Florence, Italy

Why Go: World-class museums brimming with Renaissance art and soaring basilicas have drawn tourists to Firenze, well, forever.

Modern & Cool: Design-focused 3B Bed and Breakfast is walking distance to the Uffizi Gallery and other centrally located Florence sights. Your stay includes vouchers for a traditional Italian breakfast at a nearby cafe. Rates from 79 to 120 euro.

Traditional & Cozy: Casa Rovai Guest House has been owned by the same family for more than a century. Clearly, good innkeeping skills are passed down from generation to generation, as Anna Maria Meo, the current hostess, dishes out top-notch breakfasts in the traditionally decorated digs. (Pro tip: Enjoy your a.m. cappuccino on the sun-drenched terrace.) Rates from 80 to 130 euro.


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Lisbon, Portugal

Why Go: In this budget-friendly city, traditional tabernas dishing up cheap but hearty fare give way to a buzzing nightlife filled with cocktail bars and local wines.

Urban Digs: B&B ZUZA Bed and Breakfast is filled with flower-decked balconies and midcentury modern lines in the historical Bairro Alto neighborhood. One look at the stylish rooms and you won’t believe they go for as low as 45 euro per night.

Countryside Cool: Escape the city heat at Quinta do Scoto in nearby Sintra (just about 10 miles from Lisbon). The award-winning inn has luxurious suites, a sizable swimming pool and a sun-soaked terrace. Past guests call the antique decor and peaceful, pastoral surroundings highlights. Rates from 65 to 150 euro.




Copenhagen, Denmark

Why Go: Copenhagen’s haute cuisine has profoundly changed the global gastronomic scene, and the city’s cooler-than-cool art, design and fashion worlds lead the way, too.

Classical Luxury: The Pea Blossom is the historical 18th-century townhouse you wish you owned, all wedding-cake facade and wrought-iron balconies. Large guest rooms are outfitted in clean Scandinavian design and come with living areas and kitchens (perfect for family getaways). Best of all, it’s just a 10-minute walk to the summery Tivoli Gardens. Rates from DKK 575 per night.

Best of Both Worlds: Located in Dyssegard, just minutes from Copenhagen, is Bed and Breakfast Rosa. Here you’ll be near the city but worlds away from the noise. After a breakfast of homemade breads and jams served in a wicker basket, take bicycles to the beach or simply relax with a good read and a cool drink in the shaded garden. Rates from DKK 450 to DKK 550 per night.


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Crete, Greece

Why Go: Excellent beaches and ancient ruins mingle on this Mediterranean island, where wine and fiery raki flow well into the night.

Architecturally Amazing: You won’t believe the sights of Veneto Exclusive Suites, housed in a 14th-century manor house filled with soaring stone archways and cave-like walls. Planning a summer honeymoon? The former Dominican monastery is uber-romantic, and guests call the on-site restaurant “exceptional.” Rates start at just 55 euro a night.

Self-Service Sea Views: If you prefer to do your own cooking and entertaining, the apartment-style Barbara Studios are your spot in the Greek sun. Rooms feature courtyard balconies or oceanside views, and the beach is but a 300-meter walk away. And all this for as little as 35 euro a night.


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Vienna, Austria

Why Go: Elegant but never boring, Vienna is home to incredible royal history, cutting-edge modern art, and some of the best pastry the world over (one word: sachertorte).

Home Away from Home: On a quiet residential street, Spiess and Spiess offer Vienna’s comfiest accommodations. Completely modern bathrooms, refurbed sleeping spaces, and thoughtful touches like complimentary Wi-Fi welcome you home, while an underground station right next door can transport you to the city center in minutes. Rates from 125 to 240 euro.

Design Star: The Rooms Bed & Breakfast Room has plenty of flair, from decor influenced by Morocco and India to a light-filled breakfast room straight out of an interior design magazine. Located along the Danube River, the small and funky space is shared with the owners and their kids. From 85 euro per night.




Prague, Czech Republic

Why Go: A real bargain of a city, bohemian Prague delights with cool medieval squares, sprawling castles, and—importantly—cheap, world-class beer.

Kid-Friendly: A.V. Pension Praha is perched in a quiet, leafy corner of Prague. An on-site swimming pool and outdoor fireplace may make it hard to leave the guesthouse grounds, but this pension is conveniently located near open-air parks, modern-art galleries and plenty of inexpensive restaurants. Rates start at 49 euro per night.

Budget-Friendly: Prague’s Rainbow Guest House and its cute, compact and self-contained apartments are within easy walking distance of Prague’s top sights. Free Wi-Fi and included complimentary breakfast are especially easy on your wallet during peak summer season. Oh, and better yet? This B&B starts at just 24 euro per night (seriously).


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Nice, France

Why Go: From its elegant promenade to its grand square to its hillsides facing the blue-as-can-be sea, Nice puts all those other “postcard-perfect” spots to shame.

Poolside Panoramas: Vista Azzura’s million-euro views aren’t the only draw (but we wouldn’t fault you for choosing this villa for those alone). A sprawling garden of fruit trees produces your freshly squeezed juices and breakfast marmalade, while the pool and terrace host your lazy, sun-soaked, cat-nap-filled afternoons. Rates from 110 to 175 euro per night.

Views & Valleys: Tucked into Nice’s hills, with a Mediterranean jardin and sweeping views of the Cote d’Azure and Alps, Villa Kilauea has a distinctly Zen-like feel. With gourmet breakfasts of homemade yogurt and fresh pastry, you’ll fall under the spell of owners Nathalie & Gérard in no time. Rates from 130 to 250 euro per night.


—by Dara Continenza