Escape from the hustle of Athens and stay in the village of Amaliapolis for a few days. You won’t find many foreign tourists there, but its fish tavernas serve the freshest fish priced for local holiday makers (no tourist rip off prices here). If you want an even cheaper, but delicious, meal have a ‘souvlaki pitta’ – succulent pieces of lamb wrapped in special pita bread with salad and yoghurt sauce – under €2.
We stayed in a very reasonably priced apartment – plainly furnished but with great views of the twinkling lights of the Pelion villages across the Pagasitic Gulf at night and just short walk to the sandy beach in the morning. Just don’t tell too many people or it could get spoilt!
A traditional wooden chalet style hostel only 10 minutes walk from the train station, with a south facing terrace, and views over the mountains.
Many rooms have en suite toilet and showers and even double beds, but much cheaper that a hotel, and no age barriers. The common room has an open fireplace and wood provided so that guests can make up a fire for themselves in the evening. Large meals are provided by friendly staff, who are also happy to advise on local outings; or you can self-cater. It is a minutes' walk from the bus stop for Bussalp. Bussalp is a sunny south facing mountain where you can hire a sledge and spend the day sliding all the way back down the mountain on special paths to the bus stop and hostel. (The hostel also hires out sledges.) Sledging is an easier and cheaper way of having fun and admiring the scenery than skiing.
Just north of Pau is the region of Gascony, if you are into wine and food there are some great places to check out.
The easiest place to find tasting rooms wise is in Saint-Mont. A tiny village with a nice winery in the center of town called Plaimont. Just outside of town is a place called Château de Sabazan.
We stayed at a little gite called Chateaux Projan – simply amazing, with great meals every evening and it’s haunted (and I did hear weird sounds at night).
There are loads of other regions to look at as well – most importantly Madiran. Madiran produces big reds that go well with duck - be prepared to eat nothing but duck when in the area.
If you do drive through these areas of Gascony you will most definitely be stunned by the sheer beauty of the rugged terrain. It's basically miles of vineyards, dotted with ancient, forgotten châteaux. One of the most untouched areas of France and truly picturesque.
It's a luxury guesthouse in Sardinia. I was there last summer and it's an astonishing, stunning place. By sunset when the lighthouse is lit up it feels like magic.
A funky 'hostel' (more like a boutique hotel) bang smack in the middle of Fes Old Town. Rooms are spacious and elegantly-furnished, and the shower room is so fabulous you don't mind sharing it.
There's a roof terrace full of sofas (and even an outdoor shower) and also a very useful kitchen and washing machine. Great breakfast, Wi-Fi, cheap rates.
A peaceful yellow haven just a few steps away from the fabulous Djemaa El Fna. The four rooms (three doubles and a triple) are prettily-furnished in Moroccan-style, breakfast is delicious and the staff are helpful.
There's also a roof terrace and a plant-filled internal patio. Prices are good too, coming in at around £30 for the room.
25 derb ben amran , Marrakech 40000, Morocco
You can book it through hostelworld.com
A small and friendly hotel in an historic palazzo complete with frescoed vaulted ceilings. Room 15 is an excellent example, large room with bathroom, fridge, T.V. and views of Via Balbi. Wake up to the smell of farinata/focaccia cooking next door. Close to historic sights and Station Principe. It cost us 80 Euros per night in high season including a good breakfast.
Balbi Family Hotel,
Via Balbi 23/3
Take a chance!
- with accommodation (unless it's peak peak season or there's a festival on). We've always found it much cheaper to go for one of the places offered to ferry arrivals than booking in advance.
- there's almost always room-owners touting as you disembark, and they are competing against each other. If you don't like the room, you can always move on the next day. This way we usually pay €25-35 (for the two of us) and even as low as €20 on one sleepy island. That time the room was new with en-suite, balcony, fridge, kettle. Never had a bad room yet, some mediocre, but let's face it, you're there to explore, eat out, drink... The room is to sleep and shower. Breakfast on your balcony saves money too - usually rooms also have kettle/small stove.
Most islands (except Argo-Saronic which fill with Greeks from Athens); all the Cyclades (except Folegandros where we had to take a bus to the Hora and walk round asking at places advertising rooms). But worth it for the most lovely Hora, food and views.
An affordable alternative to an agriturismo, this B&B is part rural retreat and hippie haven - everything here is 'organic', from the home-made and home-grown breakfast to the natural paint on the walls.
Ten minutes on foot to the sea and surrounded by the pine-forests of San Rossore National Park, the house is surrounded by natural beauty, and the owners treat guests like a member of the family.
It's the homely touches that really make this B&B stand out, from the bikes laid out for guests to use, to eating our (free) breakfast together in the garden - the feast of muesli and yoghurt, sticky cakes and fresh bread and honey was washed down with juice and herbal tea.
If you are visiting Viareggio at Carnival time, the owner will drive you into town to join in with the festivities, and medieval city Lucca, artists's haven Pietra Santa and Puccini's house at Torre del Lago are a short train ride away.
Rooms are around 30 euros a night - a bargain for Tuscany!
Via Moses Levy, Viareggio, Toscana, Italy 55049
A booking agent that is dedicated to Chamonix Mont Blanc. We needed an apartment for just two days and while most people wouldn't help us Snow and Soleil gave us plenty of options and made our stay possible.
If you're backpacking in Bangkok why pay for a dorm when you can get a private room for the same price?
The Roof View is a lovely guesthouse with dirt cheap private rooms, and free breakfast, linen and towels.
The rooms are all pretty stylish,there are comfy beds with fresh white decor and a private balcony.
It's a ten minute walk to the Khaosan Road and a short bus drive to the Grand Palace.
90/1 Samsean Rd Soi 6,, Banpanthom, Pranakorn, Bangkok, Thailand 10200
Just got back from a tour of Thailand and this was the best hostel we stayed in. It calls itself a 'boutique hostel' but it's far cheaper than what Europe charges for a boutique bed - around €9 a night!
There are seven rooms so it's got a real homely atmosphere, and the 100-year-old building is beautiful. Our room was tastefully furnished and there was a peaceful zen-like roof garden.
The staff should get a special mention - the smiliest and friendliest girls I've ever met! It's also a short walk from the center of town. All in all, ideal for backpackers in Bangkok!
204-206 Maha Chai Road, Samranrach Phra-Nakorn, Bangkok, Thailand 10200
I stayed at the Grove last week for one night and wished that I'd stayed for longer. The room was suitably glamorous, but understated at the same time.
I also ate a sumptuous dinner in the restaurant and was hugely impressed with the food on offer. There was an emphasis on quality local ingredients and the wine list was broad without being off putting.
Everything about the Grove was fantastic. Go and stay there.
Charming accommodation in Venice's historical centre, close to St. Mark's square, in a beautiful "campo" called St. Maurizio.
The room was very nice, comfortable, also for my family, four persons. Annalisa, the keeper, was very friendly and gave us some good insider tip about Venice.
After hours of searching for affordable accommodation in Athens we found this delight.
Inside it is clean and friendly, has free Wi-Fi and a lovely garden courtyard where they do a good cheap breakfast in the morning and a good cheap beer in the evening.
When you step outside you're right in the heart of the Plaka and surrounded by tavernas and cafes. A five-minute walk along the cobbled streets takes you to the Acropolis, the new museum and Syntagma Square. A four-person room with facilities is €100 per night.
16 Kydathineon, Plaka
A relatively inexpensive small apartment in Pisa. Live like a local: shop in the supermarket around the corner or at the market in town; use the train to visit other nearby towns. No worry about airport transport - the owner will collect you from the airport and return you at the end of your stay.
We (a group of six friends from UK) stayed at Riyad Al Moussika Hotel in June and had a wonderful experience! The staff was great from the moment we arrived. Everyone was friendly, we received incredible rooms with terrace and/or windows overlooking the beautiful swimming pool and garden and the Moorish court. The rooms were immaculate and were beautifully furnished with authentic paintings and antique Moroccan furniture. My huge bathtub was great after walking all day. Very nice library, with a large selection as well of English books about Morocco and Moroccan culture. I'd recommend this hotel to anyone. A great staff, outstanding rooms, the perfect location and very good food too.
Athome is a small hostel in the heart of Jericoacoara with a relaxed vibe and homely atmosphere. The rooms are en-suites with private bathrooms and comfortably furnished.
There is plenty of outdoor lounge space, like the large garden and spacious veranda with hammocks. A fully equipped self-catering kitchen is available free of charge.
The owner is fluent in English, German and Portuguese and cares personally to make travellers feel right at home and have a great stay in Jericoacoara.
We had the most amazing vacation in the south Caribbean of Costa Rica.
I read all the reviews of this place online before going and thought there was no way they could be true. They were! Small boutique hotel located directly on miles of beautiful sandy beaches.
All made out hardwoods with small pool, bar and restaurant. Staff was very friendly and helped us each day guiding us to local attractions in the area.
It is about 2 km on beach before you hit town of Puerto Viejo.
I was in Vegas a few weeks ago and I stayed in Harrahs Hotel. It's right in the middle of the Strip, has a monorail stop, is cheaper than some of the other hotels nearby yet is still excellent.
Also www.lasvegasculture.co.uk/ is a new site on Vegas and has some good info added daily.
Harrah's Las Vegas
3475 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
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