Guides

Amsterdam

A huge mix of cultures and an inclusive attitude to newcomers makes Amsterdam what is it. 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.

Copenhagen

Ever since ‘Hygge’ became a trend, people have been fascinated by the Danes and their lifestyle. And they are just as cool and laid back as you imagined. Their effortless confidence is very honest and refreshing – there’s no fussiness. Hanging with some Danes will definitely leave you feeling ‘fun and cozy’ (it’s impossible to literally translate ‘Hygge’ into English!) Pleasure is a way of life here and the idea of not indulging in what you want (including copious amounts of pastries) is simply shocking to a Dane. There are more bikes than people in Copenhagen, which sounds good to us too.

Denmark is a relatively small country and yet they have a big impact on global culture as leaders in the design, fashion, art and foodie worlds (hello Noma and Ganni!) Copenhagen is a dreamy capital too. (Sidebar: ask most Swedes where they go besides Stockholm and they will say Copenhagen. Proof there are definitely some cultural parallels between these two).

Denmark also has the happiest workforce in the world and perhaps that has something to do with ‘Hygge.’ As the author of The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking, explains it: ‘Danes are aware of the decoupling between wealth and wellbeing. After our basic needs are met, more money doesn’t lead to more happiness and, instead, Danes are good at focusing on what brings them a better quality of life.’ Zen AF.

Where to stay

Hotel SP34
A boutique hotel perfectly located in the heart of Copenhagen. It’s walkable or bikeable to tons of stuff you want to see, ingest, buy or do. This is the Latin Quarter’s finest boutique hotel with an arty vibe.

Nobis Hotel
The newly opened Nobis Hotel has got it all – they even have toiletries from Byredo that you can take with you. The building is historic and the restaurant is divine.

D’Angleterre
This classic 5-star hotel offers the best breakfast view from a very cute rooftop terrace. Previous guests have included rockstars and royalty. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.

Where to eat

Manfreds
Since Noma itself (voted the best restaurant in the world for four years) is now closed, we are lucky that it fostered plenty of great chefs who have now opened their own restaurants in Copenhagen. One of these is Manfreds: a Michelin starred restaurant with a tasting menu for 270DKK (270 euro). This place is perfect for vegetarians – so rare for high-end tasting menus!


Of course, there are amazing restaurants without Michelin stars in this city. Three of them just happen to be Italian: go to Mangia for the incredible pasta and the dope atmosphere, Baest for the best pizzas in town and a young vibe or Spaghetteria for the local feels. The latter really embodies the Copenhagen attitude of being very cool and casual.

If you’d rather go low on the carbs, Fishmarket and Osteria 16 are two excellent seafood restaurants.

Where to get coffee

Café Atelier September
Thanks to the hip owner Fredrik Bille Brahe (brother of Sophie Bille Brahe, the famous jewellery designer, and newly married to top model Caroline Brasch) this place is a local hotspot. The curated menu offers healthy and very tasty bites, and of course great coffee. But don’t even think about asking for oat or almond milk here – they only do regular.

If you prefer your coffee with a Danish pastry, head over to Juno the Bakery, which is less trendy but the wienerbrød is amazing. If you’re really into exceptional coffee and don’t care about the rest, then The Coffee Collective is the place for you.

Where to shop

Storm
This is your first stop, for sure. An impressive concept store that will leave no one empty-handed. Around the corner is Beau Marché , another must-see. If not for the design decoration, go to grab a coffee in their cozy backyard café. Local brands like Ganni, Soulland, and Wood Wood all need to be explored too (especially for New Yorker style stars, who are already decked out head-to-toe in these brands!) Go to Time’s Up for some secondhand shopping – it might be worth mentioning this is a favorite of Virgil Abloh’s.

Where to get a hit of culture

Louisiana
This modern art museum is located outside of Copenhagen, so it doesn’t technically qualify for this list, but it is so good. The train from the central station only takes 30 minutes – cheap and easy.

Glyptotek
If you prefer to stay in the city center, make your way to Glyptoteket. The main hall is very inspiring and soothing. Go here for lunch when you’re hungover and need some energy. When you’re back to normal, make sure to check out the exhibitions as well.

Where to party

Apollo Bar
Put on your sneakers and go to Apollo Bar (also owned by Fredrik Bille Brahe). This is the place to be with the cool crowd from creative industries who come here on a regular basis, especially during Fashion Week.

Bakken
If you feel like that’s not enough, make your way to Kodbyn (in the ‘meatpacking district’), and then Bakken for the afterparty.

Where to work

Skt. Petri Hotel
The lounge is the perfect place to sit down with your computer without being disturbed. In the summer, head to the terrace and enjoy some sun while you work.

Image via Anne Travel Foodie

What to do

Christiania
Rent a bike or hop on a bicycle taxi (or just take a normal taxi), and go to this ‘free town’ that is a community market where people pretty much make a living out of selling art and handicrafts to tourists. A strange place you’ll want to see before leaving.

Where to work out
In the summer, go for a swim – firstly, it’s a super clean harbor in the middle of a big city, which basically never happens. Secondly, there are wooden docks all over the place that encourage a dive (or five).

Copenhagen is obviously the perfect city for cycling. It’s flat and there’s 350km of cycle paths (so it’s super safe). Rent a bicycle and cycle anywhere you need to go – this will definitely keep you in shape during your stay here and allow you to stuff your face with pastries daily, as the Danes do.

Where to drink

Ruby
This is where you can get the best cocktails in town. It will feel like your friend’s living room, complete with dark lighting to set the mood and small corners to ‘hide’ in.

Hotel Sanders
If you want something better suited for that daytime Hinge date, then the roof terrace of the new luxury Hotel Sanders is a perfect hideaway in thoughtful surroundings.

Best place to buy gifts

Hay – a cool brand and even cooler store. Buy some Danish design from Hay for someone you love.

Image via Visit Copenhagen

Best spot for your new Bumble profile photo

The waterfront in Nyhavn by the postcard ready buildings. Regardless of whether that photo is going on your Bumble profile or not, this place needs a stroll and a photo sesh. Don’t stay for lunch though, as every place in this ‘hood is a tourist trap.

 

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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