Best of – Santiago

Our favourite things to do on a trip to the capital of Chile

Santiago is growing fast and so is its fantastic offer on activities, restaurants and cafes that are a must visit.  We asked our local Instant Tours Santiago and Valparaiso host Camilo about his favourite things to do in his city. Here are his recommendations:

Coffee

Wonderland Café: Located in the charming Barrio Lastarria, this tiny café is inspired by children book classic “Alice in wonderland”. The entire interior decoration is based on the world Lewis Carroll created back in the 19th century. Their furniture and even the menu are an invitation to wander through his fantasy world.

 

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Camilo recommends their delicious “brunch” dishes such as smoked salmon bagels, crispy toasts, tasty croissants and Eggs Benedict. They also offer a number of desserts (my all time favorite is the Alfajor) to accompany their tea selection, hot chocolates and caramel, strawberry and chocolate milkshakes.

Open every day and no reservation needed.

Address:

  • Rosal 361, Santiago (Universidad Católica Metro Station)

 

Lunch

After a morning exploring on the Urban tour you will need to recharge your batteries. There are many great lunch options. The Chilean wasn’t able to recommend just one so here are two that you should check out.

Fuente Mardoqueo: The Chileans love sandwiches and hot dogs. Therefore new shops pop up all the time. Fuente Mardoqueo, located at the heritage area of Barrio Yungay, has huge portions (some might see even too large, but that’s what makes them perfect for sharing). Their menu reflects the longstanding sandwich tradition in the country.

You should definitely try their “Barros Luco” sandwich. This mouthwatering snack was named after the former Chilean president Ramón Barros Luco. It is filled with minced beef steak (churrasco style) and delicious melted cheese.

For a bit more “green” and just a tad less meat we recommend you try another classic, the “chacarero sandwich” (beef, tomato, green beans and mayonnaise).

Lomito Italiano

Photo by Paul Lowry on Foter.com / CC BY

Last but not least, my favorite is the “Lomito italiano”. You will find it filled with tasty pork, ripe tomatoes and LOAS of avocado and mayonnaise. The sandwich is named “Lomitio italiano”, as the color of the ingredients are matching the Italian flag.

Address:

  • Libertad 551, Santiago. (Cumming Metro Station)

Mercado Central: This is a classic Santiago spot; it is over 140 years old (and we also show it in our Santiago Classic tour). The skeleton of the structure was forged in Scotland and sailed back to Chile in 1872.

Mercado Central

Photo by Leandro’s World Tour on Foter.com / CC BY

Inside, you can find a large number of restaurants dedicated to what seafood products the longest coast line in the world (over 4.000 kms!) has to offer. We recommend you try the “Caldillo de congrio” (conger eel soup), fried fish with boiled potatoes on mayonnaise and a side of “Chilean” salad (tomato with onions) and of course the delicious “ceviche”, in either its Chilean or Peruvian version (both countries claim to have invented it).

Ceviche

Photo by T.Tseng on Foter.com / CC BY

Ceviche is made of raw fish cured with lemon juice, onions, capsicum, cilantro and corn.

Address:

  • Av. San Pablo, Santiago (Plaza de Armas/Cal y Canto Metro Station)

 

Dinner

Liguria: This restaurant is one of Santiago’s most awarded venues. They elevate the countries cuisine to a new level by which combining long standing traditions with fine international cuisine. Their dishes are inspired by typical Chilean produce such as fish, steak, seafood and vegetables from all parts of our long-narrow country.  Try “mechada”, a pulled beef steak, pichangas (assorted pickles, onions, olives, carrots and cheese cured in vinegar), lengua (beef tongue), costillares (ribs) and various creative salads and pastas who are also part of the inheritance of the European communities that colonised Chile’s Southland, where the restaurant owners are from.

This place will excite you with a harmonious combination of local folk and rock and roll.

Address:

  • Av. Providencia 1353. (Manuel Montt Metro Station)
  • Merced 298 (Bellas Artes Metro Station)
  • Luis Thayer Ojeda 019 (Tobalaba Metro Station)

 

Drinks

Jardín Mallinkrodt: Music, cocktails, craft beer, food trucks, and even tattoos! Why not? You can find all of this at Jardín Mallinkrodt, an open space inspired by Brooklyn’s or Portland’s “Beer Gardens”.

 

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An old parking lot of 600 square meters turned into a place that welcomes 4 different food trucks with a menu that changes every 30 days, plus a great variety of craft beers and ciders.

A trendy barber shop and a tattoo studio are situated right next to the “garden”. This makes it one of new musts in the city.

Tip: Make a reservation because the place gets crowded!

Address:

  • Mallinkrodt 170, Providencia (Baquedano Metro Station)

Editor’s note: This entry is not sponsored by any of the places above and reflects solely the authors opinion

Foodie Tip – Barcelona

The Best Cava and Tapas Bar

La Xampanyeria

You will find this small hole in the wall bar hidden in a quiet street, Carrer de la Reina Cristina, close to Port Vell (as well as the El Born district and the Gothic Quarter, Barri Gòtic)

The place is easy to miss as there isn’t even a visible sign promoting it. Sometimes there’s a line in front of it or even a doorman helping in keeping everything civil.

La Xampanyeria in Barcelona

La Xampanyeria (or Can Paixano) was founded back in 1969. In my opinion it is a must-visit during your stay. If you crave a tasty Cava (the Spanish but much cheaper version of Champagne) and hearty tapas at the counter or just about any spot where you can find space, then this is your place!

Check out the Can Paixano website for more information.

Tip: Get a bottle of Cava instead of some glasses. The bottle is quite cheap (approximately 15 Euros) and will come with two tapas of your choice already included in the price!

Can Paixano

Photo by ceasedesist on Foter.com / CC BY-SA

For those who don’t speak the Catalan language (probably most) we have prepared this small cheat sheet. Don’t think of asking for a menu, there isn’t one. The only way to figure out what you can order is the big board. Again, Catalan only.

This will help a lot when ordering. Enjoy!

  • Banderilla – Pickle
  • Botifarra – A sausage similar to Bratwurst
  • Bacó – A kind of bacon
  • Calents – Hot
  • Carxofa – Artichoke
  • D‘Ovella – Lamp
  • Entrepants – Sandwich
  • Foie Gras – Goose liver
  • Guindilla – Spicy pepper
  • Llongonissa – A pork sausage (peperoni/salami)
  • Lomo – Pork loin
  • Morcilla – Blood sausage
  • Panceta – A salt cured cold cut
  • Pechuga – Chicken breast
  • Pernil – A slow-roasted marinated pork leg or pork shoulder
  • Salsitxa – A sausage
  • Seito en vinagre – Sardins in vinegar
  • Sobrassada – Air dried sausage spread Streichwurst
  • Ternera – Veal
  • Xistorra – A fast-cure sausage similar to chorizo
  • York – Ham

Best of – Paris

Our favourite things to do on a trip to Paris

Paris is always worth a visit. We asked our local Instant Tours Paris host Dominique about his favourite things to do in the French metropole. And he delivered! 

Coffee

He recommends trying a traditional French Bakery. His top tips are either Poilane or Eric Kayser. For a French staple, the croissant he recommends a visit at la Maison d’Isabelle. They have the very the best croissants in the city.

Lunch

For launch head over to the cutest little place, Place du Marché Sainte Catherine in the Marais area. Grab a quick bite and continue exploring Paris afterwards!

Quiche

Quiche – Photo by ella.o on Foter.com / CC BY

Dinner

A restaurant that’s simple in its appearance but nonetheless has great and typical French cuisine is Le Pavé

Drinks

Fancy a tasty and refreshing alcoholic beverage. Head over to La Perla Bar for the very best mojitos and caipirinhas. Given from a man who’s been travelling Brazil each year I’d trust his recommendation on this. Get a bang for your buch and come at their happy hour (not on weekends).

Capirinha

Photo on Foter.com

Hot Days

A fantastic but at times very busy rooftop bar is on top of the Holiday Inn hotel close to Notre Dame featuring a fabulous view on the famed but under construction cathedral.

Paris From Above

Rainy Days

Now this is a true insider. The Smithsonian magazine called it “one of the most rewarding and inventive [museums] in Paris”. Visit the dedicated to hunt and nature Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in 62 Rue des Archives Paris 3e. Closed on Mondays.

Paris - Top Insider Tips For Coffee, Lunch, Dinner, Drinks & More

Photo by dalbera on Foter.com / CC BY

Editor’s note: This entry is not sponsored by any of the places above and reflects solely the authors opinion

Five Hidden Gems in Barcelona

Discover this vibrant city off the beaten track

Barcelona is one of the most popular city destinations in Europe attracting millions of tourists each year, but the city still has a host of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Today we want to share our favorite spots  in Barcelona with you that are off the beaten track (at least sort of 😉).

Carmel Bunkers

Once upon a time, the Carmel Bunkers really were off the beaten track. But year after year the bunkers became more known and today it is a famous viewpoint over the city. What you get there are panoramic views of Barcelona from the Spanish Civil War bunkers where anti-aircraft guns were installed.

View from Carmel Bunkers Barcelona

View from Carmel Bunkers in Barcelona, Spain – Photo by Zach Marzouk on Trend Hype / CC BY

What’s great about the Bunkers is that they are free of charge.

For more information on how to arrive go here.

Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau

The Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau is not a Gaudí structure and hence not as well known as many other buildings in the city. But it is just as beautiful and impressive.

Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau

Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau

It is Europe’s largest art nouveau complex and was a public hospital until 2009.

Here you can find more information on this Art Nouveau Site, including opening hours and directions.

La Xampanyeria

La Xampanyeria (from Can Paixano) was founded in 1969 and in our opinion it is a must-see during your visit. If you want to have great Cava and Tapas, this is the place to go. The original Xampanyeria is in Carrer de la Reina Cristina and usually packed, you might have to wait to get inside. But it is worth it. Enjoy a glass (or bottle) of the amazing Can Paixano Cava while having some Tapas at the counter.

Read more about the place here

Encants Flea Market

Els Encants is not only Barcelona’s biggest, but also its oldest flea market. Over 500 vendors gather here to sell everything from vintage clothes, jewellery, accessories, furniture and antiques.

Encants Market in Glòries

Encants Market in Glòries

You can find some amazing deals here if you have the time to look for them. Or if you prefer to just get the feeling of it you can just stroll through the stalls and enjoy this great location. Pro-Tip: We visit the market during our “The New” Barcelona Polaroid tour.

For more Information visit the Encants Website.

Parque del Laberinto de Horta

Horta’s Labyrinth Park is Barcelona’s oldest conserved garden in a Romantic style.

As its name promises already: It is a labyrinth. You have to find your way threw the park’s labyrinth which is made from cypress hedges. What do you think, how long will it take you to go tot he centre and back outside?

You can find more information on opening hours and directions here.

A Visitor’s Guide to Bikeshares in Washington, DC

 

If you take a walk in downtown Washington, DC, you can’t help but notice all the bicycles! DC has become a bike-friendly city with more than 80 miles of bike lanes.

Visiting the city and want to feel the wind on your face? Bike sharing makes it easy to explore the city on two wheels.

There are at least seven bikeshare companies with wheels on the DC roads today, including 3-speed bikes, electric-assist bicycles, and electric scooters. There are two types of bikeshares: docking and dockless.

Ranked by how easy it is for a visitor to start pedaling, here are the options to hit the road under your own power.

Capital Bikeshare docking station

Capital Bikeshare docking station

1. Capital Bikeshare (docking bikes)

Capital Bikeshare’s docking bicycles are the most convenient for visitors. To use one, all you need is a credit card. And they are easy to find! There are more than 500 docking stations in the Capital Bikeshare system, which extends beyond the city limits into the DC metro area. You can return the bike to any dock in the system — no round trip necessary! Rent a Capital Bikeshare bike for $2 for a trip under 30 minutes, or $8 for a day pass. Visit the website for suggested scenic rides if you want to do more than get from Point A to Point B. You can also download the app to your smartphone, but you do not need a Capital Bikeshare account to use their bikes.

Read more

WestLicht, Center of Photography

Rainy Days in Vienna

 

Weather in Vienna can be beautiful, but no matter in which season you are coming to visit the capital, there is always the possibility of a rainy day. That’s no problem at all though, because there are a bunch of great things to do in Vienna when you’re not lucky with the weather. We already talked about the National Library and The Butterfly House and today we even have a photography-related option for you: WestLicht.

This is our third tip:

WestLicht, center of photography.

The WestLicht gallery pretty much is the center of photography in Vienna. It features a permanent collection of hundreds of historic cameras as well as changing photography exhibitions, such as the World Press Photo every year or right now August Sander.

Westlicht Photo Gallery

Westlicht Photo Gallery

The WestLicht is located in the hip 7th district, an area which is popular with creative people and you will stumble upon several photography related stores close to the gallery.

Our other tips:

The Butterfly House

Rainy Days in Vienna

 

Sadly not all days on a trip are blessed by blue skies and sunshine. The very best conditions for an Instant Tour around town. But sometimes we are out of luck and it rains. A lot. What to do? You are on a trip, in wonderful Vienna. Therefore sitting in a your hotel room isn’t really an option. That’s what this series of tips is all about.

Our other tips:

What are some good things to do in Vienna on a rainy day? Good question. This is our second tip:

Butterfly House in the Vienna Burggarten

 

Polaroid Butterfly House Vienna Burggarten

Visit the imperial Butterfly House in the Hofburg’s Burggarten, very close to the State Opera House.

Butterfly House

Inside the Butterfly House in Vienna’s Imperial Palace (Hofburg)

The National Library

Exploring a treasure on a rainy day

 

We all know, not all vacation days are blessed by blue skies and sunshine. The very best conditions for exploring a city with us. But sometimes we are out of luck and it rains cats and dogs. What to do? You are on vacation, in lovely Vienna – so sitting in a boring hotel room isn’t really an option. That’s what this series of tips is all about.

Our other tips:

What are some good things to do in Vienna on a rainy day? Good question. This is our first tip:

State hall of the Austrian national library

 

Austrian National Library

Photo credit: Manfred Morgner / Foter / CC BY-SA

Visit the magnificent state hall of the national library at Josefsplatz 1, 1010 Vienna. It’s a baroque historic library that was founded by emperor Charles VI in the 18th century and designed by famous court architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach.

Globe at state hall of the national library

Globe at the state hall
Photo credit: Manfred Morgner / Foter / CC BY-SA

In addition you can visit the Globe, the Papyrus and the Esperanto museum. The admission to the state hall is 8 EUR and there’s a reduced price for the combination-ticket.

Insider Tips For Lunch & Dinner

in Vienna’s Alsergrund

 

When you “survive” one of our tours, you will most likely be craving something tasty to eat. Therefore we gathered our favorite places to eat, close to the ending point (also close to our office) of our tours in Vienna. Treat yourself after a long morning of sightseeing with something delicious to bite.

Our office is located in Vienna’s ninth district, Alsergrund. It is close to the metro stations Schottentor and Schottenring and right next to the tram station Schlickgasse.

Let’s find out what the top 5 are!

5. Hayaci

Währingerstraße 14 | Map

Great sushi bar. Special: They offer cheap lunch menus, starting from EUR 4,80!

4. Wiener Deewan

Liechtensteinstraße 10 | Map

Pakistani food with a twist. Eat as much as you like and pay as much as you wish.

3. Suppenwirtschaft

Servitengasse 6 | Map

Affordable and delicious soups, curries and salads. But beware, they often sell out in the afternoon. If there is still something left after 5 p.m. they slice their prices in half.

2. Rebhuhn

Berggasse 24 | Map

Feed your gusto for Austrian delicacies. Wiener Schnitzel, Styrian Backhendelsalat, Schinkenfleckerl and much more, right next to Sigmund Freud’s practice. They also have a tasty lunch menu.

Backhendl

Backhendlsalat
Photo credit: Hellebardius / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

1. Pizza Riva

Schlickgasse 2 | Map

Probably the best pizza in town. Just around the corner from our office. Original pizza recipes from Sicily. If you love Pizza, this is the place for you. They also have a branch at the Summerstage next to the Danube canal and one in Vienna’s fourth district.

Pizzeria Riva

What is your favorite place to eat in Vienna? Tell us in the comments!