For a great cheap place to stay on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I like Jazz on the Park Hostel. I was only there for two nights but thoroughly enjoyed the pub crawl and the great location.
It's often difficult to find good Mexican food, and it's often difficult to find good food in South Beach period. But Lime Fresh Mexican Grill on Alton Road is a fantastic exception. I highly recommend the chicken mole burritos for about US$8. It's great food on a budget.
When I was in Rethymno, Crete in 2001 I was told about a hostel in a village called Plakias that I should go visit. I went down to Plakias and ended up staying for weeks, and returned several times over the next few years. There is great snorkeling and hiking within walking distance of the hostel. This is one of the best hostels I've been to in many years of travelling.
Valognes is a small town with a lot of character, good, small hotels and restaurants, and a market on Friday mornings. The town's heyday was in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries, when some spectacular buildings dominated the place, such as the wonderful Hotel de Beaumont. However, like most towns in Normandy, the weeks following D-Day devastated most of Valognes and what remains is a tribute to the determination of the people who survived that time and rebuilt their town. Valognes is worth a stay for its own sake, because it lies at the centre of an interesting region, and for the fact that it is close to the ferry port at Cherbourg but retains its own distinctive and attractive character.
18km south of Cherbourg; signs for Valognes, off the N13.
The 6.30 pm mass is celebrated in one of the Romanesque crypts of the abbey. Turn up at the abbey entrance ten minutes beforehand and you'll be escorted up to the church.
In winter, the floodlights shining through the huge Gothic windows give the church an eerie moonlit feeling. In summer, it's your chance to see the church for a few minutes devoid of tourists. And the singing is usually good.
Website where you can barter for a price for a hotel room. Rooms get cheaper on weekends as businesspeople stay at home. It's almost always cheaper than booking directly. You don't get to know exactly which hotel you'll be staying at - only the area. But a room's a room, innit.
I've just got back from a week at Rapture Surf Camp in Portugal. The beach in Ericeira is excellent with great waves. The surf camp is based in a chilled out villa 3 minutes walk from the sea.
You get friendly and knowledgeable surf guides who will tell you where to surf and give you pointers, decent hearty meals and a communal living room with comfy sofas, widescreen tv and dvds where you can hang out with other travellers and relax after a hard days surfing.
The town itself has plenty of bars and some good restaurants. You can get a great Brazilian steak for 10 Euros
I paid just over 200 Euros for 6 nights, surf lessons, wetsuit & board hire, breakfast and dinner and a ride to the airport. Bargain.
It is a 40 min drive from Lisbon airport, they will pick you up for 15 Euros, or there is a bus for around 5 Euros, which takes a little longer.
Nepalese restaurant: really interesting food. Another of the rare restaurants where you can have a short set menu for an excellent lunch or early evening meal for 20 Euros.
28 Eustace St,Temple Bar,Dublin 2.
Lebanese restaurant with some interesting and different dishes. One of the relatively few places where you can get a quality early evening meal for less than 20 Euros - but it goes up a lot after 7pm.
11a St Andrew Street Dublin 2 (01) 677 2121
Elegant well-restored Georgian building with Arts & Crafts murals and giant coat of arms in Rotunda, with some really good restaurants close by. Don't forget the official measurement outside on the wall.
Cork Hill, Dame Street, Dublin 2
Probably both the cheapest and the most authentic pizza I've had in Vietnam. Proper oven, proper ingredients, proper training, no messing around!
And the prices are sure to please. Located within walking distance of the backpacker district. Note the shop is very small, only a few small tables available facing the noisy traffic.
76 Nguyen Trai, District 1
Tel: 9 181 688
While there are plenty of great hotels in Berlin, staying in an apartment proved much better value. We had a huge one-bedroom place in Kreuzberg, where the bathroom alone was about the size of our whole flat in London. And it was £25 a night each. This website has loads of different apartments all over Berlin or varying sizes. A great way to feel like a local while being on holiday.
Fantastic Vietnamese cafe/bar, serving unbelievably cheap fresh noodles, soups, dumplings and juices in a trendy bit of Mitte. Young and cool and always very crowded, with a picture of Monsieur Vuong on the bright yellow and red walls. A welcome respite from too many wursts!
Alte Schonhauser Strasse 46, Mitte
It is right by Lake Tekapo and is a small campground right on the edge of the lake. There is an honesty box to pay your camp fees which are only $5 per person per night. There are toilets there too.
Turn right after Lake Tekapo and head in the direction of the observatory. Carry on after the observatory and turn left. Signposted as a dept of conservation area. Or ask at the visitor info before you leave the village.
Tiny sushi bar Bian - not to be confused with the also brilliant Bien restaurant on Shortland St - supplies the local area with lunch every day, pumping out a fantastic selection of donburi, soups, nigiri and maki rolls. Lovely fresh tuna and salmon, along with more unusual fillings such as deep-fried oyster, rare beef, and sesame-fried green beans. The wasabi is fresh, home-made, and free of additives. And it's self-service, so you can pick a mixed selection of your favourites.
The busy, cheery kitchen will make up a roll for you if they run out of anything. Reliable, friendly and surprisingly cheap - and it's also BYO and open at night. You can't really go wrong.
183 Symonds St, Auckland
Phone: 09-309 5609
Melbourne is a very liveable and visitable city with great cafes, shopping and history. On a recent visit, I found one of the best things I did was take a pod tour of Melbourne's Laneways.
I used a free podcast from Talk'N Tours which was great but there are others available.
I got to see street art, quirky shops and a good bit of the central city sights as I wound my way along the back streets and through alleyways I otherwise wouldn't have.
Station: Starts at Flinders St Station
I spent a few days in Valencia in March. If you haven't been to "las Fallas de Valencia" you don't know what a party is!! They burn huge monuments made of wood and cardboard in the middle of the streets. There are thousands of "Fallas", firecrackers, and festivals everywhere!!
My friends and i stayed in Red Hostel and saved a lot of money for going out. The hostel staff told us where to go, how to get to parties and even a handsome receptionist went out with us to the beach!!
They have internet, air conditioning, kitchen, shared and private rooms... It's open 24/7 and waiting for us after party. Our rooms were coloured painted and we saw the river of Valencia by the window!! Best holidays ever had in a lovely hostel!!
Basement has a nice bookshop and a very convenient set of computers with internet access. The food is delicious and inexpensive since the restaurant is volunteer run.
24 Lever Street, Northern Quarter (M1 1DZ) (at Piccadilly Gardens & Piccadilly station)
Tel: 0161 237 1832
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