Once the millennium celebrations are over, we'll all be able to get back to thinking about normal holidays - ones that don't require huge amounts of advance planning, can be relatively cheap and, above all, relaxing. City breaks are a good idea at this time of year: if it's cold there's plenty to do indoors, and if it's warm, it's great to sit outside a cafe watching a different world go by.


The weather in most of southern Europe is usually pretty mild even in winter, and by March can be positively sunny. Caravela Tours (tel: 0171-630 9223) offers two nights' b&b in three-star hotels in the centre of Lisbon for pounds 199 per person, based on two sharing, from 6 February to 17 March on TAP's new scheduled flights between Gatwick and Lisbon. A three-night package at the Hotel Bahia, in Cascais, about 20 miles outside Lisbon, combines a city break with a trip to the seaside. The cost of b&b accommodation, flights from Heathrow to Lisbon and transfer to Cascais is pounds 179, between 1 January and 12 April.


The favourite for European city breaks, Paris is particularly easy for anyone within reach of London's Waterloo station. Cresta Holidays (tel: 0870 161920) has three-night breaks there, via Eurostar, starting at pounds 142 per person, based on two sharing, in a one-star hotel 10 minutes from the Sacre Coeur. If you prefer more luxurious accommodation, the four- star Golden Tulip at the Porte de St-Cloud is pounds 171 per person; this includes a free Sunday night if you stay on Friday and Saturday nights. First- class rail travel is available for a supplement.


Once the millennium crowds have dispersed, you might want to consider a few days in Jerusalem. Superstar Holidays (tel: 0645 125847) has three- night breaks at various hotels in the city. Prices at the Jerusalem Tower, located close to the walls of the old city, start at pounds 299 for b&b accommodation, based on two sharing and including return flights to Tel Aviv. Transfers into the city must be arranged separately for an extra pounds 40. Departures are on scheduled El Al flights from Heathrow and Manchester; Stansted departures are pounds 20 cheaper.


Although it is a bit off the beaten track in terms of European cities, a break in the Icelandic capital can offer a different kind of holiday. Arctic Experience (tel: 01737 218800) offers two-night breaks from pounds 256, including return flights from Glasgow to Keflavik, transfers, and b&b accommodation in a guest-house, where facilities are shared; hotel accommodation with en suite facilities starts at pounds 267. Flights from London cost an extra pounds 21 per person. The day and a half that you will have to explore the place allows time to visit the geysers or the Blue Lagoon. But prepare for cold weather - temperatures could fall as low as -5C.


Like Reykjavik, Krakow is one of nine designated European Cities of Culture for the year 2000, and as part of this it will be hosting a series of artistic events throughout the year. For example, during the last weekend of February, the famous Cafe Europa, which has long been a meeting place for intellectuals, will be holding a series of discussions about art and culture.

Three-night breaks to Krakow between January and the end of March with Fregata Travel (tel: 0171-940 1700), including flights from Gatwick, transfers, and b&b accommodation, start at pounds 291 per person based on two sharing. This is for a room at the Hotel Dom Turysty, a simple hotel just off the main market square; a similar break at the Hotel Francuski, one of the best old hotels in Krakow, is pounds 413 per person, based on two sharing.


There is a lot to be said for staying in a hotel where you can pamper yourself, as a way of compensating for the cold outside. Perfect for this is the Hotel Gellert in Budapest, a wonderful art nouveau establishment overlooking the Danube, which is famous for its spa baths and a swimming- pool surrounded by beautiful columns. Until mid-March, Kirker Holidays (tel: 0171-231 3333) offers three nights' b&b, free use of the spa, scheduled flights and transfers for pounds 532 per person, based on two sharing.


If the idea of spa baths appeals, the Sultanahmet Hotel in Istanbul can offer an individual Turkish bath in your room. The hotel is a small one which has recently opened, and it is in the centre of the old city. Prices start at pounds 380 per person for three nights' b&b accommodation. This includes flights, transfers and a city tour. Contact Tapestry Holidays (tel: 0181-235 7777). See Short Break, page 7, for more information.


Now marketing itself as a short-haul destination, Dubai is about the closest place to home where hot weather can be guaranteed at this time of year. Three nights at the Hyatt Regency, a city- centre hotel with extensive facilities, between now and the end of March, costs pounds 480 if you book with the Online Travel Club (tel: 0870 887 0100; net: This includes flights from Heathrow to Dubai, and room-only accommodation. Transfers to and from the airport are extra.


Venice is worth visiting during the Carnival, which begins on 27 February and continues until 5 March; there are parties all over the city, masked balls and street entertainment that includes jugglers, fire-eaters and mime artists. The Grand Procession of the Gondolas takes place on the last day.

Citalia (tel: 0181-686 5533) has three-night breaks staying at the Hotel Kette, a three-star hotel in the city centre, from pounds 341 per person. This includes b&b accommodation and return flights from Stansted to Venice. Transfer into the city (about pounds 4 each way by water bus) costs extra.

Suggested Topics
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Knaresborough ...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower