10 European Dream Destinations Under $250 a Night
If you havent slept in a medieval Bavarian castle or stayed on a family vineyard in Tuscany, its time to head to Europe. Weve rounded up unforgettable accommodations in 10 European dream destinations. From cool urban hotels to island vacation rentals and historic apartments, these spots will blow your mind. And at less than $250 a night, they might just drop right into your bucket-list budget range this summer.Dubrovnik, CroatiaIf your favorite European dream destinations mingle rich history with modern flair, head to Dubrovnik. On a side street in the citys UNESCO-listed Old Town, you can rent an apartment in a restored Baroque building. Bars, restaurants, historic sites and the glittering Adriatic are all within a five-minute walk from the Dubrovnik Boutique Apartments ($249/night). Chic furnishings and sleek kitchens are beautifully juxtaposed against the old stone walls and wooden beamed ceilings in these 17th-century townhouses.What to do: The Dubrovnik Summer Festival draws crowds in July and August with all types of performances theater, opera, music and dance staged on historic streets and squares. Escape the summer masses in this Pearl of the Adriatic with a 10-minute boat ride to the Lokrum Islands, where you can hike or tour a monastery. In September, the crowds thin, the days and sea are still warm, and attractions remain open.ViennaThis year, the Austrian capital celebrates the 150th anniversary of Johann Strausss famous Blue Danube Waltz. Snap a photo with the golden statue of the Waltz King in Stadtpark, and celebrate the milestone at special 150th exhibits and events throughout 2017. The quirky Hotel Daniel Vienna ($163/night), next to Belvedere Palace and near city-center attractions, is a hipster favourite showcasing industrial loft-style design, retro decor, an eco-friendly ethos and clever wit.What to do: Rent a bicycle or Vespa from the front desk and cruise Vienna's Danube Canal, where trendy restaurants and bars front sandy beaches to create a Riviera party vibe in summer. Deck chairs and hammocks await at Strandbar Herrmann. Youll find live performances in concert halls, concert cafes and Heuriger wine taverns throughout this musical city.Tripiti, GreeceThe Aegean Island of Milos is the European dream destination you come to Greece for: hillside villages, white-washed Cycladic architecture, gorgeous beaches and rich history. Perched on a cliff side, Casa Rustica ($82/night) ranks high among unique and affordable European dream destinations. This sunny south-facing FlipKey vacation rental home is carved out of white volcanic rock, and the cave effect keeps it cool even on the warmest summer afternoons, making it a great place to return to after a swim in the sea.What to do: Dirt roads lead to secluded beaches on Milos, a less popular and less expensive option than other Greek Islands. In the tiny town of Tripiti, Sarakiniko Beach is a must-see for its unusual white sculpted rock reminiscent of a lunar landscape. Explore the citys history as you wander the Ancient Roman Theatre and the Catacombs of Milos used by the early Christians as a burial site, place of worship and refuge.Bavaria, GermanyThis private castle you can sleep in a must for those with European dream destinations is set in the beautiful Bavarian countryside a two-hour drive northeast of Frankfurt. The medieval Unsleben Castle is still inhabited today, but through HomeAway, guests can rent the castles two-bedroom apartment ($109/night) with a bathroom, living room, kitchenette and fireplace oven. Encircled by a moat, the castle is a true bucket-list dream, complete with exposed ceiling beams and ornately painted walls.What to do: The nearby town of Unsleben and surrounding mountains and valleys are great for exploring by bike or on foot. Marked pathways begin at the castle. Fifteen minutes away, the Nature Park Bavarian Rhn includes a biosphere reserve and is known for its cloister, moors with basalt prisms, and panoramic views over colorful meadows. See concerts and live theater nearby in Bad Kissingen.AmsterdamSummer is beach party season in Amsterdam. Youll find beautiful people soaking in the sun everywhere from bohemian urban beaches to swanky rooftops and terrace bars. Overlooking the riverfront and city center, the Sir Adam Hotel ($222/night) is young and pulsing. Each room features a Crosley record player, a well-curated stack of vinyls, and an electric Gibson guitar. You can bust a move in the disco-themed elevator decked out with a glitter ball and lighted floor tiles, or hang out in the lobby lounge/burger joint/bar with touring bands passing through.What to do: A free ferry runs every five minutes 24 hours a day from near the hotel to the city center across the river. Here, the colourful Hanneke's Boom waterfront shack is a fun local beer garden hangout. The Zandvoort and Blijburg beach clubs are about a 30-minute train ride from downtown.Chianti/Tuscany, ItalyThe rolling landscape of Tuscanys Chianti region between Florence and Siena undulates with hillside vineyards and estates. Live like a local and settle into an old stone and oak beam house for a week at the Podere Campriano family winery ($205/night). Available through FlipKey, this quiet five-bedroom, five-bathroom B&B looks out over sweeping views of vineyards and olive groves. Take in the scene while dining al fresco with a glass of wine produced onsite, or while swimming in the saltwater pool. The space easily accommodates families or couples travelling in pairs.What to do: The hosts offer wine tours and tasting lunches, plus cooking classes in the family kitchen. Take a driving tour of hilltop villages with medieval-era architecture or follow a wine tasting route. Check out Florences latest exhibits or take a dip in one of the natural swimming holes and waterfalls south of Siena at Riserva Naturale del Torrente Farma.Venice, ItalyThe best European dream destinations help you live like a local and thats precisely the vibe youll get from this luxurious little apartment overlooking a canal in Venice. At La Rosa di Venezia ($242/night) you can sit on the balcony and watch the gondolas go past as you drink your morning coffee. The flat includes a kitchen and is sunny and bright, a rare find in this city of narrow alleys. Its about a 10-minute walk from Piazza San Marco and close to other attractions.What to do: Dont miss the boat races on the Venetian Lagoon. There are more than 120 races throughout the year, but the most famous is the Historic Regatta (Regata Storica) on the first Sunday in September. Before the races, locals don 16th-century costumes and join the procession of ornate boats parading down the Grand Canal. Then the races begin. And in late August and early September, the city will host the 74th annual Venice International Film Festival.Cannes, FranceAffordability can be elusive in Cannes, but Hotel Le Canberra ($154/night) is proof that it exists even in summer in this European dream destination. Only a few blocks from the waterfront and sandy La Croisette promenade, the boutique Hotel Le Canberra is an excellent value in the heart of Cannes. The modern decor with a nod to 1950s glamour creates a sleek, sophisticated space. Guests can lounge by the beautiful pool and garden or head to the hotels two nearby partner beaches for the full French Riviera experience.What to do: Spend the morning indulging in the colors and aromas of the Forville Market, where you can pick up fresh-cut flowers, produce, tapenades, biscuits and cheeses. Explore the winding, cobbled streets of the Le Suquet neighbourhood. At the beach, La Croisette is lined with shops and restaurants. Here youll spot plenty of luxury yachts and sports cars in this longtime playground of international aristocracy.ParisOn the southern slopes of Paris artsy Montmartre area, the once-seedy Pigalle neighborhood (home to Moulin Rouge) is becoming one of the citys trendiest spots. Among the recent hotels to crop up alongside bakeries, cafes and shops is Le Pigalle ($207/night), which pays tribute to the creative and gritty red-light history of the place where Picasso and Victor Hugo once lived. The 40-room hotel is true to its neon-lit namesake roots, with tastefully provocative overtones referenced throughout the vintage and contemporary design.What to do: Catch a major exhibition this summer. See Portraits by Cezanne at Musee dOrsay or the Museum of Decorative Arts exhibit celebrating the 70th anniversary of fashion designer Christian Dior. Paris Design Week runs the second full week of September. Other summer highlights include urban beaches, the Tour de France finish, and Bastille Day fireworks at the Eiffel Tower.Kent, EnglandWhen you need a serious break from city life, make a plan to head for the English countryside 60 miles outside of London, and stay in a historic four-story windmill. Built in the early 1800s, the Old Smock Windmill ($234/night) has been restored and converted to a one-bedroom apartment you can rent through Airbnb. A thick brick exterior, exposed interior wall beams, and the original windmill mechanism are reminders of the history here. The modern kitchen and a bathroom with sleek touches transform the once-industrial space into beautiful accommodations.What to do: Its location in a village just south of Kent puts the windmill on a network of cycling routes. Its only 10 minutes from Sissinghurst Castle Garden. Canterbury Cathedral, Hever Castle and Leeds Castle are within an hours drive. You can also reach the coast and see the White Cliffs of Dover, an iconic British landmark, in just over an hour.