Travel agenda

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From Berlin's boutique Bikini to winter walks and Posh Phuket

1. Urban pad

Berlin's latest boutique retreat is the playfully- named Hotel Bikini, from the wallet-friendly 25hours group. Located in the City West area, between the Ku'damm shopping street and Berlin Zoo, it will offer 149 rooms encased within the 10-storey, 1950s Bikinihaus when it opens on 31 January. A rooftop bar and restaurant will offer views of the Tiergarten.

2. Winter walks

Ramblers Festival of Winter Walks returns from 21 December to 5 January. The event offers the chance to pace about the British countryside – through snow, sleet, rain or simply under winter skies – with volunteer guides and like-minded folk throughout the festive period. Walks are free to join, and range in distance from gentle three-mile strolls to 10-mile hikes.

3. Plan ahead

To compete with airlines, Eurostar has extended its summer booking horizon from the usual four months to six. From today, tickets to Paris, Brussels and Lille are on sale for travel up to 12 June. By 4 March, the remainder of the summer travel period, up to the end of August, will be available. Later in the year, the booking horizon reverts to normal.

4. Link up

The New Year arrives with a new option for Spain-bound travellers who prefer sea to air. LD Lines is augmenting its existing Poole-Santander ferry service with a weekly link from the Dorset port to Gijón, the largest city in the rugged Asturias region on the north-east coast. Sailings begin on 5 January; a car plus two people starts at £399 return.

5. Explore more

Book ahead to be at The Adventure Travel Show from 25-26 January next year. The event sees specialist travel agents gather at Olympia exhibition centre in London to offer inspiration and advice on off-the-beaten track destinations, with travel photography and writing seminars, plus a range of top speakers, including Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

6. Posh Phuket

Phuket gets another luxury address with the opening of the Point Yamu by Como resort on the east coast of the Thai island today. Designed by Italian furniture maestro, Paola Navone, the 106-room retreat comes with a Shambhala spa, infinity pool and two restaurants, plus views of Phang Nga Bay. It's the group's second Thai hotel after the Metropolitan Bangkok.

7. Star gazing

Northumberland National Park is the latest region to be designated an International Dark Sky Park. It becomes the 13th certified IDS member, joining Death Valley in California and Galloway Forest Park in Scotland. The conservation initiative is awarded to areas with "exceptional starry skies and natural nocturnal habitat" in an effort to mitigate against light pollution.

8. Spanish class

Next year sees the 400th anniversary of the birth of El Greco, one of Spain's foremost Renaissance painters. To mark the occasion, ACE Cultural Tours will be leading a "Great Spanish Masters" trip to the artist's adopted hometown of Toledo, where he spent the latter part of his working life. From 22-28 September, £1,475pp, flights included.

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