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Spring breaks: 5 of the best cities in Europe

Spring breaks: 5 of the best cities in Europe From fiesta-mad Seville to buzzing Montpellier and blossom-filled Berlin, spring is a blooming marvellous time for a short break Summers in the flamboyant Andalucían capital often nudge 40C, but spring is a delight, with the parks in bloom and the scent of orange blossom and jasmine in the air. And in Semana Santa (Holy Week, 14-20 April) the streets come alive with floats and processions. There is also the raucous annual Feria de Abril – a week-long fiesta of parades, flamenco and partying long into the night (4-11 May; expect higher hotel prices if you visit then). Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Jane Dunford, Chris Moss, Mary Novakovich, Celia…

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Holidays that make a difference: 25 ethical trips in the UK and worldwide

Holidays that make a difference: 25 ethical trips in the UK and worldwide Our pick of community projects, homestays, ethical tours, working holidays and trips that benefit women’s charities and initiatives ThailandOriginally set up to help the fishing village of Ban Talae Nok recover after the tsunami of 2008, Andaman Discoveries has expanded its community tourism programmes across Thailand. From the beginning, the social enterprise has been committed to providing communities with additional income to allow them to continue living the way they want, and 50% of all profits support local development. A wide range of activities includes sleeping out in the jungle, visiting ethical elephant sanctuaries and snorkelling with the sea nomads. But for a taste of rural…

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Milan art tour: fresco heaven, without the crowds

Milan art tour: fresco heaven, without the crowds Resist the urge to splurge in the city’s chic shops and instead lose yourself in its transcendental art Think of Milan and you think of fashion. The first time I spent more than a few hours in the city, I roamed the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – Italy’s oldest shopping arcade, built in the 1860s and still home to the original Prada store, which was opened by the designer’s grandfather Mario in 1913 – wishing that I was rich (or at least, not quite so broke). What on earth is a girl with an overdraft and a fierce lust for buttery leather supposed to do in a place where everyone is…

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10 great European art anniversaries in 2019

10 great European art anniversaries in 2019 From 100 years of Bauhaus to 500 years since Leonardo’s death, a host of landmark art events and exhibitions open around Europe this year It is 350 years since the death of Rembrandt van Rijn. There is a year-long programme of events in nine Dutch cities, focusing on Rembrandt and the Dutch golden age (listings at holland.com). In Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum (15 Feb-10 June) will display all of its 22 paintings, 60 drawings and 300 engravings – the biggest Rembrandt collection ever seen in a single exhibition. Later in the year it has a Rembrandt and Velazquez show (11 Oct-19 Jan), while the Rembrandt House Museum has three exhibitions and the City…

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A local’s guide to Palermo, Sicily: 10 top tips

A local’s guide to Palermo, Sicily: 10 top tips It may still be basking in the glow of being Italian Capital of Culture 2018 but the city has been a cultural melting pot since antiquity The Sicilian capital, called the “Kingdom of the sun” by invading Normans in the 12th century, has been a cultural melting pot since Phoenicians and Greeks fought over it in the 5th and 6th centuries BC. Sitting close to where Europe ends and Africa begins, Palermo bears the scars – and echoes the glories – of centuries of domination. Once Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Norman and ultimately Italian – unified with the mainland only in 1861 – it has a relatively recent “made in Italy”…

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Random holiday generator: a new city break service to surprise destinations

Random holiday generator: a new city break service to surprise destinations With BRB, members pay a monthly fee to take a European city trip every four months, only finding out the location at the last minute – ours was Seville I’m standing on a bridge, taking in the panorama of the Plaza de España in Seville. I’m in this spot because a month ago I received a cryptic postcard from a stranger instructing me to travel to the Spanish city. I’m not a kooky assassin who receives her assignments via postcard like Villanelle in Killing Eve, it’s just that I’ve signed up to new subscription travel service BRB, which every four months sends its customers on a city break…

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Yule love these … great European Christmas traditions

Yule love these … great European Christmas traditions Continental festivities include chocolate logs in Paris, tree-cutting in Norway and plenty of fish: eel in Naples, carp in Prague and fermented skate in Iceland As Orthodox Christians, Ukrainians celebrate Christmas on 7 January with a 12-dish feast called Svyatyi Vechir (Holy Evening). The night before, singers go from house to house wearing colourful embroidered clothes and carrying the star of Bethlehem to symbolise the birth of Jesus. The procession is often accompanied by a traditional vertep (a portable wooden puppet theatre that first appeared in the 17th century). I remember the thrill of participating in the carol singing when I was a child. I was regularly cast as an angel…

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10 of the best warming winter drinks around the world

10 of the best warming winter drinks around the world There’s more to Christmas drinks than mulled wine, as our pick of the best winter tipples, from hot beer in Krakow to Chile’s pisco eggnog, reveals Cheers: Gaumarjos! Merry Christmas: Shobas Gilotsavt Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Guardian writers Tweet

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A local’s guide to Bangkok: 10 top tips

A local’s guide to Bangkok: 10 top tips It’s easy to get sucked into tourist traps in the world’s most visited city but these old-school enchanted corners are blissful antidotes to all that You’d be forgiven for thinking that Bangkok shrines all look alike after you’ve visited your fifth one. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything like Wat Pariwat, a temple complex in the city’s south-eastern corner. At first sight, it may look like your typical run-of-the-mill wat – but look closer and you’ll discover ornate depictions of emoji pandas, Wonder Woman, Pikachu, Disney figures and an angelic bare-chested Obama (to name a few) all blending in with the traditional intricate mosaics covering the walls and ceiling. It’s…

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New Year’s Eve: 10 last-minute city breaks in Europe

New Year’s Eve: 10 last-minute city breaks in Europe Ditch Auld Lang Syne and greet 2019 in a new setting: concerts and walks in Madeira, markets in Vienna, skating in Budapest … and fireworks everywhere Why go Hungary’s capital sparkles in winter and likes to party, so it’s a great place to see in the new year. There’s festive cheer on tap, with fairylight-strewn streets, chestnut sellers and ice-skating in City Park (the largest rink in Europe), to a backdrop of Vajdahunyad Castle. The Christmas markets on Vorosmarty Square and at the Basilica run until 1 January, with concerts, folk dancing and stalls selling mulled wine or pálinka (fruit brandy) and traditional chimney cake (cinnamon and sugar-coated dough). New…

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