Guides

Tel Aviv

Though New York City may own the motto “The City that Never Sleeps,” Tel Aviv may be its long lost sister. Teeming with energy day and night, this condense urban metropolis also boasts 9 miles of Mediterranean beaches that are right there for you to enjoy. Traveling to Tel Aviv, you will probably find that you need less hours of sleep a night to happily function – the omnipresent energy of the city and its inhabitants is like a constant espresso shot to the head. It’s no coincidence that Tel Aviv is Israel’s technology center- startups here are thriving off the local energy. Work hard, play hard is definitely a mantra here- people are bustling about day and night, and you will, too.

Music and food are shared between friends everywhere from the beaches to the many outdoor patios, and even as a fish out of water (or off a long-haul economy flight), you’ll find Tel Aviv to be super welcoming- you’ll instantly feel right at home here. It’s like your favorite Instagram account has curated goodies just for you: the food will never stop to amaze, the markets are a treat to all 5 senses, amazing architecture and art galleries are everywhere, the many boutique hotels are super vibe-y, and the city is constantly buzzing.

Where to stay

There are plenty of great boutique hotels in this city. Hotel Montefiore is our favorite. If you’re not able to book one of the 12 rooms, make sure to at least stop by for an afternoon drink. Newly opened boutique The Vera Hotel is another option that we like.

Where to eat & drink

The beauty of this city is that the best food is usually served in the most understated settings (aka: street food is amazing here). Port Said is an iconic restaurant behind the Great Synagogue that serves hip locals seated at tables spilling out onto the sidewalk and courtyard. Even though it doesn’t sound very impressive, the eggplant and sweet potato were our favorite dishes. Sometimes simplicity is bliss- and when the ingredients are so good, you don’t need a lot of extras (in fact, the whole “farm to table” trend has been here for centuries- because of all of the amazing markets, access to super fresh produce is a way of life). Bicicletta is a great spot for a romantic evening- tucked away under the treetops and hanging lamps, this place is a must for dinner.

The best hummus is found in the Jaffa area at Abu Hassan. Judging by looks alone, this is a very casual place- but we can assure you that they are very serious about their hummus. Hummus is made here in the morning, and then put in the bin by 2 pm when it’s not fresh anymore. Though in the west we eat hummus whenever, here it’s a dish best served for breakfast or lunch (at breakfast, they put an egg on it). For the best of all worlds in this area, we recommend that you go around noon for a hummus-laden lunch, and for breakfast, you should try the Shakshouka at Benedict instead.

Where to get a coffee

Cafelix

This place is widely touted as the best coffee place in Tel Aviv by locals, and even though we haven’t been to them all of them and cannot, therefore, confirm that…we can definitely say that this one is worth a visit when in need of that kick.

Where to shop

Neve Tzedek

This area, close to Rothschild Street, is filled with cute shops. The best shopping is done on Shabazi Street, especially at the end towards the seaside, where our favorite store Boutique 77 is. Finish off your retail therapy with the best ice cream in Tel Aviv at Anita.

Where to see some hits of culture

Bauhaus center

The best way to enjoy some culture in this city is by walking. Not only do you get some free cardio, but you get to enjoy the Bauhaus-architecture that Tel Aviv is known for. In this area you’ll find several stores with coffee table books to bring home with you, and also guided tours if you don’t feel like doing the research on your own.

What to do

Go to Jerusalem for a day and visit the wailing wall (maybe even continue to the Dead Sea, if you get moving early in the morning). Dress for the occasion (read: cover yourself! This is not a place for “jorts” or bare arms). Make sure to book a table in advance at Machneyuda for either lunch or dinner.

Where to party

You won’t be disappointed with the party scene here. There is something for everyone. We would start with a drink at Denim Drinks First, and then head over to Kuli Alma. Come here and listen to the music (sometimes there are live performances), and sip on their famous Mojito slushie (Tel Aviv’s “Froze”), and do some drunken shopping at the vintage store that’s tucked away in the back of the venue. If the night goes according to plan, you should end it by dancing at 4am to loud electronic music at either Bootleg or The Breakfast Club.

Best place to buy gifts

There are so many markets in Tel Aviv where you can find great gifts. Walk to Jaffa by the coast in around 30 min from the city center (& if you’re feeling lazy, just grab a taxi via the Gett App), and visit the market in the old area of the city. The area is really run down and feels like the 3rd world compared to other neighborhoods, but that’s the whole charm- you feel transported to another time when looking over the fort.

Where to work out

Go for a walk or a run on the beach, its 13 km long so you won’t need to do more than that! In case you need some extras, you can always take one of the yoga classes on the roof of The Vera Hotel, or rent kayaks or other sporty equipment on the beach from one of the many vendors. You can even join in on a volleyball sesh, if you’re feeling bold and sociable.

Best bar for a secret rendezvous

They happen to love Speakeasy bars in this city, and are experts at hiding great rooftop bars behind secret entrances, so this really is the city for a secret rendezvous, if there ever was one! One of our favorites is the Speakeasy Rooftop Bar on Rothschild. Perfect before or after dinner!

Best spot for your new Bumble profile photo

Floating in the dead sea (if you go, that is- you have to get up super early for that!). If not, then perhaps at the old fort at Jaffa, or at the rooftop bar listed above!

Berlin

Berlin feeds a lust for life, just look at how the city has always pioneered trends in music, design, fashion, art, and architecture. Time to embrace getting out of your comfort zone – try something new, and go a bit wild.

Yes, there are ‘dark rooms’ and 24-hour dance clubs- but they are paired with amazing parks and galleries, as well. It’s very grey, but the rainbow graffiti and street art make up for the downer weather in spades.

As you can probably expect (unless you’re really into currywurst)- the food isn’t that great. However, that’s changing – vegan restaurants now exist alongside the more traditional “meat and potatoes” spots that dominated Berlin for centuries. For traditional food, the one must for your list is Borchardt (it’s been open for 150 years, after all), where they concoct steak tartare in front of your table on a brass trolly. The waiters are in white tie and hand you a Kir Royale as you walk in. Not to be missed.

Where to stay

SO/ Berlin Das Stue

One of our favorite hotels in this city, Das Stue means “living room” in Danish. Fun fact: it was the Danish Embassy prior to being a boutique hotel. This reasonably priced five-star ‘design hotel’ is the perfect mix of sophisticated, new-age interiors and old-school historic bones. The contrast works well and Das Stue naturally attracts a fashionable crowd.

The Michelberger Hotel is a more hipster option, typical of Berlin style. Young, edgy and relaxed, the Michelberger is fun and happens to have one of the best restaurants in the area. People come just for the fantastic music.

Michelberger

The 4-star Hotel Zoo Berlin is in the central area of Mitte. Book a room facing the Tiergarten Park’s Zoo, and you’ll likely spot some real monkeys from your bed. Definitely spend an evening on the rooftop in the Monkey bar (yes, there’s a theme).

Soho House Berlin is the fancier option. The Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) architecture forms the Grade II classified building. You’re basically sleeping in a time capsule from pre WWII, through the fall of the wall in 1989. This beauty was passed between political parties and then left dormant for 10 years before the international members club scooped it up. We’re surprised that Wes Anderson hasn’t made a film here yet- there’s lots of delicious symmetry. One of the slickest rooftops in the city, the terrace is only open to hotel guests and members. Many rooms have DJ turntables, too.

Where to eat & drink

Paris Bar
Your only mandatory visit is to the famous restaurant located in West Berlin. Enjoy people watching or peruse the great art hanging on the walls whilst having dinner and drinks. As for another German essential, try a döner kebab. You can find them everywhere in the city, but Mustafas is the most famous.

Other than that, Katz Orange is a safe bet for a great dinner in Berlin. Borchardt is another one, especially worth a visit on a Friday night when they host parties upstairs. If you choose a different day of the week, you can always go to the Neue Odessa Bar instead for a drink afterwards. Don’t miss their Moscow Mule.

Katz Orange

Where to get a coffee

The perfect place to stop for coffee and something sweet is the Distrikt Coffee (the bread pudding is legendary).

If you’re more serious about your coffee, The Barn will be right up your alley. This coffee shop and roastery in the Mitte district roasts all its own beans on-site, this is a rarity in Berlin. They don’t offer any WIFI, so don’t come here with your laptop. They do however offer free coffee tasting sessions every Saturday and will love for you to stay all day and chat about coffee if that’s your thing.

Where to shop

Voo store
For a fairly large store, Voo manages to feel very exclusive, as if every single piece is handpicked.

The Store is another great one, part of Soho House. The coffee bar and sofas make it the perfect place to just chill.

Where to see some hits of culture

Berlin is a place that lives and breathes art. Even the buildings are often full of graffiti and locals don’t see it as a nuisance, but rather an art form. Download the Street Art Cities app and take yourself on a tour with your headphones.

If you are here during the Gallery Weekend or Berlin Art Week, there’s art all around. All this street art contrasts the sights and monuments that remind you of a very different time, such as the Holocaust Memorial and Berlin Wall Memorial, or Checkpoint Charlie. We think it’s best to take it all in – the modern, and the historic, the saddening and the beautiful.

If you prefer to stay indoors, go to the Helmut Newton Foundation. Not only is Berlin-born Helmut Newton’s own work featured here, but there are also exhibitions of some of the most influential photographers of our time. The gift shop has the best postcards ever.

Where to work out

Badeschiff
Go swimming in this outdoor swimming pool in the river. The water is chlorinated, but it still feels like you’re out in the wild.

Sun Yoga
Boasting two locations in Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, this is one for the hot yoga lovers – the heat is cranked up super high. An amazing detox and you’ll leave with a glow.

Ride.bln
It seems the spin trend has hit Berlin too (not surprising really given their love of dance music). This studio is the best and the 50 minute classes will get you pumped and ready for your night of clubbing.

Where to work

Go to Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin for the world’s best cheesecake! The lobby is a great place to sit with your computer, but it’s pricey to stay.

Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin

Where to party

Berghain is a club people have heard of, and is often referred to as “The Best Club in the World.” There is this small issue of actually getting in (pro tip: NEVER wear nice shoes –no dress shoes, no stilettos). That said, it’s worth a try.

If you’re not lucky enough to get in, there are plenty of other options. CDV is great, especially in the summer when you party outside. Birgit und Bier has several dance floors and is also for people who aren’t hardcore techno lovers.

What to do

Enjoy the outdoors with drinks! Bring a blanket, go to Weinerei and buy a good bottle of wine and sit in Weinbergspark. Or buy something bubbly and take your loved one to sit at Modersohnbrücke in Friedrichshain and watch the sunset on the skyline.

And, just because it’s so Berlin to turn something as harmless as mini golfing into an artsy ‘underground event,’ go to Blacklight Minigolf.

Best bar for a secret rendezvous

Go to one of the many hidden bar/speakeasy’ around the city. Buck & Breck is our top pick.

Buck & Bread

Best place for IG stories

Inside the lobby of the Radisson Blu Hotel (we know, but trust us) is the DomAquarée fishtank elevator. A ride in this elevator will make you feel like The Little Mermaid for a second and is definitely worthy of an Instagram “Highlight” reel.

Amsterdam

A huge mix of cultures and an inclusive attitude to newcomers makes Amsterdam what it is. The city is small and there’s a strong community vibe here, so look out for cool collectives within music, fashion, and art.

Don’t be thrown off by the local language, which has a harsh sound to it, as the Dutch are so friendly and easy-going. Side note: this may be because of the legal weed (just in case you hadn’t heard that was a thing…)

Where to stay

Hoxton Hotel
This is one of our favorite Hoxtons. This place is constantly buzzing with people coming to grab a bite in the restaurant, sit in the lounge on their laptops, or stand in the bar after work. All that aside, rooms are quiet and most of the hustle happens in the daytime.

Volkshotel
There’s a similar vibe at Volkshotel, but this place is younger and more lively. Located close to the Pijp (consider it Amsterdam’s Shoreditch), a lot of locals come here for drinks at the rooftop bar.

Pulitzer Hotel
If you prefer something more luxurious and sophisticated, the Pulitzer Hotel is the ideal place. This grande 5-star hotel is made up of 25 canal houses that are all interconnected. It also has the most soothing inner courtyard to have breakfast or sit with your computer.

Zoku Amsterdam
This place has plenty of people staying long-term – every room has a kitchen – which can only be a good sign. There’s even an app to interact with like-minded people in the building. If you’re not staying here, it’s a great place to work. 

Where to eat & drink

Lion Noir and Cafe Panache are both great examples of non-touristy, super local restaurants, yet they still somehow feels homely and familiar.

Definitely head to Gs brunch boat on a Sunday or Restaurant Rijsel in Amsterdam East for good and affordable food. Mana Mana is our favorite hidden gem in the Pijp, which has the most amazing Middle Eastern food. Head for drinks afterwards at the Cafe de Pijp or Kingfisher (they serve giant G&T’s in fishbowl glasses).

Lion Noir

Where to get a coffee

Café de Pels
What you see here is what you get. This cafe is a humble favorite. They also have newspapers from all over the world to go with your coffee.

Café George
This place serves you coffee in a fancy setting on marble tables, so definitely a more upscale option.

Where to shop

Second-hand shopping in Amsterdam is a must – try Episode or Laura Dols. The basement at Van Ravenstein also sells designer brands from previous seasons that are heavily discounted – only Saturdays! Amsterdam is a casual city, so no surprises that the coolest store in town is a small hole-in-the-wall sneaker shop called Patta, located on Zeedijk and across the road you’ll find SMIB (the brand store of a local music collective). Other local brands to visit include Daily Paper, The New Originals and Zoe Karssen.

Patta

Where to get a hit of culture

In the museum quarter, the main attraction is the Rijksmuseum, but another hot tip is the Van Gogh museum. For something off-the-beaten-track, try the small Moco Museum just across the park, which you can zip around in about 30 minutes.

Foam
In De 9 Straatjes (“the Nine Streets” neighborhood), a trendy shopping ‘hood in the Old Town, this photography museum is definitely worth a look.

Where to work out

Go running in Vondelpark, and finish at the Vondelgym with some strength exercises and a shower. For a small city, the number of lux gyms is surprisingly – one of our favorites is Rocycle (i.e. the Soul-Cycle of Amsterdam).

Where to party

De School
Dutch people take their partying seriously, and to really get a sense of how the locals do it, go to De School. This club has a 24-hour license (seriously!) and when you’re done dancing in the morning, you can even have breakfast in their restaurant. You’ll probably need it, after all that dancing.

Radion
An industrial haven in the Nieuw-West district. One for techno lovers and another all-nighter option.

NYX
A bastion for the LGBTQ community, this is the place to go if you want to check out Amsterdam’s drag scene. Go with an open mind – there’s DJ decks in the bathroom.

What to do

If you want the best music experience Amsterdam has to offer, be sure to come here during the Amsterdam Dance Event (usually in late October). This country is basically the birthplace of Gabber music (or ‘hardcore techno’ to most of us), so you can’t leave without giving it a go…

Where to get some R&R

Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre
The safest bet is this spa at the Conversatorium Hotel. With its 5-star rating and 1000 square m wellness centre, you can’t go wrong.

Koan Float
A more unusual choice is to float in saltwater at Koan Float, Amsterdam’s first “floating spa,” which has made a big impression on the locals.

Where to work

The Hoxton, Pulitzer, and Zoku make for great remote offices. If you’re not in ‘full working’ mode but just need to take care of some emails in the afternoon, go to Conservatorium Hotel and enjoy a glass wine whilst you’re at it. You’ll feel like a million dollars in this place.

Conservatorium Hotel

Best bar for a secret rendezvous

Brasserie Bar Occo
A perfect setting for a late night cocktail in the Nine Streets area. Occo is part of the 5-star hotel The Dylan, and you can sit outdoors in their inner courtyard in the summer.

Best place to buy gifts

Anna+Nina is the best place for gifts (for them, or for you). Quirky interior decorations, local handicrafts, and stunning jewelry will put a smile on anyone’s face.

Anna & Nina

Best spot for your new Bumble profile photo

There are two rooftop pools you should check out: the W Hotel or the newly opened Soho House.

Medellín

Colombia has it all and Medellín is considered the emerald in the rough. Tucked away in the Aburrá Valley, a central part of the Andes Mountains, it has been dubbed as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ by locals for its mild weather. You can walk around and see cool stuff without profusely sweating, year round. After years of being the center of Pablo Escobar’s drug operation, today Medellín is a friendly and safe place (seriously) to explore amazing architecture, botanical gardens, fantastic food, contemporary art galleries, and, of course, a rowdy South American party scene.

Where to stay?

Hotel Charlee, in the heart of El Poblado

El Poblado is where you want to be- walkable to many things, a $5 UBER to others, and full of bustling eateries, shops, and places to go out, as well as lush parks to chill in. The hotel itself is design-forward and well appointed – each room has a private little atrium with sofas, and a well-stocked ‘Mega Bar’ (beware the full-sized tequila). Breakfast is included, and served on an incredible rooftop with sprawling views of the city and mountains. The building is one of the highest in the area, which is great for rooftop cocktails, pool dips, and even work time – wifi is free!

Where to eat & drink?

Medellín’s avocados are reason alone to get excited for some quality noshing – they’re absolutely massive (the size of your face). There’s something for everyone here – from carnivores to vegetarians (the latter usually have slim pickings on this side of the world). From low to high cost, here are our 3 top picks:

Restaurante Mondongos El Poblado

A traditional local cafeteria. The food and beer is really cheap ($3) but substantial and tasty. The local tripe soup is well-known as one of the best delicacies. For the more faint of heart, the arepas and various meat and fish platters are easier to take down on a hangover.

OCI.mde

Go here for contemporary or fusion dishes. Chef Laura trained for 8 years abroad in Europe, Australia, and Asia – and it shows. They specialize in slow (meaning 14 hour) cooking times, so items like the short ribs are prime. The falafel platter and salads are good alternatives for the more health-conscious.

El Cielo

This is the gold standard for the fancy foodie – book ahead, and go early. This is where you go for a 2-3 hour tasting menu that will change your life (and deplete your savings account). Chef Juanma is only 34 but is killing it – El Cielo now has outposts in Bogota and Miami, as well.

Alambique 

This restaurant and bar is tucked away above a storefront in El Poblado. If you don’t know where you’re going, you are sure to miss it. The open air space is decorated with mismatched lamps and charming farm tables. Make sure to order at least two cocktails and don’t shy away from the albondigas. 

Where to get a coffee?

Pergamino

One of the best coffee places in the world. Selling beans directly from their own farm, which is mere miles away, coffee has never tasted so damn fresh. They also have a beautiful, large space where the local hipster freelancers seem to flock (and a yummy red velvet cake). You can buy beans to take home (which is also a great ‘lazy gift’ idea).

Where to see some hits of culture?

MAMM

For us, the building itself was actually the most interesting part of the experience. It’s an incredible copper lattice-worked beast with many nooks and crannies, living walls, and sculptures throughout. Definitely check out the gift shop.

Crematorio Campos de Paz

Other guides will definitely tell you to go to Pablo Escobar’s final resting place, Cemetario Jardins Montesacro, Itagüí. But for a more “off the beaten path” place with incredible architecture and views of all of Medellin, go to Crematorio Campos de Paz at dusk. It reminded us of Richard Serra’s large copper sculptures at Dia Beacon, in the best way.

Plaza Botero

Come here to see artist Fernando Botero’s finest bulbous sculptures, 23 of them. Huge and fleshy, you might recognise them from 49th St. in NYC, by the Rockefeller Center.

Where to work out?

The gym at Hotel Charlee

Like a mini EQUINOX in the heart of the city, you’ll work out next to locals and foreigners alike. Two stories high, it has all the equipment you might need (even a cycle room) and you can cool down with a drink at the rooftop pool after.

Where to hang out?

Joaquín Antonio Uribe Botanical Garden

If you come to Medellin for just 24 hours, this place is a must. Colombia is a hugely diverse country and second only to Brazil when it comes to plant life. The amazing restaurant on a pond is surrounded by bamboo forests and a small vintage train car that serves drinks. It’s straight out of a Wes Anderson film.

 

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