Turning back time in the Beskydy Mountains, and short breaks home and away
Take me there: Beskydy Mountains, Czech Republic
Why go? The pristine, snowy peaks, crumbling castles, timeless mountain villages and pure air in this north-eastern corner of the Czech Republic offer a wholesome antidote to the excesses of the festive season.
What to do For downhill skiing the best resort is Pustevny, famed for its fairy-tale wooden architecture (known locally as Wallachian Art Nouveau). The Hostýn and Beskydy cross-country ski trails will take you through some of the region’s most beautiful scenery. Visit the statue of pagan god Radegast at Radhošt mountain.
Where to stay With its striking modern design, uplifting mountain views and impressive list of therapies in a sleek, subterranean spa, the minimalist Miura Hotel in Celadná is the place to get those New Year resolutions off to a flying start (from €114, designhotels.com/miura_hotel).
Where to eat Try Wallachian specialities, such as roast venison and slivovice (plum brandy), in the beautifully ornate Libušín restaurant in Pustevny (Pustevny, Prostredni Becva, 75657)
Insider tip Richard Kucík, of the Miura Hotel, recommends a trip to the Little Wooden Town in Rožnov: “You can experience the life of Wallachian people 150 years ago. It really feels as though you are turning back time.”
Give me a break
London Eye opener Get some perspective – literally and metaphorically – on the London Eye. From 18 January the attraction will be offering ticket holders a free upgrade to one of four enlightening experiences as part of its Lift London campaign. Yoga, relaxation techniques, art lessons and career coaching will all be available in the rotating capsules from 11am-1pm. Tickets from £26.55 (londoneye.com).
Morocco discounts Adventure travel specialist Explore has launched its January sale with a 5% discount off all new 2014 tours booked before 30 January. This brings the cost of a nine-day Morocco highlights tour, including the cities of Marrakech, Fez and Meknes and the Atlas Mountains, down to £633pp, including flights, accommodation on a bed-and-breakfast basis, and transport (explore.co.uk).