Itching to get away and experience a new destination this winter? Here are 4 cities that discount travel site Hotwire says will be the top winter vacation spots.
Spain’s capital has much to offer for tourists of all kinds and its climate makes it one of the top winter vacation destinations. Visit the “aristocratic centre”, located near the Plaza Mayor, where you’ll find the Royal Palace, an imposing building dating from the 17th century that features a mixture of Baroque and classicist styles. Madrid has over 60 museums including the Prado Museum, one of the world’s most important art galleries, and the Reina Sofía National Art Centre, dedicated to contemporary Spanish art and containing works by prominent artists such as Picasso, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí and Juan Gris. You’ll also have opportunities to see concerts, ballets, theatrical shows, as well as sample the best of Spanish cuisine in the city’s charming restaurants, bars and taverns. Madrid’s extensive and beautifully maintained parks and gardens make it one of the greenest capitals in Europe, so take a stroll in Buen Retiro Park, formerly the recreational estate to the Spanish monarchs, the Casa de Campo and the Juan Carlos I Park.
Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
The largest city in the state of Virginia, Virginia Beach is a premier resort town that is fondly known as a “Beach Lovers’ Beach” due to its 28 miles of public beach area. Families will enjoy checking out the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, Cape Henry Lighthouses, and the Ocean Breeze Waterpark. If you love the outdoors, a number of activities will appeal to you including sportfishing, scuba diving, snorkelling, surfing and sailing, as well as biking or walking along the three-mile Virginia Beach Boardwalk, camping or hiking at First Landing State Park, or simply hanging out oceanside.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, nicknamed the “City of a Hundred Spires” is a UNESCO monument and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Though each of Prague’s districts has its own character and charm, the city is very cosmopolitan and used to welcoming foreigners. Popular attractions worth visiting include the Old Town Hall where the famous Prague astronomical clock is located, the winding lanes of the Jewish Quarter, the Gothic Charles Bridge, and Church of St. Nicholas in the Lesser Town, which is heralded as the most beautiful Baroque church in Prague. Take a sightseeing cruise on the Vltava and also be sure to visit the unique Nationale-Nederlanden (ING Bank) building. Commonly known as the “Dancing House” the building was designed by Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić and Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry and consists of two parts, static and dynamic, which, according to Milunić, is meant to symbolize the transition of Czechoslovakia from a communist regime to a parliamentary democracy.
This Mediterranean city is full of cultural activities. Visitors can check out museums, exhibitions, open-air sculptures, concerts, plays and dances. With urban beaches, marine resorts, and golf courses on the seashore, Barcelona also caters to outdoor enthusiasts. And of course, what’s a trip without experiencing the finest of the city’s gastronomic culture? Try traditional and modern Spanish fare including dishes made with fresh fish, a wide variety of sausages and olive oil, as well as handmade cakes.