WINTER SUN

Just because the bells are ring-ting tingle-ing for the festive season, that doesn’t mean that we have to put up with the snow and cold. But where’s hot in December? There’s still plenty of sun, sand, and sea available overseas with daily averages of 27°C in Goa, 24°C in Cancun, or 19°C in Lanzarote (for those who prefer to stay close to home).

Already got plans in December? Check out where’s hot in January!

Dubai 

With an average of 26°C over the festive period, Dubai is a great alternative to the usual Christmas celebrations. With a range of luxury hotels and plenty to see and do, Dubai holidays are a great shout for a December getaway. 

Want to find out more? Check out these fantastic hotels in Dubai!

Cancun

If all you want for Christmas is a bit of sun, then look no further than Cancun! With a sizzling daily average of 24°C throughout the month of December, the white sands and blue seas of Mexico’s Caribbean coastline have never looked so appealing.

Tempted? Check out our full range of Cancun holidays!

Lanzarote 

Enjoying a lovely year-round climate and stunning volcanic landscapes, there’s never a bad time to visit the Canary Island of Lanzarote. And while the weather here may be frightful, in Lanzarote it’s certainly delightful! Hitting a daily average of 19°C, this island is a great choice for those looking to enjoy a winter getaway without the sunburn. 

SEEING AUSTRIA

Day 1 & 2 in Vienna

Vienna is such an amazing city and was much bigger than I was expecting. With its elegant gardens and rich history, you will for sure need two days to see everything. I would suggest breaking the city up in half when planning. We split our exploring days by the northern and southern parts of the city. This makes it more manageable, as it is a very large city.

We booked our stay just outside of the city center in the neighborhood of Josefstadt. This kept costs down and it was still walking distance to everything we needed. Be sure that you book a hotel with its own parking because city parking can get expensive.

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Vienna Day 1

This is the day we chose to explore the southern part of the city.

Things to See & Do

  • Morning Visit To Schöbrunn Palace:Start the day out with this attraction as it is one of the city’s most popular sites and can get overcrowded as the day goes on. You can take the U4 subway line and it will stop right outside the palace. You can purchase your tickets before hand or purchase tickets at the kiosk once you arrive. There are a few different options for tours so choose which one you are most interested in. We took the shorter tour with an audio guide and I thought it was very thorough (We even walked through the room where Mozart gave his first concert). Be sure to explore the grounds of the palace and walk up to the Gloriette to enjoy the view. It is well worth the hike!
  • Lunch at Nachstmarkt: After visiting the Schönbrunn Palace jump back on the U4 subway line and exit at the “Kettenbruckeng” This will be right in the heart of the famous Nachstmarkt. Here you will find numerous vendors selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and bread. If it’s a nice day, buy a few things and have a picnic! If the weather isn’t working with you that is no problem. There are tons of great restaurants right there as well. Stop and have a bite!
  • Afternoon of Museums or Shopping:Jump back on the U4 line and head towards the city center for your afternoon activities. This is where you can decide what most interests you. Kevin and I decided to do a bit of shopping. There are a few brands I just adore, and I can’t get them as easily at home. I know not everyone likes to shop while traveling, and if that’s you, pick a Museum to visit in Vienna’s Museum quarter. If you don’t make it into a museum, a stroll through the grounds is exquisite as well.
  • Evening Classical Music Concert: Austria is well known for its classical music. Being that Mozart is from Austria, they pay a big tribute to that by having what seems like an opera house on every corner! The most famous of them being The State Opera House. There are multiple musical events going on everyday so it’s easy to get into one and have it be fairly affordable. Go ahead and book a concert. It doesn’t even have to be Mozart, there are several contemporary composers that will be playing from time to time as well. We booked our tickets with The Vienna Mozart Symphony at the Golden Hall. It was touristy, which was expected, but it was a reasonable price for two hours of fabulous live classical music. Concerts usually start around 8pm

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Vienna Day 2

This is the day to explore the Northern part of the city.

Things to See & Do

  • Morning Bike Ride: They have made it easy to rent a bike in Vienna. A company called Citybike has bike “stations” placed all over the city and you can rent them just by stepping up to the automated kiosk and entering your information. Note that you can only rent one bike per credit card. The best part is that the first hour is free!! I would recommend biking around the famous “Ring Street” which is the street that circles all the way around the old city center.
  • Catch A Birds-Eye View of Vienna: At the very northern part of the city is the iconic Reisenrad. This giant ferris wheel has been around for more than 100 years and is an icon of the city. I will admit it was rather touristy, however the view was spectacular and in my opinion it was worth the 9 Euros to ride.
  • Stop for Cake: Jump back on the U1 Subway back to center of the city. Take a break and recharge with some cake and coffee at the famous Central Café.
  • Afternoon Visit to St. Stephens Cathedral: This is an absolutely stunning church in the center of Vienna. I would suggest taking a tour of the church. There are private guided tours and also audio guides available. Also, if you are interested, there are tours of the catacombs under the church!
  • Evening Drinks at Dochboden: This is a lovely rooftop bar located just outside of the center of the city. It is a little hard to find as it is on top of the 25 Hours Hotel, but follow the signs and they will lead you to the elevator that takes you up. The view is spectacular and the drinks are amazing! Stop by and watch the sun go down while sipping a fabulous cocktail. The city is absolutely beautiful at night!
  • Pack and Rest Up: It’s a beautiful city and you may feel like you never want to leave, however in the morning begins the trek to Berchtesgaden.

Extra Tip: Vienna sells a city pass that you can purchase online that gets you unlimited city commuting (bus, tram, subway ext.) it also gets your entrance to many of the attractions in the city. Take a look at everything you want to see, it could save you a few bucks! We all love saving buck.

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Day 3 Berchtesgaden Area 

Morning Drive from Vienna to Berchtesgaden

Today you will drive from Vienna to the Berchtesgaden area. This drive should take around 3 hours. Yes, I know this is actually in Germany, but it’s such a beautiful and important area that it would be a crime to miss it. Since the drive is a bit long and there is much to see I would suggest getting and early start. When arriving to the area there are two major sites that you can choose to explore. Pick the one that interests you.

Things to See & Do

  • Lake Königsee: If the weather is good, I would suggest you visit the lake. Boats come and go about every 20 minutes and it is pretty inexpensive to ride. There are two different routes that you can take, one is just a bit longer. At either destination you can take a hike and explore the beautiful scenery. Keep in mind that the shortest hike is about a three hour hike roundtrip. If you are not feeling like a long hike there are restaurants to sit and eat while enjoying the Mountainous backdrop. Absolutely beautiful!
  • The Eagle’s Nest: For the history buff, I would spend the day visiting Hitler’s Eagles Nest. As it stands today, it acts as a restaurant. However, if you do visit, you should book a tour because there is so much information that you don’t get if you just visit on your own. We took a short 30 minute tour that was only $5 and I thought it was a great deal. This tour cannot be booked ahead of time and you just pay when you get to the site. Otherwise, there are several other tours that you can book online ahead of time.

Extra Tip: After your tour, I would strongly recommend going to see the old WW2 bunkers under Hotel zum Turken (wear closed toes shoes as it is cold and VERY wet).

Drive up to Salzburg

After your day in Berchtesgaden make your way to Salzburg. The drive should only be about 30 minutes. Again make sure you book a hotel that has parking because it is quite difficult to find parking and city parking structures can be very expensive. Stay the night in Salzburg and enjoy dinner at one of their many fabulous restaurants.

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Day 4 Salzburg

Things to See & Do

  • Visit the Salt Mines: There are several tours that will leave from Salzburg. You can choose to book a tour or you can catch a bus on your own. You will most likely pay a bit extra for the convenience of transportation to and from, however it might be worth it because sometimes parking can be difficult. If you arrive early this won’t be as much of an issue. The first tours start at 9am in the summer months.
  • Explore the city of Salzburg: After returning from the salt mines head to The Salzburg city center. Salzburg is actually much smaller than I expected and can be explored very easily by foot. The downtown area is strictly a pedestrian area so you will either need to park your car at your hotel or along the street. You can purchase street parking vouchers for three hours at a time. Spend the rest of the afternoon strolling around the cobblestone streets of Salzburg. Here are a few attractions that are notable:
  • The Salzburg Fortress: This is probably the most famous attraction in Salzburg and rightfully so! It is a beautiful white washed building up on a hill looking over the city. You cannot drive up to the fortress and it is a bit of a walk so bring your comfy walking shoes!

  • Mozart’s Birth House: This is another popular attraction in Salzburg. Kevin and I did not actually go in as we felt it was a bit touristy but it was fun to walk up and take a picture in front of the building.
  • Dinner in Salzburg: This city is buzzing with fabulous restaurants and cafes. Pick one that looks good to you!! Rest up for your travels to Innsbruck.

Extra Tip: for more on Salzburg visit The Trusted Travellers guide to Salzburg.

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Day 5 Innsbruck 

Drive to Innsbruck

This drive should take you about 2-3 hours. This city is most well-known for skiing and winter attractions. However, there is plenty to do in the city itself if you are visiting in the summer or if you are like me and don’t ski! The city is rather small and can be done by foot in a day.

Things to See & Do

  • Take In The View: One of my favorite sites in this city is the cable car ride up the Nordkette. The ride is a bit expensive, but to me, the views at the top make it well worth it. There is a ski lodge up at the top of the mountain and you can sit and have a beer and a bite while taking in the views.

Saint Jacob Cathedral: This little gem was one of my favorite churches in Austria. I think I loved it most because of its element of surprise. From the outside, it looks rather plain, but step inside and prepare to be blown away! It’s a must see!

  • Stroll around Old Town: Innsbruck has an absolutely charming city center. With its specialty shops and old medieval gothic arches it’s guaranteed to impress. As you explore be sure to stop for cake and coffee at Café Krö

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This concludes your 5 day tour around Austria! This country remains one of my favorite in Europe. There is so much beauty and charm that every time I come I am even more blown away.

This itinerary obviously does not cover EVERYTHING that there is to see however it is a list of the sites that I feel are the most important and beautiful.

WINTER SUN

When you haven’t seen the sun in months, and the weather looks as though it’s shaping up to bring nothing but endless stretches of grey cloud, cold wind and freezing rain, it’s inevitable you’ll start wishing summer would hurry up and arrive.

While winter sun holidays often mean long haul flights, our list of eight hot spots around the world include some that can be reached in less than five hours and still experience temperatures of 19℃ and above.

THE CANARY ISLANDS

If you’re wondering where to go for winter sun but don’t want a long haul flight, the Canary Islands are your best bet. In fact, the Canaries – which include ever-popular Tenerife, Fuertaventura, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote – some of the most reliable winter sun in Europe, with temperatures averaging just a nip below 20℃.

That’s because their location just off the north-west coast of Africa ensures the beaches remain strewn with sun loungers and towels.

Consider Lanzarote for its spectacular volcanic scenery, Tenerife for its year-round water parks and Gran Canaria for its wide sandy beaches and family-friendly Palmitos Park. Whichever island you choose, you’re guaranteed pleasant temperatures and evenings that are warm enough for a sunset stroll along the beach.

Holidays to the Canary Islands

MEXICO

Despite the fact that the middle of winter is the coldest time in Mexico, temperatures hover just a little below 30℃, with little rainfall and plenty of sunshine along its Caribbean coast.

The tropical resort of Cancun also enjoys its dry season at this time of year, which draws sun seekers from all over the world to its Caribbean-edged coast with white sandy beaches and turquoise seas.

Cancun is a great destination to consider if you fancy the hustle and bustle of a city with lively restaurants, nightclubs and bars, balanced with the awe and wonder of the ancient Mayan sites – the perfect sightseeing spot for culture vultures. Don’t miss the chance to go scuba diving at the underwater museum ‘Museo Subacuático de Arte’ if you head to the east coast.

Holidays to Mexico

FLORIDA

America may not be your first thought if you’re wondering where to go for winter sun, but there’s one destination in particular that’s lovely and warm in winter – Florida.

Temperatures in the Sunshine State rarely drop below 20℃ at this time of year, and the sea stays nice and warm too – meaning you can bank on an afternoon swim if you’ve enjoyed a morning relaxing on the beach.

There’s plenty to do off the beach too, with Universal Studios Orlando and Walt Disney World just two attractions offering entertainment for children and adults alike.

If you’d prefer to head to the Everglades, now’s the perfect time to go because humidity is low, the biting bugs are mercifully nowhere to be seen and the wildlife viewing tends to be at its best.

Holidays to Florida

MOROCCO

For some gentle winter sun and an exotic destination without the long-haul flight, consider Morocco. This North African destination is by no means the warmest place on this list of places to consider, but it’s certainly a lot warmer than the UK – especially if you visit the south or middle of the country away from the North Atlantic coast.

While it’s chilly when night falls, daytime temperatures tend to reach anywhere from 14℃ to 20℃, meaning you can comfortably explore the architecture, cafes and markets of vibrant places such as Marrakech without needing to wrap up.

Pay a visit to the Jemaa el-Fna square for snake charmers, belly dancers and stalls brimming with gifts, or simply watch the world go by from a comfortable seat in a traditional cafe – it’s an unforgettable place and unlike anywhere you’re likely to have seen in Europe.

Holidays to Morocco

DUBAI

If you’re wondering where to go for winter sun but want more than a beach to keep you entertained, Dubai should be top of your list.

This glistening location in the United Arab Emirates is filled with towering skyscrapers, world-class shopping malls and marine-animal parks. To crown it all, you can expect sea and land temperatures of anywhere between 20℃ and 25℃.

For example, you can dine in the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest skyscraper), take a boat ride along the Dubai Creek, see the Palm Jumeirah or experience the thrill of the IMG Worlds of Adventure indoor amusement park.

In fact, winter is arguably the best time of year to take a holiday to Dubai considering that this desert destination is often sweltering later in the year.

Holidays to Dubai

THAILAND

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East Asia is certainly somewhere to consider if you’re wondering where to go for winter sun. In fact, Thailand offers some of the most dependable warm weather for sun seekers, with a change of pace and culture that feels exotic, interesting and totally unlike anything back home.

Temperatures in some parts of the country drop as low as 20℃ during the winter months, but maximum temperatures often reach a balmy 28℃, so you’ll certainly be able to bring your holiday wardrobe along with you.

Consider exploring the temples of Chiang Mao, the beaches of Koh Lanta, or the islands of Koh Phi Phi and Krabi, and get ready to embrace the Buddhist influence in Thailand’s culture – perfect for encouraging rest and relaxation.

Holidays to Thailand

CYPRUS

Marina in charming Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus

This island in the eastern Mediterranean is best known for its beachside resorts of Paphos, Larnaca, Limassol and Ayia Napa, which enjoy average winter temperatures of 22-23°C during the day and 12-13°C at night.

This means that in addition to enjoying an average of 340 days of sunshine each year, Cyprus has the warmest winters of all Mediterranean countries due to the island lying just 75 miles west of Syria in the Middle East.

While its beaches and weather are obvious attractions for winter sun seekers, Cyprus is rich in history dating back thousands of years, has lush, verdant pine forests, salt lakes and is noted for its wine and potato production.

Holidays to Cyprus

BARBADOS

Just 13 degrees north of the equator, the Caribbean island of Barbados enjoys a tropical climate and warm temperatures all year round.

The dry season, which started in January, means sun seekers can bask on the silky sand beaches in temperatures that tend to average around 28℃. The sea is the perfect temperature too – 27℃ – with gentle waves on the west coast and wild waves on the east coast (perfect if you want to do a spot of surfing).

Barbados is a foodie’s paradise, with phenomenal seafood and Bajan dishes fusing cuisine from the West Indies, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean plentiful, together with this paradise island’s other delicacy – Mount Gay Rum.

Don’t be fooled into thinking Barbados is somewhere to just simply eat, drink and sunbathe, though. You can swim with turtles, explore botanical gardens, trek through the forests and hang out in bars well into the night.

Holidays to Barbados

These are just eight of our favourite destinations for winter sun. There are plenty more winter sun destinations here for you to consider, so have a look and treat yourself to a holiday. The extra dose of vitamin D and the change of pace is sure to do you good!

EDITORS WEEK IN REVIEW

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So this week I indulged in a little down-time. I’m not really one for taking out and out holidays but over the last couple of years a pattern does appear to have been forming where I seem to find myself in Italy in October. Yes I absolutely agree, there are a lot worse things that could happen. Now though any break I do manage to take still becomes in essence a review these days. After all it’s in all of us sharing our experiences that we can make informed decisions about things. Put things on the shortlist through a recommendation or strike it off via a trusted tip.

So here I am on Italy’s East coast in the incredible resort of Rimini. A place that for sure is heavily sprinkled in style, finesse, wealth and glamour. (Maybe a future headquarters location?). We arrive just before lunchtime on Wednesday, the sun has already been beaming through the panoramic sunroof of the hire car and on arriving at the hotel (The Grand Hotel Rimini) the valet takes our bags and removes the car from our sight before I have even realigned these ageing vertebrae. Before anything else I need coffee and I need Italian coffee. This is a a four night break and there is a predefined tick list to work through. Coffee, fine dining, mojito, pizza, ice cream, fish, sun bathing and some photography for good measure.

The coffee is as always and as expected flawless and always served at immediate drinking temperature. This will no doubt be the first of many more. Served in a cup and saucer with a half dozen delicate biscuits on the side its mere presence on the table provokes conversation. The only thing is to be mindful of the strength as it is so easy to just keep ordering and spend the nights a satisfied shaky mess.

A fish lunch is in order and as Rimini is still just beginning to open its eyes from the night before we casually slide into Lo Squero, a charming beach fronted restaurant with a full menu compiled from what the ocean before it dictates. It was to be squid for me and it doesn’t disappoint. Backed with a rich yet delicate source over the pasta it leaves you full but still wanting more.

Dinner is decided to take place within the hotel at their incredible in house restaurant. Formal dress code and impeccable manners are expected and you are rewarded with some staggering prepared dishes. Food in-fact so good this restaurant will be revisited 24 hours later. Here I experience simply the best dessert I have ever eaten. A tiramasu that actually cannot be described. It was sublime. Mains were equal in triumph, Lamb chops and duck breast made to the chefs private recipe and on the second time of asking A risotto and an ocean pasta, yes I was drawn in by the squid again. Staff that were just so willing to please and serve to make our dining experience something memorable.

This basis of this trip was for out and out down time, to relax and recharge. No early hours of the morning parties but more racking up hours by the pool letting the late summer sun warm us through. Days of coffee and sunshine, evenings rich food. For an autherntic Italian pizza we found ourselves at Chi Sburoun Osteria e Cucina, an amazing indoor/outdoor venue making pizza all night long. Here you are seated in chairs wrapped in blankets so you can fend of the chill of the night as the hours tick by, the down heaters hold a lovely ambient temperature and the experience is capped off by the surreal event of being passed an umbrella as Christmas songs are played through the restaurants sound system and a snow machine mounted to the telegraph pole outside pumps flurries of fake snow around us. The pizza though is just as you would want and expect, freshly made with fresh ingredients leaving you stuffed but wanting more. Pair it with the chilli infused oil on the table and it is just about perfect.

On to a local gelato to cap the whole experience off and put to bed flavours of Amaretto, Rum, Mascarpone and Biscotti and the Italian mission is complete.

Rimini is known for its high end lifestyle but here and now, just a few days out of season and the extra cost doesn’t really feel like a factor, you are ever-spoilt by the service and the food and drink. As a resort, a destination it is in my opinion that it should be experienced. So much happens here, music, Porsche races around the Misano track. Quite literally an amazing place with I’m sure so much more to offer than we manage to see in our low-key trip.

Put it on the list, put a pin in the map because I promise you that you will love what this magical town can offer you.

BEST VIEWS IN LONDON

1.) The Shard

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Get a ticket and head up to the View from the Shard for an amazing view across all of London. It covers a 360 view so this is easily one of the most impressive places to see all of London. 

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Price: around £30 for adults (discounts available). Book your tickets here.

Address: 32 London Bridge Street, London SE1 9SG

Visiting London? Check out the best shopping spots, here

2.) Big Ben

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You need to be resident in the UK for this one but basically, you get to climb up Big Ben for free if you are (contact your MP about this) and when you do, the view from the top is definitely worth it! Especially from such a historic site.

Price: Free, though due to current restoration work, you might not be able to grab an invite.

Address: (Really? 😉 Okay, then…) Westminster, London SW1A 0AA

Visiting London? See some of the secret spots in the city

3.) The London Eye

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The view from the London Eye is particularly great for Westminster and the St Paul’s area. One bit of advice I’d give is to get a spot near the window as soon as you get in so you don’t have to struggle for a view with other people on your pod. The view is pretty good from all angles.

Price: Around £25+ (discounts available). Book your tickets, here.

Address: London SE1 7PB, right across the river from the Houses of Parliament.

Read more on some unusual spots to see in London

4.) Vertigo 42 Champagne Bar

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Yes, the prices at Vertigo42 Champagne Bar are at a premium but if you think of it as paying for admission to a place with amazing views across all of London, it starts to make sense. Plus you get to enjoy this view while chilling out on a comfy sofa in a warm environment so there’s always that too. 

This is an ideal, pre (or post) dinner venue but remember to make a reservation in advance as they fill up quite quickly.

Price: Prices start at around £12+ for a glass of wine and £14+ for cocktails.

Address: Level 42, Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HQ

Looking for great bars in London? check out these

5.) Duck and Waffle

Duck and Waffle is a lovely restaurant with an amazing view over London. Perfect for sunrise or sunset as they’re open 24 hours.

Price: A meal can cost upwards of £20-30

Address: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY

Read more on the best foody markets to visit in London

6.) Primrose Hill

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This offers amazing views of London for free from one of London’s Royal Parks.

It might not necessarily be the most amazing or most impressive view of the lot but it sure looks great with the backdrop of the park that leads up to the view of London.

Price: Free

Address: (Same as the name – Primrose Hill)

See our interactive tube map of London. What to see at each stop, here

7.) Tower Bridge

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You can either pay or do this via your MP but the view from the top of Tower Bridge is make that extra sweet by getting to see the exhibition in the Tower and actually be inside such an iconic part of London and city’s heritage.

Price: £10+ with discounts available. You can book a lunch and entry package here.

Address: Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 2UP

See some of these spots in Covent Garden, too

8.) Oxo Tower

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The OXO Tower is most definitely food with a view. Pretty much everyone who’s been here loves it and so my guess is that you probably will too! 😉 

Price: Starting at around £21.50 for a main

Address: Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, London, SE1 9PH

See some of our pics from the OXO Tower Restaurant, here

9.) Sushi Samba

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Sushi Samba is actually next to Duck and Waffle and also offers amazing views over all of London.

The food isn’t cheap as you can imagine but one of those cases where it’s definitely worth it (it’s delicious and there’s the view so. 

Price: Starting at £15+ for plates

Address: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY

See more on the best eats in London, here

10.) Sky Garden

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Covered this already in this post but to recap, it’s there is an amazing view from the Sky Garden all over London. Best of all, it’s free.

Just make sure to book your free tickets, here.

Price: Free

Address: 20 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 3BY

11.) St Paul’s Cathedral

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Climb to the top of the iconic London landmark for amazing panoramic views of London. St Paul’s really has some gorgeous vantage points over the city. 

Price: £18+ (discounts available). You can book St Paul’s with a gorgeous meal, here.

Address: St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD

12.) Up at the O2

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Climb the O2 and be rewarded with a fantastic view of Canary Wharf. Of course, the view of Canary Wharf means that it’s harder to see other parts of the city but it’s a nice fun activity to do in London and definitely worth checking out. 

Price: £28+ Book tickets, here for two people and a fancy dinner.

Address: Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX

13.) ArcelorMittal Orbit

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This sculpture made for the Olympics in London back in 2012 offers amazing panoramic views of London from the East End. You can even slide down from the top! 

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Reception (to the way it looks) was initially mixed when it was unveiled in London but takes nothing away from the amazing view (and brilliant photos) you will get from the top of the sculpture. (More details available here) Plus, who can resist the slide down? 🤣

Price: Around £15+ each. You can book your tickets, here.

Address: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 3 Thornton Street, London E20 2ST

14.) Emirates Air Line

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This is a cable car that crosses the River Thames (around the same area where the O2 is) and is another great way to get a brilliant view over all of London. 

Of course, it’s not free but it only costs £3.30 for Oyster card holder (half for children) so it’s easily one of the cheapest options of the paid for ones above. 

Price: £3.40 with Oystercard (£4.50+ without – discounts available)

Address: Emirates Cable Car Terminal, Edmund Halley Way, London SE10 0FR

HAIKU STAIRS

It’s called the Haiku Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven Hawaii, and it has one of the most breathtaking views on the entire planet.

However, that view comes with a price because it’s actually illegal to climb. The stairs were originally installed during World War II so military could access a radio station antennae that sat roughly 2,000 feet up in the mountains.

Located on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, which reaches a peak of nearly 3,000 feet, is forbidden by the Hawaiian government due to liability issues and land access problems. A guard was even present during the day (though many people now say the guard is gone).

Even with all the restrictions, it doesn’t stop the thrill seekers, they say it’s worth the risk of being arrested. There are many parts to the hike that are pretty terrifying, but one of the scariest moments are early on, when you’re forced to climb a ladder vertically up a steep mountain.

The Haiku Stairs

photo credit: Miguel Toralba / See More

You wouldn’t want to look down


photo credit: Miguel Toralba / See More

There’s 4,000 stairs in total

photo credit: Art La Flamme

The view is absolutely worth it

haiku-stairs-hawaii-stairway-to-heaven-11photo credit: Brock Roseberry

Recently a powerful storm damaged most of the stairs making it now almost completely inaccessible in some spots. The entire fate of the stairs is now up in the air unless community organizations come together to fix it—> *Update on this below.

Many people start the hike early in the morning when it’s still dark so they can catch the sunrise

haiku-stairs-hawaii-stairway-to-heaven-13photo credit: Michael Keany

The steps up the steep mountain actually use to be all made of wood, if you can believe it. However, in the mid 1950’s those wooden steps were replaced with sections of metal steps and ramps totaling approximately 3,922.

Just imagine walking around on wooden steps, that would be even more terrifying.

I’m not sure I would ever leave this place

Someones even added a swing at the top

Stairway To Heaven

Recently, a nonprofit organization called Friends of Haiku Stairs, laid out a plan to collect revenue from tourists and local hikers.

The money would go towards reconstruction and maintenance costs. They’re proposing a plan that includes a $100 fee for out-of-state visitors, and a $5 to $20 fee for Hawaiian residents.

If you liked the Haiku Stairs, check out the Hamilton Pool Preserve: A secret paradise located in Texas!

CHERNOBYL: THE CLAW

The Claw sits alone in a dead pocket of a forest on the outskirts of Pripyat, where it was abandoned in the aftermath of the clean-up efforts following the 1986 disaster.

Workers, unsure of where to leave the highly radioactive claw, dumped the frightening piece of machinery in the depths of the forest, far from the beaten track, in the hope nobody would ever find it — it was simply deemed too dangerous to leave anywhere else.

But while the Claw isn’t easy to find, a handful of official guides know where it’s located. Even so, very few tourists request permission from Ukrainian officials to get close to the highly contaminated claw.

It’s now become a creepy relic of the tragedy that happened 33 years ago. Yet, like almost everything about Chernobyl, even a discarded piece of radioactive machinery is still capable of stirring up feelings of both horror and morbid fascination.

Tourism to Chernobyl has skyrocketed in the wake of the HBO TV series Chernobyl, but the question remains: Would you be content to stick with the official exclusion zone tour, or would you go out of your way to visit the Claw?

Here’s what happened when our Chernobyl expert Robert Maxwell got as close as you can get to the most dangerous thing in the zone.

RADIOACTIVE GRAPHITE

The Claw is a large piece of crane machinery that was used in the weeks after the Chernobyl disaster of April 26, 1986 to help clean up the radioactive graphite and material that exploded out of reactor four and onto the neighbouring roofs of the power plant.

When it was no longer useful, the Claw was removed from the crane and dumped deep in a forest where it was hoped nobody would find it.

But, of course, they did.

The Claw was used to dismantle the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and other radioactive areas. It is still so irradiated that, 30 years on, touching it could prove lethal. Photo / Supplied

Sydney archaeologist Robert Maxwell, who is the only archaeologist in the world who has worked at Chernobyl during two field excursions, told news.com.au the work of the Claw was critical.

TEMPLE BAR

First, some history. Temple Bar has always been a popular spot – the Vikings set up camp here as far back as 795 A.D. Their settlement remains can be seen in Dublin Castle today. Fast forward a few centuries to a time when British diplomat Sir William Temple built his grand residence and gardens on the site, the name stuck and Temple Bar was born.

The Temple Bar area is a square on the south bank of the River Liffey with off-shooting streets and narrow laneways. They’re lined with boutiques, cafes, galleries and pubs, and at any time of year, packed with culture-vultures and party-seekers. It’s the city’s playground, and it has a lot going on.

Culture capital

Temple Bar is the centre of Dublin’s cultural universe. Buskers, street artists, open air markets and exhibitions a create carnival atmosphere. You can catch a show (no less than three theatres on offer), mosey through a gallery, explore a market, go to a gig or just plonk yourself in a café for Dublin’s best people-watching spot.

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Culture squared

Meeting House Square is Temple Bar’s culture HQ. It is lined by The National Photographic Archive and The Gallery of Photography (both free entry), and the Irish Film Institute. It is also a stage for occasional screenings, markets and even a vineyard.

Every Saturday, it erupts with colour with the food market. Huge canopies cover the square making it all-weather. On sale you’ll find fresh fruit and veg, a cheesemongers, even oysters. Around the corner in the main square, the Temple Bar Book Market has a world of literature on its stalls.

Between the squares is Filmbase, a mecca for film fans with a public gallery, tasty café, free lectures and screenings.

Temple Bar tastes

Feeling peckish? Wander the cobbled streets and let your sense of smell guide you. The fare on offer is international, from Indonesian eatery The Chameleon to French bistro Les Fréres Jacques. For traditional Irish, get your boxty on at Gallagher’s Boxty House. For a real treat, try the Tea Room restaurant at The Clarence Hotel, and keep an eye out for owners Bono and The Edge.

Bring on the night

When the sun goes down, the volume goes up. Temple Bar has the highest density of pubs of in Dublin City, so no problems grabbing a pint here. Street musicians play their hearts out for the revellers hopping from pub to pub. The rhythmic sounds of Irish trad music may tempt you in for a pint and a dance. The Oliver St John Gogarty bar has live Irish trad every day and night.

Down Fleet St, is The Porterhouse Bar and brewery pub. One of the bastions of Ireland’s craft beer scene, The Porterhouse’s taps only flow with their brews, and there are bottled wonders from around the world.

Quite like Temple Bar itself: a cultural melting pot with an Irish flavour at its heart.

TOP 5 UK BEACHES

Fistral Beach

This cool coast of Cornwall has a perfect blend of swooshing blue waves to surf on, the soft sand to dig your feet under, regular festivals to get your blood pumping and a touch of greenery in the background to create the perfect mix for a great day out at Fistral Beach.

This beach is well known for its surfing advantages. Each surf board compliments the waves. You can buy all the equipment you need right there on the beach. There’s a surf school if you want to start learning and group lessons if you want to try it with your friends.

If you’re thinking this beach deserves more than one day of your time, there’s the Fistral Beach Hotel or other hotels nearby which will help you relax, enjoy yourself with this beautiful beach on your doorstep.

Weymouth Beach

Dorset’s swirling arc creates a sight of relaxation and bliss at Weymouth Beach.

The golden beach sand between your toes and the deep blue sea makes it another great spot for a little dip, some tanning and building sand-castles with the kids.

It is only a few minutes away from the town centre of Dorset where you can visit historic landmarks as well. This three mile beach is a perfect location to bond with your family or simply walk your dog in the quieter seasons.

You can get an idea for hotels nearby and pick one that will cater to your wants, needs and desires. 

Rhossili Bay

Set in Swansea, Rhossili Bay was voted Britain’s best beach by Trip Advisor for two consecutive years, and there is definitely a reason why. In fact, it is named the 9th best beach in the world. So obviously you don’t need to travel all the way to the Caribbean for the perfect beach. 

The green landscape along with the bright blue sea bring each other out perfectly to create this crisp and wondrous beach. Wales’ hills and mountain tops peek across the outskirts of the beach, creating a sense of bewilderment and complete serenity.

This dog-friendly beach is situated near the small village of Rhossili. And its description won’t be enough to prepare you for the phenomenal view you’ll encounter. Hotels may be a little farther away, but it’s certainly worth the walk. 

Portminster Beach

Not only do you get clear, blue water and a sandy beach, but pasta, fish and vegetarian food can fully complete your day out at Portminster beach.

The cafe situated on the beach will be that perfect companion. Sticky toffee pudding or a nice glass of wine at a table on the beach will relieve all your stresses away. You can find a hotel nearby and start planning your holiday.

This Cornwall beach will have you enjoying yourself with your family and friends, while seeing children make sand castles. You’ll also enjoy the unforgettable view of the horizon. That magnificent sight spreads from St Ives all the way to the Godrevy Lighthouse (which was the inspiration behind Virgina Woolf’s ‘To The Lighthouse’).

Perranporth Beach

In another part of Cornwall, excellent water quality and a magnificent scenery is available for you to enjoy at Perranporth Beach.

Rocks reigning across the Perranporth Beach creates a sense of power and magnitude. Give this beach a try, especially if you’re easily inspired by the scenery surrounding a bright blue beach.

The archetypal town across the beach is also available and most facilities are close to the town, so nothing will be too far away. The large spread of sand will give you the impression of a desert-like environment, with sandy hills curling across the entire beach.

Find a hotel nearby and plan a day out with the family or your partner. This is another great beach to breathe in the salty air, refresh your body and mind, and have a little splash in that coral water.

OUT IN MADRID

Spain is famous the world over for its nightlife and party culture.

With trendy bars, happening nightclubs and so much more, Madrid is the place to be for the ultimate night on the town. And of course, it’s worth keeping in mind that nights go late here. Madrileños will often head out to the clubs around the same time that people in other countries would be calling it a night and heading home! If you can keep up, nightlife in Madrid can be one of the most memorable parts of your trip. Here are our favorite late-night hotspots.

Ready to experience the iconic nightlife in Madrid? Here's where to go and what to do!

Teatro Kapital

Going to Teatro Kapital is practically a rite of passage when it comes to nightlife in Madrid. With seven floors spanning all kinds of musical styles from Latin to funk to R&B and so many more, the mythical nightclub has made a name for itself as one of the most iconic nighttime hotspots in the city. As the largest club in Madrid and one of the largest in Europe, it draws eager visitors from all corners of the globe. It features dozens of bars (including one on the roof), a cozy area for couples complete with a movie screen, a karaoke stage and so much more. It’s a one-stop wonder for the most complete nightlife experience in the city!

AddressCalle de Atocha, 125

Joy Eslava

Another legendary destination in the heart of Madrid, Joy Eslava stands out due to the fact that it’s open 365 days a year (unlike many clubs which only open on the weekends). The four-story venue opened 150 years ago as a theater, and details of its old-world past can still be seen. It was renovated and inaugurated as a nightclub in the 1980s and the party hasn’t stopped since. Partygoers can enjoy a different theme each night of the week, which keeps things fresh. The club enjoys international renown as a reference point for some of the best nightlife in Madrid.

AddressCalle del Arenal, 11

Joy Eslava is a must when it comes to nightlife in Madrid!
Joy Eslava’s recognizable exterior gives a glimpse into the venue’s past life as a theater. Photo credit: Tnarik Innael

Marula Cafe

If you’re looking for a nightclub with a more intimate, authentic vibe, head to Marula Cafe. This veteran nighttime hotspot in La Latina has been a favorite among locals and visitors alike for years. Their playlist of the hottest international hits provides a pleasantly surprising musical variety. It’s also home to one of Madrid’s best outdoor terraces, making it a particularly excellent option on those warm summer nights. The entrance fee is quite reasonable compared to other clubs in the city and allows you access to a more laid-back atmosphere.

AddressCalle de Caños Viejos, 3

Nightlife in Madrid can be incredibly varied. For great music and an international vibe, check out Marula Cafe!
Good vibes and even better music set the tone at Marula Cafe. Photo credit: Marula Cafe

Cafe Central

For more than 35 years, Cafe Central has been a reference for excellent jazz music in Madrid. If you’re looking to spend a more relaxed evening enjoying smooth sounds in good company, this is the place for you. The building which houses the club dates back to 1908 and has continually been used as a live music venue. Today, Cafe Central enjoys a status as one of the world’s top jazz clubs according to respected jazz publication Down Beat. Despite its renown, it stays true to its humble roots as a place where people from all walks of life can come and enjoy a fantastic show.

AddressPlaza del Ángel, 10

Museo Chicote

Vintage Hollywood glamour meets fun, modern vibes at Museo Chicote, one of the most legendary spots for nightlife in Madrid. Dating back to 1931, its claim to fame is its status as Spain’s first American-style bar. It became such a success that cultural icons such as Ernest Hemingway, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra were known to have made appearances here. Today, it retains much of the original art deco design and classic cocktails that made it famous, while adapting to the vibrant modern pace of the city.

AddressCalle Gran Vía, 12

A legendary place to experience nightlife in Madrid: Museo Chicote, home to fabulous cocktails and a long list of famous clientele.
The expertly mixed cocktails at Museo Chicote have kept customers coming back for decades! Photo credit: Emilia Brandão for Museo Chicote

Wurlitzer Ballroom

Calling all rock fans! When it comes to nightlife in Madrid, you can’t get much better than the legendary Wurlitzer Ballroom. With reasonable prices, an unbeatable location near Gran Vía and carefully controlled crowd sizes (get there early to grab a spot!), it includes all the makings of a perfect night out. The industrial space plays host to national and international rock bands of all stylings, including punk, metal, garage and more. This mainstay on Madrid’s live music scene is synonymous with an unforgettable night out.