[highlight]This is the first Shoutout in a new weekly series where we share awesome travel resources, blogs, or businesses that we’ve come across or relied on to take our trips to the next level.[/highlight]

Spotted by Locals provides local perspectives on unique and interesting things to see and do in 56 cities across Europe and North America. At its core, it’s a travel guide where the authors are locals living (and living it up) in each of the covered destinations.Typically, these contributors are young, independent and travel minded, and eager to share the places and activities that excite them most in their cities. Don’t expect to find the standard tourist attractions covered, unless there’s a unique local spin that most tourists overlook.

I discovered Spotted by Locals while I was living in Germany and spending every other weekend traveling to a different European city, such as Frankfurt, Prague, Tenerife, Rome, Berlin, Dublin, Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Munich amongst others. Because these were weekend trips, I would have a maximum of 72 hours in a city and would try to make the most of it. On average though, I only checked out one or two major tourist sites per trip and allocated the remainder to getting a feel for the city itself. I used Spotted by Locals to find indie neighbourhoods outside of the city centre, favourite local restaurants that wouldn’t blow my student budget, and hip spots for drinks where I could meet other interesting people.

What’s brilliant is that local perspectives on such a broad range of destinations is relatively unique in the industry –  you have travel review sites, but these generally provide traveler comments, not local opinions. It was a gap identified by the Spotted by Locals founders, Sanne and Bart van Poll, back in 2008 and they have been receiving widespread acclaim for their startup ever since.

It’s like when you visit a friend in a new city and they take you under their wing – not only giving you a glimpse of their city but showing you all of their favourite personal spots where there are no other tourists in sight. Spotted by Locals is pretty much the technological equivalent to that and the next best thing if you don’t have any friends to show you all the good stuff.

With its 250+ local contributors providing updated content on a frequent basis, you can always be confident that you’re accessing relevant and up to date recommendations for your visit. And not everyone can just become a contributor – all perspective ‘Spotters’ are carefully scrutinized and meet personally with Sanne and Bart to ensure they’re a good fit and will contribute to their mandate of providing current local authentic advice to travelers that they can’t get from a traditional guide book.

While the number of cities has increased considerably over the past few years, as I suspect it will continue to do in the future, Spotted by Locals has found other valuable ways to support travelers. Their well reviewed iPhone and Android apps allow offline access to the city recommendations and maps suggestions by location and category (Art and Culture, Restaurants, Music, etc) – undeniably useful when traveling without access to wifi or a data plan. Also available are PDF city guides for $4 USD which are accessible offline as well and can help provide some relevant city information prior to your travels. Here’s a quick overview by some of the Spotted by Locals Spotters:

Ultimately, Spotted by Locals is a fantastic travel resource – both for planning a trip and once you’re on the ground and looking for unique things to do. Check it out and start getting inspired.

Have you used Spotted by Locals or another site site to help you find great local spots? Let us know in the comments!

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Lauren Barth

Lauren Barth

Lauren Barth co-founded Departful in 2012 and is the Managing Director of Departful Media. Since then she has worked between North America and Europe and has published content in partnership with a variety of tourism boards and businesses based around the world. Lauren is currently based in Toronto, Canada.

Departful is a travel magazine that provides accessible, relevant, and thoughtful travel tips and ideas to inspire people to explore the world around them. We feature travel articles, travel tips, and photography based on our own experiences from over 100 countries covering all things adventure, culture, food and drink, technology, and gear. Made with ❤ in Toronto.