View of Verona

Ramping up the romance factor in fair Verona

Few cities have romantic legend in the bag as much as Verona. Sure, Paris is still the capital of Lurve with a capital L and New York is the home of cinematic lovefests from An Affair to Remember to Sleepless in Seattle, but Verona has Romeo & Juliet and no rom-com can trump that.

As well as being the stomping ground for Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, Verona is actually a beautiful, lesser-spotted Italian city that’s well worth a visit, whether you snoozed through Romeo & Juliet at school or not.

Here’s my tips for what to see and do in Verona, with a little sprinkle of romance along the way:

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Postcard-perfect gondola shot Venice

Gallery: An ode to Venice

So unless you’ve been living under a rock this past week you’ll have caught the A List wedding of George Clooney to Amal Alamuddin. In Venice no less. I have to say, even the cheesy shots of the Clooneys sailing off in a boat called Amore (groan) headed for their honeycloon (extra groan) made me all sorts of sentimental for my own trip to Venice this time last year. After all, movie stars and super-chic international human rights lawyers are no match for Venice in all its glory.
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Bedroom at Hotel Metro New York City

Checking In: Hotel Metro, New York City

Like an embarrassing Time Out-wielding tourist I asked the doorman of the Metro how much I should tip him for hailing me a cab. “You just need to smile”, he replied. Really cheesy I know but this encounter probably summed up my experience at this underrated West 35th Street hotel.

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Capitol Hill

5 museums not to miss in Washington DC

With Capitol Hill moonlighting on the news most nights and DC starring in a plethora of TV shows and movies from Veep and House of Cards to Forrest Gump, it can feel a bit like you’ve already been to Washington when you haven’t. What your boxset of The West Wing doesn’t tell you though is that DC isn’t just a city of monuments and memorials, oh and the seat of power in the US, it’s a museum haven too.

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Hotel Volcan Lanzarote

Checking In: Hotel Volcan, Lanzarote

In Lanzarote’s sea of samey resorts and hotels, how do you stand out from the crowd? Well, you build a mini volcano in a nod to the island’s volcanic past and create a tiny “Lanzarote” around it. Et voila, you’ve got the most unique hotel on the island! That’s just what they did with Hotel Volcan, a popular Playa Blanca property, and that’s not the only thing this Lanzarote mainstay has going for it.

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Palmengarten botanic garden Frankfurt

The Frankfurt Five: my 5 favourites in this city

Unless you’re a business traveller, I’m guessing most of you have never set foot in Frankfurt, never mind considered it for a German city break. Poor old Frankfurt tends to get left behind in favour of the Berghain beats of Berlin or Oktoberfest madness of Munich. Well, for Irish tourists at least. But the oft-overlooked Frankfurt has lots to keep you entertained if you’re there on business or just passing through.

Despite the stuffy financial hub image, Frankfurt has plenty of pluses in its favour. With a population of just 700,000 people you’re never thronged by crowds on the streets, and, even though it has a highly efficient public transport system, you can pretty much walk everywhere. The city mixes old-style architecture with slick skyscrapers and, despite the cosmopolitan spirit, you won’t have to search far to indulge in a traditional apple wine or schnitzel.

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Incredible views Tenerife

Trekking in Tenerife will change your mind about the Canaries forever

Think of Tenerife and I’m willing to bet my handbag collection that fitness won’t be the first thing to spring to mind. Or in the top ten for that matter. But it should be.

5 million tourists flock to the volcanic island of Tenerife each year and for most holidaymakers, the Canaries tick the package holiday sun, sand and Sangria boxes. That’s great if you need some beach-shaped relaxation but, as host to four of Spain’s impressive 14 national parks, the islands have everything fitness fans need for an active holiday, with spectacular scenery and the balmy embrace of the sun to boot.

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