SURF | SNOW | SUN
We all crave an island escape... and your choices on which Thai islands to visit are endless.
This comprehensive condensed pocket guide should help make picking which one to visit a little easier. I haven't visited every island in Thailand... Those missing from this guide include the Similan Islands, Koh Lipe, and Koh Lanta... time to start planning my next trip!
Here's a guide to Thailand's islands:
Koh Chang and Koh Samet:
The Bangkok crowds' best kept secret, Koh Chang and Koh Samet are favored for their proximity to the city - both under 300km away from BKK, perfect for a weekend getaway. Off the beaten path, they're less developed but still equally as beautiful as other islands. Think white sandy beaches and luscious tropical jungle... Paradise! Koh Chang is bigger, meaning more hotels and restaurants etc. It's quickly becoming a tourist favorite. The majority of Koh Samet is a national park; a recent 11pm noise ban sees the music stop before midnight… This isn't the place for all night parties.
Choose these if you want an undisturbed getaway and only have time for a quick trip - buses run from Bangkok, including Suvarnabuhmi, to the two piers servicing the islands.
Divers flock to Koh Tao, a dream surrounded by aquamarine waters and thriving coral reefs. Busiest around full moon - as backpackers trek over from Koh Phangan - it is hedonism's ultimate antidote... This doesn't mean that after a day spent submerged scuba diving, you can't let loose. Sairee is lined with beach bars, and most hotels/hostels in the island's smaller villages have their own bar set ups in place…
Choose this if you want to get PADI certificatied at a bargain price with the added reassurance of international dive instructors. It’s also perfect for a post Full Moon Party detox, the local nightlife's laidback and dissapointment free.
Koh Samui is one of Thailand's most well known islands. With an airport on the island (budget permitting), ferries can be skipped! A foreign tourist destination, enter the luxury resorts and fast food joints lining Chaweng. If you're mid gap year/backpacking across South East Asia, stay in Chaweng. Home to ArkBar (and their famous pool parties), and outdoor club Green Mango, it's the perfect Full Moon Party warm up. Bophut and Lamai are both under ten minutes away by taxi, close enough to the action but more exclusive.
Choose this if you want an island that doubles as a complete holiday; a great base to explore the surrounding islands and Ang Thong National Park. P.S. whilst not Bangkok's Grand Palace, Wat Plai Laem and Wat Phra Yai - the Big Buddha Temple - are both 10 minutes north of Chaweng and worth stopping at.
No introduction's necessary... Koh Phangan's Haad Rin Beach is home to the epic Full Moon Party. Accommodation in Haad Rin itself is generally sub par; one of the only selling points being that they're in walking distance from the action. Beachside resorts are plentiful but a 30 minute drive from Haad Rin. Sadly, Koh Phangan is known just for the Full Moon Party and not much else...
Choose this if you don't want to catch a speedboat back to Koh Samui at 5am post party (I wouldn't recommend this, for safety reasons amongst other things). P.S. if the Full Moon Party leaves you nursing a huge hangover, head to Amsterdam Bar for a lazy day spent poolside with panoramic views, or INFINITY Beach Club, the private cabanas and hammocks a perfect contrast to the hungover hubbub of Haad Rin. Both reachable by taxi.
Koh Phi Phi:
I don't know if it's the absence of cars and the fact you can walk everywhere that makes Phi Phi my favorite, or the carefree atmosphere, but something changes every time I arrive. The sheer cliffs of Phi Phi Don (the main island), jut out regally from the azure waters. Ask me to define paradise and I’ll pull out a picture of this place. Yes, it’s succumbed to tourism, but at its heart everything’s the same. It’s easy to see why the islands were chosen as the filming location for The Beach. Side note: Maya Bay really isn’t worth the 200 baht per person entrance fee; avoid tours and rent a long tail boat on Phi Phi, making sure to swim with the monkeys - remember to bring some fruit - on your way to Phi Phi Leh Lagoon - home to some of the bluest waters I’ve yet to come across. No trip's complete without trekking up to the viewpoint. Walk back through the jungle, following the signs, to the secluded Long Beach.
Choose this if you want to feel like you've stumbled across an uninhabited island. Although Phi Phi is no longer untouched, it holds the charm of an era pre mass tourism. P.S. it’s also a major diving hub, and a great place to get PADI certified.
Although not a first choice for a small island escape, Phuket has its perks. The resorts here are larger and more plentiful; you’ll find everything from malls to multiple golf courses, and as of July 2016 even an Elephant Sanctuary, scattered across the island. Patong’s nightlife rivals some of Bangkok’s, hosting everything from bars and clubs to the infamous Ping Pong shows, centred around Bangla Road. Head up the coast to Surin and Kamala or south to Karon and Kata, to escape the hedonism and westernized facade. Multiple day tours are on offer to Phi Phi from Phuket, meaning you don't have to overnight there.
Choose this if you don't want to leave behind all the comforts of modern conveniences. Phuket is, like Koh Samui, a great base providing you with plenty of opportunities to get out and explore.
Travel tip shared by NextStepTo
The Western Cape’s wildflower route has become one of South Africa’s most popular attractions.
People are absolutely blooming mad over these flowers – and it’s easy to see why. The flowers that you’ll see along the West Coast and Namaqualand are endemic to the Western Cape, so you will not be able to visit any other place in South Africa that will be as colourful.
Each year, families or young couples drive from near and far to appreciate this short-lived spectacle. Even people who fly from Johannesburg to Cape Town rent a car to embark on the West Coast wildflower route.
Tip: Use the bathroom before leaving home if you’re embarking on a day drive to the West Coast, as public toilets are few and far between.
The best viewing times for West Coast wild flowers
Drive the West Coast flower route from the end of August to mid-September to have the best chance of seeing wildflowers in full bloom. Visitors often make the mistake of driving too early or too late in the season and are left disappointed by meagre splashes of colour here and there. Keep in mind that if the sky is cloudy or overcast, the flowers don’t open. Keep your eye on the weather forecast, so that you can plan your trip for a sunny day or perhaps phone the West Coast National Park on the day to check the weather before making the trip: +27 (0) 22 772 2144
The quaint towns you’ll come across along the wildflower route
It’s advisable to begin your drive from Cape Town early in the morning, so that by the time you reach the flowers, their petals will have opened. You may also miss some traffic – not guaranteed though!
Follow the R27 out of Cape Town, driving through Bloubergstrand and Melkbosstrand until you reach the R315 intersection. Turning left will take you to the lovely small town of Yzerfontein where you may see carpets of cheerful white or yellow daisies. Also, keep an eye out for the pretty flowering grasses that glisten in the sunlight. Stop at the beach to admire the azure ocean as you enjoy sipping the hot coffee from the thermos flask you brought along with you.
Driving from Yzerfontein back to the R27/R315 intersection, cross the R27 and follow the R315 to the quaint town of Darling. In 2016, the famous Wild Flower Show takes place from Friday 16 September to Sunday 18 September. You will be welcomed by the burst of colour and fresh perfume of a variety of “pypies”, vygies and daisies, as well as other fynbos species. Often the most beautiful flowers are small and grow close to the ground, so keep your eye on the ground as you wander along the dusty paths. Tickets for the Darling Wildflower Show cost R50p/p for adults and R30p/p for children older than 13. Entry is free for children under the age of 13. Pensioners will pay R30p/p on the Friday. Tickets will be available on the day at the festival door and online at Quicket.co.za.
Return the way you came by driving back to the R27/R315 intersection where you will turn right to follow the R27, which will take you to the West Coast National Park. (Kindly note that road works are currently under way and that there are stop-and-go measures in place, which could delay your journey by up to an hour). The West Coast National Park can also be entered at the second gate situated in Park Street, on the Langebaan side of the park.
West Coast National Park
The Potsberg section of the West Coast National Park is where you need to be. Here, over 80 different species of wild flowers are on display. Do not rush the drive because on the way there are wonderful places to braai (bbq) and picnic, with some spots almost on the rocks. Many families gather at these braai areas and enjoy the ocean spray while cooking lunch on the fire (admittedly also battling to keep the fire burning at the same time). These picnic spots are called Kraalbaai, Preekstoel and Uitkyk.
The West Coast National Park’s Geelbek restaurant sells ready-packed picnic baskets if you wish to travel back to the picnic sites, or you can take a seat and order a delicious meal, mostly traditional South African fare.
Tip: While you’re in the West Coast National Park you have to visit Langebaan’s sparkling lagoon.
The West Coast is so inspiring that many South African artists have written songs and poems about its unhurried way of life, beauty and serenity.
Tankwa Karoo National Park
If you’re not in a hurry, you can journey onwards to Tankwa Karoo National Park where the beauty of the flowers becomes even more impressive. On the Roggeveld Escarpment, you’ll see gorgeous lilac, white, burned orange, red and pink flowers.
Why not make a weekend of it and stay the night somewhere in the area. Consider one of the small towns along the way, or book accommodation at either the West Coast National Park or Tankwa Karoo National Park.
Tip: Book your accommodation for the popular flower season early in the year.
Photo of Tankwa Karoo National Park
West Coast National Park accommodation:
Tel: +27 (0) 22 772 2144
Tankwa Karoo National Park accommodation:
Tel: +27 (0) 27 341 1927
There are so many journeys I am still dreaming of, but this one I know, will always be one of the most meaningful ones to me.
My passion about Iceland has grown over the years. It all started with a thing for fairies.
I read a lot of books about them and I learned, that Iceland even has an elf minister.
Whenever there is a building to be erected, this minister has to check first, if any fairies live on the ground.
If so, there can't anything be built. There happens to be a road for example that winds around a big rock. You couldn't move the rock, because it's a fairy meeting place.
Later, Björk became one of my favourite artists. When I listen to her music, I dream about the vast landscapes, the amazing national parks and of course of Northern Lights.
I am always excited to go on a new journey, but this time it's even more thrilling.
Arriving at Reykjavik airport, it feels like time someone pushed the "winter fast forward" button. There is snow and icy pavements, a Christmasy feeling arises. It's about 17:00 and it is completely dark outside. We obviously missed the few hours of daylight today. These days the sun rises at about 10:15 and sets at about 16:15.
Note to ourselves: days must be planned wisely.
Our first excursion day starts with a stroll through Reykjavik. No matter where the wind comes from, I want to pretend it comes from the North Pole. It is sooooo cold. We walk along the boardwalk Sæbraut and pass by Sólfar.
The next building along the way is the impressive Harpa, a beautiful building with many sparkling little windows and a fantastic view onto the harbour. Harpa is a very young concert hall and conference centre. The opening concert was held on May 4, 2011.
It is designed by the Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects in co-operation with Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, who is one of my absolutely favourites. The structure consists of a steel framework clad with irregularly-shaped glass panels of different colours.
Up on a hill in the city centre you find the probably mostly discussed building of the Iceland - the Hallgrímskirkja. While they were certain about the place and even the name of the church from the beginning on, it took a long time and a lot of arguing until its completion.
In 1937 architect Guðjón Samúelsson received the order to build the church. With his house of God he wanted to create a unique building that symbolically combines Iceland's landscapes and modern architecture. The fassade is supposed to show the famous basalt columns. The very high neo-Gothic hall should underline the barren vastness. The white interior should be a symbol for Iceland's many glaciers. One could expect that this intend had as many opponents as proponents.
During the construction (until 1974), church services were held in the basement. Afterwards they happened in a worthier room, but it took another 12 years to finalise the construcion in 1986. Unbelievable but true, the church still wasn't quite finished. The font and windows were only provisional and needed to be replaced. Finally in 1990 the organ was built.
Today the church is not only used as a church, but likewise for exhibitions or performances. The tower is open for public from 9:00-18:00, daily. We think with this story it is ok to invest 600 ISK to enjoy the view over the city from up here.
The day draws to a close, so it's time to hop into the car to drive to the Blue Lagoon. We want to be there for the sunset. Let me tell you, even if you are not a spa lover, you do not want to leave this place again, once you dive into the blue milky water.
The power plant Svartsengi carries water with a temperature of 240°C from a depth of 2 km. This water is used to heat the surrounding villages and the nearby airport. Furthermore, electricity is produced with its steam.
The remaining water (still with a temperature of 70°C) is gathered in the Blue Lagoon. It is naturally enriched with silica, salt and algea. Combined, they form the lagoon's typical blue-grey water colour. The ground of this lake consists partly of shelly and blue sand. People with skin diseases, especially people suffering from psoriases realize a healing impact of the water. The Bláa lónið today is Iceland's most popular natural bath.
Due to the enlargement of the power plant, the original bathing lake had to vanish. In a minor distance, the new Blue Lagoon was built. To this refurbished and enlarged "Super-Spa" people from all over the world come to relax and make use of the healing earth.
The waterfall of healing water is used as a natural massage including skin peeling. You can relax in a steam bath built into a artificial lava cave and of course, you can use several saunas as well. More than 120.000 people come each year to spend a few relaxing hours in the Blue Lagoon.
As we walk from the car towards the lagoon with our thick winter coats, hats and scarfs, we cannot imagine to only wear a swim suit in a few minutes and take an outside swim. The second we leave the warm building is tough, but the moment when you dive into the hot water is incredible. For hours we just float through the water, search for the hottest streams and have a drink from the bar (Yes, in the water!).
After this extraordinary spa event, you actually don't want anything, but cuddle into comfortable clothes and go to bed.
However, our day is not over yet. At 20:30 we get picked up at our hotel for a Northern Lights excursion. Oh, I wonder for how long I have desperately wished to see those lights. I have always been uncertain, if it will ever happen, because it means travelling north in the winter (too cold, too cold).
Here we are (with 12 fully packed busses, yay), ready to head for one of the most exciting excursions in my life. The omens are favourable, the tour guide says. Much different from the days before, when they couldn’t spot any lights or the tours even had to be cancelled due to bad weather conditions.
We drive out into the dark. We are told fairy tales and facts about the Aurora Borealis and Icelandic myths.
Northern Lights scientificly is are natural lights that display in the sky particularly in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere (thermosphere). The charged particles originate in the magnetosphere and solar winds are directed by the Earth's magnetic field into the atmosphere.
It feels a bit like being in an American storm chaser movie, or in one of those supernatural TV shows. “We have spotted a magnetic field”, the guide says and we stop on a field. All the sudden the guide screams “it’s happening, get out, it’s happening”.
And there it is!
It starts with a little glow and evolves to be a green glimmering strap drawing itself over the night sky.
I stop breathing!
I am so thankful for this dream coming true. The light gets bigger, disappears and comes back again. I have no words for it, but I try to capture this moment. Of course, the photos are far away from reality, but see for yourself.
On Sunday, it’s our “bottom left corner excursion day”.
We drive along the so called Golden Circle and start with the Þingvellir National Park. The park is located about 50km north east of Reykjavik on a plateau. The national park of Þingvellir encompasses 27km² and was declared in 1928. Today it is the oldest one of Iceland. The continental drift between the North American and Eurasian plates can be clearly seen in the cracks or faults which traverse the region. The biggest one is Almannagjá, a veritable canyon. This also causes the often-measurable earthquakes in the area.
Þingvellir is a former place where in ancient times moots where held. The Alþingi (assembly) at Þingvellir was Iceland's supreme legislative and judicial authority from its establishment in 930 until 1271. The Lögberg (Law Rock) was the focal point of the Alþingi and a natural platform for holding speeches. The Lawspeaker, elected for three years at a time, presided over the assembly and recited the law of the land.
Before the law was written down, he was expected to recite it from memory (how many laws could there have been?) on the Lögberg over the course of three summers along with the complete assembly procedures every summer.
Inauguration and dissolution of the assembly took place at the Lögberg, where rulings made by the Law Council were announced, the calendar was confirmed, legal actions were brought and other announcements made which concerned the entire nation. Anyone attending the assembly was entitled to present his case on important issues from the Lögberg.
Next en route, after driving through stunning beautiful sceneries with lakes and even a little forest (they are hard to find) is Geysir. The Great Geysir, or Stori-Geysir, has been dormant since 1916 when it suddenly ceased to spout. It came to life only once in 1935, and as quickly went back to sleep.
Since then its repose has sporadically been disturbed by the dumping of tonnes of carbolic soap powder into its seething orifice in order to tickle it to spout.
It is not exactly known when Geysir was created. It is believed that it came into existence around the end of the 13th century when a series of strong earthquakes, accompanied by a devastating eruption of Mt. Hekla, hit Haukadalur, the geothermal valley where Geysir is located.
What is known is that it spouted regularly every third hour or so up to the beginning of the 19th century and thereafter progressively at much longer intervals until it completely stopped in 1916. Whether its silence is eternal or temporary, no one knows. When it was alive and shooting, it could thunderously blast a spectacular jet of superheated water and steam into the air as high as 60 to 80 metres according to different sources. Its opening is 18 metres wide and its chamber 20 metres deep.
The attraction of the area is now Strokkur (The Churn), another geyser 100 metres south of the Great Geysir, which erupts at regular intervals every 6-10 minutes and its white column of boiling water can reach as high as 20-30 metres.
The whole area is a geothermal park sitting on top of a vast boiling cauldron. Belching sulphurous mud pots of unusual colours, hissing steam vents, hot and cold springs, warm streams, and primitive plants can all be found here. Don't be afraid, you will get used to the smell of sulphur.
Now, during winter it is fascinating how the hot water freezes seconds after it erupts from the ground. The results are bushes and branches covered with an icy coat.
Yet another and final highlight of this journey is already waiting in line: Gullfoss. If you search for pictures on the internet, you are already overwhelmed by its beauty and it suddenly hops onto the "Top 3 to do" in Iceland.
When we arrive at the nearby parking lot, we can already hear the water, but without this sound you would not guess it is there.
Gullfoss is in the river Hvítá, which has its origin in the glacier lake Hvítávatn at Lángjökull glacier about 40km north of Gullfoss. The glacial water is brownish, since it carries lots of sediments that the glacial ice has carved off the earth.
About a kilometer above the falls it turns sharply to the left and flows down into a wide curved three-step staircase and then abruptly plunges in two stages (11m and 21m) into a crevice 32m deep. The crevice, about 20m wide, and 2.5 km in length, is at right angles to the flow of the river. The average amount of water running over this waterfall is 140 m³/s in the summertime and 80 m³/s in the wintertime.
Gullfoss is called the "Golden Falls", since on a sunny day the water plunging down the staircase truly looks golden. To stand at Gullfoss and wallow in the beauty and the wonder of nature is an uplifting experience.
Sigríður Tómasdóttir, the daughter of Tómas Tómasson who owned the waterfall in the first half of the 20th century must have felt the same. She lived at a farm nearby and loved Gullfoss as no one else. At this period of time much speculation about using Gullfoss to harness electricity was going on. Foreign investors who rented Gullfoss indirectly from the owners wanted to build a hydroelectric powerplant, which would have changed and destroyed Gullfoss forever.
As the story goes, we shall be thankfull to Sigríður Tómasdóttir that we can still enjoy the beauty of this waterfall, because she was the one that protested so intensly against these plans by going as far to threat that she would throw herself into Gullfoss and therby kill herself. To make her threat believeable she went barefoot on a protest march from Gullfoss to Reykjavik. In those days the roads weren't paved and when she arrived after 120 kilometers her feet were bleeding and she was in very bad shape. The people believed her and listened and the powerplant at Gullfoss was never built.
See, you just have to love Iceland for its wonderful fairy tales.
During our last dinner we recall the past (only 2) days.
It is unbelievable, how many amazing things we have seen!
Sights of which some might think they will never see in life.
Oh lovely world of travelling, you are the best medicine and make everything feel so right, that there is only one feeling left:
Travel Diary shared by Landmeedchen
With nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture, and culture on display it’s no wonder that hordes of tourist’s flock to this city every year. Because of its popularity among tourists, there are also plenty of accommodation options.
It can get a bit overwhelming trying to find the perfect place to stay while in Rome, which is why we have created the ultimate Rome accommodation guide.
From budget-friendly hotels and hostels to chic and classy hotels, we’ve covered all the bases when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of where to stay in Rome. Browse through some of the below options to make the best decision for booking your Rome accommodation.
Where to stay in Rome: Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Rome
With so many beautiful neighborhoods in Rome, it’s hard to choose the perfect spot for you. We’ve listed a few of the more popular neighborhoods for tourists and what they have to offer to help you make your choice.
The Termini District
The Termini District is the best area to look at for budget minded travelers as this area has the best budget and mid-range accommodation options available. You’ll also find some great hostels and guesthouses in this area. Termini is also next to the most popular train station in Rome, making it a convenient place if you’re traveling into/out of Rome by train. It’s a bit further from the central district, but you’ll easily get buses to and from this area. The trendy neighborhood of Monti is just minutes away.
Monti is a picturesque and convenient neighborhood to stay in Rome, situated between the Colosseum and Via Nazionale. It’s a trendy neighborhood packed with wine bars, boutiques, and some really good restaurants. It’s also walking distance to the Colosseum and Roman Forum, and only one metro stop away from the main train station.
The Historical Centre / Centro Storico
If being in the middle of the action is your thing, then you’ll want to look for accommodation in the historical centre. This area holds 90% of the tourist sites, including the Vatican, Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and P. Navona. Expectedly, accommodation tends to be more expensive in this area. There are a few budget-friendly options available, just don’t expect too much from them in terms of size.
The cobblestone walkways in Trastevere are some of the most charming streets in Rome. This neighborhood is popular for going out at night and is conveniently located just across the bridge from the heart of the historic centre. There are also lots of food options available. There is however, no metro station so you’ll have to make use of buses, trams, or local trains if you need to make use of public transportation.
Where to stay in Rome: Rome Accommodation Guide
Now that you know all about the best Rome neighborhoods to stay in, let’s jump into the best Rome accommodation. From easy on the budget hostels and cozy boutique hotels to luxury five-star hotels and apartment rentals – we’ve covered them all.
If there’s also a specific feature that you’re looking for, then check out our unique accommodation guide that highlights a few properties with specific features – from the best party atmosphere to the best vintage design.
Budget-friendly Hotels in Rome
We know that not all budgets extend further than the basics, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stay in a dodgy hotel in some back alley. We’ve found a few budget-friendly hotels in Rome that are still modern and comfortable.
Vatican Relais Rome
Located just a five-minute walk from St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Relais Rome is a great budget-friendly choice, particularly for family travelers. There are six stylish and contemporary rooms with flat-screen TVs, minibars, and private bathrooms. The hotel is surrounded by several restaurants and the popular shopping destination Via Cola di Rienzo is just three blocks away. A continental buffet breakfast is included in all rates.
YHR Guesthouse Suite 51
Centrally located in historic Rome, YHR Guesthouse Suite 51 is 500 meters from the Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere. The rooms are located on the second floor of a 19th-century building. Each of the rooms are beautifully decorated and include air-conditioning, minibars, coffeemakers, and free Wi-Fi. The guest house also includes communal spaces such as a kitchen and breakfast room, where guests can enjoy an Italian style breakfast.
Located just two minutes from the Colosseum, Colosseum Garden offers a great location and budget-friendly rates. The rooms and apartments are small, though to be expected in Rome, and the apartments include fully equipped kitchens and patio gardens. The hotel’s lounge and terrace feature colorful and retro designs, creating a fun, urban atmosphere.
Hotel Marcantonia is located just 200 meters from Roma Termini Station making it a super convenient for those traveling by train. The hotel is set in a 19th-century building with modern interiors. Small and basic, but clean and friendly, located on the 5th floor but there is an elevator and 24 hour reception. A simple breakfast is served to your room in the mornings.
Rooms from €80
Hostels in Rome
Gone are the days of dark and grungy hostels. There are loads of fun, fresh, and modern hostels in Rome that cater for students, young travelers and even older travelers looking to explore a more interactive accommodation style. Below is a list of a few of the top hostels in Rome, offering great features, locations, and friendly vibes.
Stylish, eco-conscious and clean, The Beehive ticks all the boxes for a good hostel. It’s a bit more on the luxury side, though still maintains a homey feel. It has a friendly, laidback vibe with spotlessly clean rooms and common areas. The main downside is the lack of a guest kitchen, though private rooms have their own kitchenette and there is an on-site restaurant. The on-site café caters specifically for vegetarians and vegans. It’s located two blocks from the central train station.
Generator hostels are popular throughout Europe, and the hostel in Rome lives up to the brand’s reputation. Situated on top of one of the seven hills in Rome, the location is central and convenient. It’s within walking distance of the Roma Termini station and the Colosseum – public transport is also nearby. It’s quite a large hostel with 78 rooms spread across seven floors, so you’ll likely always get a bed. On-site amenities include free Wi-Fi, deli-style café, bar and chill-out lounge. There’s also a cool rooftop terrace, with awesome city views.
The Bricks, Rome
Located a bit further out from town, 1.5 kilometers from the Vatican Museums, The Bricks Rome makes up for it in design. The rooms are setup apartment style. Each floor includes a kitchen, a shared bathroom and several apartments. There’s a quaint central courtyard between the two buildings, which includes a few colorful café-style tables and chairs along with a rooftop sun terrace with sun loungers. Rooms cater for two to four guests, rather than the larger dorm rooms found in most hostels – therefore, rates are more expansive than traditional hostels.
Boutique Hotels in Rome
If cozy, intimate and welcoming is your kind of vibe then you’ll love the below list of boutique hotels in Rome. The limited number of available rooms means that the staff are extra devoted to making your stay in Rome the most unforgettable one.
Residenza Torre Colonna
One of Rome’s more unusual boutique hotels, Residenza Torre Colonna is housed in a medieval tower in the centre of Rome. Each of the five guest rooms are stacked on top of the other in one of the city’s Medieval watchtowers. The inside is not what you’d expect, with rather contemporary furnishings with bold colors on the walls. The roof terrace is a highlight, with a hot tub and views over Trajan’s market. Breakfast is included in rates.
Nerva Boutique Hotel
Housed in a vintage building, just five minutes from the Colosseum, Nerva Boutique Hotel is a friendly boutique hotel with Mediterranean vintage décor. It has a lovely homely atmosphere, and the staff add a personal touch to each guests’ visit. There’s plenty of light, with bright open spaces decorated with contemporary artworks and warm color palettes. The breakfast, which isn’t included in rates, includes traditional croissants, cakes, fresh fruit, cold cuts, and cheese.
Hotel Art by The Spanish Steps
Hotel Art is a four-star boutique hotel set in a converted chapel, just 300 meters from the Spanish Steps. The 46 rooms are spread across four wings, each with its own color and design. Each room has an exquisite old masterpiece on the wall from an Italian artist. The rooms include all the basic amenities, some even with whirlpool tubs. Italian architecture is highlighted throughout the hotel, including a deconsecrated chapel in the hall, vaulted ceilings, and frescos. Pets are also welcome here and breakfast is included in rates.
Luxury Five-Star Hotels in Rome
If you’re looking to completely splurge on your Rome accommodation, then we’ve found the best hotels for you. Offering complete five-star luxury from start to finish, you’ll find a little piece of heaven at each of these properties.
Villa Spalletti Trivelli
Villa Spalletti Trivelli is set in a historical villa, just 200 meters from the Quirinale Presidential Palace. The luxurious rooms are decorated with a combination of modern and traditional styles, featuring elegant antique and contemporary furnishings. The hotel also features a wellness center with gym, bio sauna, Turkish bath, and massage treatments. Rates include a buffet breakfast with both Italian and American options, served in the shaded garden terrace.
Hassler Roma is one of the city’s most famous hotels, set atop the Spanish Steps. Its restaurant, the Michelin-starred Imàgo, is located on the 6th-floor and has panoramic views over Rome’s rooftops. There’s another two on-site restaurants, Salone Eva and Palm Court. Wellness facilities include gym, sauna, and Turkish bath. All rooms are spacious and classically furnished and include free use of a smartphone (for both national and international calls).
Rome Cavalieri is surrounded by large Mediterranean gardens, with stunning views of Rome and the Vatican from its hilltop position in Montemario. Each of the 345 guest rooms has its own balcony along with luxurious interiors and marble bathrooms. There are two restaurants and four bars, including the 3-Michelin star rooftop restaurant, La Pergola. L'Uliveto features a poolside terrace where you can enjoy classic Italian and international dishes. Additional features include large wellness center with gym and Grand Spa, two tennis courts, and indoor swimming pool. The hotel is famous for its large art collection, including antique furniture, paintings, tapestries, statues and artefacts.
Apartments/ holiday rentals in Rome
Apartments / holiday rentals are ideal for larger groups of travelers and family travelers. It means that you have more space and privacy as well as more functional amenities (like fully-equipped kitchenettes and private laundry facilities). Here are a few great options for apartments in Rome.
Amazing Piazza Venezia Suites
Situated in the center of Rome, the Amazing Piazza Venezia Suites is a just 65 meters from Piazza Venezia. Apartments are spacious with separate dining/ seating areas along with fully equipped kitchens. All include small furnished balconies, overlooking the quaint cobblestone street below. Apartments can cater for up to four guests. A free breakfast is included in all rates, which is situated at a nearby café.
Vino e Oli Residenze
Vino e Oli Residenze has an ideal location in Rome, just 500 meters from the Vatican Museums and a kilometer from Peter’s Basilica. All units include dining and seating areas along with kitchens equipped with stovetops, dishwashers, microwaves, large refrigerators, electric kettles and espresso coffeemakers. Décor is extravagant, including bright and colorful furnishings mixed with a vintage flair – each apartment has its own unique style. Apartments cater for two to six guests, with either one or two bedrooms.
Airbnbs in Rome
Home Sweet Home
This quaint home is located near Basilica of St. John Lateran and is surrounded by restaurants and cafes. It features one bedroom and bathroom and caters for up to three guests. The decor is clean and crisp with a black and white theme. There is a small lounge with flat-screen TV and kitchenette with microwave, electric kettle, toaster, and coffeemaker.
Coliseum View Suite
The best part about this stylish and bright suite is its Coliseum views. Housed in an old Roman building, it keeps the typical Roman charm while keeping modern. It's just a minutes walk from the Coliseum and surrounded by cafes, restaurants, bars, and gelato shops. This is the perfect spot for first-time tourists to Rome.
A Hipster Dream in Monti District
Located on the second floor of a historic building, this Airbnb is an ideal option for a couple or group of travelers (up to four). Both the building and the flat have been recently updated, with the interior featuring small 'hipster' accents. The apartment has beautiful furniture and decor, including leather couch, facebrick ceilings, old school tables, instagram'esque artwork, and hipster light fittings. Views overlook the bustling Monti neighborhood.
Rome Accommodation With….
The Yellow Hostel
Voted the best party hostel in Rome, The Yellow Hostel is for travelers looking for a lively and youthful atmosphere. The hostel hosts parties with various talented DJ’s almost every night, and if there’s no party that night the staff know exactly where to send you. The hostel also prides itself in being super ‘cool’, offering iPad’s for rental, a chillout patio and outdoor lounge, and gourmet restaurant. Its location is relatively central, situated near the Roma Termini station.
…A vintage design
Villa Laetitia is a historical residence designed by Armando Brasini, restored to its current splendor by the Fendi Venturini Family. Each of the nine rooms feature a unique style with beautiful artworks, photography, and vintage furniture. The rooms take up two floors of the villa and the garden house, with most overlooking the ancient Tiber River and Della Vittoria district. The experience of staying here is a blend of luxurious and homely. Guests can also taste delicious Italian fare from Michelin-starred Chef Danilo Ciavattini in the hotel’s restaurant, Enoteca la Torre.
…a central location
Situated on a cobblestone street lined by restaurants and shops, the Condotti Palace has a great location in Rome. It’s within walking distance of numerous iconic sights, including the Spanish Steps which are just two blocks away. Other sights within a 15-minute walk from the hotel include Via Condotti, Piazza Popolo, Santa Maria del Popolo church, Trevi Fountain, Villa Borghese gardens, Pantheon and Palazzo Barnerini.
…a true Roman experience
Il Boom B&B
With only three guest rooms, the Il Boom B & B offers a taste of Roman life with its homely atmosphere. It’s situated in a quiet area near the lively Trastevere area of Old Rome, close to several cafes, restaurants, and historic landmarks. Set in an old house, the cosy rooms feature vintage décor with vaulted ceilings and lovely city views. Only one of the guest rooms have an en-suite bathroom and guests need to walk up a flight of stairs to access the rooms – true Roman style. Rates also include a small buffet breakfast with sweet and savory treats.
And if you’re budget can’t afford any of the above hotels, you can always try CouchSurfing! We hope that we have helped you figure out where to stay in Rome with this post!
Prices correct at time of writing.
Looking for things to do in Rome? Check out our Rome Activity Guide for a full list of the must-see sights of Rome.
Travel tip shared by Bridget for Travel Dudes