After paring down your list of recommended hotels to 5 or 6 choices, your next step is determine in what part of the city do you want to stay in. Do you want to be near the Eiffel Tower and Rue Cler with its fruit markets and boulangeries, or do you prefer the Jewish Quarter and Place des Vosges area of the Marais or the narrow streets and university atmosphere of Latin Quarter? Would you prefer to be near Stazione Termini in Rome or near the Pantheon and the historic center or perhaps even the unique Trastevere area? In Amsterdam, you can choose a hotel with a canal view or stay in a hotel away from the main city center, but be only a half-block away from a stop on Tram Line #2.

There are several factors to consider when choosing what part of a city to stay in. One factor will be how many nights will you be staying in this city. If you're just passing through a city for one night and arriving by train, choosing a hotel near the train station makes sense since you'll be leaving again in the morning. Also, if you need a room for just one night, it's probably better to choose a hotel instead of a Bed and Breakfast. Many Bed and Breakfasts will charge extra if you are staying for just one night.

Another factor to think about when choosing where to stay is price. While you can find good, inexpensive hotels and Bed and Breakfasts in the main tourist area, choosing to stay just outside the main tourist center can sometimes save you a significant amount of money. In certain cities that have recently come out of Communist rule, such as Prague, prices for hotel rooms, restaurants and even basic services can drop dramatically if you choose to stay away from the city center. And I'm not talking about way outside the city center. You could be just six blocks away and still save a lot of money. Fortunately these cities usually have excellent public transportation systems (something good from the Communist government!), so you will no problem traveling to and from your hotel.

Another factor in determining what part of a city to stay in is what kind of tourist do you want to be?  Do you want to be a regular tourist?  Do you have a list of this, this, this and this that you have to see in the few days you are visiting the city?  If so, you would probably want to stay closer to the city center and those sights. Or are you more interested in people rather than places? Do you want to spend more time interacting with the inhabitants of that city rather than fighting the foreigners in the major museums? If that's the case, you might want to choose a hotel or Bed and Breakfast in a residential area. While you can still visit those major must-see sights during the day, in the evenings you can have dinner or drinks in the same places where the residents frequent or stroll the sidewalks where parents walk with their children. You'll probably also get a better night's sleep in the quiet residential neighborhood.

If you are planning an extended stay in a city, consider renting an apartment especially if there is a group traveling together to split the cost.  Apartment rentals in residential areas can be more cost-effective than hotels especially if you are visiting for a longer period of time. However, in some cities you can rent an apartment for shorter stays of just one week. Tripadvisor has a "Vacation Rentals" tab next to the "Hotels" and "B&Bs/Inns" tabs, plus there are websites that can help you find an apartment such as http://www.europeanhomerentals.com/ and http://www.europeanproperty.com/. Renting an apartment can really give you the feeling of being a temporary resident of that city.  And remember that in most major European cities, public transportation is excellent.  You can stay outside the city center, but travel to the major sites in a matter of minutes.

Thank you for visiting,

A Great Europe Trip Planner

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