Winter getaways

Fancy getting away from it all? We have a selection of winter getaways to suit all tastes.

Verona

The quaint town of Romeo and Juliet hosts one of the most famous Christmas markets in the entire region, a traditional German-inspired market, Nuremberg Christmas Market. From around 17 November to 26 December, the fascinating street markets of Nuremberg in Verona host about 60 exhibitors, selling traditional handicrafts, intricately detailed handmade decorations and artisan products such as food and gifts. Walking through the wooden huts, travellers can do some shopping before tasting regional food specialties, such as vin brulè, biscuits, gingerbread and fruit cakes.

Citalia (01293 831 970, www.citalia.com) is offering a five-night holiday to Verona from £669 per person. The holiday includes five nights at the five-star Dur Torri, on a bed and breakfast basis. The offer includes return flights from London Gatwick with British Airways. Based on departures 15 December 2019. Call to book.

Sorrento

Travellers should consider taking a trip to Italy’s Amalfi Coast during the winter holidays to Sorrento. The town centre is magically lit up with Christmas lights and towering evergreens decorate the centre of Piazza Tasso. Special Christmas events are scheduled each weekend, starting from 23 November through the entire month of December until 4 January, so travellers can look forward to festive activities throughout the whole winter period. Such activities include, exploring Santa’s Village in Villa Fiorentino, taking a wonder through Sorrento Street Food Village, an area dedicated to festive Italian street food, visiting a life size nativity display, sampling artisan chocolate at the Chocolate Fair, and watching the Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio, to name a few.

Naples

The most famous Christmas market in the south of Italy is the Naples Christmas Market located in San Gregorio Armeno street. This market, open throughout the whole of December, is famous all over the world as that whole part of the city comes alive in celebration of the festive holiday.  The narrow alleys of San Gregorio Armeno and San Biagio dei Librai are crammed full of stalls selling handcrafted quirky figurines and in December they all come together to form a superbly colourful nativity scene. As well as the traditional figurines creating the Nativity scene, new characters also come into the mix each year with Barack Obama and the Pope known to have made an appearance.

 Citalia (01293 831 970, www.citalia.com) is offering a seven-night holiday to Sorrento & Naples from £899 per person. The holiday includes five nights at the four-star Imperial Tramontano, in Sorrento and two nights at the four-star Hotel Paradiso Napoli, in Naples, both on a bed and breakfast basis. The offer includes return flights from London Gatwick with Easyjet. Based on departures 15 December 2019. Call to book.

GET ACTIVE IN FINLAND’S WINTER WILDERNESS WITH EXODUS TRAVELS

 For snow-based activity breaks away from the slopes, Exodus Travels’ winter programme to Finland’s Oulanka National Park is packed with options. Located in the far north of the country, near the Russian border, it’s one of the most sparsely populated and least light polluted areas in Europe. From snowshoeing, dogsledding and reindeer sleighing, to cross country skiing, and Northern Lights chasing, the activities to this magical location are as extensive as they are exhilarating.

SNOWSHOEING BY DAY AND HUNTING FOR NORTHERN LIGHTS BY NIGHT – new tour offers a night and day perspective of the Finnish wilderness

New for 2020, Exodus Travels’ Snowshoeing and Northern Lights trip offers a magical day and night exploration of the Oulanka National Park. During the day, the three 14km guided snowshoeing adventures follow animal tracks and head deep into the Finnish Taiga forests. There’s also arctic wilderness bushcraft skills sessions and talks with local experts. Based for five nights in a traditional old logging lodge in the middle of nowhere and with no light pollution, it is the perfect spot to participate in hunting for the Aurora Borealis.

To maximise the potential sightings, two of the nights are spent near the Russian Border in a remote former hunting cabin. Other evening events include an authentic local dining experience with plenty of time to warm up and relax in the sauna.

Prices from £1,399 based on a 12 January 2020 departure including return flights, seven nights’ full board accommodation at Basecamp Oulanka five days of mixed activities, all arctic equipment and clothing, transfer and local tour leaders throughout.

SNOW-ACTIVE ON A FINNISH WILDERNESS WEEK: Snowshoe, ski, ride with the dogs and reindeers on a mixed activity adventure into the snowy wilds of Finland’s Oulanka National Park

Staying in fantastic lodge accommodation at Basecamp Oulanka, with a different activity daily, the seven night Finnish Wilderness Week provides the full gamut of winter experiences. From strapping on  snowshoes and trekking through forests, to cross-country skiing, riding with the husky dogs and reindeer sleighing, it offers a completely immersive holiday into Finland’s traditional rural lifestyle. There’s even the option of building a traditional ‘quinzee’ snow-house to sleep in for the night.

Prices from £1,599, including a £100 discount, is based on a 12 January 2020 departure and includes return flights, seven nights’ accommodation at Basecamp Oulanka with breakfast, evening meals and five lunches; five days of mixed activities, all arctic equipment and clothing, transfers and local tour leaders throughout.

STRESS-FREE CHRISTMAS ALTERNATIVE IN GUERNSEY

This winter, Guernsey is the stress-free alternative to spending Christmas at home. With no need for a passport nor to change up your pounds, Guernsey offers Christmas decorations, festive performances, local craft fairs, quirky shopping and festive craft markets open every Saturday from late November up until Christmas in the heart of the capital, St Peter Port. On select weekends in the run-up to Christmas, shoppers can also take advantage of a ferry crossing to Herm Island for just £1. Just a 20-minute ferry, day trippers can do their Christmas shopping in Herm’s gift shop, enjoy the hospitality of the Mermaid Tavern or have a winter walk around Herm’s stunning coastline. FlyGuernsey.com is offering four nights for the price of three at The Driftwood Inn on the west coast of Guernsey, from £281 per person between 1 November and 21 December. The package includes B&B accommodation, return flights from London Southend and free airport parking. www.visitguernsey.com / www.flyguernsey.com

 

 

FESTIVE MULTI-GEN FAMILY BREAKS FOR WINTER EFTELING

From 11th November up to 2nd February 2020, Efteling – the fairy-tale theme park in the south of Holland – is celebrating Winter Efteling, when the park is transformed into a winter world of twinkling lights, bonfires and snow-covered pine trees. The theme park, which is open year-round, offers a wide variety of winter-themed activities including ice skating and cross-country skiing, with something suitable for all age groups. Its famous Fairytale Forest is cloaked in a wintry atmosphere and the Fairytale Tree gives a special winter performance. Inspired by classic stories from Hans Christian Andersen, Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault, Efteling’s own team of creative designers bring tales such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Pinocchio to life and transcends generations. Some attractions date back to 1952 when the park first opened. Today, it’s a popular destination for a short multi-generational family break, with the Fairytale Forest, live shows and attractions that are loved by all ages.

During Winter Efteling, all of the park’s attractions will be open as usual, apart from the water rides, meaning that visitors can enjoy all the fun, magic and thrills that Efteling has to offer with a winter wonderland twist.

For more information visit http://www.efteling.com/en/park/events/winter-efteling

Jet2CityBreaks offers three nights at the Efteling Hotel from £439 per person, based on two sharing and departing from Leeds Bradford on 3rd December. https://www.jet2holidays.com/

ROCKING CHRISTMAS AT HARD ROCK HOTEL TENERIFE

For a burst of sun this winter and just a four-hour flight from the UK, the five star Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife has a rocking line up of festive activities to give holiday makers some Christmas cheer.

The festivities at begin on 6th December (St Nicholas Day), when kids at Hard Rock’s Roxity Kids Club make stockings to hang on their doors to celebrate the feast of St Nicholas. In true Hard Rock Style, the festive season will be celebrated with a range of live performances, including the final ‘Children of the 80s’ show of the year on 7th December.

From Christmas Eve to New Years Eve, children can participate in a range of activities, from DJ workshops to cookie making workshops to pamper parties where kids can have a fantasy manicure and make-up workshops ahead of the evening parties. The evening party will take place after dinner on Christmas Day at the 3rd Half sports bar and will feature a range of live music. There will also be a mini disco for children on Christmas Eve from 5pm in Roxity.

Families can indulge in foodie festivities at Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife with special festive dinners on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Sessions Restaurant (included for half board or all-inclusive guests) or in one of the hotel’s à la carte restaurants at an extra cost.

Jet2Holidays offers seven nights at Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife over Christmas from £923 per person, based on two adults sharing a deluxe silver room on bed and breakfast basis. Price is based on return flight from London Stansted, departing 19 December and includes coach transfers: www.jet2holidays.com

For more information on Hard Rock Hotel’s Christmas celebration, please visit: https://www.hardrockhoteltenerife.com/christmas.htm

HAYES & JARVIS WINTER SUN PACKAGE DEALS

A multi-centre winter sun escape with Hayes & Jarvis combines great experiences and cultural highlights with a good dose of sunshine and vitamin D and a luxury beach stay at the end of the itinerary.

Cape Town and Mauritius

With a pleasant climate and plethora of sights and activities on offer, South Africa is an extremely popular winter sun destination. There is so much to see, do and experience from deluxe safari lodges in the Kruger National Park to the oyster capital of Knysna, on the picturesque Garden Route and the cosmopolitan Mother City of Cape Town. With Mauritius just a four-hour flight away, travellers are recommended to extend their trip to retreat on one of the many white sand beaches, take a dip in the turquoise lagoons and explore the lush tropical island. 

Hayes & Jarvis (01293 762 456 hayesandjarvis.co.uk) has an 11-day holiday from £3,399 per person, which combines four nights in Cape Town with seven nights on Mauritius, and includes international flights, transfers and accommodation

Silk and Spices of South India

Backwaters of Kerala, India

The South of India is a cultural and natural paradise, and the 14-day South India tour introduces travellers to breath taking landscapes, vibrant cities and fascinating ancient history. This South India itinerary allows travellers to truly soak in the scenic grandeur of India’s south. With rolling tea plantations, paddy fields, soaring mountain ranges and tropical backwaters, South India spreads an array of natural wonders, making it a perfect destination for a winter sun escape.