Europe

Visit Portugal

You would not think it but Portugal is one of the oldest countries in Europe, its borders have remained largely unchanged since the 12th-century.  The Portuguese founded the first global empire. Lisbon’s ornate Torre de Belem (torrebelem.pt), Portugal’s symbol of the Age of Discovery, is a Unesco-protected monument and celebrated its 500th anniversary in 2015. The ornate tower was originally built in 1515 as a fortress to guard the entrance to Lisbon’s harbour, and served as the starting point for many voyages of discovery: it was from the beach in Belem that the great explorer Vasco da Gama set sail to chart the sea route to India. UNESCO chose to list it as a World Heritage monument for being ‘a reminder of the great maritime discoveries that laid the foundations of the modern world’. Read more about Visit Portugal

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5 Reasons to Visit Ireland in the Summer

There’s nowhere quite like Ireland, and that’s especially true when the sun shines. With beaches that belong in the Caribbean and striking scenery, it is only a short hop over the sea from UK mainland.  Sure, the Irish summer might not have the guaranteed heat of the Mediterranean, but what it lacks in scorching temperatures it more than makes up for with gorgeous countryside, an abundance of seafood and a hefty dose of 'craic'. And even if the weather isn’t in your favour, you can always be sure of a snug, cosy pub to warm the cockles. Read more about 5 Reasons to Visit Ireland in the Summer

Explore the Lake District

Catch the Lake District on a fine winter’s day and you might think there could be nowhere more beautiful. Endless blue skies, glassy water, and the heather-clad hills that William Wordsworth described as ‘towering above each other, or lifting themselves in ridges like the waves of a tumultuous sea, an in the beauty and variety of their surfaces and colours, they are surpassed by none’. Read more about Explore the Lake District

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See London by Bike

Thanks to transport for London cycle hire, there is an additional way of seeing the city that is easy, healthy and fun.  There are more than 750 dockings stations throughout the capital, with more than 11,500 bikes, making it simple to collect or leave a hired bike wherever you are. Whether you want to see the sights, visit a museum or take in the atmosphere, you could combine it with a cycle ride along the river and a picnic in a park. Read more about See London by Bike

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Europe’s Ski Resorts off the Beaten Track

SKIWELT, AUSTRIA
Ninety minutes from Salzburg and Innsbruck airports, SkiWelt is a collection of eight villages, with Ellmau, Soll and Scheffau best for beginners, as they have good nursery slopes on the lower runs and efficient snow-making facilities.  For more advanced skiers and boarders, there are black runs around the Hohe Salve peak. And the Hahnenkamm, host to the treacherous downhill race, is a short shuttle bus ride away in the neighbouring resort of Kitzbuhel, which is fabulous for both intermediates and beginners. The mountains are not that steep but you still get beautiful views. Read more about Europe’s Ski Resorts off the Beaten Track

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French City Short Break Ideas

BORDEAUX (for the Stylish city Weekender) 
Bordeaux is a small city with big city ambitions, which means you have the best of both worlds. It’s an easy three-hour train ride from Paris, but feels a world away. When in Bordeaux, have stroll around its flea markets and vintage stores, a favourite is Backstage Vintage Store (backstagevintagestore.com) it stocks a really great curated selection of vintage, designer vintage and also second-hand contemporary clothing. Then, on balmy summer nights, hop on a V3 public city bike (Bordeaux has been named the fourth most bike-friendly city in the world) for a ride along the Garonne River on the Quai des Chartrons, up to the outlet stores and boutiques at Quai des Marques. Read more about French City Short Break Ideas

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Escape To West Sussex and the South Downs

You cannot beat the rush of adrenalin combined with muscle burn that you feel after climbing a steep hill to reach the top of the trial. But instead of the fog of fumes and crowded roads of the capital, when you cycle, run or walk in West Sussex it is often just you...reach the peak and take in the breath-taking views across the South Downs, ancient woodland, and out to sea. Read more about Escape To West Sussex and the South Downs

Six Superb Swiss Scenic Sleeping Spots

HOTEL CHESA ROSATSCH, CELERINA

Nestled in the popular Upper Engadine valley, on the banks of the Inn River, this charming property, with rosy red walls and wooden beams, is almost 400 years old. Rooms, though, are modern and boutique, while its restaurant serves tasty stone-grilled locals meat and crispy Flammechueche. The village of Celerina is quiet but perfectly placed for exploring the surrounding area, where it’s possible to view Engadine’s glaciers. Visit hotelrosatsch.ch/en/ Read more about Six Superb Swiss Scenic Sleeping Spots

Explore Switzerland Mountains by Train

Non-drivers can still enjoy striking panoramas on the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland. The route encompasses an impressive 91 tunnels and 291 bridges.  Take the Wilhelm Tell Express via the Magadino Plain, and admire the three grand medieval castles of Bellinzona which have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Pass through the medieval town of Schaffhausen and the 400-year-old Fortress of Munot, and look out for the 13th-century Hohenklingen Castle at Stien am Rhein. Read more about Explore Switzerland Mountains by Train

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Great Stargazing Short Breaks

Since the dawn of human civilization there is something about the skies that captivates us and can have us looking up for hours. It never fails to fascinate the observer, to the point where we have spent billions studying and exploring our skies. So we have found some worldwide destinations where the stargazers among us can look to their heart's content. Read more about Great Stargazing Short Breaks

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