We love to travel & always try to stay in similar quality B&Bs… so here’s a few places we have loved and think you will too !
There’s something great about staying at a B&B. For us, it’s the individuality of the property, the decor and the hosts – no two are ever the same. Of course, when we stay at other B&Bs, we tend to look in more detail at what’s going on than the average guest!! Even now, in our 11th year, we still learn from the experiences of how we can improve, what represents good value for money and the attention to detail which is being offered by the owners (or sometimes not!).
Over the past few years, we have stayed at numerous B&Bs in a variety of countries and here are those that stood out for us. Some are charmingly rustic, others very modern – the common thread is that all had welcoming hosts, comfy beds, great breakfasts and set in interesting locations.
Come take a look…..perhaps gain some inspiration for your future travels.
Northumberland – most have heard of Alnwick but its seaside little brother Alnmouth, just down the road, is delightful. Alnmouth has a number of great food-serving pubs, a golf course and, of course, long stretches of coastline ideal for walking. Harvey, and first mate Roxy the pooch, are wonderful hosts at St. Valery B&B. We loved our three-night stay, exploring the area – Harvery’s ‘marmitey mushrooms on toast’ for breakfast and returning after a day’s adventure to the honesty bar by the open fire – just perfect.
Devon – if you are venturing to the SW, there’s a beautiful little B&B tucked away in a tiny hamlet on the edge of Dartmoor. Mitchelcroft, run by Debbie & Michael is wonderful (Debbie’s breakfasts are amongst the best we have ever eaten!). With sweeping views across rolling Devon countryside to the moors beyond, and close (under 5 miles) to Buckfast Abbey – Mitchecroft is an ideal base to stay to explore Devon.
Not far from the south coast to get your seaside fix and then heading on into Cornwall – you really will love staying here.
Bruges – so much more than just chocolate, Bruges is a fantastic city to discover. Accommodation is at a premium, as it’s a year-round tourist destination (even in mid-January when we visited). On recommendations of Belgian friends, we stayed at La Maison Bruges where the Kelderman family will point you in the directions of the must-see places to see, where to eat and also the best chocolatiers.
Again, breakfasts were fantastic and the stand-out from our stay in the city.
We took the train to nearby Ghent for the day which was wonderful too and, whilst less picture-perfect than Bruges, a great city and less touristy. Nearby Ypres was also moving – whilst we were not there for the daily last post it is certainly worth a visit to walk through the Menin Gate & reflect.
Hasselt – staying in the Flemish speaking part of Belgium, we only recently visited Hasselt where two of our guests, who have become dear friends, live. We stayed at a boutique (just 2 room) B&B called Villa des Roses which was perfectly placed (with off-street parking) to explore this great town.
We loved the pedestrianised streets, excellent choice of restaurants and visiting the Japanese Gardens (oh, and it was just a 30 min trip over the border into Holland and Maastricht which was charming too).
In December 2018, we embarked on a circumnavigation of the Iberian peninsula, spending two weeks on the road, covering nearly 4,500km – and staying at 8 different accommodations along the way.
The biggest revelation to us was the rugged coast of Galicia & Asturias which was just stunning and reminiscent of the coastline of the Devon & Cornwall. Here two B&Bs, both very different but equally charming, were our base for exploring. Casa de Cabaza (a converted farmhouse in Galicia, close to the stunning Riberia Sacra vineyards) and El Gran Sueno (set in a tiny hamlet of just a handful properties in the rolling hills of Asturias) were wonderfully comfortable, the hosts interesting, engaging & welcoming and full of local knowledge.
Before heading back over the border, we spent two nights in the foot of the Pyrenees in the ancient town of Jaca and stayed a Hotel La Barosse – an adult only property located just 2km outside of the main town centre and very peaceful. Jose, the owner & host, was charming and gave us some great tips for a day out exploring, driving to nearby villages and through the Devil’s Throat pass which was amazing.
Jaca is a great town with a nice town centre, cathedral and also the medieval fort – plenty of good eateries & bars for tapas too!
It’s always good for us to stay at other B&Bs within France and each year we try and stay at two B&Bs which have a similar price per night to La Villa and those ranked highly on sites like Trip Advisor. It is always a good benchmark for us to experience properties both within our region and further afield to gain an insight at what’s on offer by our competitors.
Close to us, and somewhere we stayed on many occasions before moving to the region is Cuq en Terrasses. (owners, Philippe & Andonis, have become good friends) Cuq en Terrasses – very different to La Villa, set in a small hamlet half way between Mazamet & Toulouse with a guest sing-a-long after dinner each evening! Great dinners, views over the countryside and lazy days by the pool.
Roughly 3 hours north of Mazamet you will find Manoir de Malagorse – a peaceful haven, not far from both the Gouffre de Padriac and famed Rocamadour (St. Cirq le Popie is not far away too and also heading onwards to the Dordogne). Anna, from England, and French husband & chef Abel are consummate hosts.
Of course we have stayed at many others and we are happy to share with our guests some suggestions of places to stay in various parts of the country before or after heading to La Villa, or when not heading to SW France. Good websites to research, which put your directly in touch with the owners without charging commission, are Sawday’s and Further Afield.
We have many a tale to tell of our travels in France (including the night the owner’s cat at a B&B in Le Gard ate half the dessert, before it made it to the table!)… but we will save those for our memoirs.
When Ryanair started flying from Toulouse to Malta, a long weekend pre-season break back in 2017 was called for.. we stumbled across Julesy’s B&B which is located in the historic 3-cities area and a short water-taxi ride across to the capital, Valletta. In fact, a recipe for a fantastic Frittata came from a breakfast treat we enjoyed during our stay.
Tucked away in a small street, within 5 mins walk of the harbour, Julie & Glen are a font of knowledge for making the most of your stay on this island nation, steeped in history.
We hope that you enjoy this selection of B&Bs from our travels. There are many more in other countries & continents, these are the most memorable from our travels within Europe when we stayed at B&Bs (we have some favourite hotels too… that’s for another Blog post).
If, during your travels, you have enjoyed a great place, eaten at a wonderful restaurant, or stumbled across a lovely village or town – please share it with us and we will make a compilation to share with others.
Happy Travelling !