While B&Bs are a popular option for weekend getaways and road trips, they're a very smart choice for international vacations as well. From a safari lodge in Costa Rica to a historical guesthouse in Bergen, interesting and authentic inns abound around the world. The prices are reasonable, the innkeepers are friendly and the accommodations are top-notch. Here are seven B&Bs that will inspire you to dust off your passport and see the world.
Cliffside Luxury Inn, Buzios, Brazil
Tucked away in the beachside resort town of Buzios—often referred to as Brazil's St. Tropez—the Cliffside Luxury Inn offers lavish living at its best. Five colorfully designed guestrooms range in style from a garden suite with private patio to a presidential suite with floor-to-ceiling glass walls overlooking the sea; and perks such as in-room mini-bars and an outdoor infinity pool make this the perfect place to while away an afternoon.
Blending South African safari-style glamping with Costa Rican eco-tourism, Rafiki Safari Lodge features the best of both worlds. The secluded 842-acre property boasts 10 luxury tents—each on a raised wood platform with private veranda—spread among lush jungle on the banks of Costa Rica's Savegre River. Spend mornings horseback riding through the Savegre Valley or embarking on guided hikes to gushing waterfalls, then return to Rafiki's Main Lodge for on-deck relaxing while savoring the rainforest sounds. Food and cocktails are served daily at the lodge's Lekker Bar & Grill, though if you're lucky you'll get to partake in a South African braai or barbecue—a tradition the innkeepers brought with them from the Rainbow Nation.
Bergen's To Sostre Guesthouse offers a chance to experience local life in one of the country's most vibrant port cities. Located along a cobbled street just beyond the colorful wooden homes of Bergen's historic wharf, this small family-run place is an easy walk to museums, shops and the (literally) breathtaking Fløibanen funicular. While the inn has only three guestrooms—two with shared bath and a family-friendly en-suite loft—they're all lovingly decorated in a modern Scandinavian style. Along with a daily homemade breakfast, expect full access to the inn's kitchen: It's perfect for cooking up your purchase from the famous nearby Fish Market.
Located on a hillside street in Florence's Oltrarno Quarter, the B&B Il Palagetto Guest House is a work of art in itself. This elegant 17th-century mansion features five spacious guestrooms, a small library brimming with books dedicated to the local arts and exquisite wood carvings on display. It also has a fascinating history: the building once belonged to a local monastery and later became a restoration laboratory for art. Even better: Innkeeper Ruggero's freshly brewed cappuccinos are famous.
Hailed for its spectacular ocean views and private quarters, Huatuclo's six-room Ague Azul la Villa is the ideal getaway for travelers seeking a relaxing vacation. The lodge is built into a hillside above Conejos Bay, with six guestrooms set around a multi-tiered swimming pool. Spend an afternoon reading beneath your own palm thatch overhang, grab a beer from the onsite honor bar and unwind in a hammock, or walk 10-minutes to explore the rugged Oaxaca coast.
Birds of a Feather B&B provides a wonderful opportunity to take in Vancouver Island's vast natural wonders without being too far from Victoria's vibrant commercial hub. Each of its three suites features a cathedral ceiling and heated tile flooring to keep you cozy during winter months, as well as private entry. The inn is located along a coastal lagoon that's ripe for exploring. Set out in one of the canoes and kayaks (available for guest use for free) searching for sea otters, or simply soak in a waterfront hot tub while watching blue herons fish for food.
By Laura Kiniry