travel

Bali

With gorgeous beaches, famous rice paddies and a uniquely spiritual culture, this Indonesian island offers a diverse trip that will guarantee you leave feeling you’ve had a true taste of paradise.


  • Currency: Indonesian rupiah
  • Local time: GMT +8
  • Language: Indonesian

Seminyak:

I started my trip in Seminyak; a coastal resort near the infamous Kuta. Much more laid back and glamorous than its neighbour, the beaches here were golden and the water lovely and warm.

Alila is a luxury boutique hotel brand, and the properties they own in Bali are guaranteed to make your trip one to remember. The first hotel on my trip was Alila Seminyak; an unapologetically luxury resort with three infinity pools, a beach front location, an amazing on site spa and a traditional temple in the grounds to top it all off. The restaurant is also incredible. I highly recommend ensuring your stay here includes a Sunday, as their Sunday Graze brunch sessions (12-4pm every Sunday) are out of this world. Think all-you-can-eat pastries, main courses and desserts with the option of adding free-flowing drinks to the package too!


Ubud:

Moving away from the beach, I headed to Ubud and checked into Alila Ubud, a secluded hilltop retreat boasting undoubtably the best infinity pool I have ever seen. Located 15 minutes from the centre of Ubud, this is the perfect base for exploring all that the town has to offer, whilst maintaining the tranquil feel of a relaxing break.

The hotel offers a number of activities, including an excellent cookery class. We were taken early morning to the market in Ubud to select our fresh local ingredients, then made our way back to the resort where we learnt to make a number of local dishes with an experienced chef. A lovely afternoon activity!

Another highlight of this hotel is the resident monkey tribe. They will greet you outside your door each morning, scamper around the pool while you’re sunbathing, and most certainly make an appearance each afternoon when the daily afternoon tea is served!

Ubud itself is worth taking a couple of days to explore. With hidden markets and cute garden bars, its a lovely place to stroll around and soak up the culture and atmosphere. There are also lots of local temples that can be visited during your time here, and the hotel are able to organise a private tour should you wish.


Tabanan:

The last stop for me in Bali was at Villa Soori, and let me tell you, I thought I had experienced luxury at the last two places. This place is next level luxury. With private one bedroom villas, each complete with their own swimming pool, a personal butler and 24hr room service, there is no need to lift a finger here.

The dining areas here are all about alfresco dining, and most tables offer view of the ocean. Offering varied menus, you’re guaranteed to find a dish you love, and the heavy emphasis on Indonesian cuisine at Cotta restaurant will allow you to sample local dishes with a Balinese focus.

The beaches here are volcanic sand, giving a unique black colouring to them. Walking along in the early mornings looking for shells washed up was great fun, and they showed up clearly, shining in the sunlight on the dark sand below them.

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Budapest

Budapest is one of those places that everyone seems to have been to, and everyone seems to adore – and for good reason! Sightseeing and spas in the day, then partying with ridiculously cheap drinks in cool bars at night. What is there not to love?!

Sample itinerary


  • Currency: Hungarian Forint
  • Local time: GMT +1
  • Language: Hungarian

Stay: Downtown

When choosing where to stay in Budapest, it’s worth noting that Buda and Pest are two different areas of the city, split by the river. Most of the sightseeing and nightlife happens in Pest, so this is definitely the side to stay. When looking at a map of the city, you want to be to the right of the river.

Budapest has an excellent transport system, meaning that wherever you stay in the city, nothing is too far away. However, if you’re heading to the city for the nightlife, you can’t go wrong staying anywhere downtown. You’ll be within walking distance of Kazinczy street, which is the main hub of evening entertainment. Many streets twist and turn off of here, and they’re all worth exploring as ruin bars pop up in the lest likely of places!

The map below shows the area I recommend staying within for the overall city in red, and the blue is downtown if you’re after the nightlife.

budapest


Do: Spas, sightseeing, ruin bars

You must try one of the renowned spas whilst in Budapest, and if you only have time to visit one, make it Szechenyi. With a huge heated outdoor spa pool, along with a huge variety of spa baths, jacuzzis, steam rooms and saunas indoors, this place will keep you occupied for hours and you’re guaranteed to leave feeling relaxed. (Tip: take your own towels to save on a fairly hefty fee to hire them) If you feel like indulging and visiting more than one spa (like we did!) Rudas is also well worth a visit. Very different to Szechenyi, the focus here is indoor pools and saunas, many with a set order of use based on increasing the body temperature gradually. The real gem here though is the hot whirlpool on the roof, offering stunning views over the river Danube.

There is plenty to see in the city during the day, and most can be accessed on foot. St Stephens Basilica, the incredible Hungarian parliament building and Heroes Square are all must-sees and will guarantee some excellent Instagram snaps!

Famed for its ruin pubs and bars, nightlife in Budapest is like nothing else I’ve experienced. From quirky garden bars with candles and hammocks to huge clubs perfect for dancing in until morning, theres something for everyone here! Szimpla Kert is undoubtably the most famous of Budapest many ruin pubs, and for good reason. With so many rooms to explore and an outside beer garden too, hours can be spent here (and were) drinking away the afternoon. Szimpla also run a farmers market on Sunday mornings thats well worth a visit.

Other bars of note worth visiting are Fogas and Instant for large dance venues that stay open late, and the colourful and quirky garden bars Psst Shhh! & Koleves (both a bit tricky to find, located on Kazinczy U, but worth searching for).


Eat: Karavan, Comme Chez Soi, Gelarto Rosa

Eating in Budapest is fun and varied; they have everything from 5* restaurants to amazing street food!

Stop by Karavan street food park for a chance to try some of the local cuisine. I personally recommend the Langos (a bit like donut bread) with sour cream and cheese. Doesn’t sound appealing, but please take my word for it and grab one, you won’t regret it!

Another restaurant well worth a visit is Comme Chez Soi. It’s Budapests answer to fine dining, and the prices are in line with this, however the lunch menu is a lot more affordable for those on a budget. They’re closed on Sunday and get very booked up the rest of the week, so worth making a reservation here in advance.

If ice cream is what you’re craving, make sure you head to Gelarto Rosa, a great ice cream parlour that encourage you to pick multiple flavours so that they can turn the contrasting colours into a delicate ice cream flower. Another one for Instagram!

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Bratislava

I visited Bratislava with my sister as part of a weekend break combined with Vienna. We spent a day and a half exploring the city, taking in the sights and trying the local food, and it turned out to be one of the prettiest cities I’ve been to!

Sample itinerary


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT +1
  • Language: Slovak, German

Stay: Old Town

Bratislava is a very small city; you really can walk everywhere in the centre of town, and so technically it doesn’t matter where you stay – everywhere will still be accessible!

We chose to stay in Old Town Bratislava, which was covered in cobbled streets lined with cafes and restaurants, all seeming to lead to Hlavné námestie (Main Square).

We stopped off at a lovely wine bar in the square, aptly named ‘Wine Not?’, which had lots of outdoor seating complete with patio heaters and blankets, meaning that just because the temperature drops, the people watching doesn’t have to end! As night falls, the fountain in the middle of the square comes to life, lit up in an array of colours and makes for a great instagram shot, if thats your thing!

There were a wide selection of Airbnbs available all over the city, and all at extremely reasonable prices. Ours was on Panksá, a pedestrianized street one road behind the main square, and we loved that we could throw open the windows and look down into the streets below, watching the hustle and bustle of the city.


Do: Bratislava castle, Michaels Gate, Old Town

Bratislava castle is like something out of a fairytale, and is visible from most points in the city. It’s well worth taking some time to wander around this historic building – A gentle but definite uphill climb from the city centre will get you to the edge of the walls, and from there you can explore at your leisure.

In the middle of Old Town stands one of the oldest town buildings – Michaels Gate, or Michalska Brana as its known locally. For a small fee, you can enter via a discreet door from the street and find yourself inside a small museum, housing the Exhibition of Weapons. Wander around the museum inside the tower, climbing small flights or stairs as you go, and you will find yourself at the top of the tower, offering an observation deck with excellent views all across the city. A must do on a sunny day!

Human sized sculptures are dotted all over Old Town, and prove quite the tourist attraction. Often queues of people waiting to be photographed with these, it’s a must-have picture for the collection from your trip to Bratislava! Cumil ‘The Watcher’ was our favourite, although we got a few strange looks when we decided to lay down next to him when it was our turn for a photo!


Eat: No1. Slovak Pub, Modra Hviezda, Urban House

No trip to Bratislava is complete without a trip to No1. Slovak Pub. A tourist hotspot maybe, but its a chance to throw yourself into the culture and experience local Slovakian food in a (very warm) quirky pub in the centre of town. It was our first stop after dropping our bags off, and although on reflection we paid quite a lot for the food, I would 100% recommend it as an easy introduction to the cuisine.

We only had one evening in Bratislava, so we wanted to make sure we chose well for dinner. We had been recommended a particular restaurant by our lovely Airbnb host, and so we set out on foot (you really can walk everywhere!) to hunt the place down. Tucked away underneath the castle is the amazing Modra Hviezda – A real gem in the city! Slightly tricky to find, but more than worth it when you do, the food was outstanding and of very high quality; very reasonable too. Apparently it is always extremely popular (mainly with locals who book tables weeks in advance) so its worth giving a call to see if they have space!

If you’re after a spot of brunch in the city, head to Urban House, A fun and lively coffee house serving an excellent brunch menu. We went for avocado on toast with a poached egg and were not disappointed!

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Milan

I visited Milan for a weekend (literally two days!) in early October with a friend. In the 36 hours we spent in the city, we managed to cram in an impressive amount of sightseeing, and even more impressive amounts of wine and pasta!

Sample itinerary


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT +1
  • Language: Italian

Stay: The Westin Palace

My trip to Milan was booked on a bit of a whim, with only a few weeks until departure, so we managed to get an amazing deal on lastminute.com. We booked one of their ‘Top Secret Hotels’ (for those who haven’t done this before, it’s where they list hotels and show you a rough location of each, along with a generic description of the hotel and a star rating. Thats all you get until you confirm your booking and pay. A gamble? Yes. One worth taking? In this case, definitely. Once I’d paid (£91, absolute bargain!) they emailed confirmation to say our accommodation would be at The Westin Palace, and upon googling, we were suitably impressed.

Upon actually arriving at the hotel, our impression levels were kicked up a notch. A doorman greeted us and took our luggage inside for us. In reception, there were chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. And a harp player. Check in was a breeze, our room was ready and waiting for us (despite an early 11am arrival) and we were quickly escorted upstairs.

Although compact, the room was everything we needed and came with an impossibly comfortable bed and a seriously powerful shower. We couldn’t fault the service at the hotel, and the location was great too. It was within easy reach of several Metro stations, or simply a 20 minute stroll to the Duomo in the centre of town.


Do: Milano Navigli, Duomo Di Milano, Sephora

Without a doubt our favourite area of Milan was the Navigli area. It offered canal side eating and drinking as well as quirky market stalls and a very picturesque area to wander in the fading afternoon sun. (Tip: We tried to walk there from the Duomo and after getting ever so slightly lost, decided to purchase a Metro card and hop on. We never looked back!)

No trip to Milan is complete without visiting the Duomo! There are several options for exploring this incredible cathedral, but because the weather was so lovely, we opted to take the lift up to the terraces and take in the amazing views over the city. It cost €13 to go up, and while there was a bit of a queue for the lift, it was 100% worth it when we got to the top and had unlimited time to explore at our leisure.

Being British, we sadly do not have Sephora shops in the UK, so you can imagine my excitement when I realised they had them in Milan! Although not all of the brands I was used to from the American stores were available, I was still like a child in a sweet shop and had to be dragged out in the end in order not to miss our flight! It’s definitely worth adding to the list of many shops you will surely visit on your stay in the city of fashion but if like us, you’re travelling hand luggage only, don’t forget that you can’t buy anything over 100ml – sob!


Eat: Pavé, El Cicinin

For a fabulous breakfast/brunch in a place packed with locals (always tells me I’m onto a winner) head to Pavé. A neighbourhood favourite for very good reason; it comes complete with an incredible selection of cakes and pastries, as well as a main brunch menu and excellent coffee. If you only have time for one brunch out, Pavé is the place to head!

When it came to dinner in Milan, we found the best place to head was down to the Navigili area mentioned above. Restaurants and bars line the canal on both sides, and we were tempted by the aromas coming from most of them! After stopping for a glass of wine at an outdoor bar (the sun was setting and we were super lucky to get a table!) we wandered around the area in search of authentic Italian food. And wow did we find it! On a side road off from the main Navigili canal strip, El Cicinin offers cozy candlelit tables indoors and heated al fresco dining outside. The menu offered your typical Italian dishes; olives, bread baskets and charcuterie boards followed by pastas, pizzas and an excellent specials board. It was very reasonably priced, the food was divine and to top it all off, they served wine on tap by the litre. What more do you want for an evening in Italy?

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Vienna

My sister and I went to Vienna straight from Bratislava (€5 on the bus – 1hr!) and spent two nights exploring the city. The extravagant coffee shops were a particular highlight, as was the sachertorte!

Sample itinerary


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT +1
  • Language: German

Stay: Austria Trend Hotel Rathauspark

The centrally located Austria Trend Hotel Rathauspark was the perfect base for us to explore Vienna from. It’s located a 20 minute walk from Stephansplatz (the large square in the very centre of Vienna thats home to the cathedral and many shops) and while a Metro would have gotten us there even quicker, we found many coffee shops, pretty parks and historical buildings on our walk.


Do: Spanish Riding School, coffee shops, museum quarter

A trip to the Spanish Riding School is a unique chance to watch the live practice of equitation. Morning exercise sessions are always popular, so arrive around 9am to beat the crowds. However if you want to see a full performance, tickets will need to be purchased well in advance.

The museum quarter (museumsquartier) is home to many of Vienna’s finest museums, and it is well worth setting aside an afternoon to explore the area. If you’re thinking of visiting multiple museums, the Vienna Card may be of interest to you, as it gives discount of many of the cities museum entry costs.

Make sure you leave some time in your schedule to stop off in one of Vienna’s many coffee houses. Renowned not just for their coffee, but as places to while away an afternoon, it is perfectly acceptable to spend a couple of hours in a coffee house in Vienna, sipping your drinks and reading a newspaper at your leisure. A favourite on the trip was Cafe Eiles, which not only did great coffee but also had a very reasonable breakfast menu.


Eat: Demel, Huth Gastwirtschaft

There are several things people want to tick off on a trip to Vienna, and trying Sachertorte usually makes the list. Stop by for a slice of this world famous chocolate cake at Demel, but be warned, combine it with one of their wickedly indulgent hot chocolates and you won’t be needing another chocolate fix for quite a while!

Another must-eat is a schnitzel, and whilst veal is the traditional choice, we opted for chicken and were not disappointed in the slightest! For classic Viennese cuisine, and an ever-changing monthly menu head to Huth Gastwirtschaft. Located centrally in the city, its easy to get to and has a relaxed and cozy feel.

As for street food, the ‘Wurstelstand’ kiosks (usually found outside U-Bahn stations) are a popular and cheap choice for lunch on the go. Pork and veal sausages usually top the list, but most kiosks offer a huge variety, all tucked into a fresh roll and served with the usual condiments.

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Dublin

Dublin was my first taste of Ireland, and I quickly discovered that the Irish are about the friendliest people you’ll meet! The city is very compact, so everything is in walking distance – Even the Guinness Storehouse which is the other side of town.

Sample itinerary


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT
  • Language: English

Stay: City centre

Dublin City centre is fairly small, and so anywhere with a central postcode will be fine for exploring. We walked everywhere on foot (even home from a night out!)

There was a large group of us – 8 in total – and so we chose to stay in an Airbnb so that we could all stay together. This worked out well in terms of food too, as we cooked breakfast in each morning (food bills in Dublin quickly add up, it’s not the cheapest city!) and were also able to go back and enjoy the communal living space in the evening that you wouldn’t get with a hotel.


Do: Guinness Storehouse, Irish pubs

You can’t go to Ireland and not drink. Well, this is what I was told when I attempted to go whilst partaking in Dry January! Turns out it was true. Our very first stop when we got out of the cab from the airport was a pub, The Ferryman, which turned out to be a traditional Irish pub full of locals – Perfect start to the weekend! We visited many more pubs over the weekend, some more touristy than others, but we had a brilliant evening in Whelans, a live music venue in the heart of town that is a favourite of Ed Sheeran and also the filming location of PS I love you…

The Guinness Storehouse is a must-do if it’s your first trip to Dublin. We timed our visit so that there was time to explore the factory (upon entry, you wander around at your own pace – expect to spend around an hour doing so) and make it to the Gravity bar at the top for sunset. Your entry ticket includes a pint of Guinness in the bar, and the views you get from the top are brilliant. It’s worth noting that tickets for the Storehouse can be purchased in advance on their website, and doing so will save you money and queuing time on the day.


Eat: Chai Yo, 777

Dinner in Dublin needn’t be an expensive affair. Chai Yo was recommended to us by a friend who had previously been to Dublin, telling us ‘the food is great and you’ll have a lot of fun’. And wow, did we have fun! The waiting staff turn what could be a standard Thai meal into a full on party; singing, dancing and performing at tables in-between courses being served. The entertainment would have been enough for me to recommend it, but as it turns out the food was also excellent, and the bill wasn’t eye watering either! (Tip: Check out the set menu, 4 courses for €17.50 can’t be argued with!)

If you weren’t specifically looking for it, you would walk straight past 777, but it’s worth seeking out as this Mexican is truly a hidden gem of the city. The funky restaurant has great music, an expansive menu and excellent cocktails. The best bit? On a Sunday, every dish is €7.77 – A welcome break from the usually expensive dining out in Dublin.

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Copenhagen

Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is the perfect place for a weekend city break, and even if you’re visiting for just a couple of days, theres plenty you can pack in to get a real taste of Danish life.


  • Currency: Danish Krone
  • Local time: GMT +1
  • Language: Danish

Stay: Inner City

Copenhagen is pretty compact, so most places are accessible by foot. Staying in the inner city area (we were near Nørreport station) made it super easy to get around, and there are lots of reasonably priced Airbnbs in the area to let you experience a true Scandinavian way of life.


Do: Nyhavn, Freetown Christiania, Canal tour

A trip to Copenhagen isn’t complete without a visit to Nyhavn (New Harbour) with its brightly coloured houses lining the canal. Visit early in the day to avoid the crowds, and don’t get sucked into the tourist trap restaurants along the water – It’s much cheaper to walk a few minutes beyond and find somewhere to eat there. (Theres a great street food area just over the bridge into Christiania, more on this below).

Based largely around the water, a canal tour is a must do to see the city from boat level. There are several tour companies that offer 60 minute cruises departing from Nyhavn – The cheapest is Canal Tours Copenhagen at 50DKK (around £6) per person, but expect to queue!

Freetown Christiania is a self-proclaimed autonomous district in Copenhagen, and is a must see! Incredible street art and a laid back vibe takes you into a different world from the busy tourist area of Nyhavn, and its the perfect place to visit to pick up a cheap beer and sit with the locals in the sunshine. Please note that once you enter Freetown, the taking of photos is prohibited.


Eat: Neighbourhood, Mad & Kaffe, Broens Gadekøkken

If you’re looking for a cool spot for dinner that won’t break the bank, head to Neighbourhood and enjoy their selection of low-carb pizzas and an excellent cocktail menu. There are two locations in the city, and its worth noting the one in Nørreport takes bookings.

Brunch is a particular favourite weekend hobby for the Danish, and if you’re looking for a great meal and to eat where the locals do, make your way to Mad & Kaffe – But be prepared to queue! You can design your own brunch here, selecting 3, 5 or 7 items from a list of options they give you. Highly recommend adding an iced coffee to your order – they’re amazing!

For great street food head over the bridge from Nyhavn to Broens Gadekøkken (The Bridge Street Market). There is a wide selection of stalls and a couple of bars – A perfect place to stop on a sunny day, and conveniently located as a pit stop on your way to Christiania.

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Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of my favourite European cities, and I head back whenever I can. I’ve done the bars/clubs/Red Light District all before, so now when I go its all about relaxing by the canals and enjoying the slower pace of life.

Sample itinerary


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT +1
  • Language: Dutch

Stay: Kimpton De Witt

The gorgeous Kimpton De Witt hotel is an excellent choice for luxury accommodation in Amsterdam. This 5* hotel offers exceptional service, luxury rooms and a great on site restaurant and house bar. They also have a wine hour at 5pm every day in the lobby for guests to meet up and swap tips on the city, along with free bicycles that can be hired from the concierge. What’s not to love?!

The location is perfect for exploring the nearby canals and Jordaan district, and is located only a few minutes walk from Centraal Station, meaning whether you arrive by aeroplane and jump on the quick intercity train or by Eurostar direct into Centraal Station, you can be checked into your hotel within 10 minutes of stepping off the train.


Do: Hire bikes, Red Light Secrets museum, canal cruise, A’dam Lookout, Albert Cuyp Markt, ice skating

When you ask most people what they associate with Amsterdam, the answer is usually one of two things; canals and bicycles. (Okay, there is a third – we all know about the ‘coffee shops’ in the city, but I’ll leave that up to you to explore if it’s your thing!)

There are plenty of places all over the city that offer bicycle hire, and most for a very reasonable price too! Pick one up and set aside a good couple of hours to go exploring – The numerous bike lanes make cycling around a joy, and its a great way to cover large amounts of the city in a small time frame. Get Your Guide offers a variety of cycling tours for those who wish to be guided through the city, and you can choose different lengths and languages.

The Red Light Secrets museum is a fascinating look into life in Amsterdams sex industry. The audio guides offer unique stories from women who have worked as prostitute in the city, and with the museum housed in an old brothel, it’s a great way to learn many of the secrets of this famous aspect of the city.

The A’DAM Lookout is located in Amsterdam North, just a short (free) ferry ride from Centraal Station. Aside from offering panoramic views across the city, there is a also bar and a restaurant at the top, and for those feeling brave, Over The Edge – Europes highest swing! Entry to the lookout is €12, and a swing ticket is €5. Pre-book to avoid the queues, then simply take the lift to the top, buckle up and enjoy an exhilarating ride that literally takes you over the edge of the building. The best bit? You get a free digital memento to keep as proof of your bravery!

Head down to the Albert Cuyp Markt in Amsterdam South to experience Europe’s largest daytime market. Selling everything from clothing and jewellery to fresh fruit and baked goods, there is plenty to see and you’re guaranteed not to go hungry! Particular mention goes to the freshly baked bitterballen and the Stroopwafels that are made in front of you and filled with either caramel or chocolate sauce!

If you’re heading in the winter time, make sure to check out the Ice* Amsterdam rink by the Rijks museum. Open November – February, it’s a great activity for children and adults alike, and each ticket includes skate hire and gives you a two hour slot to enjoy the ice. Wrap up warm and take some gloves – They’re mandatory!


Eat: Daalder, La Perla, The Butcher, Locanda, Senses, Pancakes Amsterdam. Jottum

Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities to eat in, and for good reason. The dining options are endless and cover all budgets.

Offering a unique dining option in the canal belt, Daalder serves up a ‘chefs surprise menu’, meaning you simply choose between 3, 4 or 5 courses at lunch or a 5 or 7 course dinner, and the chef will get to work on cooking for you! They always check for allergies or specific dislikes, and after that, its all a surprise! I particularly recommend opting for the wine pairings to accompany each course – They were expertly chosen and really added to the meal. Expect to spend around €130 for a 3 course lunch for two including wine pairings.

La Perla pizzeria, located in the heart of the Jordaan district is always packed, and rightly so. Fresh pizzas are the focus here, and the menu offers plenty of choice (Prosciutto San Daniele is a personal favourite). Turn up early and put you name down, then head to a canal side bar for a drink or two until your table is ready.

Also in the Jordaan area is Locanda, a cute Italian with a small but excellent menu of homemade Italian food. Tables line the streets outside in the warmer weather, but the inside of the restaurant is the star here – Think cozy interiors with small candlelit tables. Reservations are recommended here as it fills up quickly!

If decent burgers are your thing, then look no further than The Butcher. With a metal interior, it may not look like the most welcoming of burger bars, but the food more than makes up for it. (‘The Daddy’ is my personal favourite, but ‘The Butchers Wife’, with a grilled chicken breast instead of beef, is also an excellent choice).

For an incredible dining experience, head to Senses, headed up by chef Lars Bertelsen. With an emphasis on food art, every dish is exquisitely presented and the flavours are expertly paired. Choose the wine pairing option to accompany your meal to make it extra special! A 5 course dinner with wine pairings will cost around €110.

Jottum is the place to go for great tapas. A warm and buzzing restaurant with an extensive menu and delicious sangria to really give you that feeling of Spain! Particularly recommend the chorizo croquettas and the manchego and salami board.

You can’t visit Amsterdam without having pancakes, and while there are many, many options, there are our picks… For amazing fluffy pancakes and a warm welcome, head to Pancakes Amsterdam on Prinsengracht. They offer a set menu for around €14 including pancakes, orange juice and a hot drink. For a more traditional dutch crepe, head to The Pancake Bakery, also on Prinsengracht. Their cheese, bacon and mushroom pancake was excellent, and there is unlimited syrup on every table for guests. Perfect!


Drink: Cafe T’Smalle, P96, Super Lyan, Cafe Roenie’s

For a calming canal-side drink, I recommend heading to either Cafe T’smalle or P96 (a few minutes walk apart, both on Prinsengracht). Cafe T’smalle is a traditional wooden panelled pub, and is as lovely in summer when you can sit on the outdoor terrace with a cold beer as it is in winter when you can enjoy the candlelit interior with a glass of red wine. P96 is perfect for summer afternoons, as they have a stationary boat on the canal that you can enjoy your drinks on in the sunshine, watching the boats cruise along the canal, but it’s equally as great in winter, with cozy interiors and a great list of bar snacks to enjoy.

Attached to Kimpton De Witt hotel is the newly opened Super Lyan – the first international venture from Mr Lyan. With a gorgeous neon bar, plenty of seating and an extensive cocktail list (with two on draught!), make time for a drink here during your stay in the city. We particularly recommend the cucumber champagne!

Down near Vondelpark you’ll find Cafe Roenie’s – a laid back locals bar serving cold beer and a small selection of wines. A lovely ‘off the beaten track’ place to stop for a drink if you’ve spent the afternoon working up a thirst cycling around the park!