Spring is often said to be the season for new relationships, and not wanting to fly in the face of Nature, Urban Travel Blog has been casting flirtatious glances at some important players in the travel industry.

Spotted By Locals first came to our attention a few months ago, as a quality series of travel guides with a difference. Rather than rely on travel writers passing through a destination to compile their listings, they recruit knowledgeable locals who are passionate about their home cities to share their tips and secrets. The result is a series of city guides that are a far cry from standard guidebook fare: ones that offer the visitor a genuine chance of experiencing the city like a local.

So naturally we were delighted when Bart van Poll, Spotted By’s creator got in contact. He told us how he and his partner, Sanne van Poll gave birth to the project:

“On a citytrip to Brussels in early 2007 we came up with the idea of Spotted by Locals. We had been to Brussels a couple of times before, and had some bad experiences with the guidebook we were carrying. Quite a few of the places we had wanted to visited before, described in the guidebook, were closed. So this time we decided to rely solely on tips from local Brussels inhabitants from the internet.

To our surprise, it was very difficult to find updated information from locals in our language or English. Eventually we found a personal blog by a guy we thought shared our taste. He wrote about a lot of subjects, but also about what he liked to do in Brussels. We decided to “follow” the tips he had, and go to the bars and restaurants he frequents, and walk around in the hidden local neighbourhood that was certainly not in our paper guide. We had one of the best city trips ever, because of the tips of this Brussels guy we don’t even know!

On that trip, around a good Belgian beer, we decided to investigate the idea of a series of cityblogs, written by locals we’d personally meet. It’d be the perfect job for us…”

And so after travelling extensively in 2008 and 2009, Bart and Sanne met 300 potential spotters eventually recruiting 130 eagle-eyed locals in 23 cities, who now regular write posts about their favourite joints and discoveries – resulting in arguably the most authentic guides out there on the www.! In many ways the Spotted By Local’s city blogs (from Athens to Zagreb) are the perfect complement to Urban Travel Blog’s weekend city guides – an attractive website where you can delve deeper into each destination than the overview we present. And that’s why we’re delighted to recommend Spotted By Local’s city blogs in the More Juice section of our corresponding guides!

In the meantime, in order to improve the services we offer our readers we’ve also partnered up with Easytobook.com so that now our users can quickly click and book the hotels that we recommend in our city guides to Cape Town, London, Dublin, Barcelona, Rome, Vilnius, and Wroclaw! The great news about Easytobook.com is that they don’t charge any booking fees to the customer (and in fact they are often privy to some pretty special discounts on hotel rooms!) so we are pretty sure that this is one relationship that will work out for both us and our readers!

With Urban Travel Blog’s love life wrapped up, all that remains to do is recommend that you check out some of our latest stories: such as James Ashford’s entertaining feature article on the post-30 festival experience and Monika Chodakowska’s evocative Photo Story in which she captures Paris’s bikes at rest – plus The Juice on Prague and Lodz. For those readers for whom Spring has signalled the end of relationship, rather the start of something beautiful, slit not ye wrists… for just the other week Urban Travel Blog put together some great travel ideas for getting over your ex.

If you want to keep up with all our latest articles then we suggest you follow us on Twitter or click ‘become fan’ on our Facebook page

Enjoy your Spring travels!

The Editor

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