Pension Vltava offers a fine stay as it is reliable for really cheap, really basic and very clean rooms. It is great to know about for very cheap breaks to see the city or see a concert, and flying visits when you haven't booked anywhere.
It's also good if you need to to save money and have a private room if you are just passing through the city and need a place you can rely on for a cheap room which is clean.
This guest house happens to have a tiny coffee shop and bar which stays open all night every night and is really cheap. You can relax with tea or coffee, beers, wine, cognacs or becherovkas back in your room at any time.
I recommend this place. I have nearly always got a room when enquiring on the same day (it is a quite a large guest house). The price is around £11 to £14 for a room for one person per night with very clean common shower and loo.
For those who don't know the city and especially for those to whom the central places are familiar, for the lowest budget place to stay the guest house is ideally placed. It is around eight to ten minutes on a tram from near the guest house to central areas. Around it are a few interesting bars and cafes. There aren't very many tourists around here though the area is quite nice and fresh if you know Prague, except backpackers and younger travellers are noticeable as Sir Toby's travel hostel, Extoll Inn, a few other guest houses and a Czech H.I. travel hostel are around here.
The river where it bends is just over five minutes walk away and it is a pleasant walk into the centre along the riverside from near Pension Vltava. Set aside a couple of hours for a great walk across the river, away from the city, to a leafy part on the outskirts of the city, to the Trojska Chateau gallery and courtyard cafe in summer, Prague Zoo and the lovely Botanic Gardens.
It is ideal to walk here, if you have the time, and better than taking a tram, though you can eaily go by tram. Either way, it is a quiet part of the city which is lovely and I really recommend it.
A good walk away of over ten minutes is the nice Cafe Lisbon on the main riverfront road, which has characteristic pizzas especially and is good for drinking at. Just over ten minutes in the opposite direction, toward Stromovka park, is the Absolut Hotel which has an unpretentious and quite minimalist, pleasant bar and restaurant. The Mecca Music Club is a few minutes walk from the guest house. Not far, good food at a good price in the restaurant of Hotel Henry, U Papírny.
Dining at Mirka is a tasty visual experience. Surrounded by murals by Mirka Mora, you dine on food from the kitchen of Melbourne's famed Guy Grossi. Based widely on a mediterranean style (Grossi is Italian), the menu here is about making one feel cosseted and at home.
The wine list is superb with wines from France and South America as well as the best of Australia. Superb service along the art of the dining room makes 'Mirka' one of Melbourne's best culinary experiences. We will be going back.
42 Fitzroy St
03 9525 3088
100m from St Kilda Light Rail station
Google map: tinyurl.com/pp2mqb
Casa Luque sits behind Nerja's church in a typically Spanish square just a minute's stroll from Balcón de Europa.
This gourmet Andalusian restaurant, with great contemporary flair, is a second generation family-run business.
The good news is that everything on the menu can be ordered as a tapa. Current dishes include chicken liver pâté with pacharán sauce, ham and wild mushroom croquettes, pork fillet with rioja wine caramel and duck magret with honey and kalamansi sauce. Wonderful wines a- plenty too.
Plaza Cavana 2
+ 34 952 521 004
Rio de Janeiro is very famous for its bar culture. The words 'botequim' or 'boteco' designate small places with freezing beer, lots of people, bad food and very low prices. The genre of place became so strong that a new style of 'boteco' was created, it keeps the popular aura combined with a tiny sophistication. Devassa Bar in Leblon is an exemplar of the hip but cozy boteco, full of young and interesting people, Devassa has its own beer, in different versions: blond, red, black and Indian. I had the blond and found it very special. The menu is another chapter: many yummy finger foods, typical of Brazil. Go feel yourself a real carioca!
Av. General San Martin, 1241 - Leblon - Rio de Janeiro - RJ
Tel: (21) 2259-8271
A bar that is based around a rather loose 'merry-go-round' theme (there are also chains and old priests' vestments on the wall). It's a dark and mysterious world here and the café bonbons are highly recommended! (Coffee, condensed milk and Baileys.)
Just off C/Toro by H & M.
Great cocktails served outdoors. The bar is located in the garden in front of the villa housing the French restaurant and action theatre.
It is located at 42 Waterloo Street (just off Bras Basah Rd, across from the arts museum).
A pub with a view, a great view across Melbourne's bay. A pub with decent food in the bistro, a TAB, a lounge bar and accommodation all within 15km of the CBD.
A pretty good local pub with one of the best outlooks in Melbourne.
Lots of excellent beers often in the British style locally brewed, available in bars (such as the Sport Bar on Main St) and stores to take back to the bungalow/cabin/camper. Mind the elk if you're walking back late. Burgers the size of an elk.
Jasper town, on the Athabasca River
If dreadlocks, piercing and tribal tattoos are your style, there’s Soundgarden. It boasts a surprisingly civilized terrace overlooking the daily ebb and flow of boats and barges, but the inside is almost painstakingly run-down and graffitied, with a buckled pool table and a dartboard pocked with scars. Not as intimidating as it sounds, but hardly appropriate for the blue-rinse brigade. Grungy DJs and live music three times a week.
Marnixstraat 164-166, out west near Rozentheater
+31 (0)20 620 28 53
There is a much more attractive alternative to a central location in Lexington. About a 15 minute cab drive south from the downtown area, there is an area known as Lexington Green.
This area houses the Hilton Lexington Green suites hotel. All rooms have an attractive bedroom, and adjoining living area.
The hotel is one of the few in the city to offer an outdoor pool (though it's small and open in summer only). But it does overlook a small man-made lake, and is right beside the city's best book shop, a multiplex cinema that claims to be 'arthouse', and the city's most popular seafood restaurant (Regatta's) that often has live music on its patio area.
In addition to this, you are just a five-minute walk from Fayette Mall, the city's best shopping complex that houses Macy's, Dillards, and many stores much loved by the fashion-conscious. The Mall also has some attractive restaurants including P F Changs, a trendy chain featuring quality Chinese dishes. A 10 minute drive away you can find the discreetly located, Guiseppe's, renowned for its excellent Italian food, service, and jazz nights.
Lexington is also home to Keaneland racing track. A visit to the track is enjoyable, and the track has its main annual meeting in October of each year. Lexington is very much a city dominated by a University – the University of Kentucky – but despite the large population of young students, the downtown area lacks the vitality one might thus expect.
Although downtown Lexington is relatively quiet in terms of traffic, it can be surprisingly noisy. There appears to be sirens wailing from emergency services vehicles on a very frequent basis.
The downtown area lacks any clearly identifiable focal point, but there are a few restaurants that are particularly popular, mainly offering French or Italian cuisine.
There are a limited number of bars and McCarthy's Irish Bar is conspicuously popular. The patio at the back is a very pleasant place to enjoy a post-work pint, but at the weekends the bar is very busy with a young clientele.
Hideaway is a pizzaria and lounge in Laranjeiras, Rio de Janeiro. The place successfully combines a nice thin and crispy pizza with a big and modern place, full of young and beautiful people.
They also have shows (pop, Brazilian, jazz music) and a dance floor that mixes many styles of music. A complete night!
Rua das Laranjeiras, 308, Laranjeiras
Devassa is a typical carioca bar, that has a special thing: the homemade beer. Devassa has its own beer, in different versions: blond, red, black and Indian. I had the blond and found it very special. The menu is another chapter: many yummy finger foods, typical of Brazil. Go feel yourself a real carioca!
R. Prudente de Morais 416 Ipanema
A wonderfully eclectic collection of bullfighting memorabilia covers every centimetre of wall space in this atmospheric bar, sounds naff but strangely isn't. It really has been the bullfighters' bar for many years. Good selection of wines and tasty tapas or more substantial meals upstairs.
Just behing the covered market off the pedestrian shopping street of Merida
Not far from Kufstein (about 16m) Kitzbuhel is not only famous as a ski resort of Austria, but also for the après-ski activities. Bars, clubs, discos, pubs. For good Austrian wine try Jimmy's bar in Vorderstadt street 31.
We visited the site of the Jewish Ghetto (in Podgorze) on the other side of the river in the morning and spent the afternoon/evening wandering our way through the bars of Kazimierz. It was the best day I've spent in Krakow.
Everybody talks about Kazimierz with its young and funky atmosphere, but I hadn't heard so much about Podgorze. The river is about 20 mins walk from the main square and as soon as you cross it you're in the Ghetto Heroes Square with it's atmospheric memorial of empty chairs. Visit the Pharmacy under the Eagle which has been turned into a small museum (it's on the opposite corner of the square - keep going, it's not obvious until you're literally outside it!) to get a handle on what it used to be like. The displays are pretty meaningless without the audio tour, so spend your zlotys and get informed. When you've done that, cross the road using the underpass, follow your map, go through the foot-tunnel under the railway and find yourself at the Schindler Enamel factory. It wasn't very well signposted, or that easy to find on foot, but it's about 8-10 mins walk from the Ghetto Heroes Square. It was being renovated when we were there - looks like they're finally going to turn it into something, rather than the basic display there at the moment.
After a subdued morning we hit Kazimierz, and I can't recommend the bars and restaurants of this area highly enough. Stick to soft drinks/halves of the lethal beer/one drink per establishment, and you should be able to manage at least 10 of the fantastic bars - every one has something unique about it, and they're all within stumbling distance of each other - just keep going round and round!
I used the Cracow-Life website a lot beforehand, and you can also pick up free copies of the paper version in most bars - lots of info, especially on going out.
Get yourself to Krakow and enjoy a fabulous, accessible city with a great atmosphere and friendly locals.
Amazing food, cooked in front of you. All ingredients sourced a few feet away as it is in the heart of the Mercat Bocceria. Quite intimidating having to wait behind someone sitting and eating - you have to 'bags' your seat in this very un-English way! But the food was gorgeous.
The prices are high - we had two beers (on tap, San Miguel) a basket of lovely bread, one plate of gambas in burnt garlic and chilli and four tiny but exquisite croquettas and it came to 25 euros...considering our dismal experience at Les Quinze Nits, worth every penny and the five euro tip! Real Catalan through-and-through.
Mercat Bocceria, just off La Rambla
We stayed at Jesmonds for three nights, Thursday to Saturday, and ate there two of the three nights - it would have been three if it hadn't been for the rugby!
The room was very comfortable, good value and breakfast was exceptional....quality ingredients the key as always. However, the restaurant for dinner was the best bit and I'm sure lunch is just as good.
The service from both the management and the young staff was spot-on - accurate, with a smile and an attitude that suggests they really do care that you enjoy your evening. Nothing was too much trouble. The food is excellent, and tremendous value. The wine list is extensive, perhaps they could do with a few more wines at the top-end, but we found some excellent wines in the £20-£25 range which fitted the bill perfectly.
You will struggle to find a better overall restaurant experience anywhere in this price-range. If you are looking for somewhere for dinner a deux, or in a larger group to celebrate a birthday I would not hesitate to recommend the place to anyone.
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