European Urban Experts

Posted on February 14, 2014


I am profoundly grateful to live in an era in which urban travelers are finally getting together. I have been traveling all my life with a purpose (studies, work, love, family) but rarely as a tourist (what an ugly word!). I have been waiting for a long time to find people who do not necessarily like what I like or do what I do when I travel but who have goals and interests to which I can relate, maybe even adopt… why not, if they’re convincing enough? This selection of Urban Experts is meant to help us look at famous (and less famous) cities from new perspectives: Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Bologna, Bucharest, Dublin, Glasgow, London, Milan, Paris, Stockholm…¬†Do not try to find any type of logic in this list. I did not choose destinations, I chose people instead… their thoughts, advice and their original way to describe the places they love were the criteria which convinced me to recommend these urban experts and their initiatives in a single post. I met most of these urban travelers through our Urban Travel Community and like many of us in the community they are either native or proficient english speakers. In other words, they are locals who speak english! Famous destinations or suggestive new horizons, these local bloggers, writers, photographers and/or travelers use their intelligence, knowledge and humor to help you discover well kept local secrets and the best spots in town. Enjoy each local’s story, suggestions and links to loads of free, authentic and precious urban information and happy urban Valentine’s day to all of you! ————————————————————– ————————————————————– AMSTERDAM, with Artweekenders artweekenders

Lydian Brunsting & Pal Ujvarosi are Amsterdam-based international travelers.¬†Lydian is Dutch. She is a traveler and photographer by passion and an intellectual property lawyer by education. Pal is Swedish-Hungarian with a degree in business administration, a “generalist” with genuine interest in virtually anything and for whom the red thread is difficult to track.

Art Weekenders is a travel initiative for your cultural getaway. It provides you with exceptionally qualitative and authentic advice with an art twist. Great for urban weekends but also for “armchair journeys at home” as they say, Lydian and Pal aim at bringing art into your travel experience with humor and great taste. Their help becomes crucial in cities like Amsterdam where culture is everywhere but where the most interesting bits of it may be where you least expect them.

Connect and learn more about Amsterdam:

————————————————————– ————————————————————– ATHENS, with Chryssie’s Greece Chryssie'sGreeceChryssie’s hometown is Athens but she also spends a good amount of time in London and loves to travel. Athens-London is her usual route but she diverts, whenever possible.¬†Through Chryssie’s Greece Holiday Company, Chryssie aims at showing visitors how diverse, complex and rewarding Athens can be… She loves¬†sightseeing on foot – in the paths of gods – and constantly reinvents this great city, a labyrinth of living history. Chryssie is a passionate local and she sees it as her mission to show you the real Athens. Connect and learn more about Athens:

————————————————————– ————————————————————– BARCELONA, with Friendly Rentals friendly rentals After leaving Australia 13 years ago to explore the world James Clifton¬†got charmed by Barcelona after seeing only a small part of what he had been planing to explore. 11 years later Barcelona is home. He still loves to travel, surf and longboard and keeps exploring Catalonia, Spain and Europe in his campervan. James works for Friendly Rentals, a market leader in holiday rental apartments in all major European centres as well as in New York, Miami and Rio de Janeiro. He will advise very well if you are looking for Barcelona’s best neighborhood, bar or restaurant, if you are wondering where locals go to relax or if you are looking forward to meet the ocean… Connect and learn more about Barcelona:

————————————————————– ————————————————————– BERLIN, with Berlin Food Tour berlinfoodtour Bastian Schwithal is a¬†world traveler with a passion for¬†fascinating food spots and is always busy with spotting new dainty dishes and hidden food jewels in Berlin-City. “Berlin is like a breath of fresh air” and¬†Berlin Food Tour¬†was created not only to let people discover an avant-garde, super-dynamic city but also to initiate visitors to the Berlin way of life. Follow Bastian and indulge in some of the most exciting eating spots. Connect and learn more about Berlin:

————————————————————– ————————————————————– BOLOGNA, with Emilia Romagna Tourism Emiliaromagna Walter and Elisa are responsible for the Emilia-Romagna Region Tourism Board in Italy. This entry is slightly different from the other ones since their portal is part of the official tourism board of the region, destined to promote their land worldwide. Nevertheless, the information, photographs and advice provided is far from conformist or formal. It is the nature of Bologna to inspire intelligent, off the beaten track traveling but ¬†Emilia Romagna Tourism¬†is also very good at leading visitors towards the city’s essence. Walter and Elisa will help you get the most out of the Region’s capital, named “The Red” because of the color of its bricks and its tumultuous history… Connect and learn more about Bologna:

————————————————————– ————————————————————– BUCHAREST, with Bucharest Tips bucharesttips George was born somewhere in¬†Romania and adopted by Bucharest. He is a punk experimentalist interested¬†in living life as a never ending story which deserves to be shared. He advises people¬†to be happy and present… “the rest will follow” he says. Bucharest Tips is an¬†alternative city guide, helping travelers to discover the hidden¬†Bucharest through the eyes of its locals, with a customized search tool¬†based on lifestyle, age, occupation, etc. Bucharest is a trap! Some call it the Little Paris, others the New Berlin or even the Havana of the East and they are probably right… Bucharest is indeed all¬†that but is also much more and its most magical part is its unique identity, intriguing atmosphere and human warmth. Connect and learn more about Bucharest:

——————————————— ——————————————— DUBLIN, with Sidewalk Safari sidewalk safari logo-1 Jennifer P. (aka Dr. J) is an¬†an American expat who has been living in Dublin, Ireland for the past 4 years. ¬†She originally came over for a 1 year work assignment but loved it so much that she decided to stay. ¬†She loves to explore cities on foot and Dublin is ideal for this since you can walk from one end to the other in ~30 minutes. ¬†Dublin often seems to live a bit in London‚Äôs shadow in people‚Äôs minds. ¬†She has spent a lot of time getting to know her adopted city. She considers¬†Dublin to be a world class city with an outstanding theatre/music scene and nightlife; a true melting pot of nationalities from all over the world to spice things up. She loves to share her recommendations and illustrate why Dublin rocks (even more than London IMHO!). Sidewalk Safari¬†contains a precious collection of pictures and places visited both at home and abroad and over 400 posts about Dublin including information on events, restaurants, hikes, and more.

Connect and learn more about Dublin:

GLASGOW, with Locomotion Travel travel_logo-top-corner Neil Robertson¬†runs a travel advisory and itinerary service for visitors to Scotland. In recent years he has travelled the world for work and pleasure but Glasgow has always been home.¬†He now travels Scotland finding out all of its best bits and blogs about them for his followers and customers. Locomotion Travel is the result of these efforts and connections… Don’t let the horizontal drizzle put you off, Glasgow is one of the most vibrant and dynamic cities in Europe and Neil is very good at showing you how to fully enjoy it! Connect and learn more about Glasgow:


LONDON, with Inspired by locals inspiredbylocals Ricky Abbott is¬†from London, UK and has lived there all his life. He loves food (restaurants or home cooking) and is a big sports fan (especially Rugby and Football: Harlequins and Arsenal). He’s also a digital marketing expert. He¬†is still surprised by the number of places he hasn’t been to or hasn’t seen. Concerning London he says, “It‚Äôs an old adage but sometimes the grass isn‚Äôt always greener […] there is so much to see that often I don‚Äôt need to go on holidays”. But he admits that there is a little issue with the weather… Inspired By Locals is at the crossroad of Ricky’s passions. It is a social media aggregator which gives people the truest possible representation of the best local places to go. It takes check in data from Foursquare and Facebook, reviews from Google and Yelp, real pictures from Instagram and Pinerest to give travelers a concrete overview of the most authentic local places.

Connect and learn more about London:
MILAN, with Milanofotografo milan Enrico Engelmann¬†was born in Milan but is half German. He went to a German School in Milan and can speak German too.¬†Although he studied biology, he mainly deals with photography, public relation and web programming. He likes to be amongst people and to introduce them to each other. Enrico’s goal is to make¬†Milanofotografo¬†a reference for people coming to Milan and looking for qualitative information both regarding culture and entertainment. Milan is not an easy city. Regarding culture, its many treasures of art and history are often difficult to spot and mostly little known to the public. Regarding entertainment, one has to know not only where to go, but also when to show up, in order not to get disappointed.

Connect and learn more about Milan:

PARIS, with Bambi √† Paris Bambi_-_Copie__2_Her name is Marion, alias “Bambi √† Paris”.¬†She is currently living in Paris but she’s a French ex-patriate who got back home five years ago.¬†This “Bambi” naive nickname is to motivate herself to keep a new, fresh glance at urban curiosities. She loves to share her new parisian discoveries and to suggest weekend breaks and gateway ideas. Her blog Bambi √† Paris is about travel tips, secrets and good deals in Paris, a city which represents for her “an unlimited travel experience” which can seduce and satisfy the most demanding urban traveler 365/365.

Connect and learn more about Paris:

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STOCKHOLM, with Slow Travel Stockholm slowstockholmWho would not want to visit Scandinavia’s most beautiful capital? Stockholm is an exemplary mash-up of creative and eco-friendly lifestyles, innovative startup companies, a flourishing indie music scene, a hipster café culture, and an undying love for the outdoors due to its vast archipelago and proximity to water. Stockholm-based Lola Akinmade Åkerström is editor-in-chief of Slow Travel Stockholm and is an award-winning writer and photographer whose publication credits include National Geographic Traveler (both UK & US), BBC, CNN, The Guardian UK, Travel + Leisure, Lonely Planet, AFAR, San Francisco Chronicle, ISLANDS, Sherman’s Travel, National Geographic Channel, New York Magazine, several in-flight magazines, and many more. Her photography is represented by National Geographic.

Slow Travel Stockholm¬†encourages us to slacken our pace, re-consider our motivations (and itineraries) and embrace a ‚Äúless is more‚ÄĚ instead of a ‚Äúfast is better‚ÄĚ ethos. Slow Travel Stockholm is a spin off of Slow Travel Berlin and its aim is to establish a repository of eclectic information about the city from a range of perspectives to encourage deeper, more varied exploration and promotion of small, locally-minded businesses and services.
Connect and learn more about Stockholm: