An Alternative City Guide to Amsterdam

The wonderful city of Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and this is for very good reason. It seems that everybody has been and has their favourite places to go, but there are a few fantastic alternative places that tourists or newbies to the city are not so familiar with. These hidden gems show the real heart and soul of the city and are, typically, much quieter than the busier areas.

Whether you’re a tourist or an adopted local, there are plenty of “best-kept secrets” dotted around the city for you to uncover.

Food

Food is a key part of any vacation and Amsterdam has many great eateries. Here are a few of the best spots in town.

Mazzo – Head here for the best authentic Italian food in Amsterdam. It has a relaxed and cool vibe inside with a stylish interior, but it is also affordable too. In addition to the food, this is also a great space for drinking in the evening.

The Butcher – You can’t beat a good burger and the burgers at The Butcher are the best in the city. It may not look like the best, but this place stays open late and has a high-end speakeasy cocktail bar at the back – but shh, don’t tell everyone!

Rotisserie – This Brooklynese bar serves up tantalising chicken dishes and delicious burgers in a friendly and welcoming setting. They also have take-away if you want to enjoy your meal out in the streets or settle in for a cosy night at your hotel.

Food Hallen – A converted tram shed with dozens of cool food stalls and bars – Food Hallen is one of the newer and trendier places in the city and is extremely popular with the locals.

The Sea Food Bar – Craving seafood? The Sea Food Bar is the best place for fish and there are 2 restaurants in Amsterdam (you may want to book in advance, or have a drink at the bar whilst you wait).

Omelegg – Head here for breakfast. They only serve omelettes, but they are the tastiest omelettes you have ever eaten! Well worth the wait.

Nightlife

Amsterdam is famous for its brilliant nightlife and there are many excellent venues no matter what type of mood you are in. Generally speaking, the Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein areas are the most fun and have a handful of vibrant and fun pubs, bars and clubs. De Kroon in Rembrandtplein is a local favourite and free to get in, whilst Jimmy Woo is a swanky place if you are out for a fancy evening.

Beer

Beer lovers will adore Troost, which serves amazing burgers along with its very own craft beer. There are two places, both in the city centre.

Neighbourhoods

Part of Amsterdam’s charm comes from simply wandering the streets and popping into the local stores and cafes. The best neighbourhoods to do this are the very picturesque Jordaan, and the trendy De Pijp neighbourhood where there are plenty of vibrant bars, cafes and restaurants – this is authentic Amsterdam. Gerard Doustraat is a street worth visiting with a number of cute shops and a friendly atmosphere. To get the most out of your trip, it is worth booking into a hotel near the city centre, like CitizenM, which allows you to get out and explore the neighbourhoods each day.

Art

The city is well-known for its thriving art scene, but it doesn’t stop at just Rembrandt and Van Gogh. A great way to discover some of the alternative masterpieces on show is to take the Street Art and Alternative Walking Tour, or by checking out the independent art galleries, like Aschenbach & Hofland. You should also keep your eyes peeled for any art exhibitions happening during your stay, as this is a terrific way to immerse yourself in the local scene.

Can you add to this list?  Please comment below!

This is a guest post by Alexa Cobbold.  Alexa lives in a little village just outside of York, England and works in PR and Digital Marketing with a number of brands across the globe. Outside of work she loves photography (Instagram has become a little bit of an obsession…), getting out in to the countryside, buying way too many housewares and spending far too much money on photobooth photos.

A Successful 2016 Keukenhof Season

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LISSE — Keukenhof ends a wonderful 2016 season with 1.1 million visitors. The visitors appreciated the flower show and rated it with an 8.9.

The most beautiful spring garden in the world is satisfied with this result. 2016 is the third consecutive year that Keukenhof has attracted over 1 million visitors. The beautiful, cool spring provided 8 weeks of flowers in full bloom.
The increasing number of visitors to Keukenhof is partly the result of a rise in the number of younger visitors. They experience Keukenhof more as a trendy park for a fun day out among the flowers.
Visitors came from more than 100 countries. Most notably, the number of visitors from France and America increased. China and Southeast Asia remain as emerging markets.

Despite the large number of visitors, the traffic flow around Keukenhof was good this season. In 2016, Keukenhof in cooperation with her partner Arriva, had more than 200,000 visitors who travelled using public transport.

The Keukenhof theme for 2017 is Dutch Design. Keukenhof expects Dutch Design to add inspiring events to the flower park, together with new partners.

Keukenhof is open in 2017 from 23 March to 21 May.

http://www.keukenhof.nl/en/

 

Best Family Holidays Near Melbourne Australia

Whether it’s a day at the Australian Tennis Championships, the Cricket, the AFL, NRL or even the occasional State of Origin match, sports are one of Melbourne’s favourite pastimes, but sometimes that’s not what your family wants to do with their holiday. Within a couple of hours drive from Melbourne you will find some fun outings to cater to the whole family.

Before you go

Before leaving for your journey, have your car serviced to save yourself from having any unexpected expenses on your trip. When travelling abroad, most people know how important travel insurance is, but not everyone realises the importance of making sure you have sufficient auto coverage when going on a domestic excursion. Finding an affordable Australian provider might take some research and car insurance quote comparison, but it could keep you protected for things like rental vehicle excess, ski insurance, travel delay reimbursements and more.

Geelong

Geelong is based approximately 75 km from Melbourne’s Central Business District and the general Geelong harbour area has had a major makeover in the last few years. There are a number of reasonably priced accommodation options on the waterfront, from 4-star hotels through to B&B’s. Take your walking shoes and experience the harbour front first hand. You might even throw in a fishing line and give your kids a fishing lesson. Nothing beats fresh fish and local restaurants will be happy to cook up your catch. If fishing is not your thing, sample the award-winning local seafood.

Aqua Orbs Fun Park: A great spot for all the family is the Aqua Orbs Fun Park on the Promenade of Eastern Beach. Close by is The Carousel — a restored American carousel from the 1800s with hand-carved wooden horses. There are 104 bollards along the waterfront, representing Geelong’s history.

Bollards

Photo of Geelong’s Bollards by aussiegall via Flickr

Werribee

Not far from Geelong, you will come to Werribee (32 km from Melbourne’s CBD), which is famous for its free range zoo and largest gorilla exhibit in the world, according to zoo.org.au. You and your family can also get involved with the Adopt an Animal program. If you are feeling very adventurous, September through June, you can stay overnight at the zoo through the Slumber Safari option.

Werribee Mansion: A 19th century Italian style architecture built in 1877, according to visitvictoria.com. It is surrounded by 10 hectares of gardens, the Mansion Hotel and Spa and the Victoria State Rose Garden, which houses 5,000 roses. Entry to Werribee Park is free.

Werribee Mansion

Photo of Werribee Mansion by >littleyiye< via Flickr

Bellarine Peninsula: The Bellarine Historical Society will give you all the history you need to this fascinating place. Bellarine is surrounded by Port Phillip Bay and south to Bass Strait. This is a water lover’s dream with everything from surfing, scuba diving, fishing, snorkelling and beach walking. There are local wineries and award-winning restaurants and cafes.

Bellarine Peninsula

Photo of Bellarine Peninsula by sneetchbeach via Flickr

This is a guest post for Dutch Australian.

 

Foodie Paradise on Australia’s Sunshine Coast

Sunshine coast

The Sunshine Coast is becoming one of the premier locations for foodies in Australia. Take a coach tour from Brisbane to visit the wine and food regions of Maleny, fly to the area on one of the many direct flights to Maroochydore airport or drive yourself to the region. You will not be disappointed with the wide variety of options in this food and wine heaven. Prepare your taste buds for cheese producers, boutique wineries, nougat tasting, chocolate producers, coffee growers and organic farmers. If you want a little more pampering, try the award winning restaurants ranging from Tewantin in the north to Caloundra in the south and Montville in the hinterland.

Make sure you budget accordingly as there is plenty to see and do on the Sunshine Coast wine and food trails. If you want to save some extra money before your trip, why not contact Budget Direct Quotes to see how you can save money on your car, home and contents and travel insurance? Compare the product features and you may find they cut the cost of insurance but not the cover.

Hinterland

Be sure to visit spectacular Montville and Maleny, less than 2 hours drive from Brisbane in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Flame Hill vineyard and restaurant is one of the leading vineyards in the region. Also worth a visit is family–owned Maleny Mountain Wine where you can sample some of Queensland’s best wine in their unique 8 metre-high wine barrel showroom.

To Market

Eumundi Markets is an iconic, twice-weekly market with a vast range of stall holders — everything from fruit and veggies to bread, pastries, packaged foods and sauces, olives and seafood. Look out for the famous Noosa Chilli Sauces — they are a must. The market is open every Wednesday from 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and every Saturday from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. every week of the year. Remember to wear comfortable shoes and a sun hat as many of the stalls are outdoors.

You will also find a great range of providores throughout the Sunshine Coast. These include the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Providores, Signature Roasters, Capelli Foods, Sister Organic Foods, Swagman’s Pie Sensation and Spice Gardens.

Surf Clubs

If you are looking for something a little different, consider dining at the local surf clubs. Unlike NSW, Queensland surf clubs outsource their restaurants, resulting in a wide variety of award winning, reasonably priced dishes. Many of the clubs use local produce grown within a 50 kilometre radius. Again you will have an opportunity to sample local wines, seafood and produce. They are priced to suit every budget.

Along the food and wine trail, you will find suppliers are used to selling to national and international visitors. Your cartons of wine and produce can be couriered to your home or office. Not surprisingly there are many conference organisers who are including wine and food tasting in their conference programs to the region.

Happy holiday!

Guest post by Maggie White.  From Bondi Beach, NSW, Maggie enjoys a good romp with her pug, Mack, going to the range with the boys and giving readers a good chuckle.

Beaches to Breweries: Brisbane’s Top Fun Spots

To the north, south, east, and west, Brisbane is surrounded by a kaleidoscope of diverse landscapes in every direction. On the eastern horizon lies the island-studded playground of Moreton Bay. Drive an hour west from Brisbane and you’ll discover the endless sights and outdoor adventure activities of the Scenic Rim’s lakes and mountains.

While there are a multitude of fun times to be had in the beautiful landscapes surrounding Brisbane, there are even more fun times in store within the boundary of Queensland’s capital. Brisbane is a treasure trove of lively entertainment, culture, shopping, wining, dining, and fun experiences. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the best places to have fun in Brisbane.

Story Bridge Adventure Climb

Brisbane

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/daik/4162604534/

Every day of the week, you can find visitors and locals alike taking the trek up Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge to take in the expansive juxtaposition of towering buildings, blue seas, and rolling green hills of Brisbane and the surrounding area from high above the Brisbane River.

After reaching the top and stopping to enjoy the view of a lifetime, you can take your Brisbane adventure to the next level by opting for the Abseil Climb. After all, who wants to trek down stairs when you can zip down from the Brisbane icon?

Southbank Parklands

Whether you have little ones or just desire an escape in a beautiful natural setting, Southbank Parklands is a great place to spend a sunny Brisbane day. With riverside walking and cycling paths, a breathtaking beach, lush gardens, vibrant shopping, and a wide range of dining options, there is sure to be something fun for everyone at Southbank Parklands.

Riverlife Adventure Centre

Riverlife provides a host of fun outdoor activities and is a popular spot for both locals and visitors. Here, you can spend an hour or two rollerblading or biking along the beautiful riverfront, move on to an adrenaline-pumping rock climb, head down to the Kangaroo Point Cliffs for some abseiling, kayak down the azure waters of the Brisbane River, and much more.

Best of all, all of these fun activities are affordable, even for traveling Dutchmen on the tightest of budgets. From little ones as young as eight years old to adults, there is fun in the sun for everyone at the Riverlife Adventure Centre.

Queen Street Mall

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brisbanecitycouncil/5275316181/

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brisbanecitycouncil/5275316181/

 

As Brisbane’s long-time shopping destination, the Queen Street Mall has long been the retail and fashion centre of Queensland. In the heart of Brisbane City, the vibrant shopping destination is perhaps Australia’s most popular pedestrian mall, hosting upwards of 26 million people every year.

Home to over 700 local, national, and international labels and retailers, Queen Street Mall provides an unparalleled shopping and leisure experience. Here, you’ll discover an array of restaurants, bars, cafes, 5-star hotels, day spas, salons, cinemas, a grand casino, and so much more. Only five minutes down the road, you can also peruse the museums and galleries located along the riverside.

Fortitude Valley

mage: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jam_project/6405027515/

mage: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jam_project/6405027515/

Although one could spend a week just having fun in and around Queen Street Mall, “The Valley” as it’s called by locals, was the first district dedicated strictly for entertainment in all of Australia. Today, Fortitude Valley is abuzz with the sounds of music and people. Not only are popular music venues like the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts and The Zoo located here, but international bands and DJs are also drawn to the area’s chic bars and clubs.

If you’re in need of a little midnight party snack, the Chinatown Mall is full of authentic Chinese supermarkets and restaurants serving delicious yum cha and dim sum. You can also find a slew of interesting and affordable items in Chinatown’s quirky markets.

However, Fortitude Valley is also home to a multitude of small lifestyle strips, where locals and visitors enjoy an endless mix of shoppes, bars, and restaurants in an array of unique atmospheric settings. For instance, The Emporium emits a European village vibe, Brunswick Street plays host to an assortment of multicultural restaurants and bars, and James Street houses the best Australian fashion labels.

Scratch Bar

Every Dutchman loves a good beer, and there’s no better place to enjoy a fine craft brew in all of Brisbane than the Scratch Bar. This unique and charming pub takes its beers very seriously. Featuring an ever-changing menu of craft beers on tap from around the globe, this trendsetting little bar is heaven on earth for every self-proclaimed ale lover. From Raspberry Ale and Toffee Apple Amber to Cherry Wheat Porter and everything in between, the Scratch Bar is the place to sit back, relax, and enjoy good laughs while drinking a quality brew or two.

Brisbane is home to a number of other great bars and pubs as well. Golden Chains Motels wrote an excellent blog post on the best beer bars in Brisbane and is definitely worth checking out.

Thanks to beautiful natural scenery in every direction, endless days of sunshine, and a fun-loving population, there are a tonne of fun things to do in Brisbane. So, grab a swim suit or put on your shopping shoes and get ready for some fun in the sun!

This is a guest post by Andre Smith.  Andre is a Brisbanian who loves exploring Australia and going on exciting road trips with his friends. He also likes to blog about everything related to cars.

Have you explored these travel destinations in Australia?

Hopping kangaroo

Have you explored these travel destinations in Australia?  This guest post by Andrea Jayson of www.ukbaguide.co.uk takes us through some highlights and must-sees.

Sydney

Attractions sites in Sydney are many but the major ones are;

  • Sydney opera house is such an eye opener that you can’t afford to miss when you are in Australia. The building is located on the north shore in the Sydney harbour. It is a great architectural piece with stunning shape which is a wonderful attractions for tourists.
  • Queen Victoria Building was built in the last century and is one the oldest buildings in the city. This building houses old-world cafes and hundreds of specialty shops
  • Hyde Park is the home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Majestic fig-trees that line the path to the tomb brings the much needed cooling effect to the area unlike other places which are warm and humid.
  • Surry Hills is found inside the city and is an entertainment spot where you find people from all walks of life. It is an ideal place where you can take your meals in restaurants and drinks in one the many bars.
  • Australia being a coastal city has several beaches where you can engage in swimming, sport fishing and surfing.
  • The national park in the outskirts of the city is home to wild animals such as kangaroo and koala

sydney harbour bridge

Uluru

  • Uluru is a world heritage site found in the heart of Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park.
  • The place boasts of rich indigenous culture and acts as a spiritual centre, and there are guides to guide you.
  • At different times of the day the colour of rocks in the area change from pink to blood red to mauve. Array of colours produced can make you think they are created by artists.
  • View the sacred sites from a helicopter or take a motorcycle or camel ride through the desert to observe the landscape.
  • Sounds of Silence is the perfect place to wind up your day. Several Australia dishes such as barramundi, kangaroo and crocodile, complemented with fine Australia wines are served.

Melbourne

  • Royal exhibition building in manicured Carlton Gardens is one of the world’s oldest remaining exhibition pavilions.
  • Great Ocean road offers a variety of tourist attractions. There are sandy beaches where people engage in surfing. Tourists can also engage in fishing in the several fishing villages.
  • Tangled rainforest is characterised by indigenous trees and vegetation and is home to a wide range of bird species.

Tasmania

  • Salamanca Place is a perfect place to wander along its cobblestone streets observing its different sceneries.
  • People who like hiking should go to Mount Wellington. It is such an interesting adventure to climb to the top in the company of a guide or fellow hikers.
  • Visit Cataract gorge and explore the World Heritage wilderness around Cradle Mountain.

Accommodation

Accommodation facilities in these destinations are world class. They include;

  • Hotels- There are both middle class hotels and luxury hotels that you can book.
  • Restaurants- Restaurants are found all over and you can purchase cheap meals.
  • Hostels- hostels charge low prices and visitors are allowed to cook.

Visa Requirements

If you are not an Australia citizen you should research early about visa and customs requirements. All tourists need a passport and completed Incoming Passenger Card and all except Australians and New Zealand citizen must carry a valid visa. Visit Ukba and apply for these documents early to avoid any inconveniences.

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