Bed and breakfasts in Europe – a real experience
One way to really get to the heart of Europe is to swap a traditional hotel or vacation home for a B&B. From Iceland to Wales, the wave-washed Greek Islands to the foot-stomping bars of Ireland, there are loads of spots around the continent where these types of guest houses promise a trip you'll never forget. What's more, bed and breakfasts in Europe can be great value, particularly when you factor in those morning meals – a Parisian croissant, a full English fry up – and the added benefit of local tips and information.
Top articles to find your ideal European B&Bs
Packing in the panoramic London Eye, the hustle and bustle of Borough Market, the grand Gothic palaces of Westminster, the home of the Queen, and the steel-clad skyscrapers of the City, London certainly isn't short on bucket-list-busting sights. It's also not short on homey guest houses. There are bed and breakfasts in London that can offer a local's guide to town, with cozy suites and on-site pubs, interesting locations, and service that goes above and beyond.
Italy is one of Europe's best-loved vacationing destinations. People flock here from all over the globe to check off the ancient sights of Rome, discover priceless art in Florence, and get the heart strings a-going in uber-romantic Venice. And that's not even mentioning the backcountry, where the B&Bs in Italy could be rustic agritourism stays with swimming pools overlooking the Apennines or centuries-old palazzi tucked into cinnamon-stone villages.
Ranging up to the windswept slopes of the Cairngorms, clutching the craggy cliffs of Skye, huddling around mythical lochs where monsters may or may not be spotted, and peppering towns crowned with formidable castles, the bed and breakfasts of Scotland are an alluring bunch. They offer a classic welcome, with big breakfasts of Angus meat and Scottish veg in the morning, fire-warmed lounges to laze in, and expertly blended whisky to taste as night closes in.
Rome is tailor-made to draw gasps and sighs of nostalgia. It's called the Eternal City for its wealth of great monuments, some of which go back to the age of formidable emperors from ancient times, while others hearken to the golden era of the Renaissance in the form of sculpted church domes or frescoed ceilings. Tying the bunch together are areas like La Trastevere and Piazza Navona, which fizz with cork-popping wineries and come scented by deep-fried plates of artichokes and wood-fired pizza. Everywhere you look are enchanting bed and breakfasts in Rome, too, offering a homey stay and a traditional Italian start to the day.
Oh, Paris – a city to tug at the heart strings, evoke sighs of nostalgia, keep you coming back for more. There's a reason so many millions make the pilgrimage to the French capital each year. No, there are tons of reasons. From the world-famous Mona Lisa to the iron-wrought Eiffel Tower, the buzzy bars of the Canal Saint-Martin to the haunting Catacombs, it's got all sorts for art lovers, foodies, culture buffs, people watchers, and more. Then come the enchanting bed and breakfasts in Paris, which sit in grand 18th-century palaces or wait in bohemian districts laden with patisseries.
They say you'll never forget your first experience of a bed and breakfast in Ireland. Housed in generations-owned cottages out between the mist-gathering crags of the Wicklow Mountains or the wave-slashed Ring of Kerry, they certainly have locations that stick in the mind. But then there's the service, which includes nights of whiskey tasting by roaring log fires, spellbinding folk tales of fairies and Gaelic kings, tips on local taverns, and – of course – hearty breakfasts that brim with farm-to-table ingredients grown on the Emerald Isle.
Florence holds some of the greatest treasures of Italian art. Since its heyday in the Renaissance, the town has been gilded by masterworks and sculptures that'll leave you wide-eyed in amazement. Look one way and you catch the overhanging jewelers of the Ponte Vecchio. Turn another and there's the revered Uffizi Gallery – paintings by Botticelli, Titian, and other masters reside within. Up above are the vineyard-dressed hills of Tuscany. At the center is the cobbled Piazza del Duomo, a hubbub of medieval church towers and mama's kitchens scented with saffron and tomato passata. Between all that are alluring bed and breakfasts in Florence, Italy, ready to capture the imagination and get the romance a-flowing.
Start with bed and breakfasts in Iceland, where you can wrap up warm next to crackling log fires or hop from your suite into steaming geothermal lagoons under the twinkling Northern Lights. Then, think about a trip to Portugal's traditional posadas, which have blue-tiled walls and breezy courtyards on the cusp of shimmering surf coves. Temptations are in Greece, too, especially if you're planning a forget-me-never honeymoon to cubist villages perched high above the Aegean Sea. And there are countless more B&B destinations in Europe that can get the wanderlust a-flowing.
Delve into the maze of higgledy-piggledy alleys and lanes that swirls around Edinburgh Castle on the hill and you're in for a real treat. Unquestionably one of the UK's most amazing cityscapes, this ancient capital has hosted clansmen and kings, and played witness to rollicking comedy fests – it's the home of the famous Fringe – and totemic moments in European history. Between its whisky houses and UNESCO sites, you can score a stay in a traditional bed and breakfast in Edinburgh, which is a sure way to get up close and personal with local life.
Size doesn't matter in Dublin. This foot-stomping capital of raucous folk taverns and wild nights on the stout is testimony to that. In its compact center there are handsome Georgian buildings, majestic medieval churches, cobbled lanes fringed with pubs, great rugby stadiums, and even Viking relics from the 9th century AD. If that's tempted you, be sure to consider a stay in a bed and breakfast in Dublin. They're homey, hearty, and often run by locals, which means you can inject any jaunt across the Atlantic with something truly special.
Amsterdam's museums brim with priceless works by revered Old Masters, its canals are scattered with cute houseboats, its cobbled lanes are lined with grand architecture dating back to a Golden Age of 17th-century trade and empire. It's between all that that bed and breakfasts in Amsterdam make their home. They are accommodations with a unique vibe, intriguing design twists, and something that's indelibly local from the moment you check in.