Autumn has well and truly arrived in northern Europe, with wet and windy weather marking the end of the heatwave. Although you might have missed the boat for enjoying a summer holiday if you haven’t already been away, there’s still plenty of time to grab a late holiday deal and enjoy the charms of a winter city break in 2013 that needn’t leave you shivering.
Indeed, Monarch.co.uk is currently running some great value city break offers to a variety of destinations with comfortable climates, so read more about enjoying a warming winter escape below and then log on to book your getaway.
One of the top ten capital cities in the world by most people’s reckoning, Rome is a stellar destination at any time of year thanks to its Roman relics, spectacular architecture, unparalleled art collections, designer shopping, cafe culture and dining scene.
During winter time, the city has the added charm of the huge Christmas market at Piazza Navona, where you’ll find stalls selling sweets, decorations and toys. It also features a nativity scene – something you’ll see repeated across this religiously oriented city. The Vatican, of course, is at the centre of many of the events celebrating the Catholic take on Christmas, and there is definitely a less commercial feel to Yuletide in Rome.
However, if you are in the market for presents for your loved ones back home, the designer shops on Via Condotti provide ample opportunity to buy something really special.
Rome’s mild Mediterranean climate will also come as a welcome relief if you’ve been shivering back home, and you’ll appreciate the relative lack of crowds (compared to the summer months) as you explore the many museums and art galleries.
The Maltese capital is another city break destination offering pleasingly mild temperatures at Christmas time.
Like Rome, religious tradition is prominent – look out for the crib displays in shops and houses, with residents keen to show off their artwork to the public. Malta is also a Roman Catholic country, so if you’re in town on Christmas Eve, why not join in with mass at one of Valletta’s churches or cathedrals?
Valletta has plenty to offer in the form of museums, galleries, shops and restaurants, all set around a pretty harbour, and its iconic skyline featuring the distinctive dome of the Carmelite Church looks particularly stunning when lit up at night.
Rivaling Valletta in terms of winter warmth, the capital of Madeira is the ideal place to be for those who feel the cold.
Expect lights galore on the streets of Funchal, which makes for quite a sight when viewed from the famous cable car. Even more well-known is Funchal’s record-breaking New Year’s Eve fireworks display – you simply have to coincide your winter getaway to the island with this stunning pyrotechnic extravaganza, which is the world’s biggest.
Other attractions in the city include its botanical gardens, Madeira wine tasting experiences and wicker toboggan rides down the steep slopes, which provide a backdrop to the city.
So whether you want to do your Christmas shopping somewhere new this year, are keen to experience Christmas and New Year immersed in a different culture, or simply want to go somewhere warm, Europe has plenty to offer the winter traveller.