Best winter city breaks: A guide to three escapes, rain or shine

The winter months can dampen the spirit. This makes a change of air so important and winter city breaks provide the ultimate respite.
Best winter city breaks: A guide to three escapes, rain or shine

Winter is a time of change, for better and worse. The winter months can be a period where the early evenings and darker days dampen the spirit. The daily commute is dulled by darkness and the biting cold makes it difficult to get out of bed. This makes a change of air so important and winter city breaks provide the ultimate respite.

There is an abundance of beauty to be found during the winter months. Winter's relaxation has a great purging power after a busy summer. After the city streets have become awash with autumnal colours, the tendrils of festive cheer take hold. Cities and their people adorn their neighbourhoods with Christmas lights. 

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Winter is a time for adventure and discovery. Change the environment you find yourself in, even if just for the weekend. Wrap yourself in the cosy embrace of new experiences with mulled wine or hot chocolate clasped between gloved hands. 

Winter breaks are a refreshing way to engage in different cultures. Our luxury travel guide to winter city breaks will help to break up the long winter and create nourishing memories with your loved ones. 

Paris

Paris is a picture perfect place to visit at any time of the year. However, the winter months only add to its romanticism. On sunny winter days the city is at its brightest. Pore over gothic churches catching the morning light or appreciate the Eiffel Tower’s bold grandeur in crisp clarity as it gazes across the city. Go to the Opéra Garnier, or ice skate in the Grand Palais during an enchanting trip to Paris. 

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As the sun sets, the streets become aglow with warm light laid gently down by lofty lamps and heated terraces. Cafes and bars spill onto the pavements. Restaurants coax passersby with the aromas of raclettes and fondues. 

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the further parts of the Champs-Élysées turn into a market which could easily be mistaken for a festival of light. The trees lining the bustling Champs-Élysées, donning their festive glows, point to the main attraction - the Arc de Triomphe. The city becomes a different world altogether when the sun sinks below the horizon. Illuminations give the city a fairytale flavour. 

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Even on rainy days the city can be at its most beautiful. “Actually, Paris is the most beautiful in the rain”, declared Gabrielle to Gil in the closing scene of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. The rain provides the perfect opportunity to seek refuge in a nearby cafe for an impromptu drink. Sit, huddled, under a restaurant’s streetside awning for a bite to eat as the rain patters overhead. The City of Light, as it is fondly known, keeps its warmth even on the coldest of days.

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Plan a winter city break with Le Collectionist by looking at our array of luxury apartments to rent in Paris. Enjoy one of the best winter city breaks in Europe with the family. Lap up views of the city from a luxury rooftop apartment. 

Florence

Widely regarded as the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is home to some of the most revolutionary artistic legacies and scientific discoveries. A wonder of a city to visit, but even better in the winter. 

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Avoid the teeming tourists of summer’s swelter by visiting Florence in the winter, when one can marvel at Michelangelo’s David in the relative peace of the slower season. Duck into a gallery, museum or church to escape the cold. Wrap up warm to explore the city by foot. Shorter queues to attractions make for a far more pleasant overall experience. 

Florence is a fresh and peaceful city to visit in winter. Roaming the quieter streets without the heat of the peak season means you can get more done. The views in winter become sharper on brighter days. The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore burns a brighter tone of terracotta than it would in the dense summer haze. 

Art students and locals gather at their nightly haunts to share wine and stories in the gentler hum of the quiet months. During the day, visit Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio, an indoor market offering a delectable variety of fresh local foods. 

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Towards the end of the winter season, Florence hosts a celebration of fine food. The Taste Florence Food Festival is usually held in March. The festival brings winter to a close with a culinary commemoration of Italy’s finest foods and wines. Over 400 companies display their products at the festival. 

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Add a winter escape to the historic Tuscan capital city onto your bucket list of luxury holidays.

Lisbon

The labyrinthine cobbled streets of Bairro Alto lace their way among bars and restaurants in the heart of Lisbon. 

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A small, homely looking bar will stop you on your way somewhere. For some reason, its facade and quiet interior will leave you wanting to go inside. A well-kept secret you wish to be part of. It almost feels as if you are trespassing on a bar reserved for locals. It appeals to your desire to immerse yourself and, for one evening, pretend to be Lisboan. 

Once you give in to its irresistible pull, you will think it was designed just for you; that the two staff, quietly nattering on stools behind the bar, have been awaiting your arrival. You will drink caipirinhas or Sagres and be made to feel at ease by the welcoming locals of Lisbon. 

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There is plenty of sightseeing in The City of Seven Hills. The best way to explore it is by foot, which is made easier in the winter cool and a good way to warm yourself up. The Praça do Comércio, a grand square whose fourth wall is the Tagus river and the harbour view, is a magnificent building to witness catching the winter sunlight. 

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Board one of the 28 tram’s rickety yellow carts for a quaint and easy way to see the city. Before the journey, enjoy a pastel de nata or concede and get ten straight away to save yourself time, and a coffee from one of Lisbon’s many little bakeries. 

Lisbon is a great city for day trips. Staying outside the city gives you the freedom to dip in and out whilst affording you luxuriating space. The colourful Portuguese capital is a must visit and one of our favourite winter luxury escapes.

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With Le Collectionist, planning your perfect winter short breaks has never been easier. Indulge your luxury lifestyle ambitions and explore our website for more ideas to springboard your seasonal luxury breaks

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