The Best Cities for a Winter Holiday or Staycation

The Best Cities for a Winter Holiday or Staycation

The Best Cities for a Winter Holiday or Staycation

In a toss-up between staying local and travelling aboard, many of us prefer to choose the latter, especially for a winter holiday.

If it’s drizzly at home, then the temptation is to venture somewhere warm and exotic - or snowier, for that matter. On the other hand, it’s so convenient to visit a new town or district on your doorstep.

Depending on your preference and budget, you may have a number of places to choose from. That’s where we come in.

As travel experts, we’re here to help you find out where’s hot and where’s not, and this time around we’re taking a look at the best cities for a winter holiday or staycation:

For winter sun


The great thing about Dubai is you’re guaranteed hot weather all year round. UAE’s sprawling metropolis enjoys an average daytime temperature of 25°C in winter, and spoils its visitors with lavish beaches, water parks and skyscrapers that glisten under the scorching sun. Top attractions include Jumeirah Beach, Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa: a landmark building towering 829.8 meters, which provides spectacular views across the island.

Where to stay?

We recommend a stay at Dusit Thani Dubai Apartments, which offer on-site gym, pool and restaurant access as part of the guest experience.

Abu Dhabi

While not as glamorous as Dubai, Abu Dhabi offers just the same heat, attractions and stylish accommodation. It’s westernised enough to make you feel at home, and virtually crime-free. If sunbathing by the pool doesn’t take your fancy, you can always go to Corniche Beach or do a desert safari. Getting there is easy. Many airlines operate a regular service to and from Abu Dhabi and offer direct flights.

Where to stay?

For the ultimate luxury stay, choose Jumeirah at Ethihad Tower Residences. It has everything you’d expect from a top property, including on-site pools, a private beach and 24-hour reception.

Cape Town

Where in South Africa can you find stunning scenery, fine wines and lots of shoreline? Cape Town, of course. The coastal city is positively boiling in December, with its blue skies and long hours of sunshine. Between a hike up Table Mountain, and a visit to Camp’s Bay Beach, Cape Town is ideally placed as a destination for winter sun. If you’ve got the time, it’s also worth taking in a safari at one of the nearby game reserves like Inverdoorn.

Where to stay?

De Waterkant Village is beautifully wedged between Table Mountain and Albert Village, providing first-class accommodation in easy reach of restaurants, shops and bars.


As Europe freezes over, Australia celebrates its summer. What better excuse to travel down under for those all-important rays. With its golden beaches, shining harbour, and world-class surfing spots, Sydney is in a league of its own. The people are friendly, the pubs are awesome and, if it’s seafood you’re after, the Sydney Fish Market will not disappoint.

Where to stay?

Our Sydney property of choice is Miller Street Apartments, which offer serviced accommodation on a residential street, close to lots of cafes and restaurants. Each apartment comes equipped to a high standard with contemporary kitchens and furnishings.

For a winter city break


One of Barcelona's greatest treasures is its art scene. People travel far and wide to see the works of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali here, or marvel at its various Gaudi buildings. For foodies, Barcelona's markets leave a lasting impression with their fresh produce. Shopaholics will, likewise, find no shortage of gifts to buy. As big as Barcelona is, it's easy to get around on foot, so book yourself a walking tour. Runner Beans Tours offer a fun kid-friendly sightseeing stroll which leads you through the city's gothic quarter.

Where to stay?

Accommodation wise, Sensation Sagrada Familia Apartments are minutes away from all the action, so you won't have to travel far at the end of the evening. You can even see the Sagrada Familia itself from this property.


As if you need an excuse to visit Amsterdam. The Dutch capital pops up on just about every destination bucket list - and for good reason. It's pretty, quirky and progressive all rolled into one. You can cycle everywhere, enjoy a boat ride along the canal, take in free classical or jazz concert, or lose yourself in one of its many galleries. In the winter, Amsterdam takes on a fairytale appearance: snow falls, ice rinks open up and the city is brought to life by a spectacular light festival.

Where to stay?

World Fashion Apartments are set within a quiet, suburban part of the city, and offer stylish living quarters in a modern style.


Have you ever seen the Berlin Wall up close, or walked through its famous Jewish memorial? If not, you're missing out. Berlin is a city best enjoyed in the flesh. Only that way can you really appreciate its incredible history. Must-see landmarks include the Berlin Cathedral and the Fernsehturm: a 1960s, 368m viewing platform overlooking the city. For a taste of Berlin's art scene, head over to the Berlinische Galerie. Here you'll find a long standing collection of art dating back to 1870, and covering such movements as Expressionism and Dada. Berlin even has its own museum island.

Where to stay?

If you're planning on doing a lot of sightseeing, stay at Adina Apartment Hotel. This property is centrally located, offers excellent facilities, and for £80 a night is an absolute steal.


Starting out as a small dukedom in the 11th century, Brussels has since grown into a major European capital, celebrated for its chocolate, beer and waffles. It's also the birthplace of French fries. Travellers in search of beautiful architecture will be blown away by Grand Place, Brussels’s Central Square, and the iconic steel structure, Atomium. Its green spaces are equally awe-inspiring. If it’s dry, go for a stroll in the park Bois de la Cambre. The paths here are wonderfully maintained and, en-route, you’ll see some lovely ponds and wildlife.

Where to stay?

For an affordable stay in the city centre, choose Adagio Brussels Centre Monnaie. This property is in touching distance of the lots of restaurants and cafes, and boasts well equipped kitchens and comfortable furnishings. There’s even a shopping centre nearby.

For a romantic winter break


A simple boat ride along the River Danube will tell everything you need to know about Vienna. It’s a magical place. Austria’s magnificent capital draws couples with its old castles, cobbled streets and quaint coffeehouses. You can take it in by foot or set off on a wondrous tour of the city in a horse-drawn carriage. Gustav Klimt’s iconic painting, The Kiss, lies here and is definitely worth seeing. If that doesn’t make you feel all giddy inside, then perhaps a Crystal Dinner on the Riesenrad ferris wheel will. Alternatively, you can go for a wander in the charming Vienna Woods, followed by a trip to the city’s state opera, Staatsoper.

Where to stay?

Treat your loved one to an intimate stay at Adagio Vienna City Apartments. Romance arrives in the form red furnishings, comfy beds and spacious lounge areas.


Also on the River Danube, and looking out across a landscape of breathaking architecture is the Hungarian city, Budapest. Visiting couples can unwind together in a thermal spa or chain a love lock to the scenic Szechenyi Bridge. Make the most of Budapest at night by embarking on a picturesque sunset cruise along the waterfront. As well as Buda Castle, you’ll see church spires and the exquisite Hungarian Parliament building. Those in search of a moody bar are advised to book a table at Andante, popular for its Hungarian wines and regional specialities like roasted duck breast with sweet potato mash.

Where to stay?

Go for Fraser Residence Budapest if you’re after something central. It’s close to all the main attractions and provides studio, one and two bedroom apartments, along with on-site gym access.


Arguably the most romantic city in the world, Paris is full of special things to do with a partner. You can go down the clichéd route and take a photo (or 10) at the top of the Eiffel Tower, or indulge in something a little bit different like a massage for two at the Japanese salon, Yuzuka. No trip to Paris would be complete without a spot of window shopping at the Galerie Vivienne, followed by a vintage romantic movie at the Grand Action Cinema. Round off your trip with a decadent hot chocolate and cake at the exclusive tea house, Angelina.

Where to stay?

At Adagio Paris Tour Eiffel Apartments, guests can while away the hours in an indoor heated swimming pool and marvel at the sight of the Paris skyline from their bedroom window. There’s also a gym on-site, a communal laundry room and parking.


Welcome to Milan, home of high fashion, fine espresso, and all things refined. At its heart stands the majestic Duomo cathedral and, a short distance away from there, the enchanting Orto Botanico di Brera botanical garden. Treat your loved one to a new outfit at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the world's oldest shopping mall. If you’re after some flowers, you can purchase an incredible bunch from the Fioraio Bianchi Caffe and, while you’re there tuck into a delicious pastry or coffee. Venice might be famous for its canals, but Milan has a lovely one too in the form of the Navigli.

Where to stay?

Glamour Apartments – Passaggio Duomo 2 are situated right next to the Duomo itself, and furnished to an impeccable standard. All apartments feature a kitchen, dining table and chairs, should you wish to cook for your partner during the course of your trip.

For a winter staycation


People travel far and wide in search of the sort of stuff you find in Edinburgh. This city’s cobbled streets and old stone buildings are among some of the prettiest in the world. It has high peaks - Arthur's seat being the most exciting- remarkable historic sites, and blissful public spaces. The colder it gets, the more spellbinding it becomes. Christmas in Edinburgh is marked by the arrival of the terrific European Christmas Market and a host of other festive activities like theatre performances, firework displays, and even an installation at Edinburgh Zoo.

Where to stay?

Dreamhouse Apartments Edinburgh West End have a flawless five-star rating. They’re upscale, centrally located, and set within a grand Victorian Townhouse, offering separate areas to work, entertain and relax. Visitors will feel right at home here.


Need an excuse to go to Cambridge? Many head there for its university grounds, but that isn’t the only thing that makes it special. It’s picturesque, the pub grub is second to none and the outdoor markets are fantastic. Cambridge is famous for its punting, and the best way to take in the city is with a boat tour of the River Cam. You’ll see all the sights along way including Trinity College, the Bridge of Sighs and King’s College Chapel. If the weather’s poor, you can always visit a museum. The Fitzwilliam museum, for example, has an impressive collection of paintings and artefacts, including relics from Ancient Eygpt. Shopholics can potter around the market square which offers books, clothes, plants, films and much more.

Where to stay?

Eden House Apartments come highly recommended on account of their floor-to-ceiling windows, contemporary furnishings and modern décor. This property finds a home close to the shopping centre, Grafton. Cambridge train station is also nearby.


Where would this West Country city be without its roman baths? Tourists flock here by the thousands to glimpse Bath’s famous healing waters, and so should you. The major attraction includes a sacred spring and roman temple. There’s even gift shop on-site, should you wish to treat yourself or a significant other to some luxury toiletries. Still not convinced? Why not uncover one of Bath’s many UNESCO World Heritage sites or walk in Jane Austen’s footsteps, with a tour of the Sydney Gardens - the place where she reportedly enjoyed her public breakfasts.

Where to stay?

SACO Bath - St James Parade provide a bright and breezy stay in a Georgian terrace, minutes from the Roman Baths themselves. Each apartment has been individually designed and boasts Italian designer furniture, along with free Wi-Fi.


Named European capital of culture in 2008, Liverpool does a lot of things well like nightlife, shopping, music, theatre and art. Experience what it’s like to be a famous Liverpudlian with a Beatles tour of the city or a visit to John Lennon’s home. Other top attractions include Anfield Stadium, Liverpool Cathedral and the Walker Art Gallery. Use your evenings to take in a show or dine in style at a top restaurant like Puschka. Albert Dock is a great shout if you’re looking for an all-in-one complex with museums, cafes and bars.

Where to stay?

Liverpool One Apartments enjoy a convenient location in the heart of Liverpool, just a stone’s throw away from lots of famous attractions. All apartments are high spec and full of home comforts like a full kitchen, dining area and ironing facilities.


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