accommodation Tag

nuria valley, vall de nuria, pyrenees, catalonia, spain (2)
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Into the valley

Getting to the Nuria Valley There are only two ways to get to the heart of the Nuria Valley, high in the Spanish Pyrenees and isolated from much of the region. The first is to walk. The second is on an antiquated train, along the ridges above valleys and through mountain tunnels. Coming out of the last tunnel, the light shines in through the window and, across a lake at eye level, the destination is revealed. It is an enchanting way to arrive. Not that the walk is unpleasant. It can take a few hours uphill (shorter downhill) and follows the valley up almost a thousand metres. The path sometimes feels as though it’s on a cliff ledge; sometimes it comes down into the valley and crosses the river; and often it leads you to viewpoints that look out across the stunning landscapes of Catalonia. The Nuria Valley The Nuria Valley is a popular...

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08 January
cheap tuscany, tuscany accommodation, tuscan food, cheap, affordable, budget (5)
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How to visit Tuscany cheaply

Cheap Tuscany, Italy It’s no surprise that one of the most popular regions of Italy is also one of the most expensive. Between accommodation, food and sites, you can really burn through the euros on a trip to Tuscany. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way - it is possible to travel Tuscany on the cheap. By accident, I discovered a way to keep the cost of visiting Tuscany right down. And the bonus? Well, it might actually be better suited to your style of travel as well. Introducing… dramatic drumroll… the hostel in the countryside! Cheap Tuscany accommodation In the quiet little village of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, the hostel is one of the largest buildings. That’s not to say it’s large, more that everything else is appropriately proportioned for a village. It’s called the ‘Ostello del Chianti’ and a bed in a dorm will cost only 16...

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08 July
stel, youth hostelyouth hostel in Feldkirch, austria, world's oldest hofeldkirch, austria (2)
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The oldest hostel in the world?

Feldkirch youth hostel, Austria If these walls could talk, there would be a world-weary rasp in their voice. It would probably be a slow voice, one that needs time for thoughts to be collected. There would be a lot of thoughts to sort through… but also an inevitable sluggishness that comes from age. You see, here at the Feldkirch youth hostel near Austria’s western border, there’s a lot of history. The hostel doesn’t claim to be the oldest in the world – but it probably could if it wanted to. It first offered respite from the road more than 300 years ago. The first document that mentions the building is from 1362 and describes it as having “been around for a long time”. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries it was used as a leper colony – a sanctuary for them but moreso a cage to keep everyone else safe. It was in the...

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20 June
agritourism in italy, agriturismo, umbria, rural accommodation in italy (2)
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The green heart of Italy

Agritourism in Italy For the Italians, it’s no secret. In the past five years they have embraced a new way to see their country. It’s about getting closer to nature, closer to tradition and closer to peace of mind. For foreigners, it’s a mystery. But there’s only one thing stopping them from having the same connection with the country as the Italians – and that’s awareness. I’m talking about a trend called agritourism (or agriturismo, as they call it here). If you think about the name, it kind of speaks for itself. It’s all about staying on a farm, eating the food grown on the farm, and using the location to either relax or to explore the nearby cities during the day. Donatella Cavicchi is the owner of an agritourism hotel called Il Mandoleto near the Umbrian town of Solomeo. She describes it like this: “This is not the house in the country, this...

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01 May