Next month — Nov. 16-18Bilbao, Spain: 72.98 pounds round tripFly Easyjet from London Stansted to Bilbao.

Start exploring Bilbao at the titanium sheet-covered Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, which opened in 1997. In addition to its private collection, it shares with New York and Venice part of the world’s largest private collection of modern and contemporary art. While visitors are welcome to explore the museum on their own, guided tours are offered four times a day.

Art lovers also will enjoy the Museum of Fine Arts, with a great gallery that holds more than 6,000 works, including sculptures, paintings, drawings and engravings. The art-through-the-centuries collection is presented in chronological order, starting from the 12th century.

Another museum worth a visit is the Estuary of Bilbao Maritime Museum. Exhibits include Bilbao shipping company boats, models of locally built vessels and an impressive collection of watercolor paintings.

Located in Bilbao’s old quarter is the Museum of Basque Archaeology, Ethnography and History. Visitors can learn about the sea, fishing, the weapons industry, and local traditional crafts and trades.

While in the old quarter, go to one of the many bars and taverns to enjoy pintxos, a local appetizer, and wine before sitting down to a delicious local-specialty cod dish.

A must-see in the city is the Gothic Santiago Cathedral, the oldest building in Bilbao dating to the 14th century. Visitors can walk around the cathedral’s three naves, covered with ribbed vaults, and discover the ornately-styled Gothic choir stalls and cloister. The Basque Country travel guide singles out the cathedral’s stained-glass windows and Renaissance and Neoclassical doorways.

Three months — Jan. 11-13Bratislava, Slovakia: 62.29 pounds round tripFly Ryanair from London Stansted to Bratislava.

Visitors with just a weekend to spend should start in the city’s old town, with its many museums and palaces.

The Rococo-style Mirbach Palace houses an exhibition of Central European baroque paintings and sculpture, while the Palffy Palace offers visitors a chance to view 19th-century European art, including notable works by Albin Brunovsky, a Slovak graphic artist.

Other notable museums in the area include the Museum of Wine Production and the Town Museum, which documents Bratislava’s history through valuable artifacts.

For a glimpse at the area’s Napoleonic history, visit the Primatial Palace. It is here in 1805 that Napoleon signed the Pressburg Peace Treaty with Holy Roman Emperor Francis II.

Throughout the palace hangs a unique collection of 17th-century English tapestries.

The palace also has part of the Municipal Museum, which features an exhibit on medieval justice and instruments of torture.

Youngsters will enjoy a visit to the Bibiana International House of Art for Children, which offers an art museum just for them as well as theater performances and daily music programs.

Airfare prices include estimated taxes and are courtesy of the Web site Prices were verified as of Monday afternoon when Stripes UK went to press. Deals are not guaranteed to be available; restrictions may apply.

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