8 x Healthy Cafés on Bali

Like London and Australia, Bali is is one of those places where a healthy lifestyle started a while back. And yet more and more healthy cafés are popping up.

It’s that tropical & magical little island, the island that everybody escapes to recharge their batteries. We’re talking about Bali of course.  With more healthy choices than ever, it was time to share our top 10 of Bali’s most healthy cafés.

Sisterfields

Jl. Kayu Cendana No.7, Seminyak, Bali 80361
www.sisterfields.com

With Australia around the corner, it’s not a big surprise that this kind of cafe opened up in Bali not too long ago. They call themselves “The Iconic Australian Cafe”. You can certainly have breakfast like a king or eat lunch like an emperor with one of their famous tropical juices.

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Source: Sisterfields

Sari Organik, Ubud

Jl. Raya Tjampuhan, Ubud, Bali

We first discovered this healthy café back in 2010. In the beginning we weren’t sure where we would end up because you’ll need to walk through the rice fields for about 20 minutes which makes this place even more special! Once arrived, you can enjoy the best fresh coconuts, and homemade organic lunches.


Bali's healthy hotspots
Back in 2010

sari-organik2
Source: letsmakan.com

The Mocca

Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong Gg Nyepi Canggu, Bali
www.facebook.com/themocca

This little gem located in Canggu is a Coffeshop with garden front open concept store and an upstairs with a gypsy interior. They serve good and healthy food, plus the service is good! 

The Mocca | Healthy Cafés Bali

Shelter café

Jl. Drupadi, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali
http://www.sheltercafebali.com/

From 7am you can indulge yourself with healthy food and this open tropical café. Amazing salads, homemade gingerbeer, lemon squash or their super smoothies will make you want to come back here. Many holiday seekers are fan of this place, and so are we! 

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Source: Facebook Shelter Cafe

Mule Malu

Jl. Pantai Bingin 80364 Uluwatu, Bali
www.mulemalu.com

Unlike the rest, this is actually an accommodation instead of just being a café. Hidden on bingin cliff top and within walking distance to Bingin beach.  Mule Malu strives to be environmentally friendly through the efficient use of energy, water and materials while providing quality services. Their in house café is amazing and located by the pool. They serve healthy bowls, dairy free and sugar free juices and smoothies throughout the day.

Mule Malu | healthy Cafés Bali

Avocado Factory

Jl. Tanah Barak No.52 Canggu, Bali
www.theavocadofactory.com

We all know that avocado’s are healthy for you. The green goodness is more popular than ever and we even have several Avocado Restaurant in Amsterdam! 

Avocado factory

Ubud Hanging Gardens

Desa Buahan, Payangan, Bali 80571
www.hanginggardensofbali.com

You can imagine my jaw dropping when I entered the hanging gardens for the first time. I had a wonderful dinner here with no time for a jump in the infinity pool but let’s just say we have a rain check on that one! They mainly use vegetables, fruits and spices  from the Bedugul or are grown at their own property, their seafood comes directly from Jimbaran Bay making lunch and dinner very tasty!

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Source: both pictures courtesy to the Ubud Hanging Gardens

Warung Kecil

Jalan Duyung no 1, Sanur, Bali

My parents told me about this secret place. Sanur residents love it here. The prices are extremely low but the food quality is sky high! From the outside it doesn’t look like anything special but it’s cosy and cute on the inside. They offer vegetarian and vegan options plus healthy wheatgrass shots, fresh almond or macha milk, pressed juices, young coconuts and you can also go for a buffet. Check their Facebook for more info.

PicMonkey Collage
Source: Facebook Warung Kecil

 

Love,

Elke

 

7 X MUST VISIT PLACES FOR THIS FALL

Summer is almost over but that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning your next trip. October is a great period to pack that suitcase and enjoy those last rays of sunlight or visit a beautiful city. These are our  must visit places for this fall.

1. Marrakesh, Morocco

With a reasonable short flight of 3,5 hours (from Amsterdam) it’s the perfect getaway to soak up the sunshine in October. Check our Marrakech Guide ffor the best tips and try to book your accommodation beforehand to get the best deals. Besides Marrakesh, Morocco has a lot more to offer. You can surf in Taghazout, ride camels in the Sahara or take a dip into the shallow waters of Paradise Valley.

Marrakech Guide 2019

2. Dubai, Emirates

If you want heat, you’re gonna get it here. (31-36 degrees!) It might be a little more expensive than a European break but this will be an experience you won’t forget. Shopping, fine dining and skydiving are some of the things Dubai brings to the table. KLM is offering flights from €397 in their world deal weeks at the moment so be quick!

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Camels with the skyline of Dubai

3. Dubrovnik, Croatia

This affordable getaway is still warm in the fall and prices are particularly low during this period. You have all the space to enjoy the magnificent beaches. Dubrovnik is also great for mountain hiking and enjoy the beautiful colors. Take the train and go interrailing!

4. Miami, Florida

It’s the best time to visit Miami the locals say. Why? Because most tourist will be gone (a lot better than spring break!) and temperatures are still very nice. If you’re visiting with kids, you can always visit Disney World (yes, it’s a must see with kids) or if you’re the adventurer you can watch crocodiles in the everglades. 

5. Folegandros, Greece

If you want total zen, no fuss, good food and stunning views, you must visit FolegandrosIt’s great the whole year round but summer is still happening in Folegandros in the fall. You can fly to Athens (about 180 euro’s) and take the speedy boat service to the island in just 4 hours. You can also fly to Santorini and take the boat in just 45 minutes. Flights to Santorini are more expensive though. One thing is for sure; you will feel completely recharged when you return.

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Stunning views in Folegandros

8. Jordan, Middle East

One of the worlds most spectacular sights are found right here but remain unseen by so many. In October there are still bright sunny days that light the rock of Petra up rose-red; but it is cool enough to journey into the Valley of the Moon on camel or horseback by day, and warm enough to sleep out under the starry sky by night. Flights from 300 euro’s with Turkish Airlines.

7. Munich, Germany

Why Munich? Because it’s the Oktoberfest of course! Starting from the 19th of Sept until the 4th of October. The festive fall event is not just about beer drinking anymore but also offers music, dance, food, markets and a fair. Grab your car and make a roadtrip!

Love,

Elke

Best Airlines in the world 2019

They call it the Oscars for the aviation industry, the yearly world airlines awards. Each year the numbers shift and it’s always good to know who you’re flying with in 2019. 

Needless to say, that not all Airlines are the same. Some are obviously far better than othersThis is a small selection of the top hundred 2019, chosen by travellers around the world.

Nr. 1 Qatar Airways

Still on top of the bill. Qatar airlines is still one of the best airlines in the world. They also won in 2012 next to a numerous other awards, and this year they climb back up from number 2 to the first spot. So why are they so great? Well; Quatar flies to 140 different destinations, they are Best in business class, Best on time performance, Best in vanity kit, Best economy long haul experience and the list goes on.. 


Fly fly away!

Nr. 5 Emirates

I will never forget my first backpacking adventure to Australia. I was 24 years old and traveling solo. Next to that I already had a fear of flying so the thought of being in a large plane for at least 16 hours wasn’t something I looked forward to. But Emirates made my experience sooo good. First of all, the staff is amazing. I really believe they are this nice! No fake smile, just an excellent service. Emirates stops at Dubai airport and I must say that’s a great stopover as the airport looks amazing and if you have a long stopover, it’s always nice to do some shopping while you’re there right? 😉 Emirates have been in the worlds top 5 best airlines for years now and if it were up to me, they can stay there for many years to come.

Nr. 6 EVA Air

This Taiwanese airline flies over 40 international destinations and comes it at number 6 in the top 100 best airlines. It’s not just the female name that does wonders because this airline does it really well. Some say that they have the best business class service there is and they are the only airline that I know that serves Dom Perignon champagne. Their premium economy has great leg space and that’s something many airlines still lack. Evaair.com

airplane window

Nr. 9 Lufthansa

The low cost airline is doing extremely well in the top 100 list. They fly in at number 12. Sarah flies to Germany a lot and she always flies with Lufthansa. Reliability is the key word for Lufthansa. Sarah always feels save and that’s why she always chooses Lufthansa. Word goes around that Lufthansa doesn’t have the warmest crew but Sarah’s flights were always pleasant. You get free drinks and snacks, and during lunch or dinner you will get a sandwich. Not very posh, but Sarah loves it – like many other with her – it’s the fact that you don’t have to pay for it. Lufthansa.com

Nr. 18 KLM

It’s because we flew with KLM many many times. This means we should have a pretty good idea about their service and capabilities. They have been praised about their extremely good user engagement. If you have a question or complaint and you post this on social media, they are extremely fast in responding. I flew to Hong Kong recently and had an extremely good organized flight. On my way back, the steward came up to me and asked me if I had a good flight and if I wanted to join their Airmiles system. No annoying advertising emails but now I can enjoy all the perks of being a frequent flyer! KLM


Still one of the best airlines in our opinion!

Our advice? Book your next flight with one of these above mentioned airlines so that your holiday starts from the moment you step inside the aircraft!

Check here for the full 2019 list. What’s your favorite airline?

Love,

Elke

11 amazing treehouses around the world

Like most kids, we grew up building treehouses and huts, but building a tree house is not childsplay anymore.

Check out these amazing treehouses and find your inner nomad!

Tranquil Resort, India

Wow, what a treehouse! This is not something you can build overnight. No, this is a luxury threehouse in the middle of a coffee plantation in India.
www.tranquilresort.com

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TreeHouse_-_Interior_Verandah_rnpxa0
(Source: tranquil resort)

Tree House Point, USA

Three house point offers several treehouses on the property. Our favorite treehouse is the “Temple of the Blue Moon”. With a hanging bridge leading to the beautiful treehouse, it truly feels magical.  Check their Instagram and be inspired.
www.treehousepoint.com

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(Source: Treehousepoint)

Free Spirit Sphere Treehouses
Previously featured in my blogpost about the top 5 wanderlust hotels in the world, this is a fairy-tale treehouse you want to sleep in. Lucky for you, it’s possible! Just head down to Canada 🙂 www.freespiritspheres.com
(Source: Free Spririt Sphere)

Yellow Treehouse Restaurant, New Zealand

Not a Treehouse for sleeping or playing but a Treehouse for eating! This restaurant looks like a hot air balloon where you can dream of flying off into a new world. This New Zealand based restaurant has had a lot of media attention so if you want to eat here, make sure you book well in advance! They host private dinners and weddings too.www.redwoodstreehouse.co.nz

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(Source: Yellow Treehouse Restaurant)

Beach Rock Treehouse, Japan

Part of the Beach Rock Village (amazing) in Okinawa, this is a treehouse that was build for a purpose; communicating with the space outside. Feel one with nature. Build and designed by Kobayashi Takashi, It’s also referred to as the ‘plexiglass portal on the world’.

One of the best treehouses ever
(Source: http://www.hometreehome.it/489/)

La Casa Del Arbol, Ecuador

This cute treehouse is not the best looking treehouse in the world but the location is somewhat amazing. You can literally swing over the edge of the world (2660 feet above sealevel!) Thrill seekers from all over the world try to get the rush and sail over the city of Banos. Bucketlist? More info here.

tree-house-banos-ecuador
(Source www.hostalerupcion.com)

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Overlooking an erupting Mt. Tungurahua at the “edge of the world”  (Photo by Sean Hacker Teper)

The “Treehouse Masters” Spirit Treehouse, USA

This is one of the best treehouses build by pete who heads the hit series Treehouse Masters on Discovery Channel. This treehouse solar powered and build in the backyard retreat of a New York based writer. I bet she will get inspired to write some amazing stories in this treehouse! Check here to see part of the episode.

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Source: Discovery Channel

Sleeping in treehouses makes you feel at peace and one with nature

Three Story Treehouse, British Columbia in Canada

It’s a shame that it’s a children attraction, but it doesn’t stop adults climbing inside this enchanted treehouse up in British Columbia. Why only 1 treehouse, if you can build three into one right? More info on www.enchantedforestbc.com

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Part of the enchanted forrest (Source:
Three Story Treehouse)

Mirror Cube, Sweden

It’s a very modern treehouse but because of the mirrors, this structure almost disappears into the trees almost as if it’s a tree itself. Inside it looks incredible cosy and includes a 1 persons bed. Designed by Tham & Videgard architects, this Swedish hotel is definitely worth visiting! They also have other treehouses such as the Cabin and the UFO treehouse. Be aware that it will cost you about 400 euro’s to stay the night.
www.treehotel.se

TreeHotell Photographer Ulf B. Jonsson.
(Source: Treehotel.se)

Monbazillac, France

This treehouse is listed on Airbnb and looks like a castle. It sleeps 2 people and has a lovely bath & bedroom. Book it here!

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Aromantica Treehouse, Italy

Now this is a treehouse we can afford. For about 140 euro’s per night you can sleep in this peaceful treehouse. Surrounded by nature, this is the perfect romantic gateway in Italy. It includes a private shower, balcony (with stunning views!) and a beautiful bed. Not convinced yet? Check here and book!

Treehouse-in-Italy-The-Monferrato-Aromanrica-Treehouse

Treehouse-in-Italy-The-Monferrato-Aromanrica-Treehouse-005
(Source: Airbnb)

Love,

Elke

Check here for the top 5 Wanderlust Hotels in the world.

5 hotspots in Curacao you need to visit

12 days of sun, food and relaxing before my baby is due. I can recommend that to anyone! Curacao isn’t new for me. I actually visit the island every year to see my friends and family. So you could say I’m quite familiar with this small Caribbean island. Every time I’m there I love to check out new places to spend the day or go for a bite. And that’s exactly what I did this time! These are my 5 favourite hotspots in Curacao!

Madero Ocean Club

People who travel to Curacao for quite some years now probably know Mambo Beach. Well, say goodbye to Mambo en welcome Madero Ocean Club. This stylish beach club is part of the renewed Beach Boulevard and very popular among tourists. If we’re talking about hotspots in Curacao, this is it! I love coming here on Sunday afternoon when the DJ is playing my favorite lounge tunes. www.maderooceanclub.com

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8 The Experience

This place is my number one must-visit when I’m in Curacao ad I recommend it to anyone who is planning on going. 8 The Experience is an exclusive Spa, which opened in early 2015. It’s located on the west side of the island on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Talking about dramatic views! I love to take a massage in the morning and literally spend all day on their comfortable beds next to the meditation pool. Refreshing cocktail anyone? www.8curacao.com

Spa hotspots in Curacao

Karakter

If you take the path down to the beach from 8 The Experience you will arrive at beach club Karakter. If you’ve have ever visited Curacao you know this island has a lot of beach clubs from all different kinds, but Karakter is definitely one of my favorite. Not necessarily to swim but I love that it’s located in a quiet bay. The beach club really has a relaxed vibe and the lunch menu is worth the car ride! www.karaktercuracao.com

karakter hotspots in Curacao

Mosa

My friend took me to this new restaurant and I’m so thankful that she did! Mosa can best be described as intimate, personal and delicious. Mosa is a small shared dining restaurant with an introduction to Bistronomy (bistro + gastronomy). Try the red beet salad with mango and feta cheese or the octopus with chorizo and black olives aioli. Definitely one of the new hotspots in Curacao! Facebook

BijBlauw

Romantic dinner for two? Go to BijBlauw in Willemstad. This restaurant is part of a boutique hotel and a favorite among locals and tourists because of the ambiance and service. Enjoy your dinner on the outside terrace listening to the sound of the ocean hitting the rocks. BijBlauw is actually located in a street with the beautiful colorful houses the island is known for. Make sure you have the time, before or after dinner, to takes some pictures. Believe me, this whole street is Instagram worthy 😉 www.bijblauw.com

bijblauw hotspots in Curacao

Love,

Gala

*Gala is one of our guest bloggers from from the Netherlands who lives on the island Curacao. She knows everything about beachwear and shares her best finds and summer essentials for Wander-Lust this season. You can follow Gala on Instagram for bikini inspiration!

Citytrip Almere | What to see and do

When you first think of a citytrip Almere you might think of modern and innovative architectonic buildings, a shopping area without much ambiance, and always a breeze at hand. In all honesty, we didn’t know Almere as well as we thought. But the youngest city of the Netherlands has more to offer than meets the eye.

How Almere captures your heart

Recently, I received a secret invite for a ‘Destination Unknown Experience.’ Obviously, it triggered my interest. Little did I know that together with some other nosey parkers we got on a speedboat – a rapid Rib with 100 km/h on the meter – and after an adrenaline rush for 30 minutes, we arrived in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nature. ‘Welcome to Almere ladies!’ This wasn’t in line with the City I met years ago. I had to give this municipality a second chance.

Almere citytrip
What a way to enter the city!

One of the things I was mostly surprised by, was the immense natural character

A 24h citytrip in Almere

If you are planning a city trip to Almere you have many options, but I will give you a glimpse of my one-day citytrip. The city is surrounded by five natural areas: Oostvaardersplassen, Lepelaarplassen, Pampushout, the Vroege Vogelbos and Almeerderhout. Consequently, nature-lovers will dig this. And did you know that Almere has twice as many bridges as Venice? After floating through the canals, we arrived at Boathouse Almere. A beautiful place where you can dock your boat. I can tell you, you’ll stay here a little longer than initially planned. Expect a menu with something for everybody. From a club sandwich to fish & chips or bao with pulled jackfruit. After an appetizing lunch break we continued our journey by…Segway! Thanks to Segs in the City (see what they did there?), we drove around Almere’s many cycle paths, which is a great way to explore the city.

The boathouse Almere
Boathouse Almere

Segway Tour Almere

Did you know that Almere Centrum won the title Beste Binnenstad 2017 – 2020?

High Tea & Bubbles

Being a segway driver makes you hungry, so our next stop was at a culinary gem: The Black Cockatoo. It’s the first 100% vega(n) hotspot in town where you can indulge yourself with lots of treats. Mostly locally produced and – as far as possible – organic ingredients. The black Cockatoo will always be marked as the place where I had my very first ever vegan hot chocolate milk with whipped cream. And they also had me at ‘vegan brownie.’ Heavenly soft inside, literally and figuratively finger lickin’ good. 

Champagne Almere
Cheers to Almere!

The Black Cockatoo, Almere

High Tea Almere
Happy tummy, happy sweet tooth at The Black Cockatoo 

Lifestyle Salon and Spa knows how to pamper you!

Take a break and Relax

Almere has a lot of shopping opportunities (there are more than 400 stores!) and after all that walking around the city center, your body may need a little pampering. Go to Lifestyle Salon and Spa. Firstly, you can get your hair and make-up done or get a fresh haircut. Secondly, the ladies at the salon offer head and full body massages. Pedicures? You name it, they have it. And all with the idea that beauty is a combination of inner and outer well-being. The crew is very professional, honest and has a ‘what you see is what you get’ mentality. You will love the laidback vibe here, as it is the perfect spot to recharge yourself.

Beauty salon Almere
The ladies at Lifestyle Salon & Spa know how to treat a lady

CULTURAL: visit Vis à Vis open air theater

In the evening we went to Vis à Vis, a theatre company which plays open air shows at a permanent location at Almeerderstrand. Light-hearted comedy, astonishing spectacle and ingenious storylines lead the audience with a wink to the abyss of serious dilemmas. Even though I’m always in for some theatrical violence, I’ve never seen something like this before. Never. In 1,5 hours you’ll be amazed again and again. Step into a world full of extraordinary humor and surprises. Even the air is part of the decor and this is not comparable with a traditional indoor show. In case you’d love to have a complete night out, you can reserve a spot in De Rode Haring with simple (buffet) dishes and long Biergarten tables, a much-vaunted food formula.

Vis a Vis Almere
A must see in Almere!

Where to stay

After a very long, but overwhelming day, we were dropped off at Lodgerie Het Groene Geheim. This is exactly what you need after a full day Almere. A luxury lodge with all comforts including a huge bubble bath with a fantastic view over the countryside. When I woke up I didn’t had the idea I stayed in in a city. Nature everywhere, and this was suppose to be a city trip? Well, I’m sold.

Accommodation Almere

Lodgerie Het Groene Geheim Almere
Heart shaped bubble bath at Lodgerie Het Groene Geheim

Maybe it won’t be love at first sight if you stroll through city centre, but a citytrip to Almere is absolutely worth a try. Nature, city beaches, wellness, shopping, culinary spots makes me wanna say; see you soon?

Special thanks to Visit Almere for this wonderful trip!

Love,

Sharmaine

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

Learn more about the Netherlands here!

 

 

 

These are the best beaches and natural pools on Madeira

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

Natural pools on Madeira

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


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

Seixel Natural Pools Madeira
Seixal Natural Pools

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

natural pools Madeira

Beaches on Madeira

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


Calheta Beach

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

Concrete beach Madeira

Happy swimming!

Wander-Lust

Are you looking for the full Madeira Island Guide

Madeira Guide

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

Why you should Travel Solo at least once

It’s midnight and I’m walking through the rainy streets of Koh San Road, Thailand. I’m surrounded by fried scorpions and Thai neon signs which I can’t read. With a backpack full of courage I try to connect with the already drunken tourists, but unfortunately without any success. It’s my first time out of Europe, the first time backpacking. 

It was the best decision I could have ever made and I’ll give you 5 reasons why I think you should Travel Solo at least once in your lifetime.

I walk alone, but I feel more powerful than ever. A sense of freedom, I can do what I want, whenever I want.

Why you should travel alone

Nobody can discover the world for you

We can get lost in the most beautiful travel documentaries, dream away with breath taking photos and listen with unbelief to the stories of others. But nothing can compare to the experience in real life. If you want to discover the world we live in, go. Cause nobody can discover it for you. Being on your own means you can decide where you want to go, which places inspire you and choose the adventures that most appeal to you. You are in charge of broadening your horizons.

There is nobody here to stop me. It was time to discover the world on my own.

Finding your own rhythm

I’m definitely not a morning person and it has always been a challenge to agree with the overenthusiastic waking-up time of my friends. It’s a great feeling waking up and start doing whatever you want. There is no boss waiting for you at the office or a friend that desperately wants to go to that trendy, hipster breakfast place four blocks away while you’re starving. You have the time and space to create your own rhythm and discover your own needs. This is a valuable lesson to learn, also regarding your daily routines back home.

toa-heftiba-205018
You are more in the moment when you travel alone

While traveling, I realised that the differences between all of us are insignificant compared to what connects us.

Experiences will be more intense

The autopilot of the mind will be switched off when you’re confronted with new situations, which results in a higher level of focus. You’ll have to stay alert, take care of yourself and create your own path. Because of this you’ll feel more aware of your surroundings instead of looking at it passively or getting lost in a conversation with your partner. You will experience the world around you instead of only seeing it.

Ásbyrgi North iceland

New perspectives

Not being with friends or a partner means you have to go out of your comfort zone to meet new people or talk to locals. You’ll meet travelers from different cultures, backgrounds, social environments and also different characters. While traveling I realised that the differences between all of us are insignificant compared to what connects us. Traveling alone will teach you to be flexible, open minded and less judgmental.

Trust your intuition

Being on your own in an unknown country will give you a major confidence boost. Not only will your self-esteem grow because it’s really awesome to travel solo, the trust in your own intuition will increase as well. I can be quite the control freak so I tried to avoid making too many plans for my backpacking trip. It made me really nervous in the beginning as I was constantly questioning myself if it would workout.

And to be honest, not everything did work out like it was suppose to. There was one day I didn’t have any money, food or a place to sleep cause my credit card got blocked. But in the end, everything will be fine, one-way or another. There is no need to stress or worry cause if you trust on your intuition it will always work out. Are you worried about traveling alone as a female? Check these 5 safe destinations that are perfect to start from.

why-you-should-travel-alone-eva
Eva in Chiang May, 2015

So what are you waiting for?

In my opinion, Solo Travel is not just a “cool” thing to do but it also really helps you to extend your boarders and develop yourself. You will gain new insights of the places you’ll go, the people you will meet and the cultures you will learn about. Secondly, it will also deepen the perspective on your own social environment and needs.

Traveling solo is the greatest gift you can give yourself. 

Love,

Eva

 

North Iceland | Off the beaten track

Iceland has become one of the most popular adventure destinations over the last couple of years. The Southern part however, has been getting the most attention. As a result, the infamous Blue Lagoon has become crowded and large tour busses are driving around the golden circle like there is no tomorrow. Dutch tour operator Voigt Travel thought it was time to shed some light on the often forgotten Northern part of Iceland and now offers direct flights to Akureyri with Transavia. Wander-Lust was invited to travel around North Iceland for 6 days and we’re here to tell you why this part shouldn’t be overlooked.

Good to know

  • During spring/summer, it won’t get dark. Even though the most hotels offer good curtains, we advise you to bring an sleeping mask
  • The weather can change drastically. Therefore, pack your sweater, raincoat, sunscreen and bikini (for the natural pools).
  • The people of Iceland still believe in the existence of the Huldufolk translated to, hidden people. Apparently these are like elves and wander around the island. Don’t underestimate their believe, you may find yourself in a heated discussion if you tell them otherwise.
  • Respect the vulnerable moss! Although Iceland is rocky and full of lava remains, moss grows on the rocks and takes decades to grow. Be careful when walking around, because you can easily damage it.
  • The tap water in Iceland is one of the best and widely available. Bring a flask or bottle so you avoid using plastic.

Northern Iceland
Always bring your raincoat (raincoat by Rain Couture)


The Route

Because of the new flight to Akureyri, you can start your trip from there and move around the Northern part, but we did it a little different. Starting in Reykjavik, we drove past the West coast up to North Iceland. This way, you can really see the landscape changing. Check the highlights on the map below.

North Iceland mapSource: Visit North Iceland

Tip: Drive over the Artic Coast Way, which officially opened on the 8th of June 2019 and has been voted in in the top 3 “Best in Europe” by the Lonely Planet. It highlights a less traveled route in Iceland and runs 900km long. In this guide we will show you the route we took plus we will highlight the extra options available in the area.

Artic Coast way
The Artic Coast Way

Day 1 | Drive up North:

From Reykavik drive for about 2 hours to get to North East Iceland where we started our adventure. Stop over at Gauksmýri and meet the animal that you will see loads of, Icelandic Horses. Family owned horse farm Gauksmýri lodge offers traditional horse shows and a nice lunch or dinner. If you are not into horses you can drive to Hvammstangi where you can visit the oldest wool factory in Iceland where you can also buy hats, gloves, scarfs and warm jumpers.

Icelandic Horses North Iceland

Where to stay?
We advise you to take it easy on the first day because you may need to get used to the fact that it won’t turn dark during spring/summer. We stayed in Hotel Laugarbakki, basic but fine, especially because it’s a great starting point for the next day.


Day 2 |Hvammstangi:

If you like to you can go seal watching today. Gear up warmly because it can get cold on the boat. We saw many seals playing in the water or chilling on shore. The Seal Watching Company provides you with binoculars and hot chocolate on board. We enjoyed a nutritious lunch right next door at Sjavarborg Restaurant, with a sea view. They offer burgers, vegan curry and daily fish specials.

Seal Watching North Iceland
Seals used to be hunted in Iceland, but now people let them be and enjoy them differently.

Along the way you are going to see various types of landscapes. The Fjörds, rocky mountains and fields of grass with Icelandic sheep jumping around. Tip: stop at Ánastaðastapi, a rock formation less known, but just as impressive as the infamous Hvitserkur. Legend says, that Hvitserkur is in fact a troll that was turned into stone by the sunlight. Whatever the truth is, take a close look when it’s low-tide so you can walk on the black volcanic beach.

Ánastaðastapi North Iceland

Ánastaðastapi

Hvitserkur North Iceland
Troll or rock? Hvitserkur, North Iceland

Soon enough you’ll find yourself in Sauðárkrókur, which was once the battleground for vikings. The area has many historical sites, museums and exhibits. Tip: In town you should have dinner at KK Restaurant. Lobster pizza is one of their specialities! Be aware though, they also serve Greenland shark and foal meat (yes, this is a baby horse). If you are vegetarian, just mention it and you will be taken care of.

Dinner at KK restaurant
Dinner at KK Restaurant

Where to stay?
You have several options, but we stayed at www.siglohotel.is. This hotel is really amazing but not the most affordable! Big plus; they have great curtains that make your room really dark, so no eye mask is needed!


Day 3 | Húsavík:

You are now driving into the territory famous for Whale Watching, Húsavík! Book your tour in advance, especially during the high season and bring your camera! We booked our Whale watching tour with Whale Watching in Hauganes. Nice to know:  This company is carbon neutral and compensates their CO2 emissions by planting trees. Tip: Take a lunch break at the traditional Icelandic Baccalá Bar where you can eat the catch of the day!

Whale Watching North Iceland
We saw a Humpback Whale but even Blue Whales have been spotted here!

There are quite a few spa’s in Iceland but the one you must try is this rather unusual one: The Beer Spa – The first Beer Bath in the Nordics, linked to the first microbrewery in Iceland. The bath water contains 10 litres beer, hob and herbs. You will be surprised how extremely soft your skin and hair will feel afterwards! The best thing? You can tap your own beer while relaxing in the bath! 

Beer Spa Northern Iceland
Beer anyone?

If you are more into a natural bath, check out Geo Sea, a relatively new natural pool with a stunning view over the Fjörd of Húsavík. Thanks to the underground heat, the seawater in the baths is warm and comfortable and the mineral-rich water will caress your skin. 

Geo Sea Baths
Relaxing at the Geo Sea Baths

Not far from Goðafoss (20 min drive) you’ll find the cutest Icelandic turf houses, Grenjaðarstaður. It used to be home to several families since the 1800’s. Since 1958 they were made into a museum, so people can take a look inside and keep the traditional Icelandic housing alive.

Icelandic Turf Houses Northern Iceland
Traditional Icelandic Turf Houses

Other highlights in/near Húsavík:

  • When you continue your way, there is an option to stop over at the Kolugljúfur Waterfall, the first one we saw along this trip. (many will follow!)
  • Goðafoss waterfall is a stunning waterfall that turns into river Skjálfandafljót. It is 30 meters wide and falls 12 meters down.
  • If you like museums you have plenty of choice; the Whale Museum, the Exploration Museum, and the Culture House are all located in Húsavík.

Goðafoss waterfall North Iceland
Goðafoss waterfall

If you have time to drive up to Raufarhöfn, one of the most remote and northernmost villages in Iceland, you will find Heimskautsgerðið (The Arctic-Henge). Similar to ancient wonder Stonehenge, the Arctic Henge is like a huge sundial. For instance, the structure seems to play with shadow and light which gives it a stunning appearance. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see it because of lack in time, but if you extent your visit to 7 days you should be able to make it.

Arctic Henge, North Iceland
Arctic Henge, located in one of the most the remote areas of North Iceland. Source: Visit North Iceland


Day 4 |Vatnajökull National Park:

Drive from Húsavík towards the green valley and canyon region. On your way you can stop over at Skúlagarður for lunch with a breathtaking view. Mind you, the place is pretty basic, but if the weather is nice, you must enjoy the outside seating area with a piece of pie.

After a while you will arrive at the foot of Ásbyrgi, a natural wonder and part of the Vatnajökull National Park. The park reaches from highway 85, by Asbyrgi south to Dettifoss, covering an area of 120 km2. However, a little warning for drone fanatics; keep your drone packed because you are not allowed to fly here (they are very strict on this!). There are many beautiful  hiking trails available and you can get all the information at the information kiosk where you can also park the car. We decided to walk on top of the Canyon so we had a nice view looking down. This took us about 1,5 hours.

Ásbyrgi North iceland

Ásbyrgi, North Iceland
Ásbyrgi Canyon

Other highlights near Ásbyrgi:

  • Visit Dettifoss – the most powerful waterfall in Europe and This results in a natural shower if you stand close enough! The sun was shining at the time of our visit, which created a beautiful rainbow. Tip: Make sure you wear your raincoat if you walk down to see it!
  • Hljóðaklettar rock formations  a cluster of columnar rock formations standing at the entrance to Vesturdalur, down by the Jökulsá á Fjöllum River. The columns lie at all angles, and it could be an entertaining exercise for one’s imagination, to interpret their patterns in as many different ways as possible.
  • Dimmuborgir rock formations – also named Dark Fortress has several hiking trails. After a volcanic eruption, this area became as it now stands, lava that has turned to stone and many deep cracks into the ground.

Detifoss waterfall
The most powerful waterfall in Europe; Detifoss

Hljóðaklettar, North Iceland
The landscape in North Iceland keeps you guessing 

Hljóðaklettar
Dimmuborgir. Photo by Henk Boltof.

After a full day of hiking, it’s time to make your way up to Myvatn, a volcanic area with craters, boiling mud holes and natural pools. From Ásbyrgi, it will take you about 1,5 hours to drive there. Myvatn, famous for its large lake and volcanic activity, actually translates to Mosquito lake and is one of the few places where mosquito’s live in Iceland.

End the evening at the Mývatn Nature Baths. These natural water pools are like the Blue Lagoon, but like most of North Iceland, less crowded and it has a better view. There is a steam room and you can order beers while relaxing in the warm water which can rise up to 41°C. Visit their website for more info on pricing and opening times.

Myvatn Nature Baths, North Iceland

Where to stay?
If you can afford it, stay at the stunning and relatively new Foss hotel. It was build from wood features low-environmental impact materials. And boy, the view is priceless as you can see the craters from the dining room! We also enjoyed dinner at the Foss Hotel as there are not many restaurants around.

Foss Hotel Myvatn
Foss Hotel, Myvatn


Day 5 | Mývatn:

Use this day to explore Lake Mývatn and the surroundings. Everything is close by in North Iceland so you can pick and choose.

  • Namaskard Geothermal Area You probably haven’t seen a landscape like this one before. It feels like you have anded on Mars. Prepare for the smell of sulphur which you can compare to rotten eggs.
  • Hverfell Crater Mountain although we didn’t get a chance to see it up close, its said to be well worth going up here for a full circle hike.
  • Skutustadagigar Pseudocraters cool places attract tourists, and this is exactly what you will see here. Nevertheless, if you drive past, get out and try to take a picture of the row of bizarre and beautiful pseudo craters.
  • Grjotagja Hot Spring Cave  this hidden natural cave pool has become somewhat famous after a love scene in Game of Thrones. I was used as a natural pool by locals up until an earthquake made the water too hot and dangerous. Entering the cave is at your own risk.
  • Enjoy a healthy and organic lunch at the Cowshed Restaurant – which is set next to the stables of the cows. They produce their own milk, cheese and meat, and they serve an amazing vegetarian plate too!

Námaskarð Pass, North iceland
Namaskard Geothermal Area

And last but not least, take a little detour and go visit Aldeyjarfoss. This stunning waterfall is not easy to get to because you need to drive over dusty and unpaved roads. However, this is why touring busses and many other tourists skip this sight. We were there all by ourselves and it was truly amazing.

Aldeyjarfoss North Iceland
Off the beaten track: Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall


Day 6 |Akureyri:

After Reykjavik, Akureyri is the largest city of Iceland. If you decide to start your trip here and you can make a circle through North Iceland and fly back to the Netherlands. Here you will find coffee bars, lunchrooms and even sushi restaurants. A nice details; the traffic lights contain heart shaped lights, spreading love throughout the city. The airport is only 5 to 10 minutes away from the city centre which makes it easy to get in and out of town compared to other cities in Europe. For more info about Akureyri, check www.visitakureyri.is

Akureyri North Iceland
Akureyri street art

In short, if you are ready to go off the beaten track and see a different Iceland, visit the North. You won’t be disappointed. 

Voigt Travel offers flights, excursions and routes in 8 different countries and has recently included Iceland in their portfolio. Like us, they believe that every trip should be a new experience, enriching your life. Therefore, they try avoid the usual touristic routes and focus on those hidden gems in the world. 

Happy Travels,

Elke