Author Archives: eeteurope

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Belgrade guide: where to stay and what to do

Category : Belgrade , Serbia

Here’s how to get the most out of a Belgrade city break

Serbia’s capital makes for a worthwhile city break at any time of year, with its unique blend of Ottoman relics, art nouveau architecture, Habsburg influence and, of course, socialist blocks. Despite the old world charm, there’s a lot going on, including a vibrant nightlife scene.

What to do

Stari Grad (Old Town)

Start in Knez Mihailova, Belgrade’s pedestrianised thoroughfare in the heart of Stari Grad. Its handsome 19th-century buildings are filled with shops and cafés, and buskers and stalls add to the lively atmosphere. Nip down its little lanes to find more café terraces.

Kalemegdan fortress and park

Belgrade’s biggest park hugs the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers. Its shaded paths take you past medieval fortifications, museums, a zoo, gardens, churches and some wonderful views of both rivers.

Kalemegdan fortress and park has wonderful views of two rivers (iStock)

Savamala

Explore the Sava’s newly revamped riverside by the buzzing Savamala district. Lining both the Sava and Danube riverbanks are the floating nightclubs and restaurants – splavovi – that help to give Belgrade its well-deserved reputation for having some of the most raucous nightlife in Eastern Europe. Some, such as Splav Play (playsplav.com), are open all year round.

Museums

After being closed for renovations that dragged on for 10 years, the Museum of Contemporary Art (eng.msub.org.rs) finally reopened in October 2017.

Set in a fabulous modernist building in the park-filled Usce district in New Belgrade, the museum has an extensive collection of Yugoslav modern art from 1900 onwards, including works by Marina Abramovic. Open daily 10am-6pm (open till 8pm on Thursdays and closed Tuesdays); 300 dinars (£2.25) entry.

In Knez Mihailova, look out for the stately entrance to Zepter Museum (zeptermuzej.rs) – another compelling and large collection of Serbian modern and contemporary art. Open 10am-8pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and 12-10pm Thursdays and Saturdays; 200 dinars (£1.50) entry.

Make sure you check out the large collection of Yugoslav modern art (Museum of Contemporary Art/In the Same Space)

Where to stay

Belgrade hotels are incredibly affordable in comparison with other European capitals. The new five-star Saint Ten (saintten.com) in a 1929 townhouse in the Vracar district near Sveti Sava has classy, understated rooms and an outstanding restaurant. Doubles from €159, B&B.

Just steps away from the main Republic Square in Stari Grad is the four-star Courtyard Marriott (marriott.co.uk), where standard rooms are on the small side but the location makes up for it. Doubles from €77.50, room only.

There’s a touch of the Hamptons in Smokvica’s eight rooms (smokvica.rs), set in a 1919 villa in Vracar – all rustic-chic scrubbed wood with marine accents. The colourful garden restaurant serves excellent pan-Mediterranean dishes. Doubles from €39, room only.

Where to eat

The choice of restaurants in Belgrade is mind boggling, with new ones opening all the time. Enso (enso.rs) offers a sophisticated menu featuring foie gras parfait and succulent lamb shanks. Or try the five-course tasting menu with a craft beer for each course; 3,500 dinars (£26). Open daily 1pm-1am.

Fancy some foie gras parfait? This sophisticated eatery offers an affordable tasting menu (Enso)

For old-school Serbian classics, try Kalenic (00381 112 450 666) by Kalenic market, where meat and produce from the market end up on the plate. You’ll find a feast of grilled meats, including roast suckling pig and Balkan-style burgers, along with gorgeous delicacies such as slow-cooked calf’s head. Infinitely more delicious than it sounds. Open daily 8am-midnight.

Cross the River Sava to the old Austro-Hungarian village of Zemun, now a suburb of Belgrade. Along its Danube waterfront is the funky Supermarket Talas (supermarkettalas.com), which fuses Mediterranean and Serbian flavours. Try the deep-fried whitebait and homemade spicy sausages. Open daily 9-1am.

Where to drink

Belgrade does love its ramshackle garden bars squeezed into all sorts of unlikely places, rather like Budapest’s ruin bars. Ljutic (facebook.com/ljuticj), not far from the Botanical Gardens, has the obligatory shabby-chic garden behind an Art Nouveau building.

In the winter, everyone crowds into a cosy vaulted cellar to keep warm. Open 4pm-midnight Sunday to Thursday and 5pm-1am Fridays and Saturdays.

This popular bar boasts cheap cocktails and wacky interiors (Blaznavac)

In the attractive Dorcol district, look out for the giant bright animal murals that adorn the front garden of Blaznavac (facebook.com/blaznavac). Try the absurdly cheap cocktails while sitting in one of the most endearingly cluttered and wacky interiors in the city. Open daily 9-1am.

A few steps away from the touristy restaurants and folklore musicians of the 19th-century Skadarlija district is Bar Bajloni and Beyond (bajloni.com). This laidback bar is in old brewery and features live music and a good selection of Serbian wine. Open daily 8.30am-midnight (1am on weekends).

Where to shop

You’ll find plenty of international brands in the boutiques along Knez Mihailova. For something more Serbian, walk down nearby Kosancicev venac to Makadam (makadam.rs), a concept store attached to a little bistro. It’s full of modern takes on traditional Serbian homeware as well as clothes, jewellery, gifts and wine – all done by small-scale producers and artisans. Open daily 12-6pm; closed Mondays.

Belgrade has many food markets, but the best is south of Stari Grad in the Vracar district. Kalenic market has a dizzying number of stalls selling local produce as well as butchers and fishmongers. Although it’s open daily from 6am-8pm (8am-4pm in the winter), it’s at its best before lunchtime.

Architectural highlight

The neo-Byzantine dome of Sveti Sava temple, one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world, is visible from most parts of Belgrade. One day the enormous interior will finally be finished.

Sveti Sava temple is one of Belgrade’s finest pieces of architecture (iStock)

Belgrade nuts and bolts

What currency do I need?

The currency in Belgrade is the Serbian dinar, roughly 135 to the pound.

What language do they speak?

The language in Belgrade is Serbian.

Should I tip?

Tipping in restaurants is voluntary, and usually about 10 per cent.

What’s the time difference?

Belgrade is one hour ahead of the UK and flight times average three hours.

Public transport

Belgrade’s Stari Grad is compact enough to explore on foot, although you might want to use the very cheap trams and buses to go further afield.

Best view

Climb to the top of Gardos Tower in Zemun for views of terracotta rooftops, the Danube and Belgrade’s Stari Grad in the distance.

Insider tip

When you arrive at the airport, order an official (and reasonably priced) taxi from the desk in the baggage hall and ignore the taxi touts outside.

Thanks to: Mary Novakovich – @mary_novakovich


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Venice hotels: 11 Best for locations and value

Tags :

Category : Italy , Venice

Grand dame or boutique? Five star or three star? Forget the same old categories – for style and value, here’s the real-world luxury guide to Venice hotels

Choosing a hotel in Venice can be a labyrinthine process. An annual influx of 28 million tourists (compared to just 55,000 locals) means the calli are crammed with hotels, B&Bs, Airbnbs and self-catering options. Some are mind-blowing, others distinctly mediocre. How to sort the wheat from the chaff?

Best for design: Casa Flora

Casa Flora is a design-led hotel-Airbnb hybrid which aims to encourage sustainable tourism (Valentina Sommariva)

Brought to you by the Romanelli family, locals who own art deco-themed Novecento and the Hotel Flora next door, Casa Flora is a bold attempt to grab the younger, design-centric market with a three-bedroom apartment that’s a hybrid between a fancy Airbnb and a hotel – and a guaranteed Instagram smash.

It’s also an attempt at turning Venice tourism sustainable – everything in the flat, from the marble countertops to the parquet floor, is locally sourced and custom-made. Not that responsible means boring, here – lush plants drape themselves around the doorways and squat in bathroom basins, those countertops are jade, and the colour palettes revolve around lagoon hues – eau de nil, grey-blue and dirty creams.

Guests can use the Hotel Flora’s facilities next door, and there’s also a partnership with restaurant Estro, who’ll even send someone to come make you breakfast should you be feeling extravagant. Otherwise, breakfast is served next door in the Flora’s pretty courtyard.

Apartment from €600 (sleeps six), B&B
casafloravenezia.com​

Best B&B: Cima Rosa

Cima Rosa revolves round a pretty 15th-century courtyard just off the Grand Canal (Cima Rosa)

Not your average Venice digs, Cima Rosa is in lesser known Santa Croce, and is also rather more stylish than other affordable options. A 15th-century palazzo that was renovated by its architect and interior design owners, it sits on the Grand Canal (three of the rooms have prime views) yet manages to stay at one remove from the madness.

Inside, it’s equally unique – the Venetian-American couple who own it have gone for a sober palette of lagoon colours (eau de nil, grey, a hint of blue) paired with antiques they’ve done up themselves (they have a furniture restoration business).

It’s an intimate space, with just five rooms spread over two “wings” and communal areas including a courtyard and canalside living room-slash-kitchen, where continental breakfast is served and guests can cook for themselves. Owners Daniele and Brittany are hands-on hosts, and the feeling is of a chic friend’s house, rather than a B&B.

Doubles from €180, B&B
cimarosavenezia.com​

Best surprise: Bauer Palladio

Its wild, meadow-style gardens make the Bauer Palladio unlike any other Venice hotel (Bauer Hotels)

Was there ever a Venice hotel like this? Technically, yes – its sibling and neighbour, the breathtakingly pricey, Angelina-slept-here, butler-staffed Villa F. But even for those on an A-lister budget, to be honest, the Palladio is nicer. A conversion of a church and house for “fallen women” by 16th-century starchitect Andrea Palladio on Giudecca, the 58 rooms and 21 suites are spread across the main building and two blocks in the gardens.

The décor in the main building is slightly dated, as you’d expect from 16th-century digs, but the garden buildings are airy, tiki-influenced affairs, with ground-floor rooms opening directly onto the huge gardens, and a wild, flower-filled meadow breaking up the space. And if that sounds boho enough, know that the restaurant is vegan. The only thing missing is a pool.

Open March-November. Doubles from €180, B&B
palladiohotelspa.com

Best for atmosphere: Avogaria

The homely rooms at Avogaria give you a completely different view of Venice (Avogaria)

You’ll forget you’re in tourist town at Avogaria, a tiny, five-room residence at the far (read: local) end of Dorsoduro. The atmosphere is cosy – there’s even a fake cat curled up in the window – and the rooms a modern take on flouncy Venetian design (think mosaic walls and gilded mirrors), while three junior suites sport private walled gardens.

The hotel is a spin-off of the owner’s restaurant, so if it all gets too comfy, you can order the menu from room service, too.

Doubles from €100, B&B
avogaria.com​

Best for nightlife: Hotel l’Orologio

The rooms at Hotel L’Orologio are a bold departure from Venice norms (they’re not all this bold, though) (Hotel L’Orologio)

Technically the Hotel l’Orologio (Clock Hotel), it calls itself the Hotel L’O, which tells you something about the clientele. Dispensing with traditional Venetian style, the lobby is a design-led affair themed around antique timepieces, rooms have glowing cog-themed artwork above the headboards, and bright colours and semi-floating beds give a modern feel.

But despite being in the real world, at the L’O you’re also situated plum on the Grand Canal (some rooms have spectacular views), right by the buzzy bar area that’s sprung up around Rialto Mercato, so you can nip out for cichetti and an ombra (glass of wine) at Naranzaria or Bancogiro.

For a more self-sufficient stay (and to take advantage of the Rialto market nearby), the hotel has opened two apartments, both overlooking the Grand Canal.

Doubles from €215, B&B
hotelorologiovenezia.com

Best value: Liassidi Palace

The Liassidi Palace combines Venetian grandeur with off-the-beaten-track intimacy (SLH)

In a gothic palazzo in Castello, just east of San Marco, the Liassidi Palace has canal views, yet less of a scrum around it than those in the very centre. You’re well located for sightseeing here – the hotel sits between the Carpaccio paintings at the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni and the Greek church with its tipsily leaning spire – as well as a quick walk to the less populated and more local part of Castello, around San Francesco della Vigna. Just 31 rooms take up the 15th-century palazzo, and the look is classic Venice, with heavy drapes, damask wall-coverings, flouncy headboards and chandeliers aplenty.

A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, it’s a good combination of affordability and intimacy, just steps from the action.

Doubles from €128, B&B
liassidipalacehotel.com​

Best grand dame: Centurion Palace

Centurion Palace’s brash colour schemes are a diversion from the Venice norm (Sina Hotels)

You may not want to like the Centurion Palace, if you’re in Venice for all things ancient. You may think the idea of gold-plated bathrooms – literally – is too much bling, that the modern, silver sculptures glittering in niches on the Grand Canal are “not authentic”. That the rooms – plain claret, rust-coloured, brown walls, even – are too modern for this most refined of cities. And then you’ll get there, and find your fears melt away.

It turns out that Centurion Palace is Italian-owned, modestly-roomed (there are just 50 in the vast property) and really rather lovely. The bar and restaurant both have seating cantilevered over the Grand Canal; there’s an inhouse cat, Centurione. Where other five-star hotels in Venice tend to be fairly stiff-atmosphered, the service here is notably friendly – staff are chatty, and conversations go two ways.

Walls are painted in plain, brash colours instead of swaddled in traditional damask and the corridors have modern photography rather than cod-renaissance portraits. And the Dorsoduro location is central but quiet – squished between the Salute church and Guggenheim collection, a 30-second traghetto ride from the sestiere of San Marco, but a couple of minutes to the Zattere, Venice’s most beautiful waterfront.

Doubles from €272, room only
sinahotels.com​

Best for bling: Palazzina

Palazzina is Philippe Starck at his most outré (Design Hotels)

The closest Venice gets to a W hotel are these Philippe Starck-designed digs in a 16th-century little palazzo (“palazzino”) next to art gallery Palazzo Grassi. Formerly known as Palazzina G, the 26 rooms are full of signature Starck touches: mirrored walls, ceilings and chairs, carnival masks and stools that look like silver-coated tree-stumps.

Two buildings spliced together make up the hotel: one set back from the water, whose rooms overlook the alleys below, the other an elegant, slim palazzo on the Grand Canal, squished between behemoths on either side. This one is where the suites are – and they’re actually some of the best-priced Grand Canal suites you’ll find, as former guest Johnny Depp can tell you.

There’s no check-in desk here – it’s way too cool for that – but there is a “Krug Lounge” (the second in the world) and a beautiful main room – low-lit and framed by Corinthian columns – which serves as a restaurant, bar and lobby area.

Doubles from €279, B&B. Grand Canal suites from €744, B&B
palazzinag.com

Best for couples: Palazzo Stern

Palazzo Stern is a townhouse conversion on the Grand Canal – complete with rooftop Jacuzzi (Palazzo Stern)

Everyone notices Palazzo Stern as the number 1 vaporetto glides up the Grand Canal and moors right beside it, at Ca’ Rezzonico. Not everyone, however, realises it’s a hotel, with its invisible signage and neat little garden, fringed by doric columns.

What used to be a house – built in the 15th century and ending up in the hands of a German art collector – has been converted into a 24-room property. The bedrooms themselves won’t win many design awards – they’re typical old-school Italian four-star – but the house itself is a gem, with a grand lobby, staircase, and rooftop hot tub.

Doubles from €175, B&B
palazzostern.it​

Best for solo travellers: Generator

Generator has ‘generated’ its own movida on Giudecca island (Jamie Smith)

If you’re looking for a scene, here’s where to find it, in an enormous warehouse on Giudecca converted into a “poshtel” by the stylish Generator group. On warm evenings, millennials spill out onto the waterfront outside, creating their own mini movida; inside are design-led dorms (think exposed brick walls and beamed ceilings) as well as five ensuite doubles, overlooking the water and San Marco in the distance.

Dorms from €14, doubles from €60, room only
generatorhostels.com​

Best for ease: Hotel Santa Chiara

Hotel Santa Chiara’s modern rooms are right by the bus terminal (Hotel Santa Chiara)

Staying by the bus depot isn’t generally the best plan. But in Venice – especially if you’re on a tight schedule, or have lots of luggage – things are a little different. The Santa Chiara sits at the mouth of the Grand Canal – not its most beautiful point, but a mere 20m from the airport bus stop. That means instead of sitting on the Alilaguna ferry to reach town (perhaps the most spectacular airport commute, but normally around 90 minutes) and then dragging your cases across bridges and around alleyways, you can get the bus from the airport to the Piazzale Roma terminus and go from Arrivals hall to your room in 25 minutes flat. Sans luggage, you can then walk to anywhere in Venice in about 15 minutes, rather than having to brave another long vaporetto ride. It is, it’s no exaggeration to say, revelatory.

The hotel is split across two buildings – a 19th-century convent and a concrete-ish modern building (adventurous or excrescence, depending on your sensibilities), which are joined in the middle so you don’t feel the split. Deluxe rooms are the ones to go for (classic rooms are in a separate annexe) – they’re modern and well equipped, with stylish feature wallpaper, comfy beds and faux walnut furniture. Breakfast is taken in a sunny room plum on the Grand Canal, while rooms can either have a canal view or one of the bus terminus behind (the latter are extremely well soundproofed, so there are no worries on that score).

The hotel is also wheelchair-accessible – as is Piazzale Roma – so if you have mobility issues, it’s an excellent base.

Doubles from €150, B&B
hotelsantachiara.it

We may earn some commission if you click on a link in this article and buy a product or service, but we never allow this to influence our coverage.

This article was first published in July 2017
Thanks to: Julia Buckley


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10 Best Copenhagen budget hotels

Tags :

Category : Denmark , Europe

Our pick of cheap yet stylish digs in Denmark’s capital

Popular as it is for weekend breaks, Copenhagen is also notoriously expensive as a destination. Choose your hotel wisely, however, and you don’t have to break the bank. The good news is that there are plenty of options – from a bunk in a high-quality hostel to an ensuite room in a well-priced hotel. It is totally possible to stay in style on a budget in this brilliant capital.

Best for perks: Hotel Danmark

Hotel Danmark 

Alongside its 89 four-star rooms, the boutique Hotel Danmark has two bunk-bed rooms, each sleeping six. There is one shower room, one toilet and two basins for guests, but you also have access to the same facilities as those in the hotel rooms – meaning 24-hour room service, free gym access and a daily wine hour between 5pm and 6pm. An organic breakfast is also included.

Bunks from DKK599pp (£70), B&B
brochner-hotels.com

Best for urban edge: A&O Copenhagen Norrebro

A&O has modern and spacious rooms

Stay here for the neighbourhood. Norrebro is one of the city’s most diverse areas, popular with students and artists. A&O hostel is part of a big chain that clearly knows the market well. From the modern and spacious rooms to the extras such as packed lunches and the flexibility to pay for a late checkout, this branch hits the spot. It sleeps 670 across 270 rooms, with singles, doubles and family accommodation as well as mixed dorms. All have ensuite showers, and linen is also provided. The common areas with table football and pool tables are perfect for meeting fellow travellers.

Dorms from DKK93 (£11), private doubles from DKK462 (£55)
aohostels.com 

Best for flexibility: Wakeup Copenhagen Borgergade

Wakeup Copenhagen Borgergade has 498 minimalist rooms

Choose from three categories of rooms in this popular two star hotel: standard, which you’ll likely find at the back or on the lower floors of the building; “sky”, found on the middle floors with a better view; “heaven”, which have lovely views from the top floors. Whichever you pick, all 498 minimalist rooms come with TV, desk, AC and free wifi. Extras include a breakfast buffet (DKK90 per person) and bicycle hire.

Doubles from DKK400 (£47), room only
wakeupcopenhagen.dk

Best for comfort: Danhostel Copenhagen City

Danhostel is right on Langebro Bridge

In a phenomenal location on Langebro Bridge, this is another classy hostel with private rooms and dorms. Facilities are basic, but all have a private bathroom, there’s free wifi throughout the hotel and guests can make use of the many common areas. There’s a new modern bar and shared kitchen facilities. Linen is free but you have to make your own bed. Order breakfast in advance to save DKK10 off the normal price.

Beds from DKK110 (£13), singles from DKK450 (£53), room only
danhostelcopenhagencity.dk

Best for a homely feel: Annex Copenhagen

Annex Copenhagen has a newly refurbished common area

This family run hostel features bright colours and a friendly crowd. It offers an affordable alternative to sister hotel Absalon, which sits next door. All rooms have free wifi, TV and high-quality bedding. Guests can hang out in a new common area, play board games or use the shared kitchen facilities.

Private singles from DKK450 (£53), room only
annexcopenhagen.dk

Best for budget luxe: Steel House Copenhagen

Steel House was previously the home of the Danish Union of Metalworkers

One of a raft of new accommodations opened in Copenhagen in the last few years, Steel House opened in 2017. Once the home of the Danish Union of Metalworkers, the revamped building is now one of the finest hostels in the city. With 1,154 beds across 253 rooms, there’s an option for every budget and taste – from dorms to private rooms complete with terraces.

Whichever you pick, all rooms have air conditioning, storage space, one power socket per bed (in the dorms) and free linen and towels. Single and double rooms have Getama mattresses, a TV and private bathroom. Throughout the hotel there’s free wifi, and there’s a cafe, bar, gym and pool – as well as a self-service kitchen and lounge area.

Beds from DKK125 (£15), doubles from DKK400 (£47), room only
steelhousecopenhagen.com

Best for location: Good Morning Copenhagen Star

Good Morning Copenhagen Star is in hip Vesterbro 

Recently renovated and five minutes from the central station in hip Vesterbro, rooms here come in every configuration imaginable – from standard single to five-bed family accommodation, all with private bathrooms and a view of the city. They’re all rather functional but well sized, but bear in mind that the low prices mean extra comforts can feel in short supply; there are no toiletries in the bathroom, for example, although there are tea and coffee-making facilities. There’s a bar and restaurant onsite.

Doubles from DKK1391 (£164), B&B
copenhagen-star-hotel.copenhagen-hotel.net

Best for a room with a view: Copenhagen Island

Copenhagen Island’s rooms have fabulous water views

Steel, glass and light are the dominant elements here – which fit the location, connected to Copenhagen Harbour by a bridge. Standard rooms have city views, but upgrade to superior or executive rooms for breathtaking water views or splash out on a junior suite, which have panoramic views and elevated beds. There are also rooms for allergy sufferers, with special duvets and pillows, and wooden floors.

Doubles from DKK1095 (£130), room only
copenhagen-island.copenhagen-hotel.net

Best for eco warriors: Axel Guldsmeden

Axel Guldsmeden is big on its sustainable credentials and is Green Globe certified

Axel Guldsmeden is big on its sustainable credentials and is Green Globe certified. This means materials used in rooms are sustainable – think bamboo and organic cotton. Luckily, there seems to be an equal emphasis on comfort. All rooms have four-poster beds and feature Balinese-style furnishings and hipster decor. They’re stocked with the finer things in life: bathrobes, slippers and own-brand organic toiletries. Breakfast (priced at DKK185) is, predictably, totally organic.

Doubles from DKK995 (£117), room only
guldsmedenhotels.com

Best for a city oasis: Hotel Christian IV

Hotel Christian IV is a stone’s throw from the harbour

Located on a quiet street and a stone’s throw from Copenhagen’s gorgeous harbour and the wealth of restaurants and bars of the iconic Nyhavn, this is a great choice if you want to be in the centre but with room to roam. There are four room sizes here, from simple single to superior double. All are furnished with facilities including cable TV, soundproofed windows and free wifi. The hotel serves complimentary hot drinks and pastries in the afternoons.

Doubles from DKK1,165 (£138), B&B
hotelchristianiv.dk

Best for four-star decadence: The Square

This four-star is right on the central Town Hall Square (The Square)

With some careful planning, it’s possible to bag great rates at this four-star hotel, right on the central Town Hall Square. All 268 rooms come with coffee and tea making facilities, free wifi, black-out curtains, flat screen TV, plus some extras that are a bit more special, like a Bluetooth music streaming centre. The pricier rooms feature views across the square and added perks such as robes and an espresso machine. There’s no restaurant here, but the lounge, which stays open until 10pm every day, offers a selection of drinks and snacks.

Doubles from DKK1071 (£127), room only
thesquare.dk

Best for staying connected: Generator

Generator has plenty of communal spaces to enjoy (Generator)

Located in a modern Philippe Starck-designed development, Generator Copenhagen is found a stone’s throw from Kongen’s Nytorv square and is brilliantly connected – most points of interest are accessible by foot or bike. Generator offers hotel comforts at hostel prices with free wi-fi, bar, café and a 24-hour reception. The common areas include a terrace, petanque bar, laundry and shared chill-out areas. Choose from private rooms for up to six people and dorm rooms, including female only, that can fit up to eight. Private rooms have en-suite bathrooms, towels and a clothes hanging unit. Shared rooms feature bunks with privacy screens, lock-up storage and reading lights. Towels in shared rooms cost extra.

Private room from DKK355( £42), dorms from DKK121.50 (£14)
generatorhostels.com/destinations/Copenhagen

Best for history: First Hotel Kong Frederik

First Hotel Kong Frederik is claimed to be the oldest hotel in Copenhagen (First Hotel Kong Frederik)

Allegedly the oldest hotel in Copenhagen, this centrally located hotel provides an atmospheric place to rest your head. The 110 rooms are made up of singles, doubles and triples as well as junior suites and the plush Kong Frederik suite, which comes with a private terrace and panoramic views. Standard rooms come with comfortable Jensen beds and the usual amenities including minibar. The hotel’s Italian restaurant is open for dinner while the breakfast buffet is available for an extra daily fee.

Doubles from DKK938 (£111), room only
firsthotels.dk/hoteller/danmark/kobenhavn/first-hotel-kong-frederik

Best for community: Woodah hostel

Woodah hostel is known for being clean and friendly (Woodah hostel)

Aiming to offer more than just a bed for the night, Woodah considers itself more of a community hub for the budget-minded and eco-conscious. It is small, cosy and popular for its cleanliness and welcoming atmosphere. Located in the buzzy Vesterbro neighbourhood, it offers a total of 30 bunk beds, each with a curtain, reading light and private locker. Bed linen is included and there are several chill-out areas to relax in. There are two shared bathrooms and four shared toilets complete with hairdryers. Meet fellow travellers in the café – guests get 20 per cent off everything – or take part in regular yoga classes, organised with local yoga schools.

Dorms from DKK264 (£31), B&B
woodah-hostel.com

Best for families: Hotel Rye Copenhagen

Hotel Rye is within walking distance of the little mermaid ( Hotel Rye)

For a homely stay in the Danish capital head to this small hotel in the neighbourhood of Østerbro, one of Copenhagen’s greenest and most visually pleasing areas. You’ll find yourself within walking distance of the city’s lakes, the citadel grounds and the little mermaid. Østerbro is well connected to the popular sights, buses and trains running from nearby. It’s suited to everyone from the single traveller to families, with different room types available. All have shared bathrooms, free wifi, TV and all linen and towels provided. The popular organic breakfast includes homemade buns and is included in the price.

Doubles from DKK995 (£118), B&B
hotelrye.dk

We may earn some commission if you click on a link in this article and buy a product or service, but we never allow this to influence our coverage.

This article was originally published in April 2018

Thanks to: Tina Nielsen


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10 Best Paris budget hotels

Tags :

Category : Europe , Paris

Paris hotels don’t have to cost the earth.
Here are 11 stylish hotels in the City of Light that won’t break the bank

Paris: so much to see, do eat, shop, admire and ogle, so why bother splurging on an expensive bed for the night when you’re hardly going to be there? But before you go roughing it, remember that Paris demands a certain level of style – it’s the home of fashion, romance and fine cuisine, after all. Enter, then, a host of fantastic hotels, hostels and even a campsite where it’s possible to find a chic abode for less than €100 a night, while the newly opened Hoxton Paris provides tough competition with its 172 rooms, three bars and an excellent restaurant.

Best for style: Mama Shelter

The Starck-designed hotel is the ideal launchpad to explore the hip Belleville district (Mama Shelter)

Mama Shelter started the trend for design on a budget when it opened in 2009. Having extended across France and beyond in the past decade, with hotels in Rio, Los Angeles and Belgrade, its style-on-a-budget brand has gained fans worldwide. Their Paris hotel, close to the Père Lachaise cemetery and the hip Belleville district, is the original and was designed by Philippe Starck.

The top French designer’s quirky vibe runs throughout the 172 bedrooms, which are small and cocoon-like with black and grey decor, as well as the laidback restaurant, which offers a number of dishes from Michelin-star chef Guy Savoy.

Best for hanging out: Hoxton Paris

Jacques Bar is ideal for an early evening cocktail (Hoxton Paris)

Following on from its success in London, the Hoxton opened in Paris in the summer of 2017 and has quickly become the place to see and be seen, whether staying in the hotel, sipping cocktails in one of its bars or dining in its restaurant. While its size – the 172 rooms are set on long corridors over four floors – can feel a little impersonal at times, the personal touch comes from the friendly staff, while the cosy florals and velvets with full-height windows and Moroccan-inspired cocktails in Jacques Bar make it a destination in itself. Rooms are thoughtfully designed with leather headboards, herringbone fabrics and parquet floors.

Doubles from €99, B&B (free light breakfast bag delivered to your room)
thehoxton.com

Best for a really tight budget: Generator Hostel

Bunk up on the doorstep of the cool Canal Saint-Martin district (Nikolas Koenig)

Time was, the word hostel was a byword for skanky showers, uncomfortable bunks and snoring room rates, but with the new breed of cool hostels from the Generator chain – found throughout Europe – you can expect a fantastic rooftop bar with views towards the Sacré-Coeur, a cool brasserie, free wi-fi and the cool Canal Saint-Martin district on the doorstep. Of course they can’t guarantee a lack of snoring room mates, but that’s where the private rooms come in, with twin or quad beds.

Dorm beds from €17, private twin rooms from €78, room only (breakfast from €2)
generatorhostels.com​

Best for escaping the city: Okko Hotels

The Porte de Versailles hotel is a half-hour train ride from the Eiffel Tower (Okko Hotels)

This relatively new chain of four-star hotels is springing up in cities across France. With its cool concept of smallish rooms balanced with a large central area known as The Club, there’s plenty of space to relax. One of their main attractions is that the room price has no hidden extras and includes breakfast, an aperitif, snacks, wifi, international phone calls (up to €10), videos on demand and access to the fitness suite.

For all the pros, however, there is a con – distance from the main sights. The Porte de Versailles hotel is a half-hour train ride from the Eiffel Tower; while their Rueil Malmaison is even further out. A third Paris hotel, at the more central Montparnasse, is due to open in 2019.

Doubles from €99, B&B
okkohotels.com

Best for a fun weekend: Idol Hotel

This room is named after Stevie Wonder’s ‘Moon Blue’, though perhaps it looks more like ‘Purple Rain’ (Idol Hotel)

Get your groove on before you check into this disco-themed hotel, where the rooms are named after classic tunes such as “Ma Cherie Amour”, “Light My Fire” and “Lady Soul”.

Decor is loud, shamelessly bold and wonderfully kitsch – you might never have seen this much gold (in a good way, though) unless you’ve stayed in Trump Towers – but it’s all fantastically fun. Music lovers will also appreciate the concierge’s tips on where to find Paris’ best concerts, gigs and clubs.

Doubles from €90, room only (breakfast from €8.50)
idolhotel-paris.com​

Best for the planet: Solar Hotel

An eco hotel which keeps prices the same all year round (Solar Hotel)

This pricing policy of this eco-friendly budget hotel is dedicated to being transparent, with everything included in the room price and no surprises, keeping the same price all year round. This extends beyond the generous organic breakfast to also include wiifi, phone calls and bicycles to borrow to explore the city.

Rooms are simple with white walls and splashes of colour in the blue curtains and orange headboards; some have balconies overlooking the leafy courtyard garden. Among the hotel’s many ecological initiatives, there are solar panels (of course), energy-saving lightbulbs and waste is sorted for recycling.

Doubles from €89, B&B
solarhotel.fr​

Best for stopovers: CitizenM

Communal areas are a good place to grab a cocktail or relax with a book (CitizenM)

With three different hotels in Paris, the most central being that at the Gare de Lyon (making for an easy onward journey the next day) this international brand of design-led, cost-conscious hotels subscribes to the ethos of stack ’em high, sell ’em cheap; but that doesn’t mean that service, decor and facilities are compromised.

The Gare de Lyon hotel has 338 rooms, with square beds tucked into the end of the room, luxury linen, an in-room power shower and unlimited free movies.

The communal areas offer the space that the rooms lack, with cool decor and plenty of room to sit back with a book or sip a cocktail.

Doubles from €84, room only (breakfast €14.95 if booked in advance)
citizenm.com

Best for location: Hotel Jeanne d’Arc

Recently refurbished and in one of the city’s hippest areas (Hotel Joan of Arc)

Set in the heart of the Marais, one of Paris’ hippest districts, this three-star hotel was always a favourite with those in the know, but since its recent refurb it is a real gem.

All 34 of its rooms have had a facelift with elegant decor in neutral tones with splashes of muted colour. The new owners have thought of everything with tea and coffee-making facilities in the rooms, a simple but varied breakfast, and free wi-fi. If you can tear yourself away, get out into the area’s trendy bars and restaurants for aperitifs and dinner.

Doubles from €99, room only (breakfast €8)
hoteljeannedarc.com

Best for a friendly welcome: Hotel Port Royal

A family-run hotel for four generations (Hotel Port Royal)

Run by the fourth generation of the same family, this simple but comfortable hotel makes for a great bolthole. It’s situated in the leafy fifth arrondissement, near the Sorbonne and a short stroll from the Jardin des Plantes.

Rooms are dinky and the decor isn’t flash. It’s also worth noting that some of the rooms only have a sink, rather than a full ensuite – shared toilets and showers are on the landing (remember when most hotels were like that?) – but everything is spick and span and staff are friendly.

Doubles from €68, room only (breakfast €8)
port-royal-hotel.fr

Best for families: Camping de Paris

Comfy beds in safari-style tents, caravans and cabins (Camping de Paris)

Many of us have fond memories of camping in France as kids, but if the thought of kipping under damp canvas means you’ve consigned it firmly to the past, think again. The French have well and truly embraced glamping, and at Camping de Paris this means comfy beds and wooden floors in the safari-style tents, or kooky gypsy caravans and cosy cabins.

Set at the edge of the Bois de Boulogne, just 20-25 minutes from some of the main sights, the campsite offers a good option for families or those on a budget.

Takeaway meals can be bought from the cool new food truck, which serves pizza and other dishes, while fresh croissants can be delivered to your cabin for breakfast.

Tents for up to four people cost from €78 per night, breakfast from €4.50
campingparis.fr/​

Best for flea market fans: Mob hotel

Mob Hotel has quirky decor alongside affordable prices (C Paul Bowyer)

This relatively new hotel (opened March 2017) in the Saint-Ouen district in northern Paris makes for a super-chic bolthole, with rates that leave plenty of dosh for spending in the nearby flea markets. The 92 rooms have bags of personality, with knick-knacks and vintage finds set off against clean and simple design. There is an inviting rooftop bar serving cocktails as well as a restaurant serving organic and sustainable produce.

Doubles from €79, room only
mobhotel.com

We may earn some commission if you click on a link in this article and buy a product or service, but we never allow this to influence our coverage.

This article has been updated. It was originally published in March 2018.

Thanks to: Carolyn Boyd


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Bauhaus: modern dreams, the best places round the world

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Category : Europe , World

Bauhaus architecture, characterised by its form-follows-function principles, celebrates 100 years in 2019. Daniel Pembrey rounds up the best Bauhaus cities in Germany and beyond

The Bauhaus school of design turns 100 in 2019. The style, recognisable for its flat roofs, white or glass-skinned walls and boldly modern details, has influenced skyscrapers, typefaces and most things in between.

Celebrations will happen around the world, but especially in Germany, where the school’s original brilliance was short-lived. Founded in Weimar in 1919, the school was deemed un-German by the Nazis and shut down in 1933. The diaspora of the émigré “Bauhausler” simply hastened the spread of the school’s influence – to some fascinating, far-flung places including Tel Aviv and Chicago.

Here are the best places around the world to see the Bauhaus style ahead of its centenary next year.

Berlin, Germany

Soho House Berlin: the ideal base to explore Bauhaus Berlin (Soho House Berlin)

Soho House enlivens a monumental 1920s Bauhaus building in Berlin’s Mitte district that reflects the city’s turbulent past. Once a Jewish-owned department store, it became the Hitler Youth HQ, later an East German government archive repository. It’s a good base to explore the Bauhaus-related events planned in the capital throughout 2019 (doubles from €296/£263).

“We devised an events programme to meet the needs of everyone – from those who know very little about the Bauhaus right through to subject matter experts,” says Annemarie Jaeggi, director of the Bauhaus-Archiv. Pick up a Berlin Welcome Card, covering public transport across the city.

Dessau, Germany

Bauhaus studio building Dessau, Germany

In its 1925-32 heyday, the Bauhaus was based in Dessau, an industrial region considered to be the Silicon Valley of its time, less than two hours’ drive from Berlin. Stay in hall-of-residence-style digs at the Bauhaus studio building and imagine the experience of the celebrated student body there (doubles from €60). Don’t overlook the nearby Masters’ Houses where school leaders and legends including Walter Gropius and László Moholy-Nagy lived among pine trees. Twenty minutes’ stroll from there is Carl Fieger’s beautifully curved Kornhaus café, on the bank of the Elbe, where you can enjoy tea and torte.

Weimar, Germany

Hotel Elephant Weimar (René-T. Kusche)

Weimar is an ancient but vibrant student city two hours’ drive from Dessau. Its Hotel Elephant was recently renovated and features a delightful lichtsaal or “light hall”, with art covering its walls. A short walk takes you to the university buildings where the founding Bauhausler unified the art and craft schools (previously entirely separate disciplines). The Hotel Elephant has a suite named after Lyonel Feininger, the painter who designed the first manifesto cover depicting a cathedral as a crystalline symbol (Feininger’s suite from €560, B&B; other rooms from €150).

Usedom, Baltic Sea

Wasserschloss Mellenthin, one of Lyonel Feininger’s subjects (Wasserschloss Mellenthin)

There are many other Bauhaus locations in Germany to choose from – for example, the Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart, or the Fagus Factory in Lower Saxony.

For a different experience, head north to the island of Usedom (three hours’ drive from Berlin) on the Baltic Sea. This is where early Bauhaus master Lyonel Feininger holidayed, painted and cycled. You can stay at the charming Wasserschloss Mellenthin (doubles from €100), one of his subjects. Enjoy its brewery, and bike the Feininger Cycle Trail running beside it. The nearby village of Benz has a rustic church that Feininger also painted. The Kunstkabinett gallery there specialises in Feininger’s work. You’ll soon see why he fell in love with the area.

Brno, Czech Republic

Villa Tugendhat (David Zidlicky)

The Bauhaus’s influence was soon felt abroad. Mies van der Rohe, the last director of the school, was asked by the Tugendhat family of Brno to design a house on a plot of land overlooking this ancient capital city of Moravia.

Mies created the first steel-framed building of its kind – a masterclass in the flow of space between internal and external zones. The house inspired Simon Mawer’s Booker Prize shortlisted novel The Glass Room, now being made into a film with Czech director Julius Sevcik. The Tugendhats enjoyed the villa for just seven years before they had to flee the Nazis in 1938. Book ahead.

London, UK

Image result for Isokon Gallery

Isokon Gallery London, UK

You don’t have to look far in London to find Bauhaus gems. An English Heritage plaque outside the ocean liner-like Isokon Flats in north London, shows that artists Walter Gropius, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Marcel Breuer relocated there during the 1930s. It now houses the Isokon Gallery with a permanent exhibition about the building plus a shop. Elsewhere in the capital, Tate Britain and the William Morris Gallery will stage Bauhaus centenary events.

Tel Aviv, Israel

Bauhaus Centre Tel Aviv (Bauhaus Centre Tel Aviv)

The Bauhaus diaspora adapted the school’s style to new environments, but in Tel Aviv, émigré Bauhausler found a location where white, flat-roofed buildings and balconies or external walkways were better suited than in Germany given the heat and light. More than 4,000 such buildings were constructed here by 1940, many in the central White City, an Unesco world heritage site. The Bauhaus Centre Tel Aviv offers walking tours and, from January, centenary events.

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Farnsworth House, USA

Several US cities lay claim to exemplary Bauhaus (influenced) architecture. Chicago is where Mies van der Rohe taught for the latter part of his career at the Illinois Institute of Technology, designing his signature statement towers such as 860-880 Lake Shore Drive plus some exquisite private residences: the Farnsworth House, 60 miles southwest of the city, open April-November, is well worth the drive.

Thanks to: Daniel Pembrey


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10 of Europe’s coolest neighbourhoods

Category : Europe , Visit Europe

Take a back seat Montmartre, Kreuzberg and Dalston, because it’s time for a new generation of hip ’hoods to take centre stage. Here are 10 of the continent’s coolest neighbourhoods to put on your holiday hit-list.

Eilandje, Antwerp, Belgium

Locals trace this once-gritty district’s reinvention back to the 2011 opening of Museum aan de Stroom, otherwise known as MAS – head up to the observation deck for fantastic views over the city and the river.

Today locals are queueing up to snap up the area’s loft-like apartments, lured by its cool bars, restaurants and clubs. Many are housed inside former warehouses – one of the city’s most beautiful restaurants is Felix Pakhuis, which you’ll find inside a former grain store.

Eilandje’s rep has been raised by the opening of MAS

Praga, Warsaw, Poland

During the Second World War, most of Warsaw’s city centre was destroyed, but Praga, across the river, escaped largely unscathed. Wander its streets and you’ll find leafy courtyards hidden behind crumbling apartment blocks and bunkers in the middle of tree-lined avenues. Recently, Warsaw’s creative types have started opening coffee shops in these abandoned courtyards and brightening up dilapidated buildings with colourful murals. A must-see is the Neon Museum, which has the world’s largest collection of Cold War-era neon. You’ll find it at the Soho Factory, a cluster of warehouses turned into galleries and restaurants.

Head to Praga for the Neon Museum

Mariahilf, Vienna, Austria

Until recently, Vienna’s hippest ‘hood was Leopoldstadt. Sadly, over-gentrification forced out those who’d breathed new life into Vienna’s former Jewish quarter. The good news? Many of them headed to Mariahilf, a city centre neighbourhood which has the city’s longest shopping street, Mariahilfer Strasse. Head to nearby (and lesser-known) Gumpendorfer Strasse for a colourful mix of independent galleries, boutiques and bars, or to Haus des Meeres, a concrete anti-aircraft tower built by the Germans in the Second World War. It’s now home to an aquarium and a spectacular rooftop cafe.

Finnieston, Glasgow, Scotland

The transformation of an often-overlooked area of Glasgow was kickstarted by the 2013 unveiling of the SSE Hydro, a huge arena recently listed as the world’s fourth-busiest music venue. Its success put Finnieston firmly on the map. Late 2017 saw the opening of the Clydeside Distillery, complete with visitor centre, and the spring opening of Finnieston Quay’s Radisson RED has confirmed the neighbourhood’s new-found coolness. Argyle Street, a street lined with hip bars and an array of different shops, is at the forefront of the area’s transformation.

A new music venue put Finnieston, Glasgow on the map

Aarhus Ø, Aarhus, Denmark

Dominated by a beautiful iceberg-shaped apartment building, the waterfront neighbourhood of Aarhus Ø is hard to ignore. Its highlights include the BIG-designed Harbour Bath seawater pool complex and a perforated observation tower overlooking the water. Soon there will also be seafront bars, volleyball courts and a theatre, as well as the opening of the upscale boutique hotel Hotel Guldsmeden, with its organic breakfasts and bike rentals. These collection of developments is proof that Aarhus Ø is a destination in its own right.

Aarhus Ø is a striking district located right by the water

Amsterdam-Noord, Amsterdam, Holland

Getting to Amsterdam-Noord, just across the water from Centraal Station, involves a free, five-minute ferry ride or, since July, a short trip on the new Noord/Zuidlijn metro line. Once an industrial tangle of warehouses, the area is now known for its hip waterfront hangouts, cutting edge architecture (including the spaceship-like EYE film museum) and some of the city’s coolest hotels, including the Sir Adam, with its cool music-themed rooms.

Amsterdam-Noord has gone from industrial to innovative

Beyoğlu, Istanbul, Turkey

This colourful area has transformed into the capital’s arts district, thanks partly to the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts’ decision to hold the Istanbul Design Biennial here. The next one kicks off in late September, where events take place in six Beyoğlu cultural institutions, including the art-filled Pera Museum. One of the best hangouts is the Stay Late Antiquity, a recently-opened design hotel inside a 19th-century townhouse. “I’d recommend checking out Galeri Nev on Istiklal Street,” says Deniz Ova, director of Istanbul Design Biennial. “You’ll find work by the masters of modern Turkish art and by younger, emerging artists too.”

Grünerløkka, Oslo, Norway

Perched on the forested banks of the Akerselva River, Grünerløkka is hipster heaven. The Mathallen Oslo food hall has 30 fantastic vendors (Gutta på Haugen is great for delicious cured meats) and also a plethora of cocktail bars. The top pick is Nedre Løkka, a cosy venue with vintage decor and the city’s most innovative cocktails. This riverside neighbourhood is especially popular with artists, perhaps attracted by Grunerløkka’s status as the childhood home of Edvard Munch – visit the Vår Frelsers Gravlund (Cemetery of Our Saviour) to see where he was buried.

Metelkova, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Metelkova started life as a sprawling, illegal urban squat, inhabited by free spirits who used its abandoned military buildings as venues for everything from illegal raves to art exhibitions. Today, it’s more integrated and regarded as one of Europe’s trendiest cultural hubs. The presence of numerous art institutions, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova and the Slovene Ethnographic Museum, attracts visitors from all walks of life – on any given night entertainment options include LGBTQ events, political debates, death metal club nights and art exhibitions.

Västra Hamnen is a certified carbon-neutral district 

Västra Hamnen, Malmö, Sweden

Europe’s most innovative neighbourhood will eventually house 12,000 residents. A certified carbon-neutral district, Västra Hamnen (meaning Western Harbour) is completely self-sustainable, powered by biogas and wind and solar energy. Its impressive green credentials have helped transform this former dockyard into Malmö’s coolest neighbourhood, with residents drawn to its riverside bars, parks and green buildings. Late 2017 also saw the opening of the cyclist-friendly, geothermally-heated Ohboy Hotell, where every room comes with a foldable bike.

Thanks to: Tamara Hinson


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Five Alternative European Christmas Markets

The traditional Christmas market originated in Dresden as far back as 1434, but Christmas markets can now be found across Europe, collectively attracting millions of visitors each year. With sparkling Christmas lights adorning snowy trees, aromas of chestnuts roasting on open fires, and traditional mulled wine warming you down to your toes, Europe’s Christmas markets are guaranteed to leave you feeling festive.

Selling everything from handmade wooden toys to traditional local cuisine here’s our pick of the most magical European markets to visit this winter.

Nuremberg, Germany

Sweet Gingerbread Hearts, Nuremberg Christmas Markets

Nuremberg Old Town is transformed into a Christmas city, where fresh greenery and sweet gingerbread hearts decorate the stalls. Here you’ll find traditional handmade wooden Christmas decorations and the famous Zwetschgenmännle prune men. And of course, it wouldn’t be a German Christmas market without mulled wine and roasted sugared almonds.

Strasbourg, France

Christmas Tree in Strasbourg, France

Several town squares around the UNESCO World Heritage site of Strasbourg host Christmas markets, each with their own unique characteristics. The oldest and best-known Christkindelsmärik in Place Brogile, features over 300 wooden chalets. Browse beautifully decorated Christmas stalls brimming with handmade decorations, local delicacies, and Alsatian fare. For an even more magical experience, take a short stroll over to Place Kléber, where you’ll find the square illuminated by the city’s iconic 30-metre-tall Christmas tree.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague Old Town Square at Christmas TIme

For five weeks of the year, Prague’s iconic Old Town Square transforms into a magical Winter Wonderland. A celebration of traditional Czech culture and handicrafts, you can browse stalls stocked with embroidered lace, wooden toys, Christmas ornaments, and traditional puppets and dolls. When hunger strikes, there’s plenty of classic Czech foods to indulge in; roasted hams, klobása(barbecue sausages) and the hot sugar-coated chimney cake known as Trdelnik.

Krakow, Poland

Christmas market at the Main Market square of Krakow

In the centre of Krakow’s Old Town, the Main Market Square is filled with wooden stalls offering Bolesławiec Pottery, traditionalSzopkas (nativity icons) and fresh mistletoe. Foodies can’t miss out on oscypek (a traditional Polish smoked cheese made from sheep milk), topped with jam. For a truly unique Christmas experience, take a short walk to the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, where you can watch a live nativity scene and be entertained by bands and carollers.

Vienna, Austria

Spiced Mulled Wine at Vienna Christmas Markets

Vienna has over twenty official Advent Markets across the city, but no setting is more beautiful for a Christmas market than Vienna’s Schonbrunn Palace. The tempting aromas of warm punch and freshly baked Vanillekipferl (crescent biscuits) fill the air around this neoclassical palace – the perfect place to sample hearty Austrian delights.


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10 Reasons to Spend Christmas in Europe

From experiencing atmospheric festive traditions, to embracing the après ski scene in Europe’s most idyllic mountain towns, with our favourite time of year approaching, we take a look at why you should spend Christmas in Europe.

Christmas in Europe

The Christmas Markets

There aren’t many traditions more evocative of Christmas in Germany than the season’s outdoor markets. Between the bustling stalls, visitors can sip on steaming cups of mulled wine and tuck into warm stöllen and roast chestnuts. In fact, these Bavarian-style markets can be found all over Europe, from the romantic Austrian city of Salzburg, to England’s vibrant capital, London.

Outdoor Ice Rinks

Christmas markets often come hand-in-hand with sparkling open-air ice rinks. The Natural History Museum Swarovski Ice Rink and Skate at Somerset House – two of London’s most popular rinks – are celebrated as destinations in their own right, each set within impressive surroundings, amidst architectural grandeur and twinkling lights. 

Christmas in Europe

Seasonal Shows 

Performances spanning a wide range of genres are on offer across Europe year-round, but December brings an influx of festive shows, perfect for a seasonal dose of Christmas spirit. From classic pantomimes such as Cinderella to nostalgic plays like The Snowman and whimsical ballet The Nutcracker, London certainly stands out for its theatrical offering. 

Cosy Winter Fare 

With the wintery days and first snowfall comes a feast of warming winter fare, which is distinct to each location. Indulge in a rich fondue or raclette on the Swiss slopes, tuck into an Italian beef stew infused with rosemary and red wine, or embrace the heartiest of French festive cuisine.

Christmas in Europe

Warming Winter Cocktails 

Mulled wine and hot spiced cider are of course widespread at this time of year. But with such an outstanding selection of bars across Europe’s most happening cities, this is just the beginning of the winter cocktail offering. Step into chic bars and onto cosy winter terraces to try a new Christmas tipple. 

The Mountain Towns 

Flanked by snow-capped mountains and pine forest, there aren’t many settings more idyllic at this time than Europe’s mountain towns. Dotted across the 1,200-kilometre expanse of the Alps are a number of romantic Alpine towns, each of which has its own unique appeal.

Christmas in Europe

The Aprés Ski 

While some of these Alpine towns offer tranquillity, others are at the heart of Europe’s vibrant après ski scene. Join the skiers of towns such as St Moritz and Cortina d’Ampezzo as they come in from the slopes to celebrate the setting with a glass of Champagne. 

Nostalgic Settings 

From alpine lodges to manor house hotels and grand castles, nostalgic settings abound throughout Europe. After all, what better way to end the day than sitting by a roaring log fire amid such splendour? 

Christmas in Europe

The Annual Traditions 

While many traditions have been adopted worldwide, some of Europe’s festive customs have remained lesser known, from regional culinary specialties across Italy, to the handicrafts that can be found in Germany’s Christmas markets.

The Winter Festivals

A number of festivals pop up across Europe during the build-up to Christmas, bringing together the season’s markets, shows, ice rinks and more, all in one place. One of the most popular in London is Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, where highlights this year include The Nutcracker on Ice.


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The 16 Most Charming Christmas Markets in Europe

There’s nothing in the world quite like the holiday season in Europe, and if you’re there from late November through the New Year, it’s easy to see why: There are wooden chalets in 13th-century towns, snow-capped cathedrals, seasonal cookies and cakes in display windows (better still: in your mouth), and of course, all the hot mulled wine you can drink. Put all of it together, and the towns practically twinkle with fairy-tale festiveness. We’d venture to say there’s hardly a wrong way to do Christmas across the continent, but it’s worth hitting some of the biggest celebrations first. Here, in no particular order, are 17 of the best Christmas markets in Europe.


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23 Best Places to Spend Christmas: The World’s Most Festive Cities

We’re all for snow days and cuddling up with loved ones by the fire, but the month of December is also prime time for traveling—mainly to see how the rest of the world celebrates Christmas. These cities are worth a visit any time of year, sure, but they seem to be exceptionally magical during the holiday season. Whether they’re European classics with storybook Christmas markets, Asian cities where you can see twinkling lights from a rooftop pool, or ski paradises right here in the U.S., some celebrations are worth the price of a plane ticket. And let’s face it: You haven’t really seen Christmas lights until you’ve seen 26 million lights all at once (we’re looking at you, Colombia). From Cologne to Cape Town, here are the best places to spend Christmas this year.


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