With 2014 just round the corner and winter making itself felt, your thoughts may well be turning to next year’s holiday. A city break, which gives you the chance to combine culture with seeing a little sun, is top of my wish list.
There are several destinations that I’d like to revisit, especially in Italy, so it’s those I’m going to focus on today. Wherever I choose, though, I’m planning to book an all inclusive hotel, which is something I think is well worth considering if you haven’t already organised your accommodation.
This is largely because all inclusive hotels can help you save a lot of cash, which can be particularly important when you’re staying in a European city, since prices for drinks and food can be at a premium. Holiday Nights is a good website to keep an eye on for the latest deals, and you can check out your hotel options there too.
Topping my list is Rome, one of the world’s most historic and romantic cities. If this’ll be your first trip here, make a beeline for the Colosseum, which is probably the most famous sight in the city.
That said, it’s well worth booking your tickets for this attraction as far in advance as you can, because its worldwide fame has, as you might expect, made it so popular that queues to get in can be very long. Don’t worry, though, because organising a ticket in advance should significantly reduce your wait.
The Colosseum dates back around 2,000 years to the days of the Roman Empire. It was built to hold animal hunts and gladiatorial shows, and in its heyday between 50,000 and 80,000 spectaculars could come in to watch these. Pretty impressive, hey?
Another must-visit is the Vatican, the tiny walled independent state in the heart of Rome. For centuries, this has been the home of Catholic popes, and the highlight of a trip here is seeing the spectacular Basilica of St Peter.
Next on my list is ultra-fashionable Milan, home of designer stores, fabulous markets and stunning buildings. Topping my list of places to visit here is the Duomo di Milano, which is the third largest church in Christendom; more than that, it is a Gothic masterpiece.
It is decorated with more than 3,000 statues and topped with 135 spires, while from the roof of the building you can enjoy absolutely amazing views across the city. And, if you go up there on a clear day, you could even see all the way to the Alps!
Another must-see is The Last Supper, one of the most famous artworks of the Renaissance. Painted by Leonardo da Vinci, it is on display in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, and you need to book in advance in order to view it.
Rounding off my list is Madrid, the capital of Spain and a destination that’s just as famous for its nightlife as it is for its amazing history and culture. So, this is a brilliant place to choose if you fancy sightseeing during the day and letting your hair down at night.
In terms of historical attractions, don’t miss the Puerta de Alcala Gate, which was built in the 18th century. Standing at nearly 20 m tall, it is one of Madrid’s best-known monuments, and its beautifully decorated facade makes it utterly spectacular.
If you’re more interested in the nightlife, though, you can head to Calle Huertas to check out some of the more traditional Spanish music venues, while the trendiest bars and nightclubs are at Malasan.