There's only a week to go until Christmas, which is bad news for those of us who have yet to make a start on our Christmas shopping.
You might have no idea what to get for your partner, or perhaps your parents have helpfully told you that they don't want anything (but you know they don't really mean that). What do you do? You book them a city trip with a couple of nights in a hotel, of course! (Don't have access yet? Request it here.) Now you need to decide where to send them, but don't worry – we're here to help. Here are a few of our favorite city break destinations to get you started, but if you feel like you haven't got enough time to do all of the required planning, simply reach out to a TRVL agent who can do that planning for you – for free!
"Paris is always a good idea." You may have heard that famous Audrey Hepburn line many times before, but that's only because it's true. Discover the magical atmosphere of the Montmartre and Le Marais, breathe in the smell of freshly baked croissants, enjoy the sound of more than one animated conversation spilling out from a bustling wine bar – give the gift of (a weekend in) Paris!
With vibrant neighborhoods and iconic beaches, great restaurants and resplendent blue skies, Sydney brings together the buzz of the big city with the beauty of the great outdoors. Treat your loved ones (and yourself) to a couple of nights in Sydney, and you can look forward to enjoying rock oysters down at the harbor, catching a ferry up to Manly Bay, and then kicking back with a drink in Surry Hills.
You don't need to be a history buff to enjoy a weekend in Boston, but if your Christmas present recipient is, then book it – you're onto a surefire winner. Follow the Freedom Trail around Boston Common, Paul Revere House and Faneuil Hall for a flavor of the city's revolutionary credentials, before wandering around upscale Beacon Hill at dusk and finishing up in Fenway for drinks and dinner. While in Fenway, check out if the Red Sox are playing – one of the most iconic sports team in the USA.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is tailor-made for weekend breaks or perhaps even longer; the bewitching 'Golden City' happens to be one of the more budget-friendly city trip destinations (very important in the festive season!). You can spend the day wandering the city's cobbled streets, gazing up at the 500+ spires and exploring Prague Castle, before hitting the town and diving headfirst into one of Europe's top spots for nighttime entertainment.
Cape Town, South Africa
The Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, Big Ben – all of them manmade structures, all of them defining features of their respective cities. Cape Town's skyline is defined not by a building but by the glorious Table Mountain. Like Sydney, Cape Town seamlessly blends the bars, restaurants and cultural vibrancy of its neighborhoods (including Woodstock and Bo Kaap) with its stunning natural surroundings. Surfing, vineyards, verdant forests – Cape Town is just perfect for the getting-out-and-about types.
Toronto and Ottowa might be the economic and political capitals of Canada, but Montreal is its beating cultural heart. For theater, dance and, especially, music, Montreal punches well above its weight, and there are close to 100 festivals to take your pick from. Winter sports enthusiasts can look forward to hitting the nearby slopes, while taking a late-afternoon stroll up Mont Royal to enjoy the view is a good idea the whole year around. Know a culture-vulture with a penchant for snow? Montreal fits the bill!
Singapore is the cosmopolitan gateway to South East Asia, a global financial hub of smart suits and looming skyscrapers. But there's more, of course – much, much more. There's the organized chaos of Chinatown, the spice stores of Little India, the shophouses, mosques and temples. Then there's the food – from sizzling street food to the some of the most highly-rated restaurants in the world, Singapore is a culinary masterpiece perfect for the adventurous foodie.
San Francisco, USA
The city of the Golden Gate Bridge and City Lights Bookstore, of rolling fog and heritage streetcars, of the Mission District, The Castro and other vibrant neighborhoods, San Francisco is a hive of creativity. Today, the city sits at the forefront of digital progress – Silicon Valley is only a 30-minute drive from Downtown – but in the 1950s and 1960s was all about the Beat and hippie generations. Techies, free spirits and pretty much everyone else you know will love it.
From the pastel painted buildings and fado houses of the Bairro Alto to the historic, winding streets of Alfama, Lisbon is a feel-good city if ever there was one. You can tuck into fantastic, super-fresh seafood in the city's food markets and upscale restaurants, drink with the locals long into the night (or morning) in an old-fashioned wine tavern, and take a picnic up to one of the city's seven hills to watch the sunset. Go on, indulge yourself – oh, and whoever else you might want to bring along with you. It's supposed to be their present, after all.