Finding Places to Stay
There are many different options for accommodations in Europe, based on traveler needs, preferences and budgets. In addition to vacation rentals, hotels and B&Bs, there are many other economical possibilities such as farms, convents and monasteries, and hostels. The links in this section provide general guidance in identifying, selecting and booking accommodations as well as specific resources for different kinds of accommodations.
For me, the search for accommodations is one of the most enjoyable aspects of planning a trip, but it’s also one of the most frustrating. I usually like staying in a special or interesting place, something very different than where our family would stay in the USA. And I like the “hunt”… being a “detective” who can discover that perfect place at a reasonable cost. But I also realize that it’s possible to spend an enormous amount of time in the process. I’ve spent as much time looking for a hotel for one night as I’ve spent looking for a rental where we’ve stayed for two weeks!
This page includes some of the links that have been most helpful to me in locating places to stay in Europe. I’ve focused on resources for vacation rentals and hotels (including inns and B&Bs), but I have included some links for alternate accommodations.
Enjoy your hunt!
One of the best ways to select hotels and rentals is to get information and recommendations from other travelers. Here are some “neutral” websites that specialize in traveler reviews:
Trip Advisor Hotel Reviews
Booking.com Hotel Reviews
Check the Slow Travel Website for rental reviews for other countries in Europe and the world.
Website and Guidebook Recommendations
Slow Travel Favorites (Recommended agencies and properties in various parts of Europe)
www.karenbrown.com This is one of my favorite resources for hotel and B&B recommendations in Europe.
Ben’s Bauernhof Recommended accommodations in southern Germany and Austria.
Websites to Identify and Book Hotels
These sites may offer better rates than the hotel’s own website and also offer an ease in making arrangements.
www.booking.com The site has low rates and no booking fees, and does include reviews. Your credit card used to guarantee booking but is not charged until your stay. Booking.com is part of Priceline.com.
Relais et Chateaux This is a network of independent luxury hotels and restaurants around the world; especially strong in France.
Best Western Best Western has a large network of good independent hotels in Europe.
Logis de France A network of 3000 independent hotel-restaurants in France.
www.eurocheapo.com Resource for budget hotels.
Rent-by-Owner Rental Listings
Our family has rented over 50 places in Europe. We normally do rent directly from owners and have had very good success with this. Here are some rent-by-owner websites that I use and like.
Vacation Rentals by Owner: www.vrbo.com (thousands of rental properties world-wide)
Holiday Rentals: www.holiday-rentals.co.uk
French Connections: www.frenchconnections.co.uk
Rentals in France: www.gite.com
Rentals in Britain (also includes hotels and B&Bs): www.stilwell.co.uk
Vacation Rental Agencies
If you prefer to work through an agency, here are some I recommend:
Europe: Rent Villas
France/Italy/Spain: Villa Vacations (Doorways)
Great Britain: Rural Retreats
Great Britain: National Trust Cottages
Paris: Paris Perfect (This upper-end agency has beautiful apartments in ideal locations.)
Paris: Vacation in Paris (This is an American-based agency with reasonably-priced rentals, many available for less than a week.)
Italy: The Parker Company
Rome: Rome Power
Tuscany: Tuscan House (We rented through this agency a few years ago and were very pleased with our rental and the agency.)
Amalfi Coast: Summer in Italy
Venice: Views on Venice
www.guideforeurope.com (Backpacker resources)
Convent and Monastery Stays
Monastic Doors Open for Travelers (New York Times article)
Other Options for Accomodations
Untours Unique vacation packages that include rentals in various parts of Europe.