The best last minute festive getaways
by Ellie Ross
Four weeks of beautiful, unadulterated holiday time, and how are you going to spend them? Eating turkey and staring at your expanding waistline and pile of summatives? indigo would like to offer you a decent alternative to this unhappy scenario, by suggesting that you get online and start booking a cheap, hassle-free minibreak. Whether you have a Mr Darcy to take with you or you simply want to avoid breaking limbs on the college ski trip, there are plenty of options out there for cultured trips away over Christmas, all for £150 or under, per person. (All prices are for between the 3rd-7th January 2012).
Nothing could beat spending week one of 2012 haggling for a carpet in the Grand Bazaar, buying tasty simits off street hawkers and watching the winter sun glow pink on the Galata Bridge. Stay in the Harmony Hostel for less than £5 a night and wander through thronging crowds at the night market, eating steaming grilled kofte from a greasy paper bag.
Bag one of the £89rtn flights from London Luton with Easyjet to get your portion of the east over the holidays.
Can Paris really be done on a student budget? Travel with Eurolines (www.eurolines.co.uk) between London and Paris Galieni for just £35 return and hunt down Friends Hostel which is slap bang in the centre of the city for a staggeringly cheap £14.50 per night. Make the most of your tight budget by carting your passport around the city’s art galleries, where being under 25 and in full time education will guarantee you free entry.
Poke your nose into the Musée Fragonard, a museum dedicated to the production of perfume, and sit down in a traditional left bank bistro for a bowl of piping hot bouillabaisse. For a stunning view of Paris, climb all 200 of the steps to the gleaming white Sacré Coeur and try to spot as many famous Parisian sites as you can before the sun sets.
The ultimate destination for Americans over the New Year, Durhamites can sample a slice of Scots culture for just £16.55 from thetrainline.co.uk. It’s not quite Hogmanay, but with fewer tourists milling around there’ll be shorter queues for classics such as the Scotch Whisky Experience. But it’s the nightlife that defines Edinburgh more than a trip to the House of Shortbread. Under the Stairs, an underground, understated budget bar serves excellent cocktails: for an adventurous kick try Goose on the Loose, complete with Grey Goose vodka and gooseberry preserve. Yum!
For just £70 return, fly to a city that offers Soviet-era housing and restaurants that operate as canteens for overall-clad workers and suspiciously gristly stews. But in this city of two halves (one side is Buda and the other Pest) you can also stew in mineral waters at over 12 different bath houses, plunge into ice baths and be massaged by thickset women wearing starched uniforms for under a fiver. Stroll along the Danube, eat in any restaurant along Istvan Szt and pop into St Stephen’s Basilica for a jaw-dropping display of candle-lit gold. Hike to the top of the citadel and then gorge yourself on cakes at the Gerbeaud Coffee Shop on Vorosmarty Square, a turn of the century, Austro-Hungarian coffee house. Accommodation prices start at less than £3.50 per night.