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 (

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 (

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 (

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 (