As any Irish reader knows (if you don’t, shame on you) this month will see Irish President Michael D Higgins set off for the UK on a historic state visit. As part of the trip, he’ll be visiting the Queen’s residence in Windsor Castle among other activities. Two weeks ago I visited the gorgeously quaint town of Windsor and discovered your next English country break. Trust me.
My day job masquerading as a knowledgeable travel hack has taught me that a lot of you will be booking holidays this month, or at least musing the notion while flicking through glossy aspirational travel mags about exotic locations most of us can barely spell. With this wanderlust in mind, here are my hotly tipped destinations you should think about hitting the clouds for in 2014:
For a city break that packs a surprising cultural punch, the often overlooked Lisbon could be just what you’re after. The Portuguese capital has super shopping, affordable places to stay (including some of the best hostels in the world), bustling nightlife and historical landmarks galore. Here are a few things I loved in Lisbon, in no particular order. Drumroll, please!
1. Praça do Comércio (or Terreiro do Paço as it’s still called)
A few days is all you need to get to know Lisbon’s streets and a good place to start exploring the city is this historic square. With its timeless buildings, vivid yellow colour and views across the wide Tagus river, the famous square is gloriously European and just the spot for people-watching. I just adore this architecture.
When I’m asked about my favourite place in Ireland, I always say Kerry. I know, I know, it’s a pretty obvious choice but I don’t care. Even though I’ve been to many “glamorous” destinations, I still count a trip to Dingle a couple of years ago as my most perfect getaway. Yep, it’s that magical.
The release of Baz Luhrmann’s flashy take on The Great Gatsby has spawned endless travel pieces about the places that inspired Scott Fitzgerald’s book. One such location is the Gold Coast of Long Island.
And where did this Fitzgerald fanatic happen to spend 24 hours last week? You guessed it, Long Island. Except instead of wild parties with Ring Lardner at Great Neck, I got to prowl through part of the Hamptons.