Only 20 minutes away from the Duomo, this hostel is by Idroscalo, with its swimming beach and lake.
It's a really social hostel with a cool Italian bar and is opposite the 'rolling stone' nightclub if you want to go out.
Lots of good freebies - breakfast, linen, wi-fi and a city map.
This hostel isn't in the center of Florence - it's on the outskirts, but there's a free bus shuttle service into the center, and during the hot summer months, the pool and quieter location is a welcome respite from the summer crowds.
The location means you get cheaper room rates and heaps of extras - we loved the swimming pool, restaurant, bar and pretty surrounding olive groves.
We hired bikes and explored other parts of Tuscany - and the hostel organize tours to Pisa, Lucca and San Gimingnano.
Beautiful location, views of Tuscany countryside, great free breakfast, totally relaxing, and it was easy to pop into Florence, despite being in another town!
It's not easy to find budget accommodation in Venice, as we found on a recent tour of Italy. If you do manage to find somewhere cheap, there's usually a lock out or curfew so we were happy to find the more chilled out 'Venice Fish' by the canal.
This beautiful old 16th century palace is on one of the main streets in Venice, but inside the hostel is fun, modern and laid back, with big and homely rooms, and friendly, helpful staff.
It might not be as fancy as some hostels but breakfast and dinner are included, and the staff will take you out in search of local nightlife.
You're only a few minutes from the Casino, Rialto Bridge, and the train station.
It is a website which I read about in an article on this site. It has apartments or rooms to rent all over NYC. I rented a fab studio in Greenwich Village for $150 a night through them (how cheap?!) The owner was very helpful and nice - he even contacted me after we left to say I had left $50 in the studio and sent it back to me! Owners don't get paid until after your stay so it is all safe and secure plus the website is nicely designed, easy to use. Highly recommended. The apartment I stayed in was called 'Famous Street' and I found it by searching for 'two people, whole apartment $150 max'. Only minor downside is that I couldn't find a way to search by area.
Best cocktail bar in Vienna. Daily happy hour from 7pm to 10 pm (€ 5.00). It's very small but incredibly charming.
A beach bar down at Donaukanal. Nice atmosphere, DJs and delicious Israeli food. The food and drinks are very reasonably priced and it's the perfect place for a nice afternoon drink.
A Pakistani restaurant offering a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet. Their menu changes weekly and contains three meat dishes, three vegetarian dishes, dessert etc. The best thing: except for the drinks, you pay as much as you wish!
This is a great value Italian restaurant and pizzeria in the uptown part of Barcelona. The staff are very friendly and the food is authentic.
It's a cosy trattoria and if you want to try an authentic Italian risotto, this is a place to choose.
Av. República Argentina
Tel 93 417 7772
Nearest metro station: Vallcarca (L3 Green) or Tibidabo (FGCC)
Bus stops:17, 22,
Buy a Muni 1 ($11), 3 ($18) or 7-day ($24) visitor passport for unlimited rides on cable cars, streetcars (trams), trolleybuses and diesel buses, but not BART. Regular fare is $2 (Cable Car is $5).
If you're 65 or older, show your driver's license, ID or passport as proof of age and buy a Muni monthly Senior Pass ($15).
Muni's visitor passport and Senior Pass can be purchased at their kiosk (looks like a cable car) at the Powell-Market cable car turntable. You can also buy a Muni 2-for-1 street and transit map for $3 there.
Muni is the nickname of the San Francisco Municipal Railway, America's oldest public-owned large city public transit system (1912) and probably the last to call itself a railway.
Muni (San Francisco Municipal Railway)
Phone: 311 (within San Francisco)
1 (415) 701-2323 (outside San Francisco)
For anyone on a budget, taking the train across America is ideal. We paid about £650 from NYC to LA, via Toronto, Chicago, Seattle and SF, and you can stop off for as long as you like in your chosen stops!
Because it's America, the space you get on the trains is immense compared to the UK and on certain legs of the journey you get your own cabin with panoramic windows to watch the world go by (and a free little bottle of bubbly upon arrival!)
The longest leg of our journey was approx. two days through the beautiful flat plains of the Midwest with the occassional ranch and small town thrown in for good measure, followed by the beautiful Rockies, where we even saw a few wild animals!
All your food is included in the price of your fare - staff come knocking on your cabin door to take reservations and at your alloted time you make your way to the dining carriage. If you're travelling alone or in a couple you'll share a table with other passengers.... although we're a bit British sometimes and don't like awkward small-talk, this actually was a lot of fun! One night we shared a table with a sweet Midwest school teacher (v. talkative) and a toothless trucker (not so talkative!) Priceless!
The train journey from Tangier to Marrakech is one of the best I've been on. You can't purchase tickets outside Morocco, but we had no problem buying them on the day. The trains are comfortable and spacious and very cheap (the 10 hour trip cost about £20, imagine that in the UK!?)
We met some interesting characters on the train, who were eager to talk to us and help us when it came to switching trains. Perhaps the best thing though is that you get to see the countryside and small towns along the way that you would normally be flying over! Well worth the slight more effort involved!
A friendly hotel in a great part of the small island. There are only two hotels on Tiree, but this is my favourite. It's basic, but good value and the staff are very welcoming.
After a day's walking or cycling around the island, what better way to relax than in the adjoining pub with the friendly locals and a large whisky!
Wine tasting holidays aren’t just for wine buffs with a lot of money to burn! Last year, my girlfriend and I drove around Bordeaux with a tent and a stove and managed to eat great food and taste a lot of excellent wine on a very little budget.
The vineyard owners welcome you in with open arms and at no point did we feel pressured to buy the wines we tasted. If you let on your ignorance, rather than sneering, most owners proudly launch into a long presentation about their wines, their grapes and their history.
If you are on a budget, going around Bordeaux and France’s other wine regions is probably the best way to taste wines that usually you wouldn’t be able to afford.
The tourist centre is amazingly helpful and will provide you with all the maps, routes, or any other information you might need.
Avoid Corfu's grisly package resorts and club 18-30 rep-enforced 'fun' - if you really want a clubbing holiday with sun, sea and sand, it's far cheaper to stay in a hostel.
The Pink Palace is legendary on the backpacker trail for it's beautiful location on the beach, private rooms with (free!!) air conditioning and wild parties.
More like a bargain resort than a hostel, you never have to leave the Pink Palace - the staff will pick you up from the airport or port, and have devised a jam-packed events and excursions calender if you want to do more than veg out on the sand.
The price includes countless extras, from a delicious full cooked breakfast (the perfect hangover cure) to a traditional Greek home-cooked 3 course feast at night, served in the rooftop garden overlooking Agios Gordios Bay.
The 24-hour bar (with a 5-hour happy hour!!) and access to the Palladium nightclub will keep party animals entertained, and you can recover the next day on the private sun-loungers on the beach, in the jacuzzi or in the spa room.
We were amazed at the activities on offer - the 'booze cruise' took us around the island to sea caves, places to snorkel and cliff dive. The Quad Biking 'safari' was a more adventurous way to see Corfu, we found ourselves off-roading through olive groves and scaling the mountain tops!
There was also a Kayak safari, hiking and trail walking, volleyball and basketball tournaments... but we didn't have the energy to tackle them all!
Aside from all the extras, the hostel has all the facilities you'd expect from a hotel- lockers in the dorms, washing machines, a 24-hour reception, a swimming pool... and like some other hostels in Europe, there's no curfew.
The staff were super-friendly, and everyone staying there was out to have a good time.
This beautiful 17th century monastery is a hit with the tour buses, but even with the crowds it's a wonderful diversion from the beach, and a great way to see the entire island unfold from your car window as you climb Corfu's hills.
Perched high on a headland and surrounded by wild flowers, the orange buildings are wonderfully ornate inside, and you can look at the famous ceiling carving of the ‘Tree of Life’.
Be sure to cover your shoulders or wear respectable clothing, no matter how intense the summer heat!
Above the beach resort Paleokastritsa
A hangover from the island's British military and colonial past, we were surprised to find that cricket is a popular game in Corfu! The first game took place here between the two military groups on St George’s Day in 1823, and today you can have a game all over the island. The most popular greens are the Esplanade at Corfu Town, (although alot of that space is a car park now) and the brand new ground at Kontokali Marina. Things really kick off in July, and games last 35 overs.
Watch a game, or bring your own set and play!
Esplanade - right in the center of Corfu Town.
Channel your inner Lady Macbeth for less in this bargain castle in the Scottish highlands. It was built for the Duchess of Sutherland, and even housed royalty, but now you’ll find backpackers and other budget travelers staying in the historic halls. The Castle overlooks the River Kyle and hills of rugged heather, and is decorated with an opulent art collection and gallery of marble statues. We rented a mountain bike and went for long country walks, before returning to our ‘manor’ for a game of pool and a meal fit for a king in the restaurant. Rumours of a castle ghost add a gothic chill to your stay, but luckily we didn’t come across any spooks!
Carbisdale Castle, Culrain, Sutherland, IV24 3DP
0870 004 1109
It is a beautiful colonial house right next to the VIAZUL bus station and opposite a big restaurant called Don Antonio - the house is really big, pretty and eye-catching with its yellow window frames.
Every room has two double beds, private bathroom with hot water - the bathroom is bigger and cleaner than any hotel bathrooms I have ever booked.
The good things about this place are that it is extraordinarily clean and tidy, very peaceful. The owner Miguel has two obedient dogs and some birds. It is great to just sit in the courtyard and garden and enjoy the serenity of the birds. It is comfortable, convenient and the price is reasonable: CUC25 - CUC30 per room. Given its perfect location, size and cleanliness, it is definitely worth more than the price range.
Miguel speaks English. He is a very friendly, generous and nice host. He's a bit shy and he never goes to the bus station to drag tourists to stay in his casa (unlike some of the other casa owners in Trinidad).
His dogs are not hostile at all. They are just lovely and manageable.
Address: Calle Gustavo Izquierdo No. 119 entre
Si mon Bolivar y Piro Guinart
Trinidad, S.S. Cuba C-P 62600
(opposite to the famous fancy restaurant called Don Antonio)
Tel no.: 5352474272
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