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Book cheap flights, hotels and holidays at BookingBuddy. Booking Buddy will save you time and money by searching all the top travel companies to find you the best deals.
Gearing up for a holiday getaway to Switzerland? Then there’s a lot in store for you. Switzerland is known for its sprawling ski resorts and hiking destinations like the SwissNational Park, Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, and Jaunbach gorge, as well as popular cultural performances like Art Basel, Locarno International Film Festival, and Montreux Jazz Festival. Additionally, you don’t have to settle for a typical hotel because the country has several delightfully outlandish travel accommodations. Here are four unusual Swiss hotels you might want to check out.
Whitepod Eco-Luxury Hotel
At Whitepod, you get to stay ensconced in luxury inside pods that are surrounded by scenic views of Valais and Monthey. All 15 pods at Whitepod Eco-Luxury Hotel use biodegradable products, pellet stove for heat generation, and recycled water. Each pod is also equipped with a television set and a coffee machine. The hotel’s reception area, which serves locally sourced food, is an invigorating twenty-minute stroll away from the pod’s encampment.
If Whitepod represents environmentally friendly luxury inside a pod, then Hotel Palafitte is luxurious accommodation on stilts towering over a placid lake. There are 40 pavilions for rent in Hotel Palafitte, an upscale accommodation overlooking views of the Alps and LakeNeuchâtel. Each pavilion in this gorgeous boutique hotel is outfitted with a coffee machine and a spa bath. To sample delicious local cuisine, you can dine at the elegant La Table de Palafitte.
Up the ante and opt for a quirky bed and breakfast in the town of Herznach. Grab the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sleep inside a giant silo. Bergwerksilo features a refurbished iron ore silo and a fully operational train (which you can ride) originally intended for moving the ore from the silo. Inside the restored silo, a comfortable bed and stylish furnishings await you. The friendly couple, who run this amazing bed and breakfast, would be happy to give you a tour of the mine and a rundown of its history.
Like Bergwerksilo, Fasshotel is not a bland and faceless corporate setup. The family-run Fasshotel accepts guests from May to October of each year. At this quaint and intimate joint, four huge wine barrels made of oak were repurposed into guest rooms. Each room at Waldmeier’s Fasshotel can house up to six people. Reception and wash areas are inside a barn nearby. Outside the casks-turned-rooms, you will find a lush vineyard.
For more uniquely exciting places to stay while in Switzerland, consider sleeping in a cozy straw bed in the middle of the cornfield. There are three open-air Swiss hotels of this kind, and they are located in Estavayer-le-Lac, Nennigkofen, and Sutz. You can also opt to stay in an idyllic tipi village near JouxLake and enjoy the breathtaking forest views. In Switzerland, there’s always something to quench everyone’s thirst for the downright eccentric and charming place to stay.
Bangkok is Thailand’s capital city, spanning more than 600 square miles and housing more than eight million residents. The city is divided into fifty districts which are divided across the east and west sides of the Chao Phraya River. These distinct neighborhoods offer dramatically different accommodation options, transportation connections, attractions and dining options. So where should you stay in Bangkok? Check out these six neighborhoods, each of which offers unique advantages for visitors choosing to make them their home base.
Located about two kilometers north of the towering Victory Monument, Ari is known as Bangkok’s hippest new up-and-coming neighborhood. As one of Bangkok’s newer areas, Ari is notably clean and safe. Along its main street, Phahonyothin 7, there are a number of trendy coffee shops, bars, restaurants and boutique shops, while the area around the MRT (light rail) station is packed with street food vendors who serve authentic Thai dishes to the locals who live nearby. Ari only has a few hotels and hostels, but travelers looking for a vacation rental can choose from dozens of modern, fully-serviced apartment rentals.
If you’ve seen Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach, you’ve already seen Banglamphu. This neighborhood on the east banks of the Chao Phraya River features a mind-blowing juxtaposition of hard-partying young backpackers and calmly meditating monks. At the north end of Banglamphu, Khao San Road beckons to budget travelers with inexpensive hostels, countless souvenir shops and parties that nobody remembers the next day. Less than two kilometers to the south, The Grand Palace houses Thailand’s king and the Wat Pho complex of temples is one of the nation’s most important Buddhist sites. Banglamphu is the ideal area for travelers who love to explore by foot, as you’ll rarely need to use public transportation while you’re here. Check in to one of the many cheap hostels, or try one of the new boutique hotels along the river.
Midway between the city center and the Don Mueng International Airport (which primarily serves low-cost airlines), Chatuchak is an interesting neighborhood for travelers who want a taste of the real Bangkok. During the week Chatuchak is relatively quiet, but on the weekend it comes alive with Thailand’s largest market. Whether you want to buy a pair of sunglasses or a live shark, one of the 8000 market stalls will have what you’re looking for. Chatuchak is close to the Mo Chit MRT station and has a handful of hotels that cater primarily to weekend shoppers (in other words, you’ll get great deals during the week).
Locals refer to Bangkok’s Chinatown district as Yaowarat. During the day, shoppers pack the sidewalks to shop at the traditional Chinese markets and shops. At night, pedestrian traffic spills onto the busy main road as locals and tourists alike come to sample some of the world’s best street food. If you’re okay with staying in a neighborhood that doesn’t have its own MRT station and that tends to be a bit noisy twenty-four hours a day, basing yourself in Chinatown can make for a completely immersive cultural experience. There are several massive, upscale hotels in the area, along with a few backpacker hostels too.
After a day or two in sprawling Bangkok you will start to realize that Siam is the closest thing the city has to a city center. The Siam BTS Skytrain station is the busiest in the city and it marks the point where Bangkok’s two Skytrain lines intersect. Outside the station, six major shopping centers compete for your attention with attractions such as the Jim Thompson House museum, the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute snake farm, the National Stadium and Bangkok Art and Culture Center. This where most of the international hotel chains have their best Bangkok offerings, and if you’re willing to walk a few blocks away from the action you’ll find a range of independent hotels, guesthouses and hostels.
Sukhumvit is Thailand’s longest road, with countless smaller sois (side streets or alleys) branching off of it to form one of the city’s busiest tourist enclaves. If you’re looking for nightlife (but prefer an older crowd than the kids partying on Khao San Road), want to meet expats who now call Thailand home, or are ready to try your first authentic Thai massage, Sukhumvit could be your perfect home base. Sukhumvit also offers the city’s widest range of dining options including Western chain restaurants, upscale mall food courts, numerous Middle Eastern joints and traditional Thai street food. There are lots of hotels catering to business travelers around Sukhumvit, but budget travelers should be careful to avoid the seedy low-cost hotels that rent rooms by the hour.
Whether you want to immerse yourself in traditional Thai culture, spend your holiday chowing down on hot and spicy street food, or shop until you drop, there is a neighborhood in Bangkok that is perfect for you.
“Home for the holidays” seemed like a good idea back in September. Back then, the leaves were turning orange and yellow, the air was crisp, and you were drinking your first pumpkin spice latte of the season. Now it’s December, the sidewalks are covered in ice, the air literally froze your eyelashes this morning, and you have already consumed your body weight in eggnog… doesn’t a vacation seem like a good idea right about now? Sure, some of the most popular winter holiday destinations might already be booked up, but there are great alternatives for individuals, couples and families willing to venture slightly off the beaten path this holiday season. Here are five of the best little-known winter getaways in the United States and beyond.
If you can’t survive the winter without at least one beach getaway, consider a visit to Marathon, Florida. Thirteen different islands make up this city in the Florida Keys, which offers unparalleled snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing and watersports. If you love the great outdoors, pack your swimsuit and tent for a few nights of beachfront camping (and swimming with friendly nurse sharks!) at the nearby Bahia Honda State Park. Marathon is accessible via the stunning Overseas Highway; no airplane or boat trip required.
Palm Desert, California
Pack your bags, because the average daily high temperature in Palm Desert in December is seventy-one degrees! Travelers who still have some gifts on their shopping lists will love shopping along the upscale El Paseo Drive and at the famous Westfield Town Center. Families with children won’t want to miss a visit to the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, home to an extensive collection of local flora and fauna, as well as animals from international desert climates.
Contrary to popular belief, some parts of Canada rarely experience snow. Vancouver, the capital city of British Columbia, is one of those cities. With the Salish Sea on one side and the Coast Mountain Range on the other, when you visit Vancouver in the winter you can go skiing in the morning and walk along the beach in the afternoon. The falling Canadian dollar means that American visitors can enjoy the city’s luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants and chic boutiques for a fraction of what they would pay back home.
Mexico City, Mexico
If the seaside all-inclusive resorts are already booked up for the holidays, have no fear. Visiting Mexico City over the holiday season can be an entirely different kind of magical experience. The massive plaza in the city center– the Zocalo– comes alive with a giant skating rink, sky-scraping Christmas trees and even artificial snow machines. Families crowd the city center on Christmas Eve to view the Christmas lights and attend an evening mass; the following morning is perfect for photographing the historic center as you will discover that nearly all of the city’s eight million residents are at home with their families.
When a high-season hotel room in Paris or Rome isn’t in your holiday budget, consider a holiday in the original Italian capital. Turin has its own international airport with regular flights to European hubs and is also easily accessible by train from Milan. The city is recognized internationally for its Luci d’Artista Christmas light display, in which dozens of Italy’s most important contemporary artists have designed spectacular seasonal light displays. Turin also has high-quality Christmas markets where shoppers can snack on freshly-roasted chestnuts while browsing for handcrafted seasonal gifts and local artisan foods.
Whether you want to stay close to home or travel across the globe, there are still affordable, exciting destinations for your last-minute getaway this winter. Grab your suitcase and have a very happy holiday!
According to a survey by Euromonitor, London was the most popular city-break destination in Europe, followed by Paris, Istanbul, Rome and Prague. Unsurprisingly, these cities find themselves inundated with hordes of tourists throughout the year. However, while these cities certainly have practically endless portfolios of attractions to offer, there’s a lot to be said for exploring some of the more underappreciated destinations in Europe. Following are 10 of the most overlooked places for a city break:
#1. Split, Croatia
With an old town built in and around the ruins of the early fourth century Palace of Roman Emperor Diocletian, the Croatian city of split is as splendid as it is ancient. Although many holidaymakers heading for the beautiful Adriatic coast do indeed land in Split’s international airport, relatively few take the opportunity to explore the city itself. While Dubrovnik tends to get all the attention when it comes to historic towns of the Adriatic, Split is every bit as stunning, and a lot more affordable too.
#2. Bratislava, Slovakia
Bratislava is the capital and largest city of Slovakia, but it remains one of the most underappreciated capital cities in the European Union. Nonetheless, the city sports a small but postcard-perfect medieval center characterised by its immaculate cobbled streets and idyllic churches. In fact, it’s a little like a miniaturised Prague, albeit with only a tiny fraction of the number of tourists. Best of all, it’s an easily walkable city with a cosy atmosphere and no shortage of charming cafés, restaurants and pubs.
#3. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The cultural capital of the Herzegovina region, Mostar is home to one of the country’s most iconic landmarks; a historic sixteenth-century Ottoman bridge. The city sports a unique mix of medieval Islamic, nineteenth-century Neo-renaissance and Orthodox Christian architectural styles, and it’s home to a melting pot of different cultures. Although some visible signs of Mostar’s troubled recent pasts do remain, it is now a safe and largely recovered city with a developed tourist infrastructure.
#4. Dresden, Germany
Formerly part of East Germany, Dresden has now become an important cultural and educational centre of the region. Most of the city was destroyed during the allied bombings of the Second World War, and the famous Frauenkirche Lutheran church was only fully rebuilt in 2005. The surrounding Neumarkt square, characterised by its many baroque buildings has also undergone extensive renovation to make Dresden’s city centre a particularly imposing place to visit.
#5. Valletta, Malta
Like the small island nation it’s capital of, Valletta sports a unique history and culture, and it was also one of the first sites to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Although the city itself is around 500 years old, the surrounding area sports impressive remnants of some of the oldest civilisations of all, dating from almost 6,000 years ago. Valletta sports many important landmarks, such as the stunningly ornate St. John’s Cathedral and the Casa Rocca Piccola, just to name a few.
#6. Wrocław, Poland
The largest city in Western Poland, and well-served by the budget airlines, Wrocław sports a charming mix of Gothic, Renaissance and nineteenth-century architecture in an easily walkable centre. Known for its high living standards, colourful markets and very picturesque old town, Wrocław is ideally suited to a short and relaxing city break away from the huge crowds of many bigger places. The city is also famous for its local arts and crafts, so a visit to the Market Square and Market Hall are essential.
#7. Olomouc, Czech Republic
The overwhelming majority of visitors to the Czech Republic never step outside of Prague expect, perhaps, for a brief day trip. However, the country has much more to offer than its capital alone, including the city of Olomouc, which is home to the second largest and oldest historic city centre. Home to the spectacular eighteenth century Holy Trinity Column and the magnificent Hradisko monastery, there’s no shortage of things to do and see in this easily walkable city.
#8. Salamanca, Spain
Home to the oldest university in Spain, Salamanca has more than 2,000 years of history, having been first established by a Celtic tribe an unknown time prior to the Roman occupation. Famous for its world-class university and splendid cathedral and the largest central plaza in Spain, the city is an unbeatable destination for those seeking a mix of culture and great nightlife. Although there’s no airport in Salamanca, it’s easily reachable by bus from Madrid or Valladolid.
#9. Freiburg, Germany
With its immaculately clean and well-ordered centre, faithfully restored and colourful mediaeval buildings and abundance of hanging baskets, the old town of Freiburg looks like a fairy tale come to life. The region also sports the most reliable climate in Germany, and it’s situated right on the edge of the Black Forest, making it the perfect base for travellers seeking to enjoy the outdoors. When you’re not taking in the stunning view from the Schlossberg, you can also visit one of the many breweries.
#10. Sibiu, Romania
Romania has long struggled to shake its poor reputation in recent decades, and it has done so with great success. Still, many of its beautiful historic Saxon cities remain largely unexplored, such as Sibiu, which was recently renovated after receiving the European Cultural Capital designation in 2007. The medieval Saxon old town is the main attraction, and it’s full of pleasant bars, cafés and restaurants sitting alongside ancient churches, museums and quaint artisans’ shops.
Those seeking a short city break typically prioritise affordability and convenience, but not one of the above places are particularly expensive or difficult to get to. With affordable flights now serving just about every major city, there’s practically no chance of running out of short-break destinations in Europe.