San Sebastian

San Sebastián is located in the mountainous Basque country of Spain and surrounded by beautiful beaches. It is a surfing and foodie paradise.

San Sebastián has three airports, two are international, within about 100 kilometers of the city. Bilbao Airport has connections all over Europe and is 105 kilometers from the city. Biarritz Airport is about 50 kilometers away and served by French and low-cost international companies. San Sebastián Airport is 20 kilometers from the city centre and has connections to major Spanish cities Madrid and Barcelona.

Before traveling add Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises to your reading list. The novel takes place largely in this region of Spain.

EAT & DRINK

There are many bars and restaurants sprinkled throughout the city, all varying in quality. Take a stroll through Parte Vieja Old Town and try to find your favorite. Our recommendation for exploring the city is to combine both eating with drinking! Have a zurito (mini beer) and a pintxo (tapa) per bar, not sticking to one spot for too long.

Atari Gastroteka Fun, trendy vibe. Great Old Town stop for pintxos.

La Cuchara de San Telmo Still dreaming of this meal. Try the grilled octopus.

La Rampa Seafood lunch at the Port.

Fuego Negro A modern take on pintxos. We went for a full course lunch.

PLAY

Monte Igueldo On a clear day, we recommend taking the funicular to the top of Monte Igueldo for the best viewpoints over the stunning Concha Bay and surrounding mountains.

Monte Ulia Coastal hike from San Sebastian to Pasaia. This 7 kilometer hike starts behind Zurriola beach (look for red and white trail markers and climb up towards Monte Ulia). Follow the signs to Pasaia. Once you arrive, you can take the local bus back to San Sebastian. Proper shoes are essential.

Monte Urgull Easy walking trails in the middle of the city. Burn off some pintxos and enjoy the views.

Playa de la Concha Right in the midst of the city, this urban beach attracts both visitors and locals and is the perfect spot to cool off in the afternoon.

Parte Vieja Explore the Old Town streets and visit the many boutiques, pintxo shops, and bars.  Don’t miss the Santa María and San Vincent churches.

Zurriola Beach The go to spot for surf-lovers.

STAY

We stayed in the Old Town and loved it. We were right in the midst of the food and nightlife scene but, depending on your location, it can be very loud. Looking for something quieter? Try an Airbnb near the beach in the Centro (city center) area.

LOCATIONS NEARBY

Budapest

The capital of Hungary is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway with friends. The city is split by the Danube River and offers plenty to see and do between the hilly Buda and Pest neighborhoods. This Eastern European city is known for its spa and wellness culture, rich history and Ruin bars. It is a fairly cost-friendly option compared to most Western European cities.

The most efficient way into the city from the airport is via taxi. There is no Uber in Budapest, but you can use an app called Bolt to ensure fair prices and traceable rides in the city.

EAT

Traditional Hungarian food is über heavy. While visiting be sure to try the national dish, Goulash soup, or Lángos, a deep fried flatbread topped with cheese and garlic butter! 

Central Market Built in 1897, this grand hall houses everything and anything you may want to eat, drink or buy. Have a stroll around lunch, try some local bites and admire the impressive architecture (closed on Sundays).

DRINK

Budapest is known for its Ruin pubs, derelict industrial style bars found in the Jewish quarter of the city. Our advice is to explore the 7th district and find your favorite, here are a few of ours:

Instant The largest ruin pub in Budapest with 8 different bars inside. You will find a variety of music, vibes, and unique styles throughout the club.

Mazel Tov This outdoor courtyard boasts the perfect atmosphere to start any evening. It also serves Mediterranean food for those who come hungry.

Szimpla Kert Original Ruin bar, not to be missed.

PLAY

Buda Castle Stroll around and admire this historical palace. The inside of the castle houses the Hungarian National Museum (open daily).

Castle Hill With views overlooking the Danube, this entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Don’t miss the Matthias Church and the Fishermans Bastion. Arrive via the funicular or take one of the many paths leading up to the Hill.

Chain Bridge Connects the western and eastern sides of the city, Buda and Pest. A beautiful (short) walk at any time of the day, views from both directions are picture-worthy.

Hungarian Parliament Building An iconic symbol of the city, this building is the third largest in the world and worth visiting for its unique architecture.

St. Stephens Basilica A beautiful Roman Catholic Church. Take the stairs for a rewarding view at the top!

Széchenyi Thermal Bath Budapest is known for its thermals, and this is one of the most famous. A relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

Vaci Street Main street with shopping, cafes and restaurants. The street starts at Vörösmarty Square.

STAY

Stay on the Pest side of the Danube. This is the heart of the city from an eating and drinking point of view, while the Buda side is more residential. We recommend Airbnb as there are loads of options available. We stayed near the Jewish Quarter.

LOCATIONS NEARBY

Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon was the 19th and 20th century capital of French Indochina and a major outpost of the Vietnamese-American war. Today Vietnam’s southern metropolis, renamed Ho Chi Minh, reminds us of New York City with its grit and exhaust, blaring horns, bustling population and crumbling colonial infrastructure.

For visits up to 30 days, many nationalities can apply for an eVisa in advance of travel.

Walk or take taxis or Ubers to get around. A trip from the airport to the city centre should be around $10. Only use the green or white cabs from the Mai Linh and Vinasun companies. Make sure the driver is wearing a uniform, that his identification is clearly listed upfront and that the meter is on.

EAT

Make sure to try a bowl of beef pho, fresh and fried spring rolls, and a Vietnamese omelet.

Hoa Tuc Authentic, contemporary Vietnamese cuisine. The restaurant also offers cooking classes.

Quán Ngon 138 An airy, two-story restaurant with traditional fare.

DRINK

The Vietnamese do not mess around when it comes to coffee (and they make it strong!). Pop into one of the city’s many cafes for a sweet iced coffee.

Rex Hotel Garden Bar The Rex was made famous during the Vietnam War as the American military would hold a daily conference here. Today its rooftop bar has great views of the city and live music in the evenings.

PLAY

Cu Chi Tunnels A short trip outside the city, the tunnels were an underground network built and used by Viet Cong soliders. They played a critical role in the Viet Cong’s resistance against the Americans during the war. Book a half day trip through your hotel or a local tour shop.

Ben Thanh Market The city’s largest marketplace, stop by for local handicrafts, souvenirs and food. Make sure to haggle!

Independence Palace Also known as Reunification Palace, it was home to the President of South Vietnam during the war.

Mekong Delta if you have enough time, take a day trip to explore the delta and Vietnamese countryside. Book through your hotel or a local tour shop.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Saigon Central Post Office This colonial vestige is incredibly well-preserved.

STAY

District 1, also known as Bến Nghé, is the city centre and provides convenient access to most sites, restaurants and nightlife.

San Francisco

The sparkling jewel of northern California, SF has wine, food, beautiful architecture and world-class parks. While there is much to do in the city itself, we highly recommend tacking on a day or two to visit the surrounding areas.

Depending on time of day and traffic, take a cab or Uber from the Airport to the city, or the local BART train (30 minutes).

EAT


Akiko's Sushi (Bush St.) Unassuming from the outside, this small Japanese restaurant serves excellent, fresh sushi sourced daily from local purveyors or directly from Japan.

Bar Bocce Great food, wine and outdoor seating with a fire-pit on the waterside in Sausalito.

Brenda`s French Soul Food hearty brunch spot near the Tenderloin. Unpredictable wait times so plan accordingly.

Ferry Building Marketplace Stalls, gourmet food stuffs and a farmers market are all inside this historic building.

Good Mong Kok Cantonese bakery and dim sum in Chinatown.

Leo’s Oyster Bar Old school vibes, cool cocktails and oysters. Recommended by a friend.

Murray Circle Restaurant Admire the view from across the Golden Gate Bridge at this restaurant on Cavallo Point. Go for brunch, sit on the deck and order the pastry basket (a friend’s brother is the pastry chef!)

Taqueria El Buen Sabor An unassuming taqueria in the Mission District.

DRINK

Mikkeller Bar industrial craft beer bar in the Tenderloin district.

Napa Valley and Sonoma Just an hour north of the city, it is worth exploring California’s most famous wine regions. We love Patz & Hall and Three Sticks in Sonoma.

The Pour House Wine bar and tasting room in Nob Hill.

Vertigo Bar Cash-only dive with dancing on Polk Street.

PLAY

Alcatraz Island Tour the island’s old military and federal prison. Book tickets in advance!

Big Basin Redwoods State Park Make a day trip to visit these gentle giants two hours south of the city.

Golden Gate Park This urban park offers stunning views of the world’s most famous bridge.

Fisherman’s Wharf While touristy, it does offer a great vantage of the bridge and Alcatraz. Pick up a few homegrown chocolates from Ghirardelli Square.

Mission District “The Mission” is a vibrant, eclectic neighborhood with Latino roots, street art and no short supply of tacos and hipsters. Spend an hour people watching in Mission Dolores Park or take a stroll down Valencia Street.

The Painted Ladies For children of the 80s and 90s, these Victorian houses were made famous by the Full House sitcom.

Presidio This former military post is a large park at the tip top of the peninsula with beautiful views of the bay and bridge.

Sausalito This cute, artsy town overlooking the water lies directly across the bay. Bikee from Golden Gate Park and take the ferry back, or take the ferry both directions from the Ferry Terminal in the Embarcadero.

STAY

If you are just in town for a long weekend, choose an AirBnb in Pacific Heights or Russian Hill to be near the sights, restaurants and nightlife.

LOCATIONS NEARBY

Singapore

Singapore has long been a melting pot of cultures from China, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Great Britain and the Arab world. Today this tropical city-state is the beating heart of Asia’s commercial and financial empire.

There are plenty of bus and train options to access the city from Singapore Changi Airport, but taking a taxi is also fairly easy, quick and cheap ($20-30).

EAT

Singapore is a foodie’s dream. You won’t go wrong popping by hawker food stalls (with Michelin stars) in mall basements and restaurants within the Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street neighborhoods.

PS Cafe A homegrown Singapore cafe chain with several locations. Go for brunch!

Wild Honey Classic dishes from international menus. Great for brunch and has locations on Orchard Road and Scott’s Square.

DRINK

Clarke Quay Bunch of eclectic bars and a fun night out.

Long Bar at The Raffles Hotel Home of the gin-based Singapore Sling.

Marina Bay Sands A must for happy hour drinks at sunset.

Shangri-La Hotel Singapore An Asian take on the traditional, British “high tea”. Try their savory treats!

PLAY

Gardens by the Bay A waterfront garden park with greenhouses and “super trees” with solar cells.

Jurong Bird Park Asia’s largest bird park with thousands of colorful and exotic birds.

MacRitchie Reservoir A nature preserve for hiking, biking and monkey viewing. Check out the TreeTop walk.

The Merlion Singapore’s mascot and main landmark.

Night Safari A nocturnal zoo with native critters. Touristy and slightly pricy but fun and educational.

Orchard Road malls This labyrinth of malls is connected by underground passages pumped with air-conditioning. Orchard Road pays homage to commercialism and is especially fascinating around Christmas.

Sentosa Island A man-made, resort island south of the city that makes for a fun day trip. Check out Palawan Beach.

Singapore Botanical Gardens

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple A beautifully intricate Hindu temple dedicated to the Goddess Kali.

Sultan Mosque While in the Arab quarter make time to visit this hub of the local Muslim community.

STAY

The Orchard Road area road, while bustling, is central or easily accessible to everything. It’s a good choice if you want to be close to good food and shopping.

Go Crazy Rich Asians and stay at the Marina Bay Sands to swim in the famous infinity pool overlooking the city.