10 great hotels near railway stations in Europe: readers’ tips | Travel

Rum raisin

Fifteen minutes walk from Málaga station are small and charming Dulces Dreams Boutique Hostel. It is ideally located opposite the Church of the Holy Martyrs (most rooms have a church view) and within walking distance of the Carmen Thyssen Museum, but also offers excellent value for money. The decor is clean and modern (very white) and the real highlight is the funky café on the lower level with tables overlooking the square. The friendly and helpful staff recommended a tapas bar 10 minutes away – the best tapas I’ve ever had.
Double from 50 rooms, dulcesdreamshostel.com
Kate Temple

Leeuwarden, the Netherlands

Alibi Hotel Netherlands

Built in 1499 as a citadel, the Blokhuispoort was used as a fortress, court, place of execution and, from 1580 to 2007, as a prison. In 2013, four friends embarked on the project to convert ghost-infested cells into modern accommodations for travelers, including wifi, showers with private baths, bicycle rentals, and a lounge for breakfast and drinks. Less than 10 minutes walk from the station, Alibi Hostel it is one of the most suggestive places I have stayed and an excellent starting point to explore Friesland.
Bed in dormitory from 20, double cells € 40 room only, alibihostel.nl


Hotel Continental Genoa

The four stars Hotel Continental, in front of Genoa’s Piazza Genova station, is a good place for a stopover. It has an old-fashioned elegance, slightly worn but with modern facilities such as comfortable beds and good showers. Like its sister hotel, the five-star Grand Hotel Savoia next door is built in a grand epoque style, with functioning cage elevators, chandeliers and red velvet stripes. Trattoria Tralalero specializes in Ligurian dishes – fresh pesto was a revelation – and the service is friendly and efficient. The slightly exaggerated cocktail bar in Savoy is a good place for a drink after a long journey.
Double from Only 77 rooms, hotelcontinentalgenova.it
Ros Napier


Glory No. 10 Antwerp

Photography: @WRIEMIS

A stone’s throw from the opulent Antwerp Centraal station (often cited as the most beautiful terminus in Europe), Glory No.10 it is an oasis of tranquility on the verdant Huybrechts Straat, in Borgerhout, the most suggestive district of the city. The owner, Erik, is the perfect host, with a keen eye for interior design and beautifully furnished rooms in this glorious period building. The excellent continental breakfast, consisting of organic meats, cheeses and fruit, will prepare you for a day discovering the main attractions of the city, all within short cycling distance.
£ 82 cufflinks with breakfast included, on Facebook
Chinese idol

Gdansk, Poland

We have been to Gdansk Craft Beer Central Hotel at the start of a journey through Poland by rail. Located right next to the main station in Gdansk Główny, in a building dating back to the end of the 20th century, the hotel offers attractively designed rooms at very reasonable prices. Above all – as the name suggests – the rooms are located above the PG4 brewery: after a day spent exploring, guests can relax with a few beers before climbing the stairs to sleep.
Doubles from £ 45 overnight only, centralhotelgdansk.pl
Vik Loveday


Sunset Destination hotel

The Sunset destination the hostel is just above the Cais do Sodré train station. You can’t beat the location: near the river, with a rooftop bar and close to many places of interest. From here you can take a direct train to the enchanting beaches outside Lisbon, to Cascais or Estoril. The hostel organizes events together with its two partner hostels in the city.
Dorms from £ 16, doubles from £ 95, both with breakfast included, hostelworld.com

Bodensee, Germany

The islet of Lindau on Lake Constance Bodensee, Germany

The islet of Lindau on Lake Constance. Photograph: Johann Hinrichs / Alamy

We have been to delicious Hotel Bayerischer Hof a couple of years ago, on a summer bicycle tour around Lake Constance. It is on the small islet of Lindau, which has a surprisingly large railway station that connects Zurich, Munich, Innsbruck, Vienna and Bregenz (useful for the opera festival). Right on the lake, it’s a two-minute walk from the station, but due to the location you can’t hear a peep from the trains. It has rooms overlooking the lake and the Alps, or the secluded and beautiful garden, and the breakfast and restaurant overlooking the lake are top notch.
Double from 170 B&B, bayerischerhof-lindau.de
Karl Sabino


Facade of the Hotel Esplanade, Zagreb, Croatia

Photograph: Peter Forsberg / Alamy

The Esplanade near Zagreb railway station was built in 1925 to provide accommodation for passengers passing on the Orient Express. It has since been renovated, but retains the atmosphere and charm of old Europe. Breakfast, in particular, is quite a steal, in a lovely art deco dining room, and the waiters seem to have been there forever. A highly recommended pit stop if you are crossing, and a good starting point for exploring the city.
Double from 135 B&B, esplanade.hr


Bedroom in the Hôtel Whistler, Paris.

Leave the main exit from the Gare du Nord and after a couple of hundred meters you will find the oasis and charm of Hôtel Whistler. This extravagant structure evokes the steam age – it even has a model train that tightens around the restaurant ceiling. The rooms are well appointed, with nice touches including steam trunks. Ideally located for bars, restaurants and of course transportation, this gem of a hotel is great for both business and pleasure. And the honesty bar ensures that there is always a warm welcome on your return.
Doubles from € 115 overnight stay only, whistlerparis.com
Brian Mair


Hotel Alex Guldsmeden

The Hotel Alex Guldsmeden it’s nice but not pretentious – the type of eco-hotel you would expect to find in Asia: warm wood abounds, even in the gym; stone sinks and ecological toiletries in the bathrooms; breakfast is organic and the full spa is simply lovely. There is also a garden with an outdoor fireplace. This hotel has all the cozy, covered and other Scandinavian lights hygge elements you would expect, but much more.
Doubles from £ 113 overnight stay only, guldsmedenhotels.com

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City Hostel Berlin: Henryk M. Broder in Kim Jong-us hostel

NI have never prepared myself for a visit to a hotel as thoroughly as this time. I packed my own Seersucker bed linen, two terry towels, training pants and a few brand new dark blue crocs because I react to carpets in hotels like allergy sufferers to crusts and shellfish.

I filled another large shopping bag to the brim with household items and groceries: kettle, plastic plate, enamel mug, tablecloth, all-purpose cleaner for the bathroom and toilet, disinfectant for the hands that removes “99.9 percent of all bacteria”, kitchen paper, triple socket with extension cord. In addition something against the small hunger in between.

So prepared for all emergencies and incidents, I headed east to the “City Hostel Berlin” on Glinkastraße, about which I have only read scary stories in the past few weeks. It is on the site of the North Korean embassy.


Kathmandu in Nepal: trapped in “Dustmandu” as a tourist

Fernreisen One way ticket

Caught as a tourist in “Dustmandu”

Our author, on a world tour, is already used to some things from India, Vietnam and Thailand. But what he experiences in Kathmandu goes beyond his tolerance. And that is not because of the dust that lies over the whole city.

| Reading time: 4 minutes

Nepal: Macaques also belong to Kathmandu's population Nepal: Macaques also belong to Kathmandu's population

Sweet and wild: Macaques also belong to Kathmandu’s population

Source: Mertin Lewicki

AArrival at the airport in Kathmandu. Let’s go to the Visa-on-Arrival machines where you register yourself. The rush of tourists is large, the number of machines is manageable, but I have time.

You can pay with a printed receipt. The crowd moves to the four counters. Only one of them accepts credit cards. Otherwise, the $ 50 must be paid in cash or in another approved foreign currency.

This creates a mess, people have to change money, push themselves forward. Fortunately I have euros with me. I exercise patience, I have learned enough in India beforehand.

In Kathmandu there is a thick layer of dust over everything

After passing the entry desk, I am intercepted by a taxi broker at the exit. He kindly shows me the ATM. Irritated, I find that despite my internationally free credit card, around four euros are due.

I am told that this is the case everywhere in Kathmandu. Since I never like to withdraw a lot of money at once and take it around with me, it will become an annoyingly high sum in the next few days.

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The taxi broker hands me over to the taxi driver. I thought. But no, the young man leads me to the taxi fleet. I get into a dilapidated vehicle. The companion slips in. As it turns out, he is a travel agent and the trip to the hostel is his first way to recruit me.

After all, he explains the nickname of the city to me, “Dustmandu” – comes from the English dust, so dust. In fact, there is a thick layer of dust over everything in the city. Kathmandu is one of the cities with the worst air in the world.

In the end, the travel agent gives me a phone number, we remain non-binding, but he guarantees me better prices than the hostel in which I will be staying.

Offers from rickshaw driving to drugs

After I got there, a strikingly nice, neatly dressed man greeted me. Shortly after checking in, he starts a casual conversation with a winning smile. It doesn’t match the rustic hostel ambience. It soon turns out that he too is organizing trips to the mountains. Sales pitch number two.

And so it goes on in Kathmandu. I admit that I stayed in the tourist district of Thamel. The advantage: You can buy everything here, even better borrow what you need for mountain tours in the Himalayas. And since I will mainly travel to warm countries, I don’t have any equipment for the mountains.

The disadvantage: you are fair game for the tourist hunters lurking everywhere. So I can’t run 50 meters without at least once a “Namaste. Hello sir, how are you? Where are you from? ” From rickshaw trips to drugs, you are always offered something.

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My favorite moment: the way to the laundry. Since there is practically every corner, finding one is really not a big art. In the meantime, another unwanted guest joined me and accompanied me to the laundry I had chosen. When I paid there he asked for a tip, after all he led me there. Really now?

Trekking in the Himalayas has to wait

I’m used to some things from India, Vietnam and Thailand, but the way in which tourists are besieged in the center of Kathmandu is beyond my tolerance. Especially since I get another problem: a gastrointestinal infection of the bad kind.

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Since I had no problems with food in India, I have become a bit careless in my choice of restaurants in Nepal. I had chosen a busy street in a side street where only locals dine.

Usually a reliable indicator of good local food. The curry thali was also delicious, fresh pastries. And so I went to eat there several times. But I simply ignored the hygienic standards. My last meal there lay me flat for three days.

A bus trip into the mountains of several hours is out of the question. Not even mountaineering with around ten kilos of luggage. So I’m tired and annoyed stuck in Dustmandu, the tourist trap. Luckily, a good Japanese restaurant will help you to pep up. With a little delay you can go trekking in the Himalayas.

Former parts of the “One Way Ticket” series

The “One Way Ticket” column appears every two weeks.

Nirmal Purja climbs all eight-thousanders in just 189 days

Nirmal Purja climbed all eight-thousanders in just 189 days. The previous record time was 7 years and 10 months.

Source: WELT / Maximilian Seib


I love skiing, my husband doesn’t – Innsbruck has ticked all our boxes | Travel

A A skiing holiday with a partner who does not fully share your passion or attitude for sport can be a challenge. But after a morning of easy runs in the Schlick 2000 ski area outside Innsbruck, my husband Anthony and I headed happily in different directions: me at the Serlesbahnen cable car for some more demanding powder slopes, he in town for lunch and culture.

Innsbruck ski map

We came to Innsbruck because this season the Tyrolean capital has launched an updated Ski Plus City pass, which now covers 13 resorts all between 15 and 75 minutes from the city center by tram, bus or train. It is perfect for skiers looking for variety, as well as for those who want to combine some action on the slopes with a city break: the pass includes admission to 22 museums and attractions. It seems strange to me that the Ski plus City website does not list train and tram connections, but they can be easily found on the national railways website, oebb.at.

Innsbruck can be easily reached by train from London, leaving St Pancras around noon, changing in Brussels or Amsterdam, and then taking a sleep in Cologne. A student city with lively bars scattered among elegant 18th-century houses and trams that run along cobbled streets, Innsbruck is a fun base. Our hotel, Stage 12, was a modern retreat in the historic center, with a welcome sauna and a good cocktail bar.

Two tourists in the Hofkirche in Innsbruck, with statues surrounding the tomb of Emperor Maximilian

Hofkirche in Innsbruck, with statues surrounding the tomb of Emperor Maximilian

From Innsbruck station, Schlick 2000, above the village of Fulpmes, is only 35 minutes by tram, and Serlesbahnen, one of the new resorts offered on the pass, is only 10 minutes by bus. With no ski rental shops but a number of mountain restaurants, this resort is used more by winter hikers than skiers, so with the slopes for me, I was able to carve wide curves between its steep red slopes – and return back in time for a sauna before dinner.

The following morning, a bus took us to the Stubai glacier and we jumped along its 42 km of powder tracks. But a storm was rising, so Ant returned to Innsbruck while taking the bus to the Elferbahnen ski area near Neustift, another new addition. Its red slopes were incredibly steep and the ascent resistance even more demanding. For non-skiers it has some of Austria’s longest toboggan runs.

I was happy to go back to town, however, where we had dinner in the panoramic Lichtblick restaurant, two minutes from the hotel. Above the venison and sole, we looked out across the imperial palace and 15th century city tower to Zaha Hadid’s elegant ski jump.

The ant left to visit these cultural attractions the next day; I had planned to explore another resort now on the pass, Bergeralm in Steinach, 20 minutes away. However, when the rain started to fall, I worried that Bergeralm was too low, and instead I boarded a bus for the hour-long trip to Kühtai, the highest resort in Austria. Being able to choose destinations in response to time is another advantage of the pass.

Terrace of Café Lichtblick in winter

Café Lichtblick, in the center of Innsbruck

As the landscape became increasingly white, I realized that far from seeing little snow, we were facing too much. In the snowstorm, the cars were stuck on the side of the road and, from the top of the chair lift, I was skiing in white.

This is said to be good for perfecting your powder technique since, without visual clues, you rely on the soles of your feet to tell you how to turn. Apparently. I was just digging out of a snowdrift when Ant rang to ask if the magnificent Kaiser Maximilian mausoleum and the 16th century Ambras Castle were on the pass (they are). It seemed to be on another planet.

The Rathausplatz in Innsbruck, with the Nordkette mountain range above

The Rathausplatz in Innsbruck, with the Nordkette mountain range above

However, I got my taste of the history of the Habsburgs when I got to the Jagdschloss on the track side. Now a hotel and restaurant, this was the Kaiser’s hunting lodge in the 15th century and I walked down its vaulted corridor into one of the wood-paneled lounges for a lunch of fresh lake trout, followed by obligation Kaiserschmarren Pancakes.

My plan B was to continue to Hochoetz, just 13 minutes from Kühtai and only slightly less extensive, with 36 km of slopes. But by lunchtime 10 cm of snow had fallen and although the buses had chains on their wheels, I didn’t want to snow, so I went back to Innsbruck security.

In the lower locations, Oberperfuss was the only one to suffer from lack of snow, but Axamer Lizum was closed by the fall of trees and strong winds had closed the connected resort of Muttereralm. Glungezer, which has one of the longest slopes in Europe, 15 km away, was in the wrong direction for me.

Nordkettenbahnen trains with a lot of snow

Nordkettenbahnen trains take only 15 minutes from the slopes to the center

Of the two locations just 15 minutes from the city, Nordkette was closed due to the risk of avalanches on its steep slopes, but the shuttle between it and Patscherkofel was still operational and I got there just before the ski lifts closed at 4:00 pm .

I had hoped to huddle in two races, but for this I would have to repeat Franz Klammer’s legendary descent to the 1976 Olympics. My consolation was another spa session in our hotel, where Ant and I exchanged stories of our adventures. – very different – of days.

The trip was provided by the tourist boards of Innsbruck, Stubai and Austria. The Ski plus City Pass costs from € 111 for an adult for two days (€ 300 for seven days), children at half price. Double rooms at Stage12 cost from € 104 only overnight

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10 great bars and cafes near railway stations in Europe: readers’ travel tips Travel

Drink with Tony Soprano, Vilnius

Inside the modest 19th-century socialist-realist station in Vilnius it is shabby-chic Peronas bar. It serves excellent local beer (€ 2.50) together with solid cocktails; if you’re feeling adventurous, try Herba Devynia, a Lithuanian who takes a bitter Italian bitter made of bark, roots, herbs, fruit, flowers and leaves. Seats pour onto the railway platform, where you can sit next to a five-meter-high statue of Tony Soprano, dressed in a dressing gown as you watch the trains running towards Minsk and St. Petersburg. Once the sun goes down, talented local DJs play everything from hip-hop and techno to Balkan rhythms and ajjazz.

Perfectly located pub, Dublin

Ireland, Dublin, Parkgate Street, Ryans

Photograph: Neil McAllister / Alamy

Parkgate Street’s “Bongo” Ryan is a three-minute walk across the Liffey from Heuston Station, a short walk from Guinness St James’s Gate Brewery. It is one of the best Victorian pubs in Dublin, which houses a welcoming and robust mahogany bar. If you can tear yourself away, it’s within walking distance of historic Kilmainham Gaol and the immense grandeur of Phoenix Park. The National Museum of Decorative Arts and History is one block away. If I had 24 hours in Dublin, I would spend some here.

Books and coffee, Copenhagen

Nørreport station

Photography: Rasmus Hjortshøj – Costa / BYCS

Paludan BogcafeDenmark’s oldest book cafe is located within walking distance of Nørreport station and a 15-minute walk from Central Station. In the old Jewish quarter of the city, the cafe is busy from 9 to 22 with students, buyers, tourists and old friends. It’s a perfect escape from Strøget’s chain stores. It is hidden behind the old university library and almost every wall is lined with new and old books. Stop for coffee and cake, a cold beer or even a glass of wine – you probably won’t find large glasses for £ 5 anywhere else. Food could be Copenhagen’s best kept secret.
Rhiannon Jackson

Fantastic beer, Brussels

Glasses of beer in the famous Chez Moeder Lambic bar

Photography: Alamy

Between the Eurostar terminal in Brussels Midi and Brussels central station (10-15 minutes walk from both) there is Moeder Lambic at Place Fontainas. The selection of beers is fantastic, with some of the best beers I have ever tasted. The food is good value for money, particularly for Belgium, with sandwiches, soups and cutting boards.

Wine and pinxtos, San Sebastián

Bodega Donostiarra, San Sebastian

After arriving at San Sebastián-Donostia station, do not follow the crowd towards Parta Vieja, full of tourists. Instead, stay on the east side of Uremea and walk eight minutes down the river bank to Bodega Donostiarra in the Gros neighborhood. This lively bar with wines and pintxos has served the local community since 1928, when this was a working class area of ​​barracks and workshops. Potted plants and sun terrace may be new, but the house specialty, a Bocadillo, or small baguette, of fresh tuna, salted anchovy and local green pickled peppers (€ 3.10), is timeless. And the delicious wines by the glass cost from € 1.30.

Straight to the strudel, Leipzig

Ludwig Cafe, Leipzig Central Station

Photography: Alamy

On the vast atrium of the Leipzig Hauptbahnhof, the city’s monumental station, you will find the Ludwig library and coffee bar. If the station is the cathedral, Ludwig is his library or cloister. It is a calm, airy and refined space, with dark wood, high ceilings, stained glass skylights and comfortable club chairs. It serves reasonably priced drinks, sandwiches and snacks, although I had a coffee and a giant slab of apfelstrudel. Browse books and magazines, listen to train announcements or watch trams in the square outside through tall, elegant windows. It makes a wonderful waiting room, although frankly I suggest visiting even if you don’t have a train to take.
Kevin Sullivan

Tips from Guardian Travel readers

We ask our readers for advice from their travels, with a selection of these tips available online. Each week, the best entry (as chosen by Lonely Planet’s Tom Hall) will win two first-class Interrail Global Passes from Eurail which allow seven travel days in a month and are worth up to £ 384 each (depending on the age of the traveler ). To participate in the last contest, visit the readers’ suggestions homepage

One liter, a few meters from the station, Monaco

People drinking at the Augustiner Biergarten

Photography: Getty Images

Augustiner is said to be Munich’s oldest independent brewery, dating back to the Middle Ages, and has an outdoor beer garden (founded in 1812 by the Büchl brewery) under the chestnut trees next to Central Station, making it the perfect place to have your first o last, beer in town. The musicians wander and the traditional Bavarian dress is very evident. It has a wide range of typical Bavarian dishes, as well as light snacks and vegetarian dishes. A half liter of adorable Augustiner Edelstoff is a reasonable € 3.95.

Style and substance, Turin

External night view of the Caffè Torino, Piazza San Carlo,

Photography: Stefano Politi Markovina / Alamy

Exit the Porta Nuova train station and in a few hundred meters you will reach the baroque grandeur of Piazza San Carlo and two of the most famous cafes in Turin. Café San Carlo (1882) has the atmosphere of a palace, but I prefer the Liberty style Turin coffee (1903). Italian style, grandeur, history, architecture and coffee at normal prices. Try a traditional one bicerin, a mix of espresso, chocolate and milk. I found it while changing trains, I fell in love with the coffee and the city and went to live there for a year. I come back as often as possible.
Neil Pearce

Ober and out in Interlaken, Switzerland

The Hüsi Bierhaus, a six-minute walk from Interlaken West station, is a must for craft beer lovers when visiting the Bernese Oberland. This wooden framed chalet with green shutters has over 70 bottled beers and around 20 on tap. Since 2018 he has been producing alone, including the best-selling IPA Wingover, a hoppy blonde beer dedicated to the city’s paragliding community. Beer has even made its way into the kitchen, with bread made from the brewery’s spent malts, a bier-bratwurst and nachos smothered in a sauce rich in tomatoes, jalapeno and beer.

Ice cream paradise, Florence

I ran into Bondi ice cream when I got off the train in Florence last summer. It’s a five-minute walk from Florence station on Via Nazionale as you head into town. Unlike some Italian ice cream parlors, it has places to sit both inside and outside. It is not luxurious but it has 40 delicious flavors. Fresh caramel, made with French butter, or the Medici special, with a secret ingredient, are among its special offers. Cones from € 2.

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10 of the best hotels near the main railway stations in Europe Travel

B Hotel, Barcelona

Elegant and modern, this three-star hotel has a fabulous panoramic terrace, with a bar serving snacks, as well as a long and narrow infinity pool and a view of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya up to the wooded hill of Montjuïc. Room decor is minimal and there is plenty of light from the floor to ceiling windows. There is no restaurant, although there is a chain of coffee shops in the lobby and many restaurants nearby.
Double from € 8Only 0 rooms, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 389-391, b-hotel.com
Sally Davies

Be Manos Hotel, Brussels

A renovated townhouse from the 1920s, this boutique hotel attracts an artistic crowd and is a welcome arrival in the surroundings of the Gare du Midi, which has many chain hotels. The rooms are decorated in black, white, metal, glass and stone – without compromising on comfort – and the restaurant and bar are worth a visit in all respects. It is less than 10 minutes walk from the station but the hotel offers a free shuttle service for guests in a hurry.
Double from € 119 B&B, Square de l’Aviation 23, bemanos.com
Emily Waterfield

Miss Sophie’s Downtown, Prague

Miss Sophies Downtown Hotel in Prague

Next to the park of the railway station nicknamed Sherwood, due to its reputation as a refuge for thieves, this new boutique hotel is part of a small chain (four in Prague, one in Olomouc). The design theme is retro chic – with rooms equipped with custom-made furniture, a series of mirrors, lights and small red curtains – and evokes the atmosphere of a theatrical dressing room. It does not yet have its breakfast bar, but organic tea and cakes on arrival give it a welcoming touch. Miss Sophie is an economic and comfortable stop.
Double from £ 38 overnight stay only, Opletalova 39, miss-sophies.com
Mark Pickering

Hotel Hor, Paris

On the one hand its rather peculiar name, this 47-room hotel has a large lounge in the lobby and a garden terrace – and an excellent location just minutes from the Gare du Nord. It is a good value property and comes with a dose of style and also a visual sense of humor. For example, the ironic re-editions of the brutally ugly type of wallpaper, once common in small French hotels, are used as decorative accents in well-lit rooms with oak parquet floors, desks and bathrooms with rain showers. Breakfast is served until noon.
Double from € 115 only room, 160 rue la Fayette, 75010, hotel-hor.com
Alexander Lobrano

Polonia Palace Hotel, Warsaw

Polonia Palace Hotel, Warsaw

An eight-minute walk from the station, Poland, built in 1913, is full of ancient charm. It is one of the few properties in the capital that survived the Second World War during which it was used as a field hospital by the Polish resistance in the midst of the Warsaw uprising, after a period in which it hosted Nazi officers. It was reopened after a major renovation in 2004.
Doubles from £ 57 room only, Aleje Jerozolimskie 45, poloniapalace
Keith Lockram

They love Grand Central, Berlin

Much of the commercial development around the Hauptbahnhof has favored large business hotels, but opposite the Europaplatz entrance to the station there is this medium-sized option with boutique interiors full of fashion portraits and designer furnishings. The Hamburger Bahnhof contemporary art museum and the Natural History Museum are just down the road, and it’s a 20-minute walk to the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag. Rooms have minimal dark brown and white palettes, plenty of natural light, and extra rooms and Nespresso coffee machines in the superior rooms.
Double from € 57 overnight stay only, Heidestrasse 62, amanogroup.de
Paul Sullivan

Ecomama, Amsterdam

Ecomama Hotel, Amsterdam

Fifteen minutes walk from Centraal Station or five minutes by subway, Ecomama is a 19-room hostel, whose relaxing areas and cheerful staff live giving the place a welcoming and community atmosphere despite the industrial style. Recycled accessories, such as lamps made with cheese graters, reinforce Ecomama’s message of sustainability, as well as timed showers and lighting of motion sensors. Accommodation options range from the 12-bed dormitory “el cheapo” (from € 18), to a superior private double, with private bathroom (from € 99). Have breakfast in the shared kitchen or grab a croissant and coffee for less than € 5 at the bar, The Fix.
Valkenburgerstraat 124, ecomamahotel.com
Deborah Nicholls-Lee

Hotel Daniel, Vienna

It is not difficult to locate the Hotel Daniel: just look for the boat that hangs on the roof of the building. The roof also houses beehives and apple trees that provide on-site bakery products, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while vegetables are grown in the hotel garden, where an Airstream trailer has been turned into a bedroom. Other rooms in the main building are peaceful havens with white walls, green tiled bathrooms and, in some rooms, hammocks. Explore the city on an E-vespa or pushbike (rent from € 35 and € 10 per day respectively). An on-site shop also acts as a reception and sells both practical things (forgot your toothbrush?) And nice things. Next to the park of the baroque palace of the Belvedere, it is a 15 minute walk from the train station.
Double from € 98 just the room, Landstrasser Gürtel 5, hoteldaniel.com
Becki Enright

The Beehive, Rome

Courtyard at the Beehive, Rome, Italy

The Beehive is a mix of hostel and hotel and is led by American expats Steve Brenner and Linda Martinez. Their welcoming and ecological structure is a mixture of dormitories (including only for women) and private rooms, as well as a courtyard full of plants. The vegetarian breakfast includes homemade sourdough bread, donuts, cakes and pies, accompanied by fair trade coffee. Expect a sense of community as well: The Beehive organizes family-style dinners and cooking lessons for guests, making it an intriguing option for solo travelers. € 20-90 in low season to € 35-120 in high season.
Dormitories from € 15, rooms from € 65, Via Marghera, 8, the-beehive.com
Alexandra Bruzzese

Generator Hostel, London

The King’s Cross branch of the Generator group, driven by urban design, is less than 10 minutes walk from the station and offers convenient beds, late night bars and fun interiors. The common areas are colorful and industrial, with recycled wood, exposed pipes and bricks. There are leather armchairs, a graffiti printed piano, checkerboard printed tables, a slice of the Routemaster bus that serves as a DJ booth in the bar and a cafe offering burgers and light snacks. The dormitories sleep 4-13, with shared bathrooms, or there are private rooms, some with private bathrooms. It is within walking distance of the Coal Drops Yard shopping and restaurant complex, as well as Regent’s Park and Camden.
Dorms from £ 9, private rooms from £ 44, staygenerator.com
Antonia Wilson

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Islands near Venice: holidaymakers swarm, the inhabitants flee

Domenico Rossi lives on the picturesque island of Burano in the northern lagoon of Venice. The captivating charm of this place is deeply rooted in fishing – from the colorful fishermen’s houses to the traditional butter biscuits as provisions for the fishermen to the fine lace embroidery of their women.

Rossi himself is a crab fisherman – a family tradition that goes back to the proud days of the Venetian Republic. But a lot has changed in the recent past.

When Domenico Rossi, 49 years old, was a boy, 100 crab fishermen were still romping in the local waters. Now there are only 20 left and he is the youngest of them. So Rossi assumes that in a few decades no one will pursue this business.

Venice is becoming a kind of museum

The slow extinction of the traditional profession is part of a trend. Burano’s population is shrinking – similar to that of Venice, which is 40 minutes away by boat. And with that, the number of inhabitants who have kept the traditions and the economy of the island alive with their handicrafts is disappearing.

This is what brought Venezia Nativa, an association of entrepreneurs on Burano and two neighboring islands, to life. It tries to breathe new life into old handicrafts in order to attract new residents and encourage young islanders to stay. At the same time, it promotes sustainable tourism.

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Venice has long warned that it is in the process of being reduced to a kind of museum, a place that attracts crowds of tourists but where fewer and fewer people live. The number of residents who live permanently in the historic center with St. Mark’s Square and the Grand Canal has dropped to 53,000 – by a third within a single generation.

Every year, about 1,000 residents move to the mainland districts, where it is cheaper and easier to live. This changes the social fabric of the city, there are fewer neighborhood shops with local products and fewer public services.

Burano is said to become a tourist attraction

The effects of the population decline are even more visible on Burano and its two neighboring islands, Mazzorbo and Torcello. The population is currently around 2,700, and is decreasing by 60 people each year. 40 years ago there were two primary schools with about 120 children in each year, now there are only up to twelve each.

In the Venice lagoon: there are currently around 2,700 people living in Burano - but the number is decreasing

There are currently about 2,700 people living in Burano – but fewer are

Source: AP

Around 30 business owners on the islands are now betting on a revival of local trade and tourism that is steeped in old traditions. While Venice suffers from the burden of around 30 million visitors a year, only 1.5 million of them travel to Burano.

“We want to make these three islands in the northern lagoon a tourist attraction independent of Venice,” said Roberto Pugliese, Vice President of Venezia Nativa. This includes an offer that includes activities such as fishing or boat trips.

Venice lagoon: The Byzantine church of Santa Fosca on Torcello was built in the eleventh century

The Byzantine church of Santa Fosca on Torcello was built in the eleventh century

Credit: Getty Images / Maremagnum

The attraction of a peaceful life in the lagoon away from the places that have been attracting tourists so far should also be advertised. They include shops with lace embroidery, the Instagram-compatible backdrop of colorfully painted houses and the Byzantine cathedral on Torcello.

Islands reflect on their tradition

On the island of Mazzorbo, a winegrower from the Prosecco region north of Venice has reopened a long-standing vineyard – including a restaurant and hotel. Most of the 30 employees live on the islands.

Manufacturers of traditional Burano lace also want to breathe new life into their sector, mostly by focusing more on fashion items or art instead of decorative goods such as tablecloths or wall hangings as in the past.

Venice lagoon: fewer and fewer women in Burano still master traditional lace embroidery today

Fewer and fewer women in Burano still master traditional lace embroidery today

Source: AP / Luca Bruno

Yuka Miyagishima is a Japanese textile manufacturer. She is currently spending three months in a top embroidery shop in Burano to learn the handicrafts that are now only practiced by up to 100 women – most of them at an advanced age. However, Miyagishima does not want to stay on the island, but want to return home and practice the tradition there.

The fact that it is difficult to get people to move to Burano has a lot to do with the housing supply. Approximately 80 percent of the homes are picturesque fishermen’s houses that are admired by tourists for their bright colors, but are less popular with residents.

Venice Lagoon: The colored houses on Burano make good photo opportunities, but their residents live in a very small space

The colored houses on Burano make good photo opportunities, but their residents live in a confined space

Credit: Getty Images / Manuel ROMARIS

There are strict regulations regarding the extent to which the two-story buildings can be renovated. And it’s really just a house: each floor is just 20 square meters. So many of the buildings are for sale.

In the future, it should also be possible to combine neighboring houses into a single residence. That would be better for families. However, it remains to be seen whether this will encourage young residents to stay.

Federica Mohn and her husband run a bakery where they make the famous Bussolai biscuits. The biscuits are traditionally ring-shaped – so fishermen could hang them on their boat masts and nibble on them during long stays on the water.

Venice lagoon: Federica Mohn and her husband run a bakery where they make the famous Bussolai biscuits

Federica Mohn and her husband run a bakery where they make the famous Bussolai biscuits

Source: AP / Luca Bruno

Mohn’s daughter studies in Milan and wants to become a veterinarian. Her mother grants her that, but she hopes that one day her offspring will live on the island again. “When I hear about a young couple coming back, I’m happy,” she says. “And when I see blue or pink ribbons on Burano that herald a birth, it gives me the feeling that yes, we can repopulate the island!”

Coffee making at the Rialto Bridge – 950 euros fine

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Portugal: Winter bathes Lisbon in magical light

Winter is when it’s sunny and the locals wear jackets in Lisbon. Portugal’s capital then breathes heavily, and their breath is clear and windy, Atlantic cleaned ozone.

Few of the people who like to travel to foreign countries in the winter, and those you see often don’t have a jacket on, but only shirts or T-shirts, because in the light of the sun they are ready for winter in February keep finished. Some people then have to spend the majority of their vacation with a cold in the bed of the holiday home.

And thereby misses the charm of Lisbon in winter. Which already results from the fact that the city now almost completely belongs to the people of Lisbon, no trace of the tourist millions of summer.

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The paths and alleys are empty, even in the old trams you can now easily get a seat. Every now and then the smoke from freshly roasted chestnuts drifts by. Everything is cozier, more relaxed, more melancholy.

The whole charm of Lisbon is shown in winter

You can clearly feel this charm around Praça da Figueira and Rossio, two of the most beautiful squares in the city center. There, the oranges cling to the trees, statues watch over low-traffic stairs, graffiti walls and old street lamps. At night, the city’s yellow glow bathes it in a diffuse winter light that can compete with every gorgeous sunset in terms of romanticism.

Lisbon (Portugal): The Basílica da Estrela in the twilight of a winter evening

The Basílica da Estrela in the twilight of a winter evening

Credit: Getty Images / Teresa Claudino

As long as the sun is still shining, it is worth going some ways twice. Once to look at the facades, then you look at the floor. Because the pavement that calçada portuguesa, is large-scale, great art in Lisbon: In many places, stone setters have covered the paths with differently hewn and colored limestone.

In summer, the geometric shapes and figures almost completely disappear under the feet of visitors, but in winter, when the streets are empty, they can be recognized again and provide the magical light in the city thanks to the intense reflection of the sun. The wave pattern is particularly characteristic on the Rossio, while the median strip of Avenida da Liberdade shines with symmetrical ornaments.

Lisbon (Portugal): The wave pattern of the pavement unfolds its full effect only when Rossio Square is empty

Only when Rossio Square is deserted does the wave pattern of the pavement unfold its full effect

Credit: pa / imageBROKER / olf

In the leaf-free parks, no tree tops block the view. In the Jardim do Castelo de São Jorge, sitting on a bench, you can gaze out over the Rio Tejo and the Ponte 25 de Abril, those elegant suspension bridges reminiscent of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and on to the summits of the Look over Serra da Arrábida, which literally glow in the clear winter light.

Nobody nearby, just in the back, at the end of the green, on a bench, two guys who smoke something and are in a good mood. The sun quickly withdraws, disappears behind the hills.

Anyone who gets lost here is on the right track

It gets dark early in winter, long before the days are over. There is the moment when it is no longer day, but also not yet night and the lanterns are still out, then everything seems unreal and inhospitable, almost a bit dreary. But after a few minutes the lights come on, charge up, and everything is fine again.

This meantime, Lisbon’s blue hour, is good to spend in a café and have homemade apple pie served, which tastes a bit like Christmas in February. Add a little coffee and a martini or a glass of wormwood, for example in the “Pois Café” or in the “Confeitaria Nacional” – and your thoughts will be pleasantly light.

Lisbon (Portugal): The bridge over the Tagus is reminiscent of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge

The bridge over the Tagus is reminiscent of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge

Credit: Getty Images / João Pedro Neves

Afterwards: collar up, hands in coat pockets. Well warmed up and maybe with a little flip, it continues, through narrow streets, over bumpy pavement.

The air smells like freshly washed under the tightly hanging clotheslines, no matter how high the garbage may sometimes stack underneath. The street lamps and the illuminated shop windows seem to be on the way, and it is nice to see Lisbon life from these ways.

And don’t be afraid to lose your bearings while strolling. On the contrary: if you get lost here, you are on the right path – just courageously leave your smartphone with Google Maps. Because the more you are ready to penetrate this labyrinth, the greater the feeling of freedom, the better you feel the soul of the city, the more you enjoy strolling on these streets that lead you nowhere.

Alleys and corridors, stairs and graffiti, and again and again this river. Quarters that don’t seem worth seeing become attractions in the winter months, which the crowds of tourists carelessly pass in summer.

Antiques and bespoke suits in stores

Since on the left: this shop. Only things that have proven themselves for a long time are sold there, classic hats and sticks, nothing else, since 1889. Right next to it is a small studio, several generations old, in which a bent tailor makes bespoke suits. Wonderful suits in immaculate funeral black or old-fashioned ink blue, with and without pinstripes, with elegant vests that nestle as if you had just been born with them.

But the most beautiful are the displays of the antique shops, which consist of worthless and very valuable stuff. At the entrance to such shops there are always nice gentlemen with tangled hair, drawn by spiritual passions.

You sell past time. Desks that are secretaries, stands that hold jackets, paperweights, pocket watches, holders for expensive pens, silver cans, schnapps carafes, things that were built to last for centuries, religious junk, emotions, gold picture frames, things to put on wood, Glass, leather and metal. Much of it gathered in Portugal’s colonies centuries ago.

And books everywhere! They are on shelves or on the floor or in boxes or in shopping bags – and one hopes that one day your own book collection will not also be in such shopping bags, lifeless, sad, unnoticed.

The city ignites the imagination in a special way

In summer everything is different, because the shops close before the sun goes down, so that the displays cannot shine. And the air is not clear, but hot and dusty, sometimes to suffocate. Sure, the facades are the same, but they lack the strength and vitality of the winter world, so wonderfully cold and empty and still full of sun and feeling.

But Lisbon with its 2800 hours of sunshine a year is not only beautiful when the weather is nice. Even when a winter storm comes and brings rain from the Atlantic, when an apocalyptic wind blows and it looks as if a thunderstorm is violently breaking out of the sky at any moment, Lisbon is terrific. Especially when the clouds suddenly open exactly where the São Jorge Castle stands, the symbol of the city.

In the only sunlight of the day, the castle glows like winter gold, the trees on the castle hill blow magically in the wind, you feel close to the sky and would not be surprised if the stone city fathers, artists and kings were gripped by their pedestals and Horses would rise, fleshly returned to life to bow to their city.

Then the sky closes again, everything is gray and just goes on, and the statues are where they belong, as if nothing had happened – it was nothing but the imagination that is kindled in this city in a special way.

The tram rumbles creaking through the old town

So far, the 21st century with its hectic pace and restlessness is hardly noticeable in Lisbon, there is still a lot of old, preserved, lovable things. Just like the antiquated tram that rumbles through the old town. Just like the seniors who sit on benches and play cards in any weather and know that the cold is always something temporary and the distances from café to café are short.

But if you look closely, you can see the old fading in small steps, in the despair of the shoe cleaners who run out of customers, because most of them only wear cloth shoes. In the ticket vendors replaced by machines. In the knife sharpeners roaming on bicycles, who no longer find anything to arm, because everyone throws everything away and prefers to buy new.

Lisbon (Portugal): In the winter, the streets of the city are empty, even in the old trams you can now easily get a seat

The streets of the city are empty in winter, and you can now easily get a seat on the old trams

Credit: Getty Images / Tuul & Bruno Morandi

The traditional harbors of Lisbon also include the Tascas, these small, inexpensive (and heated in winter) restaurants, where the locals also like to dine. With the Tascas, that’s a thing. You have to know your way around or be lucky, and you shouldn’t rely on tourist guides because the tascas that they warmly recommend are usually no longer proper tascas.

Rule of thumb: try it out! It almost doesn’t matter what you order or what music is playing as long as you drink good, blood-red wine and eat with healthy hunger and do it all in good company. Who almost always smokes in Lisbon – there is no smoking ban in the very good Tascas. Eating in these restaurants is difficult, though Pernil no Forno (Pork knuckle) or Borrego assado (Roast lamb) or Cozido à portuguesa (hearty stew); it can kill you.

If you are smart, lay the way back to the bed in the holiday home so that it leads over the Rossio. There is the most magnificent grand hotel in the city, the “Avenida Palace”, where it goes. The lobby of the house is red and white and high and made entirely of marble, everything old and original, but the goal of this trip is the excellent hotel bar.

In addition to the usual cocktail classics, there are eight port wines, four Madeiras and eight Aguardantes portuguesas, excellent Portuguese brandies, on the menu. The elegant potions are not cheap, but there is no more stylish place for a nightcap in Lisbon.

Lisbon (Portugal)

Source: WORLD infographic

Tips and information

Getting there: Lisbon is served non-stop from Germany, for example by Lufthansa, Easyjet or TAP Air Portugal.

Accommodation: “Avenida Palace”, grand hotel near Rossio station, double rooms from 198 euros (www.hotelavenidapalace.pt); “Feeling Chiado 15”, pension in the trendy district of Chiado, double rooms from 80 euros (feelingchiado.com); “PH Downtown Suites”, centrally located, double rooms from 74 euros (ph-downtown-suites.go-lisbon-hotels.com/de/).

Cafés and Tascas: “Pois Café”, thick walls, good apple pie (R. de São João da Praça 93 95); “A Brasileira”, best to visit around 10pm, order coffee and Aguardente Velha (R. Garrett 122); Tasca “O Satélite”, solid waiters serve cheap wine and meat with eggs (Tv. Pereira); “Casa da India”, crammed, rustic, with grill, cheap (Rua do Loreto 45).

Further information: visitlisboa.com; visitportugal.com/de

This text is from the WELT AM SONNTAG. We would be happy to deliver them to your home regularly.