What better way to shake off the January blues than by treating yourself to a quick post-Christmas getaway? Get the year off to the right start with one of our fantastic last minute deals – so you can enjoy a January escape without breaking the bank. Explore the sprawling winter landscapes of the Causeway Coastal Route, go looking for the best local produce across the hidden villages of France, or simply kick back and relax with an exclusive two-night minicruise to Bruges. Or maybe you’ve had your eye on a route for a while now – well this may be just the time to book it.
There’s so much to do over Christmas, but even the busiest among will be able to fit in one of these quick trips across the pond before the 25th. We’ve picked out some of the best destinations to roll a last minute festive break and Christmas preparations all into one. Only have a day? Affordable wine from France is just 90 minutes away, while real Belgian chocolate can be reached with an overnight crossing. If you have a little longer, hit the road for a festive dash for unique gifts from Germany’s best Christmas markets. Whatever you need, you’re sure to find it all and more in one of our favourite festive cities.
An offshoot of the classical music persuasion, opera is more than just a music genre – offering up a truly captivating experience for all. From its dramatic, emotive arias to the magnificent halls they reside in, there’s nothing quite like an evening at the opera. And Europe is home to some of the world’s most majestic, featuring opulent ornaments, stunning stages and beautifully immersive performances.
Picture this: you’re gracefully cruising down a white powdery slope against a pure blue sky, before gliding into a charming chalet to warm up with an indulgent hot chocolate or spiced mulled wine. Sound good? Then get away from the drizzly rain and head to one of Europe’s stunning ski spots. These may be a little further out that the usual destinations, but you’ll be surprised how much you can save on a family ski trip when you travel by car. Add to that the flexibility of not being tied to flight schedules – and breathtaking mountainous terrain to boot – and these are sure to become a regular favourite of the holiday calendar.
While Christmas preparations may be well underway, there’s still time for a quick break before the festivities go full swing. Whether you have a day or a whole week, we’ve picked out some of our favourite winter events that you can easily escape to – not to mention some great deals on your ferry crossing. Go exploring through snow-nipped vineyards, try tasty treats and ice skating at Europe’s best Christmas markets, or simply kick back and relax for an all-inclusive treat on our festive minicruise – you may even get some festive shopping in while you’re at it. Read on for our top tips and discounts for a cheap pre-Christmas break.
Despite being one of Holland’s oldest cities, Maastricht retains a different flavour from the rest of the Netherlands. It has wider streets, larger squares and its buildings are formed from a curious quilt of architectural styles. Maastricht prides itself on its international vibe, so if you’re looking to visit somewhere quintessentially Dutch, consider dropping by Utrecht or Haarlem instead. But with a past that spans 20 centuries, Maastricht is considered Holland’s premier melting pot and well worth a visit. Fans of history will love the city’s medieval relics and crumbling fortifications, while foodies will enjoy its cosmopolitan restaurant scene. Whatever you look for in a city break, you’re sure to find a long weekend’s worth of exciting things to in Maastricht.
With the bright winter sun rising over frozen canals, winter is one of the most beautiful seasons to see your favourite European cities. And while the long summer days of lazing at the best of the festivals may be over for this year, the colder months bring a whole host of exciting events with them. From awe-inspiring illuminations in Amsterdam to curious literary themed carnivals in France, there’s a full programme of activities to keep the whole family entertained throughout the iciest of seasons.
The thrill of the big wheel, the whoosh as the rollercoaster hurtles downhill and the almighty splash as the log flume hits the water; visiting a theme park is one of the most sensory, exciting activities you can do whatever age you are. And some of the best can be found not too far from home. From visiting famous landmarks in Mini-Europe to scaling lofty heights and stepping into storybook realms, here are some of the best theme parks in Europe.
Tradition lies at the heart of Wallonia, from its Renaissance-style architecture right down to its rich local produce. The French-speaking region of Belgium may not be a well-known holiday destination, but with a range of activities on offer, it’s a true hidden gem that oozes old world charm. With multiple museums, historic sites and more than 1,500 castles to explore, you’ll find plenty to pack in, and all in a picturesque countryside setting.
Paris: the city of love, fashion and world-famous food and wine. Whether you’re indulging in all the wonders France’s cultured capital has to offer or treating the kids to Disneyland Paris, you’re sure to make some unforgettable memories. After taking a quick 90-minute ferry across the Channel, Paris is either a car or train route away.