City Breaks

How to Enjoy Stockholm in Winter

Daylight hours might be scarce and temperatures below freezing, but when Stockholm puts on her white winter coat, the whole city glitters more than Tinseltown itself, transforming into a magical winter wonderland.  The capital of Sweden spans 14 islands, and although you may not have time to visit them all, you can easily do a bit of island hopping on foot or via public transport while soaking up the spectacular views of bridges, waterways, and the medieval Old Town.  Besides marvelling at its snow-covered beauty, here are the top five reasons to visit Stockholm in winter. Read more about How to Enjoy Stockholm in Winter

Weekender Warsaw, Poland

Although most of Warsaw was tragically raved to the ground during the Second World War, the Polish capital was given a nip 'n' tuck by architects who used artwork by 18th century court painter Bellotto to try to recapture its former glory. Even so, Warsaw will never win a pretty city award, but its historic centre has clusters of handsome buildings, as well as a rich offering in terms of art, culture and nightlife. Read more about Weekender Warsaw, Poland

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City Break - Newcastle, England

Hailed the UK's friendliest city, Newcastle has pristine pavements, shiny buildings, pricey drinks and lost of regeneration funding, which has seen it attracting cultural recognition.  Whether it's the Angel of the North, the Blue (but it's grey) Carpet or Sir Norman Foster's Sage Music Centre, Newcastle has developed an identity beyond football and short-skirted ladies. But don't despair - the city is still as much about having a good time as ever. Read more about City Break - Newcastle, England

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Kyoto - The Heart of Japan

There it was again. A streak of colour and a scurry in the tiny alleyway up ahead. I crept forward, treading lightly past wooden facades and unmarked doors, careful not to knock the red lanterns that cast an atmospheric glow across the cobbled path. A sharp turn to the left, and there she is: a geisha.  A quick glance over her shoulder, her white made-up face contrasting with the elaborate design of her kimono - and she's gone.

While we all know that geishas' inherent beauty, grace and charm have been admired for centuries, the same could be said of Kyoto. Like waiting for a glimpse of a shy nocturnal creature, you can wait all day for the city to reveal its secrets, and just as you're about to give up in favour of fast food and a night at karaoke, Kyoto's discrete world will reveal itself. Read more about Kyoto - The Heart of Japan

Party all Night in the World's Sexiest City - Beirut, Lebanon

"Drive it like you stole it," reads the slogan on the barman's t-shirt, a message that seems to sum up Beirut's chaotic driving culture, where traffic lights are ignored and seatbelts are for wimps.  Traffic-choked it might be but the multi-laned highways are loaded with flashy and retro rides: think Ferraris, Lamborghinis, 1960s Cadillac's and Chevys. Read more about Party all Night in the World's Sexiest City - Beirut, Lebanon

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Go Bargain Hunting in Paris’ Vintage Stores and Flea Markets

When boho-chic style hit the catwalks, prices in Notting Hill's second hand stores soared - and they never came back down, crippled vintage shopping and forcing those looking for that particular to look elsewhere. So, when the affordability of weekend break to the other side of the Channel you can say 'bonjour' to Paris's Le Marais district - your wallet and wardrobe's new best friend.  Here taffeta cocktail dresses are in abundance, leather satchels are aplenty - and price tags are rock bottom. Read more about Go Bargain Hunting in Paris’ Vintage Stores and Flea Markets

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Enjoy the Sounds of Summer: Murcia Spain

Aquietude is cast over Murcia at around midday. The capital city, in the province of the same name, pinched between the trodden beaches of Almeria to the south and the heaving resorts of Valencia's Costa Blanca to the north, is dozing. Even the trees that line Paseo Alfonso X El Sabio, one of the sweeping pedestrianised avenues, seem in a state of repose. Al fresco cafe tables groan under the weight of chairs piled atop. Read more about Enjoy the Sounds of Summer: Murcia Spain

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Malaga: The Art of Extending Summer

Ancient meets the modern in this city.  Home to the only Pompidou Centre outside Paris and birthplace of one of the most celebrated artists in history, Malaga is more than just the gateway to the beaches of the Costa del Sol and Andalucía in the south. A compact and richly cosmopolitan city, it delivers on culture, tantalising tapas, new hedonistic hotspots that could give Barcelona a run for its money and fine weather, with more than 300 days of sunshine a year. Read more about Malaga: The Art of Extending Summer

Amsterdam Weekender

Delicate bridges and waterways weave in and out of old brick and glass buildings, and outdoor cafes line every road. There are hen and stag dos a-plenty, and hitting the main drag in Old Centre to party hard is definitely part of the experience, as is strolling through the infamous Red Light District where purring women push themselves up against windows beckoning in paying customers. When you're looking to chill out, visit the mesmerising Van Gogh Museum or kick back with a spliff. Yes, it's legal here - and all part of the, er, cultural experience.  Read more about Amsterdam Weekender

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