.

Calabria, Italy

From Gerace you can also do some nice trips. The Aspromonte National Park (which is also called “Valley of the Great stones”) is about half an hour away and offers the possibility to hike. The park has mountains up to 2000 meters, a large number of waterfalls, rivers, archaeological sites as well as many species of animals.

Accommodation tip:

If you wish for a truly authentic stay in this southern region of Calabria, I would recommend staying at an Agriturismo, which is a farm that is primarily used for agriculture but serves as a hosting place for tourists as well. People who live on the farm, produce everything themselves: oil, wine, meat, vegetables etc. In their restaurant they only serve their own products! As soon as you step on the farm grounds you’ll experience the tranquillity. The Azienda Macri is outside of the village, so if you would like to stay right in the old centre of Gerace we would recommend B&B Palazzo Candida.

Agriturismo Calabria
Agriturismo, Calabria

The food culture is even stronger in Calabria than in other regions of Italy because agriculture is the most important sector. Be prepared for abundant meals, something the Calabres are known for.

Tropea

Tropea lies on the coastline between Pizzo Calabro and Nicotera Marina. This coastline is called the Costa degli Dei (which means the “Coast of the Gods”) since the landscape is marvellous. The azure blue sea is reminiscent of the tropical beaches in South East Asia. The village of Tropea is also referred to as the Pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea and is located on a cliff at about 60 meters above sea level. Tropea itself is quite small but undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Calabria. In fact, Tropea was one of my favourite places because it has that great combination of beach, sea and Mediterranean town life.

Tropea Calabria

A must-see is the Isola di Tropea. This is a rock in the clear blue sea with the Santa Marina dell’Isola monastery on top of it. From here you have a good view on Tropea and the sunbathing people down on the beach. Another recommendation is to do a boat trip with the company Shark Bay. Start with some snorkelling and then enjoy the panorama of Tropea from the water (with a glass of wine).

Tropea beach, Calabria

Tropea is a popular place in July and August by many tourists, but also by Italians who are enjoying their holiday. In these two months the town will be fairly busy but the rest of the year it will be calm. It’s the perfect place to spend a couple of days and enjoy the beauty of the town and the beaches.

Calabria, Italy

Capo Vaticano

Located about 10km south of tropea lies Capo Vaticano. Here you can find the most beautiful shores of South Italy. Stunning little beaches are hidden behind the high cliffs and are accessible via large stairs or by boat.

Capo Vaticana Calabri

Accomodation tip:

Le Case di Berto. This a very peaceful site, build by a famous Italian writer. There are 7 houses built on the property, usually for 2 people with a view of the Stromboli volcano and sea. A staircase with 440 steps will bring you to Spiaggette; a private beach that belongs to the writer’s site. Book it here.

Capo Vaticana Calabri

My Verdict

Generally speaking, Calabria has something for everyone. Those who love nature and adventure can explore the Calabrian outback and discover unpolluted landscapes with lots of greenery. At the same time, if you prefer walking along the beach and enjoy the blue sea, you can choose between the many areas along the long Tyrrhenian and Ionian coasts. The options are endless. Picturesque villages, stunning national parks, ancient towns and white sandy beaches along crystal clear water, but without hordes of people.

The fact that there are rarely any tourists in this region really amazed me, so go before the rest of the world finds out about it! Find out more about this region on Enotria Travel!

Ciao,

Iris

Iris was invited to Calabria by Enotria Travel. However, we always pick our collaborations carefully, so we can give you the best tips.

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).

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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

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).

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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

Most colourful places in the world

We’ve selected our top 7 most colorful places in the world so you can travel and bring some color to your life!

1. Chefchaouen, Morocco’s bluest village  
Blue Monday has never looked so good. We are totally mesmerized by this beautiful Moroccan village called Chefhaouen. Chefchaouen (or Chaouen) is situated in the Rif Mountains, just inland from Tangier and TetouanFounded in 1471, the town now has about 200 hotels & apartments because of the increasing number of tourists. Did you know? That the countryside Chefchaouen region is one of the main producers of cannabis in Morocco. Hashish is subsequently sold all over town, but is mostly the domain of native Chaouenis.

chefchaouen
We can’t get over these beautiful colors

2.  The Favelas, Rio De Janeiro
Notorious for their crime wars and poverty, this part of Rio is looking rather colourful since a couple of years thanks to 2 Dutch artists.
They employ local youth to paint the buildings and houses for a few reasons; Give them something they can be proud of and take them of the streets.
We love this and that’s why it’s our number 2. Check their website for more info and other projects.

colorful favela
The Favela have never looked so colorful (Source: Favelapainting.com)

3. Isla Mujeres, Mexico
This small Caribbean island is one of the most colorful places on earth because of  all the shops and houses there. It’s only 7km in length and it’s perfect for lazy beach days. Did you know? That Isla Mejeres literally means “women island”

colorful houses
Wouldn’t you just want to live in a house like this one?! (Source: Fotolia/AP)

4. Havana, Cuba
Yes, you knew this one was going to be in the list right? Havana is becoming more popular now that the USA renewed their bond with Cuba. If you want to experience Havana in all it’s original beauty, you must hurry up. We’ve heard that the first MC Donald’s have been spotted..

Havana, Cuba
Still authentic..

5. Vernazza, Italy
It used to be only accessible by sea or steep walking routes, but now the milk train provides easy accessVernazza is one of 5 villages along the Cinque Terre coast of Italy and the train runs into each of the five towns. The blue sea and the green trees certainly help but this village owns its own colourful reputation. Did you know? That there is a trail that connects all 5 towns together? So bring your walking shoes!

Vernazza, Italy
All the colors match in Vernazza.

6. Rainbow Mountain
Only visit when it’s sunny they say, because you might be disappointed with the pallet of colours as you arrive. But rainbow mountain still remains something special and should not be excluded from this list. Have you been?

Rainbow mountain

7. The Netherlands (during Tulip season)
During April, May, something beautiful is happening in the Netherlands: Tulip Season! People from all over the world come to look at a variety of tulips in all sorts of sizes and colors. We can’t wait for this year, and we hope to take some drone shots!

Tulip field Netherlands

Love,

Elke

How to see Rome in 2 days

This city has been on my European bucketlist forever. Somehow I never got the chance to visit Rome but when I planned my Greek Island hopping tour a few months back, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to fly via Rome. With only 2 days to discover this Italian capital, I needed to plan a little ahead to make the most of it. After all, 2 days may seem too short for a city with so many things to see but it can be done! How?

Here’s my guide on how to make the most of  your visit to Rome in 2 days:

1. Book yourself an Airbnb and stay in an area just outside the centre.
You’ll proberly stay in an authentic italian house with a local host. This way you get real inside tips and information.
I stayed at Mario’s Place which was located at Trastevere. Great walking distance to most must see attractions and next to the tram 8 which takes you to the centre in just a few minutes. Breakfast contains of fresh cakes and pastry’s and is including within the price. (Just make sure you get the directions right as Mario will send you a full and clear description at the time of your booking. I booked a few months ahead so I already forgot about them and ended up calling him a few times as I couldn’t find his front door.)

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My flowery Airbnb accommodation in Rome

2. Bring comfy shoes.
Rome is very accessible on foot and every area is near to eachother.  
But Rome wasn’t build in a day so expect to walk a few extra miles! I didn’t use the tram a lot so I walked an average of 7km(!) a day and in this case you might end up with blisters if you bring those: they-only-look-good-shoes.

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Caught in an exhausted “moment”

3. Pre-Buy your tickets 
Especially for the main attractions like the Colosseum.This way you can skip the que. During summertime it can be craaaazy busy!

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Both impressive: The Colosseum and the 2000 year old Pantheon.

4. Eat where the locals eat.
This is my biggest tip for all destinations. Don’t eat near the tourist attractions as the food will be overpriced and you won’t taste real authentic food. I had my first pizza at Mirrors pizzaria. Pizza’s cost 6 euro’s and were crunchy and delicious! I had a lovely dinner at Baylon Café where they serve homemade pasta with a twist. I was the only “tourist” in the restaurant (i see myself more as a traveller) and I enjoyed watching the beautiful people of Rome eating and drinking wine. Perfect night.


Enjoying the Italian cuisine at Baylon Cafe in Trastevere.

5. Save cash by using the free tab water.
Rome is hot, and in summer it’s boiling. Thank god for the free and very drinkable tap water that you will find throughout the city in little fountains. I filled about 4 bottles a day and I saved money at the same time!
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One of the many life savers in Rome!

6. Keep it real Italian
Go to a little bakery/delicatesse shop like Giselda Forno and taste the fine italian cuisine and even better, take it with you while you wander round. Sit in the shade and enjoy!
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Help, too many to choose from at Giselda Forno!

7. Check the Rome events calendar for special celebrations or nights.
When I was there, I enjoyed a special art cinema night by the river with music and films.
I found this great website here you can easily see what’s on and when.

8. Walk alongside the Tiber river at night
Have a cocktail at one of many cute bars alongside the water. Make deals with the temperamental market sales men and listen to the occasional karaoke.

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One of the many outdoor bars you will find on one side of the riverbanks

9. Visit one of Rome’s many markets.
From vegetables, herbs and fresh fruit to wine, kitchenware and art.
The most famous markets are Piazza Testaccio and Il Traittore. The less crowded but also great are San Teodoro – Circo Massimo and Ponte Milvio.

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Colorful vegetables and pasta’s at the Piazza Testaccio market.

10. Last but not least; if you can, do not visit Rome during summer.
Why not? Well, because it’s just so bloody hot! 
30 degrees is a high temperature if you have to walk around in Rome. It was a sticky experience sometimes and it’s not the dry heat you will find in Greece for example. Lucky for me, I like the heat (perhaps it’s because I have Indonesian blood?). If you must go during this period, then you should be aware of this and dress accordingly.

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They still exist! 
 
I hope you can use these tips for your next visit to Rome!

Ciao Ciao wanderlusties!

Love,

Elke

Isolabona, a new place to visit in Italy!

When I was a kid, my parents always visited Italy during the summer holidays. I always loved going there and after a few years it felt like my second home. We always went to the ‘Lago di Garda’ which is a very common and popular place for Dutch people to visit. Last year however, I wanted something different. A friend of mine told me about a similar place, where her parents bought a house and it was suppose to be stunning. It was called Isolabona. I had never heard of that place before so when she asked me to join her, I couldn’t wait! And let me tell you, it’s Italy’s hidden gem.

About Isolabona
Isolabona is a very cozy small city in northern Italy. It has its own picturesque feeling and it is not that touristic. This village is hidden between the mountains and has a beautiful environment for those who love nature! The village is not a typical summer destination for tourists because it is not a seaside resort. But don’t be sad if you are a beach lover because the sea is a 30 min ride away and nothing is more fun than to ride a scooter in Italy! The nicest seaside resorts nearby are called Ventimiglia or Bordighera. Isolabona also has a lot to offer for people who love to do sports.


Stunning views at Isolabona

Where to swim?
If you want to have a swim a little closer to Isolabona you can go to the beautiful mountain rivers. These rivers are very special due to the ‘water pools’ with crystal clear water. These water pools interrupt the stream and are very deep, which is why they are perfect for a swim! These pools are a little cold but when it is 35 degrees in Italy you would love to cool down like this! You can find these beautiful pools in Rocchetta, Pigna and Dolceacqua.

Isolabona

Dolceacqua
This city is close to Isolabona and the artist Claude Monet found his inspiration here for his painting ‘Le chateau de Dolceacqua’. The city is very adorable and bustling. The bridge towards the city runs over the river Nervia. This beautiful bridge is 33m long and connects Borgo, with Terra. Borgo is the old medieval part of the village and in Terra you can find cute shopping streets and terraces.

Dolceacqua
Dolceacqua

What else to do?
Besides the lovely swimming areas, most beautiful nature and the inspiring history, you can visit this area for Italy’s finest; FOOD!! Italy has always been popular because they prepare all their food with love. The best places to go to in this area are:

In Isolabona you have Pizzeria dal Vecchio Forno for the best pizza’s! If you are more of a pasta person I would recommend the Bunda Bar, where they serve homemade pasta. In Dolceacqua you will find Osteria Quattro Gatti The food is very nice but also the employees are very kind. They make sure you’ll have a typical magical Italian night. Even though their food is amazing, don’t order dessert there! I would recommend you to walk to the ice cream parlor next door, they serve the best ice cream ever! Inside Tip: Oh, and for those who really love to drink wine; Dolceacqua has its own wine (Rossese Dolceacqua), and it is delicious!

Conclusion: Isolabona is a great spot for your next summer vacation! Even if everything I mentioned before isn’t enough, the area has a lot to offer. For example, you could even go to Nice or Monaco for a day! Both cities are just about one hour drive.

So, when are you going to visit Italy’s finest?

Love,

Michelle

*Michelle is one of our guest editors who lives in Amsterdam. She is a senior student on her way of becoming a media specialist. She’s got a big interest for design, writing and traveling. After exploring Amsterdam she wanted to discover more of the world. She’s not your typical typical tourist though, which is why she is always searching for the best local bars and restaurants! You can follow her on @michelle.debruin

Check Out Bari, Italy!

Bari not as popular as Puglia but it’s definitely worth visiting and I’m going to tell you why! From spectacular gems, top-notch cuisine to historic castles. This town is full of energy and great atmosphere. Bari is a big port city on the Adriatic coast; the capital of the Italian region of Puglia. I stayed here for a few days in an Airbnb apartment close to the city center.

Bari Vecchia
The “old town” of Bari, is a must-se! A very charming town with lots of hidden lane ways and paths and amazing architecture. You will see old cute Italian men on the streets playing cards and you will see grandmothers sit outside their homes and roll, shape and sell fresh pasta, orecchiette (or “little ears” pasta are traditionally found and made in Puglia). Lovely to walk trough and stroll Day and Night.

baris-architecture

Italian Gelato
Italians do it better than every other in the world, they make the best gelatos! When in Italy I can eat ice-cream for lunch, dinner, and in between meals. I found this place called Martinucci 1950. The flavors were all pure and fresh and my favorite was the “pistacchio” the taste is sublime!

Ice-cream in Bari

Food and Drinks with a view
Admire almost the entire seafront of Bari at Via Venezia. The seafront walk here is very pretty, decorated with cute street lamps, and surrounded by Victorian style buildings. After walking around you should definitely go to La Ciclatera Sotto il mare. This cafe has a nice, small terrace with views over the sea and old walls. Time for an aperitif!

Wandering around
One of nice things of Bari is that this city is easy to visit by walk. Walk along the old city walls, with beautiful views of the palm tree lined promenade on the sea. Then Visit the Basilica of St Nicholas, where apparently the bones of the real Saint Nicholas lay buried. Last but not least, visit the Cathedral (Duomo) of San Sabino.

wandering-around-bari

Beach
Spending time at the beach is also another popular thing to do during a vacation in Bari. In just 15 minutes’ walk you can go from the center to the beach. Discover which are the most famous beaches. The beaches of Polignano a Mare for example, among the most popular along the coast, some rocky, some with golden sand.

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The cute fisher boats of Bari’s coast

Love,

Sarah

An Italian Summer full of festivals!

It seems as if Italy has finally got its mojo back, this year the Italian beaches will be the summer destination of choice for millions of Europeans probably wary to venture to tourist destinations in Turkey, France and Spain. Unfortunately, the terror threat has had a certain decisive factor for many travelers however Italian hotel owners will be the last to complain. If you are coming to Italy this summer you are absolutely spoiled for choice as there are countless music, theatre and gastronomy festivals, outdoor operas and concerts by international stars. There is still plenty on schedule for this Italian Summer.

As it promises to be another long hot summer with temperatures up to 40 degrees in many popular destinations I’m guessing you will be up for some action during the cooler evenings. This is a rundown of my favourite events which will be taking place during the end of July up to about the end of August in some of the main tourism destinations such as Marche, Tuscany and Sardinia.

Marche is a glorious summer destination with some of the best beaches, food and wine Italy has to offer. Marche is also the destination for Summer Outdoor Opera lovers such as the Macerata Opera Festival will be playing through the 14th of August at the Arena Sferisterio. www.sferisterio.it

A favourite of Classical music lovers is the Ravello Festival, these enchanting concerts take place high above the Mediterranean Sea in the ancient hamlet of Ravello, with unmatched views over the Amalfi coastline. Concerts are to be scheduled throughout the month of August up until September 30th. www.ravellofestival.com

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Stunning views at the Ravello Festival

I’m going to skip right over to Sardegna if I may, for the Dromos Festival, for those of us that would like to celebrate the existence of the ‘disobedient’ woman! Who doesn’t? The objective of the festival is to pay homage to contributions of women in music and the arts. A festival that could potentially please many with an international line up filled with new age jazz, blues and contemporary acts. Taking place from the 1st august until the 15th of August: Concerts, expositions and theatre some of which will be held center stage at the spectacular ancient seafront amphitheater, the Arena di Tharros. www.dromosfestival.it

So you actually think you would like to spend August in Rome? No you aren’t completely weird, no weirder then me in any case! Because I think Rome is awesome in August, no traffic, parking spots, quiet evenings. So don’t miss taking in an Puccini Opera at the Roman Thermal Baths of Caraccalla which is being used as a backdrop for some of the most amazing Italian Operas up until mid August with Madame Butterfly, Nabucco and The Barber of Seville on the program. Tickets are available here 

However the hottest ticket in town is most likely the Andrea Bocelli concert The Cirque to be held at the open air Teatro di Silenzio near the Tuscan town of Lajatico on the Maremma Coast on the 29th and the 30th of July. http://citysoundmilano.com/it/teatro-del-silenzio/biglietti/

Italian Summer, teatro del silenzio

I’ll meet you here this Italian summer! – Cous Cous Fest 16th – 25th of September in Sicily
If you ever traveled to Sicily and missed a visit to the beaches and islands off the Western Coast in my opinion you have missed out on some of the prettiest beaches, national parks and idyllic holiday islands on the Sicilian coastline. From Castellemare di Golfo to the outer island of Pantelleria the province of Trapani makes for a stunning holiday destination. Those of you looking for great street food, eateries and great beaches look no further than the town of San Vito Lo Capo. You would do well to stop by during the annual Cous Cous Fest that’s set between the narrow streets and piazza’s. It’s a truly a gastronomy festival where Europe meets Africa. This is a Cous Cous cook off with contestant chefs from eight countries – Côte d’Ivoire, France, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia, plus the Palestinian Territories
www.couscousfest.it

Ttalian Summer, cous cous fest
Feast your tastebuds at the cous cous fest. Photo source: http://www.deliciousitaly.com/

Love,

Elisabeth

*Elisabeth Jane is one of our guest bloggers who lives in Rome and knows all about Italy! If you are looking for more entertainment options, feel free to give these events pages a quick visit for a year round selection of the best events in Italy. www.dolcevia.com