1. Paris, France
Long candlelit evenings in cosy bistros and bars, frosty walks along the Seine in the twinkling light of sundown, everyone looking impossibly chic and, best of all, no queues. Winter is the most romantic time to visit Paris, and nobody seems to know it.
Where to stay A 19th-century mansion hidden from the outside world in a leafy garden, Hotel Particulier Montmartre costs €580 for two nights for two sharing.
Get there Aer Lingus flies to Charles de Gaulle airport from Dublin and Cork for about €150 return. 

2. London, England
There’s a 50 per cent chance London won’t be a desolate wasteland filled with roving cannibal raiders this winter, so it should still be a good bet for a minibreak. London is a huge city, so pick an area you want to see and stick to it. If you’ve never been before, you can’t go wrong with Covent Garden.
Where to stay In the heart of the West End with amazing views of the city, St Martin’s Lane is offering 30 per cent off stays until December 30th. Doubles start at £260 a night.
Get there Return flights to London Gatwick from Dublin start at €60 with Aer Lingus

Athens. Photograph: iStock
Athens. Photograph: iStock

3. Athens, Greece
Much like Paris, the pros far outweigh the cons for visiting Athens during winter. With more than 70 museums, as well as the Acropolis and the Agora, it is like a different city without the pushy crowds and sweltering heat.
Where to stay Dripping with old-world opulence, the five-star Hotel Grande Bretagne has been an Athens institution since 1874. A three-night stay for two in November starts at €916.
Get there Ryanair flies to Athens from Dublin for €103 return. 



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