Christmas City Breaks in Europe

Christmas time is coming to town! Discover the Christmas City Breaks in the most beautiful destinations in Europe. Enjoy their Christmas decorations, their beautiful Christmas trees, the best place to find original Christmas gifts for the whole family in one of the Christmas destinations  in Europe.

 

We have selected the best Christmas City Breaks in Europe for a perfect Christmas holiday at the best price.

 

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Strasbourg

From 25th November to 31st December 2017

 

It was in Strasbourg in 1570 that the very first edition of the oldest Christmas market in Europe took place, then called the “Christkindelsmärik” (market of the Infant Jesus).

 

Since this time, Strasbourg has continued the tradition of a traditional, authentic, warm and generous Alsatian Christmas and these are all the reasons why “Strasbourg, the Capital of Christmas” continues to enjoy repeated success.

 

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Manchester, England

  From 14th November to 21st December 2017

The, original, biggest and – arguably – the best Christmas market in the country, Manchester Christmas Markets is the ideal destination for a festive outing.

 

Arriving in the city in 1999, the first Christmas market in the UK has grown every year since, now attracting more than nine millions visitors each year.

Some 300 beautifully crafted stalls offer mouth-watering international food, drinks and finely crafted Yuletide gifts in the heart of the buzzing city centre.

 

Spread across 10 individual sites – each with distinctive own distinctive character – Manchester Christmas Markets has something to offer every festive visitor.

 

This year the market will also introduce a designated family site for the first time with fun rides and entertainment throughout the season, including: LED light performers, magicians and street theatre – with spectacular views of the Manchester Cathedral and National Football Museum.

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Cologne

 From 27th November to 23rd December

Advent is the time for Christmas markets, and Cologne is no exception, the magic of Christmas will be felt throughout the festively decorated city. The aroma of baked apples, cinnamon biscuits and mulled wine will waft through the alleys, and many differently themed Christmas markets will invite people to stroll, shop and explore.

 

The larger Christmas markets are held in downtown Cologne, but Cologne’s smaller Christmas markets also have plenty to offer.

 

Cologne’s Christmas markets attract millions of visitors from all over the world every year. You too can savour the unique atmosphere of this metropolis on the Rhine at this special time of year. You’re sure to be enchanted!

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London, England

 From 20th November 2017  to 3rd January 2018

 London’s spectacular Christmas destination – Hyde Park Winter Wonderland returns on 20th November for six exciting weeks of winter festivities with FREE admission and even more entertainment than before. With more than 100 rides and attractions on site, there’s something for everyone.

For those Christmas shoppers, there’s the traditional German Christmas market with over 200 chalets. The Angels Christmas Market offers unusual and handmade gifts and crafts, including ceramics, candles, jewellery, wooden toys, nativity scenes and Christmas decorations.

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Colmar

 From 24th November to 31st December 2017

The magic of Christmas in Colmar, first of all there’s the ambiance of the Old Town, illuminated and decorated like a fairy tale : a historic setting made magical by the Christmas illuminations which, in this festive period, blend harmoniously with the wonderful lighting designed to enhance the town’s heritage, and lay a soothing aura of light over the centre of Colmar.

Colmar town centre is essentially pedestrian, comprises numerous architectural treasures such as monuments, churches, museums and alleys, full of imposing buildings dating from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. Marvel at the Maison Pfister, the Koïfhus, Unterlinden museum, Little Venice, the maison des têtes and Saint Martin’s Collegiate church. The whole town is decorated, as in a dream, turning the old centre into a veritable open-air theatre where the warm Christmas mood envelops the heart of the town.

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Dresden

 From 29th November to 24th December 2017

If you like Christmas, you’ll love Dresden. A grand total of eleven completely different Christmas markets, from the by no means Dark Ages to the après ski charm of alpine huts, makes for wonderfully conflicting decisions.

Holiday sounds fill the air throughout the city. From the many oratorios, Advent, organ and gospel concerts, Dresden’s churches brim with festive insider tips.

Christmas tales also come to life in the city’s theatres whilst museums host special exhibitions and boats bejewelled with lights glide along the Elbe. If only Christmas could last more than just a few weeks…

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Paris

 From 15th November to 31st December 2017

Christmas is coming, with its festive events, illuminations and gifts galore! It is time to enjoy the festive season and rediscover the special magic of Paris at this time of year.

 

Streets are trimmed up, department store windows come to life and Paris’s finest monuments are illuminated. Christmas is definitely approaching: and Paris is preparing an array of festivities and special events for its visitors.

 

On the programme: Christmas markets, Nativity scenes, open-air ice-rinks, merry-go-rounds, shows and concerts! And for an unforgettable Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve dinner, Parisian restaurants have once again this year put together some exceptional menus. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Berlin

 From 25th November to 31st December 2017

The baroque Charlottenburg Palace is a sumptuous backdrop for this Christmas market in City West. An elaborate light installation bathes the market, the palace, the trees and decorative fence of the palace in a romantic glow. The pivotal point of the market is a pyramid in front of the palace’s main entrance.

 

Wood huts and marquees, decorated entirely with natural materials, provide a festive atmosphere and offer not only a wide range of crafts but also an impressive selection of culinary choices. In addition to the traditional Christmas market stalls selling hot chestnuts, crepes or Hungarian langos, many hotels and restaurants from Berlin and Brandenburg offer fine dining in heated tents.

 

The Winterwald (winter forest) in front of the small orangery offers magical attractions for children, including a nostalgic carousel, an air swing and a small railway. In the Märchenzelt (fairy tale tent) organised by the Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin, the little ones can try their hand at arts and crafts.

 

A visit to the Christmas market in front of Charlottenburg Palace is wonderfully combined with a tour of the palace or a leisurely walk through its garden.

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Vienna

 From 13th November until 23rd December 2017

From mid-November to Christmas, Vienna’s prettiest squares transform into magical Christmas markets. The aroma of Christmas bakery items and hot punch creates a pre-Christmas atmosphere.

One of the most well-known Christmas Markets is the traditional “Vienna Magic of Advent”, which turns the City Hall Square into a shining fairytale land. Christmas gifts, tree decorations, sweets and warming drinks are awaiting you as well as a carousel and craft fun Christmas Workshops for kids. The trees of the surrounding City Hall park are festively decorated and radiate in a sea of lights – a Viennese experience, you’ll definitely don’t want to miss!

Another hot spot before Christmas is the cultural and Christmas market in front of Schönbrunn Palace. It offers sheer romance in front of an imperial backdrop, and is converted into a New Year’s market after Christmas. The atmospheric market offers traditional handicrafts, hand-made Christmas decorations, Christmas concerts and an extensive children’s program, including Christmas workshop.

 

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5 Best Day Trips in Germany

1 Day Trip from Munich to Neuschwanstein and Linderhof

If you’re a fan of castles, then it is hard to a imagine a more perfect day trip from Munich than one that includes stops at Neuschwanstein and Linderhof. Both castles are world renowned, and both were created under the direction of King Ludwig II. Together, they are the basis for a day trip from Munich you’ll love.

Linderhof

The day starts in Munich, where passengers board a bus and begin the journey through the Bavarian countryside to the castle of Linderhof. This castle is the smallest of the day, and it was considered by King Ludwig II, or “The Mad King,” to be his hunting lodge. It’s still extravagant, and built in the Rococo style, so you won’t be disappointed. While at Linderhof, you’ll also have the chance to tour the magnificent Moorish pavilion.

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Just a 15 minute drive away from Linderhof is Oberammergau, a town that looks like it has come straight from a book filled with fairy tales. Shop at the traditional woodcraft stores, or see the stage where the iconic Passion Plays are performed. You may even meet some of the actors, whose roles are passed down within the family from one generation to the next.

Famous Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany

The final, and most incredible, stop of the day will be at Neuschwanstein itself. This castle is perhaps the most famous in the entire world, and it is said to be the inspiration for the Disney castle. With four hours to spend in the area, you can choose to fill your time with a guided tour of the castle, a self-guided tour of the castle as well as the grounds or even a traditional Bavarian lunch in the nearby village of Hohenschwangau, which is situated the base of the castle and offers some extraordinary views. The ride back to Munich winds once again through the Bavarian countryside, offering some wonderful scenic vistas along the way.

2 Day Trip from Munich to Berchtesgaden

In the southernmost of Bavaria, right on the border with Austria, is the town of Berchtesgaden. Nestled in the Alps, this town offers some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable. However, it also comes with a somber history for its role as Hitler’s retreat. On a day trip from Munich, see Berchtesgaden and find out more about its impact on history as well as why it is regarded as one of Germany’s most beautiful destinations.

Eagle nest / Kehlsteinhaus

Berchtesgaden is just a 90-minute drive from Munich, yet it is routinely overlooked by travelers. On a day trip from Munich to Berchtesgaden, you’ll see a part of Germany that not many travelers do. The air-conditioned bus journey will wind through the Bavarian Alps until it nears Mt Kehlstein. An elevator will take you to the top of the mountain, where the lodge stands that once entertained foreign leaders and German dignitaries. The Eagle’s Nest, or Kehlsteinhaus, was a gift for Adolf Hitler on his 50th birthday. Although the American Army took over the lodge at the end of World War II, and many artifacts were either removed or destroyed, the building itself is still entirely, and surprisingly, intact.

Berchtesgaden

Even for those who aren’t history buffs, Berchtesgaden is well worth the visit. The views from the Eagle’s Nest are unparalleled, and they are the ideal place to soak in vistas of the Alps and take truly amazing photographs. In the event of bad weather and poor visibility, it is possible to see instead the famed salt mines of Berchtesgaden, which is a unique experience. Be prepared for salt grottoes that look like they are made from diamonds, not to mention the surreal subterranean lake. Whatever the itinerary holds, the day won’t be complete until you have had the chance to drink a local beer at one the pubs, or Gasthofs, located in the town of Berchtesgaden.

3 Rhine Valley Tour from Frankfurt

There is no question that the Rhine River is of tremendous cultural, economic and historic significance in Germany. When you’re in Frankfurt, make time to explore not just a single view of the Rhine, but as much of this incredible river as possible. Afull day river cruise trip will take you along the Rhine, through the Rhine Valley and to several remarkable riverfront destinations you’ll never forget.

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The tour includes a scenic, relaxing boat ride along the Rhine, passing the famed Loreley Rock. This steep rock cliff is incredible from any angle, but you will definitely be breathless as the river cruise boat passes beneath the enormous outcropping. Make sure you have for camera ready throughout the cruise, because there is some spectacular scenery along the river. Just when you’re starting to get hungry, the boat will dock at a riverside restaurant. Feast on a traditional German lunch, and linger over the views with a glass of local wine.

Rhine valley in Rudesheim

The river trip continues in the afternoon as the cruise takes you to the harbor of St Goarshausen. This is where you’ll disembark and enjoy a private wine tasting session. You can then have a couple of hours on your own to explore the town of Rudesheim. There are several prominent castles in the town that are available for tours, not to mention a winery that still operates in one of them. You’ll definitely want to sip the local Riesling, the most popular white wine produced in the area. Spend time exploring museums, shopping for souvenirs or just admiring the river views on a scenic walk through the town of Rudesheim before your return journey to Frankfurt.

4 Day Trip from Berlin to Dresden

Dresden is widely recognized as a hub for arts and culture in Germany, making it the ideal day trip from Berlin. On this particular day trip, you’ll have to the chance to see views from the River Elbe, world-class architecture and some of the many attractions that make Dresden great.

Dresden

After meeting at the Zoologischer Garten railway station, the small group tour will depart from Berlin to Dresden. The journey of about two hours will fly by thanks to the scenery, which includes several forested preserves. Your time in Dresden starts with a comprehensive walking tour of the city better known as Jewel Box, thanks to its stunning collection of Rococo and Baroque buildings. You’ll learn about the fascinating 19th century history of Dresden, you’ll find out how bombing in World War II impacted the city’s infrastructure and you’ll even get to visit Semperoper, the very place where Wagner composed some of his most famous pieces.

Dresden, Zwinger

At midday, the guided tour relaxes, giving you some independent time to see the city. If you wish, you can go back and explore some of the earlier landmarks and museums in depth. Alternatively, you could stroll along the river banks, soaking in the beautiful views. If you’re a car enthusiast, a great way to pass an hour or two is with a factory tour to see how Volkswagen makes it luxury vehicle, the Phaeton.

Dresden Elbwiesen

You could rent a rowboat and soak up the sun in the lake at the Großer Garten, or you could grab lunch at one of the many charming cafes found throughout Dresden. Sip a refreshing beer in the Altstadt, or Old Town, before the relaxing bus journey takes you back to Berlin.

5 Day Trip from Munich to Salzburg

As you explore Munich and the rest of Southern Germany, don’t forget just how close its bordering countries are. Salzburg in Austria, for example, is less than 150 km (90 miles) away from the Bavarian capital. With a day trip from Munich to Salzburg, you can see a whole new country, getting to know the culture, cuisine and history of Austria in the process.

This day trip is a small group rail trip, so the journey starts with a scenic and comfortable two-hour train ride from Munich to Salzburg. Explore the city with a 90-minute guided walking tour that will hit some of the highlights of this Austrian metropolis. Along the tour, you’ll see castles, monasteries, museums and churches, and there will be plenty of great photo-taking opportunities.

Salzburg Cathedral

After the guided tour, you’ll have the chance to do some sightseeing on your own. You’ll have three hours to explore Salzburg, visiting the attractions and landmarks you’re most excited about. Many people will head straight for the impressive Domkirche Cathedral, while others will head for an al fresco lunch in the picturesque Salzburg Zoo.

Salzburg

If you’re a fan of the Sound of Music, you can look for some of the most iconic filming spots used in the movie. Art lovers might appreciate the incredible collection at the Salzburg Museum of Modern Art. Of course, no trip to Salzburg would be complete without seeing the yellow house where famed composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born. After this free exploration time, you’ll meet back up with the rest of your group and head to Munich on the train. This is the perfect time to share stories and swap photographs from the day of sightseeing in Austria.

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5 Great Day Trips from Salzburg

1. Berchtesgaden

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Just over the German border, and still just 30 minutes away from Salzburg, is Berchtesgaden. This charming, postcard-perfect town is beautiful in its own right, and its backdrop is made up of stunning mountain peaks and salt mines. These salt grottoes look like they are made from diamonds, not to mention the surreal subterranean lake. However, what makes Berchtesgaden so popular is that it houses the Eagle’s Nest, or Kehlsteinhaus. From this vantage point, you can admire spectacular vistas, and it was created as a gift for Adolf Hitler. Even after the end of World War II, Kehlsteinhaus was preserved. It is, today, a poignant reminder of the past.

2. Hallstatt

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Southeast of Salzburg is Hallstatt, a small town that overlooks the gorgeous blue waters of Lake Hallstatt. The history of this town dates back for more than 4,000 years, with the region being used primarily because of its available salt mines. Today, most visitors arrive for the picturesque views and the charming town itself. During the summer, cars aren’t allowed in Hallstatt, making it a completely pedestrian-friendly spot to explore on foot. You can tour the original salt mines, if you wish, or you could explore a very unusual attraction called the Beinhaus. The Beinhaus, or Bone House, is where the stacked bones of previous residents are dried and stacked because of limited burial space in the town.

3. Wolfgangsee

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Less than 30 km (20 miles) east of Salzburg is Wolfgangsee, a lake in the resort region known as Salzkammergut. On the banks of the Wolfgangsee, there are lots of charming restaurants and small towns with a rich, historic appeal. One such town, St. Gilgen, boasts so-called “chocolate box houses” with visible exterior timbers and a classic Austrian style. The Wolfgangsee is a place for outdoor adventure, and pastimes like hiking and boating are a big draw to the area. Don’t leave without trying the local culinary specialty, Steckerlfisch, which is a local fish grilled on a skewer over an open flame.

4. Munich

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Direct train links connect Salzburg and Munich, making the Bavarian capital a great day trip destination for visitors. Munich is an incredible city with lots to see. In the city center, or Altstadt, you will definitely want to check out the New City Hall built on the Marienplatz. Listen for the sounds of the Glockenspiel, which goes off regularly all day. There are dozens of museums to explore in Munich, so pick the subject that appeals to you most: BMW cars, antiques, Bavarian history and so much more. Even if you’re not in Munich during Oktoberfest, join the crowds of tourists at beer halls like Hofbräuhaus for a pint.

5. Eisriesenwelt Cave

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Also in the town of Werfen are the Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves. These are naturally formed ice and limestone caves in the Hochkogel Mountain. Eisriesenwelt, which translates into English as World of the Ice Giants, is considered to be the largest ice cave in the entire world. The cave is only open from May to October each year, but don’t let the summer climate aboveground fool you. In the cave, temperatures are often below freezing. Some of the top attractions on a tour of the cave include Alexander von Mörk Cathedral, which is the largest room in the cave, and the enormous stalactite called Posselt Tower.

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5 Great Day Trips from Vienna

1. Wachau Valley

Durnstein near Vienna, lower Austria, pictoial Wachau valley

Whether explored by bike, car or a cruise down the Danube River, the Wachau Valley is universally acknowledged as one of the most picturesque landscapes in Austria. The entire valley is bordered by castles, vineyards and quaint villages. The valley begins west of Vienna and stretches for 40 km (25 miles) between the cities of Krems and Melk. Vineyards in the Wachau Valley produce some of the Austria’s best wines, and the pretty town of Dürnstein is a great place to stop and sample the varietals. Castle ruins in Dürnstein are all that remains of the place where King Richard the Lion-Heart of England was imprisoned in the 12th century.

2. Salzburg

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Fans of the 1965 movie “The Sound of Music” may find it hard not to burst into song when visiting Salzburg, the Austrian city that served as the backdrop for the much-loved film. From the baroque architecture and picturesque gardens to the blue Salzach River and surrounding snow-capped mountains, the place that the singing Von Trapp family called home is simply enchanting. As the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salzburg is a popular travel destination for lovers of classical musical too. With its beautifully preserved medieval quarter, hill-top castle, Renaissance churches and charming array of specialty shops, the fourth-largest city in Austria is a day trip from Vienna not to be missed.

3. Budapest

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A two-and-a-half-hour drive east of Vienna along the Danube takes travelers to Budapest, where the river divides the capital of Hungary into two distinct districts. The hilly Buda section boasts the 13th-century Royal Palace, a mammoth structure that has been destroyed and rebuilt six times over its long history. The complex is now home to the Budapest History Museum and Hungarian National Gallery. The flatter Pest side of town features the city’s revitalized Jewish quarter, which has the second largest synagogue in the world. With more than 100 natural thermal springs in the city, no visit to Budapest is complete without enjoying a relaxing dip in one of the city’s spas.

4. Melk Abbey

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The wealth of Austria during the 18th century is on full display at the magnificent Benedictine monastery at Melk in the Wachau Valley region west of Vienna. With its 20-story-high dome, ornate towers and opulent interiors, the abbey is a gorgeous example of High Baroque architecture. The original structure was built in the 11th century as a castle on a rocky outcrop overlooking the valley, but most of the current buildings were constructed between 1702 and 1736. Standout attractions include the abbey church of St. Peter and St. Paul, the baroque ceiling frescoes by Austrian artist Paul Troger and a library that houses more than 100,000 books and manuscripts.

5. Bratislava

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Easily accessible from Vienna by rail, bus or car, the capital of Slovakia can also be reached by taking a scenic hydrofoil ride down the Danube River. Ancient Bratislava has been occupied since the Neolithic era by a seemingly endless number of conquerors. Now one of the most prosperous cities in Europe, Bratislava has recently renovated its medieval Old Town quarter to a nearly pristine condition, with the addition of many outdoor cafés, pubs, shops and restaurants. The district is dominated by the hilltop Bratislava Castle, a structure first built in the 13th century that has also undergone extensive renovation.

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5 Best Tourist Destinations in the World

1. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

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This is a stunning, bustling city with lots to do and see. For a change of pace you can go on the cable car to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, where the scenery will take your breath away and the day to day troubles of life are put aside for a while. You can then return to the city find a bar where everyone gets lost in the rhythm of the salsa and dances until the early hours of the morning.

2. Paris, France

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City of romance, more tourist attractions than anyone can see in one brief holiday – with a city base apartments and a couple of months you may get around to seeing some of the less well known treasures of this city and not just the Eiffel Tower and Louvre. Some of the restaurants here serve food and wine that will change the way you think about what you consume forever.

3. Machu Picchu, Peru

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This destination offers access to what remains of one of the most fascinating extinct cultures and to the shrinking Amazonian jungle. The local people are proud to share their heritage with visitors and to guide those that are interested through the more remote areas to scenery that few places can compete with.

4. Sydney Australia

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Be a beach bum in the morning, tourist in the afternoon and culture vulture in the evening – in Sydney you can be whatever you want to be and still manage to blend in. This city is often the first port of call for visitors and it rolls out a brilliant welcome mat. Sydney Opera House, Manly Beach and the Blue Mountains are just a snippet of the list of things to do here.

5. Cape Town, South Africa

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The most southern point of Africa where you can see whales and dolphins, go to the top of Table Mountain and see spectacular views or enjoy a visit to one of the many vineyards and taste some of the best wines produced in the world today. Robben Island, the historic prison where Nelson Mandela was held, is a ‘must do, for any visitor.

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Portofino glam

A small number of unyielding laws in Portofino create a unique sliver of astonishing beauty and elegance on the Italian Riviera.

Feel the first flushes of Italian allure as you step onto the exclusive sandstone Piazetta of legendary Italian seaside resort Portofino. Immerse yourself in ‘la dolce vita’ on Italy’s northwest coast, a sophisticated bolthole of the rich and famous for many years, from the old Hollywood glamour of Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor and John Wayne to a newer breed of stars including Madonna, Kylie Minogue, George Clooney and Naomi Campbell. Dolce & Gabbana adore these Thyrrenian shores so much they even own a villa here.

Distinct from any other seaside resort in Italy, Portofino’s hills are dressed in olive trees, its Mediterranean villas are painted delicious shades of lemon and the cerulean harbour is lined with sleek yachts. Portofino is not simply picture perfect – it has an enchantment that has to be seen to be believed.

Portofino’s rules

A bewitching combination of both excess and jurisdiction – authority here is tight – are what makes it perennially exclusive. Helicopters and jet skis are not allowed, there is to be no outdoor music after 10pm, no new building has been constructed in the last 40 years, one is not allowed to swim in the port and nightclubs are situated further away, such as in Paraggi. You won’t find graffiti or litter and certainly no teenagers falling out of clubs in the early hours of the morning.

The air exudes grown up glamour, the Italians are discreet and stylish and visiting here is synonymous with scenes from Frederico Fellini movies. The code words here are composure, poise and consideration – one of the focal reasons celebrities flock here. Double scoop gelato is smoothly bitten into, coffee is sipped for breakfast, Prosecco is drunk to whet the appetite and a vibrant atmosphere is soaked up with late dinner taken at one of the many outstanding restaurants along the bay. Glamour, delight and discretion are the very essence of Portofino.

 

Italian extravagance

Visit Portofino to experience the epitome of optimistic impulses, of sizzling Italian nature and the chic, classic lifestyle of the locals. The resort is alive with countless symbols of Italian extravagance. Due to its high per-capita income the main street is lined with delectable designer boutiques, home to plush leather handbags and swish haute couture dresses demanding new owners. Most of these new owners will have just stepped off their glistening million dollar yachts. Shop here if you love Hermes, Gucci and Dior.

Drinks in Portofino cost more, as does food, simply because it can. Portofino is a dream destination, overflowing with a joie de vivre these days sometimes hard to find in the daily hum drum of life. Luxury holidays of outstanding beauty and prestige couldn’t get much better than this.

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Family holidays in Italy

Italy is home to some of the most picturesque countryside in Europe, a spectacular coastline boasting beautiful beaches and a rich and varied history. Italians are very fond of children and families will be made to feel very welcome. There are plenty attractions for people of all ages to enjoy, from a surfeit of Roman ruins to the town of Pompeii, beneath the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, which has been frozen in time.

Sorrento Family Holidays

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The town of Sorrento, on the Neapolitan Riviera, comprises of sparkling waters and dramatic cliff top hotels backed by lush hillsides. The Hilton Sorrento Palace affords majestic views over the Bay of Naples and is the perfect base for families looking to explore this scenic region. Both children and parents will love the hotel’s six interconnecting, split level pools; children can also enjoy the entertaining activities on offer at the ‘Kidz Paradise Club’ (open from 15th June to 15th September) or the children’s playground.

 

Sardinia Family Holidays

The crystal clear waters and white sand beaches that encompass the island of Sardinia provide the dream location for a family holiday. Discover ancient fortresses and giant tombs, experience exhilarating watersports or perhaps just relax and play on the silky white sand beaches. At the Forte Village, a ‘World Leading Resort’, there is huge choice of facilities for all the family. The ‘Citta dei Bambini’, or Kids’ City, is at the heart of the village; with a pool, tailor made activities and children’s shows youngsters will be kept happy while you relax at the spa or eat at one of the resort’s 21 restaurants! Instead of just providing a children’s menu, the Forte Village have gone one better with ‘Aquarium’ – a restaurant exclusively for children serving pasta, pizza and chips or, for the more health conscious, fish and salad dishes. For budding footballers there is the Chelsea Football Club Soccer School which is open during the summer season for children between the ages of 4 and 14. Nine pools are available for the use by the resort’s guests, some with slides and diving boards and others which are more sedate and relaxing. ‘Leisureland’ is comprised of facilities such as Technodrome – which boasts all the latest video games – a bowling alley, go-kart track, trampoline and climbing wall.

Family-Hotels-and-Resorts

Just five miles along Sardinia’s south east coast is the popular Chia Laguna Resort, featuring the family friendly ‘Chia Village’. There is an array of kids’ clubs for children of all ages, from babies and infants to teenagers, offering plenty of fun activities. At the excellent Bimbi Restaurant children can have a healthy and hearty lunch, discover what their food is made from and, more importantly, play!

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An Italian wedding

I always knew that if I was going to get married it would have to be abroad. The thought of it lashing down with rain when I woke up on my wedding day seemed like a nightmare!

After looking at several options around the Caribbean, we decided that Italy would be perfect. We flew out a few months before our proposed wedding date and fell in love with Sorrento. Ironically, it was raining but I was assured by the locals that, if I got married in June, the weather would be gorgeous.

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When we flew back to Italy for the wedding, for the most part, we stayed at the 4* Hilton Sorrento Palace, which has amazing views of the Amalfi coast and is only a 10-minute walk into town. We had our 9-year-old daughter with us and the hotel was fantastic for us all, with its many pools and kids’ club.

Just a few days in and our wedding date soon arrived. We got married at the historic and beautiful Moorish-style cloister of San Francesco in the centre of Sorrento, it’s a 14th century cloister attached to the baroque Church of San Francesco and easily seats up to 70 people, so can accommodate most wedding parties.

“Everyone said how amazing the wedding was and we were so happy we got to spend time with our family and friends before and after the wedding.”

We’d decided to get married at 4.30pm when the temperature was a bit cooler and we were glad we did! The ceremony lasted 20 minutes and we were able to incorporate our own personal wedding vows and our chosen reading. Our wedding package included all the legal fees, translator and minister fees, along with a meeting a few days before to go through the whole ceremony. We didn’t need to worry once.

After the ceremony, we had our photos in the stunning public gardens, which have an amazing view of Mount Vesuvius. As we had 42 people coming to the wedding, we decided to have a formal reception, which I arranged independently and hired a venue in the Sorrentine hills. Here we had a four-course meal, speeches and dancing late into the evening, just as we’d wanted.

On our wedding night and the evening before, we stayed in a suite at the 4* Grand Hotel La Favorita, which is in the ancient part of Sorrento on a prestigious street. It has a big roof-top pool, intimate gardens and was the perfect choice, giving me and my bridesmaids room to get ready before the ceremony. Everything went to plan and my favourite part was saying our vows outside in such a beautiful location and watching the sunset from high up in the hills at the reception.

italian-wedding-soup

“My favourite part was saying our vows outside in such a beautiful location and watching the sunset from high up in the hills.”

Everyone said how amazing the wedding was and we found it fantastic to spend time with our family and friends before and after the wedding. The Italian hospitality was also brilliant. This is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a special wedding abroad without having to travel too far for it.

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Family holidays in Greece

The accessibility of mainland Greece and the Greek islands from the UK makes for an ideal family holiday destination. Families can look forward to discovering rugged bays and secret coves, island charms and delicious maritime cuisines, and the lovely sandy beaches and warm waters here are perfect for little ones. This is a part of the world where family is extremely important, and you’ll experience a classic Mediterranean welcome.

The-Croc-Crew

Greece is also one of the best destinations for a luxury family escape, with hotels that offer activities for all ages as well as plenty of opportunities to relax and indulge. Whilst most hotels here are more than accommodating for families, we have specially labelled a handful that we believe are particularly family-friendly.

Family Holidays on the Costa Navarino

Perhaps lesser known than the more celebrated Greek islands, Costa Navarino is a relatively quiet out of the way corner of the Greek Peloponnesian peninsula, boasting a staggering coastline with sweeping sand dunes that roll onto the shores of the Ionian Sea.

The Westin Resort Costa Navarino is a wonderful holiday destination, with its glorious sea views and sweeping green fairways. Children will enjoy the large pools, plus there is the innovative ‘Cocoon’ for infants, and for four to 12 year-olds the ‘SandCastle’ is an exciting playground and activity centre. Children can also enjoy special golf programmes and activities and all the fun of the Recreational Park, which offers an aquatic playground, sports centre, bowling alley and games room. The spacious family suites have a separate living room containing a convenient sofa bed.

Family Holidays on Crete

There’s plenty of choice for families on Crete, the largest of the Mediterranean islands. With stunning mountain ranges, an interior blanketed in olive groves and wild flowers, harbour towns, ancient ruins and a coastline of glorious sandy beaches and unspoilt coves, it’s the perfect island to explore. Equally, if you’re looking for a family break where you needn’t even stray from your hotel, Crete can offer you that, too.

1258-Greece

Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas has a beautiful setting and really does cater for all, with a state-of-the-art-spa retreat alongside a fantastic kids’ club and children’s pool, plus abundant activities from sailing to waterskiing and a child-friendly sandy beach. For a true luxury escape with a home-away-from-home feel, the Two Bedroom Family Villa here has everything covered – it provides a high chair, stroller, baby bath, bottle warmer, fences for the pool and staircase and more.

At the St Nicholas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas there’s a real focus on children’s entertainment, with an all-day kids’ club to ensure younger guests get the most out of their break – and that parents do, too. This luxury private beach resort has a typically Greek design, a secluded setting and four restaurants to keep even the fussiest of eaters happy. Other excellent family options on the island include Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort with its Blue Flag sandy beach and Domes of Elounda for a serene and stylish family break.

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Step Goal Holidays

1. Walk the Freedom Trail in Boston (gentle)

Boston, Massachusetts

The two and a half mile red brick-lined Freedom Trail will lead you past 16 fascinating historical sites. Explore at your own pace or take an organised walking tour of approximately 90 minutes and get your steps going.

2. Hike from Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort and Spa to Anse Mondon (moderate)

Anse Mondon, Silhouette Island, The Seychelle
Take the four-hour trek from the Hilton Labriz Resort and Spa, through the National Park to Anse Mondon. With stunning panoramic views, this is your perfect excuse to get your steps in, even on a beach escape.

3. Climb the Great Wall of China (moderate to challenging)

Depending on the challenge and how advanced a hiker you are, the Great Wall of China has routes for all. From a couple of hours to seven days; see the untouched, part-restored and reconstructed sections of the Great Wall – definitely a once-in-a-lifetime achievement.

4. Walk the entire length of the Las Vegas Strip (gentle)

Las Vegas Strip

Lined with hotels, casinos, shops, restaurants and attractions, walking The Strip is the best way to see Las Vegas. Four miles in total will ensure you get your daily steps in.

5. Reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (challenging)

Far from a walk in the park, this is one for the ambitious walkers. Through every type of climate, from misty rainforests to its snowy peak, the seven day summit will be an unforgettable journey of discovery.

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

6. Climb Mount Kinabalu in Borneo (moderate)

Not quite ready for the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro but still need a challenge? Then Mount Kinabalu is for you. Standing at 4095 metres embark on a two day summit trek; bound to make your Fitbit buzz.

7. Shop ’til you drop in the world’s largest shopping mall, the Dubai Mall (gentle)

Filled with luxury brands, peruse the shops with a gentle stroll. For a challenge, add some weight with some purchases to carry. Who said shopping wasn’t exercise!

8. Trek to Machu Picchu (challenging)

Machu Picchu in Peru

You’ve seen the photographs, now see it for real. As well as reaching beyond your steps, walk the ancient and beautiful Inca Trail as you hike through dense forests, over mountains and through ruined fortresses.

9. Take a village tour of Chiang Mai with Tamarind Village (gentle)

Get your steps in while taking in the local culture as you set off on Tamarind Village’s The Village Walk tour of some of the neighbourhood’s most interesting temples and sites.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

10. Climb to Everest Base Camp (challenging)

Surprisingly achievable for people from all walks of life. Climbing to Everest Base Camp is challenging but the personal sense of accomplishment plus the awe-inspiring views of the world’s highest peak is a story you can dine off for years to come.

Everest Base Camp

Visit our holiday types pages to reach your goals and for more inspiration for your next big trip

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