Travel Prices in Bulgaria

travel prices in Bulgaria

In most respects, Bulgaria is the cheapest place in Europe to travel, for sure the cheapest destination that wasn’t involved in the Balkan conflict of the ’90s. Transportation for a pittance, bargain meals, and $1 glasses of wine allow you to travel well for cheap. Despite the bargains, there aren’t many tourists here outside of […]

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Source: Cheapest Destinations

6 Top budget hotels in Krakow with great locations

Headed to Krakow? Budget travelers will be very happy when making hotel reservations in this popular Polish city. There are plenty of affordable places to stay right in the heart of Krakow, especially in Old Town.

If you want to splurge, you can find four-star rooms for just over $100. But for loyal Cheapos, spending around $50-70 can find you a really nice stay that would usually cost double the price in Western European cities.

But not all budget hotels in Krakow are created equal. We searched the city to find hotels with excellent user reviews that won’t break the bank.

Read more: A budget travel guide to Krakow


Top budget hotels in Krakow

You’ll enjoy planning your trip to Krakow even more once you lock down a good hotel room at a good price. There are more than 2,500 hotels across Krakow. To make your search a little easier, here are six excellent budget hotels that we like in Krakow.

Hotel Jan

ul. Grodzka 11, Old Town
Rates from $72

Nestled in the heart of Old Town, this three-star hotel is housed in a 600-year old building. The super clean rooms come with refrigerators, tea kettles, and free Wi-Fi. Even better, a tasty breakfast is included in the rate and served in a charming, brick-lined space. Read more about Hotel Jan.

We love the cheery and bright rooms at Hotel Legend.

Hotel Legend

ul. Sw. Gertrudy 12, Old Town
Rates from $76

Perfectly situated within strolling distance of Wawel Cathedral and Kazimierz (the old Jewish quarter), Hotel Legend is a fine choice for Cheapos that like a little style as well as a low price. Rooms come with flat-screen TVs, and the staff wins highs marks for their friendliness. Read more about Hotel Legend.

Lwowska Hotel

Enjoy the modern side of Krakow at Lwowska Hotel.

Lwowska 1

Ul. Lwowska 1
Rates from $60

Located just outside of the city center near the Schindler Factory Museum, this contemporary hotel definitely wins points for the stylish design of the rooms. The studio and suites are much bigger than the average hotel room, so it’s a good place to book if you’re visiting for a longer stay. The tram stops right outside the door and is only four stops to the Main Market Square. Read more about Hotel Lwowska 1.

Hotel Eden

Hotel Eden has crisp and clean rooms.

Hotel Eden

ul. Ciemna 15, Old Town
Rates from: $69

Stay in a beautifully renovated 15th-century building at this 3-star hotel. Located in a fantastic Old Town location in the heart of the Jewish quarter, Hotel Eden is steps from tons of attractions. All 27 rooms come packed with perks like a refrigerator, private bathroom, satellite TV, and free Wi-Fi. Start each morning with a free breakfast. Read more about Hotel Eden.

Nobilton Hotel

The charming breakfast room at Nobilton Hotel.

Nobilton Hotel

ul. Pilsudskiego 25, Old Town
Rates from: $48

This 3-star hotel blends a top location with rooms that are comfy and modern with amenities like flat-screen TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi. You can walk out the door to enjoy the best things to do in Krakow. If you want to explore farther afield, the hotel offers a free shuttle service. The breakfast buffet gets high marks from guests. Read more about Nobilton Hotel.

Hotel Monika

The covered garden patio at Hotel Monika.

Hotel Monika

ul. Langiewicza 6
Rates from: $40

This budget hotel is hard not to love. The rooms are bright and clean with artwork on the walls, and all of them come with private bathrooms. The staff will help you with tips for exploring Krakow. Their location just outside of the city center allows them to offer free parking on-site. When the weather is nice, the outdoor patio and garden make a nice spot to relax after a day of sightseeing. Read more about Hotel Monika.

Looking for even more places to stay? Search for vacation apartment rentals in Krakow or browse more than 2,500 hotels across Krakow.

The post 6 Top budget hotels in Krakow with great locations appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

Private pilot ditches a Beechcraft Bonanza off the Pacific Coast, survives, films Coast Guard rescue

This story is incredible. Private pilot was in the air for a photoshoot of his new plane when the engine died. He had to ditch the plane off the coast of San Francisco. Oh, and the crash and the Coast Guard rescue were all caught on tape.

The post Private pilot ditches a Beechcraft Bonanza off the Pacific Coast, survives, films Coast Guard rescue appeared first on Andy's Travel Blog.

Source: Andys travel blog

Budget guide for visiting Oxford, England

Oxford is a perfect tourist destination for history buffs and book nerds alike.

With its university, literary links that stretch from Alice in Wonderland to Harry Potter, and its quintessentially English pursuits, such as punting on the river, it’s easy to see why Oxford has charmed many.

The city is small enough to explore on foot but large enough that you can spend a few days without getting bored.

More UK tips:
How to visit Stonehenge on a budget 
When (and when not) to tip in Britain
A London seaside escape: A low-cost guide to Margate


Oxford budget tips

What’s the downside? Well, because of its popular attractions and proximity to London, Oxford is not always a cheap city to visit. But we’ve pulled together a few tips so you don’t have to lose out and to help make a stay a bit more affordable.

How to get there

Oxford is well served by public transport. You can take the airline bus from Heathrow (£23 single) or Gatwick airport (£28 single) directly to Oxford. Services run throughout the night too.

If you are traveling from London, there are regular trains from Paddington station, which take about an hour. However, a cheaper option is to take a bus. The Oxford Tube picks up from Victoria, Marble Arch, Notting Hill and Shepherd’s Bush, while the X90 picks up from Victoria, Marble Arch and Baker Street. Both take around 1 hour 40 minutes and cost around £15 for a round-trip ticket.

When to go

Oxford is charming all year round. But, for the cheapest deals, try and avoid the boom months of July and August and, whenever you go, book your hotel well ahead of time.

Bridge of Sighs

Take a stroll under the Bridge of Sighs in Oxford. Photo: Arnaud Malon

What to see

The great news for budget travelers is that Oxford historic center is best explored on foot. There’s a lot of pleasure to be had from wandering its twists and turns. Keep your eyes open for the Bridge of Sighs, so named because of its supposed resemblance to the Venetian original.

Free walking tours
Learn more about Oxford by taking one of the free walking tours available from Footprint Tours. Running several times every day of the summer months, they take about two hours. Even better: once finished you get a sticker entitling you to discounts in several Oxford places.

Oxford University

The lush garden quad on the campus of Oxford University. Photo: Piers Nye

Visiting the colleges
Another must-see is the colleges that form Oxford University and give the city its unique feel. With 38 in total, you’ll never see them all, so pick carefully. Only some colleges allow entry to tourists and many charge admission. Christ Church is the most well-known — especially as its dining hall and grand stairs inspired the look of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films — but it’s also the most expensive to visit, costing £10 entrance at peak times (July and August).

If you want to get a sense of an Oxford college, but aren’t so fussed about which, All Soul’s, Corpus Christi and Lincoln College are all free to enter and have gorgeous buildings and grounds. You can see a full list of colleges, opening hours and charges here.

Books, books, and more books
The Bodleian Library is one of Oxford’s star attractions and a bibliophile’s dream, containing over 11 million printed items. You need to take a tour to enter, however, and a standard 60-minute tour is £9, with no concessions available. Taking the 30-minute ‘mini’ tour for £5 instead is a slight saving or you can upgrade for a 90-minute tour for£15. All tours are first come, first served.

Broad St

Lovely Broad Street is home to brainy businesses like Blackwell’s Bookshop. Photo: Piers Nye

Missed out on the Bodleian? Booklovers can seek consolation in Blackwell’s bookshop. It stocks over 200,000 titles – browsing is free, but we won’t be accountable for the amount spent on books!

Visiting free museums
A boon for budgets travelers is Oxford’s excellent free museums. The Ashmolean Museum has an amazing collection, spanning everything from Anglo-Saxon discoveries to modern Chinese art. For a more esoteric experience, check out the Pitt Rivers Museum, a unique collection of archeological and anthropological items. Modern Art Oxford caters for more contemporary tastes.

Where to eat

Head to the city’s historic covered market for top budget eats. There you’ll find Pieminister selling deliciously filling British pies. A traditional steak and ale treat costs £5; sides such as mashed potato and mushy peas are extra.

Pieminister

Order up a pie with minty peas, mash and gravy from Pieminister. Photo: Dani Lurie

Another option is the takeaway-only Alpha Bar, where it’s possible to grab lunch for around £5. Specializing in sandwiches and salads, they also have daily warm specials like a tasty-sounding lamb shoulder.

Finally, for those with a sweet tooth, swing by Ben’s Cookies for generous cookies, priced by weight. Warm from the oven, they’re at their best eaten fresh and gooey.

Outside of the market, Mission Burrito has a couple of locations in Oxford, and a satisfying burrito costs under £6. Also worth checking out is The Companion Café and Bread Bar. It’s slightly pricier but does delicious breakfast and sandwiches using the local Natural Bread Company’s own sourdough.

Turf Tavern

Turf Tavern is an ancient watering hole complete with low prices and a charming beer garden. Photo: Drew

Where to drink

For a drink in a pub that has plenty of stories to tell, seek out the Turf Tavern — its foundations date back to the 13th century and, rumor says it’s where Bill Clinton famously didn’t inhale. The pub itself is a charming, low-ceilinged affair, with a large outside area. With a well-priced selection of drinks and free Wi-Fi, it’s a definite winner.

The Jam Factory’s previous life was as a factory where Frank Cooper’s marmalade was made. It’s now an arts center with its own restaurant and bar and has a happy hour on drink every day from 3 pm until 7 pm. As a bonus, take one of the many classes or even join the scrabble group that meets here regularly.

Where to stay

Just like finding a cheap room in London, Oxford can be a bit tricky to find a good hotel at a good price. But there are several options, from affordable bed and breakfasts to popular hostels with dorm beds and private rooms. Search over 80 hotels in Oxford to find the best rates. Just remember to book as far in advance as possible, as the best deals fill up fast.

A few of our picks include:

Becket Guest House
The colleges are a short walk away from this no-frills guesthouse where the price is right. Rooms come with flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi.

Golden Cross Guesthouse
This charming stay is a nice choice for those Cheapos willing to share a kitchen and a bathroom. Select rooms come with views of the city, and the hospitable owners make for a friendly stay.

Lake Street Accommodation
These family-run apartment-style rooms score high with visitors. The neighborhood location puts you close to a lovely footpath when you want some fresh air. A double room with a private bathroom goes for just over $100 per night.

Central Backpackers
If you don’t mind sharing a dorm room, you can stay at this popular hostel for around $20. It’s located in the city center and has a rooftop terrace.

Another way to get a taste of Oxford life is to stay in a college overnight. Many rooms in Oxford colleges are available outside term time, at prices starting at £30 a night. Book in advance and avoid the weekend for the cheapest stay. Check out University Rooms Oxford for more information.

Have you been to Oxford? What are your budget tips?

The post Budget guide for visiting Oxford, England appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

The Cheapest Way to Travel Europe: 11 Budget Vacation Tips

how to travel europe cheap

  Would you like to travel Europe but you’re afraid you can’t afford it?  Does a “cheap Europe trip” sound like an oxymoron? Well it can be if you pick the wrong places, travel at the worst time, and spend indiscriminately. Follow this advice on the cheapest way to travel Europe, however, and your vacation […]

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Source: Cheapest Destinations

Tips for visiting Mont-Saint-Michel

Looking for a dramatic destination for your trip to France? It’s hard to beat Le Mont-Saint-Michel, an 8th-century abbey perched on a rocky island in Normandy.

This pilgrimage site is where access was once dictated by the rise and fall of the English Channel’s tide. Today, a modern bridge and free buses shuttle visitors across the water to the Mont Saint Michel to ascend one of France’s most iconic tourist sites.

While not the most budget-friendly destination, a few tips can help you get the most out of your trip.


Mont-Saint-Michel tips

1. Skip the day trip

You can if you need to, but let’s be real. Mont Saint Michel is not as easy to get to like Versailles or Rouen. It’s a four-hour drive or an equally long train and bus ride that needs to be planned out in advance.

A popular overnight trip is to stay in nearby Saint-Malo before heading to Mont-Saint-Michel for an afternoon. Saint-Malo itself is a charming seaside town with plenty of lodging and dining options to make the excursion a bit less hectic, while also allowing you to see more of France.

Related: Search for hotels in Saint-Malo

2. Take a tour of the Abbey

Whether it’s an audio guide or a human — both available in English — a tour is essential. Without some guidance, nothing about Mont Saint Michel is obvious. Unless you researched heavily in advance, it will just seem like yet another religious building full of tourists.

It doesn’t have to be! There are some really interesting facts to learn while wandering the abbey. Entrance is only 10 euros, so a €3 audio guide won’t break the bank, but human guides are available for free!

Steps leading up to the Abbey. Photo: Jorge

3. Stretch beforehand

The abbey is on a hill, and the stairs aren’t for beginners. It’s by no means an impossible feat — people live here after all — but prepare to climb a bit.

There are plenty of places to rest along the way, but we don’t want visitors to get there and be daunted by workout. Just consider it a good excuse to eat all of the shortbread cookies that Mont Saint Michel is known to produce.

4. Eat locally, maybe

On the topic of food, yes, the sablés (shortbreads), are a local specialty that make great gifts. Likewise, the famed restaurant, La Mère Poulard, produces one of the most delicious, if not overpriced omelet that you’ll have ever eaten, and oysters are found in most cafés.

Unfortunately for cheapos, it’s best to either pack your own lunch or settle for something from a bakery or snack shop, though the price will still seem a bit high. That’s the price for living on a (sometimes) island.

The view from the top with sand all around. Photo: Anne-Sofie

5. Don’t get stuck in the quicksand (really!)

The muddy coastline around Mont-Saint-Michel seems very Instagrammable at low tide, and you might be tempted to head off the main route to get some great shots of the island. We can’t stress this enough — don’t. It’s not rare for people to get sucked into quicksand-like holes or to be surprised as the tide rolls in without warning.

There are amphibious boat tours available if you’re really interested in life beyond the island, but leave the navigating to the professionals.

6. Check your expectations

The island is tiny, with just a few dozen residents, and mainly exists as a tourist destination. It’s still an amazing experience, especially once you reach the heights of the abbey, including the peaceful cloisters up above. There’s not a whole lot to do here other than the touristy sites and museums, so don’t try too hard to go “off the beaten path” because, frankly, there are only beaten paths here!

And that’s fine, just keep that in mind so that you don’t get frustrated by the busloads of tourists who congregate here. Mont Saint Michel still wows visitors, no matter how many show up here each day!

Have you been to Mont-Saint-Michel?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The post Tips for visiting Mont-Saint-Michel appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

What’s With the New Southwest Business Credit Card?

Recently, Southwest Airlines quietly launched a new business credit card offering — the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card. This card offers similar perks to the newer “Priority” credit card for individuals, but it comes with a huge bonus that’s worth exploring.

For a limited time, you’ll earn 80,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points if you sign up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card and spend $5,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. You’ll also earn 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases, 2 points per $1 on social media and search engine advertising and internet, cable and phone services, and 1 point per $1 on everything you buy.

Cardholder perks include 9,000 points on your cardmember anniversary, 4 upgraded boarding positions each year, onboard wifi credits, a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck, and free employee cards. The catch? There’s a $199 annual fee.

Can You Sign Up?

While Southwest credit cards tend to have language that drastically limits who can earn a signup bonus, the language on this offer makes it seem like anyone could earn the bonus on this card. Here’s what it says in the T&Cs:

“This new Cardmember bonus offer is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of this business credit card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of this business credit card who received a new Cardmember bonus for this business credit card within the last 24 months.”

In summary, this language says you can only earn the bonus on this card if you haven’t earned the bonus on this specific card within the last 24 months, whereas most Southwest cards offer broader language that limits signup bonuses for people who have had any Southwest credit card in the recent past.

As a result, the bonus on this card should be easier to qualify for provided Chase doesn’t strike down your application for having too many new cards according to their algorithm.

Why You Should Consider It

If you have a small business or a side hustle that earns an income, this card is a pretty good deal — especially for the first year. The signup bonus alone could easily be worth four round-trip domestic flights or three round-trip flights to the Caribbean. During one of Southwest’s really good sales, it’s possible to stretch your rewards even further than that.

Earning 3 points per $1 on Southwest purchases and 2 points per $1 on certain business purchases can also help your cause if you spend a lot in qualifying categories. Getting four upgraded boardings each year is also a nice perk considering Southwest’s disorganized boarding policies and the fact you cannot select a seat ahead of time.

On the flip side, the fact you only earn 1 point per $1 on the rest of your spending is pretty disappointing — especially since this card has a $199 annual fee that is not waived the first year.

Should you sign up? There are plenty of reasons to consider it, but you should weigh and pros and cons and check out alternate business credit cards before you decide.

Are you signing up for this business credit card? Why or why not?

 

[Image: Southwest]

Source: frugal travel guy

Berlin Tipping Etiquette: When (and when not) to tip

For a long time, Berlin was notorious for outrageously bad service. You often had to practically tackle a waiter to get the bill, and bartenders could be surly just out of principle. Luckily, customer service has improved in recent years.

However, since service is included in the bill, you still don’t have to fork over the usual 15-20% like you would in The States.

But that doesn’t mean you never have to tip. Tipping is still customary in Berlin, just done in a slightly different way than you might be used to back home.

More Berlin travel tips
When to visit Berlin (and when not to!)
12 Simple ways to keep your budget in check on your Berlin trip
How to save on Berlin’s top 10 attractions


Advice on tipping in Berlin

Make sure you come across as a “profi” (pro) not a clueless “touri” (tourist) by learning some tips about tipping customs in Berlin before you hit the streets. Here’s our guide to Berlin tipping etiquette.

When not to tip (much)

Although most people won’t turn away an offer of free cash, you certainly don’t have to go around tipping everyone where ever you go. As a rule of thumb, you should still tip the same people you would in the US, although the amounts and the way you do so vary.

Cafes

If you pop into a café for a quick cappuccino or a cold one, you don’t necessarily have to tip. That said, it’s bad form to make your waiter dig into their change purse for five or ten cents. Our tip? Round it up, baby!

When the waiter comes, tell them you’d like to pay whatever the even amount is, for example, €2.50 for a €2.30 latte macchiato. You can also just hand them the amount you’d like to pay and say “stimmt’s so.” Cafes with to-go counters have recently started using American-style tip jars, so feel free to toss in a little of that extra change that’s weighing down your pockets if you feel like it. A lot of Germans haven’t caught on yet, so you’ll likely be showered with gratitude.

Berlin Bartender

That guy pouring your beer? No tip required. Photo: Scott

Bars

Lucky for barflies, bartenders aren’t expecting generous tips to keep those drinks coming. Similar to cafes, you can just round up the bill if you feel like it, but no worries that you’ll suddenly become invisible to the bartender if you don’t.

Clubs

Coat checks in clubs usually cost a couple of euros, and no tip is expected. If you try to tip them, the über-cool coat check might still pocket the cash, but they will probably also scoff at you for being such a yokel.

As a general rule of thumb, the less something costs, the less likely you need to leave (much of) a tip. And don’t worry — if you tip your waitress a measly 20 cents, she won’t secretly spit in your coffee. But if you tip her a euro on a €2 coffee, she’ll think you’re trying too hard or maybe coming on to her!

When to tip

Restaurants

Unless the waiter ignored you forever and then brought you a cold schnitzel and a warm beer forty-five minutes after you ordered (and yes, this still can happen if you run into some old-school Berlin service), you should always tip 5 to 10% at a restaurant, depending on how happy you were with the service.

But make sure you don’t make the clueless “Ami” (slang for American) mistake by leaving the tip on the table. When the waitress comes, do some quick math and tell them on the spot how much you’d like to pay in total, which means the bill with the tip added on top. Most cheaper restaurants in Berlin don’t accept credit cards, but if you are dining at a place that does, you’ll also need to tell them the total you’d like to pay before they swipe the card because the tip can’t be added in later.

And to make sure you have a few euros leftover to tip, check out these simple tips for saving on dining in Berlin.

Taxis

Taxi drivers are notoriously underpaid, so make sure you toss them a euro or two anytime you take a ride.

Budget Hotels

In most budget hotels, it’s likely you’ll be lugging about bags up to your room all by yourself. But if you do run across a helpful porter, be sure to tip him or her a euro per heavy bag. Impressed by the cleanliness of the room? Then leave some “Trinkgeld” (a tip) on the nightstand to show the maid your appreciation. In this case, a euro should do.

Tour guide

Did your tour guide provide a fun and insightful experience?
Don’t forget to tip! Photo: Andrew

Tour guides

Tour guides in Berlin know their stuff, and they’re always up to answering lots of questions posed by curious tourists. Make sure and show your appreciation by tipping generously, especially if you’re taking a free, donations-only tour.

Salons

If you get a chic haircut in Berlin, make sure and stay classy by tipping your hairdresser around 10%. In most hair salons, hairdressers have their own “Sparschwein” (piggy bank) on the counter by the cash register, so ask their name and feed the piggy in appreciation.

Related: The ultimate guide to shopping in Berlin on a budget

Klo Damen: Tipping in bathrooms

In many public restrooms, you tip the “Klo Damen” (bathroom ladies, although sometimes they are also men) 50 cents. Although this is a more a mandatory service charge, you won’t be turned away if you sneak off without putting the change on their tray. But don’t be that person. The bathroom ladies (and men) have a dirty job, and they deserve their tips!

Still not sure?

If you’re still nervous about when and when not to tip, or you’ve experienced some of that old-school Berlin service but don’t want to stiff the server entirely, a good rule of thumb is to stick with rounding up the bill and adding a little on top if the total was higher or you were treated right.

But note in Berlin it’s more normal to undertip that over tip, so make sure you don’t go over the 5-10% tipping range. And one more rule: never just leave the tip on the table!

The post Berlin Tipping Etiquette: When (and when not) to tip appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo

Picture of the Week: Sparks Lake, Oregon

I’ve had a super busy week in Oregon at the Sony Kando Trip (basically photography camp for Sony camera enthusiasts) and am now writing this in the shadows of Yosemite National Park, after an enormous and ridiculous amount of driving. I have lots more to share from Kando, including my thoughts on the new Sony a7rIV, which I got to test for three days, but wanted to get things going with my favorite picture from the week.  One of the excursions during the trip was a sunrise excursion out to Sparks Lake, about 45 minutes away from the resort we were staying at (Sunriver Resort). We got there, got off the assortment of busses used to transport us, and drank in the scene.  There was a beautiful fog layer covering the water and wisping in the wind.  Eventually one of the conference attendees went out on an ever so slight peninsula to add a human element to the scene and I got to shooting. Like I said, lots more to come from Sony Kando Trip (and my resulting ridiculously ambitious road trip, which you probably know about if you follow me on Instagram), but for now please enjoy this week’s Picture of the Week!

The post Picture of the Week: Sparks Lake, Oregon appeared first on Andy's Travel Blog.

Source: Andys travel blog

Budget tips for visiting Stonehenge from London

The monumental and mysterious stones of Stonehenge are a quintessential symbol of Britain, as much as the red telephone box or double-decker bus. A record 1.3 million visitors visited Stonehenge last year, but how can you join them without busting your budget?

If you’re thinking of making a day trip from London, you have several options, from using a tour company to going on your own. We’ll help you get there, book your admission tickets, tell you how to get up close to the stones, and save a few British pounds along the way.


The cheapest ways to visit Stonehenge

Basics

Address: Wiltshire, England (8 miles north of Salisbury)

Admission: £17.50 (advance booking required)

Hours:
March 16 – May 31: 9:30 am to 7 pm
June 1  – August 31: 9 am to 8 pm
September 1 – October 15: 9:30 am to 7 pm
October 16 – March 15: 9:30 am to 5 pm

What exactly will you see?

Ancient Stonehenge is a mixture of constructions from different periods: an outer circle bank and ditch, and an inner circle of stones, and the distinctive Stone Circle itself, assembled around 2,500 BC. It’s been estimated that it would have taken around 600 people to carry each of these stones (in contrast to the Spinal Tap version!).

No one knows why these stones were assembled like this, but there are all sorts of theories, from it being for healing, burial, or astronomy — along with a few UFO conspiracies thrown in for good measure.

Stonehenge Tourists

Yes, you will stand behind a rope with many other tourists, unless you get a special after-hour access pass. Photo: Adam P

To protect the site, there’s a rope between visitors and the stones (unless you apply for “special access” or visit at equinox — see below for details on both), but a new visitor center (opened in 2013) provides context to how these stones have been viewed over their thousands of years of history.

Should you go?

Visiting Stonehenge is an easy day trip from London. But, even with the tips below, it’s not super cheap. Furthermore, some visitors are slightly disappointed when they see the stones in real life — mainly becaus ofe the fact that it’s a busy tourist sight can kill the mystical atmosphere somewhat.

Bearing this in mind, I still find it to be a very special place to visit. Even without knowing why it was made, it’s amazing to realize that you’re standing somewhere that has symbolized so much to so many different people over thousands of years, and that it still has secrets waiting to be discovered.

Stonehenge is located southwest of London.

Stonehenge is located southwest of London.

Getting there by coach: The cheapest option

By far the cheapest way to visit Stonehenge from London using public transportation is to go by coach. There are lots of competitive offers for these organized bus tours. Premium is the cheapest coach I’ve found, offering a half-day trip to Stonehenge — including entrance fees — for £53 (£43 ages 3-16). They, like many other tour companies, also offer the visit in a combination trip that also includes visiting Oxford and Bath. This would make for a really busy day but could be worth it if you don’t have much time to spend in the UK.

There is always competitive pricing between coaches, but be sure to check the small print carefully when deciding, and note that some of the coach tours don’t actually include the Stonehenge entrance ticket in their price.

What if I want to make my own way?

It is possible to get to Stonehenge independently, but it can be more expensive and also requires a bit of planning. Read on…

Ticket options

First, you need to book your ticket before you set out for the site. Entrance tickets for adults are £17.50 and must be purchased in advance.

Free admission: Members of English Heritage and National Trust (the national organizations that help manage the site) get in free with their annual membership. At £49 or £58 a year respectively, it’s probably not worth it unless you are a history buff planning on hanging around the UK for a while.

However, an English Heritage overseas visitors pass might be worth it. At £33-35 (depending on the time of year) for nine days, it allows free entry to many of the different historic properties managed by the organization, including Stonehenge.

Stonehenge Bus

One of the Stonehenge buses you can take from Salisbury. Photo: Ed Webster

Getting there by train, bus & taxi

To get there using public transportation from London, you’ll first need to book a train to Salisbury and then take a bus or taxi to the site. The train is about a two-hour journey from London’s Waterloo station and will cost about £25-40 per person depending on the date and time of day (book online in advance at thetrainline.com for the best deals).

However, that only gets you to Salisbury, and Stonehenge is located about eight miles away in an isolated spot. The easiest way to make this journey is by bus — the Stonehenge bus costs £15 (entry not included) or for £36.50 you’ll get the transport from Salisbury plus entry to Stonehenge and Old Sarum, a former Iron Age hill fort that was the original site of Salisbury.

If your group includes four or more people, it might be cheaper to share a taxi from Salisbury instead.

Walking is possible, but you need to cross a really busy road en route. If you want to follow in the steps of our ancestors and arrive on foot, see details here for a five-mile circular walk.

In short, this train-and-bus combo (plus ticket price!) all adds up to a more expensive trip than the coach option, and it includes a lot of pre-planning. But Salisbury also has a lovely cathedral, so if you do want to travel independently, it may be worth considering spending a night there instead of heading straight back to London.

Related: Search for cheap hotels in Salisbury

Getting there by car

If you plan to rent a car in the UK, then you don’t have to worry about the bus or train schedules at all. Stonehenge is located about 85 miles southwest of central London and could take two to three hours to make the drive (more during rush hour).

Stonehenge offers free parking for ticket holders on the grounds next to the visitor center. From there, you can catch a 10-minute shuttle ride (frequent departures) that takes you right up to the stones. If you want a little more fresh air, you can also get off the shuttle early, and walk halfway to the site.

Check out this handy map to see the layout of the facilities.

Getting up close to the Stones

During normal visiting hours, you have to view the stones from behind ropes. However, it is possible to get “special access” to go beyond the ropes, when visitors are restricted to only 30 at a time. You can arrange this through coach companies (for a premium price) or book it yourself (using the form here), although you’ll need to apply well in advance.

Remember that if visiting outside normal visitor hours, there will be no access to visitor facilities, including the gift shop and visitor center, and no hot tea after you’ve been out looking at the stones (so wrap up warm!). But that might make the whole experience even more special.

Stonehenge Solstice

Over 35,000 people gathered at Stonehenge for the solstice in 2014. Photo: Paul Townsend

The Solstices: Free admission for all

Another option for visitors looking for easier access to the Stone Circle is to visit on the summer and winter solstices in late June and late December. On these dates, everyone is free to gather at the stones and communally witness the sunset and sunrise. This draws an eclectic mix of pagans, druids, and those who just like to celebrate this freedom. In the summer it can see crowds of up to 35,000 — another reason to work out how you’re getting there well in advance!

Your tips

Have you been to Stonehenge? What are your tips for doing it on the cheap?

The post Budget tips for visiting Stonehenge from London appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.

Source: Euro Cheapo