SUNSOAKED CITY BREAKS

Lis­bon Is­tan­bul, Palma

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Palma

Cap­i­tal of the sun-drenched Balearic is­land of Mal­lorca, Palma sits snugly be­tween the sparkling ocean and lush hills, of­fer­ing sun, sea and so­phis­ti­ca­tion in one at­mo­spheric spot. Com­pact and pic­turesque, this glam­orous Mediter­ranean town pulses with Ma­jor­can magic, with cob­bled streets, hon­ey­hued old build­ings, gor­geous beaches and a lively din­ing scene. Home to one of the world’s big­gest cathe­drals – the Gothic masterpiec­e of La Seu – Palma en­joys won­der­ful ocean frontage along the pretty Bay of Palma. Af­ter a morn­ing’s ex­plor­ing, head for one of the town’s five beaches, the breezy har­bour­side prom­e­nade or lively ma­rina for apéri­tifs and great peo­ple-watch­ing. STAY Palma’s coolest bou­tique ho­tel, the five-star Sant Francesc Ho­tel Sin­gu­lar, is a re­stored neo­clas­si­cal 19th cen­tury manor in the his­toric cen­tre. With just 42 rooms, it fea­tures wooden beams, orig­i­nal fres­cos, knock-out in­te­ri­ors and a gor­geous rooftop ter­race with pool. Of­fer­ing low-key lux­ury, it’s an in­dul­gent spot for a high-end hol­i­day with your best pals (from €285 per night, ho­tel­sant­francesc.com). PLAY Make for Purobeach Palma, a glam beach club per­fect for par­ty­ing, posing and pool fun.

The stylish wa­ter­side club of­fers sunbeds for €35 a day, with Balearic beats, spa treat­ments, an al fresco restau­rant and yoga avail­able at this hip spot, purobeach.com. EAT For lunch, make a bee­line for the Mer­cado Gas­tronómico San Juan, a buzzy gourmet food mar­ket in a re­fur­bished 110-year-old abat­toir with high-beamed ceil­ings and beau­ti­ful floor tiles. By night, dis­cover ev­ery­thing from Miche­lin-starred restau­rants to ca­sual tapas joints dot­ted around the town. SHOP Well-heeled vis­i­tors and locals mean Palma’s quite the re­tail hotspot, with good shop­ping cen­tres, high street names and in­de­pen­dent bou­tiques. Edgy la­bel lovers will find a suit­ably slick edit in Suivi’s gor­geous bou­tique (suivi.es), while Rialto Liv­ing is a swoon-wor­thy life­style store with cool fash­ion and in­te­ri­ors (ri­al­to­liv­ing.com). LO­CAL KNOWL­EDGE Mal­lorca’s hottest chef, Maria So­livel­las, is run­ning din­ner pop-ups of her sea­sonal is­land cook­ing from May un­til Oc­to­ber at the amaz­ing rooftop restau­rant at Sant Francesc Ho­tel Sin­gu­lar. Book at ho­tel­sant­francesc.com.

Ber­lin

Thirty years since the fall of the Ber­lin Wall, and the city is hot­ter than ever – edgy and eclec­tic, trend­set­ting and tra­di­tional. Many of its most im­por­tant his­tor­i­cal land­marks can be found in the cen­tral district of Mitte, sur­rounded by a jig­saw of Kieze – res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hoods, each with its own unique iden­tity. Food lovers will en­joy the cos­mopoli­tan culi­nary of­fer­ing, shop­pers the mar­ket scene, and club­bers the spec­tac­u­lar nightlife. Choose an itin­er­ary of memo­ri­als, mu­se­ums and cool neigh­bour­hoods, and you’ll en­joy a riv­et­ing week­end. STAY Treat your­selves to rooms at the lux­u­ri­ous Ho­tel de Rome, a Rocco Forte five-star created within a 19th cen­tury bank in the his­toric heart of East Ber­lin. The im­pres­sive build­ing re­tains many orig­i­nal fea­tures, a su­perb art col­lec­tion, and swanky spa in the bank’s old vaults (from €330 per room per night, roc­co­forte­ho­tels.com). Fancy be­ing nearer the nightlife? Base your­selves in Kreuzberg, at the clubby Ora­nia. Ber­lin, a re­stored 1913 Art Nou­veau build­ing with live in-house gigs (from €280 B&B per room per night, ora­nia.ber­lin). You can fill your week­end with cul­tural and his­toric at­trac­tions, but Ber­lin is a 24-hour party town with he­do­nism at its heart. Don’t worry if techno isn’t your thing: Ber­lin may dance to its beat, but of­fers ev­ery­thing from live mu­sic venues to cool jazz clubs, glam cock­tail bars to main­stream pubs. EAT No mat­ter what you crave, Ber­lin’s cos­mopoli­tan food scene will bam­boo­zle with its choices. From Ger­man sausages to au­then­tic Turk­ish cui­sine, Asian street food to mod­ern veg­e­tar­ian, juicy steaks to Miche­lin-starred plates, it’s best to book ahead be­fore your trip. SHOP From big name brands to lo­cal la­bels, you’ll find Ber­lin’s fash­ion game strong. Along­side great depart­ment stores, shop­ping cen­tres and out­lets are dozens of cool in­de­pen­dent bou­tiques and Ber­lin’s fa­mous mar­kets. For vin­tage gear, hit up Fesche Lotte flea mar­ket at Kra­nold­platz; for unique home­wares, head for boho “Boxi”, the Sun­day mar­ket at Box­ha­gener Platz. LO­CAL KNOWL­EDGE

Don’t miss out on Bite Club, a monthly street food party with food trucks serv­ing ev­ery­thing from espresso mar­ti­nis and mezze to dumplings. A sound sys­tem, liquor li­cence and friendly locals make this a fun ex­pe­ri­ence (bite­club.de).

Is­tan­bul

Less a tale of two ci­ties, and more a tale of two con­ti­nents, Is­tan­bul strad­dles the mighty Bospho­rus, con­nect­ing West with East. This heady com­bi­na­tion makes Turkey’s cap­i­tal one of the most thrilling ci­ties on earth. The fi­nal citadel on the Silk Road, its var­i­ous Greek, Ro­man, Vene­tian and Ot­toman rulers all left an ex­otic legacy of land­marks, tra­di­tions, foods and cul­tures. Thrilling to ex­plore, its rich her­itage is matched by a so­phis­ti­cated con­tem­po­rary scene, hip neigh­bour­hoods and friendly locals.

STAY Get the best from the city with a twin stay at Four Sea­sons Ho­tels’ two mag­nif­i­cent prop­er­ties. Mix chill time (rooftop drinks over­look­ing the Ha­gia Sophia, any­one?) at Sul­tanah­met, a cen­tury-old neo­clas­si­cal build­ing in the Old City (rooms from €290 a night, foursea­sons.com/is­tan­bul/), with a stay at their glam river­side prop­erty, Four Sea­sons Ho­tel Is­tan­bul at the Bospho­rus, a 19th cen­tury re­stored Ot­toman palace. Make sure to plan ham­mam time with the girls at the ho­tel’s in­dul­gent Turk­ish baths (rooms from €322 a night, foursea­sons.com/bospho­rus/).

PLAY For a night out, head to the Bey­oğlu district for ev­ery­thing from cool rooftop bars and hot clubs to live mu­sic venues and more tra­di­tional bars. EAT Book a city food tour with Done­gal woman Terre Duffy. Her Is­tan­bul Food Walks (is­tan­bul­food­walks.com) are five hours long and take you off the beaten track to ex­pe­ri­ence the very best of Turkey’s au­then­tic del­i­ca­cies. They’re a bril­liant way to dis­cover the city’s culi­nary riches. SHOP Head to the city’s Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s old­est and largest cov­ered mar­kets, across 61 cov­ered streets. From spices to sou­venirs, leather goods to jew­ellery, it’s a heady shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence that calls for your best hag­gling skills. LO­CAL KNOWL­EDGE Ex­plore the twin neigh­bour­hoods of Fener and Balat, which date back to Byzan­tine times. Their labyrinthi­ne streets are packed with cool cof­fee shops, gal­leries, tea gar­dens and design bou­tiques.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP The rooftop pool at bou­tique Sant Francesc Ho­tel Sin­gu­lar; glam­orous sun­set cock­tails at Purobeach Palma; life­style store Rialto Liv­ing, a must-visit for fash­ion, in­te­ri­ors and food lovers

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Ber­lin’s Kreuzberg area; up top at the Ho­tel de Rome; street art in Kreuzberg; the Ober­baum Bridge tram; con­tem­po­rary shop­ping at Bikini Ber­lin; sweep­ing stair­case and buzzy bar at the Ora­nia.Ber­lin ho­tel; ter­race din­ing at Ho­tel de Rome

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Four Sea­sons Ho­tel Is­tan­bul at the Bospho­rus; Turk­ish cof­fee on an Is­tan­bul Food Walks tour; a tra­di­tional Turk­ish donor ke­bab; the colour­ful houses of Balat; the Grand Bazaar; meet lo­cal ar­ti­sans on an Is­tan­bul Food Walks tour; Four Sea­sons Ho­tel at Sul­tanah­met

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