Next time you’re on a layover, make the most of it with our guide to the best places to shop, eat, stay and visit, in stop-offs from Singapore to San Francisco.
Just a 15-minute train ride from Schiphol Airport and with a new metro connecting the city’s south with its buzzing north, Amsterdam has never been easier to explore.
Stay: Sir Adam Hotel: This vibrant hotel is in the A’dam Tower in the north of the city. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide spectacular views across the IJ River and you can borrow records from the vinyl library.
Coffee: Bocca: Baristas at Bocca, one of the biggest speciality roasters in the country, will brew you a perfect cup inside this airy converted garage.
Dinner: Carstens: Star chef Maik Kuijpers uses seasonal and locally sourced ingredients to create Dutch food with a twist, including fresh fish dishes, as well as excellent cocktails (be sure to sup on a Dutchman Negroni or two).
Drinks: Bar Parry: This cosy new bar has quickly become a hit. Partnering with a nearby wine shop, it serves more than 80 varieties – as well as various small plates.
Browse: Mendo: Stock up on something to read at this beautiful bookshop that offers an impeccable selection of titles on design, architecture and travel – and neatly gift-wraps every purchase.
Buy: Droog: Co-founded by Renny Ramakers, the sprawling Droog headquarters sells its own designs, as well as furniture from other Dutch designers. The complex also houses a café, a garden and a single-room hotel.
Service: Toon’s Barbershop: Have a trim while sipping a beer or whiskey at this barbershop inside Hutspot, one of Amsterdam’s best concept stores.
Visit: Holland Festival: Catch some cutting-edge dance and theatre at the country’s leading performing-arts festival.
Germany’s banking capital is probably also the country’s best-connected city. Next time you find yourself here for a few days, we recommend that you take the time to explore.
Stay: 25hours Hotel The Goldman: The up-and-coming Ostend is worth checking out. It’s also a good starting point for further exploration of the city on one of the hotel’s handy and complimentary Schindelhauer bikes.
Coffee: The Holy Cross Brewing Society: This spot, on the edge of the Old Town, serves a great cup of coffee with beans from a variety of micro-roasteries including Munich’s Mahlefitz.
Fahrgasse 7, 60311
Lunch: Freitagsküche: Come here for the weekly changing lunch menu cooked up by local artists (you’ll find everything from white asparagus to schnitzel) – and to enjoy the good company. There are also regular events, from talks to performances.
Dinner: Chairs: If you have a thing for designer furniture, this is the place to be. Besides seasonal dishes such as rump steak and prawns, you will also find the chair you happen to be sitting on – which could be from the likes of Panton, Eames, Jacobsen or Vitra – on the menu.
Shop: The Listener: The thinking behind this boutique, which lies just to the north of the Old Town, is to listen to customers’ requests and offer high-quality, timeless fashion. On the racks you’ll find clothing by the likes of apc and Áeron, as well as various accessories, plants and books.
Browse: Buchhandlung Weltenleser: The titles on display at this independent bookshop run by the Klöcker family are organised by continent, region and country. It carries travel guides, novels, children’s classics, coffee-table books from hard-to-find publishers and much more besides.
Visit: Fotografie Forum Frankfurt: Since opening in 1984, this museum has become the city’s must-visit spot for anyone who is interested in photography (in all its forms). Currently on show is Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide’s first retrospective exhibition in Germany.
The city has become a comically expensive place to live but it remains a great place for a visit, especially for those wanting to break up trips from North America across the Pacific Rim.
Stay: Proper: The only Bay Area outpost of this growing West Coast empire brings a lively interior to a flat-iron-shaped building in Mid-Market. It also boasts an alluring rooftop bar.
Coffee: Sightglass Coffee: The Soma location of the headquarters of this mini-chain, which takes its name from the viewing window on its vintage Probat coffee roaster, should not be missed. Be sure to climb the stairs to the mezzanine Affogato Bar.
Lunch: Burma Superstar: You no longer need to cross the bay to visit the Oakland-based purveyor of a tea-leaf salad that raises the bar in terms of how many distinct textures and flavours can happily coexist in a single dish.
Drinks: Kaiyo: At the bar of this Peruvian-Japanese restaurant in Cow Hollow, saké and pisco compete to be the base spirit of choice in an array of clever cocktails.
Buy: China Live: This sinicised Eataly draws crowds to its restaurant and café but the marketplace also features kitchen gear, homeware and foodstuff that’s worth a look.
Service: Woodshop: Four woodworkers in an Outer Sunset workspace-cum-showroom take custom orders for everything from surfboards to painted signs.
Visit: Contemporary Jewish Museum: There are always new exhibitions to check out here, such as “What We Hold: A Youth Audio Project” featuring over 50 audio works telling stories of migration. The Daniel Libeskind-designed building also houses an exceptional museum canteen: the Wise Sons Deli.
The nation’s latest retail-and-dining Jewel airport extension is splendid – but don’t miss out on the compact island-state’s sunny and arguably more charming offerings, which are easy to reach via the city’s efficient transport system.
Stay: The Warehouse Hotel: Hospitality group Lo & Behold’s laidback hotel is conveniently located on the Singapore River, with a host of relaxed restaurants, bars and galleries just across the bridge.
Coffee: Common Man Coffee Roasters: This roastery and café is an excellent place for your first cup of the day, brewed fresh on site. Grab yourself an alfresco seat while it’s still cool outside.
Dinner: Timbre+: The traditional Singaporean food court with a dizzying array of dishes is given a snazzy update at Timbre+. Favourites that include prawn or fishball noodles are served alongside innovative dishes and a decent range of craft beer.
Drinks: Native: One cocktail at a time, founder and bartender Vijay Mudaliar is trying to change the perception that Singapore lacks greens by adding some foraged ingredients (such as jasmine blossoms) to his drinks.
Buy: Supermama: Working with Japanese artisans from Arita to Niigata, Edwin Low and his wife Mei Ling create delightful homeware. It ranges from signature blue-and-white plates painted with traditional motifs to stainless-steel Kobo trays.
Visit: STPI Creative Workshop & Gallery: Thanks to STPI’s on-site paper mill and rotating programme of artist residents, there’s always exciting new artwork to see here. Often the peices on show push the boundaries of what can be done with paper.
Browse: BooksActually: The wall-to-ceiling bookshelves in this beloved shop, which is found in an historic art deco neighbourhood, will have you perusing titles for hours. Head to the back of Kenny Leck’s shop if you are searching for vintage editions.
Japan’s capital has a fast metabolism, which means that there are always new things to discover, be it restaurants, shops or start-up fashion brands. Plan your visit before the rainy season arrives.
Stay: Muji Hotel: This 79-room hotel in Ginza opened in April. It’s not only a place to stay but also somewhere to eat and shop, being home to Muji’s new global flagship store on its lower floors.
Coffee: Dear All: A snug café in Sasazuka, near Tomigaya, run by school friends Yutaro Hoshi and Mei Minemura. It lays on friendly service in a cosy and convivial space.
Dinner: Turntable: Situated inside the Turntable hostel in Shinsen, this restaurant serves delicious seasonal meals using fresh ingredients from Tokushima in the Shikoku region. They are conceived by chef Rimpei Yoshikawa of popular bistro Pignon.
Drinks: Star Bar: One of Japan’s most acclaimed bartenders, Hisashi Kishi, has opened an outpost inside Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, not far from his main bar in Ginza. Sit at the 12-metre counter to enjoy a fine cocktail.
Buy: Eyevan 7285 Tokyo: This Japanese brand makes sunglasses and spectacles in Sabae in Fukui prefecture, the mecca of “Made in Japan” eyewear. The brand has two shops in Tokyo: the flagship store in Aoyama and one in Hibiya Midtown.
Service: Chiba Special: For a quick but impeccable shoe shine you should head to the Kotsu Kaikan building. There you’ll find head shoe shiner Mikoto Chiba and his team, who polish hundreds of pairs every day.
Visit: Digital Art Museum, Teamlab Borderless: Produced by Tokyo-based creative company Teamlab, this must-see museum showcases 60 digital artworks. Booking is recommended.