Gathering a posse of your ride-or-die gang and heading away to a glamorous destination may be just what the doctor ordered. Whether you’re fleeing the Southern Hemisphere winter in search of some rays or want to make memories with your girl gang, there are plenty of safe, fun and affordable places to frolic. We chatted to the team over at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for their top picks:
While Barcelona is increasingly overrun with tourists (causing vociferous protests from the locals) and Ibiza heaves with hard-partying, hungover heavies, there are plenty of beautiful spots in Spain that offer great value and spectacular scenery.
Malaga is a gem on the Costa del Sol. Don’t expect a sleepy hollow, but Picasso’s hometown is packed with sandy beaches, great food and plenty of history – and boasts sunny skies at least 300 days a year.
While it’s super safe, every city has its less friendly neighbourhoods and you’d be best served to avoid the northern part of the area. Calle Larios is the heart of the city and is packed with restaurants and boutique hotels. Malaga Centro is the historical part of town – a great spot for a bit of culture. Love the beach scene? The triangular ‘peninsula’ of La Malagueta is your best bet.
Less cliquey than Cannes and within 30 minutes of Monaco without the exorbitant prices, Nice is the Capital of the French Riviera – and delivers all the images that title conjures.
Zip along the promenade on a Segway tour, wander the alleyways of the old town and enjoy magnificent views from the Colline du Chateau. A city centre stay is best – but slightly more expensive – to be close to the best of the nightlife and a short hop from all the museums, including ones dedicated to Chagall and Matisse. Nightlife is lively, seafood is fresh and plentiful and there are few more beautiful places in the world, no matter the season.
Verona’s status as of the most romantic cities in Italy doesn’t mean it’s a couples-only destination – there may just be a Romeo waiting for you… Just be sure to skip the trip to the balcony widely believed to have inspired one of Shakespeare’s most famous scenes, unless you really love queues.
Luckily, Verona is about more than pining on a balcony – it’s home to plenty of incredible vineyards which make for epic wine-tasting adventures where you can contemplate the lush scenery while sipping Amarone or Prosecco.
It’s a small town, so aim to stay in the centre, where you can also visit the Piazza delle Erbe for an aperitivi, the Arena of Verona (which pre-dates Rome’s Coliseum by 50 years) and the stunning 4th century Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore. KLM flies multiple times per day from Amsterdam to Venice, and Verona is a quick 30-minute train ride from Venice.
Big Up Berlin
The German capital literally has it all – history, mystery, fine dining, beauty and a nightlife scene that will either make or break you! Once divided by the Berlin wall, the city has shaken off (but not forgotten) its dark past to become one of Europe’s most vibrant cities.
The old factory buildings of Friedrichshain in the former East Berlin house many of the wildest clubs in town – including the mysterious Berghain. Getting in is a lottery – speaking German, dressing ‘down’ and showing an appreciation for the brand of music which made it famous, are said to help. If you and your crew do crack the nod, though, you’ll be one of 1 500 people partying until dawn with possibly the best light show and acoustic set up you’ll find anywhere in the world. Beyond the party scene, Hackesche Höfe is a historic Art Nouveau preservation area, packed with galleries, cute shops and great restaurants.