Kwan in Rome

I can’t recall exactly when it was that I first shot a hotel room video tour and posted it on YouTube, but it has now become something of a tradition for me every time that I travel. You might remember my video tour of Westin Taipei or the videos from the range of Outback accommodations in Australia. Following this tradition, I naturally endeavored to shoot brief videos of where we stayed for our trip through Europe.

In general, we’ve stayed at some rather conventional hotels for most of our travels. Some have been decidedly higher end than others, but decided to take an entirely different route for most of our accommodations in Europe. All in all, we stayed in seven different cities and we only stayed in hotels for two of those. I neglected to shoot a video of the Best Western in Nice, but I did manage to put together video tours of the remaining six locations.

Five out of these six locations were private apartment rentals. The thinking was that we could get better value, more home-like amenities (full kitchens, laundry, etc.), and more central locations for less money compared to regular hotels. For the most part, I’d say it worked out.

Amsterdam, Netherlands – AirBNB Apartment near Wibautstraat

Our first stop was in Amsterdam (check out my Amsterdam photo essay and travel guide post). We stayed in a fairly large one-bedroom apartment in Wibautstraat, which was a short distance away from the heart of the city. It had a full kitchen with a Nespresso machine, a separate bedroom, and a fairly sizable living and dining area, as well as a small balcony overlooking a garden.

Paris, France – Lodgis Apartment in 6th Arrondisement

For Paris (where I also have a Paris photo series and travel guide), we stayed in a very quaint flat in the 6th arrondisement near Jardin du Luxembourg. It was easily the smallest apartment where we stayed, but it had everything we needed, including laundry and a workable kitchen. There was also a fantastic boulangerie (bakery) and patisserie (pastry shop) next door.

Florence, Italy – Casa Santa Rita near Ponte Vecchio

Offered through Florence Holiday Homes, we spent our two nights in Florence at Casa Santa Rita. The ground level one-bedroom flat was quite large and had a great living room area. Our host, Paolo Scheggi couldn’t be friendlier or more helpful. Again, we had a full kitchen, laundry and complimentary wireless Internet.

Rome, Italy – AirBNB Apartment near Vatican City

We booked a studio apartment for Rome and it was located about ten minutes on foot from Saint Peter’s Square and the Vatican City. Again, it was quite small (not as small as Paris), but we did have a balcony, a comfortable dining area and a full kitchen. In lieu of conventional Internet access, we were provided with a Wind Mobile USB mobile Internet stick. Combined with one of my USB battery packs, this meant that we had “free” Internet throughout the city too.

Venice, Italy – Hotel Villa Adele in Marghera

Staying in the actual city of Venice can be very expensive with even the most modest of hotel rooms going for $300 a night. So, we decided to stay in Marghera instead. Hotel Villa Adele is a five minute walk from the Venezia Mestre train station which, in turn, is a 10-minute train ride away from the main Venezia Santa Lucia station. Aside from Best Western Hotel Riviera in Nice, this was the only other hotel for us in Europe.

Milan, Italy – AirBNB Apartment in Porta Venezia

And our journeys through Europe wrapped up with a studio apartment in Milan. Our flat was on the third floor of a walk-up and it had a bunk bed-style setup with a sofa on the bottom and the bed on top. Again, we had a full kitchen and our host was nice enough to provide us with a “breakfast box” with crackers, spreads, coffee and juice.

Affordable Europe Accommodations

Staying in Europe can be very expensive, but you can save a substantial amount of money and still be comfortable if you take the time to shop around. We didn’t really want to stay in hostels and we didn’t want to deal with shared rooms or shared bathrooms, so renting full apartments was a good option for our needs.

On average, we spent the equivalent of about $90 to $120 Canadian per night for our accommodations. I’d say we did pretty well, particularly with our larger flats in Amsterdam and Florence.