Europe

The Best of London in 24 Hours

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A city as iconic and fascinating as London deserves a weekend stay or more. But, connecting flights are common through this famed capital, so extending your trip from another European city for a bonus day in London is a wise choice.   

So how do you see all the incredible landmarks of London and get a good taste of the culture in just 24 hours? Here’s an overview of the Best of London to give you a good start. Whenever you happen to arrive, grab your walking shoes (and an umbrella wouldn't hurt) to be prepared for a big day ahead!

Walk or Ride in Westminster

Westminster is where you want to be - it's the heart of London with many tourist staples. Explore on foot or opt for the Original London Sightseeing Tour bus. This red double-decker will allow you to see double the sights in half the time, while having a live guide explain the landmarks and history.  

You’re able to hop on and off wherever you like at places like Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Royal Albert Hall, Piccadilly Circus and the British Museum.

Cruise the Thames

With this sightseeing bus ticket, you’ll receive a free ticket to cruise on the River Thames. We always love a reason to see cities in a variety of ways, so this is a great way to do so. While you're on the water, make sure to spot the Tate Modern Museum with its incredible architecture. If you have extra time before lunch, a stop at this modern museum is also worth the visit.

Lunch on the Strand

You've now walked, bused and cruised, it's time to dine! Head to one of London’s best known roads, The Strand. You’ll find various high street chain restaurants, charming cafes, and fast food outlets perfect for relaxing and whetting your appetite.

Stroll through Marylebone

After a morning of historically-rich sights, head north on the tube to Marylebone (pronounced mar-le-bone), for a taste of classic London living. This area is an affluent, walkable residential district filled with white terraced Georgian and Edwardian properties. You’ll pass the beautiful Regent Park and grand homes, many of which are still single-family. Nearby is also the Sherlock Homes Museum and Wallace Collection.

Afternoon Tea

When in London, take time to relax and engage in the centuries-old tradition of afternoon tea. Typically between 3-6pm, high tea is made available, often served with savory and sweet snacks. The Marylebone area offers no shortage of options, or head back towards the Thames to find a unique tea venue, like the Swan which is attached to the famed Shakespheare's Globe Theater. Ah tea time, it's quite lovely, isn't it?

An Evening in Leicester Square

After recharging at your hotel, get a little dressy and head to Leicester Square to enjoy a lively night on the town. This area just west of the main sights in Westminster is a pedestrianized square with a fun vibe. Restaurant options are endless so have your choice of Italian pasta, English pub grub, Indian curries, or wherever your cravings take you.

Catch a Live Show

The Leicester Square Theater is iconic for its live performances. Grab tickets in advance to experience it in person or check out other great venues in this area, like the Sam Wanamaker Theater (next to the Tate Modern Museum). One of the best shows we've ever seen is the all-candlelit Othello at the Sam Wanamaker Theater.  The smaller setting and lack of bright light provided for a unique and intimate performance.  

Ride the London Eye

Before you call it a (most delightful!) day, enjoy a final nightcap and ‘champagne flight’ on the London Eye. It’s a breathtaking way to see London at night, and you’ll also find yourself in one of the capital’s best bars.

Where to Stay

When in London for a short time, the best areas to stay are in South Kensington or Bloomsbury. Both are on the direct tube line from Heathrow Airport. If you are arriving at Gatwick airport, then the London Bridge area or Victoria would be most convenient.

Before you head back to the airport, fill up on a big traditional English breakfast. It's delicious and you'll be glad you did for your travel day ahead!

 

Amsterdam: Your 3-Day Guide

It's the bike capital of the world, and with more canals than you can count. Our 36-hour trip proved it’s a fun city to navigate, with friendly locals and craft beer set under high windmills. Here’s what you need to know for maximizing a 3-day trip!

Getting Around

Take a Tesla Taxi - Surprisingly, you’ll be greeted at Amsterdam’s main airport by dozens of electric Teslas. The city is progressive and has enlisted these upscale, fuel-efficient cars in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint. It’s fancy, inexpensive, green and a great ride!

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Ok, the airport models don't have these fancy doors, but they're still real nice. Justin started the trip with a free transfer thanks to the good people at booking.com.

Hop on a Bike - You just so happen to be in the bike mecca of the world! Since there are more bikes than people, pedaling around is an essential Amsterdam experience. Simply grab one for rent (they’re available all over) and explore the city streets. You’ll be able to see more in a day, while also blending in with the locals.

A wooden shoe ON a bike - it doesn't get more Dutch than this.

Cruise the Canals – Being on these waterways provides a stunning backdrop for seeing the sights and attractions. Choose from one or two-hour guided tours that feature interesting city facts along the way. With 165 canals, you could also opt for a cruise with hop-on-hop-off services while you explore areas of interest. For a unique and intimate experience, try an evening dinner cruise.

Try Out the Tram – Get a daily tram pass for less than $10 and easily explore the different neighborhoods and attractions of the city.

Eat & Drink

When in the land of delicious Dutch baked goods, make sure to try both sweet and savory. Local favorites include bitterballen, small bites filled with beef and spices; stroopwafels, chewy waffle-like cookies and the infamous Dutch pastries.

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When you need a little pick-me-up, there’s no shortage of coffee shops. Just note that your visit will likely include a slight marijuana smell as its legal in Amsterdam and can be sold along with coffee.

If you prefer a beer, you’re in luck as Amsterdam’s craft beer game is strong. Check out the brews at the popular Brouwerij ‘t IJ with its iconic location underneath the city’s tallest windmill.

For dinner, a Dutch meal is traditionally hearty, so many restaurants offer meat and potato selections on their menus. Seafood is also common with the city’s close proximity to the water. When in Amsterdam, try the herring with pickles and onions.

Stay

Have your pick from well-kept canal houses, boutique bed & breakfasts and luxurious apartments, among many hotel options.

The Old Centre is a popular area for tourists to stay. We enjoyed staying here as it’s a short walk from the main sights, with plenty of great restaurants, shopping outlets and nightlife. Here you can find an abundance of accommodations from cheap to fancier; just keep in mind that some may find the proximity of the red light district off-putting.  

Grachtengordel West is the neighborhood just west of the Old Centre and is beautifully lined by the canals. It’s pricier with five-star hotels and retreat properties. Head to the street of Raadhuisstraat which is a bit busier for less expensive options.

Grachtengordel South is an increasingly popular area to stay with many restaurants, bars and clubs. Several hotels line the surrounding canals offering both budget-friendly and luxury options.

See & Do

Check out trendy hotspots by walking around the canals and the River Amstel for its famous ‘skinny bridge’. The Canal Ring is a must-see area with majestic canal houses. 

Take a walk through the Jordaan neighborhood for a look at charming cafes and great shopping. Outdoor markets are also popular where there's no shortage of Dutch food and flowers.

Amsterdam is also home to multiple world-famous museums.  Its Museum District houses the Van Gogh Museum, works by Rembrandt and Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum, and modern art at the Stedelijk.  Also popular is the Anne Frank House, the Rembrandt House, the square of Musemplein and the Royal Palace.

Amsterdam is a compact city so in just a few days you can get a good feel for the culture and see all the major attractions!

8 Reasons to See Iceland by Camper Van

If driving and camping in a foreign country sound a little out of your comfort zone, hear us out.  Iceland is an adventure playground and a camper van is a great way to explore it. 

Why rent a camper:

1. You’ll see more.

Since you won’t have to shuttle or drive back to a hotel, you’ll have more time for taking in the sights. With a camper van, you can travel farther each day than you would otherwise be able to. That's more time to take in the beauty of glaciers, geysers, boiling mud pools and more.

2. Save money.

Instead of paying for a hotel and booking day tours, you can sleep and explore at a fraction of the cost. You’ll also have a built-in kitchen for when you don’t want to eat out for every meal. In Iceland, even a fast food meal can cost $15.

3. You’ll feel a world away, in the best way.

Fall asleep with the Northern Lights swirling above. Wake up to the sound of a nearby waterfall. Open your door to a view of a glacier. You get to appreciate these awesome moments before the crowds arrive.

4. The roads are great.

Iceland’s Ring Road (Hwy 1) is the main path that leads you to Iceland’s best glaciers, hot springs, waterfalls and more. It’s all paved making an easy and safe way to get from one spot to the next.  

5. Camp sites make it easy.  

Rarely will you need a camping reservation. You can often just show up, park for the night and use the modern and well-managed facilities.

6. The landscape is ideal for a road trip.

Iceland has a small number of people per square mile and hardly any trees. Drive the open road and soak up the scenery without having to worry about traffic. Your camper is also easy to spot with such open terrain.

7.  Convenience is key.

The weather in Iceland can be unpredictable. With a camper van, you decide how long to stay in each location rather than relying on transfer schedules.

8. Adventure is good. 

Sure, you may have to be the navigator and could have a windy night or two, but having an adventure to remember is certain. In a place as beautiful and remote as Iceland's land of fire and ice, you'll be glad to stay among the beauty while exploring it to the fullest.