Great getaways: Festive Dublin, Reykjavik, US bargain breaks and Swiss Alps

Irish charm

Take in the cosy pubs, cobbled streets and quirky shops of Dublin on a festive break before Christmas. Cresta is offering three nights in the Irish capital departing on 18 December for £215 per person staying at the Harding Hotel with breakfast and Aer Lingus flights from Gatwick (crestaholidays.co.uk).

Lights and sights

Fly to Reykjavik on 29 or 30 December for excellent prospects of seeing orca whales – which have been sighted earlier than expected this winter – and the Aurora Borealis. A four-night trip, excluding air fares, costs £605 per person including vehicle rental and accommodation – two nights' B&B and two nights half-board (discover-the-world.co.uk).

Atlantic drift

January can be a great time to bag a bargain break to the States. Virgin Holidays has a couple of options, both departing on 21 January, with flights from Heathrow and three nights' room-only accommodation. Choose Boston for £499 per person, staying at the Midtown hotel, or New York City for £555 per person, staying at the Milford Plaza in the heart of the Theater District (virginholidays.co.uk).

Snow patrol

The Alps were draped with a fresh blanket of snowfall this week, signalling the onset of the 2012/13 ski season. Inghams is offering a week in the Swiss resort of Verbier in the New Year for £530 per person, staying at the Chaperon Rouge, with all meals and drinks included and flights from Gatwick to Geneva with transfers on 5 January (inghams.co.uk).

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