October 1-8Agadir, Morocco: 305 pounds round tripFly flythomascook.com from London Gatwick to Agadir.
With about 340 days of sunshine and 5½ miles of beach, it is easy to see why this cosmopolitan city is southern Morocco’s most visited city, according to www.Morocco.com
A holiday in Agadir is all about spending the day basking in the sun on the crescent-shape white sand beach. Sun lounges and umbrellas can be rented from the many cafes, bars and hotels lining the boulevard alongside the shoreline. Don’t worry about finding refreshment — many of the cafes have waiters working the beach.
Those craving adventure can rent jet skis, quad bikes or beach buggies. There are also plenty of places to rent surfboard and windsurfing equipment. Adults and children alike will enjoy exploring the beach atop a horse or camel.
The National Office of Moroccan Tourism suggests families visit the Valley of Birds, a parkland with many species of birds, several aviaries, a zoo of sorts, waterfall and playground.
For local fare, try one of the sardine-inspired dishes, from simple grilled sardines to fish tagine, a stew with fruit.
To barter for souvenirs, visit the walled Souk al-Had for hand-crafted ceramics, leather garments, carved figurines, ornate metalwork lanterns and more.
If you can drag yourself away from the beach, make a side trip to the Souk des Bijoutiers or jewelry market in Tiznit for fine quality silver, antique Berber and modern jewelry.
December 5-7Brno, Czech Republic: 45.81 pounds round tripFly Ryanair from London Stansted to Brno-Turany.
Start in Brno’s old town, site of many of the city’s popular attractions. The old town hall, once the seat of government, now houses a collection of armor, coins and photos. The hall’s tower offers tourists an interesting view of the city.
Before leaving the town hall, examine two of the city’s unusual attractions, the Brno Dragon and the Wagon Wheel. The dragon hanging from the ceiling is actually an alligator given to the city in 1608. The Wagon Wheel, according to local lore, appeared after a carpenter wagered with locals that he could chop down a tree, fashion a wheel from it and roll it 25 miles to Brno in a single day. Well, he did it, but townspeople decided he must have been helped by the devil, and they refused to ever buy his work again.
Perched atop a hill overlooking the city is the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. Among the decorations inside the church are a 14th-century statue of the Madonna and child, a late Gothic pieta and Baroque altars. On most days it is also possible to visit the crypt, jewel chamber and towers.
Climb the hill beyond the park behind the cathedral to Spillberk Castle, built in the 13th century as a seat for a country lord. The castle’s role has seen many changes — from fortress and formidable prison to the home of the Brno City Museum.