Suprise your partner! 5+ Romantic things to do for Couples in Barcelona 

Romantic Things to Do for Couples in Barcelona

Planning a city trip to Barcelona for your next romantic getaway? Surely tapas dinners and pitchers of sangria are already on the agenda. Eager to do something a little bit more memorable for that special someone? Here are 5 out of the ordinary and romantic things to for couples in Barcelona!

1. Sunset wines at the Bunkers del Carmel

For the best view of Barcelona, head up to Bunkers del Carmel. As the name suggests, this nowadays popular viewpoint formerly served as a bunker to defend against aircrafts during the Spanish civil war in 1937. This spot now offers 360 degrees over Barcelona and is incredibly popular with locals and tourists alike, that often go here to hang out, have a picnic and watch the sun drop over the city. The bunkers are easily accessible via public transport. Make sure to bring your own bottle of wine and start spotting those landmarks.

Free entrance

bunker del Carmel

Visit www.bunkers.cat for more information

2. Rent a jet ski for a thrill ride

More the adventurous couple? Opt for some thrill and rent a jet ski to see Barcelona’s skyline like never before. Jetscoot is located in Port Fòrum, a short taxi ride from the city center, and is a one-stop shop for all sorts of water activities. Either rent a jet ski all for yourself or hop on the back of your significant other. No license required and whole a lot of fun guaranteed.

Price for 20-minute jet ski rental: €55 ($62)

Visit www.jetscoot.com for more information.

3. Relax at an underground spa: AIRE Ancient Baths Barcelona

Hidden within the El Borne area, AIRE Ancient Baths Barcelona is something special. This one of a kind spa is set completely underground, within the walls a former meat storing facility and is still upholding all of its historic features. This is the place if you’re looking to spoil your partner with some tranquility and relaxation in a captivating setting. AIRE even has wine baths on their treatment menu.

AIRE Barcelona is open daily from 09:00 till 23:00. As they strive to not overcrowd the baths, only a set amount of guests are allowed to enter at the same time for a set amount of time.

Price of a visit to AIRE Ancient Baths starts from €39 ($44)

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Visit www.beaire.com for more information

4. Picnic in Parc de la Ciutadella

If you’re looking for a romantic picnic spot, look no further than Parc de la Ciutadella. Parc de la Ciutadella is Barcelona’s largest parc and is great for a pleasant picnic or a casual stroll in the afternoon. Best place for a picnic setup? If not too crowded, the grass fields near the fountain, set amidst the center of the parc, lend themselves perfectly. TIP: At Picnic Barcelona you can hand pick a picnic basket which will then be delivered to the entrance of the parc. Or, if you truly want to surprise someone, they can even arrange the whole set up for you.

Free entrance

Parc de la Ciutadella

5. A visit to Palau de la Musica

Palau de la Musica, located in the narrow streets of Barcelona’s center, is perhaps one most stunning concert halls in the world. Palau de la Musica was first opened in 1908 and is still in use today. Designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the concert hall is characteristic for modern Catalan design and has been a part of the UNESCO world heritage list since 1997. There are two ways to visit Palau de la Musica; either by going to a concert or by booking a daytime tour.

Costs of a tour through Palau de la Musica: €20 ($22)

For more information visit www.palaumusica.cat

All prices converted on xe.com as of 19 December 2019, in US dollars & EURO. 

 

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CITY HIGHLIGHTS: Florence, Italy

Florence, a city that has won over the heart of many tourists and has ranked no 1. as “Best City in the World”, “Most Romantic City in Europe” and “Best Citytrip” on numerous occasions. With its rich history, culture, and the incredible Italian cuisine; Florence really does seem to have it all. Eager to find out why? Make sure to visit these highlights on your next trip to Florence:

Top things to do in Florence, Italy  

Hungry or need a place to stay?

1. Boboli Gardens

The Boboli Gardens, situated behind the Pitti Palace, belong to Florence’ most frequently visited places. The garden, which was originally designed for the Medici Family, stretches over 45,000 m2, making it a pleasant walk on even the busiest of days. For almost four centuries, it was the garden of the great dukes of Tuscany and for a short period, even that of the kings of Italy. Nowadays, the garden is part of the World Heritage Site (UNESCO).

The garden is open every day of the week, except the first and last Monday of each month. Price for a ticket to enter the Boboli gardens is €10 ($11.3) from March to October (high season) and €6 ($6.8) in the remainder of the months.
Boboli Gardens FlorenceBoboli Gardens FlorenceBoboli Gardens FlorenceBoboli Gardens Florence

2. Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore

The 10th largest cathedral in the world; the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, or better known as the Cathedral of Florence. The cathedral, built in the 13th century,  is famed for its theatrical details carved in pink, white and green marble.  A stunning sight amidst the busy streets of Florence’s historical center. Whilst the exterior might be spectacular, expect the inside to be somewhat plain.
Entrance to the Cathedral is free of charge. 

Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore

3. Climbing the Duomo

The inside of the Cathedral of Florence might not be as impressive as the exterior does expect, the view from the Duomo, however, does not disappoint. Located on top of the Florence Cathedral, the dome can be accessed via a steep and narrow staircase aside the cathedral. It can be quite the climb, 463 steps up to be precise, but the view is worth the endeavor. Climbing the Duomo is very popular, hence reservations are required and, as it sells out regularly, it is wise to do so a few days in advance. Visitors are appointed a time sloth in which they can enter.
The price for climbing the Duomo is €18 ($20) and is part of an OPA pass, which also grants access for 72 hours to the Baptistery of San Giovanni, Santa Reparata, Giotto’s Bell Tower, Brunelleschi’s Dome and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.
View from the Duomo FlorenceIMG_8987

4. Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio, which literal translation means old bridge,  was built in 1844 and was originally intended for the Medici family. On the second floor, there is a hallway the length of one kilometer, which sole purpose was allowing members of the Medici family to get from one palace to another, without making an appearance amongst the people. Nowadays, the bridge is largely known for hosting some of the most expensive jewelry stores in the world.
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5. Piazza Michelangelo

What’s better than wandering through the iconic streets of Florence? Staring at them from above. Piazza Michelangelo is a plaza, located roughly a 25- minute walk from the Duomo, that offers spectacular views of the city. To get to the viewing point it does take a small hike up, however, the path is completely paved. Along the way, there is a small park, which serves perfectly as a rest stop or for a picnic with a view.
Entrance to Piazza Michelangelo is free 
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All prices as of June 2018, converted on xe.com in US dollar and EURO. 

HOTEL TIP: Cityden Up – Amstelveen, Netherlands

Planning an Amsterdam weekend getaway, business trip, or simply want to do some shopping and relaxing in an area near the airport? We have got just the hotel for you. Within instant reach of Amsterdam’s city center and Schiphol airport, in a city called Amstelveen, you’ll find hotel Cityden Up. Cityden has remodeled a former office building into over 80 modern hotel apartments with, most importantly, a comfort and price point that are unheard of in the urban center.

Hotel Cityden Up, Amstelveen

Overall, Cityden is a rather unique hotel-apartment brand that is committed to providing its guests with modern and, above all, comfortable rooms. The personal approach of the staff and the extensive in-room features will make sure you’ll feel right at home. All hotel apartments are smartly decorated so that guests can also choose to enjoy them for a longer period of time, making it suitable for both business and leisure trips.

Citizen Up hotel Lobby

The Room

All rooms at Cityden Up feature a fully equipped kitchen. Which, especially when you’re staying multiple nights, is a luxury on its own. Apart from to the extra comfort of being able to cook at your hotel room (whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner), it is a BIG budget saver. Even the fridge is rather large for hotel standards, so no need to squeeze everything in as one normally expects.  In addition, the spacious living area makes the room a pleasant space to get some work done or to sit back and relax.

The hotel has four room types – two of which are studios and two are suites. The room featured above and below is the comfort suite and is suitable for 3 people, as it has a convertible sofa bed. The separate bathroom is equipped with a walk-in shower and rain shower head. The cabinets are filled with towels of all sizes, so you’ll never run out.

Facilities 

Fitness

Good hotel gyms are a rare find, and even though the gym at Cityden Up might be rather small, it sure is decent! The floor to ceiling windows create a light-infused room, which somehow contributes to an extra motivational boost. There are no strength machines, but all the essentials are there for a good cardio and free weight work out.

Citizen Up hotel gym

Roof terrace

If you liked the gym, you’ll love the rooftop.  There is nothing better than giving yourself a moment after a long day of exploring. What better place to seclude yourselves for a bit, than getting comfortable in this setting. Whether it’s warm summer nights or chilly winter evenings, get nestled in and unwind.

Rooftop terrace Cityden Up

Lucy’s Kitchen

Cityden Up features its own on-site restaurant and bar, called Lucy’s kitchen. Which next to a lovely breakfast buffet, also features an extensive lunch- and dinner menu. The restaurant opens on set times throughout the day, however, the bar opens early in the morning and stays open until late at night. Click here for more information on Lucy’s Kitchen.

For breakfast at Cityden Up in specific: it is diverse -think freshly baked croissants, salmon, pressed juices and yogurt with all the toppings you could wish for- and will cost you €12 ($14).

How to get there

Cityden Up is situated minutes away from the Amsterdam Zuidas Business district. In this area, you’ll not only find loads of restaurants, but there are also tons of public transportation options (station Amsterdam Zuid) that can take you anywhere in Amsterdam you’ll want to go. This also goes for anywhere else in the Netherlands. Furthermore, the hotel is conveniently located nearby a tram stop – one-minute walking distance-, that will take you directly into the city center within 15 minutes.

What is it going to cost you to spend the night at Cityden Up?

Cityden Up

Cityden Up hotel suite

Studio’s start from €90 ($103)| Suites start from €115 ($131)

More information

Want to see what other accommodations Cityden has on offer? Visit www.citydenup.com

[Disclaimer: our stay at the Cityden Up hotel was on the courtesy of Cityden]

 

All prices as of 23’October 2018, converted on xe.com.

TAPAS IN BARCELONA: 6 delicious Tapas Bars

Where to eat the best Tapas in Barcelona

Looking for a restaurant to eat tapas shouldn’t be all too difficult in Spain. These yummy bites, coming from the traditional Spanish cuisine, are to be found on every corner, street, and sidewalk. But, with such a big city like Barcelona, it can be hard to find the best. Here are 6 all-time favorite Barcelona tapas bars, where it’s guaranteed that the next bite is even better than the last.

1. Vinitus

Simple but brilliant. With an interior unlike most tapas bars in Barcelona -stylish and modern- Vinitus is a hit with locals and tourists alike. Don’t be surprised by the long queues outside, the restaurant doesn’t take reservations but works with a waiting list. Way to avoid the wait; arrive early before the locals do, which is usually around 20:30.

Tip: Going for white wine instead of Sangria? Their Verdejo (€12.8 p/bottle) is incredible! 

Restaurant Vinitus Barcelona

2. Casa Lolea

We said it before, and we’ll say it again. A visit to Casa Lolea is a must; only if it’s just for their unparalleled truffle risotto. Casa Lolea is furthermore renowned for its dotted bottled sangria, which is sold around the world. That and the cozy atmosphere are more than enough reasons to visit the restaurant hidden in the streets of Eixample. Make sure to call ahead to ensure yourself of a seat.

Casa Lolea Barcelona

3. Perikete

Any ham lovers out there? Perikete is the place you’ll want to go. The fairly new restaurant features a nostalgic interior, with ham covering the entire ceiling, barrels of vermouth that are placed above the bar and a selection of over 250 wine bottles placed throughout the bar. The owners specifically aimed to recreate tapas bars as they used to be. The result? An incredible authentic Spanish tapas bar, with great service and an atmosphere alike. Another bonus: the restaurant is very price friendly,

For more information visit www.gruporeini.net/perikete/

4. La Flauta

Dine where the locals dine, at La Flauta. For over 25-years la Flauta has proudly served the Catalonian locals with qualitative tapas, building a name for itself one step at a time. Now, the tapas bar is more popular than ever and ques running along the street aren’t uncommon. Just walk up to the bar and place yourself on the waiting list, same things as our no 1 on this list. The service at La Flauta is pretty fast so the wait probably won’t be that long. Overall, the price and quality of the food are excellent.

Expect to pay around € 25 per person for an evening filled with tapas and wine.

5. Bar Lobo

Just an alley away from La Rambla, in a rustique square, lies Bar Lobo. The light and modern bar, that features an open kitchen, is in particularly loved for its sun faced outdoor terrace in the afternoon. Their menu goes beyond your traditional tapas classics, so even for those who think they’ve had just about enough tapas, Bar Lobo has got you covered. For an extensive dinner, with a jug of cava sangria expect to pay €30 per person.

Sangria Bar Lobo BarcelonaBar Lobo Calamares

For more information visit www.grupotragaluz.com/restaurante/bar-lobo/

6. El Nacional

Okay, so maybe this doesn’t qualify as just a tapas bar, but it deserves a prominent spot on this list. El Nacional is a massive compound, that’s elegant nevertheless, right in the heart of Barcelona. Within the compound, there are 4 distinct- bars and restaurants. All specialized in a specific matter such as beer, wine, cava cocktails for the bars. Meat, fish, rice, and -of course- tapas, for the restaurants. In the tapas area, the way things work is slightly different than what you might be accustomed to. Obers stop by with a diverse range of tapas- whatever is fresh and ready to go out of the kitchen- and will show/sell you what they have. See something you like, grab it on to the table and the bill will be compiled later.

El Nacional Barcelona

El Nacional Barcelona
©

For more information visit www.elnacionalbcn.com/en/

Not in the mood for tapas? Visit one of our other favorites!

Brunch & Cake

Brunch & Cake; where every item on the menu is a feast for your eyes. Due to its success, more and more Brunch & Cake restaurants are popping up throughout Barcelona. No matter where you’re located, one is ought to be nearby.

Brunch & Cake MenuBrunch & Cake Barcelona

Flex & Kale

Flex & Kale, serving good-food-that-is-good-for-you. Their menu consists that for 80% out of plant-based items, the remaining 20% percent includes oily fish. Make sure to order the watermelon & feta starter while your there, yumm!

Flex & Kale burgersFlex & Kale Barcelona

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9x IBIZA FAVORITES: Restaurants, Bars & Beaches

Mirror mirror on the wall, what is the finest island of them all? While we wait for an answer, we’ll go ahead and try to fill in the blanks: Ibiza. It’s bizarre that a tiny island, with less than 132,637 inhabitants, has so many different aspects to offer. Fine dining and ultimate tranquility, on one hand, parties where you can dance until dawn on the other. Not to forget the abundance of sangria and authentic Spanish culture at the center of it all, gluing the whole island together. Whilst discovering your own route through the island is half the fun, we’ll give away 9 of our favorite restaurants, bars, and beaches for a small nudge in the right direction.

Visiting Ibiza in July or August? Make sure to place reservations in advance to avoid disappointment. Whether it is for beach clubs, sun beds, lunch or dinner seats.

1.Little Ibiza

The perfect place to start your day, whether it’s with breakfast or brunch, is at Little Ibiza.  Their colorful terrace, filled with the classic tasseled parasols, overlooks the sea and Figuerates boulevard – not bad for a morning coffee. The items on the menu are  all decently priced with fruity smoothie bowls going for €10 ($11.6) and cocktails for around €7 ($8.2). In the mood for something oriental or Asian inspired later in the day? Then Little Ibiza is worth a visit as well.

Restaurant Little IbizaRestaurant Little IbizaRestaurant Little Ibiza

2. La Oliva

Set within the romantic and characteristic old town of Ibiza lies La Oliva. The restaurant features a Mediterranean menu infused with hints of Asian cuisine (yes, please). Pulpo fan or curious to try it out? This is the place to give it a go. The vast majority of tables at La Oliva are set outside, in an angled picturesque street nearby the bustling Dalt Vila square. All in all: the perfect old town dinning experience.

For more information visit www.laolivaibiza.com.

Restaurant La Oliva Ibiza

3. Aiyanna

The brand new sister of Amante, (our lucky no. 7 on this list) is Aiyanna Ibiza. Located on the north side of the Cala Nova bay, the beachfront restaurant features a panoramic view of the Mediterranean sea. The interior is very Ibiza alike, boho chic, with a focus on wood, white, and pops of colors throughout. Their healthy menu is large and varied, with a focus on organic ingredients that come straight from the garden, right to your table. Like what you may ask? Think sharing plates with all sorts of Mezze; avocado and pea guacamole, hummus, muhammara, feta cheese with olives and vegetable crudites for € 19,50.

For more information visit www.aiyannaibiza.com.

4. La Paloma

A treasure to be found in the middle of the island, in a small village named San Lorenzo: La Paloma. The small family-owned restaurant is set between the orange trees and therefore boasts a romantic atmosphere throughout. Simplistic, yet incredibly charming. Their menu can be found on chalkboards, scattered throughout the restaurant and hanging from trees. All featuring tons of yummy dishes, with organic ingredients and seasonal daily specials. The restaurant specialty is a homemade focaccia, stuffed with all sorts of goodness.

The total price of an extensive lunch: €42,70 ($49.9)  For more information visit palomaibiza.com.

Restaurant La PalomaLunch Restaurant La Paloma

Restaurant La Paloma Ibiza

5. Ohana Ibiza

Poké bowls at the beach – anytime! At the Playa d’en Bossa boulevard, you’ll find the new Poké bar Ohana. Choose between the salmon, tuna or vegetarian option; all topped off with delicious ingredients such as avocado, seaweed, edamame and so on.. you know the pokebowl drill. And, all for a very decent price – the salmon bowl will set you back €14 euro. Not in the mood for some poke lovin’? Then there are plenty of other options on the menu to chose from.

Poke bowls Ohona Ibiza

6. Cotton beach club

Along the western coastline, overlooking one of the prettiest beaches in Ibiza is the all-white Cotton Beach Club. It is in total contrast with the 50 shades of blue coming in from the beach set below (hint: no. 9 on this list) and therefore couldn’t look better. The menu on offer has influences from all over the world, think Japanese premium sushi rolls (>€23) and Thai curries (€25) but also Mexican chicken tacos (€25) or Segovia suckling pig (€36). Aside from being an excellent spot to enjoy lunch or dinner, Cotton Beach Club is a great place to sip wine in the late afternoon and watch the sunset whilst listening to some live Ibiza tunes. View, check. Vibes, check. Food, check.

For more information visit www.cottonbeachclub.com

Cotton Beach Ibiza

7. Amante

Set on a cliff overlooking the turquoise waters of Sol Den Serra bay, lies a stunning beach restaurant named Amante. Offering a view like no other, this restaurant serves modern food from the Spanish and Italian cuisine. Need to lay down for a bit after lunch? Well, you can. Amante has an amazing lounge area, where you can rent a sunbed for €30,-. The sunbeds, however, are limited and in high demand. So if you’re keen on spending your entire day here after seeing the photos (we get it), make sure to reserve the sunbed weeks in advance. Fully booked? An alternative is to work with their waiting list – all reserved beds (no show) are released at 13:00

For more information visit www.amanteibiza.comRestaurant Amante Ibiza

Sunbeds Amante Ibiza

Amante beach club IbizaAmante beach club Ibiza

8. La Scala

The restaurants in Ibiza old town are charming, to say the least. But restaurant La Scala takes it up a notch, with an incredibly romantic outdoor terrace. The street faced terrace is covered in all sorts of greens, lights, and flowers; creating a wonderful atmosphere.  Needless to say, you’ll want to book a table outside. The waiters are chatty and charming, offering complimentary cava to start your evening with and fresh fruit to end it. For a 3-course dinner, with a bottle of wine and water, a total was paid of €105,90 ($122,6).

9. Cala Tarida

Last but not least. Our favorite beach in Ibiza for an afternoon dip: Cala Tarida. The water here is super clear and mostly free of rocks and seaweed. Not to mention the awe-inspiring tones of blue overlaying each other. But, (yep, sorry there is a but) we’re not the only ones that feel thay way. It tends to get extremely crowded with locals and tourists alike in high season. Want to find a somewhat more secluded area? You can actally climb down the parking lot for a tiny, private-esque type of beach. Where it will just be you and everyone else that risked the climb.

Cala Tarida Ibiza

Cala Tarida IbizaCala Tarida Ibiza

Cala Tarida Ibiza

All prices as of August 2018, in US Dollars and EURO, converted on xe.com. 

Your favorite spot on Ibiza not on here? Let us know in the comment section! We’d love to pay a visit.

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PIZZA, PASTA & STEAK FLORENTINE – Where to find the best in Florence

9x where to eat in Florence

When traveling, it is always best to abide by the general rule ‘do as the locals do’ to guarantee yourself of the best experience. Which especially goes for the food on offer in your destination country.  So mm, when in Italy, “do as the Italians do” does that mean wine, pizza & pasta all day? HELL YES. Lucky you. What is not to love about wood oven pizza’s, a truffle pasta or a juicy steak. With hundreds of good-looking (and smelling) restaurants around, we guess it’s safe to say that we probably didn’t even cover half of the amazing places to eat in Florence. That said, we sure tried and here are the best restaurants we can recommend to you!

Still need a place to stay in Florence?

1. La Buchetta

Pasta prepared in a cheese wheel (yes indeed, the entire thing) and after thoroughly stirred -absorbing as much cheese as possible- the portion is served on the spot and finished off with some freshly grated truffle. No wonder why restaurant La Buchetta ranks highly on TripAdvisor and is referred to as one of the best restaurants in the city. With the friendly staff and extensive wine menu to compliment your evening, a visit to La Buchetta should be on anyone’s itinerary.

La Buchetta dinner

La Buchetta dinner FlorenceLa Buchetta dinner Florence

For our dinner at La Bushetta, we paid a total of €81.50 ($95.7). Which included the pasta specialty, an entrecote, bread and good bottle of wine.

2. I Fratellini

When laying eyes on I Fratellini for the first time you instantly know that this is something precious. Perhaps one of the tiniest sandwich shops around, that also does not shy away from doubling as a bar, is tucked away in one the many side alleys in Florence. Easily overlooked by some, but a precious find to others. I Fratellini first opened its doors in 1875 and continues to serve guests with heavenly sandwiches and wine to this day. No matter which sandwich you choose, the price is set at €4 ($4.7).  It’s tiny, it’s basic, but it’s perfect. Compliment your meal with a glass of wine for only €2 ($2.3), whilst having a chat with the friendly hosts.
I Fratellini Florence

3. Pizzeria iCamaldoli

Pizzeria iCamaldoli, located in the bustling center of Piazza del Mercato, is a small pizzeria with food and wine for incredibly decent prices considering its location. With a local bottle of wine (good wine) going for €8($9.3) and delicious pizza’s topped with fresh ingredients, this place is truly a little gem. The interior might be slightly different compared to the rest of their Italian neighbors but don’t let that fool you. Sometimes good things come unexpectedly, which especially goes for Pizzeria iCamaldoli, serving us the best pizza we had during our trip.

Pizzeria iCamaldoli

Pizzeria iCamaldoli FlorencePizzeria iCamaldoli Florence

For a late lunch at Pizzeria iCamaldoli we paid a total of €38 ($44.4). This included a bottle of wine, beer, a bottle of water and two pizza’s.

4. La Posta

A stone’s throw away from the Florence cathedral, in a surprisingly cozy alley, lies restaurant La Posta. Drawing immediate attention with its intimate outdoor terrace, which is heated at night, this is the perfect place to give the local celebrity a try: the steak Florentine. Meat with a side of meat; is what to expect if this is your first time ordering the juicy steak. The steak Florentine is signature to the Firenze region and therefore available as a specialty at most restaurants. Keep in mind that the steak Florentine can only be ordered by the kilogram (starting at a minimum kg), so it’s quite the bite. Adding to the experience, the meat, once prepared according to your wishes, is cut directly in front of you at the table.
La Posta Florence
La Posta FlorenceSteak Florentine

For our dinner at La Posta we paid a total of €109 ($128). This dinner included the steak Florentine (€60), a pasta, bottle of wine, bottle of water and a shared dessert.

5. Trattoria Zà Zà

In the heart of the city, you’ll find Trattoria Zà Zà. Due to its location and the good recommendations the restaurant receives scattered online, it’s no wonder this place thrives on tourism. The waiters speak perfect English and the service is fast and efficient. Their interior is what keeps the vibes of the restaurant warm and cozy. And, not to forget of course, the food is excellent. Every item we ordered of the menu was cooked to perfection. If possible, try to make a reservation on forehand, because Trattoria Zà Zà is popular with tourists and locals alike, it would be a shame if you miss out on a table at this lovely restaurant.
Trattoria Zà Zà FlorenceTrattoria Zà Zà Florence
Price of our dinner at ZaZa for two: €70 ($82,2). Which included another steak Florentine (for 1 pax this time), a truffle pasta, bottle of water, beer and several soda’s. For more information click here.

6. El Gato E La Fulpe

So, if we would have known that the Tiramisu would come out like that, and tasted the way it did, we would have probably skipped dinner altogether and just ordered ten of those. But, luckily we didn’t. Because we came to this cute authentic Italian restaurant, which is mostly visited by locals, for the pasta. Cooked perfectly al dente and with a large variety on the menu; this definitely is the place to visit for all pasta lovers (and tiramisu lovers for that matter, hehe).
El Gato E La FulpeEl Gato E La Fulpe
 For dinner for two, we paid €45 ($52.8) which included a truffle pasta, beef specialty, bottle of water, tiramisu and coffee.

7. Cornelius Pizzeria

Cornelius Pizzeria is a great spot to enjoy a pizza in the mid-day summer heat. Offering a small outdoor terrace that faces the sun for the largest part of the day, They have a diverse menu on display but we advise you to opt for the yummy wood oven pizza’s. After all, it is a pizza place. Furthermore we ordered a decanter of wine, whilst enjoying the sun on the terrace, but frankly, we have no clue why we did this. Decanters are hardly ever a wise choice, so don’t make the same mistake and go with a bottled wine instead. That said, the pizza is great!
Cornelius PizzeriaCornelius Pizzeria

8. Konnubio

The stylish restaurant & wine bar Konnubio will catch anyone’s eye just walking sheer past it. Catching a glimpse of the inside is enough to see that the interior reflects one of the few modern takes on Italian restaurants in Florence. But, once inside, the glimpse you’ve got is nothing compared to what you get to see. From the green tiled bar to the sun-infused dining area surrounded with green leaves; this has to be one of the prettiest restaurants in Florence. Konnubio operates four different concepts throughout the day at set times and is closed in between. Starting with a breakfast experience, healthy lunch from 12:00 until 15:00 and finishing off with a fine dining menu and cocktail bar in the evening. 
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 For more information visit www.konnubio.com

9. All’ Antico Vinaio 

Okay, gigantic queues in front of restaurants can only mean one thing right? The food must be extraordinary. What about a gigantic queue outside of a sandwich shop? Well, that’s a first, but 100% what you’ll encounter when going for a visit to All’ Antico Vinaio. These sandwiches have become such a phenomenon that All’ Antico Vinaio now has three different locations,  all across from each other, all with an equally long queue. But don’t let the queue scare you, it isn’t without a reason that these sandwiches are so popular. Plus they have become accustomed to working fast and you’ll be out of there in no time. With a sandwich, the sheer size of a pizza for solely €5 ($5,8) a piece, make sure not to plan this stop as an in-between snack.

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For more information on locations visit www.allanticovinaio.com

 *All prices as of 11 July ’18, in EURO and US dollar, converted on xe.com

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3x PRETTIEST BEACHES ON THE COSTA BRAVA 

Discover the best beaches on the Costa Brava

The Costa Brava, in northeastern Spain, is one of the best known coastal areas in the world. With a diverse range of easily accessible and scenic beaches, there is no questioning its popularity. Some of them surprisingly non-touristy whilst others attract them by the mass. Nevertheless, the following three beaches are guaranteed to be amongst the prettiest to encounter on the miles long coastline:

1. Cala El Golfet

Fifty shades of green and blue make it nearly impossible to determine where to look first when arriving at Playa El Golfet. When making your way down from the parking area, to where the small beach is located, the hints of turquoise get clearer and clearer. The best view you’ll get is from above, so make sure to take it all in before heading along. Cala El Golfet is crowded solely with locals and their children. Which makes you instantly aware that this is something precious. The beach is small and as non-touristy as they come,  you won’t find any bars or restaurants on the beach, or nearby for that matter. So make sure to pack your bag before heading out. Furthermore, the beach is quite rough with small stones instead of sand, so if you’ve got some old water shoes in the back of your closet: this is their moment to shine.

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Beach El Golfet Costa Brava

2. Aigua Blava

Aigua Blava, a beach which name literally translates to “Bluewater” in Catalan. Guess that it is these stunning waters that make the beach a local favorite. That, and the bars and restaurants that are located directly at on the beach. All combined making this an excellent spot the spend the day, for friends and families alike. Other services, such as showers, restrooms, and shops are limited but available as well. The bay is surrounded by trees and offers a view of the idyllic town, feeling very Italian-esque. Thanks to the fine sand and the crystal clear waters, Aigua Blava is also a great snorkeling area.

Aigua Blava beach Spain

Aigua Blava beach Spain

IMG_2821 2Aigua Blava beach Spain

3. Tossa de Mar

A lesser known secret, but nevertheless a beach that still belongs on this short list; Tossa de Mar. Where else can you lay down on a beach and admire an ancient city wall, that still stands proudly today. The beach is divided into three separate areas by the boulevard, one more busy than the other but all within walking distance. On the boulevard itself, you’ll find loads of restaurants and bars, all very suitable for a nice lunch or dinner. But, for a cozy restaurant with an incredible view and (incredibly strong) cava sangria, make your way halfway up the city wall. It’s not very steep and/or too much of a climb. Especially not for the views you’ll be getting; definitely worth the effort before heading back on the road again.

Tossa de Mar beach Spain Tossa de Mar beach Spain Tossa de Mar beach SpainTossa de Mar beach Spain

What is the car rental going to cost you?

Renting a car in Spain is generally pretty cheap. Starting for as little as €20($23) a day,  going up depending on how fancy you would like your ride to be. This amount however only covers the basic rental of the car, it is always advised to do a full insurance in case anything happens. Not because of your drivers’ skills, but because you’re in a foreign country with unknown roads and if something does happen; they will charge you to the full extent.

We rented our car at Sixt in Barcelona, which is very decent car rental and, with the insurance included, it cost us €84 euros for the full day. They have a 24 hrs return policy, so no need to rush back on the same day.

Save some more money: always chose to bring back the car with a full tank. They usually promote the “bring the car back empty and we’ll fill it up for you” as the laid-back option. However, they charge at least 3 times as to what it would have cost you to fill it up yourself.

Gas was €30($35) for a full day of driving. Bringing the total costs of our Costa Brava road trip from Barcelona to €114 ($133). All beaches mentioned above are within a few hours from the center of Barcelona, making them very suitable for a combined 1-day road trip.

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* All costs as of 29 June’18, displayed in EUROS and US dollars, converted on xe.com 

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SLEEP IN THE HISTORICAL CENTER OF FLORENCE : Hotel Pendini

HOTEL TIP Florence – Hotel Pendini

Where classical music plays on vinyl,  the rooms are decorated with floral wallpaper and the furniture is antique. Hotel Pendini, a stone’s throw away from all the major sightseeing spots in Florence, is an ideal base for any tourist visiting Florence. The hotel first opened its doors is 1897, as the upscale Pensione Pendini, and has been run by the family ever since. Nowadays, the hotel is still by many perceived as city history, setting high standards to uphold the class it once opened with.

Already there and hungry?

Hotel Pendini lounge

Central location

Popular landmarks such as the cathedral of Florence, Basilica of Sante Croce, Piazza della Signoria, Uffizi Gallery and the renowned Ponte Vecchio bridge are all within a short walking distance of the hotel. And, as to expect from such a central location, so are all the restaurants, shops and gelato you could possibly wish for. Or, after a long day of visiting the historic sights, chill out in hotel Pendini’s very own authentic Italian lounge,  decorated with hints of gold and vintage furniture throughout. 

Lobby Hotel Pendini

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Fun fact: the location of hotel Pendini is now perceived as one of the best areas to stay in Florence,  with neighbors such as  Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, and Cartier. BUT, back in the day, this particular neighborhood was known as the ghetto of the city and the square it is situated on was just a local market. Then, late in the 1800’s, Italy decided to clean up Florence and, in an effort to imitate some of Paris’ elegance and fine historical buildings, built the grand arch that is featured in the photo above. When the work on the arch was completed, a very rich lady which happened to be part of the Pendini family decided to start a residence for travelers in the attached building. The grand arch still proudly bears the Pendini name today.

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Room interior

Usually, we like our hotel rooms to be styled somewhat modern, but this -the vintage cellphone, golden beds, velvet curtains, and bright floral wallpapers – somehow just all work. All rooms of the hotel are featured with air-conditioning, television, and free wifi. Furthermore, the room above in specific had a lounge, desk, and closet which aren’t showing in the photo. The same goes for the bathroom, which might look small but is in reality rather large.

Bathroom hotel Pendini

Breakfast at the hotel is served every morning from 07:00-10:00, with some good complimentary Italian coffee brought to you by the attentive staff members.

What is a night at Hotel Pendini in Florence going to cost you?

For our 4-night trip (Thursday till Monday) we paid a total of  $637.36 (€ 527,40) with breakfast included. With high review scores, such as the 9.1 on Booking.com, the hotel is incredibly popular and always sells out early. Being on time is therefore highly recommended, also budget wise as it tends to get more expensive as you wait. Curious to whether it is still available and what it might cost on your desired date? Click here to check out the prices.

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Rooms prices starting from €95 ($108)

More information

Have you ever visited Florence? We’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂 ↓

* All prices as of 30 April ’18, in US dollar and EURO, converted on xe.com. 

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HOTEL TIP – Florence, Italy

HOTEL TIP Florence – Hotel Pendini

Where classical music plays on vinyl,  the rooms are decorated with floral wallpaper and the furniture is antique. Hotel Pendini, a stone’s  throw away from all the major sightseeing spots in Florence, is an ideal base for any tourist visiting Florence. The hotel first opened its doors is 1897, as the upscale Pensione Pendini, and has been run by family ever since. Nowadays, the hotel is still by many perceived as city history, setting high standards to uphold the class it once opened with.

Hotel Pendini lounge

Popular landmarks such as the cathedral of Florence, Basilica of Sante Croce, Piazza della Signoria, Uffizi Gallery and the renowned Ponte Vecchio bridge are all within a short walking distance of the hotel. And, as to expect from such a central location, so are all the restaurants, shops and gelato you could possible wish for. Or, after a long day of visiting the historic sights, chill out in hotel Pendini’s very own authentic Italian lounge,  decorated with hints of gold and vintage furniture throughout. 

Lobby Hotel Pendini

 

IMG_9301

Fun fact: the location of hotel Pendini is now perceived as one of the best areas to stay in Florence,  with neighbors such as  Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and Cartier. BUT, back in the day, this particular neighborhood was known as the ghetto of the city and the square it is situated on was just a local market. Then, late in the 1800’s, Italy decided to clean up Florence and, in an effort to imitate some of Paris’ elegance and fine historical buildings, builded the grand arch that is featured in the photo above. When the work on the arch was completed, a very rich lady which happened to be part of the Pendini family decided to started a residence for travellers in the attached building. The grand arch still proudly bears the Pendini name today.

IMG_8523IMG_8528

Usually we like our hotel rooms to be styled somewhat modern, but this -the vintage cellphone, golden beds, velvet curtains and bright floral wallpapers – somehow just all work. All rooms of the hotel are featured with air-conditioning, television and free wifi. Furthermore, the room above in specific, had a lounge, desk and closet which aren’t showing in the photo. The same goes for the bathroom, which might look small but is in reality rather large.

Bathroom hotel Pendini

Breakfast at the hotel is served every morning from 07:00-10:00, with some good complimentary Italian coffee brought to you be the attentive staff members.

Price of a night at Hotel Pendini, Florence

So, what does one pay for a stay in a vintage-esque hotel right within the city centre of Florence? Well, for our 4-night trip (Thursday till Monday) we paid a total of  $637.36 (€ 527,40) with breakfast included. With high review scores, such as the 9.1 on Booking.com, the hotel is incredibly popular and always sells out early. Being on time is therefore highly recommended, also budget wise as it tends to get more expensive as you wait. Curious to whether it is still available and what it might cost on your desired date? Click here. 

Have you ever visited Florence? We’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂 ↓

* All prices as of 30 April ’18, in US dollar and EURO, converted on xe.com. 

Healthy Barcelona Hotspot: Flex & Kale

Flex & Kale, located in the inner streets of this large Spanish city, is the first healthy Flexitarian restaurant in Barcelona. With a menu that for 80% consists out of plant-based items, the remaining 20% percent includes oily fish. The best thing is, we had no clue that they had so many vegetarian items on their menu until we looked it up later online. With my date, a true carnivore, that’s  something special.

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The restaurant is actually quite large and features several floors,  but nevertheless it feels cozy and has garden-esque vibes throughout. At Flex & Kale they flawlessly combine health with happy taste buds. Just the way we like it. Best place to enjoy your meal is on the second floor. That is where the restaurant features a small light infused rooftop terrace.

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Featuring above are the following three menu items:

WHEN GOAT IS GOD |   $12.90 (€ 10,50)
goat cheese and beetroot cold-pressed juice beetball + mixed sprouts + rocket +
beetroot + mango + strawberries + pistachios + maple syrup vinaigrette

FUNGHI COCONUT TOAST | $9.80 (€7,95)
seasonal funghi mix toast + 5 cereals whole grain spelt bread + white wine +
coconut cream + thyme + black truffle

BTT: BEET TUNA TARTAR |    $16.60 (€13,50)
tuna and beetroot tartar + avocado + seeds + sprouts

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So enjoy your lunch under their motto “Eat better, be happier, live longer”. And before you leave, make sure to grab some vitamines on the go from the funky cold-pressed juice wall at the entrance.

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Flex & Kale is open everyday of the week during the following hours:

  • Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 23:30
  • Saturday and Sunday from 09:30 to 23:30

For our lunch at Flex &. Kale, we paid a total price of $47 (€39). This included three dishes, two coffees and a bottle of water.

For more information on opening hours and menu items click here

* All prices converted on xe.com on 17 February’18