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Readers' Favorite Affordable Places to Stay in Europe

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Rome Colosseum at Dusk (Photo: iStockPhoto/David Iliff)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on March 23, 2009. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Barcelona, bed and breakfast, Christine Sarkis, destination, France, Germany, hotel, Italy, London, Prague, Santorini, vacation rental.

Last month, we asked you, the readers, to share your favorite accommodations in Europe with us. From €35 rooms in Barcelona with plaza views to €150 per night luxe digs at a former royal hunting lodge in the forests of Germany, your suggestions make us want to run out and hop the next transatlantic flight.

With as many airfare sales to Europe as we're seeing right now, and the best exchange rate in years, these suggestions are the missing piece of the affordable Europe puzzle this spring and summer.

Italy

Ahh, Italy. It's a perennial favorite for a thousand good reasons. Here are reader favorites in Rome, Montepulciano, Siena, and elsewhere.

When in Rome, Jesse and Dale do as the Romans do and stay in a centrally located villa that's been converted into a hotel: "La Residenza in Rome is an inexpensive villa two blocks from the Via Veneto, and while we were there, the concierge Paulo (who spoke perfect English) was most helpful to two newcomers. Breakfast included was a big plus."

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Another reader found a great deal near Siena by skipping hotel accommodations in favor of a vacation rental: "We rented a two-bedroom/two-bath apartment at a property called L'Affresco that we booked through Parker Villas. It was a fantastic farmhouse set in the midst of the gorgeous Tuscan countryside and a real deal at $500/couple for a week. Our apartment even had a swimming pool, washer, full kitchen, fireplace, and a large outdoor dining deck. It was ideally located for short drives to Chianti, Florence, and Montepulciano. The friendly owners even made arrangements for a cooking lesson for us right in our kitchen. Fantastico!" Parker Villas is currently running a sale offering discounts of five to 55 percent off rentals during May.

Bob Ville also recommends Montepulciano, for its charm and proximity to great food: "It is a classic walled city with narrow streets and beautiful vistas. A short drive brings you to Greve, with its hams and sausages hanging in the open air at the local meat shop. Or a trip to Montelcino, home of the world's best wine."

Joanie and Bill stumbled upon an affordable gem during a driving vacation to Umbria and Tuscany. The San Carlo B&B, they say, is the "best kept secret in La Molinella, a tiny suburb of Citta della Pieve. It was less than a two-hour drive from Rome, and the cost was only €60 (about $81, see XE.com for current exchange rates) for the beautiful large room with French Doors. The owner of this stone 17th Century house, Rosa Cipriani, is an absolute perfect hostess. The view of the city from the hillside location is beautiful. The rooms were immaculate and new, including a shower and tiled bathroom. They have since added a pool on the property. A sumptuous breakfast is served fresh each morning in the dining area of the house. I believe this B&B was the best experience we have had in all our travels in Italy. And, Rosa's son, Nicolo, who speaks English is very sweet and accommodating with information about the area. Tell them Joanne and Bill say hello."

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