Best European Travel Web Sites: 2007
What Web sites have helped you plan your trip? What do you like about the various sites? Anything missing that we could add to ours?
- Please don't post questions here. Use our Travelers Helpline.
noambit-travel europe on a budget
This site is new and growing quick but it has soooo much helpful info. If your planning a trip to Europe check this one out. http://www.noambit.typepad.com It really has everything from packing lists to places to eat in London and is updated about 3 times a week with lengthy articles regarding places to go, how to get there and how to do it all on a budget. Great first hand experience laid out for those who are getting excited about their own trip!
Jacksonville, FL USA Sun 12/09/2007
www.chowhound.com has a blog of restaurant suggestions for many places in Europe, with suggestions from the serious foodie to the casual remark about a good gelato place.
CT USA Wed 11/28/2007
Budget flights to Europe from UK
If anyone is looking for Budget flight information from the UK, then check out the following website: www.bigeasytravelguide.com The site provides all low-cost carrier routes and links to the airlines official sites as well as airport information. The site also provides destination and hotel guides for the most popular European cities.
Manchester, UK Tue 11/27/2007
Italian Castles, Apts, Villas
We found some extraordinary places, (castles, Villas, and apartments) to stay off the beaten path throughout Italy using InItaly.com. They also offer car rentals and GPS rentals at reasonable rates. Spent a week in a Tuscan castle (Gaiole in Chianti) followed by a week in an apartment in Sorrento using the site for booking the rooms and an auto for travel between locations. Very helpful and lots of suggestions for things to do, see, eat and enjoy. Like Rick, we love Italy and this site made it even better. By the way, if you are in Sorrento, do not miss Ercolano (Herculaneum). The Villa de Papyri is worth the walk through Ercolano to get to and is little promoted by the Italian government so the crowds aren't as dense as Pompeii. Also, the fresco's and city is actually better preserved than Pompeii Still couldn't have lived without Ricks Italian guide, but who could. Ah, Bella Italia!
Omaha, NE USA Mon 11/26/2007
Minimal prices for airline tickets
www.affordabletravel.org/order.php ***www.lastminute.com ***www.skyauction.com ***www.primefares.com ***www.travelation.com ***economytravel.com ***www.smartertravel.com ***http://matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch/login. It is a search engine used by professional travel agents. Comprehensive listing of flights and fares, directs you to the airline's website for ticketing.
MO USA Thu 11/22/2007
Good travel consultant
A good professional travel consultant, for help with planning a trip to countries in western Europe or Morroco is Danielle Santal. (She was a resident in France for many years). Affiliated with Adler travel agency. She is located in New York. On the internet at www.go-journeys.com
MO USA Thu 11/22/2007
website for asking questions
If you do not get a helpful reply to your question regarding traveling in a country in Europe, at the Travelers' helpline at www.ricksteves.com ***try www.frommers.com/travel talk/Europe
MO USA Thu 11/22/2007
I just found a fantastic tool for translation.
You can translate web sites or plain text.
I received a detailed email from a Hostal in Spain and plugged it into the translator. It was fantastic!!!
I even wrote a letter back into the translator and translated the text back to Spanish for an easy cut and paste.
Please check it out. Google has created another amazing and extremely helpful tool once again.
Please keep in mind, that computer programs are never perfect. They sometimes translate city names. Los Angeles may show up as The Angels.
Pismo Beach, CA USA Wed 11/14/2007
Hi, we just come back from Paris and I wanted to share a great experience. We used the service of a personal concierge. They are very friendly and we appreciated that they came to our appartment to tell us what to do in Paris. They had prepared a personal planning and they organised for us a fantastic cheese tasting. If you think you could use some help to organise your stay, contact them : www.mygenieinparis.com
Hambourg, Germany Fri 11/09/2007
Cheap and easy trip planning.
I did a 12 day trip to Rome, Sienna, Florence and Venice for $1850 a person in September through www.europeandestinations.com. Make sure you pick hotels in areas Rick recommends. They set the room reservations, train tickets and air there and back for that price.
Sylmar, CA United States Fri 11/09/2007
We have stayed in Paris several times with a family of 5. I recommend http://www.citea.com/ . We stayed at their Citea Residential Marne la Vallee, about 5 minutes from Euro Disney. It is an apartment in an apartment complex atmosphere, has nearby restaurant, pastry shop, grocery store all within walking distance. The apartment was adequate, clean, modern, but nothing fancy. Kitchen was fairly well stocked with plates, silverware, etc. We booked it on Expedia for about $110/night - not Euros, so reasonably priced, or book direct on their website. IF you want to go into Paris, catch the train right there at Disney, about a 50 minute ride to central Paris. Overall, a great value.
Kaiserslautern, Germany Wed 11/07/2007
Paris is the most wonderful city in the world with hotel prices to match. In my many travels to this city, I've learned that the best value, and most enjoyable way to get the biggest bang for your buck is to rent an apartment rather than stay in a hotel.
In my past few trips, I've used FranceforRent.com and have been pleased by both the value for my money and the quality of the lodging I was able to book. In 2006 I booked a one bedroom apartment in the Marias and I just recently returned from staying in a two bedroom apartment on the Isle St. Louis.
The staff was helpful and responsive to my questions and went out of the way to make my stay enjoyable. So, next time you're thinking about heading to the city of light, check out the many options available from France for Rent.
Washington, DC USA Mon 11/05/2007
lodging in France
We travel in France every year. It has become a drug. Of course being French Canadians help a little with the language and the culture but I think you can benefit from our experience. When in Paris, we rent appartments. We find it convenient when it comes to meals because being on a budget, we can save on restaurants by cooking ourselves. We also find that we have more room than most 3-4 stars european standard hotels. Last time, we used Rentparis and found that we couldn't get any closer to major attractions, only 2 blocks from l'île de la Cité (Marais-Beaubourg district) wow ! And the appartment was just so nice under the roof, so parisian ! When elsewhere in France, we like the countryside better and always rent a house for a week. It makes a perfect base for discovering the region. We always book via Gîtes de France(their website is available in english : http://www.gitesdefrance.com/gites/uk/rural_gites). We have been dealing with them for the past 10 years and never had any complaints. Compare to hotel rates, a house is a real bargain (400-575/week depending on where you go). We have rented renovated sheep pens, manors, chalets ... name it. All had a charm you can never find in hotels. For us, living with the local people make us feel less touristy and we feel it's very important when we travel. It also gives us the chance to see what most people miss when on a tight schedule. Anyway, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Newport News, VA USA Tue 10/30/2007
Museum & Gallery exhibit info.
Found a useful site with info on latest Museum and Gallery temporary exhibits. Can be viewed on phone - http://www.museum-tracker.com/mobile/
San Fran., USA Sat 10/27/2007
things to do in Paris
I'd like to recommend www.meetthefrench.com They offer a choice of local businesses who give tours. List of offerings varies by date, but includes a chocolate shop, or bakery, etc. We did a bakery tour and it was wonderful. Met local people and saw a neighborhood off the beaten track.
Shoreline, WA USA Mon 10/22/2007
France for Rent - Patrick Rech
Patrick Reck, the "France for Rent" representative, with whom we dealt on our recent trip to France, provided exceptional assistance and advice. He found a beautifully decorated Paris apartment, made arrangements for a personal chef and made additional recommendations for sightseeing, restaurants and special events which made our trip memorable.
Alice and Dan Chapin
Danvers, MA USA Fri 10/19/2007
France For Rent
We had a very good experience renting an apartment in Paris from France-for-Rent. The studio apartment was elegant, spacious, and centrally located. We found this option much better than the alternative of two and three star hotels. We especially appreciated having a kitchenette, washer/dryer, and no-smoking room.
Silicon Valley, CA USA Wed 10/17/2007
Paris Apartment Rental
I recently used http://FranceForRent.com http://ParisLuxuryRentals.com I booked an appatment through them and received excellent service and would highly recommend them
Cork, Ireland, Cork Ireland Tue 10/16/2007
PARISLUXURYRENTAL.COM ASSISTED ME WITH A BEAUTIFUL 2 BEDROOM APARTMENT IN LA MARAIS. THE ARRANGEMENT WAS PERFECT, IT IS WAS IN A GREAT LOCATION. I WILL DEFINITELY USE THIS AGENCY AGAIN
USA Mon 10/15/2007
RENTALinROME.COM website concerns
We rented an apt through rentalinrome.com this past May and it was so horrid that we left and found a hotel to stay in with our infant son, at great additional expense. The rentalinrome.com website had grossly misrepresented the condition of the apt. The company promised to refund our money if we sent a letter when we got back to the US. We faxed the letter (I can forward to anyone who is interested in the details of these misrepresentations), and followed it up with multiple phone calls. They have ignored us. Beware of these people!
New York, NY USA Fri 10/12/2007
Parisbestlodge - Furnished vacation rentals - Place des Vosges
My daughter and I just returned home from a month stay in the Place des Vosges apartmentfrom PARISBESTLODGE. It was wonderful!
The apartment is in a great location - close to shops, cafes, a bakery, the metro, a bus stop, restaurants, etc.
Everything necessary was waiting for us! The kitchen was perfect with a coffeemaker and coffee, a microwave and stove top, a refrigerator, and a washer/dryer.
We especially appreciated the loft area for the bed which left the floor space open for living. It made the apartment seem larger.
Having a computer in the apartment made all the difference in the world! We were able to stay in touch with friends and family, store pictures on a website, check "horaires" of museums and attractions, get maps, check the weather forecast, and take care of personal business and bills.
The owner, Thierry, came to the apartment right after our arrival and showed us how everything operated, made sure we had what we needed, and was available either by phone or email if we needed to contact him. Thierry was very friendly and helpful - the perfect host!
In short, the apartment is EXACTLY as represented in the pictures on the website. It is convenient, rather roomy, clean, modern, pleasantly decorated, and became our home away from home immediately.
I highly recommend this apartment and I assume his other properties are equally wonderful. When I return to Paris, I will certainly stay in one of parisbestlodge's apartments!
USA Thu 10/11/2007
Hotels in Hungary
I have found this to be a useful web-site for hotels in Hungary. http://www.danubiushotels.com/en Their booking engine is easy to use, and reliable. It will show you immediately if accommodation is available for the nights you want. It obviously does not have everything. But it's a pretty good start, particularly in Budapest. Also check the three rates available, particularly if you are booking in far enough in advance, and don't mind the 'no refund' requirement.
E. R. Tuttle
Denver, CO USA Sun 10/07/2007
cheap one way flights to europe www.airtech.com
For cheap one way travel to europe check out travel legends airtech www.airtech.com 212-219-7000 x2 one way travel to europe at $269 incl tax
new york, NY USA Mon 10/01/2007
5 Star Spain Family Trip...Customized :-)
Hola!...we didn't set out to learn Spanish on my recent guided Spain trip, custom made just for us but we could have! My family and I did enjoy and learn soooo much, thanks to our guides and friendly Spain guru Dan O'Beirne. We set this up with MagicalSpain.com, a US cultural travel company that only does Spain and Portugal. From the moment I saw our driver waiting for us as we arrived bleary-eyed to the Barcelona airport, my husband and I began to relax and really enjoy vacation with the kids for the first time in many many years! Highlight list is long but....the savvy cultural & historic insight, Dan's amigos everywhere, great food & wines, top hotels in the right places,the medieval legends, seemless transport & logisitcs and especially connecting and engaging our 3 kids in a fun educational way...Not an easy task:->...Thanks for making it look easy Dan, Ana, Beatriz,Diego, Carlos, Richard and others! We loved the sunset wine tastings and kids loved the history game with prizes. (first non-video game they have played in ages) The web is http://www.magicalspain.com have fun and enjoy learning! best, Scott & Kisha McCann, NYC
PS regarding the last post, MagicalSpain.com is somewhat expensive but top quality usually is. For us the good organization of our limited vacation time, educational value for the kids and parents and foodie slant made it very worthwhile. Enjoy and they can even teach you Spanish!
Scott & Kisha McCann
NYC, NY USA Wed 09/26/2007
apartment in France
The website and people involved were very helpul in making our trip a success. The apartment was exactly as described on the web site. They provided excellent suggestions for making our stay memorable.
chicago, il USA Tue 09/25/2007
Stayed in this hotel in September of this year. While the hotel offers a respectable location that is all it offers. Washroom had black mold growing in it. Rooms were just terribly kept. Stains on the bedding. Dirt on the walls. Absolutely rude proprietors. To top matters off....One of our mates could not make the trip and the hotel refused to give his money back. Dont stay in this hotel! Wish we would have saw the reviews on this before we stayed there!
detroit, mi USA Wed 09/19/2007
I used otel.com last fall to book my hotel in Budapest. I had not used them before. The booking was smooth and the price that I received was amazing for my hotel which was great (NH Budapest). When I arrived the hotel had all the information about my reservation and my prepayment. otel.com was a terrific experience and I would not hesitate to book through them again.
Laurel, MD USA Sun 09/16/2007
Internet Sites for Hotels
We have used sites extensively. No problems encountered. Goood oones are Venere and VRBO. In Paris, we have had success w Parisbestlodge.
Paul n Sara
Newburyport, MA USA Wed 09/12/2007
Otel.com and other internet booking sites
Just wondering whether people have booked through the Otel.com site for accommodation? If so, did everything work out okay? There are so many different sites for booking accommodation. Does anyone have any favourites, which offer real discounts? Has anyone ever booked via the internet, and had problems when they arrived? (e.g. hotel has no record of it, etc.) I would be very appreciative of any information people have regarding these sites. Is there any way you can tell whether they are trustworthy, apart from trying it out? Thank-you, in anticipation of some replies.
Adelaide, , na Australia Tue 09/11/2007
Travel in Europe
My Web Site contains a couple of thousand pages of travel stories in Europe, including over 700 photos, each with a story.
All stories are "Why not Travel," I let all the "How to Travel" stories to Rick.
Burbank, ca USA Fri 09/07/2007
8 weeks in Europe
My Mom, my 11 year old son and myself were in Europe this summer for 8 weeks and we had a great time. The Graffiti wall was a wonderful source of information and I wanted to give back to it. I've given you a brief outline of our hotels and food recommendations but if you want more information on how and why we graded them as we did, please feel free to visit our blog at www.whereintheworldisschuyler.blogspot.com. Click on the post that says "lodging and food feedback". Also, two pointers that were great from this site was, please rip the covers off of your Rick Steves books it will not make you look like such a tourist as your walking down the street. What I did is I took out each section of the book that I needed for our trip, three hole punched them and put them in a "dairy book" that you would use for business. I then only used the portion that I needed. I also used color coded tabs and wrote on them what was being marked so that I didn't have to try and find things as I needed them. I have to say that I had a lot of "Rick Stevers" come up to me and want to look at my book. In Rome I had a lady actually tag along with us while we were doing Rome for the day because I had so much information at the ready. The other thing that was helpful was the woman that gave the hint for your money. I used a small coin purse that had a small rist strap, bought a baby diaper pin and I would pin the coin purse to the inside of my shorts and I never had to worry about someone getting my money. It worked better than the money belt and wasn't sweaty at all.
Here's our list for Europe: Italy 1.ROME: Roma B&B (www.romabandb.it) We would give this B&B 1 star. Recommended restaurant: Matricianella at Via del Leone 4, Rome, 06.6832100, This was the BEST restaurant that we ate at in Rome. My Mom and I ate the roasted lamb and it was the BEST!! Plus try the Caprese Salad and the Pasta Vongole. Best Gelato: Giolitti, via Uffici del Vicario 40, the lemoncello flavor was the best but so was everything else.
2.VENICE: Oasis B&B and Residence (www.oasis.ve.it) We would give this B&B 3 stars. Recommended restaurant: Trattoria Altanella at Calle delle Erbe, 268 on Giudecca; 39.041.522.7780, they were a small family run restaurant on the island of Giudecca.
3.TUSCANY: Agriturismo Natura e Salute (www.naturaesalute.it) We would give this B&B 4 stars. Recommended restaurant: La Vecchia del Mura, Florence: We didn't eat here but it was recommended by an Italian couple that we met in Sienna at the horse race. I Latini, via della vigna nuova, 39.055.210.916, recommended dishes….as a first get the ribollita and as the meat order fiorentina
France 1.CORSICA: La Ventulella in Moltifao, Corsica (email at email@example.com) We give this B&B 2 stars on house ambiance only but 3 stars on food and people. Corsica is an Island that everybody should visit.
2.PROVENCE: La Petite Provence (www.lapetiteprovence.net) We would give this B&B 4 stars.
3.LOIRE VALLEY: La Cadoise (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) We would give this B&B 4 stars. Please note that they do have a website if you go onto www.likhom.com and put in this B&B's name and the region there in, the village name is Genille.
4.PARIS: Special Apartments (www.specialapartments.com) We would give this apartment 1 star. We would it four stars for the area that it was in and for how much we liked staying in an apartment but we would give it an "F" in cleanliness. Recommended restaurants: Breakfast – Le Pain Quotidien @ Montorgueil street also Les Bouquinistes you'll need reservations but this was VERY good. The éclairs were good but not great at Stohrer on Montorgueil street. We thought the ice cream at Berthillon was just OK and the servings were very small. You'll do much better if you go down the street at the Amore Gelato place it was very good. Also, recommended to us but we never got to eat here because they were closed for vacation was Bistrot a Vins, 42 rue leon frot in the 11th arrd., 01.43.70.59.27. L'As du Fallafel on rue des rosiers in the Marais district. The vegetarian falafel was the best we didn't like the one with the lamb. Spain 1.BARCELONA: Apartments Marina (www.booking.com) We would give this apartment 3 ½ stars.
2.SAN SEBASTIAN: Pension Edorta (www.pensionedorta.com) We would give this pension 2 ½ stars. Recommended restaurants: The BEST meal we had in San Sebastain was at La Trastienda, San Jeronimo 22, 918.104.22.168 The best bread we ate was at a bakery called Ekain which is also right down from the Pension.
3.SANTIAGO de COMPOSTELA: Casa de Costoia (www.casadecostoia.com) We would give this B&B 4 stars.
4.BENEVENTE: Casa de las Paneras (www.casadelaspaneras.es) We would give this B&B 4 stars. Recommended restaurants: El Rincon de Antonio, rua de los francos 6, Zamora, 922.214.171.124 (www.elrincondeantonio.com) . Restaurante el Ermitano, N-630, Benavente-Leon, 980.636.795 (www.elermitano.com) Both of these above restaurants are 1 star Michelin Restaurants.
4.MADRID: Hostel Acapulco (www.hostalacapulco.com) We would give this hostel ½ star on ambiance but 2 ½ on helpfulness. Recommended restaurants: Moaz Vegetarian (www.maozveg.com) DiBocca down the street at Gran via 59 was cheap, food was fair and the meal was quick. Recommended R&R: You must do this if you're in Madrid, go to Medina Mayrit at Calle Atocha 14, 34.902.333.334 (www.medinamayrit.com) and take a Turkish bath to cleanse your tired body and feet.
Andorra 1.ANDORRA LA VELLA: The Crown Plaza (www.ichotelsgroup.com) We would give this hotel 4 stars. Recommended restaurants: In Andorra; Borda Estevet, Carretera de la Comella 2, 3126.96.36.199. In the Spanish Pyrenees Restaurant La Rosta is in the town of Isona (973.664.098) and we had the best roasted meats there. The house wine was so good that we bought a huge jug of it for 3E and drank on it for almost two weeks after buying it.
Portugal 1.LAGE: Quinta dom Jose (www.quintadomjose.com) We would give this B&B 3 ½ stars. Recommended Restaurants: Caozinha da Se, Rua d. Frei Caetano Brandao 95, 253.277.343 this restaurant was very good, the wait staff was excellent and the wine selection was also very good. What a wonderful find in this city. Recommended R&R: Try the Ervanaria 100% Brazil.
I hope this helps and please go on the blog to read why we gave it one what we did because what might be good or bad for us just might work or not work for you.
Cornelius, NC USA Fri 08/31/2007
Best Euro Website
For booking a B&B or apartamento in Italy, we used www.cross-pollinate.com. Rick Steves refers to it in his Italy Guidebook, and boy did we find a couple of great bargains! It lists dozens of B&B's for Rome, Florence, & Venice, complete with lots of photos, and availability. In Rome we stayed at Anna Rosa's B&B. Very nice people. In Venice we found a tremendous bargain at Ca' Riccio. It seems to me Cross-pollinate does what Rick Steves does, making sure that these places are honest & fair, and dropping them from their website if they are not.
Saint Helens, OR USA Thu 08/30/2007
Re: Websites for Rome rentals-
Found this owner-run apartment with breakfast included at remarkable value (150 per night for 4) for central Rome: http://www.arcosbedandbreakfast.it/ Its has a beautifully quiet patio and location near the Colloseum.
Cork, Ireland Fri 08/24/2007
Newark, NJ USA Thu 08/23/2007
Great places to stay in Europe.
I found the Karenbrown.com and her books are great for recommending upscale, ie., expensive, but extremely romantic small hotels and B&Bs. We stayed in the Chateau Bouceel by Vergoncey , close to Mont. St. Michelfor 160 Euros. We were in a 20 by 20 bedroom furnished with antiques. We met the owner who went to school in Chicago. They had donkeys, geese and cats. They allow the use of the library and a french billard table.
Cottage Grove, Wi USA Wed 08/22/2007
Events & Tips for Rome
This websight helped me with tips and let me know what soccer matches were playing when we would be in Rome including a link to buy tickets direct and not through an overpriced broker.
La Mesa, CA USA Tue 08/21/2007
Simply one of the very best tour guides in Europe, Micaela Pavoncello was our guide for touring the Roman Jewish Ghetto. Micaela can trace her family's roots all the way back to ancient Rome, and she brings the current and dwindling Roman Jewish Community to life!
In closing, Micaela also provides tours of the Vatican from the Jewish perspective, conducted by her colleague Sarah. Quite ususual and deeeply gratifying. Our day spent with Micaela and Sarah in Rome will never be forgotten!
USA Wed 08/15/2007
Recommended to me by a friend living in Barcelona. It's a local community website for Barcelona & Madrid - basically a spanish version of craigslist. We found a great guesthouse in Madrid using this website, and I don't speak spanish much.
Seattle, WA USA Fri 08/10/2007
Madrids teenage pick-pockets
Be careful around the "Palacio Real" in Madrid. Not only are the pick-pockets "Gypsies" they are also young high school teenage girls casually walking by. Don't even think about wearing a back-pack, they will empty you out of your valuables in the blink of an eye. Ladies and men if you wear a bag get one you can sling over the your neck, and arm, and keep in front of you. We also experienced these girls walking around most tourist areas and shopping areas. Yes I know it's hard to tell the difference between the thieves and the regular teens. But keep your belongings in front of you and your eyes moving and you shouldn't have a problem. If you want to expirience a good Flamenco in Madrid, let me recomend "El Cafe de las Chinitas". It's a little pricey, but we experienced a very good show and you dont have to buy dinner.
Pembroke Pines, FL USA Fri 08/10/2007
Barcelona Tour Bus
When in Barcelona we used the the Hop on- Hop off tourist bus. We learned that there are two bus services offerer at the Placa Catuluna. If you only have a day, the orange bus line would probably work out great, it only has one route(ask the attendant selling the tickets). If you want to see all of BCN, use the line that has an "EYE" on the front of the bus(you can get the tickets at the stop or at the TI). This bus has three routes that let see more of the city.
pembroke Pines, FL USA Fri 08/10/2007
We just came back from our 1st Switzerland Travel in May, 2007 (7-days), using www.theswissholidays.com Luxurious Holidays package. It was terrific. Service was excellant and pricing was reasonable. 4-star hotels were superb!
Arlington, TX USA Sun 08/05/2007
Weather Data for trip planning
When planning any trip, I check historical weather date on the Weather Underground. It has saved me a few nasty surprises. See http://www.wunderground.com/ and click on the trip planner tab.
Arlington , TX USA Sat 08/04/2007
I like www.eurocheapo.com for hotel and general info about cities in Europe. I haven't used them in making reservations, just in doing research.
Napa, CA USA Sun 07/29/2007
WOW! i just discovered mappy.com--just like our "map quest"! it is marvelous for trip planning! have fun!
USA Sun 07/29/2007
125 Day Eurotrip Travel Site
I recently finished a 125 day trek through most all of europe and morocco. Feel free to check out my travel site and look at all the pics and videos to help you plan where to go. I think it might help you out for all you newbees. Here is the link: http://frankwaddell.forumup.com/index.php?mforum=frankwaddell
Hot springs, AR USA Thu 07/26/2007
Hotel Prices, Reviews: Who To Believe
Even if another site gave you a great price at a hotel, always check the hotel directly. For example, a few weeks ago I booked a hotel through one of the big travel sites. It was billed as the cheapest available, no refunds, etc., etc. I had to cancel and, they were right, no refund. This week, I made a reservation at the same hotel via its website. Same price, no restrictions, refundable. Bottom line: Don't take anyone's word for it when they say their price the best. Make them prove it.
On TripAdvisor and similar sites: Look for consistency in the reviews, pay attention to the nationality of the reviewer, and give more credence to recent reviews. I think consistency is self-explanatory. A lot of bad reviews are triggered by a one-off event that almost certainly won't happen to you. Europeans won't weigh a hotel against unrealistic U.S. standards, and changes following a management change will be caught by new reviews.
Cary, NC USA Mon 07/23/2007
www.acasa5terre.it Great experience in finding a place to stay in Manarola in Cinque Terre. Our apartment was nicely furnished, very affordable and perfectly located!
Caledonia, MI USA Fri 07/20/2007
As with all review websites, including this one, you have to take extremely negative reviews with a grain of salt. Some people use the anonymity of the web to rant in a way they'd never do in person.
If the comments seem inconsistent with the balance of other reviews, don't take them too seriously. It's hard to believe that a hotel could be so bad for a single stay when others are paying compliments.
Also, especially on Rick Steves and on Tripadvisor, some reviewers had unrealistic expectations for what European hotels are like. Steep stairs, dingy wallpaper, thin walls, etc. When they return to suburban Anytown, USA, they rip the hotel as if it were supposed to be a Radisson (If they rip an actual Radisson, I'd pay attention).
USA Wed 07/18/2007
Not so great resource
During my trip planning (6 trips) to Germany, I have found the hotel booking sites (Venere, Inthotels, etc) to be generally worthless (and overpriced). In big cities, which I tend to avoid anyway, they advertise major hotels at "huge savings". Saving over what? If I can actually find the hotels website, I usually find similar prices. Often the booking sites show lower prices only because they omit breakfast, an expensive "extra" that is traditionally included in German accommodations. For smaller towns, they often don't show anything at all, and if they do, they are usually expensive tourist places, not the small family run establishments that make a trip culturally rich.
I am currently planning a 5 day (6 night) trip on the Romantic Road. Venere showed accommodations for only two of the six locations, and those were priced at twice what I am paying.
It generally takes more work, but for rewarding accommodations at far lower prices, stay in small towns, find the the town's website, look up the accommodations (Unterkünfte in German), and book there.
CO USA Mon 07/16/2007
Beware of Tripadvisor
Prior to a recent trip to Europe in June I found a recommedation for the Limegrove Hotel in London. After making the reservation I had come across the trip advisor site that posted a mixture of few lukewarm to several nasty reveiws. I was going to concel my reservation, but after speaking on the phone to Joyce relented and continued with my plan to stay there. I am so glad that I did as Joyce and Neesha were very pleasant, the room was clean and affordable and close to many sites. After sharing my apprehensions about the stay I have learned that there is a collusion among speculators to force the Limegrove out of business and one of the nasty tactics is the tripadvisor site mis-representing the conditions and posting false photographs... Not very nice. It is my opinion that the Limegrove is very worthy of your patronage if you are a budget traveller.
Seattle, WA USA Thu 07/12/2007
I agree with this readers reccomedation of the Limegrove Hotel and wrong representaton by the Trip advisors.My reccomendation to Trip Advisor was distorted,giving me a bad name as I frequent this little hotel which is clean and affordable.At present I am at the Limegrove Hotel,enjoying many events such as the Wimbledon and Tour de frace and the Queen's birthday,all happening within a week.london can be exciting.
Colarado Springs, Col USA Thu 07/12/2007
During my travels to Europe I found a great website called venere.com that had excellent service, great user ratings and pictures with maps of locations. On this website, you can book all types of different accommodations such as B&B's Town Houses, Residences, and Apartments. I think this site is a great travel tool. You can use this promotional code 9CPGUQT at check out and receive 4% off your order. Super Travels,
USA Fri 07/06/2007
Mediterranean Breezes from Morocco, Spain, Greece, Italy, France, Turkey, Tunisia, and Egypt
www.Mediterranean-Lifestyles.com This is a beautiful site with plenty of inspiring photos and cultural information on the top Mediterranean Travel destinations: Morocco, Spain, Italy, France, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, and Tunisia......
Fairfax, VA USA Mon 07/02/2007
Paths Less Traveled, Tales from a Rugged Modern-Day Explorer
www.WorldWiseWanderer.com Anyone interested in Adventure travel should check out this site featuring the collected articles of a true wanderer.. He also wrote the books Fever Trees of Borneo and Maverick in Madagascar...
Fairfax, VA USA Mon 07/02/2007
Weekly Apartments in major cities
Best site for rental apartments in Paris, Rome, and London I have used is www.VRBO.com, (vacation rentals by owner). Live like a local in your own flat. For $225 a night in London I found a 1,300 sq ft apartment with 2 bed, 2 bath, penthouse on the twelth floor with floor to ceiling windows looking out over London. These deals are there for the taking. Godd to have some room for the kids to be, instead of a hotel.
Lincoln, NE USA Tue 06/19/2007
Top 3 European travel sites
For travel in German, at least, first on my list has to be bahn.de. They have schedules for all over Europe and prices for most trains that begin and/or end in Germany. RailEurope? Their ticket prices are inflated, and their selection of tickets stinks. Get your schedules on bahn.de and your tickets and reservtions over there.
For accommodation, it is any town's website at www.[townname].de.
Last but not least, Ricksteves.com. Best place to get rail passes and information from expert fellow travelers.
Denver, USA Mon 06/11/2007
Want to know which airlines fly where
At this website (www.flylc.com) you select a departure airport and it will show you all destination airports and the low cost airlines that serve those two airports. A great tool when you are looking to go point to point but don't know what flight routes and low cost airlines serve your locations. Once you are settled on where you want to go and which airline you want to fly on you can access the airline websites directly through Flylc.
Seattle, WA USA Sat 06/09/2007
top 3 euro travel sites
Here's my list of top 3 euro travel sites from the bottom to the top, 3.Rail Europe.com, 2.any website of a european airline, and my number 1 is Rick Steves.com defiently. To end I love the Graffiti Wall.
Lawrence, KS USA Wed 06/06/2007
dingle peninsula tour
Found Buailtin tours by accident while visiting the Dingle Peninsula for St. Patricks Day. I was going to bike the peninsula, then was turned back by bad weather and was given the number for this tour by my bed and breakfast owner.
Guide Denis will cater your tour of the Peninsula based on your interests, with great commentary along the way. I ended up taking the tour twice while there, the second time with a couple from my B&B who had an interest in traditional Irish music. Denis is a former musician, who gave a lot of information of the different forms and styles of traditional music and dance, and was able to suggest places to go for entertainment that evening. I would suggest him to anyone visiting the area.
Kindsbach, Germany Fri 06/01/2007
Holidays in Crete
A great guide for hotels in Crete. www.experttravel.gr
Boston, USA Tue 05/29/2007
B & B in Provence
If your looking for a great B&B in Provence which is central to the Luberon and other areas in Provence, check out Mas Pomona in Cheval Blanc. We stumbled across the name somewhere on this graffiti wall and booked the trip. We stayed 9 nights and just loved our stay. The hosts, David and Marianne were so helpful with restaurant suggestions and directions. Their beautiful location has a nice pool and very relaxed. They recommended restaurants in Robion, Cheval Blanc and the same 14 course meal in Arles suggested by Rick. We will go back to Mas Pamona
Kim & Richard Wilson
Surrey, BC Canada Sun 05/27/2007
SPAIN tour: Why we loved ESPAÑA!
Now back from touring what we think is Europe's FUNNEST country, ESPAÑA / SPAIN!!!!
We are tough bunch to please.... My husband and kids love luxury hotels, history, castles, horses and great food and my sister and I love art, wine and architecture. We speak NO ESPANOL + all hate tourist traps and wasting time arguing about what to do and when....so we hired a US specialist luxury tour company, MagicalSpain.com web: http://www.magicalspain.com....to create a FUN but EDUCATIONAL private package with cooking classes, private winery visit with the winemaker! + lots of fun, tapas and great wine/vino tino normally. The only less than great meals were on our own.Our tour manager Daniel's local knowledge and selection of FRIENDLY experts deepened the experience so much. We found MagicalSpain in Rick's Spain guide. Also liked the Spain info page => http://www.magicalspain.com/calendar/topSights_frameset.htm. If you don't mind paying for quality check these guys out soon becuase they are VERY booked up this year.
Have fun in Spain! Jana & Kyle Montana
PS Spainiards are very welcoming and kind to Americans BUT most in Spain do not understand nor speak much English away from the big hotels!
Jana & Kyle Montana
Chicago, Il USA Fri 05/18/2007
Private Tour Guide
Anyone considering a tour of the UK, Ireland or anywhere in Europe is faced with a lot of tour/travel considerations. We decided on a private tour guide for an 8 day trip, highly customized, around southern England. John Greenwood's Select Sojourning Solutions was perfect!! We contacted John via internet and told him what we wanted. That began a highly enjoyable "back and forth" interaction via internet/email that produced an amazing experience for our small tour group. He designed a trip for us that was exactly what we were looking for. He was thorough, professional, flexible, extremely knowledgeable and most of all, fun! John's website is detailed and informative and a great place to start your planning. If you don't want a "one size fits all" tour experience, then a private tour guide is your best bet. I'm happy to provide anyone interested with more information. www.uk-sojourning.com
Traverse City, MI USA Thu 05/17/2007
Catalog of hotels in Crete, Greece.
I found this site about Hotels in Greece. It has a lot of hotels in Chania. www.myvacations.gr
Rome, Italy Sun 05/06/2007
Area guide/Cultural info/apartments for Amsterdam/Paris/Barcelona
For information about Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona: www.way2stay.com. As well as offering a great selection of apartments, you can check the weather, get an insiders guide to the different areas and monuments, for a good overview, as well as cultural tips and informative airport transfer information.
Barcelona, Spain Mon 04/23/2007
The Dingle Peninsula
I found the a web site on the Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry, Ireland which i think is very helpful if you plan to take a trip. www.dodingle.com Worth a visit.
Cork, NA Ireland Wed 04/18/2007
Scottish self drive tour customized by Scotland Made Easy
My husband and I had the good fortune to have found on the internet this award winning company who do personalized self drive tours round Scotland using quality and unusual accommodations ranging from bed and breakfasts with local folk to castle hotels and mansions. It is www.scotlandmadeeasy.co.uk and Marie, Lynn and Elspeth were so helpful in arranging such a wonderful experience for us. We would certainly recommend them! Manuel and Maria Salazar, San Antonio. Texas.
San Antonio, Texas USA Sat 04/14/2007
For flights between European countries, www.skyscanner.com checks almost all the little airlines such as ryanair, clickair, easyjet type places all at once. Such a great site!
San Diego, CA USA Tue 04/10/2007
long distance walking and hiking trails in europe
Visit http://www.oranginas.nl/index_bestanden/page0055.html to find suggestions and ideas for making your own long distance trails. Walking and hiking, in about 18 european countries: czech republic, slovakia, slovenia, bulgaria, hungary, poland, romania, italy ( tuscany and sardinia), france ( GR 65 and corsica), spain, ireland, scotland, wales, denmark and basque countrie.
almelo, - netherlands Sat 03/31/2007
GOOD FLIGHT FARES
I FOUND THIS WEBSITE TO HAVE AIRFARE AT A GOOD PRICE. www.DVTRAVELS.com I GO OVER AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR. IN THE PAST I USED YAHOO.COM'S TRAVEL PAGE, BUT IT HAS CHANGED AND NOW I USE THE ABOVE www.DVTRAVELS.com
PORT ST LUCIE , FL USA Sun 03/18/2007
Cheap flights in Europe
The very best website to use for cheap flights, as far as I am concerned, is the new http://www.bravofly.com/vg1/home.do. It has given me fantastic prices on flights. 40 euros one way between Paris and Prague, for example. It is easy to search and, unlike other sites, has not continually come up with "there is nothing available" the way so many sites do. You need to book well ahead. If coming from the U.S., be sure to note the airport and terminal carefully and to leave PLENTY of time between flights. If your U.S. flight is changed or delayed, there goes your cheap flight, and changes or last-minute tickets will cost painful prices. P. Hedgie
Prague, Czech Republic Sun 03/18/2007
Traveling in Switzerland? The following website focuses on the Canton Neuchatel area and includes information on hotels, museums, activities, restaurants and more. Excellent information. Good photos too.
Chapel Hill, NC USA Sat 03/10/2007
Milan Train station
Recently travelled through the Milan station with heavy bags. At Centrale Stazione you can stow the bags for several hours...think it was ~3 - 6 Euros/bag. The only problem was the 20 kg limit per bag which is posted. They refused to stow mine because it was 22 kg. Best of luck.
Elena (a Trinidad island girl)
Addison, IL USA Wed 03/07/2007
Milan Train Station
Mike--Page 226 of your Rick's Italy 2007 talks about a 3-hour tour of Milan and leaving bags at the train station. (It's really important to get the most recent edition and only ETBD is as thorough.) Even with updated info, things can change....It's part of the fun challenge of travel!
Lewiston, ID USA Mon 03/05/2007
Milan train station
Is there a secure place to leave our bags for a few hours at the Milan train station,or a web site to search,thanks
editors note: All questions must be posted to Traveler's Helpline
Manitu, Co USA Sun 03/04/2007
paris historic center le marais
I ve discovered a fabulous web site about paris' historical center, it s all about le marais : hotels, boutiques museum , history... they also have a monthly newsletter you can get for free each month http://www.parismarais.com - they also let some luxury flats in historic houses, i stayed in the one called medieval suite for oen week that was gorgeous and affordable. i really recommend it!
paris, france france Fri 03/02/2007
driver-guides out of florence italy
If you are looking for someone that can drive you and guide you at the same time through Florence and elsewere in Italy at very reasonable fees have a look at this web-site:www.florencelimotours.com we loved it. Harry Crooks,Trinidad /Tobago
Port of Spain, Trinid tobago Tue 02/20/2007
My wife and I have been devoted European travelers for years and we have always subscribed to the same philosophy that Rick promotes - we've always tried to travel as "temporary locals". This year we have been presented with a unique oportunity to become temporary expatriots for six months (February through August) - we'll be based in Switzerland and will be making short trips to other destinations throughout Germany, France, Austria, Italy, and the Czech Republic.
While I certainly wouldn't promote it as one of the best travel websites (since it is a work in progress), we are keeping a website where we hope to share some of our travel experiences with others who have the same interests. You can find our site at:
Please feel free to take a look and offer any advice that you might have (we'd also love to hear any destination advice that you have for our region).
Munsingen, Berne CH Fri 02/16/2007
we have just booked with realrome.com.Look on www.slowtrav.com for heaps of advice and reviews of agencies - also fodors.
Australia Wed 02/14/2007
otel hotel site
I have used Otel in the past, and currently have a reservation pending with them. Their prices seem good and they are used on tripadvisor. I had to cancel a reservation from them last year and they credited the payment right away. Hope this helps!
Las Vegas, USA Sat 02/10/2007
Websites for Rome Rentals
I'm researching places to stay in Rome - apartment rentals and hotels. I've come across two websites - otel.com and rentalinrome.com. Does anyone know anything about either of these sites? Reliability, etc. Thanks.
CA USA Sat 02/10/2007
Food lovers vacation in.....
HOLA! we are foodies and have just returned from heaven! No we weren't in Italy or France although have done those.....we were with 2 other couples in Spain and thanks to a US travel company, magical spain it was more than fantastic and no langauge problems!....cooking classes, private winery visit with the winemaker! + lots of fun, tapas and great wine/vino tino normally. The only less thean great meals were in a few restaurants near the monuments in Barcelona and Seville...better to have the local knowledge of expat experts like Richard or Daniel O'Beirne. We found in Rick's Spain guide and their web got us fired up http://www.magicalspain.com/ + don't miss their Spain attractions and article page => http://www.magicalspain.com/calendar/topSights_frameset.htm
Have fun amigos, James & Susan Hill , NYC
PS most in Spain do not understand or speak much English so get ready but they are nice people and happy to help you with your espanol:>
James & Susan Hill
NYC, NY USA Sat 02/10/2007
Europe Travel Blog
I have a blog at http://europefromabackpack.blogspot.com/ where I post videos, photos, and news from Italy, Spain, and the rest of Europe.
USA Fri 02/09/2007
Uffizi and Accademia Museums in Florence
For those who are planning to visit the Accademia and Uffizi Museums in Florence, dont use www.florenceart.it - they charge you too much. To see one museum will cost almost triple the actual price. I called them directly: Firenze Musei, Tel: +39 055294883 reserved for both museums on the day and time I like. It only cost me 9.50E total for each (entrance fee + reservation). You will be given a confirmation number under your name. When you go to the museum, just pay in cash to pick up the ticket. http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it
San Diego, CA USA Fri 02/09/2007
podcast and website
Here's a podcast I listen to and the website has helpful hints. http://www.ipodtraveller.net/index.html They mention cheap ways of travelling in Europe and mention different cities.
Chapel Hill, NC USA Sun 02/04/2007
A great way to search mulitple air carriers though Europe and at home.
Denver, co USA Thu 02/01/2007
Great Website for the
For those of you who hate bus tours requiring packed bags every other day, I recommend www.untours.com. We have used them twice for a 2 week and a 4 week trip to the Swiss Heartland. Air and ground (railpass, car rental or public transit) transportation is arranged for you. You stay in a fully furnished cottage, apartment or farmhouse. We picked a chalet in a small town called Sachseln, located next to a beautiful lake with snowcapped mountains in the background. Your experience consists of an immersion in the local culture. You become one of the locals. We were provided with a Swiss railpass. The train station was a 10 minute walk away. Every day as we returned home, a flock of sheep came to greet us. Our landlords are two of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. They both spoke English, and even invited us over for a traditional Swiss meal. They were a convenient source of information. Untours also also has support services with a knowledgeable experienced staff stateside and overseas. They also provide an orientation session by local staff after your arrival. We thoroughly enjoyed our two "untours" to Switzerland. Untour has multiple destinations available besides Switzerland. Our next untour will be to Paris. What we like best about this type of vacation is that you get to live in one place (for 2 weeks or a month) while getting to know the locals. Every day is a new adventure that you decide on, not the bus driver.
Piscataway, N.J. USA Tue 01/30/2007
Hotel Guide and Flying Between European countries
Don't believe in dragging these tips out into major essays but will briefly share:
We found www.secretplaces.com really useful for an excellent range of hotels and similar - the focus seems to be "different", authentic kind of places from 2/3 stars up to 5+, both in the country and in the cities. At the moment they just seem to cover Italy, Spain and Portugal but quite an in-depth selection.
Also for "getting around" in Europe, note that from the U.S. it may be cheaper to get a return airfare to one destination and then use local European networks to travel between countries. www.easyjet.com and www.ryanair.com have really good connections all over Europe, you can book online and the prices can be crazily cheap. They're both based on the Southwest Airlines model so the earlier you book, the better the prices.
San Francisco, CA USA Mon 01/29/2007
Review of the best online maps of Italy (video)
If you are interested in maps of Italy, I did a video review of the two best online mapping services available today (Google Maps - http://maps.google.com) and Microsoft's Local Live Search - http://local.live.com).
You can watch the video on YouTube (6 mins):
Bellevue, WA USA Mon 01/15/2007
cheap flight within europe
for europe, check out www.clickair.com, this is new company, with cheap flights throughout europe
santa ana, ca USA Fri 01/12/2007
I have looked at many of the suggestions for cheap flights. I found another one. www.travelcuts.com Hope this helps.
Calgary, AB Canada Wed 01/10/2007
Dingle Peninsula, Ireland
I know that this is a very specific search, but if you are planning on traveling to the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland you need to check out www.dodingle.com
New Berlin, WI USA Wed 01/10/2007
When looking for airfare, don't forget to check with the airline websites. I found lower airfare on Continental.com that I could not find on any other site. My travel agent could not find anything lower either.
Minneapolis, Mn USA Thu 01/04/2007
Wow! we were booked into a great newly opened 5*hotel in London called the Lord Milner. the best price on the net,the rooms are beautiful and the staff fantastic we booked through booking.com but there is a website lordmilner.com, Great pictures and easy to navigate. The hotel has just opened so we would not have found it any other way and it really made our stay.
New York, NY USA Wed 01/03/2007
My favorite website for researching hostels is hostelz.com. It's the only site I've seen that publishes bad reviews, not just the good ones.
BC Canada Mon 01/01/2007