Manchester may be a fantastic place to live but it’s always nice to get away, and luckily our fair city is home to the UK’s third biggest airport offering flights to more than 200 destinations across the globe. Here’s a look at five fantastic places to visit in the winter months - without a connecting flight in sight.
The land of fire and ice is closer than you might think – it’s only about three and a half hours from Manchester. For a city break visit Iceland’s lively capital Reykjavik with its bustling nightlife, relax and pamper yourself at the world famous Blue Lagoon or explore the island’s unique landscape including ethereal glacial lakes, stunning waterfalls and beaches made entirely of black sand. In the winter months, you'll also likely see the stunning Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in the skies.
Manchester-Keflavik, EasyJet and Icelandair.
Culture vultures, foodies, sightseers, cyclists and beer bods are all catered for in the Danish capital. The city’s restaurants hold a whopping 18 Michelin stars; attractions include Tivoli Gardens (said to have inspired a certain Walt Disney) and a plethora of royal palaces; and if you’re feeling parched forget Carlsberg and look to one of the city’s many brewpubs or gypsy brewery Mikkeller, recently named one of the world’s best, for high quality (albeit, pricey) beer.
Manchester-Copenhagen, EasyJet and SAS.
Straddling the banks of the Danube, the Hungarian capital features World Heritage sites, a variety of museums and unique architecture so there’s plenty to explore or if you’re feeling active, get your skates on at the public ice rink in the City Park. Warm up at the famous Szechenyi Baths - one of the largest baths in Europe with 15 indoor baths and three outdoor pools - and enjoy a soak in the thermal waters.
Manchester-Budapest, Jet2 and Ryanair.
Although Berlin and Munich are often on the radar for winter city breaks, Germany’s fourth largest city offers up plenty to occupy visitors all year round – from beer gardens in the summer to the annual carnival during the winter; a tradition almost as old as the city itself. History buffs can explore the city’s old town or one of its many museums, families can ride the cable car across the river to the Rhinepark and if you’re keen to sample the local grub pop into one of the many beerhalls and wash it all down with a few glasses of Kolsch. No visit is complete without climbing the iconic Cathedral which dominates the skyline.
Manchester-Cologne Bonn –Germanwings.
It’s the longest direct flight you can get from Manchester and it’ll take you between 13 and 15 hours to get to the Asian city, but it’ll definitely be worth it. With more than 2,000 buildings above 100m tall (to put it in perspective, Manchester’s City Tower is 107m), Hong Kong’s famous skyline feels like stepping into the future – but there is plenty of reminders of the city’s past including the iconic Star Ferry. Plus if you’re looking for somewhere warmer in the winter months, Hong Kong’s average temperature is 12°C-20°C between December and February.
Manchester-Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific.
Prefer to stay here? See more things to do in Manchester from Time Out.