Cheap Seats: Next month — Dec. 14-16
Nice, France: 36.45 pounds round trip
Fly Easyjet from London Luton to Nice.
While a vacation to the heart of the French Riviera might tempt tourists to spend the entire weekend on the beaches, Nice’s many museums and other attractions are worth shaking off the sand for.
Start at the Musee d’Art et d’Histoire, housed in the 19th-century Massena Palace. The museum features local impressionist paintings, ceramics and French folk art.
For a different perspective, visit the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, featuring French and American art from the 1960s forward. Visitors can find works by Andy Warhol, Jean Tinguely, Niki de Saint Phalle and Roy Lichtenstein. Visit the rooftop terrace to see two popular works — “Wall of Fire” and “Garden of Eden” — by French artist Yves Klein.
The Musee Matisse honors artist Henri Matisse, who died in Nice in 1954. Highlights include his collection of nude sketches, the paintings “Portrait of Madame Matisse” and “Nymph in the Forest” and a 50-piece collection of dance-related sketches.
Other museums worth visiting include the Musee de Beaux-Arts de Nice (Fine Arts Museum), featuring works by impressionist and post-impressionist artists such as Monet and Renoir, and the Museum d’Histoire Naturelle (Museum of Natural History), with exhibits on plants, animals, mineralogy and geology.
Not to be missed is the richly adorned Cathedrale Orthodoxe Russe St-Nicolas. The cathedral is easily recognized by its many onion-shaped domes.
Three months — Feb. 8-10Helsinki, Finland: 110.51 pounds round trip
Fly Air Berlin from London Stansted to Helsinki Vantaa.
Start in Senate Square, which is dominated by four neoclassical buildings — Helsinki Cathedral, Government Palace, the main building of the University of Helsinki and the National Library of Finland. The cathedral is Finland’s most photographed building and is a popular location for state and university events, while the crypt holds temporary exhibitions and concerts throughout the year.
One of Helsinki’s most popular tourist attractions, Temppeliaukio Church, was quarried out of the natural bedrock. The interior walls are naturally created from the rock and offer excellent acoustics, making the church a popular concert venue.
Take the time to board a ferry or hydrofoil for a trip to Suomenlinna, touted as one of the biggest sea fortresses in the world, according to the tourist Web site Helsinki.fi. Founded in 1748, Suomenlinna is one of Finland’s most popular tourist attractions, according to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The fortress is a suburb of Helsinki, with hundreds of people living in its ramparts and barracks, the agency says.
Two blocks east of the church is the National Museum of Finland. The museum’s collections include major archaeological finds and historical documents that help illustrate Finnish history from prehistoric times to present day.
— Heather Klinglesmith
Airfare prices include estimated taxes and are courtesy of the Web site www.skyscanner.net. Prices were verified as of Monday afternoon when Stripes UK went to press. Deals are not guaranteed to be available; restrictions may apply.