Cafe Jospehine is a very restful bar-cum-restaurant next to the water and only 15 mins by metro from the city centre. It is full of books and has one room that is decked out like a library. Very ornate and luxurious, yet less expensive than most bars in the city centre, good bar staff who serve coffee the traditional Dutch way with a glass of water with ice and a shot of rum with cream. My local in Rotterdam and former favourite student haunt
Oostplein, metro Oostplein.
Google map: bit.ly/aNGSCl
Before you start shopping check whether the supermarket operates a savings card. If it does, sign up by completing a short form and when you have completed your shop the checkout assistant will swipe the card and you will get cash discount on some items. We saved on lots of items including fresh food and wine.
We used these cards at Vons, Safeways, Albertsons and Cala Foods/Bell Markets
Westminister Furnival House is the equivalent of a hostel in the middle of London. While some might argue that it's a bit too much like college, anyone who has spent time travelling in South America can appreciate what it has to offer.
Dorm beds, laundry services and common rooms set the stage for a good time with the right bunch of people. It's perfect for having a place to relax after exploring Abby Road Studios and the countless other attractions of London.
Cholmeley Park Highgate Village
London N6 5EU
Google map: bit.ly/9zXtK3
Fantastic ski lodge in the secluded, picturesque village of Annupuri. Two hours from Sapporo airport by local bus and 20 minutes by free shuttle from the larger resort of Niseko, Annuprui Lodge offers home cooked meals, log fires and modern, comfortable double and bunk rooms. All facilities are shared but kept spakling by the in-lodge host and hostess. Walk to the piste or try the local onsen if the powder is too deep to ski. From Y5500 per night (GBP42)
482-2 Aza Niseko, Niseko
Abutagun, Hokkaido 048-1511
from abroad: 81-90-1851-6663
If you are near Courtenay or heading northwards along the east coast of Vancouver Island and you like small, simple rural hostels, then this is a must. Run by the delightful Bonnie, the atmosphere is so warm and welcoming.You can sit around a camp fire in the evening and if you are lucky like us, a large barred owl might watch you from a neighbouring tree. Black bears come into the garden looking for apples and blackberries,but the five lovely dogs scare them away and will take you for walks along the Comox river, if you are too nervous to head out alone.
Most British people don’t live in London so it’s easy to forget what a great place it is for a City Break. No one wants to be in a stuffy city in the summer, so London is ideal for a winter break: Nov/Dec have the added bonus of Christmas lights and outdoor ice rinks (I’d recommend Somerset House, but book early) and if we are lucky enough to get bright, crisp, sunny days early in the year its perfect weather for a stroll down the South Bank or a clear view from the London Eye, without the summer haze. If it rains then take advantage of the FREE museums – we have some of the greatest art, history and science museums in the world. Then there is the theatre and musicals too –check out cheap tickets online before you go. My personal favourite is Borough Market; a fascinating and atmospheric spot for lunch.
Best of all it’s a cheap and eco friendly destination – no flights and if you plan ahead you can get a decent price on the bus or train. And most of us have a friend or family member who lives in our capital – call them up and bunk down on the sofa for a night. Or if you can’t think of anyone try the newly updated St Pancreas YHA; dorm beds are about £25 a night – get a group together and plan the trip.
In the heart of the trendy neighbourhood of El Born just minutes away from the chaos of Las Ramblas you will find this gem of a pizzeria run by a group of young friendly Argentinians.
The offering consists of a wide variety of delicious crusty deep base pizza by the slice made with quality ingredients. I recommend the pineapple and bacon and anchovy and tomato. They also have savoury tarts and empanadas. Each item costs a very reasonable €1.80.
If you feel like something sweet they have a range of typical Argentinian desserts that are worth a try.
The place is quite small, catering mainly to the locals and is usually always packed- a good thing since pizza is always fresh.
If the weather is obliging you can get take away and have it on one of stone benches outside.
The Camino Real to Guane is an ancient paved track leading down the precipitous slope to the east of Barichara, and though fields and woods all the way to the colonial village of Guane. It's nine kilometres of good walking, and in Guane you can get a huge meal for about five quid (at the restaurant in the road leading up on the left hand side of the church), wander around the village, and try chicha (alcoholic Horlicks) and sabajon (a milk-and-liquor mix). It's not a challenging trek, it's just a great day's walking.
Google map: bit.ly/90aLal
This is a great deal if you want to see a fair number of museums and places of interest in your stay. 24 of them are free with the card and others are discounted. That's a fee boat trip, free Belfry and Dali Exhibition, free Brewery Tour (de Halve Maan), and so many free museums from the Memling (fantastic medieval hospital to the Groeninge (all flemish art) to the Choco-Story and the Friet(chips) museum. Every major museum is included so you can dip in without taking any risks. There are discounts off cycling, ballooning, buses and much more. It costs €33 for 48 hrs and €39 for 72 hrs.
We just enjoyed ourselves walking the canals, eating and drinking and seeing whatever we fancied - and somehow we saved €30 each on two days of entertainment, without really trying. The Belfy & Dali exhibition are €18 together to start with - so you can see how the savings add up quickly.
You may be given a card if you're in a grand hotel but the rest of us end up buying one - and it's great value!
You get a visitors' guide with it too.
Buy the card at the Concertgbouw Information Centre (on T-Zand) and at the Station Information Office. Details on www.bruggecitycard.be
Alpenrider is the best youth hostel in the Alps bar none. Nothing like the stale YHA hostels in Switzerland. This has all the things a good hostel should have - ridiculously friendly staff, lively bar, mixed punters from all over the world, great breakfast - but in the Alps.
Cheap as chips and everyday a guided group leaves the chalet together for a group trip to the nearby (glorious) slopes of Kitzbuhel. When the snow closed the railway link to the airport the legendary owner Shevvy, was out of bed on New Years Day with a lift to the airport. Why are there not more places like this?
Hovfjallet is small family-friendly ski resort located about four hours drive north from Gothenburg. Great for budget skiing. I recommend staying at the Gammelbyn village in a wooden cabin that sleeps up to six for around £250 for a week. Ice skating lake, Finnish smoke fired sauna and a pub that has horse saddle bar stools and a roaring fire.
Wasteland Ski is a website which offers last minute accommodation in the French Alps during the winter season.
For the most part the accommodation deals includes lift pass for the duration of the stay but not alot else. It is ideal for groups of people looking to get on the slopes together for relatively little money, with a week's accommodation and lift pass being available from under £300. Depending on location of the chosen resort, as well as group size, you may find that the cheapest option of travel is to drive - splitting the costs of fuel and toll roads between the party.
As an example of how cheap this can be a friend of mine used the site in December of last year and stayed in Les Deux Alps. The package cost him £160 for a week's accommodation and lift pass. Upon arriving at the lifts he inquired as to the price of a weeks pass if he were to buy on arrival - it was £160 for pass alone!
The words Meribel and budget do not go hand in hand. Meribel is renowned for its luxury chalets and extensive ski area rather than budget ski holidays. However there is a wonderful way to stay in the Meribel valley for next to nothing. Club Alpin Francais is a refuge in Les Allues, in the Meribel Valley. It is not out of the way, not in some unknown area or small hamlet and offers excellent budget accommodation for skiers and snowboarders. There are two dormitories which cost just 16 euros per person per night which means you could get a week self catered for less than £100pp (at the current exchange rate.)
Club Alpin Francais, Les Allues, Meribel, 73550
0033 (0) 385 93 10 21
Nearest train staion - Moutiers
Nearest airport - Chambery
Nearest bus station - Les Allues
Nearest ski resort - Les Allues(3 valley ski region with over 650kmlinked skiing)
Nearest supermarket - Les Allues (5 min walk)
Nearest Bar - Les Allues (10 min walk)
Nearest Restaurant - Les Allues (5 min walk)
Nearest Lift - Les Allues ( 10 min walk)
Google map: bit.ly/cCCZuq
We had a fun cheap ski holiday in Zakopane over new year. I would recommend it more if you are keen for a fun experience and less if you are a pro skier, but for something different it's great. It's very atmospheric with cute wooden houses and sleighs driving about the streets. And best of all, on New Year's Eve they have a great street party on the main street, with fireworks and mulled wine. Just make sure you dodge some of the precariously-fired fireworks!
For NZ$820 (less than £400) you get a seven day liftpass, six nights accommodation, meals from Sunday night to Saturday lunch, NZ's highest hot tub, access to the fancy dress box and night skiing on a Tuesday when I was there in September. This was crazy, a whole day on the hill, a couple of beers apres ski by the fire while watching the sunset over the peak of Mt. Olympus, followed by a communal dinner, then out came the fancy dress box to much amusement and then at 8.30pm the massive floodlights came on and everyone headed out for a couple of hours night skiing in the main bowl with the tunes from the sound system echoing out across the mountains. Totally surreal and amazing!
A genuine club field experience like no other.
I stayed here last year which was their first year of operation. It's one of the most affordable chalets I have found with great accommodation in a traditional chalet with good food and hospitality. It is just by the centre of the village and the main ski lift up to the Three Valleys is only about 200 metres away which can either be skied or walked to. The lift links you to the whole of the Three Valleys area which offers excellent and varied skiing of a huge area.
UCPA, with centres in most of the big name French ski resorts, provides amazing value, all inclusive, outdoor activity packages.
In winter, you can ski, snowboard or even learn to speed ride. In summer, you can try mountaineering and other activities.
Most packages include full-time coaching, the technical equipment you require, lift passes and full board accommodation.
The centres are basic, but clean and adequate as a base, while the food is outstanding and plentiful. Beer and wine is also far cheaper than in most bars or hotels.
As an introduction to an activity, the courses are ideal. Better yet, for off-piste guiding, nothing compares for value. A week will typically cost about £600 plus transport, but you needn't spend a penny more in resort.
The cheapest transport option for a group may be to drive from the UK, but bus operators also link up to London. Outside of school half-term weeks, flights to gateway cities like Geneva can also be obtained cheaply from the usual budget operators.
BSM is the end of the line for Eurostar trains, plus TGVs from Paris.
It's a real, working town, not just a ski resort - and compared to resorts higher up the mountains it's really dead cheap to stay, eat and drink.
After a day's skiing, have a pastis in a bar with reasonable prices and get to know the pisteurs and ski instructors who live in the town rather than warding off beery Brits in an overpriced mountain establishment.
There's a funiculaire (included in Les Arcs lift pass) from just behind the BSM rail station to Arc 1600 - you can be on the slopes in less than 15 minutes from the town.
If you have your own transport, all the ski stations off the Isere valley (Val d'Isere itself, Tignes, La Rosiere, St Foy, Les Arcs, La Plagne and all the Trois Vallees resorts) are under an hour away - some only a few minutes.
Can't think of anywhere else where you can stay at such a reasonable price, see a bit of 'real' France and access so many top resorts.
Highly affordable hostel which manages to still be conveniently located near the centre of town. A simple, but excellent, breakfast is included in the price. The bar (stocked with an impressive selection of scotch) is a seasonaires favourite, especially in spring when the enormous patio with breathtaking views of Mont Blanc really comes into its own. The New Years Eve party, the Boss des Bosses race weekend and the end of season party in early May are the best possible times to stay there and enjoy the atmosphere.
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