People love to talk about their travels with me, and I love to hear about them. It's my passion after all. Even if I didn't help them with their trip, I love hearing what they loved about a destination and what they didn't. One thing never fails, it always pains me to hear someone say they didn't like a city only to find out they never stayed in the center of the city. It's cheaper to stay outside of it, near the airport even. Of course it is, but is that all there is to think about?
In most big cities, the city has a "center" where the original city began and grew out from there. The original city-center was the heart of the city. And usually, it still is. The best sightseeing is located within the city-center, tons of restaurants, and the truest vibe of the city is located here. Take Rome for example. The city-center claims more modern attractions such as the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Vittorio Emmanuel Monument and the Vatican, to mention a few. Even beyond these "modern" marvels, are the ancient ruins of the Coliseum, Roman Forum and Pantheon. The city literally has layers upon layers of beauty. With so much to see within the city-center, why would you ever want to stay outside of it?
Again, I admit, it is cheaper to stay outside the city-center. But do not forget about the time and money you will spend on public transportation getting to and from your hotel which is MILES outside of where you're spending most of your time. That is time you could be spending doing something much more worthwhile. Perhaps you could have another glass of wine in the outdoor cafe, or spent a bit more time at Boboli Gardens, or not feel so rushed through the Vatican.
I will never forget an experience my husband and I had on our first trip to Rome. We enjoyed a lovely dinner on an outdoor patio of a restaurant tucked behind the Pantheon. We may have even enjoyed more than one bottle of wine at dinner (when in Rome!). After dessert, we decided to walk the streets of Rome and marvel at the Eternal City lit up at night. The streets were devoid of crowds. We walked from the Pantheon to the Trevi Fountain, and hopped in a taxi over to the Colliseum. We had seen these sights during the day, and loved them. But we saw them in a whole new way late at night. It was...magical.
There is something to be said for walking out of your door and being steps from something fantastic. Something you've seen on TV or in books, but now can see with your own eyes. The Pantheon is still an ancient marvel of mine. When we visit Rome, we always want to stay within close proximity to it. After all, that's why we are there. To see the beauty of Rome, and the city-center gives us just that.