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Next to the usual hotel aggregators like, expedia, etc I am using Google Maps to search for accommodation. It really works well if you search for accommodation in the local language. For French I am using the following key words: Gites, chambre/maison/table d'hôte, gite rural,
and I always find some nice places especially in bucolic regions in France.

So far I have only have identified Ferienhaus in German, having less options being returned by Google Maps. What are the synonyms in German known for the different types of accommodation available in rural areas?

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I believe Google uses concepts instead of words, i.e. it will not only search for Ferienhause but for accommodation in general. I am not totally sure though, and it might be restricted to specific domains ( and not – Vince Oct 29 '12 at 16:49
you can also try with "Ferienwohnung" – Dirty-flow Oct 29 '12 at 17:49
@Vince: Sadly it's not quite that good. This same problem Andra mentions is much worse here in Korea for instance. Then again the fact that two local map sites are much more popular may also be a factor. – hippietrail Oct 30 '12 at 4:42
up vote 11 down vote accepted
  • Unterkunft - the most general word that includes everything else (just like accomodation)
  • Hotel
  • Gasthof, Gasthaus - translates best as "inn", may or may not offer rooms as well as food
  • Pension - similar to bed&breakfast, the most common in rurual areas
  • Berghütte, Hütte - shelter for hikers and mountaineers in alpine areas, generally offers only shared rooms
  • Ferienwohnung, Ferienappartment - apartment for short-term rental, will have bathroom and cooking facilities. May be part of a larger complex or the owner's house.
  • Ferienhaus, Ferienbungalow - same, but implies a separate building
  • Jugendherberge - Youth hostel
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let me add that FeWo is colloquial for FerienWohnung, and that when there is no German (or Swedish, or...) keyboard available, you can type ue instead of ü in search engines - more in general: ae = ä, oe = ö, ue = ü, ss = ß – Walter Tross Apr 14 '13 at 11:44

One type of German accommodation for informal, budget, bucolic accommodation is a Naturfreundehaus, which literally means "friends of nature-house". Those are youth-hostel style places in often quite stunning settings in the German speaking countries.

Naturfreunde-Hais Kolm Saigurn. Naturfreunde-Haus Kolm Saigurn, Austria. Photo ⓒ unknown.

An international search-engine in German and English is available at

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Amazing - I've never heard of those, even though it seems quite a big organization – Michael Borgwardt Oct 29 '12 at 22:50

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