4 min read
Technically it’s still winter at the moment, which is the perfect time to hibernate and plan your travel adventures for the year. OR it’s the perfect time to use the money you’re saving during dry January to take advantage of an out-of-season deal. There’s winter sun to be found even in January and February in Nerja, on the eastern tip of the Costa del Sol in Spain. Ten miles of soft, sandy beaches are the perfect antidote to the winter blues, and the incredible cave system is worth a visit if the weather’s overcast.
We also hear good things about Catania at this time of year - it’s Sicily's third biggest city, packed full of stunning baroque architecture with Mount Etna (yep, still an active volcano) brewing in the background.
When it comes to peak holiday season, travel plans can go either way: follow the crowds to the most popular spots, or leave everything behind like a sad Keanu. But with a little bit of planning, you can totally afford to do both this year. TripAdvisor recently announced that Gdańsk, Poland is its number one European holiday destination for 2019, and it’s easy to see why crowds will be flocking there this summer. The Long Market is lined with gorgeous pastel-coloured buildings, and the nightlife is totally unique if Bunkier Klubogaleria, a nightclub located inside WWII concrete air raid shelter, is anything to go by.
For a more chilled break, we’ve got a slightly left-field suggestion: Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. It’s becoming more and more popular as a holiday destination as luxury hotels and fancy restaurants (like Sherep) open in the city, and its surrounded by stunning countryside which is best discovered on foot. Google image search the Transcaucasian trail and you’ll see what we mean. Oh, and Armenia has a long-standing tradition of spa towns and bathhouses - perfect for soaking your cares away.
With the summer behind you, now is the time to city break. As the weather cools, head south to chase the last of the Mediterranean sun (be that person who comes back to work with a tan in October) or get your culture fix in an eastern European capital (so much history! So much cake!) Look into Rovinj, it’s been called the ‘Venice of Croatia’: full of Insta-worthy cobbled streets and secret beaches - a million miles from the stag dos of Dubrovnik.
If you’re looking to wander from cafe to gallery to nightclub, we really rate Riga, Latvia for a next-level city experience.The museums are fascinating (the KGB Building gives you unsettling insights into Latvia’s time as part of the USSR) and the hipster coffee is on point at Rocket Bean Roastery. Make sure you try Latvian honey cake, medus kuka. And no, cake isn’t our main reason for exploring new cities. But it’s close.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere special to do your Christmas shopping, or just keen to escape annual John Lewis advert fever, winter is the perfect time to plan a trip. It might seem like ages away now, but planning your Christmas break in advance is a great way to save time and money. And we all love that feeling of booking a holiday so far in advance, it basically feels like it’s free by the time you enjoy it.
If you’re all about the powder, we’ve got a great guide to ski season here, otherwise we rate Helsinki, Finland for the winter art exhibitions, bottle shops and the iconic Marimekko design store. Looking for something a bit closer to home? Ditch Harry Potter World for real-life magic in Cambridge - a gothic city packed full of curious pubs, unique gift shops and the best of British fine dining.