Collected by Derek J
Prinsengracht, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Beyond tulips, windmills, and weed, Amsterdam's global image is entwined with water. The Canal Ring (Grachtengordel) is made up of 165 fluid channels developed during the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age. In the ensuing years, the water network has...
Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam’s State Museum reopened in 2013 after a decade of renovations, and it is oh so worth a visit! Weave your way through the museum's vast assemblage of historic art (there are over 8,000 pieces!) to check out works from Dutch masters...
Dam, 1012 JS Amsterdam, Netherlands
The central hub of downtown Amsterdam is Dam Square, and it’s been at the heart of the city’s history since the 13th century. Today, the open-air public space is ringed by shops and restaurants and packed with people, including street...
Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat, 1071 Amsterdam, Netherlands
From vintage shops and hipster boutiques in the Negen Straats (Nine Streets) to posh designer outlets on P.C. Hoofstraat, Amsterdam's shopping scene is nothing if not eclectic. There's something for everyone on Kalverstraat, a shopping street that...
Singel, 1012 XG Amsterdam, Netherlands
Since 1862, fresh flowers and plants have arrived by barge from the Dutch countryside to Amsterdam. While this assemblage of flora still shows up daily, it comes by van, not boat, to the Bloemenmarkt, the world's only floating flower market. Here,...
Kasteleinsstraat 49, 1050 Elsene, Belgium
The Contemporary Art scene in Brussels is thriving, but it can also be intimidating to newcomers. Many galleries can feel cold or stuffy, and visitors can be put off by the high prices of the works on display. Maison Particulière is a...
Groot-Bijgaarden, 1702 Dilbeek, Belgium
Most garden-lovers have heard of the Dutch tulip garden, Keukenhof, a few hours north of Belgium. Few, however, have heard of Belgium's own wonderful spring tulip garden at Groot-Bijgaarden Castle. Also called Grand Bigard (in French), the castle...
Kasteelstraat 40, 1750 Lennik, Belgium
A short train or car ride from central Brussels will get you to the village of Gaasbeek, home of the beautiful Gaasbeek Castle (Kasteel Van Gaasbeek in Flemish). This 16th-century chateau looks like something out of your favourite fairy tale. But...
Buizingen, 1501 Halle, Belgium
Hallerbos (Flemish) or Bois de Halle (French) is a beech forest just south of Brussels. It's a popular spot for walking, cycling and horseback-riding. Every spring, for a few short weeks, the forest makes a magical transformation into a blue...
Rue Gheude 56, 1070 Anderlecht, Belgium
No trip to Belgium is complete without experiencing the Belgian beer culture. The best place in Brussels to take a look at beer history is the Cantillon Brewery. Even as a non beer drinker, it’s a fascinating place to visit. One of the...
Oxford St, London, UK
The West End can sometimes be a crummy place to do any actual shopping—the crowds are overwhelming and so too, on occasion, are the shops themselves. But that does not dim the joy of standing in front of the artfully arranged windows of the big...
Tower Bridge, United Kingdom
This is a landmark that is so familiar, so often seen, that to visit it -- even for the first time -- feels almost ordinary. You know the Tower Bridge. You've seen it in storybooks and on movie screens. You get it. Right? Nope. Because even if it...
Woolwich, London, UK
The Capital Ring is a 75-mile walking route that encircles London and that you can join for as much or as little as you want. It's a little-known gem—I'm one of the few Londoners I know who've walked it—and depending on which segment you pick, it...
Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, UK
Located at Trafalgar square and home to about 2300 beautiful paintings, the national gallery of London should definitely make its way to almost any London itinerary. Set up in 1824, it the fifth most visited museum in the world. The quality and...
St Katharine's & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB, UK
Visitors to this turreted riverside castle enter a thousand years of history filled with cultural significance (but go early to avoid lines to see the crown jewels). Tudor fans can view the spot where Anne Boleyn was beheaded and the kinds of...
91 Brick Ln, London E1 6QR, UK
It was Bangladeshi and Jewish immigrants who put East London’s Brick Lane on the map with affordable, authentic bagel shops and curry houses that still draw late-night crowds to the area. But these days it’s also a creative hub, with...
Hoxton Square, Hackney, London, UK
London's East End. Shoreditch, Hoxton, Redchurch, Brick Lane, and Arnold Circus are just a few spots where you'll find some of the world's coolest people. What really strikes me is how beautifully diverse it is (and, yes, suits and facial hair are...
Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP, UK
Start by admiring the mighty Thames from Tower Bridge before heading down the stone stairs to the riverside walkway. Go ahead and take a selfie with Tower Bridge and the Tower of London as your spectacular backdrop—you know you want to. Continue...
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