Get set to party: The Rosenmontag parade

48 Hours: Mainz

This German city where the Rhine and Main meet is gearing up for carnival season, says Susan Griffith.

Big smoke: Mount Etna rumbles in the distance

48 Hours: Catania

Even in winter, this Sicilian city charms with colourful festivities, delicious food and dramatic scenery, says Duncan Garwood.

Stellar views: The legendary Star Ferry

48 Hours: Hong Kong

The night skies are lighting up all over the Chinese city-state as residents welcome the dawn of the Year of the Dragon. Matthew Bell reports.

Shore leave: Las Canteras beach

48 Hours: Las Palmas

Winter sun and an impressive urban beach: the capital of Gran Canaria is an alluring prospect for Matthew Hirtes

Cliff hanger: San Diego has 70 miles of coastline

48 Hours: San Diego

A mild and sunny winter awaits in California's second-biggest city.

Wildlife spotting: A giraffe in Nairobi National Park

48 Hours In: Nairobi

Warm days and wildlife on your doorstep make Kenya's capital an appealing place in which to escape winter. Richard Trillo reports.

Viewpoint: The Old City and Dome of the Rock

48 Hours: Jerusalem

Every step you take in this holy city reveals an aspect of its tangled history.

<p>Light shopping: browse Calle Marqués de Larios</p>

48 Hours in Málaga

Receive a warm welcome in the cultured corners and bustling bars of this Mediterranean marvel

Bright lights: The Christmas market at the cathedral

48 Hours: Cologne

A winter visit to this fine city on the Rhine offers Christmas markets, hearty food and drink, and invigorating art.

48 Hours: Vienna

This handsome city is looking its festive best and preparing to celebrate 150 years since Gustav Klimt's birth.

48 Hours: Lille

The end of the year finds this northern French city at its most welcoming, with a Christmas market adding some seasonal cheer

Harbour lights: Downtown Boston sits on a peninsula

48 Hours: Boston

Art, cuisine and great Christmas shopping are among the treats on offer in the historic Massachusetts capital, says Cathy Winston

Pull up a chair: Cafés line Riga's historic squares

48 Hours: Riga

Latvia's handsome capital embraces the onset of winter with festivities and a warm welcome for visitors. Simon Calder reports

48 Hours: Johannesburg

The jacarandas are blooming in South Africa's largest city, as spring turns into summer. Richard Trillo explores the diverse attractions

48 hours: Agadir, Morocco

New flights, balmy days and absorbing culture make this Moroccan city an enticing option. By Nick Boulos

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