An industrial city, birthplace of Philips electronics, Eindhoven isn't a city that was ever on my radar until a few weeks ago. But having been invited by Eindhoven365 to explore what the city has to offer in an activity-packed trip, I was curious. I love visiting new places and I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity.
Once a heavily industrial city with towering factories, Eindhoven has slowly been transformed into a hub of art, design and technology. No longer a bleak, concrete landscape, the city now boasts a vast number of shops, galleries and museums that tell Eindhoven's history.
So what did we get up to on the trip? And what does the city have to offer for tourists?
Carl and I arrived on the Thursday morning, a day before our planned itinerary of activities was due to start. We headed straight for our hotel so we could drop our bags and explore the local area. We stayed at the beautiful Inntel Hotels Art Eindhoven which once a Philips factory (where the very first light bulbs were made and tested), is now an art hotel with high ceilings, loft-style guest rooms and its own gallery on the ground floor. The decor was reflective of both the hotel's industrial roots and the development of Eindhoven as a cultural hub for art and technology.
It was also the perfect location to explore the city on foot, only a 3-minute walk away from the central shopping district. We walked the side streets and eventually came across Street Food, a cosy little corner cafe serving salads, fresh sandwiches and fish and chips (so British). The food was divine (with the best curly fries I have ever tasted) and we loved it so much that we went back on our last day too.
We spent our first evening cooped up in the local cinema watching The Girl On The Train (which I highly recommend) with a glass of rosé. Not very cultural I know but we decided to have an early night in preparation for the activities the next day.
After a hearty hotel breakfast, we met the other bloggers and our guide in the lobby and climbed into taxis to reach our first stop of the day: MLY - a sustainable fashion boutique owned by designer Emily Hermans. We met and spoke with Emily, who showed us her cuttings and mood boards for each of her collections, talking us through her inspirations and the production process for her clothing.
Then came the fun part: a design-your-own-shirt-pattern workshop.
With a table full of acrylic paints, glitter, magazine clippings and a huge selection of fabrics, we set about designing our own patterns (or rather, playing nursery and cutting and sticking like toddlers). I'll be the first to admit, I'm terrible at 'art'. I can't draw and I can't paint. So for me, this was a challenge. I simply set about picking up fabrics and paints I liked and arranging them somewhat haphazardly on my canvas - much to the amusement of Carl and Andreea.
We were served coffee and croissants as we chatted and joked about our "abstract" designs. It was the perfect icebreaker.
The masterpieces ...
Then it was time for a smoothie stop. We headed to Onder de Leidingstraat, a super-healthy and minimalistic cafe (read: an Instagrammer's dream) that had its own healthy supermarket stocking everything from cooking sauces to raw chocolate. We had a lunch reservation elsewhere but I would definitely re-visit just to sample a few of their dishes, the menu looked incredible.
So we'd had our vitamin hit, we were surely deserving of something sweet, right? Almost directly next door to the healthy cafe was a gorgeous ice cream bar, Intelligentia ICE. With an array of flavours to suit all dietary requirements (yep, they boasted an impressive dairy free selection) and beautiful pink-themed decor throughout, I was sold from the moment I walked in.
Next up was lunch at Ketelhuis, a lovely pub-restaurant where we sipped wine and ate beneath thick blankets by the fire (it was freezing!). We then walked to pick up bikes so we could cycle back into the centre of the city. I have to admit, with my oversized tote bag and wearing heeled boots, I was a little sceptical of getting on a bike for the first time in almost 10 years. But aside from struggling to brake (the seat was too high so I struggled to get on and off) and falling over once (okay, maybe twice), I actually really enjoyed it; the wind whipping through my hair, taking in the sights. I'd definitely recommend hiring bikes if you visit!
Then it was time for a little relaxation. We visited Agua, a luxury spa offering a range of men and women's beauty treatments, a yoga studio, a rooftop terrace with a hot tub and a gorgeous pool area with sauna facilities. We'd each been paired up and booked in for a foot massage which I have to say, was amazing. We sipped rosé (of which there was a large consumption on this trip) and enjoyed being totally pampered. It was the perfect pre-dinner treat.
Feeling totally (almost too) relaxed, we cycled back to the hotel and quickly got changed for dinner.
We dined at the beautiful Valenzia restaurant, a dimly-lit, cosy (very romantic) space with a Mediterranean tapas menu. The food was incredible; we enjoyed several courses of tapas dishes and again, it's worth noting that they catered incredibly well for vegans. I was spoilt with my own selection of potato and vegetable-based dishes and I was fit to burst by the time I'd finished. It was so delicious, I couldn't leave a single mouthful.
It was over dinner that we really seemed to bond as a group. We had so much fun and talked so openly, it made me so grateful to have been given such a wonderful opportunity.
We headed to a few different bars after dinner and the rest is history. It was a fantastic way to end the trip.
A huge thank you to Eindhoven365 for such a lovely trip, it was great to explore a city that I would never have thought to visit. There's so much to discover and I would definitely recommend a trip if ever you're looking for a short weekend away.
Shop The Post
This post is in collaboration with Eindhoven365 but all thoughts and opinions are my own.