The Walk Inn is a bar/restaurant in the heart of the Old Town, a 5 minute walk from Socrates Street. It's set in a very pretty square and you can spend hours watching the world wander by.
There is a fantastic atmosphere, the food is all freshly prepared (pizzas and meze a speciality) children are very welcome and the prices are ridiculously reasonable.
There's no web site, but if you want directions call them on 22410 74293, and someone will come to meet you! How's that for service!
If you are going on a day out, head for the hills and the stunning Hotel Elafos on Profitis Ilias Mountain. The drive there is beautiful through little villages and olive groves. The hotel is completely unique, set deep in the woods and a great location for walkers.
Orginially built as a HQ for Mussolini it has been restored by local craftsmen and offers a complete change from the beach.
You can have lunch (food is excellent), stay the night or even get married here - there's even a childrens play area. It's relaxing, peaceful and well worth the visit.
The drive is about an hour from Rhodes Town or Lindos.
Marbella is more than a corrupt collection of officials, it still is the diamond of the Costa del Sol, and I think it deserves some positive news again. Just like they do at marbellas.com, with positive local news and events.
Park Lane is a new boutique hotel in Queenstown. All rooms have spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range - run by a kiwi and Brit wife (married in Feb 07!) Great breakfasts, fun atmosphere, superbly appointed rooms -15 minute lakeside stroll to town - 30 minute lake walk to Frankton. Guilia and Roger have great local knowledge too!
It is a large apartment in a beautiful part of Monticiano, a village south of Siena in Val di Merse, 15 minutes from petriolo hot springs, 5 minutes from breathtaking Abbey of San Galgano.
We were 7 people and managed to spend a week in a great part of Tuscany with 650 euros for the week! All included!
Monticiano, Siena. www.casagigliola.it
Opposite modern Ragusa, Ragusa Ibla is a baroque jewel and the best centre to explore south-east Sicily, the least spoiled corner of the island.
This B&B has beautiful rooms, a splendid terrace and a very kind hostess. Go off season, there is no stinting on central heating!
Chiasso Guerra 13, Ragusa Ibla.
Tel: +39 0932621809 (Italian only).
Difficult to find without asking. Parking may be available, but do not risk narrow streets with a car larger than a Ford Focus, for ex..
A low-key, seafront hotel with high ceilings and a lovely terrace. Food is served by students at a local catering college and can be al fresco, weather permitting.
The village of Leni is pretty tiny, but if you're here to hike or stroll, it's a great family-run base. Rinella, where the ferries dock is not too far either. Try to bag a more spacious room on the ground floor. Doubles from 80 euros a night.
An agriturismo and working vineyard on the slopes of Mount Etna with comfortable, stylish rooms. Run by the noble family of the Baron Scammacca del Murgo - the hosts are full of character!
The estate produces very drinkable red and sparkling wines - tastings and tours available - and you can really taste the volcanic minerals in the red wine.
Chalet Le Dome is a friendly chalet hotel run by Clare, brother Adrian and the rest of their young British team.
The great thing (one of many!) about Le Dome is that you can start your holiday on any day of the week and stay for as long as you like (3 nights minimum). We stayed for 8 nights Saturday-Sunday, giving us 7 days' skiing without eating up more holiday.
Another great 'thing' is the chef, Luke, who puts thought and talent into every menu. The food is excellent - even the vegetarian options, a rarity in the Alps.
There are 38 beds available in 15 rooms, in various configurations. Eight of the rooms have their own shower/wc facilities, and the ratio of bathrooms for the rest of the rooms is good.
Tignes Les Boisses is a small hamlet at a lower altitude than the main resort but (the third great thing!) you can ski to the back door of the chalet and only have to cross the road to ski to the first lift straight up to the main area.
We'll definitely be going back - with some decaffeinated tea for Clare!
This is where the cool kids stay! Sleek, sexy, modern. I only had a drink here, but fell in love with the place. Beautiful pools (one for adults, one for kids), a spectacular restaurant, etc., etc.
Full description and pictures at www.travelmusings.net
This rural hideaway, in the setting of the evocative novel 'Birds without Wings', is within easy reach of the hedonistic hot spots of Fethiye and Olu Deniz, yet could be a million miles away. We had a magical stay in this tranquil haven, only occasionally interrupted by the owners' donkey, Mabel. The first night's dinner, served on our private terrace, was included in the rent (now around £325 a week) but Bea, who has established some reputation as a talented chef, will provide further meals on request. John is an expert on local mountain trails, and this is an ideal spot for keen walkers. Here we savoured the atmosphere of Turkey as it used to be.
YH Plakias in the south of Crete is the number one party hostel in Europe. If you are single, eccentric, aged between 21 and 55 and like a chat, a shag and a drink, then this is the place for you.
The cult of YH Plakias has developed over decades as there are many "regulars" who come back year after year. Six marriages and five babies have resulted from relationships formed at the hostel. Chris the manager will make you very welcome. And all this at eight euros a night.
I am expecting a man shortage this year as I am coming back with five of my girlfriends so any eligible guys out there, hope to see you in May!
Mirthios 74060, Rethymno District, Crete, Greece. Tel. +30 28320 32118. The website is at yhplakias.com
nearest airport is Heraklion or Chania
Situated right next to the city and the bars, cafes and markets of Spitalfields and Brick Lane, the location is ideal. Tube station right next door also. Rooms are basic, but spotless, clean and comfortable. For £65/night at the weekend it's a bargain. Unusually for a hotel, the bar is buzzing and comfortable. The staff are so friendly. Definitely worth checking out.
Commercial Street, E1. Aldgate East tube station.
I love Morbegno! I have been there twice - mainly for walking holidays. Stayed at the family-run Hotel Trieste in the old town.
It's a comfortable, reasonably priced hotel with a lovely private garden at the back. Also had some very good meals at the Hotel Margna, which is in the centre of town. The food is amazing - nothing like what you get in other areas of Italy and there are some great local wines.
What I like about Morbegno is that it's big enough to meander around looking at the shops and old buildings but is also small enough that you feel you get to know people. And there is such amazing countryside all around it - in a few minutes you are climbing high up amongst first vineyards and then mountain pastures - it is breathtakingly beautiful.
If you want to venture further afield there are good train and bus links and Milan is an easy trip on the train. So, if you want a taste of real Italy, visit the Valtellina and especially Morbegno.
A Youth Hostel on West 83rd Street in a great neighbourhood. It cost me $20 a night to stay - as you would expect, it is basic but clean.
I had a private room with shared bathrooms which are kept clean. Rooms are warm and came with a TV, fridge, microwave and sink.
A stone's throw from central park and a couple of blocks from two different subways that take you to most central locations. There is also internet access and a games room downstairs if you feel like being sociable.
Friendly and helpful multilingual staff. I would give this place a go, you can't lose.
106 West 83rd Street
Kabak is the pefect antidote to the more commercial spots along the Turquoise coast. Wind your way south by dolmus to a secluded valley surrounded by mountains leading down to a beautiful beach and clear sea. Stay in tree houses or bring your own tent. We stayed at Kabak Natural Life which has organic food, lots of places to laze and a mule to carry your bags from the road to your tree house.
Get the dolmus from Olu Deniz or Fethiye to Kabak
A spotless no-frills hotel 20 metres from the Grand Place, which in itself is an architectural gem.
Book the hotel from an internet booking site as we got a rate one third of the rack rate. The hotel provides a substantial breakfast and is close to all the sites.
Strongly recommend Chez Leon to eat. It prepares fresh moules in a huge variety of ways. For an after meal beverage you cannot beat Cafe Delirium which is down an alley 25 metres beneath Chez Leon, directly opposite the feminine version of the Manekin Pis. A trip to Brugges is well worth the train journey including a climb up the magnificent Belfort tower.
Hotel Aris, Rue De Marche aux Herbes
Ryad in the Medina with views of the crashing Atlantic waves from the roof as you tuck into your delicious breakfast.
Light, airy and spotless bedrooms with huge comfy beds, crispy white linen, great showers (double rooms and suites). Warm and welcoming host as well as very helpful and friendly staff. Evening meals by arrangment.
PERFECT - could have stayed for ever!
I do believe there is so much investment in Nice from foreigners, that there are ample opportunities to rent your apartment direct with an English speaking owner.
Gone are the days where the agent is king. The direct approach seems to me to have more choice and it is more cost effective. I booked direct with a stunning apartment just a couple of streets from the famous Negresco Hotel and one minute from the beach. I got an excellent two week deal with a pretty good discount.
I did scour around whilst I was there to get prices for hotels. Every thing at the time of my trip was over €100 per night for a double room. I paid €65 per night, plus I had all the comforts of my own kitchen and plenty of space.
So in all I saved €490 for the two week period, which effectively made our flights free and gave us a couple of decent nights out in town.
We eventually booked with a couple who have lived there for over three years. They handled everything professionally and we were very impressed. We will be back for sure. There are plenty of sources on the web to find owners but we did find this particular couple very friendly and professional.
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