A haven of a bar near the Rialto in Venice! Happy hour between 5 and 7.30pm makes the delicious cocktails very affordable.
This was actually recommended to me by another traveler and the fact that I'm passing on the tip says it all!
There may be tourists here but they are mostly backpackers and young people, giving the bar a fun international flavor.
The owners are super-friendly too and seem genuinely interested in their visitors, particularly those from elsewhere in Europe so be prepared to engage in some lively conversation!
San Marco 5546, Venice
Popping into this cheap little Venice restaurant near the train station on the way home bought an unusual surprise.
I've been told since that it's a chain but it's not like places in England. The dishes are simple but tasty and my pasta was cooked fresh to order while I watched.
The salad was also good quality and (another surprise!) we had a reasonably priced beer to accompany it too.
Lista di Spagna, Canneregio 124
I don't know what to say about this Venice hostel except that it's everything a good, cheap hostel should be.
The location is unbeatable, a five-minute stroll to Piazza San Marco and even closer to the Rialto Bridge. You really get the feeling that you're staying right in the heart of the city and on a typical Venetian street.
It's very reasonable for a private room – and a room that's nice and sunny, too!
They said they do special last minute deals that work out even cheaper, but, it's such a great place I can't imagine they've spare rooms all that often.
San Marco 3358, Salizada San Samuele, Venice, 30124
This is probably the biggest tourist trap here into which many have fallen. Many of the shops on Nathan Road in Kowloon selling electronic products don't display the prices on the items. Many tourists have been scammed or cheated. One ploy is to give you an unbelievably good price, then after they have your money, they say they are out of stock, offering you another item but at an outrageous price. Some tourists have said that even calling the police did not help.
Ostello Gallo D'Oro is a central, pleasant and extremely clean hostel in Florence, owned by the most remarkable couple: Massimo and Silvia.
They drive every aspect of this lovely Florence hostel, and are constantly on hand to make sure that their guests (and you really do feel like a guest rather than a customer!) have everything they could possibly need.
I didn't stay long enough to take advantage of the offer, but long-term guests are invited out to their Tuscan farmhouse for the night.
It was a real wrench to tear myself away.
No. 104 Via Cavour, Florence
After visiting so many shops in downtown Bangkok with people harassing you to get in, this shop was much different from the others, with no harassment or pushy sales. The price was reasonable for the quality and they give professional fittings. The Shop owner Mr Sunny has had famous clients including Elijah Wood from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
You can call them for pickup for free from anywhere.
This is the MOST gorgeous little cluster of villas - my friends and family and I visit it every single summer. It's set in a quaint little Portuguese village, surrounded by orange groves and the owners, Beccy and Ron, are so welcoming. It's only 10 minutes from Faro airport and it has a pool and loads of character. I love the neighbour, Florentina - we always manage to communicate even when I cant speak a word of Portuguese!
Quite the best way of travelling in Hong Kong and the many outlying islands is on the brilliant integrated transport system. The electronic Octopus card will save you both time and money, not least of all on the express in from the airport.
Unlike London airports where transport for London offers no prominent advice to those visiting the UK, The Octopus card is comprehensively trailed at a dedicated desk at the airport.
A four-day bus pass costs £21 - you can hop on and off buses over a wide area, walk from one valley and come down in another and generally avoid driving and finding parking spaces! The open top bus along Borrowdale is great fun!
A lot of lower-end accommodation options in Kuala Lumpur for backpackers and people/families on a budget are quite poor (bed bugs being a common complaint). For £20-24 you can get a double room at the Swiss Inn, located right in the heart of vibrant Chinatown, close to Central Market and importantly, light rail inter-city transport links. It represents a great value option and comes with an excellent buffet breakfast. Room has TV and tea making facilities etc. Book online for some decent deals. No extra cost for children though they do not provide an extra bed.
Pizzas are a speciality but the menu is great. Rossopomodoro is a chain (Maybe think Pizza Express?) around Italy. This one is in Largo di Torre Argentina, west of Piazza Venezia and three blocks south of the Pantheon. Go upstairs after entering the Tardis-like front door to a large, frantically busy local gem.
Google Map: tinyurl.com/6lwk38
Largo di Torre Argentina
Great place on Via Del Proconsulo, near the Bargello. As you walk from the Duomo towards the river you will do worse than to stop in Yellow Bar - the Nona making the pasta between the kitchen and the stairs alone is worth the price of admission (there isn't a price of admission). Very busy, locals and tourists.
Great food at low, low prices. We had dinner for 30 with wine (and not from a fixed menu!) that came to less than 20 euro per person. Wonderful spot.
Via Del Proconsolo, 39/R
50122 Firenze (FI), Italy
Fourvière hill is where the Romans set up Lugnudum (their name for Lyon) and contains the treasures of Cathédrale St Jean, Basillique Notre Dame de Fourvière, Place St Jean, Rue St Jean and a Roman amphitheatre.
Just take the funicular from the bottom of Fourvière hill up to Basillique Notre or walk up from Cathédrale St Jean and lose yourself in the alleyways and squares of old Lyon.
Fourvière hill lies on the left bank of the Saone river opposite Presqu'ile. From Place Bellecour just follow the signs for Fourvière.
If Hotel Lodi can't quite make up its mind if it's a good budget hotel (with nice airy private rooms upstairs) or a pretty upmarket hostel (dorm rooms downstairs), one thing's for sure: it's a fantastic option for cheap accommodation in Rome!
It's set a couple of stops on the metro away from the city centre, in a smart suburb near a couple of excellent (and well priced) restaurants. Out back there's a lovely garden (with fruit trees and vines), perfect for lounging around in on warm summer evenings...
But what really makes it special is the people who run it. Fabrizio is a giant of a man, who literally pressgangs his guests into sharing his food and wine (or grappa), and insists on giving them detailed instructions for how to get the best out of his beloved city. Special guy, special place.
Via Oristano, 14 – 00182. +39 06 7010 492
The Promenade des Bastions runs from the old city down to Place Neuve (the main square of Geneva) and goes past the Mur des Reformateurs - check out the chess boards with giant-sized chess pieces for the public to use for Sunday afternoon games.
There are also numerous cheap cafés.
The Promenade des Bastions is a 30 min walk from Cornavin train station and 20 mins from St Peters Cathedral in the old city
The co-op on Rue du Commerce has sensibly-priced souvenirs for the tourist and of course the obligatory Swiss chocolate. It's also a great place to buy lunch.
Rue du Commerce - a 30 min walk from Cornavin train station
If you want to see the UN building then I recommend that you hop onto Tram 13/15 from outside Cornavin train station heading for Nations - aim to get there before 8am as there is practically nobody there at this time and the hordes of tourists don't descend upon Place des Nations until 9.00am.
Don't miss the massive wooden chair - a monument to landmine victims.
Place des Nations
Trams 13 and 15 depart from a stand directly outside Cornavin train station
Tram fare is 3 CHF for a one hour ticket (this is perectly adequate if you only want to see the outside of the UN building and not do the whole tour)
For a comprehensive tour of Geneva I recommend this route:
From Cornavin train station, go down Rue du Mont Blanc and cross the river Rhône via the Pont Mont Blanc, stopping to admire superb views of Lake Geneva, St Peter's Cathedral, Ile Rousseau and Pont des Bergues.
Once across Pont Mont Blanc, walk alongside the Rhône river via the embankment to see Port St Gervais and enter the shopping district of Geneva.
Walk along Rue de la Conféderation, Rue de la Croix d'or and Rue du Rhône.
Turn off Rue de la Conféderation at Place Madelaine and walk up into the old city to Place Bourg Four (good cheap cafés here) and climb Rue de l'Hôtel de Ville to look at the murals depicting the history of Geneva and the cannons.
Enter Cours St Pierre and visit St Peter's Cathedral. Then descend back to the shopping district and head to the Jardin Anglais to see the famous Jet d'eau and flower clock.
Walk alongside Lake Geneva (Rive Gauche) - for children there is a beach on this side of the lake.
Go through the Jardin Anglais, go across Pont Mont Blanc and walk alongside lake Geneva (Rive Droite) stopping to admire views of Mont Blanc across the lake and see the Brunswick monument.
Return to Cornavin train station via Les Paquis district (to the west of Quai Wilson). Go up Rue de Lausanne and follow signs to Cornavin train station.
As flash as Flash Gordon downloading Flashplayer in a flash flood (yes, it is that flash!), La Controra Flashpackers Hostel has got to be one of the best hostels I've ever stayed in!
The hostel is housed in an old monastery, and huddled around a palm-strewn courtyard that's ideal for barbecues. Shared rooms are light, airy and spacious, while a couple of doubles seem to open up on to their own terraces. All in all, it's more than a bit special. (And very reasonable, too!)
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