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Although originally known as a summer destination, when the first snowflakes land in St-Moritz, so do the international scenesters, bundled up in the latest "must-have" accessories. In winter, take a ride on the Glacier Express from Zermatt to arrive in style. Cable cars ascend to three nearby mountain tops. Hundreds of miles of ski trails and a frozen lake comprise the area's most popular sports venues. Follow the Romans' example and try one of the city's mineral springs, such as St-Moritz Bader.
One of the Tirol area’s most popular ski resorts, St. Anton offers some of the best expert skiing and one of the liveliest après-ski scenes in the Arlberg region. The Valluga, Kapall, and Schindler peaks offer almost a mile of vertical skiing. For the seasoned, Schindlerkar and Mattun are less groomed routes.
Just a few miles south of the Austrian border, Merano (also called Meran) is an old spa town. About half the residents here speak German, the other half Italian. Take a dip in one of the thermal baths, or try Merano’s famous “grape cure” by imbibing - what else? - lots of grapes. The South Tyrol Museum of Tourism is located in Trauttmansdorff Castle, the former holiday pad of Austria’s Empress Elisabeth. Merano 2000, a ski resort that’s actually in the village of Hafling, is linked by cable car.
A gorgeous spot that’s a convenient day trip from Milan, Lake Como recently earned fame as home to Hollywood star George Clooney. But celeb-spotting aside, it’s known for jaw-dropping natural beauty, elegant old villas—and the scenic towns surrounding the lake. Check out Varenna, Bellagio, and Menaggio, which offer great views, historic churches, and water-based activities such as ferries and passenger-only boats.
Nestled at the tip of a promontory jutting into Lake Como, Bellagio boasts unparalleled shoreline and Alpine views. Add in boutique-lined cobblestone streets, Italian villas, and fragrant gardens, and it’s no secret why Bellagio is known as the Pearl of Lake Como.
Bergamo is a northern Italy treasure. Dating from 49 BC, Bergamo has two centres: the Alta (upper) city and the Bassa (lower) city, connected by a funicular and walking trails. For historic sites, go to Alta for the Piazza Vecchia,the Cattedrale di Bergamo e Battistero, and the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore Baptistry, as well as the quirky mausoleum of Rastelli, the world famous juggler. Bassa is more modern and residential, and boasts Via 20 Settembre - the shopping district.
Perfectly positioned on a lake with the Alps at its back, lucky Lugano has a little bit of everything. Ride a cable car up Monte San Salvatore or Monte Bre for sunny panoramas of lake, rivers, mountains and red-roofed buildings. Explore the town's churches, cathedrals and the expressive and colorful Piazza della Riforma. Sample some slow-cooked Ticinese cuisine, explore the lake on a boat or spend the day at the lido with its Olympic-sized pool.
The largest of Italy’s fresh-water lakes, Lake Garda is located in northeast Italy. Tourists traveling here will find plenty of excursions and activities to keep them entertained year-round—everything from visiting hilly wine regions to exploring 14th-century castles. The towns and communities surrounding Lake Garda offer easy day trips from Venice, easily accessible by car or train. Major sights include the towns of Sirmione (which attracts most Lake Garda visitors thanks to its historic Rocca Scaligiera castle) and Riva del Garda (for the Varone waterfalls located nearby), as well as the region’s hills, which offer numerous hiking trails for adventurous walkers.
You’ll find vineyards and olive groves in Bardolino, as well as beaches on beautiful Lake Garda. This town isn’t as popular as other area resort towns, so you shouldn’t find huge crowds here (except perhaps during the local olive oil and wine festival in late September and October). If you’re travelling with kids, make a beeline for the Gardaland and Aqua Paradise amusement parks.
It’s nicknamed the Eternal City for a reason. In Rome, you can drink from a street fountain fed by an ancient aqueduct. Or see the same profile on a statue in the Capitoline Museum and the guy making your cappuccino. (Which, of course, you know never to order after 11 am.) Rome is also a city of contrasts—what other place on earth could be home to both the Vatican and La Dolce Vita?
Everyone who visits Paris for the first time probably has the same punchlist of major attractions to hit: The Louvre, Notre Dame, The Eiffel Tower, etc. Just make sure you leave some time to wander the city’s grand boulevards and eat in as many cafes, bistros and brasseries as possible. And don’t forget the shopping—whether your tastes run to Louis Vuitton or Les Puces (the flea market), you can find it here.
Amsterdam is truly a biker’s city, although pedaling along the labyrinthine streets can get a little chaotic. Stick to walking and you won’t be disappointed. The gentle canals make a perfect backdrop for exploring the Jordaan and Rembrandtplein square. Pop into the Red Light District if you must—if only so you can say you’ve been there. The Anne Frank House is one of the most moving experiences a traveller can have, and the Van Gogh Museum boasts a sensational collection of works.
From Shoreditch’s swaggering style to Camden’s punky vibe and chic Portobello Road, London is many worlds in one. The city’s energy means that no two days are the same. Explore royal or historic sites, tick off landmarks from your bucket list, eat and drink in exclusive Michelin-starred restaurants, enjoy a pint in a traditional pub, or get lost down winding cobbled streets and see what you stumble across – when it comes to London, the possibilities are endless.
You've probably heard that Guinness tastes better in Dublin (fresh from the factory), but what you may not know is that Dublin is a perfect destination for the whole family. No, we're not suggesting you let the kiddies drink a pint. Instead, take them to the Dublin Zoo, to feed the ducks in Stephen's Green or on a picnic in Phoenix Park. Scholars enjoy walking in the literary footsteps of such writers as Yeats and Joyce, while discerning shoppers have their pick of designer boutiques.
Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city, renowned for its heritage, culture and festivals.
Take a long walk around the centre to explore the World Heritage Sites of the Old Town and New Town, as well as all the area’s museums and galleries. Then stop for a delicious meal made from fresh Scottish produce before heading out to take in one of Edinburgh’s many events — including the famous summer festivals of culture, or the Winter Festivals of music, light and ceilidhs.
Belfast has grown into a cosmopolitan city and become a popular weekend-break destination. The city pulses with an irrepressible optimism and energy. The Northern Ireland capital has an increasing number of intriguing bus, taxi, boat and pedestrian tours. Attractions such as Ulster Folk Museum and Belfast Cathedral, award-winning restaurants, lively bars from modern lounges to traditional pubs, hip clubs, great shopping, impressive theatres, galleries and live music make it a vivacious destination.
"The City of Tribes" provides a fun blast of the Ireland many first-time visitors expect. The compact city centre, with its winding streets, packed pubs and air of celebration, is easily walked - or pubcrawled. The west-coast city of almost 70,000 is home to merry bands of students, artists, writers and craftspeople, and is merriest during summer's Galway's Arts Festival. Don't miss shopping for Claddagh rings, the Druid Theatre or having a pint o' the black stuff at the atmospheric Tigh Neachtain pub.
Strongly influenced by the tribal culture of the Guanches (the original inhabitants), Tenerife was conquered by the Spanish 500 years ago. It's home to Mount Teide, Spain's tallest peak, and to the popular beach resort of Los Gigantes. Today visitors flock to Loro Park to see tropical birds, to Tenerife Zoo Monkey Park and to Parque Nacional Las Canadas del Teide's volcanic rock formations. Explore by car or with a "bono bus" ticket, which offers reductions on regular prices.
Whether it's your first visit or your 50th, New York City is a great destination for a weekend trip. See the landmark sights, catch a Broadway show or explore small, off-the-beaten-path museums like the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Just as it has activities to suit every interest, New York City has hotel options to suit every pocket. Whether you're looking for a hip new hotel, an old standard or a budget inn, you'll have plenty of options.