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Dubai

5 nights at the Ocean View Hotel on a half board basis from €948 + €33 tax per person sharing. Prices are based on 2 sharing a Standard room, travelling in June, including return transfers. Flights are with Emirates from Dublin direct to Dubai.   Subject to availability at time of booking. Book by 11th June.

www.classicresorts.ie

Mexico

7 nights at the 5* Hotel Riu, Cancun on an all inclusive basis from €1,29 per person including all taxes. Flights are direct from Dublin. Price is based on 2 adults sharing and offer is valid from travel dates between September 1st until October 10th 2013.

www.escape2.ie

St. Lucia

7 nights at the 4* Coco Palms Resort, St. Lucia on an all inclusive basis from €1,359 per person. Price is based on 2 adults sharing. Flights are direct from Dublin and this offer is valid from September 1st – September 30th 2013.

www.caribbeancollection.ie

Thailand

Book one week in Thailand, get the second week free now at Trailfinders.ie. 14 nights at the 5* Le Meridien Khao Lak Beach & Spa Resort on a B&B basis from €1,329 per person. Save €1,130 per couple. Price includes return flights and transfers and offer is valid for selected departures August 28th – October 16th.

www.trailfinders.ie

Barbados

7 nights at the 5* Hilton Barbados Resort on a B&B basis from €1,569 per person. Flights are from Dublin or Cork with British Airways and includes all taxes and return transfers.

www.tropicalsky.ie

Barcelona

3 nights at the 4* AC Forum Barcelona Hotel on a B&B basis including flights from Dublin / Cork / Shannon from €528 per person including flights and all taxes.

www.limericktravel.ie

Barcelona, Spain

Catalonia’s cool capital bursts into life at this time of year with the annual Feria de Abril de Cataluñya running until May 5th this year. The festival celebrates Andalucian culture with music, flamenco dancing, food and drink and a fairground at the city’s Forum Park.

Find out more here or check www.cassidytravel.com for deals

Nice, France

The cosmopolitan, chic capital of France’s Cote d’Azur, Nice is a great place to explore. The old town has colourful cobbled streets, galleries and restaurants, while the famous seafront Promenade des Anglais is the place to stroll beside the Med or people-watch from a cafe. You can also head inland to explore the stylish villages of Provence or an hour along the coast to Cannes, which hosts its famous film festival from May 15th to 26th this year.

Find out more here or check www.travelrepublic.ie for deals

Palermo, Sicily

The vibrant Sicilian capital is a treasure trove of palaces, castles and churches and doesn’t get anywhere near as many tourists as Florence or Rome. Stop for an aperitif at one of the cafes along Via della Liberta and watch Sicilian life go by. Don’t miss the amazing fruit markets – at their best at this time of year.

Find out more here or check www.expedia.ie for deals

Reykjavik, Iceland

After the very, very long winter we’ve had Iceland may not be the first place that jumps to mind for a spring break. Reykjavik however has all the elements you could want in a city break with the added advantage of offering some once in a lifetime experiences. From spouting geysers, hot springs and blue lagoons to buzzing nightlife, world class restaurants and countless ­museums we think Iceland’s capital has it all. May is also puffin season so make sure to hop on a boat to the Westmann Islands to see them.

Find out more here or check www.travelrepublic.ie for deals

Florence, Italy

Florence is often described as a living museum and strolling through the Uffizi, the original seat of power of the infamous Medici family, you would have to agree. There really is Renaissance treasure around every corner here but some highlights not to be missed include Uffizi and Accademia, the Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens and a sunset stroll over the Ponte Vecchio.

Find out more here or check www.topflight.ie for deals

 

Broadway in Soho, Manhattan, New York, USA

Tourists already know the entire borough of Manhattan is any shop-aholic’s dream, or nightmare. One can spend an entire week shopping throughout New York City. Any native New Yorker will tell you to head down to Broadway in Soho to find a variety of shopping experiences. You can shop high end at luxury stores, find middle ground with stores like Old Navy or The Gap, or, find a truly unique vintage shop for unique finds to bring back home.

 

The Ginza: Tokyo, Japan

Worth over ten million yen, being one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in Japan is what The Ginza can claim for fame. Historians say the Ginza district is named after the Japanese word for Silver Mint; giving it its rich nickname. Most shops in the district are open everyday of the week. Massive department stores dominate this area including Mitsukoshi, Matsuya and Matsuzakaya.

 

The Nine Streets Area, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Otherwise known to the Dutch as De Negen Straatjes; the heart of the Amsterdam canal district is one of the most delightful shopping experiences. Located near the Royal Palace and Dam Square, you’ll be able to capture picturesque photographs of the infamous canals. Explore the designer boutiques and specialty vintage shops which keep Amsterdam a major shopping competitor in Europe.

 

Bond Street: London, England

If luxury shopping is for you, the mecca of shopping streets is located in London England. Located in the Mayfair district of London, it has been a reputable shopping street since the 18th century. Technically, Bond Street does not exist. The South part is called Old Bond Street, while the North is called New Bond Street. The stores with lots of shopping to do certainly do exist where one can find great familiar places such as Zara, Victorinox, Armani and Miu Miu.

 

Avinguda Diagonal Barcelona, Spain

Cutting the city in two, diagonally from East to West, is how Avinguda Diagonal got its name. There is plenty to please everyone here from local designers to big brands in the massive shopping centers along the avenue. Check out the Glories Plaza for a cinema experience and a mini mall.

The Pantheon, Rome, Italy

The Pantheon is the best-preserved Roman building in Rome and was built as a temple to all gods in Ancient Rome. The current building is actually a reconstruction of the first temple which existed here. Since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a Roman Catholic church (and yes, masses are still held here on important Catholic holidays).

One of the most interesting features of the building is the central opening called the Great Eye. When the Pantheon was used as a temple, the fire inside the temple would create smoke which escaped through the opening. Today it is the only light source in the building.

Schonbrunn Gardens, Vienna, Austria

Schönbrunn Palace is one of the most important cultural monuments in Austria. For decades it has been a very popular tourist destination for those visiting Vienna. Only the Gardens can be visited for free and they are worth some hours of your time.

The gates open at 6 a.m (or 6:30 a.m. during winter) and close between 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., depending on the season. If you arrive by metro you’ll probably enter the grounds via the Zoo gate, while if you come by tram, you can enter the grounds via the main gate.

The Privy Garden is located between the palace and the Gloriette (on top of the hill). In between those, there’s Neptune Fountain. The western parts of the grounds have been turned into an English Garden. On both sides of the Privy Garden there are 32 sculptures. Generally speaking, unless you enter a building, the maze, the Zoo, or climb up to see the views from the Gloriette, you don’t need to pay anything.

It’s pretty much impossible to see all the parts of the Gardens during one day. It gets very hot during summer so make sure to bring enough water (you have to enter to Zoo to get to the mini-shops, so that’s not exactly a good idea) and good walking shoes. It’s pretty easy to climb the hill to the Gloriette and the views are magnificent, even if you don’t go up on the viewing deck.

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France

Paris is filled with incredible places to visit, and Notre Dame is one of those iconic landmarks we all have learned about at some point during our school years.

The beautiful Gothic Cathedral is located on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité. It was the first building in the world to use the flying buttress, although it was not originally designed to use them. The construction began in 1163 and was completed in 1345.

Just like visiting any other Roman Catholic or Orthodox cathedral, make sure to dress accordingly (or how they put it on the official web site “show a respectful attitude, through both their behaviour and their clothing”).

The Berlin Wall, Berlin, Germany

Once the barrier dividing West and East Berlin, the Berlin Wall is an important part of the German history. The wall fell on November 9, 1989 after a series of protests. Right after the fall, the government opened ten new border crossings and visa-free travel was allowed starting on December 23, 1989. In the summer of 1990 the official dismantling of the Wall began.

Today, only some sections of the walls exist as memorials, and nearly all of the original wall is gone. The longest remaining stretch is the East Side Gallery, which is now considered an open-air museum. There are also sections of the wall along with their histories located in the busy Alexanderplatz area.

Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic

The Charles Bridge is one of the most beautiful places and best-known attractions in Prague. And best of all, it’s free. The stone Gothic bridge started its life in 1352. There are towers on each end of the bridge but only one can be climbed. The bridge is lined with 30 statues (most of them are replicas of the originals). Touching the statue of St. John of Nepomuk is believed to bring luck.

The pedestrian bridge is almost always full so if you want to avoid the crowds, plan to walk on the bridge either early in the morning or late at night.

La Rambla and La Boqueria Market, Barcelona, Spain

The most famous street in Barcelona is, without a doubt, La Rambla. During summer it’s awfully crowded with both locals and tourists but it represents a lovely way to do some people watching and window shopping. The middle part of the street is pedestrian only and at any time during the tourist season it comes to life due to the live performances and the flower market.  There are interesting buildings on both sides of the street and if you want to relax, go to Placa Reial, just off La Rambla. And for a colorful and exotic meal, check out La Boqueria, the iconic street market filled with pretty much anything you might want to buy or eat.

St. Peter’s Basillica, Vatican City

St. Peter’s Basillica is one of the greatest Roman Catholic churches in the entire world. It is also has the largest interior, capable of holding 60,000 people. Catholic tradition holds that the tomb of Saint Peter, one of the Apostles of Jesus, is under the altar of the basillica. Despite popular misconception, St. Peter’s Basillica is not a cathedral (as it is not the seat of a bishop).

There was an old Constantinian basillica on this site since the 4th century and the present building was completed in 1626. It is associated with Michelangelo (the first chapel on the north aisle contains the famous Pietà) and with papacy. There are over 100 tombs within the Basillica, many located beneath the building (including 91 popes).