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Your Best Budget Hotels in Europe

Why stay at budget hotels in Europe...

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Here's one reason...if it is important to you to save some money on accommodations so you can see Europe's great sights and have some Fun dining experiences…budget hotels are your answer.

You’ll find some inexpensive – but good – accommodations...hostels, universities, convents, farmhouses and B&B’s.

The European Travel Resource Center lists booking sites for inexpensive accommodations by country.

Tips on low-cost accommodations and budget hotels in Europe

  • Your accommodations will be clean and basic. Rooms will be small with limited closet space.
  • The least expensive rooms – except at hotels – have shared bathrooms and shower facilities…down the hall.

    Usually a few rooms have private bathrooms at a higher rate. Be sure to ask for a bathtub with your reservation if this is important to you. Showers are often less expensive.

  • Parking is sometimes available at an extra charge, also at regular hotels. Try not to have a car in European cities. It’s difficult and parking is expensive.
  • Stay close to the sights you’ll be visiting, even pay a little more…and use public transportation.

Your inexpensive accommodations in Europe

  • Hostels

    Hostelling International, the new name for the International Youth Hotels Federation, includes 90 national associations in more than 80 countries that run 4500 hostels. Your membership card includes discounted phone calls and travel insurance.

    Your benefits include staying at clean, service-oriented hostels that cater to a wide range of visitors, whatever age, business travelers and tourists…all at affordable rates for everyone.

    The drawback is that you’ll stay in dorm-like rooms ranging from 4 to 8 beds. However, some hostels now have a few private rooms as well as rooms for families. Bathrooms are always shared. Some hostels still have evening curfews and mid-day lockout periods, but many do not. Be sure you are aware of this.

    They are a far cry from the hippie hangouts in the seventies.

    Staying at a hostel means meeting lots of people from all over the world. Breakfast is usually included, and dinner is optional at many hostels.

    Note: Hostel booking services on the Internet, such as Hostel World also include budget hotels in Europe, B&B’s, apartments and other types of accommodations, not just hostels.

  • University accommodations

    No, you don’t have to be a student to enjoy the nice accommodations and exciting atmosphere that universities offer during the spring (not all) and summer breaks.

    Two major areas for university stays are…

    1. Great Britain

      Stay at many colleges in central London, and at over 60 other others throughout the country.

      If you’re traveling by car with children, university stays are very convenient, in addition to being inexpensive.

      Most universities on the outskirts of the town (no parking problems), offer you family accommodations, cafeteria-style restaurants or self-catering, a swimming pool; and, of course, lots of space for your kids to play.

      University-rooms is the central booking office for many universities throughout the country (but also in several other countries in Europe - France, Spain, Italy, etc.)

    2. Trinity College in Dublin

      Located in the center of Dublin, this is a great place when you want to be around young people and save money at the same time.

  • European Agritourism or farm stays

    Is your dream to experience the authentic quaint rural life in Europe? Think about staying at a vineyard in Italy, a dairy farm in France or a horse farm in England.

    Many farms are looking for new ways to sustain their business. At the same time travelers like you are more interested in visiting the agricultural regions. Hence, agritourism was born.

    See the farm, touch the animals, or even do some volunteer work for a few days. For most visitors, however, it’s just an interesting B&B.

    If you enjoy meeting the locals rather than staying at a hotel… Italy, France and England are three major countries where you find this type of B&B.

  • Convents and Monasteries

    If you’re looking for unique adventures, staying at a convent or monastery is a great way to save money and experience a different way of life. Not all are inexpensive. Some host religious retreats, which can increase the cost.

    Others, offer a quiet retreat atmosphere in unique inexpensive accommodations.

    If you plan to stay at a convent or monastery please keep in mind:

    • Though you don’t need to practice the same religion as the convent or monastery, you do need to respect the way of life and the rules.
    • Expect simple, clean accommodations with no frills, twin size beds or a few doubles.
    • You may be expected to abide by the curfew. Silence is golden. Forget cell phones. Television and telephones may not be available.
    • You may be able to have meals, creating an affordable alternative to restaurants.

    Before staying at a convent or monastery in Europe, I suggest reading Europe’s Monastery and Convent Guesthouses or the Guide to Lodging in Italy’s Monasteries.

    You can make reservations easier by using the Monastery Staysonline booking system.

  • Low-cost and budget hotels in Europe

    Do you prefer a regular hotel instead of alternative accommodations?

    If you do, Europe offers many simple clean hotels that don’t break the bank. They can be independent hotels or low-cost hotel groups. Some chains have hotels in one or two countries, others all over Europe.

    Here are a few popular groups. Many others are listed by country in the European Travel Resource Center.

    1. Two French hotel groups – Formule One and Campanile – offer modern accommodations in France as well as several other European countries.
    2. Swiss Budget Hotels offer accommodation and meals at small family-style hotels all over Switzerland.

    3. Swiss Backpackers is another group offering hotels in 23 Swiss cities. And don’t forget the country’s many mountain huts.
    4. In Spain you will find the hip Room Mate Hotels in major cities, including Madrid and Barcelona, offering both value and style.

and apartments are two additional types in the lower-cost category that you can find in this Tutorial.

So…what’s the best and simplest way to book your budget hotels in Europe?

  • Follow your friends’ recommendations.

  • Check the suggestions listed in this Tutorial.

  • Buy a guide known for its listings of low-cost accommodations, such as Rick Steve’s.

  • Look at the “Accommodation By Country” information in the European Travel Resource Center.

  • On the Internet for information on budget hotels in most European tourist cities contact Eurocheapo.

  • If you’re already in Europe visit the local tourist information offices…the safest way to get up-to-date information on inexpensive accommodations in their city or region.

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