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Oosterdokskade 143, 1011 DL Amsterdam, Netherlands
This is not a secret to locals, but off-the-beaten path (but still not too out of the way) is a place with a surprisingly tasty dinner for under ten euros. It's the library cafeteria. But seriously: That bowl of Thai noodle soup with...
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Warmoesstraat 129, 1012 JA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Cocktail bar-restaurants typically excel at one or the other, rarely both tipple and nibble. Four month old Tales & Spirits, located in the beating heart of Amsterdam, manages to succeed on both fronts. The cocktails are both creative in name...
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Rozengracht 2, 1016 NB Amsterdam, Netherlands
The atmosphere is heavy, the decibel level very low, and the wooden decor both comforting, and inviting. People in this café are either locals reading the newspapers while sipping a cappuccino, or, like me, tourists who just visited the Anne Frank...
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Brouwersgracht 60, 1013 GX Amsterdam, Netherlands
De Belhamel restaurant is located near the Central train station in a very quiet residential neighborhood. It would be hard to find a prettier location for a leisurely lunch or romantic dinner - the restaurant sits at the junction of the...
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Westerstraat 30, 1015 DB Amsterdam, Netherlands
While walking the streets of Amsterdam I stumbled on this great local cafe that has "Boca's" (aka small tapas like sandwiches). There were lots of options from sweet to savory to choose + a great beer and wine selection. It is a perfect place for...
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Prinsengracht 191, 1015 DS Amsterdam, Netherlands
Whether you call them 'pancakes', 'crepes', or 'pizzas', the delicious creations at the Pancake Bakery are sure to satisfy any hungry traveler. Directly down the street from the Anne Frank House, this restaurant is a small and consistently...
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5743 Flåm, Norway
This really doesn't look like the kind of place where one would want to spend more than a few minutes in transit. Not because it is shady or unsafe - quite the contrary. But because it's so small, and virtually empty. Not a soul in sight except...
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Bergen, Norway
Every day one of Hurtigruten’s 11 ships departs from Bergen, the starting point for the line’s coastal voyages. Founded by King Olaf III in 1070, it’s a fitting place to begin your maritime adventure having been a center of trade for more than a...
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Lille Øvregaten 14, 5018 Bergen, Norway
This gorgeous place in the heart of Bergen was just begging to be an AFAR highlight. Board games, books, homemade cupcakes, vintage gramophones, folk indie music and disparate couches and tableware are precisely what makes this small café so...
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Undredal, Norway
Undredal is a sleepy village nestled in a valley in Western Norway. It is famous for its brown goat cheese, or "gjetost," which is produced by eight farms using traditional methods. Undredal welcomes tourists and is accessible by an access road...
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Scandinavia
Reminiscent of building of the kingdom of Rohan from Lord of the Rings, Norway's stave churches are impressively built in a Viking style featuring incredible craftsmanship and inspiring spiritual contemplation. On our visit to Norway, we visited...
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Fjærland, Norway
The Flatbreen hike in Norway is officially in the running for "Best Day Hike in the World," in my book. You'll gain 3,100 feet in elevation on the way up these stunning, glaciated valleys and mountain passes. Depending on your pace and the...
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Fv63 52, 6216 Geiranger, Norway
The village of Geiranger has a lot going for it. Located in Geirangerfjord, which is UNESCO World Heritage Site, Geiranger boasts some of the most stunning scenery in the country— if not the world— and has been called "the best travel destination...
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Trollstigen 1, 6300 Åndalsnes, Norway
Trollstigen Mountain Road has been drawing visitors since its opening in 1936. With 11 hairpin turns and a 9-percent incline, the epic road is surrounded by three equally epic mountains: Kongen, meaning "the King," Dronningen, "the Queen," and...
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Aksla, 6007 Ålesund, Norway
Surrounded by barrier islands and mountains alike, Alesund is a little speck of color on Norway's mid-Atlantic coast. The history of this town is a sad one. On one night in January, 1904, a fire spread, destroying the entire island. The town was...
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Scandinavia
My husband says I can find a place to shop anywhere. Sure enough, in the fishing village of twenty permanent residents on the tiny island of Ona, Norway, I managed a purchase from one of only two shops - both pottery studios. On a whim, we had...
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Averøy Municipality, Norway
Declared "the world's best road trip" by the Guardian, a drive along western Norway's 5.2 mile Atlantic Ocean Road is certainly bound to be inspiring. The road connects the mainland with several small islands of an archipelago, winding across the...
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Banegårdspladsen 7, 1570 København, Denmark
Doesn't October look great on Copenhagen? The shoulder season has it's perks. My 28th country had a few firsts. The most important one for me was seeing the Baltic Sea. I love it's coldness and roughness. The vikings were really tough and...
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Linnaeusstraat 2, 1092 CK Amsterdam, Netherlands
The interiors of this museum and its library are really beautiful—a mosaic of polished wood and marble surfaces. And its contents are very timely, about the history of immigration and former Dutch colonies and slavery. The library is a bit...
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Timorplein 62, 1094 CC Amsterdam, Netherlands
“If I want to know what’s going on, I go to Studio/K, a cool cinema and café. It’s run by students from universities around the city who are really on top of what’s happening in terms of concerts and events. In the...
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Javastraat 145, 1094 HE Amsterdam, Netherlands
“I buy my books for my book club here. You can sit and order a coffee and page through books. They also have a good children’s section and a little corner for children to play.” —Maartje van den Noort
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Amalienborg Slotsplads, København, Denmark
This unique trip around the beautiful habour of Copenhagen will only cost you the price of a bus ticket. Take the harbourbus 991 if you want to go north (Operahouse, Little Mermaid, etc), or 992 if you want to go south (The Black Diamond,...
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Øster Farimagsgade 10, 2100 København, Denmark
A visit to Denmark must include trying the country's famous, impossible-to-pronounce open-faced sandwich, smørrebrød (I'm fairly certain that only native Danish speakers can pronounce it properly -"SMUHR-bruth"). Smørrebrød translates to "buttered...
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Jægersborggade 27, 2200 København, Denmark
It's easy to spend half a day exploring Copenhagen's street Jægersborggade. The block is lined with some of the city's best shops and restaurants including Coffee Collective, Manfreds, Meyer's Bakery, and my favorite ceramics studio, Keramiker....
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Scandinavia
I can remember being a kid at summer camp and never wanting the day to end. Those that know little of Scandinavia are fascinated by the idea of short days in the winter and long days in the summer. As the long summer days stretch into infinity,...
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This group of around 24,000 islands and islets spreads east from the city into the Baltic Sea, with regular ferry service to the bigger, more populous ones. Set aside at least a day or two to explore them if you can: Ask the information office in...
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115 21 Stockholm, Sweden
One of Stockholm’s many islands, Kungliga Djurgården (Royal Game Park) is where many of the city’s historical museums, palaces, gardens, and lush green parks are located. Grab a rental bike from Stockholm City Bikes or from the waterfront stand...
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Strandgatan 14, 621 56 Visby, Sweden
A short flight from Stockholm or 2-3 hour ferry ride will take you to the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. Officially a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, the medieval town of Visby, on the southeastern island of Gotland, is a...
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Åland Islands
While visiting Stockholm, we decided to take advantage of one of several cruise ships that take travelers across the Baltic to the Åland islands, which belong to Finland. We left Stockholm on the Silja cruise line, which had us on our way before...
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Kyrkogatan 1, 647 30 Mariefred, Sweden
Despite being only an hour from Stockholm, I had never heard of Mariefred prior to my visit. Home to Gripsholm Slott (Castle), originally built by the father of modern Sweden, Gustav Vasa, Mariefred makes you slow down and enjoy the inviting...
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Fjäderholmarna, Sweden
A 25-minute ferry ride from Slussen takes you to Fjäderholmarna (the Feather Islands) where you can sample slowed-down archipelago living. Once on the island, there are several artisan shops like Krukmakeri, which makes pottery, and Åtta Glas,...
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Öland, Sweden
Fly into Kalmar from Stockholm (less than an hour), pick up a rental car, and drive over to this island, a major vacation spot for Swedes due to its temperate climate. You can also catch the ferry that runs between Oskarshamn and Byxelkrok. You...
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Exercisplan 4, 111 49 Stockholm, Sweden
Skeppsholmen is one of Stockholm's 14 islands and is accessible by walking or biking from Kungsträdgården past the Grand Hôtel and Nationalmuseum. Public buses also service the island. In the past, it housed many military buildings, and you'll see...
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Kungsgatan 55, 111 22 Stockholm, Sweden
There's a strong coffee culture in Stockholm coupled with a tradition called "fika," where one shares multiple daily coffee-and-pastry breaks with family, friends, and colleagues. Head over to award-winning Vete-Katten on Kungsgatan to dig into...
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Fjällgatan 37, 116 28 Stockholm, Sweden
I stopped by Fjällgatans kaffestuga with a girlfriend, and we dug into blueberry-raspberry pie topped with vanilla ice cream, and some hot chocolate. Located on Fjällgatan and tucked away in a corner, this little outdoor coffee cottage...
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Skånegatan 79, 116 35 Stockholm, Sweden
Let's face it, Stockholm is three things for travelers: It's cold. It's expensive. And it's home to some of the most gorgeous human specimens on this dear planet of ours. I may have found the perfect place to remedy these issues, should they be...
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Götgatan 24, 118 46 Stockholm, Sweden
Muggen’s instantly recognizable black awnings invite you into a dimly lit 1970s-style interior mixed with contemporary décor, caramel-colored leather sofas, and chandeliers. While its furnishings are a touch vintage, Muggen’s modern menu serves up...
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Adolf Fredriks kyrkogata 10, 111 37 Stockholm, Sweden
Sun streams through the big windows on the third floor of the church, setting the gold detail on the walls and ceilings aglow. The atmosphere is reserved; antique chandeliers and mirrors provide an elegant, refined setting. But even though I’m in...
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Bysistorget 6, 118 21 Stockholm, Sweden
Stieg Larsson singlehandedly burst the world’s bubbled image of Sweden and its conformist society through his riveting best-selling Millennium trilogy. With over 60 million (and counting) copies sold, the late author introduced an edgier side of...
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Sveavägen 60, 111 34 Stockholm, Sweden
There’s a vibrant, watering-hole rowdiness to Café 60 that makes it feel more like a university café lounge filled with coffee-drinking students and frat boys. Except, at this popular local joint on Sveavägen, you get large shrimp and crayfish...
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Sergelgatan 29, 111 57 Stockholm, Sweden
Hötorgshallen is set next to an outdoor market through a nondescript set of doors and is down a set of narrow, dull gray escalators that make you think you're going into the Underground. You emerge, however, in a well-lit, well-stocked,...
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Lilla Nygatan 10, 111 28 Stockholm, Sweden
This shop, in the heart of the Old Town of Stockholm, sells nothing but old-fashioned candy canes and hard candies in all sorts of different flavors—from classic peppermint to blueberry, wild strawberry, licorice, cloudberry, and more. These are...
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Stadsgårdshamnen 22, 116 45 Stockholm, Sweden
Here is a museum dedicated to the art of photography and placed, um, picture perfectly for views of Stockholm. The museum building sits along the waterfront with a view of the Old Town (Gamla Stan) and the Tivoli Amusement Park. Exhibitions change...
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115 25 Djurgårdsbrunn, Sweden
Stockholm is an amazingly beautiful city with an extensive network of parkland easily accessible from the downtown. While visiting, I rented a bike and rode to the island of Djurgårdsbrunn, which is one of the Royal Parks known as Ekoparken (6,671...
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Djurgårdsslätten 49-51, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden
Skansen is the world’s oldest open-air museum. It was founded in 1891 to preserve and spotlight Swedish culture—from traditional artisans at work and period Nordic lifestyles to barns with farm animals and a zoo with Nordic wildlife such as...
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Galärvarvsvägen 14, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden

Located on the island of Djurgården, this purpose-built maritime museum is an extraordinary sight: It houses the massive warship Vasa, which sank just minutes after launching on its maiden voyage in 1628. Raised from the harbor in 1961,...

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Stortorget 20, 111 29 Stockholm, Sweden
A bowl of hot chocolate topped with a cloud of whipped cream and paired with a slice of dessert is the perfect compliment to the cold of Swedish afternoons, and Chokladkoppen in Gamla Stan Stockholm is a wonderful locale in which to enjoy this...
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Sergels Torg 3, 111 57 Stockholm, Sweden
I always find a queue at Café Panorama, which offers one of the best value-for-money lunches in town. Here is a wide selection of daily dishes, sandwiches, and soups—with a buffet salad included. Its very central location at Sergels Torg on the...
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John Smith House, Walworth Rd, London SE17 1JL, UK
Located in the Elephant & Castle area on the south side of the Thames, Safestay hostel is chic and shiny new. It's also, budget-friendly! With beds beginning at just 18, Safestay is a great option for visitors to London who are on a strict...
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Skúlagata 28, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
we didnt stay at KEX hostel but we went there twice for burgers and coffee and cool people watching. The interior is an instagrammers dream and the abbreviated menu is a good mix of American heartiness (cheeseburgers) and delicious Scando fare...
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Arenal Volcano Main Road 3 Blocks West From Centra, Alajuela Province, La Fortuna, 68241000, Costa Rica
Arenal Backpacker's Hostel beats most five star hotels in Costa Rica. You can purchase a private room, dormitory, or tent for less than 30 dollars. (Don't assume the tents are the worst option simply because they are the cheapest: they include...
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Rua de Miguel Bombarda 222, 4050-377 Porto, Portugal
Somehow this Northern Portuguese city has become home to dozens of fantastic hostels, better than most I’ve stayed at elsewhere throughout Europe. You are pretty safe with nearly every one, but Gallery Hostel is my pick because it’s much more than...
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40 College Cres, London NW3 5LB, UK
Hostels overtake areas like Piccadilly Circus and King’s Cross, but Palmer’s Lodge Swiss Cottage is located in an area of London that the “real” people live in. A short ride from central London and an even shorter walk to Hampstead Heath, the city...
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357 College St, Toronto, ON M5T 1S5, Canada
Known as the greenest hostel in North America, it's also one of the most unique hostel stays I've had. Planet Traveler is a smorgasboard of everything a traveler would want in an accommodation: -comfortable and roomy beds -clean rooms with plenty...
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50 Blackfriars St, Edinburgh EH1 1NE, UK
Hostels - the word alone is strong enough to awaken the worst feelings in the world. Dirt. Noise. Horny frat boys. Communal bathrooms. EW. But over the last few years, a new trend emerged in Europe, and more recently over the world. Luxury...
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Via G. Marconi, 358, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
Positano's unreal scenery and excellent limoncello reduce everywhere else to a distant, less attractive memory. Arguably one of the best views in town can be found at Hostel Brikette, Positano's only youth hostel, but book a private room if you're...
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22 Avenue Gravier, 06100 Nice, France
If you're used to non-luxurious hostels, Villa Saint Exupery's rooms at the Garden Hostel (there's also a Beach) don't need to be described. Both their dorms and their private rooms are like a standard setup from uni or college (depending on your...
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Kalispell, MT, MT, USA
I heard about Polebridge from an Australian-Indonesian man named Wayne. He's the owner of the Backpacker's Hostel in Bozeman, Montana. "There are only two hostels in the world that I rave about," he said, gushing. "The Hostel in the Forest in...