New Hotel in Paris! Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon

It’s time for a baby shower because the Marriot Hotel family is welcoming a new member. Her name is Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon; a hotel created by business travelers, for business travelers. Consisting of 19 floors, 249 guestrooms and a 360° hypnotizing view. With her passionate personality, modern style and bubbly attitude she’s not only a valued addition to the Marriott chain but also to the city of l’amour & la moda; Paris

Courtyard meets Gare de Lyon
No more green, grey and white: courtyard is completely restyled. The design of the hotel is spacious and professional. No frills or overly decorated rooms. What I personally appreciate is that they manage to give the hotel a creative twist, but still very functional, by using a lots of yellow. By using Mondrian like lines as a symbol for train tracks throughout the building, the hotel integrates the surrounding, where the famous station Gare de Lyon is based. Not only the interior of the hotel is brand new. This old office building is completely renewed to match the restyling. Also on the outside you can find train track inspired details, like the lighted lines which form a rail design over the length of the building.

It’s not only the beautiful Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon which will rejoice you looking out of the window. The hotel offers 46 rooms with Eiffel Tower view and 51 rooms where you can see the Sacré Coeur.

Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon

Everything that you need and nothing more
By leaving out unnecessary luxury but only providing the standard necessities for a comfortable night sleep, Courtyard manage to offer quality for a lower price point. Simple and smart perfectly describes the room. The rooms have a modern design; clean and cozy at the same time which, for me, is the perfect combination. Because the strong focus on business travelers the rooms are also very suitable for catching up a few hours of work in between meetings (what I also should have done but the bed was too cozy so I took a power nap instead).

Lobby
The lobby of Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon

In my opinion the room only had 2 downsides.
● They don’t offer room service, which is not possible for the current price point but still something you should take into account.
● The bathroom is really small. Very nicely designed, but small. This could also just be my room. And, alright, I’m 1,80m so it’s pretty easy to find something small but it took away some of the comfort 😉

Hotel view

International Food with a twist Francaise.
The menu is a combination of authentic, seasonal local specialties mixed with international dishes. The whole hotel staff is very passionate about the qualities of the kitchen which was a great thing to see. They don’t just focus on providing the guests with a meal, they aim to provide an experience. The chefs work with a lot of local produce, offer vegetarian options and even grow their own herbs on the roof. This is not only beneficial for the seasoning but also a far more sustainable way to cook which I strongly promote. Craving some good-old comfort food? No worries, you can still find the hamburg & fries on the menu.


Tip: had un croissant or plateau de fromages too many? The gym in the hotel is open 24-hours.

Re-discovering Paris
Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon is not directly in the touristic centre of Paris but just wait with ordering your Uber right away. This area, the geographic centre of Paris, is an upcoming neighbourhood and currently attracting many millennials. Big-hitting must-see sights such a Bastille and Notre Dame de Paris are within walking distance. In addition, the area is also a transport hub so if you do want to visit the other side of the city there are many travel possibilities.

Paris
Colourful Rue Cremieux

Tip: Enjoy Paris from the water during a cruise or increase your instagram likes by taking a photo of the colorful photography hotspot Rue Cremieux.
Tip: Still got some energy left at the end of the day and want to jump into the nightlife? Wandering up towards Bastille you’ll find many bars but if you’re up for a new experiences, try LeCallbar. You’ll get your favorite drink served by a staff member only in underwear. Don’t ask me why.

Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon

The most important question after visiting an hotel is: would I visit the Courtyard again? For me, it is a definite yes. The main reasons are the comfort of the rooms and functional but creative design of the hotel. It’s the perfect place for a business trip or even sightseeing weekend.
And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to wake up standing eye to eye with the Eiffel Tower?

Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon
209-211 Rue de Bercy, Paris
Website

Love,

Eva

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

The Wanderlust of.. Instagram account @PrettyLittleLondon

After a press trip to Spain, we met London based Andrea, the co-founder of London @PrettyLittleLondon and owner of @dr_difilippo. Two amazing Instagram accounts that shows you the best of London, and the world has to offer. Want to know THE prettiest spots in London and are you curious about the story behind this amazing account, read on..

Nice to catch up with you again Andrea! Tell us a little bit about who you are and what @PrettyLittleLondon is all about.
@PrettyLittleLondon was created with the intention of showcasing the most beautiful hidden gems in London, which could be an undiscovered neighbourhood, a typical British pub, a colourful café or even a pretty door. Many Londoners tend to only explore their own neighbourhood and the main tourist attractions, but London is much much more, and we want them to get out of their comfort zone and start exploring!

Ice creams at Covent Garden Market, London, England.

We were amazed on how much London had to offer.

How did you and Sara come up with @PrettyLittleLondon, and did you guys ever expected it to be such a success?
I was working in an awful office job and was completely lacking creativity, so Sara thought it would be a good idea for us to buy a camera and start exploring the city we had lived in for over a year and knew nothing about. We started going on long walks and taking pictures, and we were amazed on how much London had to offer. We were looking for inspiration on Instagram but couldn’t really find anything a part from the obvious tourist attractions, which lead us to create an account where everyone could share anything they thought was ‘pretty’ in the city. We didn’t expect the account to grow so quickly, but we knew London needed an account like ours, it’s just such a pretty city!

Whale Natural History Museum
London’s natural history museum by Andrea

So you must know London pretty well by now. What’s your all time favourite spot and why?
There are so many, which makes it really hard to choose! But I really love Hampstead because it looks and feels like a small village within such a big city, so when I am looking to have a relaxing walk and take some nice pictures, that is my go-to spot.

Hamstead London
Hampstead, London

Elke lived in London for 7 years (near Hampstead actually!), but so much has changed over the years. What area in London do you think has stayed the most traditional?
I think the Southbank is pretty much the same as when I arrived in London and is – in my opinion – one of the best areas for a summer walk, with its stunning views and lovely atmosphere.

Our followers are loving the foodie hotspots; could you tip them 3 restaurants/café’s that are totally hot right now?
Again, there are so many! If I had to choose 3 though, it would have to be Elan Café, Mr Fogg’s and Coppa Club.


The amazing Elan Café

Coppa Club
The popular Coppa Club in London

Does this place even exist or was this just a dream?

Besides London, you guys travel a lot for Pretty Little Trips, what has been your favourite place so far?
Every place we have visited is unique in its own way, but if we had to choose our favourite so far it would have to be The Maldives. It’s one of those places that when you leave you ask yourself: ‘Does this place even exist or was this just a dream?’

What can we find in your carry-on luggage that you wouldn’t leave the house without?
The simple stuff, but necessary; my camera, power bank and laptop.

Maldives
The Maldives by Sara Helen Santini (@santinisarah)

Because you and Sara are a couple, we wonder; is it difficult to mix work with your relationship?
Not really, we are very good at separating work from our relationship, which means we can still switch off at the end of the day and enjoy our personal lives.

Andrea and Sara
Andrea and his Sara

Sounds very romantic! What can we expect of Pretty Little.. over the next few years?
We have a lot of projects and ideas we are working on, so expect a lot of surprises in the next 2-3 years!

Can’t wait! And finally; what kind of traveler would you consider yourself to be?
I am the traveller that will wake up at 6am to explore, and make the most of every second. (when I am in a new destination). Staying in the hotel to relax is not an option for me!

For London inspiration and the latest hotspots follow them on Instagram, or follow their other travel account @PrettyLittleTrips

Love,

Wander-Lust

*Header photo courtesy of @yaroslava_kirichok

 

 

 

The Wanderlust of.. Pro Surfer Julia van Rooij

She recently competed in the World Championships Surfing held in Japan, and fights for a plastic free world. Time to catch up with Dutchie Julia van Rooij, who is in love with the ocean.

Hi Julia! Could you tell our readers a little bit more about yourself?
Whehooo! My name is Julia van Rooij, but my friends call me Juul or Guli. I was born in Groningen; a farmer province located in the North of the Netherlands. I surfed my first wave after the car broke down when I was 12. As soon as possible I exchanged the cows for waves after graduating from High School when I was 17. Nowadays I am still happily living in Scheveningen, trying to finish my studies and surf when there are waves rolling in.

Julia

I don’t think my fascination is specifically for surfing, but for being in the water.

Where does your fascination for surfing come from?
I don’t think my fascination is specifically for surfing, but for being in the water. It’s so relaxing to be able to float around, enjoy being weightless and have nothing to think about but the fishies that are swimming next to you. And then, the moment you see a perfect wave is coming through, you grab your board, get in the right position, paddle as hard as you can and then it’s all about you and that wave: to enjoy it as much as possible with nothing around you but nature – hopefully, haha. Surfing is obviously getting more popular which makes it a rare situation having the line up all to yourself these days, but hey, more reason to explore.

Julia surfing

I exchanged the cows for waves after graduating from High School when I was 17

You have recently competed in the world championships surfing in Japan. How did you experience this?
WHIEEEEUW! That was so sick! No words for this experience. I still get goosebumps while answering this question. Japan is such an amazing country with the kindest people! They’re so humble and helpful! We’ve managed to end up in the top 20 of the World, which is a pretty good result for a small country like us with shitty waves. I definitely want to go back to Japan one day.

Julia van Rooij

How often do you travel the world in search for the best waves?
Whenever my bank account allows me to go, haha

Haha, we can imagine! So what is your favorite surfing spot so far and why?
That is, uncrowded, Uluwatu, Bali. I enjoy that spot because you have to paddle out through a cave, which can be really exciting sometimes. The water is super clear, you have marine life saying hi, and there are so many lefthander options! From Racetracks to Temples; from barrels to racers. I really enjoy these type of waves.


Uluwatu Bali

Noted! Any bucketlist surfing spots we should know about?
My dream is to surf between huge rocks of ice one day. When people think about surfing, it’s always about warm destinations like Hawaii and surfing in bikini. But in reality you’ll be struggling with the 1309812 people out there. For me it’s all about finding a spot, being out there with more fish than people, and enjoying the silence.

Julia surfboard

It hurts when I paddle out, and literally feel all the plastic floating in the water.

You are also an activist for plastic free oceans, tell us more about this. 
I won’t consider myself as an activist but I try to share my experiences with pollution and the beauty of nature on the internet as much as possible. It hurts when I paddle out at a spot in the middle of nowhere, and literally feel all the plastic floating in the water. I once even picked a piece from a fishing net out of my hair after a session in Scheveningen, which was really shocking.  When you’re continuously confronted by this problem you become more motivated to raise awareness and prevent further pollution of our oceans. In short, this is why I collaborate with organisations and hope to inspire more people to start pledging for cleaner oceans.

collecting plastic
Collecting plastic

We know plastic is a huge problem we face everyday. Any tips for our readers to reduce their use of plastic?
I’ve got some basic ones, but please also check out the internet, there are sooo many ways to help a little!

  • Use your own reusable bottle like a Dopper, Mizu, KleanKanteen or whatever style suits you.
  • Make it a habit to always bring your own reusable shopping bag while shopping or doing groceries.
  • Double check the label of your ‘scrub’ beauty products: those scrubs are often made out of microplastics that will end up in your sink and eventually in the ocean. You can also just buy your products at Lush or Rituals, they don’t work with microplastics.
  • Check the label of your clothing. It’s often made out of polyester. While washing, small pieces of this polyester will come loose and end up in the sewage. A better option is to put it in the freezer or just let them catch some air for a while.
  • Reuse or resell your clothing. Go find some hidden gems in vintage stores. The longer your clothing lasts, the less you have to buy and the better for your wallet!
  • Get out and buy your veggies at the market! It’s fresher, has a better taste and it’s not wrapped in plastic.

When you’re on the road, what’s the song we can find on your playlist?
Boulevard des Airs – Emenne-moi

Any cool new projects in 2019?
I have so many projects in mind but I have to focus on finishing my studies first. After I get my degree, I want to learn how to sail and go to Antarctica.

Pretty big plans Julia! And last but not least, what kind of traveler do you consider yourself to be?
A traveller who tries to avoid mass tourism, carrying as little stuff as possible but goes home with as many souvenirs as possible, haha

To find out more about Julia, check out her website or follow her on Instagram.

Love,

Wander-Lust

Check all our Interviews here!

All You Need to Know About Applying for a Travel Visa

When you travel to some countries, you may need to apply for a Visa in order to enter. This is not always clear, so we thought we’ll write an article about which countries you need a visa for, and some special cases. But more importantly, how can you arrange a Visa as efficient as possible!

Why & What is a Visa?
It’s an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country. And it’s that simple. Each country has different rules, and it also depends on where you are traveling from. In the next chapters, we are going to explain what visa’s there are, for which countries you need one, cost, and how you can arrange a visa without too much hassle.

Every country has different rules

Which Countries?
Depending on where you travel or come from, we are going to to highlight the countries you need a Visa for, as if you’re traveling from the European Union. (looking at our biggest target group, this would be the best way forward in regards to the information)

  • Turkey
    Apply for a tourist or Business Visa. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months upon arrival. Cost: €24,95,-. Valid for max 90 days. You can buy the Visa directly at the airport when you arrive, but you will need to stand in line for a long time, so we advise you to do this online.
  • United States
    We call this Visa an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). The ESTA is valid for 2 years for a stay for a maximum of 90 days. Cost: €29,95. You always apply for an ESTA online.

travel

  • Canada
    Instead of applying for a normal Visa, the easiest and cheapest way to enter Canada, is to apply for eTA (electronic Travel Authorization). You need to fill in an online form, in which you are asked several questions, in order to grand you the eTA. No need to print the eTA, it will be linked to your passport and flight, so you have no problem entering. An eTA is valid for 5 years, for a stay of 90 days. Cost: €19,95.
  • India
    The electronic Visa for India can be done online and costs €109,95 per person. You do not have to go to a counter with your passport. Your Visa will be sent by e-mail within a few days. There are 3 different Visa’s to choose from; ‘eTourist visa India’, ‘eMedical visa India’ en ‘eBusiness visa India’. More info about these options here.
  • Egypt
    You can apply online for the tourist Visa. If you have other traveling reasons, you need to go to the Embassy of Egypt. Important: your passport needs to be valid for at least 8 months when entering the country. You can stay in Egypt for a maximum of 30 days with this Visa. Costs: €34,95.
  • Australia
    You can only check in online for flights to Australia, if you own a tourist Visa for Down Under. It’s not expensive, (€14,95) and valid for 3 months. Do check the rules and regulations, because some countries have other rules. Check here for all the info.

  • Vietnam
    From 2018 you can apply for the electronic Visa for Vietnam online, for a total price of €39,95. This saves you the costs of the stamping fee ($25 to $50) and the queue at the arrival airport. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 30 days. (different than in most Asian countries) This only applies to people with a Dutch passport though. Please check the rules and regulations for Vietnam here.
  • Sri Lanka
    Most people won’t stay in Sri Lanka for more than 30 days. In this case you can apply online for an ETA Sri Lanka. If you do want to extend your stay (up to 90 days) you need to visit the Immigration Services Centre in Sri Lanka to do so. Or you can go to your nearest Embassy. Cost: €49,95.
  • Cambodja
    Travelers need to apply for a tourist visa that is valid for 30 days. You can do this online and applies to all European citizens. Cost: €49,95 per person. (kids also need this visa)
  • China
    For China it’s a bit more complicated. European citizens must all apply for a visa and this Visa will need to be entered into your passport. Most people go to the Chinese Embassy, but you can also send it via courier in order to save you a trip. There are 4 different travel visa’s available, so check here which one you should get. 
  • Cuba
    This visa isn’t so expensive. It costs €39,95, and you can do it online if you stay up to 30 days. It will then arrive by post and you need to keep it in your passport, that needs to be valid for another 7 months. There are a few rules though, such as you can’t arrive via or from the USA. For more info and all the regulations check this website.
  • Thailand
    If you come as a traveler or tourist for less than 30 days, you don’t need a Visa for Thailand. If you are there for other purposes (such as voluntary work, or a business trip), you always need to apply for a visa, even if it’s for less than 30 days. For every traveler, it’s necessary to have a valid passport for at least 6 months during your stay. More info here.

passport

It’s Never Been So Easy
Looking back a few years, it wasn’t always so easy to apply for a Visa. Trips to the Embassy were almost inevitable, but times have changed my friends! For Dutch and Belgium citizens, you can visit www.visumbuitenland.nl. They offer 24/7 support, and payments can be done with ideal. Do you live in another country? Then we advise you to always check online to see what rules apply. But now you know which visa you may need, how much it costs and that you can always arrange this online! Easy peasy 🙂

Enjoy hassle free traveling!

Wander-Lust

Dreaming of a life down under? Here’s everything you need to know!

Strolling down the Coastal walk from my house in Bronte towards Bondi beach while enjoying the amazing views and every little bit of sunshine! I moved to Sydney in April last year, meaning that I’m down under for almost a year now and ooh how time flies when you’re having fun! Here’s why it’s just so hard for me to leave Oz and what you need to know about moving here if you’re ever planning to!

Mandy in Australia
Overlooking Bondi Beach, Sydney

Visa’s
Yes, it’s not the easiest thing in the world, but once you decide you want to stay in Australia a bit longer, it’s important you apply for the visa that your eligible for. The tourist visa is used for backpackers and is valid for 3 months.It is possible to leave the country and re-enter for a further 3 months within the life time of the visa (12 months).You can also apply for a working holiday visa. There are many rules, such as your age, and the country you have been born. For all the details and to see what visa would be best for you, check this handy website.

Where to live…
Australia has everything you wish for! Gorgeous beaches of which I can never get enough of, incredible scenery, sunshine all over, great people (hot lifeguards!) and a coffee + food culture that is better than ever! Moving here might seem a big thing to do but it’s actually so easy! Obtaining a Working Holiday Visa for a year is mostly sorted in a couple hours, whereas another option is a student visa. Maybe you are even lucky enough to get a sponsorship with a company! The next step will be to pick an area for you to live in. Are you more of a city person or a beach person? Western Australia, Sunshine coast, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania…There’s not really one spot where you can go wrong!

Map Australia

Obviously my favo pick so far is Sydney. The city’s International diversity reflects lots of cultures in an extensive amount of suburbs. From artistic Newtown to the corporate CBD to the crazy party scene in Kings Cross to culinary Potts Point, buzzing Surry Hills or the hipsters in Bondi (to only mention a few)! Besides, the city is surrounded by water containing lots of beaches not only in the Eastern Suburbs but also in the North, like Manly, Freshwater, Dee why, Narrabeen, Newport, Avalon, Whale and Palm beach. I personally prefer to live beside the ocean to escape into the water for a surf and enjoy the laid-back and chilled-out vibes!

IMG_0016 (2)
Skyline of Sydney

Even though Sydney is ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world, you will enjoy higher wages in return

Making money!
No other place in the world will bring you this great combination of a career and a lifestyle that you could only dream of! Companies invest highly in their employees and this is why you mostly make a pretty decent amount of money! (Think about an hourly wage of $25 to $30 to start with in the most casual jobs)! For the Working Holiday goers this is a perfect way to afford their next travels throughout amazing Oz, whereas others can truly try and build a career. Although Sydney is ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world, you will enjoy higher wages in return that can make daily life very affordable! Besides, there are plenty of farmer markets to get your fruit and veggies cheaply, you can buy in season or shop at ALDI! Find out whose hiring and have a look on the next websites to catch that (dream) job! careerone.com.au, seek.com.au, mycareer.com.au, indeed.com.au or gumtree.com.au.

Australian money

Sustainable living is taken very seriously on this side of the world

Lifestyle
Aussie lifestyle is a whole different story… Thinking that Amsterdam was already up-to-date with its organic food stores and soy milk, there is still so much more to learn! Sustainable living is taken very seriously on this side of the world. Organic, cold pressed, paleo, raw, locally grown, free range and wholesome are words that describe a daily diet! Combining that with a swim, yoga, surf or an early morning run and your Aussie life is complete! A funny fact is that Australians are literally obsessed with “active wear”! Going for a run or a training with a personal coach in the park are daily activities but the purpose of the outfits changed more into a fashion statement than anything else! Shopping? “Active wear”! Going for a coffee with the girls? “Active wear”! Doing anything? “ACTIVE WEAR”! It’s kinda funny…

Bondi Swimmingpool
You live an active lifestyle when living in Australia

Aussie Slang
A thing that I had to get used to big time, Aussie slang. The way that real Aussies speak is no joke! (Or is it? I never get their jokes anyways. Thought I was sarcastic but these guys…!?) Making your words as short as possible is the way to go. Arvo (afternoon), Avo (avocado), Strong cap (strong cappuccino), the coppers (the police), Bronnie (Bronte beach), Tama (tamarama), the bra (Maroubra), undies (underwear), kindies (kindergarden)…
Watch and learn:

Food Down Under
Vegemite: not one Aussie grew up without butter and vegemite on toast and you’ll find it in every household for sure!

Pavlova: a sweet and delicious treat made out of meringue and forest fruits mostly served during Xmas
Roast: a standard Aussie dish, oven roasted veggies
Barbies: No, not the dolls you can play with but a barbeque is the main in the foodies section! On every corner, in every park and even out of the back of a truck! It’s a nice way to get together with friends and family and pop a beer.
Tim Tam slam: super addictive chocolate treat that you’re meant to eat in a certain way to get the most out of it! Bite a little piece off both ends, use the Tim Tam as a straw in your hot tea and wait till the inside melts in your mouth….I’m sure you’ll eat the whole pack now!
Flat white: little shot of coffee filled up with lots of milk and a tiny layer of foam. For good coffee look for places that use Campos or Single Origin Roasters!
Messina(!): best gelato you’ll ever taste! Can’t miss out on this one!

Aussie food
Breakfast, lunch and dinner down under is always a feast

The Rocks Sydney

Hope that I gave you a little bit of an inside in the Aussie way of life and trust me, you will never regret being here!

G’day mates!

Love,

Mandy

*Header photo is courtesy of Mandy. You can follow her on Instagram as @littletravelbookofficial

More Australia? Check here on how to plan your backpack adventure:
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Vasilitsa, the amazing skiing resort in Greece!

One of my best friends is Greek and I’ve known him for most of my life. I have been coming to Greece since I was 3 years old but he never told me about this amazing winter secret before until he sent me a text message last week with a few pictures that looked like the French Alps or Switzerland.
Little did I realize that these were pictures from a place called Vasilitsa Greece.

Winter wonderland in Greece
There’s fallen a lot of snow in Vasilitsa this winter

Vasilitsa is one of the best ski resorts in Greece. The ski center is located in the middle of Pindos, approximately 417km from Athens and 2,5 hours away from a place called Perdika, where I used to spent my summers. 

“Vasilitsa is one of Greece best skiing resorts, so why don’t we know about it?”

IMG_4024
Just a few hours away from a winter wonderland..

vasilitsa-map-1200

Off the beaten track
Currently, Vasilitsa has 5 lifts and 16 ski trails, making this a perfect getaway for the Greeks. A lot of foreigners don’t know about this place though so maybe it’s time to pay a visit. During this season, flights are low priced and from Preveza airport it’s a only 3,5 hours drive before you get up on the mountain. 
You can choose different ski-passes: a day card is €10,- while a 5 day pass will cost you only €30,-!
If you just want to enjoy the views, you will only need to pay 3 euro’s. The ski sets are available for rent from about €12,- and snowboard sets will cost you €15. More info here.

Where to stay
Rooms are also widely available and not expensive! You can stay in a fully equipped room for as little as 250 euro’s for 5 nights based on 2 persons.

For accommodations in the area check here

IMG-20160119-WA0050
Stunning views

Vasilitsa
Picture perfect

Want a ski holiday a bit out of the box? Then pick Vasilitsa!

Love,

Elke

*All pictures from Vasilitsa are courtesy of Alexie Efstathiou

The Best in Travel List 2019 according to the Lonely Planet

With so many people traveling nowadays, it’s almost impossible to choose between the many destinations on offer. How do you decide where to go next? The Lonely Planet has just published their Best in Travel List 2019, that may just help you decide.

Top 10 Countries:

  1. Sri Lanka
  2. Germany
  3. Zimbabwe
  4. Panama
  5. Kyrgyzstan
  6. Jordan
  7. Indonesia
  8. Russia
  9. Sāo Tomé & Principe
  10. Belize

Sri Lanka

The Best in Travel List 2019 can take you all over the world

Germany Castle

Sri Lanka is topping the list this year because the island’s infrastructure is better than ever before. Plus new activities give people the opportunity to discover the jungle, beaches and the local culture. It may come as a surprise, but Germany got the 2nd position. They are celebrating several jubilee’s this year, such as the fall of the Berlin wall 30 years ago. In at number 5 is Kyrgyzstan. This Asian country is known for it’s stunning landscape full of hills and lake Issyk Kul.

Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan

Top 10 Cities:

  1. Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. Shēnzèn, China
  3. Novi Sad, Serbia
  4. Miami, USA
  5. Kathmandu, Nepal
  6. Mexico-City, Mexico
  7. Dakar, Senegal
  8. Seattle, USA
  9. Zadar, Croatia
  10. Meknès, Morocco

Plenty of cities to choose from, but which one is your favorite?

Copenhagen
Copenhagen

Best Value Destinations:

  1. Southern Nile Region, Egypt
  2. Łódź, Polen
  3. Great Smoky Mountains, USA
  4. Maldives
  5. Houston, USA
  6. Argentina
  7. Bangladesh, India
  8. Albania
  9. Equador
  10. Slovenia

If you’re looking for a first class destination, without the first class ticket price, these 10 destinations are tipped to be the best in value. Even the Maldives that is normally only home to exclusive resorts, is going through a transition and has more accommodations to suit every budget. We are not talking Asian prices, but the change is there, and that’s a great thing!

Egypt
Egypt 

For the whole list check Lonely Planet. So where will you go in 2019?

Love,

Elke

 

Where to stay during Amsterdam Dance Event

Amsterdam is famous for a lot of things but when it comes to dance music, it’s ADE. Amsterdam Dance Event. More than 300.000 people visited Amsterdam last October to dance their butts of to the biggest names in the dance and techno scene. A large amount of  people need a place to stay so the hotel and Airbnb business is booming during this time. So where to stay? Well, these are some contenders that might come in handy during the best nights of your life;

The Student Hotel (East & West)
Young professionals, globetrotters and students love staying at this hotel. Prices are very reasonable and they now have 2 locations in Amsterdam. Enjoy events, meet ups, and work dates. If you want to stay a bit longer, there is a community kitchen available and you can get a bicycle to explore the city. Double rooms are around €100 per night. www.thestudenthotel.com

City Hub Amsterdam (West)
This is a great self service accommodation if you’re out all night and busy exploring Amsterdam all day. Instead of dorms or hotel rooms, you sleep in a private cabin. These fit up to 2 people. Each Hub has a giant, double bed, wifi, app-controlled lighting and a personal audio streaming system. Pretty cool. There are a total of 50 cabins and you share the toilets and showers. expect to pay a little more around Amsterdam Dance Event but rooms normally go for about 60 euro per night. www.cityhub.com

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The cubicles of City Hub

Conscious Hotels (Vondelpark)
Right behind the Vondelpark and access to the lunch/dinner district of Amsterdam’s De Overtoom, you have a perfect location with trams stopping near the hotel. This hotel is extra special because they are one of the most sustainable hotels in Amsterdam. Enjoy a organic breakfast to get you back on your feet after a wild night. Rooms go for €130 per night at the moment. www.conscioushotels.com

Generator Hostel (East)
I’ve actually stayed in this brand new poshtel when it first opened. I really loved it because although it’s a hostel, you feel really at easy and it doesn’t get any cleaner and hip than at Generator. Each room features air conditioning, bed linen and a private bathroom with shower. You can share rooms or choose a premium room for 2. The hostel is situated right next to the Oosterpark and you will be in vibrant area “De Pijp” in no time. Prices do go up during Amsterdam Dance Event so get your friends together and start sharing! Gernerator/Amsterdam

Generator poshtel Amsterdam
Generator Hostel

Teleport Hotel (New West)
This hotel used to be an office and has been open since this summer. It’s used by party seekers all over the world as the Sloterdijk train Station is just around the corner and even though you’re not in the city center, it’s pretty easy to get to. They organize free tours through Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport is only 2 train stops away. They are planning an event in November where they invite several graffiti artist to pimp the rooms as they still look a bit boring due to the office look. www.teleporthotel.nl

Volkshotel (East)
Love, love, love this hotel. It’s a place where people come together and clever visual references to the building’s history as a newspaper office occur throughout (newsprint wallpaper, archive photographs of Amsterdam’s rebellious counterculture). Double rooms could go for as little at €69,- and you’re in the city center before you know it. Book it here

Hotel Not Hotel (Old West)
If you’re looking for something special, you will find it here. The name already gives a slight hint because it’s a hotel, but not really.. The concept is pretty cool. No room is the same and they are designed by different artist. Some rooms are hidden behind bookshelves, others look like a Mexican house or you can sleep in an old tram. Some rooms literally only have a bed in them but the beds and mattresses are luxurious and will have you sleep like a baby. The hotel is in west Amsterdam and parallel to the up and coming Kinkerstraat. Local Club “Het Sieraad” will host a few good parties during the Amsterdam Dance Event. There are only a few rooms so be quick if you want to be lucky. Hotel Not Hotel

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Not just a book shelve..

YAYS Apartments
If you wanna feel right at home, you should try YAYS. These are apartments with style and class in local area’s throughout Amsterdam. The people who work behind the front desk are always locals so they know exactly where you should go. You have many options of which you can choose from and all apartments have a kitchen and private bathrooms. There are 3 locations of which one is near the Central Station. Check it out! www.yays.com

Yays
Yays is great for getting the local experience

Take your pick and whichever hotel you choose, dance your butts off at Amsterdam Dance Event! ADE is held from the 19th – 23rd of October.
Use our discount code from Booking.com and get €25,- cash back after your stay! (Disclaimer: this is in collaboration with Booking.com)

Love,

Elke

Curious about the most sustainable hotels in Amsterdam? Click to read!

Sustainable hotels in Amsterdam

6 reasons why Madrid should be on your City Trip list

So you are looking for a weekend getaway, or maybe a sangria kinda holiday? You want to taste the tapas, enjoy culture, sunshine and wander around picturesque streets. Barcelona comes? Think again; Madrid has it all! I’m going to give you 6 reasons to choose Madrid (and if you don’t believe me, just visit both)

Food is everywhere
If you’re in the mood for Spanish food, Madrid, also known as tapas heaven, is the right destination to go to. Food is literally everywhere. Go on a stroll in the traditional Spanish neighbourhood ‘Santa Ana’ or the multicultural hipster hotspot Lavapiés.  On every corner you will find something to eat. If you really can’t choose I’ll help you out; Lateral in Santa Ana is one of my all-time favourites. Which has  created the perfect match between traditional recipes and modern creations.

Madrid

If you want to try a diversity of Spanish dishes, try Mercado San Miguel. Order a drink and choose on of the many appetizers they offer at the market, ranging from Spanish ham to ice-cream. 

Tip: Craving something sweet after a night of salsa dancing? You can find the best chorros at Chocolatería San Ginés,  open 24 hours a day!

You can rent a private yacht for €6,-
Alright, it’s not a yacht and you’ll have to do the rowing all by yourself, but sailing in the middle of Parque del Buen Retiro is something you can’t miss out on. It offers you an amazing view on the parc, provides peace in the middle of the vibrant city and a free rowing workout.

Madrid

You can shop 13 hours a day
Do I need to say more? And in case you’re not convinced: all stores have air-conditioning. That’s something you sure going to need in the summer of Madrid. So, where to go? You’ll find most of the big chain stores around the main square, Puerta del Sol and on Gran Via. Make sure you’re not in a hurry ‘cause most of the stores, especially on Gran Via, are huge. You can easily spend a whole day shopping just visiting 2 or 3 of those stores. A small walk further will lead you to the shopping street Calle Fuencarral, where small businesses and large retail stores alternate. Madrid is also a great city for vintage shopping. Go get lost in the pitoresque streets of the  neighbourhood Malasaña while searching for unique, second hand treasure. 

Tip: Tired of shopping and the buzz of the city? Take a ride on the Teleférico (cable car) in Casa de Campo and  view Madrid from high above. Enjoy the peace, the view and the greenery that Casa de Campo has to offer. Unless you’re afraid of heights of course…

Perfect starting point for day-trips

If you’re staying in Madrid for a little bit longer I strongly recommend to go on a day trip to one of the many beautiful surrounding Spanish villages. For example Toledo, a city with a rich history and culture. And therefore even won a spot on the World Heritage list of UNESCO. But also the cities Segovia and Salamanca are truly something you shouldn’t miss out on.

Dance every day (from salsa to techno)
Madrid is the best place when it comes to going out. From Monday to Sunday, the city never sleeps. The party starts at midnight and continues until sunrise. One of the largest disco’s of Madrid is Teatro Kapital. This dance paradise contains 7 floors, each floor has a different music genre; from salsa to house. If you’re not in the mood for a club, Madrid offers a wide variety of bars as well. Each neighbourhood brings you a different vibe. For example the bohemian Malasaña, where you will find the most bars per square meter in Madrid.

Tip: Did you know Madrid has a lively gay community? The district of Chueca is known as the gay district of Madrid, filled with modern cafes and gay bars.

Hola Madrid

Explore by foot
Madrid is huge and full of history. Therefor it can be quite challenging to choose where to go and what to visit. It’s easy getting around by metro, busses or Uber but Madrid is actually also a great city to explore by foot. Put on some comfy shoes and wander around or search for one of the many walking routes offered online. You probably not going to walk around the whole city but will manage to visit all the well known attractions if your hotel is in the main area.

I could go on for centuries with convincing you to visit Madrid. Cause whether you seeking for a party weekend, a romantic get-a-way or cultural adventure, Madrid has it all. Let yourself be carried away by the Spanish culture, getting los was never before a better idea.

Love,

Eva

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

Need accommodation in Madrid? Use our booking.com code and get €25,- back on your booking!

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