Best Things to See in the Netherlands Besides Amsterdam

Millions of tourists come to the Netherlands every year, and most of them limit their visit to Amsterdam and perhaps Keukenhof tulip garden. But there are so many things to see in the Netherlands besides Amsterdam!

I have lived in the Netherlands for three years and travelled a lot around the country during this time. There are so many things to see and experience in the Netherlands. Its cities, numerous museums and galleries, castles, parks, food, architecture, tulips, windmills, canals and boats.

So if you have a few days to spend in the Netherlands, here is the list from a local (well, almost a local) of the best things to see in the Netherlands besides Amsterdam.

See also: Best Things to Do on Texel, Netherlands (Including Where to Stay and What to Eat)

Large vibrant cities in the Netherlands

Besides Amsterdam, the Netherlands has other large cities worth visiting such as Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.

Rotterdam

Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands. Spend a day walking in the city to see some of the major landmarks such as Market Hall, Cube Houses, Witte Huis, Erasmus bridge, City Hall and others.

Make sure to visit Oude Haven (Old Harbour) with its old basin and restored boats. Get to the viewing platform of Euromast – the tallest building in the Netherlands. Take a boat tour to see the city from the water and to have a look at Europort – the largest seaport in Europe.

Related tour: Rotterdam: River Cruise and Euromast Entrance Ticket

Things to see in the Netherlands - the cube houses of Rotterdam
Cube houses of Rotterdam

The Hague

The Hague city is not only the home of the United Nations’ International Court of Justice, but also the home of Dutch government and Dutch royal family. When in the Hague, check out the Dutch parliament building complex – Binnenhof – with its inner yard and huge pond in front of the complex.

See paintings by the world famous artists in Mauritshuis museum. Visit Madurodam – a park of miniatures with replicas of Dutch cities and landmarks, outdoor exhibitions and activities for the whole family. Take a tram to Scheveningen – the Hague’s famous beach and promenade with many cafes and restaurants.

See also: Things to Do in The Hague: A Local’s Guide

Binnenhof of The Hague in the Netherlands
Binnenhof of The Hague

Utrecht

Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands and famous for its medieval city center, old canals and the tallest church tower in the country – Domtoren. Walk the old streets of Utrecht downtown, stroll along the Oudegracht and dine in one of the many restaurants by the water.

Admire cathedral tower of Domtoren, gothic-style cathedral of Domkerk and cosy old garden of Pandhof. Visit museum Speelklok with its large collection of self-playing musical instruments or Spoorwegmuseum – an awesome railway museum, especially if travelling with children.

Oudegracht (Old Canal) of Utrecht among the places to see in the Netherlands
Oudegracht (Old Canal) of Utrecht

Small cosy towns to visit in the Netherlands

Do not underestimate the smaller cities in the Netherlands. Small Dutch towns have some of the most interesting attractions in the country. Because they are small and compact, it’s easy to visit the smaller towns as a day trip from Amsterdam. Here are some of the small towns in the Netherlands I would recommend visiting.

Delft

City of Delft is famous for its Delftware – Delft blue pottery. You can visit a Delftware factory and learn about the history and process of the Delftware production. Back in the 15th and 16th centuries Delft was actually one of the major cities in the Netherlands and the residence of Dutch prince of Orange.

Even though nowadays the city is small, it is still rich on Dutch history and has many historical monuments and museums worth visiting. Delft was also a home to the famous Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (‘The Milkmaid’ and ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ are just a few of his works that you might know).

Making Delftware at Royal Delft museum as part of the things to do in the Netherlands
Making Delftware at Royal Delft museum

Maastricht 

Though Maastricht is about 2 hours away from all the major cities of the Netherlands (which is considered far in this small country), I would still recommend visiting it. Maastricht is well known in Europe as the birthplace of the European Union and ‘euro’ currency.

In the Netherlands it’s known as one of the oldest cities and places to go for great food and restaurants. You will find here the oldest bridge and the oldest city gate in the Netherlands. An iconic bookshop – Dominicanenkerk – located in the historical building of the 13th century church. Historical squares with many fine cafes and restaurants. These are just some of the things to see in Maastricht.

Markt square of Maastricht
Markt square of Maastricht

Haarlem

Haarlem is a city located 15 minutes away from Amsterdam. It’s small and cosy and full of charm. Walk to Grote Markt – central city square and admire the gothic-style Cathedral of St. Bavo. Visit some of Haarlem’s Hofjes – small enclosed courtyard gardens with nice green spaces. Explore narrow streets of Haarlem’s old town. Check out Windmill De Adriaan – a museum located in the 18th-century windmill.

Related tour: Haarlem: 50-Minute Sightseeing Canal Cruise

Cathedral of St. Bavo at Haarlem
Cathedral of St. Bavo at Haarlem

Leiden

Leiden is a small Dutch town located between Amsterdam and The Hague. If you like visiting museums Leiden is a must see when travelling in the Netherlands.

  • Visit the National Museum of Ethnology with exhibitions from around the world.
  • National Museum of Antiquities – an archaeology museum with beautiful collections of Egyptian, Greek & Roman artefacts.
  • Naturalis Biodiversity Center – a natural history museum with one of the largest natural history collections in the world.

After visiting a museum, head to Beestenmarkt square to enjoy some food in one of the cafes or to take a boat tour through the canals of Leiden.

The boats at Leiden are among the best things to see in the Netherlands
Boats at Leiden

Cheese markets in the Netherlands

One of the things the Netherlands is most famous for is cheese. World known types of cheese – Gouda and Edam – originate from the Netherlands.

So, where else if not in this country to experience cheese markets, shops and cheese-related events?

The most popular cheese markets in the Netherlands happen between April and September in Alkmaar and Gouda. Visit a cheese market to see people dressed in traditional Dutch clothes, horse-drawn carts loaded with rolls of cheese and the old-fashioned way to bargain cheese price by clapping hands.

If you’re travelling to the Netherlands outside of the season for cheese markets, don’t worry – there are still many ways to experience Dutch cheese making and selling traditions. Visit a cheese museum in Amsterdam, Alkmaar or Gouda. Go to a farmers market – they happen on various days all over the Netherlands and always have cheese stalls with a big selection of Dutch cheese for you to taste and/or buy. Or simply pop into one of the many cheese stores in the country. 

Cheese stall at one of the Dutch markets
Cheese stall at one of the Dutch markets

Windmills in the Netherlands

Another thing the Netherlands is famous for is its Windmills. There are hundreds of windmills in the Netherlands and you are bound to see at least few of them. Many windmills are still operational, some of them are open to the public and some were converted into museums.

There are several places to see windmills up close in the Netherlands.

There are hundreds of windmills in the Netherlands
There are hundreds of windmills in the Netherlands

Zaanse Schans

A beautiful Dutch village of Zaanse Schans is located only half an hour away from Amsterdam. Zaanse Schans has typical 18th-19th century Dutch wooden houses, workshops and lots of windmills. Most of the windmills in Zaanse Schans are fully operational and open for visitors. There is a windmill for making oil, a wood saw windmill, a windmill to mill flour and spices, and even a windmill for making paint! 

Related tour: From Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans Windmills Half-Day Tour

Kinderdijk

Kinderdijk is an iconic Dutch village with 18th-century windmills located not far from Rotterdam. There are 19 windmills in Kinderdijk, and 2 of them have museums inside. You can explore the windmills of Kinderdijk by renting a bike and riding around, or alternatively by taking a boat tour (or a water taxi from Rotterdam).

Related tour: Rotterdam: Kinderdijk Windmill Village Entry Ticket

Windmills in the cities

There are also many windmills in Dutch cities all over the country. Take a free tour of Molen de Ster in Utrecht – a working windmill that is open to the public every Saturday afternoon.

Visit Molen De Put in Leiden and buy flour made right there on the windmill; or also in Leiden visit Molen De Valk – the 18th century windmill that is now a museum.

If you want to see some of the highest windmills in the world then make sure to go to Schiedam near Rotterdam, it has not one but 8 windmills in the city. Visit a windmill-museum Molen de Adriaan in Haarlem to learn about windmills and their history in the Netherlands. These are just some of the windmills in Dutch cities you can visit.

Museums in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has many museums of different kinds. There are art and history museums, science museums, cheese museums, museums in former windmills, tulip museums and many more other museums.

If you are visiting the Netherlands and plan on visiting several museums I would advise buying Dutch Museum Card – it is valid for a year and gives you free access to hundreds of museums across the country. Here are some of the museums in the Netherlands I’d recommend visiting:

Whatever your interests are and whether you are travelling solo, with a group or with children it’s absolutely worth visiting some of the museums the Netherlands has to offer.

Visit museums when in the Netherlands
Visit museums when in the Netherlands

Tulip fields in the Netherlands

If you are travelling to the Netherlands in spring make sure to visit tulip fields and gardens. There are many places to see blooming flowers in the Netherlands.

Best things to see in the Netherlands - Tulips
Best things to see in the Netherlands – Tulips

Lisse

Lisse is the most popular place to see blooming tulips in the Netherlands. There are quite a few fields of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils around Lisse. Best way to experience it is to rent a bike and cycle around to see the flower fields.

Keukenhof

Also located at Lisse, the famous Keukenhof is the largest tulip garden in the world. With millions of blooming flowers and hundreds of different types of tulips, it’s no surprise that Keukenhof is so popular with not only tourists but locals too.

Flevoland

The biggest area of the tulip bulbs industry in the Netherlands is Noordoostpolder, the province of Flevoland. You will find many fields with all sorts of tulips over there. Besides the fields you can visit tulip gardens, such as Pegasushof Gardens or Goldhoorn Gardens, or even a tulip picking farm – Hanneke’s Pluktuin.

North Holland

Another area to visit during the tulip blooming season is North Holland. Area between Alkmaar and Den Helder has hundreds of flower fields, and they are usually less crowded than fields around Lisse. There are tulip fields around Alkmaar, Nieuwe Niedorp, Schagen, Anna Paulowna and Julianadorp. You can also visit Bloemendagen (Flower Days) in Anna Paulowna or tulip picking farm in Julianadorp.

When enjoying tulip fields in the Netherlands, please keep in mind that picking tulips in the fields is not allowed! For that you are more than welcome to visit one of the dedicated tulip picking farms.

I hope my list of the best things to see in the Netherlands besides Amsterdam has inspired you to see more of this beautiful country. You will find a lot of information on travelling in the Netherlands and other countries in my blog – Travel By Example.


How to Buy Tickets to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece

The Acropolis in Athens is one of the most famous monuments in the world. It’s a universal symbol of an ancient civilization and represents immense architectural and artistic innovations created during Greek Antiquity, which happened between the 8th century BC and ended around the 6th century AD. 

As history recalls, during the second half of the 5th century BC, Athens was victorious against invasion from Persia and became the first place to establish democracy. As such, it took a leading position amongst other nations that were prominent at the time. 

Because of its massive historical and cultural significance, this is one monument that you don’t want to miss when you visit Greece. We’ll show you everything you need to know about getting Acropolis Athens tickets for your visit. 

See also: A Guide to Athens, Greece

A guide to getting tickets for the Acropolis, Athens
Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece

Why should I visit the Acropolis? 

The Acropolis symbolizes Ancient Greece and its former glory, which found its prime over two millennia ago. It stands high above modern Athens and includes the Parthenon and many other ancient ruins at the site. 

When visiting, you will follow in the footsteps of ancient Greek philosophers and thinkers, such as Socrates, Pericles and Sophocles, that helped shape Western Civilization as we know it. 

Get your Acropolis Athens tickets here!

You will find all of these historical sites at the Acropolis:

  • The Odeon of Herodes Atticus
  • The Parthenon
  • The Beulé Gate
  • The Monument of Agrippa 
  • The entrance, Propylaia 
  • The Temple of Athena Nike
  • Porch of the Caryatids at the Erechtheion
  • Old Temple of Athena Polias
  • The Legendary Olive Tree of the Pandroseion
  • The Acropolis Museum 
  • The Theatre of Dionysus 

There is a reason that the Acropolis is one of the most critical sites in the Western world. You won’t want to miss out on all of these significant sites. 

Visiting the Acropolis in Athens

We will help you get most of your visit to the Acropolis. 

The Acropolis is open almost every day of the year. However, Acropolis Athens opening hours change with each season. In summer, it’s generally available from 8am to 7pm. In winter, it’s open from 9am to 5pm. Make sure to double-check the Acropolis Athens opening hours when you visit. 

You will probably spend at least two hours visiting, so make sure you leave enough time to truly enjoy your trip. Suppose you want an Athens combined ticket. In that case, you may spend even longer here to account for travel with your group and transit to your next destination.  

The best time to visit is in the late afternoon in Summer, as the sunset here is incredible with views over the city of Athens. Alternatively, you could visit in the off-season when lines are much shorter. 

You can buy Acropolis Athens tickets online or at the window upon arrival. Remember that queues at the window can be pretty long, so buying Acropolis Athens tickets online could save you some time. 

While new paving has been added around the Parthenon, you may still find some uneven areas, which could become slippery. You are advised to remain cautious of uneven surfaces when visiting. A good tip is to wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes with rubber soles. 

Drinks are not readily available, so bring along an adequate water supply, especially if you are visiting during the summer.

The Acropolis Museum has a cafe and restaurant with amazing views of the ancient ruins. The northern exit is near the neighbourhoods of Anafiotika and Pika, which have many restaurants and cafes within their winding streets. 

The main entrance is on the western side of the Acropolis. There is also a smaller entrance at the southeastern corner, mainly used for skip the line and private guided tours. 

A guide to getting tickets for the Acropolis, Athens
A guide to getting tickets for the Acropolis, Athens

Athens Acropolis tour: Which one should I choose? 

You can get many different kinds of Acropolis Athens tickets for your visit, so it would be wise to decide what you want to do before buying! 

Some of the most popular types of Acropolis tickets include:

Visiting the Acropolis in Athens as a tourist
Visiting the Acropolis in Athens as a tourist

Getting Acropolis Athens Tickets

When you’re going on an Athens Acropolis tour next time you visit Greece, ensure to get Acropolis tickets in time to enjoy the majestic beauty of the Acropolis. You do not want to miss out on the sacred Parthenon.

No matter what, you should get Acropolis Athens tickets that suit your itinerary. Some of the available options include an Athens combined ticket for the best sightseeing or Acropolis skip the line tickets for jet setters with limited time!

Remember to double-check the Acropolis Athens opening hours to ensure you get the most out of your next visit. Before you know it, you’ll be walking in the same place that Socrates walked in during the peak of the Ancient Greek era. 

We hope you enjoyed this guide on getting Acropolis Athens tickets for your next vacation.


Things to Do in Vancouver on a Rainy Day

When you’re visiting a city like Vancouver, so known for rain that its nickname is “Raincouver”, you need to be prepared for indoor activities on your trip. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Having been to Vancouver several times now, I can honestly say there was never a visit without at least a little bit of rain. It taught me a thing or two about things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day.

Whether you don’t mind the rain or want to stay dry inside, here’s a list of things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day. But, before we get into that, let’s go over a few things you need to know to make your visit the most enjoyable.

What makes Vancouver special?

Its natural beauty and wide array of activities is what makes Vancouver such an ideal place to visit in Canada. In fact, Vancouver has been featured on many lists’ top cities to live again and again for its mix of nature and urban elements. With its beaches, mountains, forests history, food, culture and art, you won’t find anything that’s not to love about this city, maybe with the exception of its rain of course.

See also: Best Things to do in Vancouver, Canada

When is the best time to visit Vancouver?

The Summer brings Vancouver’s warmest and sunniest weather. It’s also most people’s favorite time to visit hence the crowds and price increases. If you want to avoid this, another great time to visit is during Vancouver’s “shoulder season” which is the period before or after Summer. But, be prepared for rain.

When does it rain the most in Vancouver?

Vancouver’s rainiest time of year is November, December and January. However, the rain season is typically from October to June.

How to get around Vancouver when it’s raining

When it’s not the weather for a bike or boat ride, you can catch a Taxi, Uber or Lyft which Vancouver just introduced into the city in 2020. There’s also the sea bus, bus or rapid transit. See here for public transit.

What to wear in Vancouver on a rainy day

Vancouver’s weather can be quite unpredictable. One day, you could walk out of your hotel on a sunny, warm day. The next, you might need a raincoat and umbrella. Dress knowing that it could rain at any moment. Rather than walking around in clunky rainboots, opt for vinyl boots with rubber soles or leather boots. Wear a waterproof coat or, pack a light, foldable poncho which you can throw in your bag.

Things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day

Here are a few things to get you out the house/your hotel room during the rainy days in Vancouver. You’ll find both outdoor and indoor things to do in Vancouver in the rain.

Where to spend the afternoon outside in the rain in Vancouver

If you don’t mind the rain…

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park | North Vancouver

With its history, various restaurants, shops, breathtaking sights and adventures, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a destination which you could easily spend the entire day at. At the beginning of your visit, you’ll be given a map which acts as a passport.

It’s fun to see how many stamps you can collect at all the different stops. Walk the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge or Cliff Walk which is suspended over canyons. You can also learn about BC nation’s first people at Kia’palano or, have a treehouse adventure in the rainforest amidst 1,300 year old Douglas-firs. Then, grab a bite to eat or sip at one of the park’s coffeehouses, restaurant or bars.

Related tour: Vancouver & Capilano Suspension Bridge Sightseeing: Half-Day

Just make sure to wear waterproof shoes, a decent rain jacket and have a waterproof cover for any bags.

Capilano Suspension Park, "Cliff Walk" in Vancouver
Capilano Suspension Park, “Cliff Walk”

Grouse Mountain | North Vancouver

If you want to take “adventure” to new heights, spend the day at Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain and explore the scenary, animals and activities that await you. You’ll start off riding Grouse Grind, a gondola that takes you up the mountain.

Up there, you can do fun things like go on a beautiful hike, ziplining, a rope course, see grizzly bears, ride in the sky on Eye of the Wind, play disc golf, catch an indoor show, or outdoor shows like the lumberjack show or “Birds in Motion”. You can even take a chairlift or hike up the mountain which overlooks all of Vancouver and is beautiful at sunset.

Standing atop Grouse Mountain in Vancouver
Grouse Mountain, Vancouver

Spend the afternoon in Stanley Park | Downtown

Back on sea level, take in the fresh air and beautiful views that Vancouver has to offer at Stanley Park, North America’s third largest park and Vancouver’s first and largest park. This gives you an opportunity to experience mountains, water and a rain forest all at once.

Enjoy the park’s sights with a relaxing bike ride or skate along the Seawall, a 5.5 mile waterfront path along English Bay and Vancouver Harbour. You’ll pass popular spots like Lion’s Gate Bridge, beaches, monuments like “Siwash Rock”, Lumbermen’s Arch, Prospect Point and the First Nations peoples’ totem poles, which are BC’s most visited tourist attraction. Check out Stanley Park’s maps to see where you want to start first.

Biking through Stanley Park in Vancouver on a rainy day
Stanley Park, Vancouver

Lunch at Teahouse Restaurant | Stanley Park at Ferguson Point

Located at Ferguson Point, this quaint restaurant with idyllic views is the perfect reprieve after a day of exploring in Stanley Park. Enjoy lovely views of English Bay from the dining room while enjoying West Coast cuisine.

Take a day trip from Vancouver to Seattle

Looking for another place to visit on your Vancouver trip? Check out Seattle, Washington, a city rich in history, delicious food, adventure, fun activities, and stunning scenery. It’s easy to get to with a relaxing train ride just over 3 hours!

Check out my guide to Seattle for foodie finds, places to see, things to do and where to stay!

Where to spend the afternoon inside on a rainy day in Vancouver

If you want to stay dry, here are a few indoor activities in Vancouver:

Vancouver Aquarium | Stanley Park, Downtown

While you’re in Stanley Park, take a break and head to the aquarium located inside. With over 60,000 animals like sea otters, penguins, bears, frogs, turtles and sharks as well as over 30 unique exhibits, you can experience environments and animals that range from the Arctic to the Tropics. The best part? You’ll be entertained for hours while staying dry.

Spa | Downtown

Give those tired feet a rest and book a treatment at JW Parq Vancouver. Then, enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the Aqua Lounge on the 17th floor.

Getting a spa treatment at JW Parq Vancouver Hotel on a rainy day in Vancouver
Spa, JW Parq Vancouver

Canada Place | Downtown

An iconic landmark on Vancouver’s waterfront, Canada Place stands out in the distance. Built to look like a sailing ship with sails reminiscent of Sydney’s Opera House, this building houses a Welcome Center, IMAX theater, convention center, hotel, numerous art exhibits, as well as Vancouver World Trade Center. It’s also a cruise ship terminal! I docked here for my Alaskan cruise.

At night, it’s unmistakable with its lit up and colorful sails. See it from Vancouver Lookout! Then, listen for the Heritage Horns that have been playing “O Canada” every day at noon for over 20 years.

Getting here: Come and go by riding the Skytrain via Waterfront Station or, take the the Seabus which is a ferry connecting North and Downtown Vancouver. They’re both located near Canada Place’s building.

FlyOver Canada | Canada Place, Downtown

What better way to spend a rainy day than with a virtual flight ride flying over Canada? Inspired by Disney’s Soarin’ Over California, FlyOver Canada, (located in Canada Place) takes you 62’ (19 m) into the air as the air is sprayed with mist, scents and wind to make the make you feel like you’re really flying! Not for those scared of heights.f

You can book below:

Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant | Downtown

I took my boyfriend to Top of Vancouver for his birthday and he loved it. But, you don’t need a special occasion to enjoy this beautiful lookout point and fine dining experience 553 feet (167m) above Vancouver. Enjoy a nice meal during the day when the sun is still out to catch stunning views of the mountains, rugged coastline and ocean then, watch the city light up the night sky as you enjoy your cocktail and dessert. Make a reservation in advance, dress your best and get ready to be impressed.

Having dinner at Top of Vancouver -  things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day
Having dinner at Top of Vancouver

Granville Island Public Market | Granville Island

At Granville Public Market, you’ll find boutique shops, restaurants, food shops that sell organic baked goods, fresh seafood, spices, wine & spirits as well as patisseries, butchers and farmers markets with fresh, locally grown produce.

Vancouver Public Library | Downtown

Resembling the Roman Colosseum, Vancouver’s Public Library is a work of art and the perfect place to hideaway on a rainy day/ Relax with a book as you enjoy the natural light brought in from the floor to ceiling windows and the almost 360 degree views of the city. You’ll find reading and study areas that are accessible through skylit bridge walkways as well as a greenroof on the 9th floor.

Watch a Soccer game at BC Place | Downtown

Proud soccer fan? Watch Vancouver Whitecaps FC play at BC Place. Their season is from February to October.

Watching a soccer game at BC Place
BC Place, Whitecaps FC Soccer Game

Brunch at Honey Salt | Downtown

Head inside the beautiful and sweet smelling JW Parq Vancouver Hotel for some brunch, lunch or rose all day at Honey Salt. There you can have custom made crepes made right at your table.

Bill Reid Gallery | Downtown

Take some time out of your rainy day in Vancouver to experience the culture of the Pacific Northwest at Bill Reid Gallery which displays art at its museum and gallery beautifully. In fact, the Bill Reid Gallery is Canada’s only public gallery dedicated to contemporary art showcasing the Indigenous Northwest Coast and its people. The gallery’s goal is to bridge the gap between cultures including the indigenous and others who have settled here.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden | Chinatown

Head to Chinatown and visit Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Here, you’ll learn about Dr. Sun Yat-Sen and the history of ancient Chinese culture. You’ll feel as though you’re stepping back into time and the era of the Ming Dynasty as you stroll the idyllic garden, which is the first authentic, full scale Chinese garden build outside of China. It’s become a way to honor the culture of the Chinese Canadian community.

Exploring Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden in Vancouver
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Yaletown Brewing Company | Yaletown

This is Vancouver’s original brewpub and many argue, it’s best. To make a birthday celebration extra special, they’ll even shoot confetti at you. But, if it’s not your birthday, you can still enjoy brew bites like wings, pizza, fries, burgers and of course, beer.

Shop at CF Pacific Centre | Downtown

Take time for some retail therapy at Downtown Vancouver’s largest mall. With over 100 stores on 3 floors, you’re sure to walk out of CF Pacific Centre with something you like.

Catch a show at Orpheum Theatre | Downtown

A designated National Heritage site, Orpheum Theatre seats 2,688 guests and houses The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Chamber Choir, Vancouver Bach Choir, and Vancouver Cantata Singers. If you’ve heard of “Orpheum Theatre” before it’s because their theaters can be found worldwide. In addition to choir and orchestra performances, you can also catch concerts from your favorite artists.

Stroll the Gastown District

Vancouver’s Gastown district has lots of charm and character but also, history. This is the city’s original settlement and the core of Vancouver. Try one of the many delicious foodie finds in the area, shop at one of the boutique stores, enjoy the architecture covering 12 city blocks and don’t forget to stop by and take a pic of the steam clock and other monuments you’re sure to pass by.

Exploring Gastown District of Vancouver
Gastown District

Where to enjoy nightlife in Vancouver in the rain

Casino | Downtown

Feelin’ lucky? Head to Parq Vancouver’s swanky casino and put your money where your mouth is. Play at one of their tables, slots or high limit salons.

Have a laugh at a comedy club

For something different than the typical night life scene, step inside one of Vancouver’s comedy clubs and have a laugh. Try The Comedy Mix, a club that’s been around for years and currently trying to find a new home in the city. It has hysterical stand up acts and reasonably priced apps and drinks.

Unwind at a Hookah Lounge

For a fun night out, try Kayan Shisha Café, a hookah lounge in Burnaby, B.C. You can also dine there or have a drink.

Vancouver views from Stanley Park
Vancouver views from Stanley Park

Don’t get the Vancouver rain hold you back

And there you have it… Things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day, whether you don’t mind the rain or would rather stay dry, inside. We hope you got some great ideas! Don’t let the weather stop you from having a great time in this wonderful city.


Best Hiking Trails in Southern California

The state of California offers some of the most exciting outdoor adventures that anyone can enjoy. You do not have to look far to find activities to fill your day with outdoor fun here! One of the most rewarding activities to do here is check out one of the many hiking trails in Southern California.

Between the deserts and mountains, you can find many rewarding views and trails to satisfy your taste for adventure. So, come along with Shannon from FitLifeTravel as she shares the California hiking experience by taking you to the best hiking trails in southern California.

Hiking through history and stunning hiking trails in Southern California

Indulge yourself in these best hiking trails in southern California with plenty of amazing adventure, historical sites, and beautiful nature!

The most rare feature that you may encounter at some of these southern California hiking trails is waterfalls. You may also notice some of the waterfalls on the trails may be dry during certain times of the year. During winter and spring seasons, the falls usually have more water flowing.

Of course, however, the climate in southern California is perfect for any type of outdoor adventures throughout the entire year.  

See also: Gear Guide: Must Haves for Camping and Hiking

Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve Trail

Located near the middle of the city of San Diego is an interestingly diverse little trail. At first it gives the impression that there is not much to it. As you proceed into the trail, the path begins to change from dirt and mud to gravel rocks then you will find yourself climbing up large boulders.

Along the trail, there is a historical burial grave. The late Prince John Joseph Eichar, one of the areas early pioneers; is said to be buried here. 

Historical Feature in Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve Trail

Although several folks lived in this canyon during the late 1800s, Eichar is the only known person to have been buried and lived in this canyon. This hiking trail consists of a distance of 6.8 miles round trip with a mostly flat and scenic route. The ending of the trail will take you to a higher elevation and here is where you will see a few small waterfalls. Surrounding these small waterfalls are large boulders projecting from the earth.

Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve Trail. Best Hiking Trails in Southern California
Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve Trail. Best Hiking Trails in Southern California

Exploring Three Sisters Falls Trail

The best time to enjoy this awesome trail in Southern California is during the winter and spring rainy seasons. It consists of a beautiful trek with lots of trail variation and lovely rolling hills along the way. You will find this trail in the eastern part of San Diego County, in the Cleveland National Forest in California, Pine Valley. There are no facilities out here, so remember to come prepared with the essentials like water, sunscreen, and snacks.

Three Sisters Falls Trail in Southern California
Three Sisters Falls Trail

Tahquitz Canyon Trail

Palm Springs is probably more known as a second Hollywood hangout for actors, actresses and other artistic enthusiasts. But you would be surprised to know that it is home to one of the most pretty hiking trails in the area. Although the trail is quite short at a distance of two miles, the Tahquitz Canyon trail offers pretty landscapes and a rare 40 plus foot waterfall.  

Many outdoor enthusiasts discover and know the Tahquitz Canyon as a pleasant hiking spot. But it is actually the ancestral home of the Aqua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of which they stewarded for many years.    

Tahquitz Canyon waterfall
Tahquitz Canyon waterfall

Hiking through Annie’s Canyon

A short trail offering beautiful geological features is located in the heart of the San Diego area. This narrow hiking trail is quite unique and offers some pretty views. But it can also be very challenging for some people. It has extremely interesting earthly characteristics surrounding it and is, essentially, a unique steep slot canyon.

The trail is so narrow that you must go through them only one way because there is no room to pass another person in the slot zone. You will also find yourself climbing on a steel ladder to pull yourself up near the highest part of the trail. The views will be worth the efforts on this hiking trail.

Enjoying Boucher Hill Summit

If you are looking for a trail to see some of the best colors in the fall season, then this is a sensational outdoor path to enjoy. This trail is located at Palomar Mountain State Park. You will find the smell of autumn, colorful leaves and shrubs with a little similarity to the Sierra Nevada landscapes.

Potato Chip Rock at Mount Woodson

You will find plenty of fitness training on the hiking trails at Mt. Woodson near Poway, California. This one will get your heart pumping. There are two different trailhead locations. One is longer and the other is shorter but steeper.

The trail starting at the highway 67 location has a distance of about 4.1 miles round trip. Whereas the other trailhead location at Lake Poway and is 7.3 miles round trip. The popular feature of this hike is Potato Chip Rock, a thin rock layer that looks like a potato chip. 

See also: The Best Sunglasses for Hiking & Outdoor Activities

Potato Chip Rock at Mount Woodson hiking trail
Potato Chip Rock at Mount Woodson

The Perfect Moonlight Hike at Iron Mountain

Hiking at night can be an exhilarating experience. Iron Mountain is located just down the road from the Potato Chip Rock trail. There is quite a bit of elevation and switchbacks on this trail, so you must take caution when hiking this trail. It is recommended to wear a headlamp or use a flashlight when exploring in the dark.

The daytime hiking experience here will offer you lovely views from the top. The evening hike consists of peaceful serenity by the light of the moon. The distance on this trail is approximately 5.2 miles round trip and 1,102 elevation gain.

Trekking on the Beautiful Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail

On this trail you must always be listening and watching for bikers. When you reach the summit, you will enjoy pretty views of Lake Hodges. Be aware there are some residential homes along some parts of the trail. The trail distance here is 7.2 miles round trip. There are bountiful nature settings, defined trail paths, and a picnic area to enjoy lunch.

Black Mountain Nighthawk Trail

The 5.3 mile trail at Black Mountain has an elevation of 1,210 feet and is located nearby the Hilltop Community Park. This is where you can park in a paved parking lot and you will find restrooms here as well. This hike is quite scenic but is somewhat noisier.

Once you have hiked about a mile into the trail, the sounds from the freeway and the recreational park become further in the distance. I consider it a moderate hike with gradual switchbacks leading to the summit. However, much of the trail is comprised of lose rocks and intersecting routes.

Archeological trails in Southern California | Santa Fe Valley and Del Dios

The following two hiking trails are located very close to one another. These beautiful trails offer more than just adventure and views. The entire area has a historical significance. The flood of 1927 apparently exposed numerous artifacts of those early inhabitants who resided here.

The Santa Fe Valley and Del Dios Gorge hiking trails are both segments of the Coast to Crest Trail, which expands 55 miles from the ocean to the Pacific Crest.

Santa Fe Valley Trail

In the early sections of the trail, you will be walking along a chain linked fence. As you continue on, you will be walking along the beautiful Crosby Golf Course and will possibly find a few balls on the way. The Santa Fe Valley trail is not only great for hikers but you can also bring your bikes on the trail.

Biker tip: There is a bicycle repair station along this trail.

Del Dios Gorge Trail

Three pre-historic cultural periods describe this region and it portrays a peek into how Native Americans traveled throughout this valley.

Hiker tip: Be sure to take some time to enjoy the unique trail feature here at Rattlesnake Viewpoint.

The spectacular views of the rolling hills and landscapes are not the only interesting features here. As you trek along this trail, you will encounter the Rattlesnake Viewpoint area. While looking out upon Lake Hodges, you can also look into the center of the viewpoint sculpture. This is the apex of the snake’s tail (on the sculpture). The idea is to line up your view with another spot. You can match the items on the scope to the line up with point A, B or C. The purpose of these marked spots is to help you identity the spillway, the bulwarks of the dam, and the river below.

Rattlesnake Viewpoint. Best Hiking Trails in Southern California
Rattlesnake Viewpoint. Best Hiking Trails in Southern California

Slot Canyon Trail Anza Borrego

Anza Borrego is full of dramatic colorful canyons, big horn sheep, and stunning desert landscapes. And Anza Borrego Desert State Park is a Paleontologists’ dream! But the petro glyphs and fossils are not the only extraordinary thing here.

Slot trail is an amazing trek that takes you through some of the most earthly tall and narrow pathways. Once you’ve slithered through the narrow wash, there is a large open area. In front of you is the result of water and erosion of earth faults that caused hardened sediments to rise up and tilt. This natural activity occurred over millions of years causing mountains to shift and become higher.

The Slot Trail in Anza Borrego. Best Hiking Trails in Southern California
The Slot Trail in Anza Borrego. Best Hiking Trails in Southern California

Ryan Mountain Trail at Joshua Tree National Park

The California desert consists of some of the most diverse and stunning landscapes in the west. The popular Joshua Tree National Park offers endless outdoor recreation. Ryan Mountain Trail is short in distance and includes some truly amazing open desert viewpoints.

As you begin hiking on the rock steps you will slowly begin to breathe a little heavier the further you go. It is one of the highest peaks in the park. This trail includes a vast diversity of foliage and desert shrubs that accompany you along the route.

Hiking trails in Joshua Tree National Park
Hiking trails in Joshua Tree National Park

The Southern California best hiking trails experience

Describing the hiking experience in California is not difficult to explain. Although its trails can be some of the most diverse, unique and spectacular to explore, they all do have a few features in common.

These characteristics include the following: leaves fluttering in the wind, birds singing from above, and the smell of eucalyptus in the air. Together with its pleasant climate, rolling hills, and stunning mountains; California is the perfect place to experience amazing outdoor hiking! 

Make sure to also check out our post on Hiking Along the San Andreas Fault in Southern California


Where to go for the Best Tapas in Madrid

Madrid is a city fueled by coffee and cañas that never sleeps and never stops eating. 

Whatever brings you to Madrid, whether you are a tourist, an English teacher, a volunteer or a gap-yearer, you’ll soon get caught up in the wonderful world of tapas in Madrid.

See also: Unique Things to do in Madrid on a Sunday

Facade of traditional tapas bar on Gran Via in Madrid, Spain
Facade of traditional tapas bar on Gran Via in Madrid, Spain – depositphotos.com

Here are 5 of our favourite places to enjoy tapas in Madrid

Make sure to also check out our post on the best tapas bars in Barcelona!

Casa Labra – Croquetas de bacaloa

Stepping into Casa Labra is like stepping back in time. Order your delectable croquetas from the small counter to the right, then head to the bar to order a thimble-sized glass of beer or wine to accompany the oozy, creamy morsels.

Fatigas del querer – Patatas dos salsas

This tapas bar in Madrid is always buzzing with Spaniards and guiris alike. The free nibbles that arrive with your drinks are a delicious start. Then move on to the huge raciones of patatas dos salsas or gambas al ajillo and you won’t regret it. Brilliant, but often-chaotic service!

Fatigas del querer for tapas in Madrid
Fatigas del querer for tapas in Madrid

Lateral – Tortilla de patata

One portion of this melt in the mouth tortilla at Lateral is never enough; you’ll be back for more. The tortilla has a soft gooey middle of caramelized onions and is absolute heaven on a plate.

Taberna Txakolina – Pintxos

If you’re in to your pintxos you won’t be disappointed at Taberna Txakolina. The tapas bar in Madrid is lined with beautiful and delicious pintxos combining all sorts of good quality ingredients. A personal favourite is what we like to call the Salmon Tower.

Tapas at Taberna Txakolina in Madrid
Taberna Txakolina in Madrid

La musa – Tempura de langostinos y aguacate verde

This is such a personal favourite we almost didn’t want to share it! La musa has everything you could want in a restaurant including a delicious selection of BBQ tapas! Try the Tempura de langostinos y aguacate verde for a zingy appetizer.

El Tigre

At El Tigre, you order a glass of vino tinto (red wine) for two euros and then the Tapas God behind the counter hands you a plate piled high with tapas of every kind — tortilla, patatas bravas, jamon, queso … you name it — to accompany your drink. The best part is every time you order your cheap drink, you get another plate of deliciousness to soak up all that alcohol.

Mercado Plaza San Miguel

For a more varied experience, there is Mercado Plaza San Miguel near the Sol Metro. This gorgeous old building is PACKED with little stands featuring some of the freshest and tastiest food, including oysters, fruits and veggies, and tapas. Lots and lots of tapas.

Again, if you want to snag a seat, get there early. Otherwise, start practicing balancing a plate of tapas and a glass of vino tinto and eating/drinking at the same time.

For an explosion of wonderful sites and smells head to Mercado de San Anton in the buzzing neighbourhood of Chueca. On the lower floor there is a traditional market with fruit and veg, fish, hams and cheeses of the best quality. Floor 2 offers a great selection of international stalls where you can get anything from sushi to cured duck to ceviche. 

A personal favourite is the Greek stall offering delicious stuffed aubergines and warm pitas with home-made hummus. Head up to floor 3 for a drink on the roof-terrace with fantastic views over the city or a meal in the modern restaurant.

If you want to explore of Madrid’s markets, check out: El Rastro: The Most Popular Sunday Flea Market in Madrid


10 Things to Do in New York With Kids

New York is so much more than the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and other popular Manhattan attractions. And, if you’re traveling to New York with kids, you’ll be pleased to hear that there is also plenty for you to do!

New York City is comprised of five boroughs: The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Manhattan. Just outside of New York City, you’ll find Long Island, Rockland County, Orange County, and Westchester County, all within an hour’s drive.

If you visit New York but only stay within Manhattan, you’re doing yourself and your family an injustice by not getting the full New York experience. So hop on a bus, a train, or in a car and venture out a little further. You’ll discover some of these amazing New York destinations that your kids will be talking about for years.

Get the New York Pass

Experience NYC with up to 40% off admission to some of the most popular tourist sights with the New York Pass. Enjoy free entry to 100+ top attractions, and visit as many as you like for up to 10 days. Family-friendly activities include Marvel & DC Superheroes Walking Tour, Central Park Bike Tour, LEGOLAND® Discovery Center, Staten Island Zoo and Staten Island Children’s Museum.

10 things to do in New York with Kids

Here’s how to get the most of out visiting NYC with kids – from museums to nature and adventure parks.

See also: Where To Stay In New York City: Our New York Accommodation Guide

New York Hall of Science, Queens, NY

If your kids love science, experiments, and hands-on museums, you’ll want to visit The New York Hall of Science. The New York Hall of Science is easily accessible using public transportation. You can jump on the 7 train to the 111th Street subway station, and it’s only a short walk away.

At the New York Hall of Science, there is something for children of all ages. Older kids can invent things in the design lab. For younger kids, you’ll find Preschool Place, an area with multi-sensory activities for children under 6. Outside of the included exhibits and experiences, there is also a 3D Theater, mini-golf, and a science playground.

The Hall of Science is in the perfect location for a full day of family fun. After spending a couple of hours at the museum, you can walk to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. In the park, you’ll find some additional attractions including the Queens Zoo.

New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn, NY

Is your child fascinated with trains? Does the history of New York City and the transit system interest you? If so, then hop on over to Brooklyn to check out the New York Transit Museum.

What makes this museum fascinating is that it’s located inside a decommissioned subway station from 1936. You enter the museum using the original subway station entrance. Show your ticket to an employee who is sitting inside the original ticket booth and then walk through the old turnstiles.

On the main floor of the museum, you can sit on a replica of an old NYC bus, view vintage signage, and learn about how the fare collection has changed over the years. But downstairs is where the magic happens! On the lowest level of the museum, you can walk onto subway cars dating back to 1907. The museum itself is small but the experience is worth every penny.

New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn, NY
New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn, NY

Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY

If you came to New York City but did not visit Coney Island, you’d be missing out on such an important part of New York City’s history, not to mention a lot of fun. Hop on the D, F, N, and Q trains headed towards Brooklyn and take them to the very last stop. The Coney Island Boardwalk, attractions, and beach are just a 5-minute walk from there.

Take a ride on Dino’s Wonder Wheel, Coney Island’s Ferris wheel which was built in 1920 and has become a New York City landmark. Afterward, visit Luna Park, an amusement park with modern games and rides. Inside Luna Park, you’ll find The Cyclone, Coney Island’s iconic wooden roller coaster which dates back to 1926.

When you’re hungry, you can head over to Nathan’s Famous, home of the 4th of July hot dog eating contest. The restaurant and its famous hot dogs date back to 1916. If you’re not a fan of hot dogs, there are plenty of other places to eat in Coney Island. A short walk from the famous Coney Island attractions is the New York Aquarium. Whatever you fancy, there is no shortage of things to do in Coney Island.

New York with kids - Coney Island Wonder Wheel
Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel – depositphotos.com

Bronx Zoo, Bronx, NY

The Bronx Zoo, home to over 700 species of animals, is one of the largest zoos in the United States. With over 265 acres of land to explore, you’ll want to bring your most comfortable walking shoes. In addition to the typical animal exhibits, there is a children’s zoo with a petting zoo, a playground, and plenty of interactive activities.

After the children’s zoo, you can walk through the butterfly garden, or one of the zoo’s most popular attractions, Jungle World. When you need to rest your feet, ride the open-air monorail and watch the animals roam. If you’re looking for a different zoo experience, you can take your kids to ride the carousel, take a nature trek, or do a ropes course at Treetop Adventure.

Bear Mountain State Park, Tompkins Cove, NY

If hiking and exploring nature is more your family’s thing, then rent a car and head on up to Bear Mountain State Park, about an hour north of NYC. For those who love to picnic, there are plenty of picnic areas scattered through the park, or you can sit on the large open grass area. This grass area also doubles as a play area for recreational sports like soccer and American football.

If you love to fish, there is a beautiful large lake and access to river fishing. You can also rent a canoe to take onto the lake. There are hiking trails for all levels of experience and walkways along the lake for walking and biking. If you’re visiting in the summer, check out the swimming pool and the Trailside Museum and Zoo.

Planning a winter trip? Go ice skating or skiing. Hike, bike, or drive to the top of Bear Mountain to experience breathtaking views of the Hudson Valley. In the fall you can see some spectacular views of the fall foliage. Not ready to leave after just one day, rent a room at the Bear Mountain Inn.

Related read: Hiking Mohonk in New York’s Hudson Valley

Bear Mountain State Park, Tompkins Cove, NY
Bear Mountain State Park, Tompkins Cove, NY

Playland Park, Rye, NY

Playland Park has been a popular family destination since 1926, known mostly for its amusement park. Located right off the Long Island Sound, Playland Park also has a pool and a beach. If you’re a fan of wooden rollercoasters, you can take a ride on the historic Dragon Coaster which is one of Playland’s original rides.

The amusement park also includes a kiddie park with rides for smaller kids and some thrill rides for older kids. There are also areas for picnicking and boating. Only a short 40-minute drive from New York City, Playland Park is a great summer attraction. If you don’t have a car, you can take a 45-minute train ride from Grand Central Station.

Palisades Center, West Nyack, NY

The Palisades Center is a huge four-level shopping mall 30 minutes north of New York City. It has a large collection of attractions and restaurants that will keep your kids busy for hours. Inside The Palisades Center, you’ll find the world’s tallest indoor ropes course which spans all four levels of the mall.

If you’re traveling with a toddler, there’s a small practice rope course for them as well. Tucked away in the corner of the mall on the bottom level, you’ll find Billy Beez. Billy Beez is an indoor playground with some of the longest, steepest, craziest slides your kids have probably even been on.

If you’re a kid at heart, you’ll be happy to know that Billy Beez encourages parents to join in on the fun. For kids who like to drive, there is a speedway and bumper cars. If arcade games are more your kid’s style, there’s a Dave & Buster’s as well. Add an IMAX movie theater, a bowling alley, and an ice skating rink and your child will never want to leave the mall.

Legoland Theme Park and Resort, Goshen, NY

Did you know that New York has its own theme park? Opening its gate in the summer of 2021, Legoland Theme Park and Resort has been a wonderful addition to New York. If you’re staying in New York City and would rather take public transportation, you can hop on a Coach bus at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan.

Legoland is the perfect addition to your New York adventure if you’re traveling with kids under 13. They won’t have to worry about being tall enough to ride at this theme park as most of the rides do not have a minimum height requirement and the ones that do have a minimum height of 36″, with a few exceptions.

While the theme park caters to young children, parents will also have fun riding with their kids. Stay for a day or spend the night at the Legoland Hotel. Visiting during the summer? Don’t forget your bathing suit! Legoland New York has a few water rides to cool off on a hot summer day.

Book your entry ticket with transport below:

Visit Legoland Theme Park and Resort with kids in New York
Legoland Theme Park and Resort

Splish Splash, Long Island, NY

You can’t have a list of fun things to do with kids in New York and not include a waterpark. Splish Splash, located 60 miles east of New York City, is one of the best waterparks in the greater New York City area. It has 20 waterslides and attractions. Cool down and relax in the lazy river or jump around in one of their two wave pools.

If you have kids who are daredevils and love thrills, they won’t be disappointed. There are several intense rides to choose from. When your kids get hungry from non-stop swimming and splashing, head to Johnny Rockets located inside the waterpark for the best burgers and shakes.

The Adventure Park, Long Island, NY

Calling all ropes course lovers to The Adventure Park in Long Island. If you’ve been looking for an activity to bond with your kids in New York, this is it. What makes The Adventure Park different from other ropes courses, is that its courses are aerial treetop courses.

Whether you are a beginning or an expert, there is a trail for you. There are 5 different levels of challenge, each color-coded. With 14 trails and 49 ziplines, The Adventure Park is easily a day-long activity. Children under 7, who are too young to climb the trails, can play in the Adventure Playground.

With this list of things to do with kids in New York, you may never make it to any of the more popular tourist attractions in Manhattan. You will however have experienced New York in a way many tourists have not and will be planning your next trip back to New York to do some of the things you never got around to. For more family travel tips and ideas, check out Traveling the West Way, a family travel blog.

If you’re visiting New York on a budget, check out this list of free things to do in New York – and don’t forget to check out our post on How to Be a New York Tourist!


8 Lesser-Known Destinations in The US Everyone Should Visit

The extensive landscape of the US makes it a popular destination for tourists the whole year round.

There’s something to do for everyone: families, couples, and single travelers alike. No matter what time of the year you’re visiting, there’s a destination for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you love exploring the corners of new cities or you want to go hiking off the beaten track, we’ve got some beautiful destinations that will satisfy your wanderlust.

This guide will take you through some of the best entertainment options as well. It’s not just the views that can take your breath away!

Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, bars and restaurants or even casinos, we’ve got all the entertainment you need. There are many options to choose from, including some Michigan online casinos.

No matter what you’re looking for in the USA, we’ve got all the best destinations off the beaten tourist track.

Bars Off the Beaten Track

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge in Detroit, Michigan

One of the oldest jazz clubs in the world, it’s no wonder that Baker’s is a must-see attraction in Michigan. Built all the way back in 1934, this historic arts venue has always been a Detroit hotspot. The food is some of the best in town and the service is always impeccable. And with legends such as Nat “King” Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson and George Shearing having graced its stage, Baker’s legendary status is no surprise.

Tunnel Bar in Northampton, Massachusetts

If you’re a fan of a martini in an unusual location, then the Tunnel Bar in Northampton is the bar for you. Located in (or under) Northampton’s Union Station, this tunnel was previously used for commuters and train workers. Now, it’s been transformed into a beautiful bar with all of its original brick and stone fully intact.

The Coffin Club in Portland, Oregon

This next bar is not for the faint-hearted! It’s the Coffin Club in Oregon and we think you can probably guess the theme. It’s full of spooky memorabilia and glow in the dark skeletons that makes for a spooky night out. The Coffin Club has even been voted as being one of the top ten themed bars in the world!

Unique Nature Sites

Ocqueoc Falls in Rogers City, Michigan

If your interests are less city and more out in the wilderness, why not take a trip to Ocqueoc Falls just outside of Rogers City? Not only can you experience the beauty of these magical waterfalls but there’s also a campsite nearby where you can stay. You’ll have to be quick though, there are only 15 sites for tents and small campervans and they’re available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

You can hike up to the falls along the Bicentennial Pathway and you can even do some trout fishing if you’re so inclined. Make sure you’ve got the right equipment to cook it though! There are only very basic amenities onsite including vault toilets and a hand pump well for water. So it might be campfire cooked trout for dinner!

Sleeping Bear Dunes in Lake Michigan

The Sleeping Bear Dunes are found alongside a 35 mile stretch of Lake Michigan’s eastern coastline. This park is known for its incredible scenery including its beaches and forests as well as, of course, the sand dune formations. You’ll also find the North and South Manitou islands nearby which are accessible via ferries.

There are 20 miles of hiking trails as well as an 1871 lighthouse that you can visit. And if you’re a history buff, there are plenty of tours you can take as well as a museum to visit and learn all about the rich history of the dunes and surrounding areas.

Goblin Valley State Park in Green River, Utah

Don’t let the name put you off – Goblin Valley is one of the most unique sandstone formations you’ll see anywhere in the world. In fact, its landscape is often compared to that of Mars! With its weird and wonderful sandstone formations, you’ll feel like you’ve entered another world. It’s a once in a lifetime sight and one you won’t want to miss!

Devil’s Tower in Wyoming

Another unusual rock formation is the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. This astonishing geological feature was formed by molten rock millions of years ago and has managed to stand the test of time. There are lots of hiking trails to complete – or even rock climbing if you’re feeling brave! But note that there is an annual climbing closure for the month of June to respect the Native American cultural significance of the site.

White Sands National Park in New Mexico

The White Sands National Park is so unique that it is even home to a type of sand that is rarely found anywhere else. It’s called gypsum and is so rare because it is actually moderately soluble in water – meaning that you won’t be finding it on a beach. White Sands National Park is actually the largest gypsum dune field, covering 275 square miles.

The rarity of this landscape means that all of its life and plants are protected. It also means that not a lot of people know about it – so it’s always a peaceful place to visit.

Channel Islands National Park in Ventura, Los Angeles

Despite its proximity to Los Angeles, Channel Islands National Park is the second least visited park in California. That’s great news for travelers who prefer to bask in the beauty of nature in peace. It’s also a must visit place for activity lovers! There are loads of hiking trails to explore such as the Smugglers Cave trail.

If a day trip just isn’t enough time for your island trip, there’s also the option to camp on the island. Just make sure you pack light – it’s a mile long hike to get from the ferry to the campsite!

Given the vastness of the USA, it’s no surprise there are some places that are hidden away from the usual tourist traps. Whether it’s a park, lake, or entertainment venue – there are plenty of unknown places to explore.

Which hidden gem would you like to add to the list?


Waterfalls in the North West of Ireland

The north west of Ireland can boast some great waterfalls, with high annual rainfall these waterfalls in Ireland are often flowing wildly and offer great viewing—and the perfect photo—opportunities.

Often paired with great walking trails, these waterfalls in Ireland give a great glimpse of the Irish countryside at its best as well as offering the best views.

Irish sights like these often have well maintained and pathed walking tracks. We have seen a few ourselves and we have to give a run down on our best waterfalls to see in the north west of Ireland, we hope you may visit one or two.

See also: Walking Tracks of Ireland’s Mid West

A few of the best waterfalls in Ireland’s North West

If you’re visiting the north west of Ireland, make sure to visit a few of these waterfalls.

See also: Exploring Belfast and the Coast of Northern Ireland

Glencar Waterfall

Located just off Glencar Lough and a short walk into the trees you will find Glencar waterfall. This waterfall stands at 50ft high and is ever flowing. The fall has viewing platforms to get close to the fall and for photo opportunities.

Glencar waterfall in Ireland
Glencar waterfall

The waterfall also has a short walking track of 0.48 km through trees and lush green area, in a loop track around the fall and back to the beginning.

At the end of the track, you’ll find a café for all your refreshment needs complete with children’s play area and a little shop.

You can also enjoy the sights of Glencar Lough. Set in between the hills, the Lough provides fantastic views and is also home to many water activities like stand up paddle board and canoeing.

The Glencar waterfall is also known to be the inspiration for Irish poet William Butler Yeats and features in his poem ‘The Stolen Child’.

Glencar lough in Ireland
Glencar lough

The Devil’s Chimney

At 492ft, the Devils Chimney is the largest waterfall in Ireland. Located only a few minutes drive along the Glencar Lough just before Glencar waterfall, this waterfall has a tougher track than its neighbour with a 30 minutes moderate grade hike to get to it.

The name Devil’s Chimney means stream against the height, meaning that during certain weather conditions the waterfall is blown upward and back over the cliff from which it falls.

You’ll get fantastic views of the hills on the way up and on the way down the sight over Glencar Lough in amazing.

The view down from the Devils Chimney walk
The view down from the Devils Chimney walk

Fowley’s Falls

Fowley’s falls is a unique looking waterfall as it is not a single-drop waterfall. Instead the waterfall cascades into numerous smaller falls over the exposed bedrock, producing a picturesque sight you have to see.

The name is taken from the apparent original owner of the land in great tribute to him and his family.

Poll An Easa

Poll An Easa waterfall is a waterfall in the Ballinamore region of County Leitrim, it’s unknown to many due to its rural location and access through windy country roads.

The waterfall has access to its own little stream to walk along and enjoy the Irish countryside. A picnic area is also situated on the site and even a couple of local donkeys grace the land opposite for photo opportunities.

Poll An Easa is one of the unique waterfalls in Ireland
Poll An Easa waterfall

Assaranca Waterfall

Assaranca Waterfall is a stunning waterfall in the northern regions of Donegal, set in between lush Irish greenery making this waterfall even more beautiful. The waterfall starts off at the top of the hill in small streams, winding down and coming together in a lovely wide powerful waterful and landing in a little pool at the bottom.

The waterfall is easy to find as it can be seen from the road side parking, although a walk up close is still a better option to admire this spectacular fall⁠—you’ll get to hear the crashing of the water and feel the force yourself.

Respect the land

As mentioned, these sights are kept in good condition and it’s our hope that people keep them the way they are. There are people who go off track to find the best photo or another reason, but the land should be respected. It’s also worth noting that a lot of fields adjacent or sometimes within these areas are private. Often, live cattle is free to roam and can be unpredictable, especially during lambing season, so pay attention to all paths and signs.

More waterfalls in Ireland

If you’re travelling around Ireland and want to take in some more waterfalls then we recommend checking out a couple of the popular ones.

Firstly, and probably Irelands most popular, is Powerscourt in Co Wicklow. Set in the stunning Wicklow mountains, a beautiful scenic drive in to this 121 metre waterfall is worth the visit.

Secondly, Torc waterfall in County Kerry is a fascinating 20 metre high, but 110 metre cascading waterfall.

See also: Top Experiences and Things to Do in Ireland

When is the best time to see waterfalls in Ireland?

With a high average rainfall in Ireland, most of the year is great to see waterfalls. But, our preference would be during spring as the winter cold has gone but the summer crowds haven’t arrived yet, so it’s not so busy—allowing you time to see and explore more of the waterfalls. Spring is also a great time to go camping in Ireland!


8 Day Sicily Itinerary – Travel Dudes

Sicily is of course a part of Italy and is the largest island in the Mediterranean with a host of attractions that make it famous. This stunning island is one of the twenty regions of Italy and is famous for such things as Mount Etna, The Roman Theatre of Taormina, as well as the bustling city of Palermo—which is an attraction in its own right and should definitely be included on your Sicily itinerary.

Sicily is an island that has the perfect combination of beautiful landscapes, fantastic beaches, incredible cuisine as well as one of Europe’s best climates, so it’s no wonder that this island is a favorite among travelers and holidaymakers.

So, let us show you what an 8 day Sicily itinerary could look like.

Exploring fishing villages on your Sicily itinerary
Traditional fishing village Aspra with colorful boats in Sicily. Depositphotos.com

Here’s how to plan an eight day Sicily itinerary

Let’s start off your Sicily trip in Palermo.

Day 1-3: Palermo

You will begin your dream trip to Sicily, by starting in the capital city of Palermo which is famous for its beautiful fountains and glorious piazzas. But mostly for its incredible food culture—which is one of the main reasons you’re in Italy right?

Sicilian cuisine is out of this world and attracts many people for this reason alone, and one of the major attractions you cannot overlook is the ancient La Vucciria food market. This market holds social significance within the city as well as playing a central role here. This iconic food market is where you can indulge in all kinds of delicious and local street food, experience locals enjoying the dolce vita as well as embrace the lively atmosphere, which makes this a standout spot.

To get here, make your way to Piazza Caracciolo, Palermo anytime between 7 am and 7 pm Monday – Saturday. Palermo is an ideal spot to try some famous street food such as arancini (Italian rice balls) and sfincione (Sicilian pizza), as well as take a cooking class to learn the secrets behind these mouthwatering recipes. If you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to try the famous beef spleen sandwich known as pani ca meusa.

With full bellies, you are ready to take on some of Palermo’s best attractions over these few days.

  • Cattedrale di Palermo: This impressive Roman Catholic church dates back to 1185, and is a fantastic building of great significance within the city. It’s open Mon-Sat from 7am-7pm and Sun from 8am-7pm.
  • Palazzo Dei Normanni: This is by far one of the best-preserved examples of Arabic-Norman-Byzantine architecture and can be visited Mon-Sat from 8:30 am-4:30 pm and Sun from 8:30 am-12:30 pm.
  • Teatro Massimo: The largest opera house in Italy and the third-largest in the world.

If you find yourself with time on your hands and are looking for more things to do, then make sure to add these optional attractions to your list.

  • St John of the Hermits: A medieval Norman church with impressive Arab-Norman architecture. You can visit Mon-Sat from 9:30am-6:30am and Sun from 9:30am-1:30pm.
  • The Ballaro market: Another market to experience more delicious Sicilian food as well as clothing. You can find some mouthwatering fruit, cheeses, fresh fish, and local vegetables. Mon-Sat 7:30 am-8:30pm/Sun 7:30am-2pm.
Palermo, Sicily
View of Palermo with old houses and monuments. Depositphotos.com

Day 3-5: Taormina

Today, you will leave Palermo and follow the north coast towards Taormina, stopping off at Cefalu—a stunning hamlet by the sea—before continuing to the east coast of the island. Taormina is a fantastic resort town, which is definitely worth a visit. On your first evening, make sure to take a stroll down the bustling main street of Corso Umberto and pick a bar or restaurant to spend at for the evening.

After dinner, why not take in an open-air performance at the Greek Theatre which dates back to the 3rd Century—guaranteed to be a great experience, as well as provide insatiable views of the famous Mt Etna in the distance.

The next day, there are a host of activities you can enjoy in this beautiful coastal town, including:

  • Relaxing on one of the beaches such as Isola Bella.
  • Enjoying the panoramic view from Piazza IX Aprile, which has the best view of the city and Mt Etna and is, of course, open 24 hours a day to enjoy.
  • Chiesa Madonna Della Rocco for more incredible city and sea views, a peaceful haven to relax and the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of local wine. Mon-Sun 8:30am-7pm.
  • Alcantara Gorge, which is a 50-minute drive from Taormina and is a geological marvel, as well as the perfect place to visit to see glorious waterfalls and take a refreshing dip in the Alcantara River.

Spend your second evening in Palermo listening to live music and enjoying some delicious Italian cuisine in town.

Tip: The Godfather fans can visit a few of the movie’s film locations in the town of Savoca, just outside Taormina, which was used as the fictional town of Corleone.

Taormina, Sicily
Taormina, Sicily, Italy. Beautiful ancient theatre of Taormina. Ancient Greek theatre, ruins of significant landmark. Amazing view of Etna volcano from the auditorium. Fantastic cityscape of Taormina. Depositphotos.com

Day 5-6: Catania

After breakfast, you will leave Taormina and head to Catania. However, you will of course be stopping at one of the most famous attractions on the island along the way–Mount Etna. This active stratovolcano is the tallest volcano in Europe and attracts many visitors to marvel at the sheer sight of this natural attraction. You can either take on the Mt Etna trail, which is around a 1-hour return and is of medium grade, or you can simply spend some time enjoying the views and the endless photo opportunities before continuing to Catania.

Related read: The World’s Most Famous Volcanoes

Note: While Italy is generally not an unsafe place to visit, you should be aware of pickpockets and petty theft, especially in touristy areas, so be vigilant and take care of your valuables in places such as this.

Catania is the second-largest city in Sicily and is a place that you just cannot overlook on your Sicily itinerary planning. When arriving, expect to be greeted by a fantastic view of Mount Etna, which forms the iconic backdrop of this stunning city. Here you will spend the evening absorbing the atmosphere of the city in all its glory, which is apparent at the Piazza Duomo.

The following day you will have the whole day to explore the city’s sights, including:

  • Palazzo Biscari: Visit this marvelous palace for its incredible Catanese Baroque architecture, complete with stunning frescos. Given that this historic location is now being used for concerts, check their website for upcoming unmissable events. Mon-Sun 10am-1pm.
  • The Cathedral of Catania: This beautiful and historic cathedral is centrally located, so there is no reason to miss out on seeing the wonderful baroque architecture which makes this so popular. Be on the lookout for the domed roof, the columned facade, and the numerous frescoes that can be admired for hours. Dedicated to the patron saint of Catania, St Agatha, whose festival is held from February 3rd – 5th. Mon-Sat 10:30am-12pm/4pm-5:30pm, closed Sundays.

During your time sightseeing in Catania, make sure to refresh yourself with a cold and fruity beverage from one of the historic Catania kiosks which date back to the 1800s and are found in many of the piazzas, especially Piazza Umberto. Enjoy another beautiful evening in Catania, with a delicious local dinner of Pasta Alla Norma (pasta and eggplant) and a stunning sunset over Mount Etna, as you take in all you have encountered today, as part of your 8 day Sicily itinerary.  

A kiosk in Catania, Sicily
A kiosk in Catania, Sicily. Depositphotos.com

Day 6-8: Siracusa

Today, after a fresh and tasty Italian breakfast, alongside some world-famous coffee, you will set yourself up for the day and make your way to Siracusa, which is an ideal spot to discover its attractions as well as being close to some major stop-off points too. On your way here, you can stop at the archeological site of Agrigento, which is one of the most significant historical sites on the whole island. After marveling at the various mesmerizing ruins, you will continue to Siracuse, where more adventure awaits.

On your first day in Siracusa, you will get the chance to discover many things, including:

  • The Fontana Diana at the Piazza Archimed: Dating back to 1907, this is a major feature in the city of Siracusa, which is dedicated to the Goddess, Diana.
  • Ortigia, which is accessed via a bridge and is famous for its incredible Baroque style Piazza del Duomo–one of the best in Italy.

On your second day in Siracusa, you will visit Modica, which is a haven for the sweet tooth, given that it is famous for the Modica chocolates—which you can taste and, of course, take home. This town is famed for its beautiful array of historic buildings, its chocolate museum, and its tiny narrow, picturesque streets.

You will spend the rest of the day as you please, wandering this beautiful hilly town, before making your way back to Catania for your last evening in Sicily, closing off your fantastic 8 day Sicily itinerary.

Siracusa, Sicily island
Siracusa, Sicily island, Italy: Night view of the fountain of Arethusa, Ortigia, Syracuse, a historic city on the island of Sicily, Italy. Depositphotos.com

Planning your trip to Sicily

If you’re a traveler that likes to give back to the community, make sure to book your trip with Baboo Travel. You can rest easy knowing that your well-earned money has gone towards community projects, combatting climate change as well as empowering the locals to thrive. And, at the same time, you’ll have a dedicated Destination Expert on hand from start to finish to make sure your Sicily itinerary is exactly as you hoped, with local experiences and knowledge thrown in.

Take the hassle and stress out of planning, save yourself hours of time and research, and make the eco-friendly choice to travel to Sicily with a tailor-made trip created by Baboo and the experts.


The best beach clubs and bars in Barcelona

Keep in mind: some of these establishments are going to open in the coming months, so we are giving you the best beach clubs to bear in mind for the end of May and beginning of summer! 

Who loves the beach in Barcelona? And who loves the Barcelona nightlife? Combine the two and you’ve got the best beach bars in Barcelona! These bars and clubs offer a huge variety of fun experiences as well as high-quality gastronomy for those who tend to get peckish mid-way through your night out! 

See also: Top Coolest Bars in Barcelona

Beach bars in Barcelona, Spain
Beach bars in Barcelona, Spain

The best beach bars in Barcelona

These beach clubs in Barcelona have stunning views, making them the perfect place to enjoy the sunset with a cocktail in your hand. Some stylish, some more relaxed and chilled, with multiple styles of music for you to enjoy. You can book tickets, reserve tables and organise VIP bookings, we give you the top beach clubs in Barcelona. 

See also: Places to Stay Cool in Barcelona in Summer

Hotel W, The Wet Deck

Located at the beachfront along the famous Barceloneta boardwalk is the stunning W Hotel, visible on Barcelona’s skyline. The luxurious terrace here will impress you with the breath-taking views it offers and the incredible cocktails it’s mixologists can provide for you. 

Every Sunday at the Hotel W they hold an event which includes food, music and drinks by the pool. This ritzy hotel bar has it all! There’s tapas, cocktails, drinks, a DJ, a pool, and views of the stunning Mediterranean Sea. This is the perfect place for day and night parties hosted with the best DJ’s in the city. 

Hotel W, The Wet Deck in Barcelona, Spain
Hotel W, The Wet Deck

You can even book tables where you can rent a cabana with sofas and sunbeds, towels, next to an infinity pool, where you won’t have to lift a finger, and can enjoy cocktails and drinks all day long. You can also rent out private jacuzzis, with sunbeds, tables and even a private bathroom, this promotion even includes a 75cl bottle of Veuve Clicquot. 

Address: Plaça Rosa Del Vents 1, Final, Passeig de Joan de Borbó, 08039 Barcelona

Pool Bar at W Hotel in Barcelona, Spain
Pool Bar at W Hotel in Barcelona, Spain

Vai Moana

In El Poblenou you can find the chiringuito Vai Moana with Easter Island decor, this is the place to really take in the tranquillity of your surroundings and enjoy the small lapping of waves. They are located literally right on the beach, giving you the most authentic experience possible. This beach bar in Barcelona is somewhere you can of course find incredible gastronomy to keep you going. They have a load of healthy options and they have options for kids, like burgers and macaroni, and just wait till you see their cocktail, smoothies and fruit juice selection. 

This bar is occupied by those who don’t suffer the mundanities of life, they don’t care if they have sand in their shorts. They are there to relax, have fun and enjoy themselves. If you like a frozen margarita or daiquiri, this is the place for you!

Address: Av. del Litoral, s/n, 08005 Barcelona 

Vai Moana in Barcelona, Spain
Vai Moana in Barcelona, Spain

Bambú Beach Bar

For a locals choice, the Bambú beach bar is a great place to relax in a cosy atmosphere. They are right on the beach, and serve delicious food that can be savoured at any time of the day. They serve refreshing drinks and cocktails and provide a fun- filled cosmopolitan atmosphere. Bambú beach bar has been created for their people to unwind and have fun. 

Bambú were inspired by the crystal clear beaches in Thailand, creating a special touch of Southeast Asia in this bar. The tropical trees surrounding the beach bar along with the perfect crashing waves create a delightful harmony for any customer who enters Bambú. They don’t take bookings so make sure to get there earlier rather than later!

Address: Ronda Litoral, s/n, 08005 Barcelona

Bambú Beach Bar in Barcelona, Spain
Bambú Beach Bar in Barcelona, Spain

Jefferson Beach Club

Jefferson Beach Club is a great option for travellers looking for good drinks, great food and outdoor seating on the beach. They have an enormous option of drinks available, and be sure to try their incredible mojitos! Their chef is known for his paellas, and the staff known for their great service. 

They have music and are based on Sant Sebastià beach, they have the inspiration of the Hamptons, wanting to bring a small portion of Long Island closer to Barcelona. You can sunbathe on the loungers, chill on the terrace or even get up and dance. This is a space for fun and comfort. 

Address: Playa Bogatell, Av. del Litoral, s/n, 08005 Barcelona 

Jefferson Beach Club in Barcelona, Spain
Jefferson Beach Club in Barcelona, Spain

Bestial Beach Club

The Bestial Beach Club is a great place to go. They have a stunning spacious terrace right in front of their trendy inner club, the best thing about this club is that if you enter before 1am its free entry! This club is located just beside the Casino and Hotel Arts Barcelona in front of the beach. They have events weekly like Reggaeton parties and special DJ guests. 

The place is cosy but edgy and has great views out to the sea. The beach club is also a very popular restaurant throughout meal times, being one of the best places in the city to eat and relax at. This place is so picturesque you’ll not be complaining. Bestial is famous for its Mediterranean and Italian dishes as well as their delicious paella. 

Address: Carrer de Ramon Trias Fargas, 2-4, 08005 Barcelona 

Bestial Beach Club in Barcelona, Spain
Bestial Beach Club in Barcelona, Spain

The Coconut Club

The Coconut Club is a Miami style poolside bar in the heart of Villa Olímpica. They are inspired by the Caribbean and provide a cool and hip place to relax. They serve delicious Caribbean food and drinks. Their dishes are original and they even offer a selection of ice cream in case you have a sweet tooth. Their drinks menu includes a plethora of cocktails like sangria and mojitos, and their atmosphere will make you feel as if you’re in the islands, without the coconut trees at every turn. 

They also offer cool events like taco sundays where they offer a speciality dish for promotion for their eager customers! This is another one of the best places to hang out for a drink in the sun by the beach. Make sure you try their coco ice cream or coco drinks too, they are refreshing and delicious! 

Address: Carrer de Ramon Trias Fargas, 2, 08005 Barcelona 

Exploring the beach bars in Barcelona, Spain
Exploring the beach bars in Barcelona, Spain

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