Cannot recommend this hotel enough! After a mix-up with the B&B that we had booked for our honeymoon, my husband and I were left without a place to stay in Alghero on one of the busiest weekends of the high season. By chance, we walked past this place - the only hotel within the walls of Alghero old town. Luckily for us there had been a cancellation only half an hour before, and the lovely staff welcomed us in. Fantastic value (100 euros/night) considering its location in the heart of Alghero, the San Francesco is based in an old Catalan gothic monastery, abutting the church, with a spectacular cloister dating back to the 14th century where in the mornings breakfast is served. In the summer, the cloister courtyard is used for classical concerts and it's possible to sit and enjoy the music for free from the cloister balcony. The rooms are simple (much in the way the original monks' rooms would have been in fact) but it's a real gem of a hotel.
After enjoying the beaches and busy old town of Alghero, take the bus down the winding coastal road to Bosa and from there to Oristano. Make sure you sit on the righthand side for the best views and photos of the cliffs and beaches! Explore the alleyways and narrow cobbled streets between Bosa’s multicoloured buildings. Cross the river to gain a better perspective of the Havana-esque street next to the river. Oristano is a smart city with a stunning baroque cathedral and pleasant streets to wander around and have a coffee or gelato. The city is also a great base for visiting the famous Is Aruttas beach and the Roman site of Tharros. Bed and Breakfast Porta a Mari is a great budget option – it’s a traditional Sardinian house within walking distance of the city centre.
B&B Porta a Mari
Via Cagliari 308, 09170, Oristano
Google map: bit.ly/MAz3KG
Bus timetable for Alghero - Bosa
Bus timetable for Bosa - Oristano
Castelsardo is a picturesque historic town on the northern coast of Sardinia. Perched on a volcanic headland, the old town, fortified with a castle, is an interesting and enchanting place to visit. After visiting the citadel, explore the neatly packed and atmospheric streets of Castelsardo's medieval quarters. Better still stay over a night or two (any of the B&B's nestled within the castle walls would be ideal - Smorfiosa & Calarina next to the Cathedral was charming), and see the town at its best in the evening when restaurants and cafes set up tables among the stairways and doorways (the pick being La Cisterne Wine Bar - more than just a wine bar with the best food we ate in Sardinia.)
Avoid the usual celeb haunts and head out to the north western coast of Sardinia. We stayed in a gorgeous agriturismo set in the hills of the picturesque and unspoilt town of Bosa. Amazing beaches, beautiful town centre, great food and lovely friendly locals - it is everything you imagine Italy to be right down to the buildings the shades of ice-cream! Heaven!
One of Toronto’s most unique bed & breakfasts is Boatel: the city’s only bed & breakfast on a boat.
Open from May 18 to September 30, 2012, Boatel is a 65-foot custom trawler which stays docked in the harbour, allowing guests the experience of living on a boat and the convenience of being able to walk around the city. Located very close to the downtown core, you can book one, two, or all three guestrooms.
Boatel boasts a panoramic view of the Toronto Islands and harbour, giving one the impression of no longer being in the city. The cozy interior has a mahogany finish with Brazilian cherrywood floors and there are three decks to choose from to lounge the afternoon away.
Diane and Captain Greene are your hosts while on the vessel and they will happily accommodate your requests for meals. A gourmet breakfast is served and gluten free, vegan, weight watchers or healthy low-fat breakfasts are available upon request. Special dinners can also be arranged on board or reservations made elsewhere. Boatel does not offer charters or harbour tours, but those arrangements can be made for you as well. Kayak and bike rentals are also available during your stay.
375 Queen’s Quay West, Toronto, Canada
+1 647 403 2764
Google map: bit.ly/NBRly5
* Giulia is our Been there local for Toronto. You can see her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/places/canada/toronto/index.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/GiuliaFalsetti
Has a great view, sits up a hill - it's the Cotwolds bar you were looking for and does an inclusive (with accommodation) English breakfast. I slept from midnight to 9.30am.
It's run by a couple trying to make a go of it who bought it eight months ago.)
This is a small family run hotel on the edge of the lake. The rooms are beautiful and most have lake and mountain views. Meals are served in the pretty garden with tables overlooking the lake and the food is amazing. The little port of Gargnano is a 10 minute lakeside walk away where you can get a boat to different towns around the lake and there are numerous restaurants and Trattorias. This summer there is a D H Lawrence exhibition in the town hall to celebrate the centenary of the author's stay in Gargnano and there are also guided walks and other events. You can go for mountain walks or just relax on the sunloungers in the garden and catch up with your holiday reading.
Superb intimate family run hotel. Run by Martin and Anne, the hotel is full of memorabilia of the past including hunting and horse racing.
Luxurious accommodation and superb dinners and breakfasts. The cooking combines the precision of nouvelle cuisine with the extravagance of Yorkshire hospitality.
A beautiful hotel situated on the south of the island, between Cagliari and Villasimius. Converted from a nineteenth-century monastery which was later adapted into a farm, the hotel still retains many of the original features, and even some wonderful old farm machines. There's a lovely pool you can relax by, if you don't fancy the 10 minute walk to the nearest beach. There's also a minature golf course, and the opportunity to go horse-riding in the nearby national park. The hotel is somewhat remote, and hiring a car is definitely recommended if you don't want to stay in the hotel for your whole stay - though, the settings are lovely enough to make you want to. We thoroughly enjoyed just sitting out with a glass of wine in the courtyard outside our room; would love to go back. If you're lucky, you may even be visited by the hotel cat, or some local kittens!
A really romantic converted hayloft tucked away gite-style in the garden of the owners' home. Full of character coupled with modern comforts and lots of lovely little touches like an iPod dock, plenty of films on DVD to watch after a hard days' sightseeing and complimentary dressing gowns. We got a bottle of wine when we arrived together with home made muffins, and fruit. Torquay is an ideal holiday spot with endless places to visit, but it wouldn't have been the same without retiring back to Windchimes afterwards. Lovely hosts. We couldn't have asked for more.
We had a superb two-week holiday with two teenage children. We flew to Zagreb and picked up a hire car. Drove to Pula, Beli on Cres (heaven, do walk to the lost villages), Rab, Zadar and finally dropped the car off at Split. We then took ferries to Korcula and on to Dubrovnik to fly home. Get to Krka National Park very early for the magic - it felt like Alton Towers on a bank holiday when we left at 11.30am. We recommend booking hostels - we stayed in them in Pula, Rab, Zadar and Split. Basic but really clean, friendly, central and cheap. Particularly liked the Old Town hostel in Zadar. You can spend hours jumping off the harbour wall listening to the sea organ and then return in the evening to the sun salutation to enjoy the Saturday Night Fever light display.
Easily accessible from Dubrovnik, but a world away from it, Kolocep Villas is a fantastic hotel on a brilliantly peaceful and relaxing island that you can walk across in an hour or kayak the whole way around in an afternoon. Blue seas, secluded coves, amazing fish restaurants, friendly and efficient staff at the hotel, and four ferries a day into Dubrovnik for only a few euros, it's the absolute perfect place to unwind!
The last time we were in Brsec we were lost and it was going to take a similar lack of navigation skills to get us back there this time.
So we headed optimistically more or less south-east across the Istrian peninsula hoping for signs for Hrastovlie, Pozane, Buzet, Vranja and make Brsec in time to check into the B&B and head for the only restaurant/bar in the village and chilled pints of the local Favorit beer. They don’t get many English/British visitors and in the absence of us having any Croatian language skills German is the common tongue. “Do you have any vegetarian dishes”? “Yes, we have chicken and fish, where have you come from”? It is now that we learn that Buzet is pronounced Tzb, Pozane, Nzp and Vranja, Jnrv. Just take out all the vowels and pronounce it backwards - you get the picture.
Brsec and this stretch of the coast are truly beautiful. The sky is blue and cloudless and there’s a path leading from our B&B down through wild asparagus and sage scattered woods to a secluded cove where the Adriatic Sea is aqua-marine and crystal clear and that’s where we spend the majority of our weekend. Mostly we have the beach to ourselves but at some point the cove fills with a family of seals, their black heads bobbing in the sea as they dive and play. On closer inspection the seals turn out to be a scuba diving club. One of the islands nearby is the home of a flock of Griffon vultures and squadrons of long-necked jet black swan/goose-like birds zoom across the surface of the water.
We venture as far as Labin for gnocci and gorgonzola sauce and walk along the promenade from Lovran to Opatije for ice cream and pizza and that’s as much effort as we want to make.
B&B: +385 51 290 159
Google map: bit.ly/Mc3msD
Across the river from the main town of Vang Vieng are a couple of places which provide cheap bungalow accommodation with hammocks. Even if you're in town for tubing, the all night party noises are not what you want for the duration of your stay. On this side you can relax in your hammock by the river and choose to join in the fun on the other side if and when you're ready instead of having to put up with it.
Google map: bit.ly/MnALlp
The best meal I've ever eaten was at Agriturismo Tuttusoni. Agriturismos are farms that offer meals and/or accommodation and help farmers diversify and keep going.There was course after course, all fresh and beautifully prepared. We went at the end of the season (late September) and were among the only people there.
This lovely peaceful small guesthouse by a lake in the middle of the Swedish countryside is perfect for an idyllic break away from the crowds (not that there are many in Sweden!) The Dala-Floda Inn is in Dalarna county, supposedly the most 'Swedish' part of Sweden - it's chock full of beautiful lakes, pine and birch forests, and small red wooden cottages everywhere you look.
Evalotta, who runs the guesthouse with her husband Per, is the perfect host and had dozens of suggestions for day trips in the surrounding area, which has many interesting sights. In the evenings, you will be treated to a fantastic organic dinner, all with local produce, much of it from Evalotta's garden. There is also a great wine list with some really interesting organic and biodynamic wines.
The rooms are clean and simple Swedish style, and breakfast is delicious too! If it's warm enough, there is a swimming area just by the hotel where you can take a dip in the beautiful lake. There's also a sauna in the hotel, and one by the lake that you can pre-book.
If you want to experience 'real Sweden' and really relax, this is the perfect place.
Hotel Villas Koloceps on the car free island of Koloceps, the smallest of the Elaphite Islands welcomes all ages. A sandy busy beach, but half an hour by canoe visit a quiet village for snorkling and restaurant. Bike rides, boat trips, ferries to bigger islands and Dubrovnik 30 minutes away. (Visit War Photo Gallery for world class photography) Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina, is a must for an inland day trip to this legendary town. The hotel has good food, swimming pool and a media centre in every room, but best of all are the beautiful waters of the Adriatic.
This is an amazing hotel. We stayed here as part of our honeymoon touring Sardinia a couple of years ago and it was our favourite location. The rooms are quirky and individual, the views of the mountains are stunning and the food is just incredible. We went half-board and struggled to finish the four course dinners - tip - don't be tempted to gorge on the anti-pasti or pasta courses or you'll never finish the suckling pig - famous across the island and a speciality of the hotel (you can see - and smell - them roasting on the old-style open fire). We were lucky enough to watch a demonstration of pane carasau (Italian flatbread) being made on-site too. It's an amazing place and if you're a foodie it's a must.
Off season at this family run homestay is 300 INR a night. For around £3.50 you get an immaculate double room (the sheets smelt of soap powder), clean and spacious bathroom, and a shared balcony (including hammocks, low chairs and coffee tables). It's less than a minute to the clifftop and beach. Fantastic.
Near Middle Cliff, Varkala, Kerala
Prices vary throughout the year from 300INR (Low season) to 1000INR (at Christmas and New Year). Most of the time they don't go above 600INR.
This coverted farmhouse hotel on the edge of the town of San Jose in the Cabo de Gata National Park was peaceful, stylish, child-friendly and great value for money. Don't let the seas of plastic tomato greenhouses on the way from Almeria airport put you off - Cabo de Gata offers quiet seaside towns with lovely uncrowded beaches, rare wildlife, great seafood and excellent diving and snorkelling. Calm, warm waters and gently sloping beaches like the beautiful Playa de los Genoveses make great swimming spots with small children. All three generations on our trip were well catered for.
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