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Next month — Jan. 25-27Valencia, Spain: 30.65 pounds round tripFly Ryanair and Easyjet from London Stansted to Valencia.

Most of the popular tourist sites in Valencia are located between two large squares, Plaza de la Reina and Plaza Virgen. It is there tourists can find the Capilla del Santo Caliz, which claims to be the real home of the Holy Grail. The chalice is on display in a side chapel of the cathedral, which was built on the site of a torn-down mosque.

After touring the cathedral, visit the 155-foot incomplete Gothic tower Miguelete for a panoramic view of the city. Then visit the cathedral museum to see works by Goya and Zurbaran.

The Museo San Pao on the bank of the Luria River has a collection of Flemish and native Valencian art. Don’t miss the Velazquez self-portrait or the room dedicated to Goya’s works. Other displays include works by Bosh, Morales, Ribera and Sorolla. The museum also includes an archaeological collection with early Iberian and Roman finds.

More works by Goya, Velazquez and Sorolla can be seen at the renovated Museo de bellas Artes de Valencia.

One sight not to be missed is La Lonja, the old silk exchange. This Gothic building is a U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage site.

Spend a day at the sugar- white beaches bordering the sparkling blue water swimming, sailing boating or just relaxing in the sunshine. Enjoy Spanish tapas in one of the many cafes and restaurants that line the promenades.

Three months — March 28-30Catania, Italy: 136.61 pounds round tripFly British Airways from London Gatwick to Catania Fontanarossa.

Start at the Piazza del Duomo in the heart of the city. The square, surrounded by impressive baroque buildings and containing the lava stone Elephant Fountain, is a U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage site.

The square is also home to the Sant’Agata Cathedral and is the resting place of the city’s patron saint. Opera fans also can pay their respects there to composer Vincenzo Bellini, whose tomb is guarded by a life-size marble angel.

Travel east of the piazza to the 13th-century Ursino Castle, which now is open to the public as a museum. The castle houses an archaeological collection while its library holds a series of mostly Sicilian paintings that date to the 1400s.

Any exploration of Sicily’s second-largest city should include a visit to Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano. Hop on one of the trains that circumnavigate the volcano’s base or splurge for a private guided Jeep tour.

If time allows, take a side trip to Caltagirone to shop for handmade ceramics and to enjoy the town’s striking architecture.

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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