European Vacation Rentals Tips

Read these 22 European Vacation Rentals Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Vacation Rentals tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What are the top attractions in Greece?

Attractions in Athens, Greece

Greece is a popular vacation destination for people from all around the world. In Greece, you can explore the historic sites of Athens, experience a fun-filled adventure to the Greek islands, or spend a romantic vacation at the beautiful beach. You can also do it all!

Greece offers art, culture, architecture, delicious cuisine and fantastic nightlife. If you enjoy the water, you can sail, dive or take part in a number of other water sports.

Whatever you plan to do in Greece, you should begin your trip in Athens, where you can see some of the most amazing historical sites in the world.

Start at The Acropolis. The Sacred Rock at Acropolis Hill was the place of worship to the goddess Athena. And later, during the Classical period - three very significant temples were built there, the Temple of Nike, the Erechtheion and, of course the Parthenon.

After touring the area, you can also visit the Acropolis Museum to see some of the many excavated items from the site.

While in Athens, there are many other attractions and landmarks that shouldn't be missed.

The Agora
Here you can visit the ruins of many important temples and monuments, including the Temple of Apollo, the Stoa of Zeus and the Temple of Hephaistos, among others.

The Plaka
This labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways is a hub where you can find some of the best souvenirs and jewelry in all of Greece.

Monastiraki Flea Market
On Sundays, this flea market is buzzing with activity. The market square is centuries old and the quantity and variety of goods available is astounding.

Lykavittos Hill
Take an hour hike up to the highest point in Athens. Here you can enjoy breathtaking views of the entire city, while having a drink on the cafe terrace at the top. If you don't want to hike, you can take a taxi instead.

When visiting Athens, you can choose from an array of European vacation rentals, including apartment, villa or home rentals.

   
Will a European vacation directory be helpful to me?

European Vacation Directories

Great European vacation rental directories include homes, condos, villas, apartments, and castles for rent directly from the owners (all come with complete amenities).

Europe also offer excellent cruise vacation packages throughout France, The Netherlands, England, Ireland and Scotland. Look online for itineraries, rates, and bookings.

Regarding customs, at most ports and airports there are green and red channels:

• Use the green channel if you have nothing to declare
• The red channel is if you do or if you are unsure about import restrictions

*Be good – be honest – or you might find yourself in hot water!

   
Things to do when vacation in Italy?

A Festive Italy vacation.

Italy vacation rentals (including villas and hotels located throughout the below hill towns) host many exciting events! Be sure to check these out:

• In the town of Veneto, check out the human chess game
• Umbria has a candle race and costumed procession just for the children
• Tuscany celebrates Pinocchio's Birthday

If you plan on using a bicycle to get around on your vacation and are concerned about the physical challenge of it, don't be. Just go at your own pace, relax and enjoy the culture - peddling about will be a breeze!

   
Find information on French vacation rentals?

France Vacation Information

France vacation rental included over 3000 homes and prices are as low as 34 daily or 225 per week (pounds need to be converted). Want to go to a great place in France? Check out Loire Valley (located near chateaus, wineries, medieval towns, and villages).

Loire Valley boasts impressive idyllic 18th century French architecture. Families with children take holidays during the July/August school holidays, which is also when the French take their holidays, so book early!

*Email a booking inquiry directly to the establishment to check availability. Respond to the reply even just to say thanks or you had a change of plans.

   
How do I reserve a house on the web for my European vacation?

Reserving a European Vacation on on the Web

To reserve a European vacation rental on the web, you can rent from a local owner or an owner who just might be in your own country. Renting from a European owner is difficult. Often overseas owners will require a deposit into his bank account and that can be expensive for both parties. Renting from someone in your own country is easiest.

If you do go overseas, pack lightweight woolen and cotton clothes in summer and thicker wool sweaters or jacket for spring and autumn. Indoor building temperatures are lower than those in the US and Canada.

*Pack a raincoat and sweaters for all seasons and comfortable shoes for sightseeing.

   
What accommodations can I expect in Ireland?

Ireland Vacation Accommodations

Self-catering Ireland vacation rentals include small thatched cottages, large estate cottages, manor houses, and even castles! Check into the Shannon estuary from the top of Clare hills – it's breathtaking!

Remember you will need your passport and driving license for car rental. US and Canadian visitors do not need a visa. If you want a really carefree vacation, consider taking out insurance on your major belongings. That way you wont have to cry over spilt milk or lost possessions!

   
What is there to see in England?

Traveling to Historic England

Take a trip through the English countryside or spend your days in museums and galleries in urban cities to learn about the immense culture and history of England. You can visit the homes of significant persons in English history, including William Shakespeare, marvel at the wonder of ancient Stonehenge, and take in the beautiful architecture at Oxford University, England's oldest university.

The most interesting historical sites in England may be in London.

Tower of London
Located on the north bank of the River Thames, the Tower of London is one of the most recognizable historical landmarks in the city. Since 1303, the Tower has been the home to the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. Throughout history, the Tower of London served as a fortress, prison, royal palace, armory and even a zoo!

St. Paul's Cathedral
This building is one of the most visited sites in all of England. The current building dates back to the 17th century, however several other St. Paul's Cathedrals existed prior.

Westminster Abbey
This Gothic church in Westminster, London is the traditional location for the coronation and burial of English monarchs.

Many vacation rentals in Europe are available, including apartment rentals, house rentals, condo rentals and other rental properties throughout England. You will enjoy your privacy and all the amenities at these wonderful vacation rentals.

   
What is there to do in Switzerland?

Visiting Switzerland

Switzerland is known for some of the best skiing in the world. However there are many more fun-filled activities you will enjoy in Switzerland. You can take a hot air balloon ride over Lake Geneva, enjoy a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride through the countryside, or spend the day shopping in the Old Town of Bern.

For those who love the outdoors, skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and ice climbing are popular throughout the country.

If you love to bicycle, the Eastern Switzerland countryside is ideal with its numerous trails. For art, history and culture, don't miss out on the monasteries throughout the central portion of the country.

The country is picturesque with its Alpine scenery, beautiful lakes and wonderful mountain chalets.

If you are visiting Switzerland, bring a big dictionary! In Zürich, German is the most common language, while in Geneva, it's French. If you head to Lugano and the south of Switzerland, you should brush up on your Italian.

Switzerland is considered very safe country, but you should take the same precautions as you do visiting any other country. Don't carry a lot of cash with you. Leave your expensive jewelry at home. And stay alert in crowded areas, particularly at night.

While in Switzerland, book your European vacation home rentals at a Swiss chalet, villa, house or apartment. These accommodations will allow you to have the comforts of home and range in price from the affordable to the luxurious.

   
What is there to do in Madrid?

Spending Your Vacation in Madrid

Madrid, the capital of Spain, is located in the center of the Castillian plain in the middle of the peninsula. With a population of over three million people, Madrid features rich culture and a vibrant nightlife.

When planning a vacation to trip to Madrid, you can enjoy your stay by booking a European apartment rental in Madrid. These furnished apartments are convenient located near all the attractions and activities in Madrid and provide many of the comforts of home.

By day, Madrid is a cultural hub. You will enjoy the paintings, sculpture and architecture of the local museums, galleries and historical landmarks. You can take a guided tour through the city or venture out on your own.

If you don't know Spanish, carry a dictionary with you and try to pick up on the common phrases you will need along your travels.

Concentrated around Madrid's Plaza Mayor, you will find an array of shops and boutiques selling fashions, home decor and gift items. And don't miss out on the many traditional open-air markets in Madrid.

Look for hidden treasures, including books, art and collectibles at the Rastro - the most famous of these markets. The Rastro is located the Plaza de Cascorro, La Latina and Embajadores street. Just ask anyone and they will be able to direct you to the Rastro.

One of the best things about Madrid is the food! Though some will say that Madrid doesn't have it's own cuisine, but rather a mix of foods from other cultures, there are some traditional food in Madrid. Cocido Madrileno is a stew that features chickpeas, vegetables and meat. It's quite delicious. Keep in mind that many restaurants in Madrid don't even open until after 8:00 p.m.

At night, Madrid comes a live with bars, pubs, nightclubs and all-night cafes. There's never a shortage of nighttime activity in the lively capital city of Madrid.

   
Are the French really rude to Americans?

Travel Tips for Enjoying Your Vacation to France

Though many Americans think the French are rude, France is actually a delightfully place to spend your European vacation.

As a visitor to France, you should make an effort to learn a little bit of the language. Learn a few basic phrases, such as "Hello," "Goodbye," "Please," "Thank you," and "Where is the bathroom?"

By using common courtesy and greeting people you meet, you will be showing some respect to the French and find their people to be very pleasant and helpful. Alway carry a French dictionary with you, in case you get lost, need help in an emergency or want to order something from a menu.

If you will be driving in France, it may be confusing to deal with all the roundabouts. Rental cars are also quite expensive in France. However, there are several other methods of transportation to get you where you need to go with ease.

You can get between France and other European cities by train. For example, the EuroStar train travels from Paris to London in about three hours. There are also trains within the country of France, as well as the Paris Metro subway system - one of the most efficient forms of public transit in the world. For short trips, just take taxi, which are plentiful in the larger French cities.

When planning your trip to France, book a European vacation rental for all the comforts of home. You can choose from European apartment rentals, European home rentals, or European Villa rentals. For luxury accommodations, select from one of the hundreds of villas, chalets, and bed and breakfast inns around the country.

   
What types of vacation rental properties are in Europe?

Types of European Vacation Rentals

When planning a trip to Europe, you will find there are many types of European vacation rentals to choose from. Whether you are a college student spending your summer abroad, a newlywed couple on your honeymoon or a family planning your dream vacation to Europe, select one of these European vacation rentals and you are sure to enjoy your stay.

European House Rentals
If you want all the comforts of home while on vacation, consider a European house rental. These completely furnished houses can feature all the comforts of home, including privacy, cable TV, washer and dryer, direct dial telephone and much more.

European Villa Rentals
For a luxury vacation rental, Europe offers an array of villas. Whether you are interested in a European villa rental in Tuscany, Ireland, France or any number of other destinations throughout Europe, you can find it here.

European Apartment Rentals
An affordable option when visiting Europe is to rent an apartment. Though not as expansive as a house or villa, a European apartment rental offers furnished accommodations, including a fully-equipped kitchen, at a reasonable price.

More Vacation Rentals in Europe
Other types of vacation rentals in Europe include bed and breakfast inns, cottages and duplexes.

   
How Can You Get the Most From Your European Vacation Rental Experience?

Making the Most of Your European Vacation Rental

One of the greatest pleasures of vacations rentals is the opportunity to get to know the country you are visiting and build relationships with the people. Unlike a quick getaway, you are staying a while. Make the most of your time by immersing yourself in the flavor of your destination.

Do the must-see and must-dos on your travel list. Then, slow down and spend some time off the beaten path. There are many special travel moments that will stay in your heart and mind long after monuments and museums merge and blur. Relax at a sidewalk café and watch the world go by. Savor a sunset or sunrise. Talk to locals and learn what they like best about their world. Be open to spontaneous experiences and serendipity.

Take new knowledge home with you. Attend local festivals, exhibits, performances or a lectures at a local university. Book a language, cooking or pottery class. Each time you practice your new skill, you'll remember where you learned it. Spend an afternoon with the vintner at a local winery on your Italy vacation rental. Sign-up for ski lessons or discover how Swiss watches are made on your Switzerland vacation rental. Learn the art of making specialty sausages on your Germany vacation rental. The Internet is filled with opportunities for unique experiences around the world.

A travel journal is the best souvenir of your European vacation rental experience. Memories fade quickly. Writing a travel journal allows you to retrace, relive and share your journey for years to come. Keep your journal and pen close at hand. Record interesting facts and resources. Capture impressions and emotions of the world around you. Write about interesting people you encounter. Your travel journal could become a travel book!

   
What are some tips on holiday rental travel etiquette?

Brush on Holiday Rental Etiquette

We live in a wonderfully diverse world and one of the greatest benefits of travel is the opportunity to experience different cultures and lifestyles. No one likes to be stereotyped as a “Tacky Tourist.” Yet, travelers who are polite, patient, and pleasant at home sometimes behave and dress in ways that are inappropriate and offensive in other cultures. Use these tips to pave the way for smooth international relations while staying in your holiday rental.

  • While you research where to stay, eat and sightsee at your destination, include research on customs and cultural sensitivities.
  • Travel with an open mind and an open heart. Don't expect things to be the way they are “at home.” Embrace the differences and learn from them.
  • Everything is rarely perfect…at home or abroad. When problems crop up, keep your cool and sense of humor. Tact and diplomacy trump sarcasm and superiority every time.
  • Purchase a small phrase book and learn a few words and phrases in the language of your destination. Some examples of key words/phrases include: please, thank you, hello, goodbye, emergency, need help and Where is…?
  • Remember that your European vacation rental host is not your servant or concierge. They may help solve problems with your holiday rental, but they are not tour guides or errand runners.
  • Avoid discussing politics, other controversial topics or criticizing the country in conversation with your holiday rental host and local residents.
  • Take a few small gifts to express appreciation to those who help you along the way.

   
What is special about a Germany vacation rental?

Germany Vacation Rentals

Germany offers travelers an intriguing mixture of old and new cultural attractions and lively festivals fortified by unforgettable foods, beers and wines. Germany vacation rentals fall into three diverse categories. Make yourself at home in the center of the action in an apartment or house in the cities like Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart or Frankfort. Or, escape city crowds to a large villa, magnificent castle or simple farm cottage the countryside.

Germany is synonymous with Oktoberfest in Munich. Sample your share of over 5,000 beers accompanied by specialty sausages, Weiner schnitzel and decadent Black Forest Cake. Forget the calories. They are worth every bite! Not a beer lover? Thirteen regions in Germany grow grapes for award-winning wines. You won't be thrown out of the party if you raise a toast with a good German wine. If you want to attend the biggest party of the year, plan ahead. Make your reservations for a Germany vacation rental at least a year in advance.

   
What is special about holiday rentals in Italy?

Italy Vacation Rentals

Unpack and settle into an Italy vacation rental; the perfect base to explore this warm and friendly country by rental car or train. Holiday rentals run the gamut from simple and rustic to grand and luxurious. There are no-frills one-bedroom apartments at $500 per week, grand ten-bedroom villas in Tuscany for $5000 or more per week and everything in-between. Stay as long as possible because from the mountains to the rugged coastline there are many wonderful sights and activities you won't want to miss.

Skiers are attracted to the Aosta Valley with the most mountains in Italy. Milan is the fashion and automotive center. Rekindle romance with a gondola ride in Venice, explore the maritime heritage or spend an afternoon sipping chilled Prosecco and people-watching in Piazza of San Marco. Snap a photo at The Leaning Tower of Pisa in the Tuscany region and continue on to Florence, the capital of Tuscany. Don't miss the Uffizi Gallery, one of the world's most famous museums. On to Rome to make a wish at Trevi Fountain, stand in awe at Vatican City and hear the echoes of history at The Coliseum. Heading south, feel the chill of seeing Mt. Vesuvius towering over innocently over the ruins of Pompeii. Celebrate a day in Naples and hop over to Sicily for a close-up view of Mt. Etna.

One visit to Italy is never enough. Instead of saying “arriverderci,” you will be planning a return visit even as you wing your way home.

   
What is special about a Switzerland vacation rental?

Switzerland Vacation Rentals

Switzerland vacation rentals offer a large selection of meticulously clean, comfortable and charming holiday rentals in incredibly scenic locations. Imagine majestic snow-capped mountains towering over crystal clear lakes. Choose from cozy studios, charming chalets, ski lodges and grand villas. A Switzerland vacation rental is the perfect base for exploring the sights in cities like Bern, Interlaken, Luzerne, Zurich and Geneva. Allow time to enjoy the friendly folks and outdoors in villages with intriguing names like Meiringen, Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen.

Picture a spacious Swiss Ski Lodge, one hour from Zurich by train, perched on slopes with stunning views of the Alps. There are endless activities by day and by night. Snow bars and ski huts create a relaxed and sociable atmosphere. The main Lodge (sleeping 6-8 guests) consists of three bedrooms, a large bathroom, fully-equipped kitchen, central heating, TV, wireless Internet and plenty of amenities. High season rental rates of the range from $265-$325 per night. Off-season rates are as low as $135 per night and guests enjoy summer hiking, biking, swimming, windsurfing and shopping. Tempted? Plan ahead. Most Switzerland vacation rentals are booked six months in advance.

   
Do you need to rent a car on a European vacation?

Getting Around on a Europe Vacation

In major cities like Rome, Paris, Zurich or Berlin, a rental car is a hindrance more than a help. Local transportation is plentiful, cheap and safe. For instance, in Paris you are never more than 550 yards from a Metro station and riding the subway is a cultural experience. Entertainers step on trains with violins or accordions, perform, pass the hat and step off at the next stop. Throughout Europe, it is easy to book local tours or hire a private guide for sight-seeing. Double-decker, hop-on/hop-off tour buses also blanket major cities making it easy to check off the must-see sights on your travel list.

However, when staying in a Europe vacation rental for an extended period and exploring the countryside, a rental car becomes a necessity. Research international rentals and driving requirements and conditions before leaving for your destination. Most major U.S. car rental companies have international offices. Autoeurope is also a reliable source for comparing international rental car rates and terms. Unless your credit card company provides car rental coverage, you will need to purchase insurance. Check with American Automobile Association (AAA) before leaving the United States to apply for an International Driver's Permit (IDP). The IDP is a translation of your driver's license and is required by law in many European countries.

Finally, pack your most comfortable walking shoes. European cities and villages are made for walking. It is great exercise and the best way to get to know and appreciate your destination.

   
What are important questions to ask about holiday rentals?

Questions to Ask About Holiday Rentals

Travelers in North America take for granted that accommodations come with every possible modern convenience. When staying in vacation rentals Europe it pays to ask questions to avoid disappointment. Here are a few important questions to ask your host before you book:

What comes with the holiday rental? Most vacation rentals are equipped with linens and basic kitchen gear like dishes, flatware, pots and pans. Dishwashers and microwaves are rare except in luxury villas and inner city modern apartments. And, household staples and supplies (including toilet paper) are often not provided. Be prepared to make a quick shopping list and head for the market on arrival or ask if supplies can be pre-stocked for a fee.

Is there air conditioning/central heating/fireplaces? Many European vacation rentals, especially in the countryside, have no air conditioning. Except in the height of summer, this is not a problem. Thick stone walls of villas and cottages and country breezes keep the in-door climate pleasant

Is there telephone/television/Internet access? In the city, Internet Cafes are plentiful. Vacation rental telephones are scarce, especially outside the city. Consider renting or purchasing an international cell phone to stay in touch. Some rentals have satellite TV, but TV junkies may have to find other sources of entertainment.

When were photographs and amenities listed on the Website last updated? If the listing is years old, furnishings may be shabby and conveniences may be outdated.

How far away are local markets/stores? A morning stroll to the local village marketplace is an entertaining and educational part of the European holiday rental experience.

Is there a 24-hour English-speaking contact in the event of an emergency? Know where to call if a pipe bursts or a toothache or tummy ache strikes in the middle of the night. (Check your health insurance or travel insurance policy for claims procedures and assistance abroad.)

Don't assume anything about a vacation rental at home or abroad. Read the fine print on rental contracts before booking. Ask questions and take abundant notes!

   
When is the best time to book a holiday rental in Europe?

When to Book a Holiday Rental

If possible, plan your European vacation travel based on seasonal weather and seasonal rates. Summer throughout much of southern Europe is sweltering. Destinations are crowded and holiday rental rates are the highest. Winters, particularly in northern Europe, can be harsh limiting outdoor activities.

Avoid travel during the high season when vacation rental rates are highest. This doesn't mean only traveling to Italy in sweltering August or Germany
in frigid January. Plan your European vacation rental for the cusp or
shoulder season; just before or right after high season. Ask the
vacation rental agency or owner when seasonal rates change. Although
most Europeans book their vacations rentals a year ahead and often
return to the same location each year, if your travel dates are
flexible, look for last-minute vacation rental offers with savings of
30% or more.

With the advent of the Euro, exchange rates have made vacation rentals in much of Europe more expensive. Countries currently using the Euro include the 12 members of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. However, there are ways to save money on holiday rentals even in these countries.

In general, most frequent travelers agree that May and June, September and October are optimal travel months throughout most of Europe weather-wise and budget-wise.

   
How do you find a European Vacation Rental?

Finding a European Vacation Rental

The Internet is filled with European vacation rental options. You can rent directly from the property owner or through an agency specializing in vacation rentals. For example, a Google search of “Italy vacation rentals” is a good starting point. Follow the links to top-rated vacation rental agencies and advertising sponsors. Visit the Websites and study the available properties. Most rental agency Websites feature extensive property details, photographs and contact details. Create a file of holiday rentals that pique your interest. Make a list of questions and vacation rental must-haves. Contact the owner or rental agency for more information.

A reputable vacation rental agency saves time and frustration. Leading agencies require that vacation rentals meet agency standards and provide assurance that there will be someone to assist you with questions and problems. Some agencies handle vacation rentals and travel details; others link rental requests directly to the property owner for booking and travelers must handle their own travel details. Compare offers, rental restrictions and cancellation policies from several vacation rental agencies before making a final booking decision.

Of course, the ideal way to find a European vacation rental is a recommendation from an experienced traveler who has “been there - done that.” If you don't know who to ask, extend your research to travel Websites featuring personal travel reviews and forums where you can ask other travelers for vacation rental recommendations and all about the pleasures and pitfalls of your destination.

   
What are advantages and disadvantages of European vacation rentals?

The Basics of European Vacation Rentals

In the United States, vacation rentals typically refer to vacation homes or condominiums in major cities or resort areas. In Europe, vacation rentals are referred to (in English) as self-catering rentals, holidays rentals, holidays villas and holiday cottages or chalets. They are found in the cities and the countryside, often on working farms or vineyards.

There are many advantages to staying in a holiday rental. Most European holiday rentals are for one week, a leisurely stay that allows you to get to “know” the country. Your vacation rental apartment or villa becomes a home base for exploring the countryside by rental car or train. Hotel rooms throughout most of Europe tend to be small. A vacation rental villa or apartment offers space and privacy. Picture preparing your own picnic lunch or visiting the local markets, preparing dinner and dining al fresco the villa's vineyard or garden. Some up-scale properties come with the services of a chef or butler or you may want to include a cook or housekeeper in your travel budget. What a luxury!

On the flip side, European vacation rentals are not for everyone. Except for the most luxurious estates frequented by the rich and famous, there is more work to do. Less pampering. No daily maid service. No midnight room service. Unless you are comfortable driving a rental car or there is local train or bus transportation, countryside vacation rentals may be far from must-see city sights and nightlife. Although vacation rentals typically cost less per day than a hotel, most require 50% of the rental at the time of the booking and the full amount of the rental a month or more before arrival. If you must cancel, refunds are rare. (Protect your investment with travel insurance!) Finally, some travelers are intimidated by the logistics of vacation rentals and fear “making a mistake.” It pays to do your homework when it comes to finding and choosing the best vacation rental for your personal priorities.

   
What is out there different for holiday rentals?

Unique Holiday Rentals

Dare to be different. If you're bored with the usual holiday rentals (villas, condos, apartments, etc.), grab your honey and explore nontraditional holiday vacation rental options in distant lands.

Snag a ski chalet in the mountains of Switzerland or Norway, enjoy a farmhouse in England or France, or snuggle with your main squeeze in a romantic bed and breakfast in Austria or Germany.

Be prepared for the worst when flying internationally—lost luggage can be a nightmare when you're far from home. If possible carry on necessities (change of clothes, toiletries, etc.). It's also a great idea to trade a complete outfit with your traveling companion when packing (so that each of you has packed a possible change of clothes for the other).

   
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