There are many privately owned summer houses owned by Danes which are rented out. These can be an absolute bargain, especially if rented after the Danish schoolchildren go back after their summer break (typically second week of August). You can pay less than £600 for a house that sleeps 6-8, half the price of a mobile home in France in the middle of August.
The western coast of Jutland boasts mile after mile of wide beaches, dunes and clean unspoilt coastline. Many summer houses are located in the dunes just a short walk to the beach. There are no hotels or high rise apartment blocks here, just a fantastic place for a relaxed family beach holiday.
While there are several commercial rental companies like Sol og Strand (Sun and beach): www.sologstrand.com
you can find privately rented properties which are cheaper. Use Google with search words like "Jutland" or "Jylland", "sommerhus" or "feriehus" and "udlejes". Sites will generally have English and German versions. A typical example is www.driverhuset.dk/index_en.htm
Small apartment block with own swimming pool. Very helpful and friendly , welcomed me by my first name. We rented two apartments for the family.
The only negative is that it's too far to walk to Chania, take a five-minute bus trip or hire a car.
Ideally situated, just south of the park and within walking distance of The Met, MOMA, Times Sq and Rockefeller Center. Also has the famous Burger Joint for cheap eats and Norma's for an expensive but high class breakfast. Just minutes from subway. Also has swimming pool and gym neither of which we had time to try.
A family-orientated bed and breakfast. I stayed there on and off for a month with my two year-old. Way better than an impersonal hotel. The hosts, Jeremy and Tewah and their family, were warm and welcoming - it was a brilliant insight into west African family life for me and my daughter. Tewah is a great cook!
If you are planning to visit Rome, an apartment might be a good choice. In fact, if you are with your family or a group, an apartment might be cheaper than a hotel, but also very central and beautiful.
For example, Domus Colosseo is a big apartment at Coliseum, with a 360° view over Rome from its terraces. Ideal for large groups and families looking for a very central penthouse with full comforts.
Address: Via Annia 36, Rome
Palermo House is a hostel with a very friendly social atmosphere in the trendy Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The huge common areas make it easy to meet fellow travelers, and to trade travel tips with folks from around the world. Cool place!
Colonial era coffee estate farm set in delightful gardens on edge of Ngorogoro crater. Recommended for its kitchen garden, working farm, setting and stylish accommodation. Go for the new rooms with outdoor showers and verandahs. The food is a cut above.
So lovely you'll probably want two nights - at the Manyara/Ngorogoro stage of your Northern Circuit safari.
Small ecological island reserve 40 minutes off Zanzibar. Only 14 tourists at any time, staying in romantic beach bandas stylishly constructed from natural materials.
One of the finest beaches on Zanzibar, the best food I sampled and superlative nature trails in the mangrove forest and over best coral in east Africa. Relatively expensive but a must for any holiday, particularly a honeymoon.
What? Europe's largest sand dune at Pyla in south-western France. Not only is there a mountain of sand to run, roll, or slide down, pretend you're Lawrence of Arabia in, and generally fall about laughing on because you can't walk properly (parental supervision maybe required), but there are also miles of sandy beaches and smaller dunes to muck about in too.
Why? Because it is one of the most fun, memorable, exhilarating things the whole family can do together, and it's free. (Our four-year-old still talks about running down the Pyla dunes last summer.)
When? Any time between May and September should give you good weather. August is predictably busy, but the sheer expanse of the sands means it's never going to be packed.
We stayed at:
Le Petit Nice (Sunelia - camping)
Route de Biscarosse
This is one of the few campsites (on the edge of the Pyla dune) which offers stunning sea views (many sites are hidden behind the massive dune). Tent pitches, mobile homes, swimming pool, daily children's club, paragliding and watersports nearby (but watch out for the very strong currents), not to mention miles of pine forests.
We took our car on the Brittany ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo and drove the 600 odd km (about 7 hours) to Pyla.
Nearest train station: Arcachon (15 km)
Nearest airport: Bordeaux (50km)
Ocean Beach is a great place to stay, near enough to get to San Diego zoo (15 minutes' drive), Sea World (10 minutes' drive), Mission beach (10 minutes' drive) and the centre of town (15 minutes' drive) but with a great Glastonbury-on-sea vibe.
It's not intimidating at all for the family as some online descriptions have said (much less so than Newquay) - it's still pristine and polite and, if you stay in the Ocean Beach hotel, you can watch the surfers from your balcony.
We were there in Dec/Jan and, apparently, it gets a lot busier and louder in the peak seasons and at spring break but out of season it was fantastic.
Ocean Beach, San Diego, California
Fantastic little dairy farm with amazing views on the Quilotoa circuit. The couple who own it are really friendly and took our kids off on the llamas and let them milk the cows. Great homemade food using lots of stuff from the farm, cold beer/wine and a woodburning stove for cosy evenings.
Rooms are quite basic but clean and they were building ensuite shower/loos when we were there.
When I've visited Florence before, I've stayed in cheap places with sagging mattresses and thin walls. This time since I was travelling alone from the States and wanted somewhere to recover peacefully and safely after my sightseeing, I decided to shell out a few more Euros and stayed in this hotel. I found the staff to be courteous, helpful and very accommodating, Andrea (one of the family that own the place) was really welcoming and arranged museum and restaurant reservations for me and also gave me good tips to move around.
The place (built in 1500) was very central and the neighbourhood was safe, I could walk to all the main tourist sights. Ponte Vecchio and Uffizi Gallery are about 2 blocks away. At the end I had a discount for paying cash without asking for one, the cost of my single was originally €88.00 but they gave it to me for €80.00 per night. A bargain!
The hotel also offers a left luggage facility which is handy if you have a late flight/train. I will definitely return for a longer stay in the future.
Kimbilio Lodge is a very new lodge on the Kilwa Masoko Bay. Italian-run and has excellent Mediterannean cuisine. Simple and, at the same time, sophisticated eight bungalows with air conditioning.
The atmosphere is friendly and the managers always managed to fulfil my requirements. I had a great time and superb dives. They have the only diving centre in the area.
I was surprised at the things I was able to do in Kilwa in one week - diving, visiting the Kilwa Ruins, see hippos a short boat ride from the lodge.
I flew in from Dar es Salaam, it was about one hour's flight and drove back to Dar es Salaam, four hours trip on a good road going through beautiful scenery and small traditional villages. It could have been possible to stop at the Selus Game Reserve on the way, but I left it for next time. Overall a wonderful experience.
tel. + (255) 787211201
300 Km from Dar es Salaam, reachable by plane (Coastal aviation) or car; no need of 4x4
This is a good cheap hotel which provides bed and breakfast. I booked it using its own website. The rooms are large and clean and have fridges. You can borrow a kettle, etc from reception at no charge.
Valdemara Street, Riga. Take the number 22a bus from the airport and get off at the Art Museum, 2 stops after crossing the river. Then at the same stop take the number 8 trolley bus 4 stops. The hotel is across the road. Each fare is 0.4 Lat (about 42p!)
For an authentic rural Swedish getaway drive one hour east of Gothenburg and stay at this charming forest cottage with views over the local lake. Use this as a base to explore the very pleasant local area including the local town of Ulricehamn on the shores of Asunden lake. The cottage is well equipped with facilities but can still be the perfect getaway. We particularly enjoyed looking for chantarelle mushrooms in the surrounding forest.
The Dana Guesthouse is perched on the edge of the spectacular Wadi Dana canyon in the Dana nature reserve in southern Jordan.
It one of the most peaceful and relaxing places you can stay in the whole country, with only 9 rooms and amazing views. You can hike in the wilderness by day and gaze at starry night skies whilst contributing to Jordan's foresighted sustainable eco-tourism.
You will also be greeted with very warm hospitality and fantastic local organic food. Simple, wild, luxury.
Dana Village, 45min drive north of Petra. +962 6 4616523, rscn.org.jo
The hotel is in a residential area about 10min walk from Termini. The room and bathroom are small but clean and new. It is generally quiet at night, except for the hostelry and pizzeria close to the hotel. Very nice employees, helpful and smiling. Only problem we had was with the elevator... there wasn't an elevator!!! Within walking distance of Stazione Termini. I would definitely stay there again.
Htel Felice, Rome
nearest Station: Termini
A budget riad. 150 drhs in January 08 for a two-bed room which sleeps three. Average service, no heating, no toilet paper (yes, I know their customs, but the folk who run the place should know ours, too). A manager went furious at the suggestion to keep his private party down after midnight. 20 drs for half of a cup of instant coffee. Very central, though.
A budget place (I haggled it down to 100dhrs in January 08) with predictably bare rooms (no heating), but a pretty patio and very helpful (if not English-speaking) staff. No ensuites, but bathrooms are clean and showers powerful. Thirty steps off the main tourist drag in a predictably scruffy alleyway, takes some time to locate.
10 rue Abdessalam Labadi www.riadessaouira.com 00212(0)24783323
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