Q: My family and I are looking for an affordable hotel near Piazza San Marco in Venice. Any recommendations? —Stephen Brody, Morton Grove, Ill.
A: The intimate B&B S. Marco is a five-minute walk from the Piazza San Marco in the city’s Castello neighborhood. Book one of three antiques-filled rooms or a two-bedroom apartment off the courtyard. Near the Rialto Bridge, Palazzo Soderini has eight suites (five opened this spring), all outfitted with pieces from owner Gianni Boselli’s contemporary-furniture shop. Finally, Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo offers 10 opulent rooms with Murano glass chandeliers and wood-beamed ceilings, and is a 15-minute walk from Piazza San Marco.
Can you suggest an operator for bike tours through northern Spain? —Andy Bloom, Greenville, S.C.
Medieval villages and lush countryside make this region ideal for biking. On Madrid-based Bike Spain’s (34-91/559-0653; bikespain.info; $2,265 per person) seven-day Wine Route itinerary, you’ll visit the charming towns of Haro, in Rioja, and Segovia, as well as centuries-old wineries. See the Spanish Riviera, along the country’s northeastern coast, with Pure Adventures (800/960-2221; pure-adventures.com; $1,120 per person) on their Catalonia B&B Cycling Tour—a five-day trip from Gerona to Madremaya. Or visit Spain’s northwest coast on the Galicia and Minho Wine Region tour with Backroads (800/462-2848; backroads.com; from $2,998 per person).
I’ll be going to Edinburgh this month. Any last-minute ideas for what to do while I’m there? —Elaine Patten, Weston, Mass.
Spend a day meandering through New Town, a neighborhood dominated by Georgian architecture and lined with cafés and boutiques. Next, take in a performance at the Victorian Royal Lyceum Theatre (lyceum.org.uk). This month, the company stages Trumpets and Raspberries, a political satire by Nobel Prize–winning playwright Dario Fo. And starting May 30, the city comes alive during the Leith Festival (leithfestival.org.uk), a 10-day celebration of film, theater, and food that takes place along the city’s harbor.
Do you know of any Web sites for finding tickets to live concerts throughout Europe? —Alena Smirnov, Menlo Park, Calif.
The Travel Calendar at CultureKiosque.com, where international critics weigh in on everything from Vienna chamber concerts to London pop shows, is a good place to start, though you can’t book directly from the site. Classical music and opera fans can search by event and venue at Berlin-based Classictic.com, which gives event descriptions and directions to venues. And InspiredDiversions.com allows users to browse by interests such as music, opera, dance, and theater.
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