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Youth Beat

New Rooms in a Very Old City

April 19, 1998|LUCY IZON

Budget travelers using Amsterdam as their gateway to Europe this summer will be able to take advantage of new budget accommodations starting this week.

On Thursday, the newly renovated and expanded City Hostel Vondelpark in Amsterdam will reopen. With 475 beds, it will be the largest of 34 hostels in the Dutch Youth Hostel Federation NJHC.

The NJHC City Hostel Vondelpark is located at Zandpad 5; telephone 011-31-20-5898999. The main building, a former home economics school that dates to 1896, is a national monument. The rates during the peak summer season are $17 per person, per night, with breakfast and bed linens included. Rooms are shared by two to eight people.

Another option for budget accommodations in the same area is the independent hostel, the Flying Pig. It's on the edge of Vondelpark (Vossiusstraat 46; tel. 011-31-20-400-41-87) and can accommodate up to 130 guests.

The dormitory rooms are shared by four to 12 people and cost $11.75 to $16.30 per person, per night, including lockers and breakfast. Rooms for two travelers are $26.40 per person, per night. The hostel also provides a cafe, guest kitchen and tourist information. "Let's Go: Europe" calls it "new, clean and comfortable."

The Flying Pig has a second location near the Central Station, which has been operating for four years. This hostel is in a former three-star hotel at Nieuwendijk 100, tel. 011-31-20-420-68-22. Rooms have four to 20 beds, and the rates are $11.75 to $17.50 per person, per night.

The Flying Pig is associated with several other independent hostels in Switzerland, Belgium, Austria and Scotland. Generally, guidebooks rate them well but warn that they can have a noisy atmosphere.

Among the hostels are:

* The centrally located High Street Hostel; 8 Blackfriars St., Edinburgh, Scotland, EH1 1NE; fax 011-44-131-557-3948. It has dormitory beds available from $15.80.

* Balmer's Hostel, Hauptstrasse 23-25, 3800 Interlaken, Switzerland. It calls itself the oldest hostel in Switzerland and is a good base from which to enjoy Alpine sports, such as the highest commercial bungee jump in the world, canoeing and hiking. From May to October additional accommodations are available in Balmer's Tent, halfway between Interlaken and Wilderswil. Beds are $11.40, breakfast included.

* The Yoho International Youth Hotel, Paracelsusstrasse 9, Salzburg, Austria; tel. 011-43-662-87-96-49. Dormitory beds are available from $9.10.

* The Bauhaus International Youth Hotel, Langestraat 135-137, Bruges, Belgium; tel. 011-32-50-34-10-93. In the heart of one of Europe's best-preserved medieval cities, it has beds in rooms shared by two to four travelers, from $6, breakfast included.

*

This year visitors to France who are under 26 are being offered special discounts.

The deal is part of a "France Welcomes the World" campaign and promotions for World Cup Soccer. Ten cities in France will host World Cup competitions June 10 to July 12.

The free 1998 Youth Pass is being issued by the French Tourist Office to foreign visitors 25 years and younger. The credit-card style pass will be honored for a variety of discounts (of at least 10%) on services ranging from campgrounds and budget resorts to the FIAP Jean Monnet Youth Hostel in Paris.

All participating suppliers will be listed on the Internet site of Maison de la France (http://www.maison-de-la-france.com). For your pass, contact the French Government Tourist Office, 9454 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 715, Beverly Hills, CA 90212-2967; tel. (310) 271-6665. Information on the program will also be posted on the Internet at http://www.francetourism.com.

*

A free publication is now available for young travelers heading for Britain. The 84-page edition of the magazine UK the Guide features stories on biking in Wales, New Age life in Glastonbury and the night life in London.

For a copy, contact the British Tourist Authority at 551 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10176-0799; tel. (800) GO 2 BRITAIN.

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Izon is a Toronto-based freelance writer. She can be reached at http://www.izon.com.

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