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Our 3 Favourite Long-Haul City Breaks
There’s something particularly exciting about a city break. Head to the airport, hop on a flight and within a few hours, you could be tucking into tapas on a cobbled street of Barcelona or taking a gondola ride down Venice’s Grand Canal. But what’s even more exciting is travelling a little further afield. If you love a city break but want to venture beyond Europe, why not consider a long-haul city break for your next trip?
There are loads of amazing cities all over the world that make for a great 3-5-day trip. From Brazil to Southeast Asia, read on to discover our three favourite long-haul city breaks, all you can get to from Birmingham Airport.
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Rio de Janeiro
Falling in love with Rio de Janeiro is easy. It's a vibrant, diverse city, which offers its visitors the hustle and bustle of city life with the surrounding beauty of lush mountains, verdant rainforests and inviting, white sandy beaches. Rio's residents, known as cariocas, have perfected the art of living well, so it's no wonder people who live there never leave and people who visit never want to.
From stunning coastlines to edgy underground nightlife hangouts, from magnificent monuments to favela societies, the city offers travellers a dynamic, adventurous visit.
How to get there: Start your journey at Birmingham Airport with Air France, KLM, Lufthansa and Swiss, and enjoy a stop-off to break up your journey.
Best time to go: Rio is a year-round destination and you’re guaranteed to have an amazing time whatever month you decide to travel. The warmest months are November to March – perfect for enjoying New Year and Carnival celebrations.
3 unmissable things to do in Rio de Janeiro:
- Hit the beach – No trip to Rio is complete without a visit to one of the world’s most famous stretches of sand: Copacabana. Watch the locals play football, catch some rays and kick back with a caipirinha or two. Head to Arpoador Rock, tucked at the end of Ipanema Beach, for a stunning sunset.
Visit the Christ the Redeemer – Probably the most popular tourist attraction in Rio, the Christ the Redeemer monument is an image recognised all over the world. Take a train, van or hike to the summit of the 700 -metre tall Corcovado mountain to reach the monument and enjoy exquisite views over the whole city.
Ride the tram in Santa Teresa - Head to Rio’s oldest boho neighbourhood for a different taste of Brazil. Start by snapping a picture on the Escadaria Steps – made famous by Snoop Dog’s “Beautiful” video – then take a wander past the crumbling houses and walls coated in vibrant murals. Browse the shops, eateries and drinking spots before hopping on a tram back downtown.
Simply one of the best cities in the world, New York is the ideal destination for a long-haul city break. Of course, there’s a plethora of tourist hotspots, from Times Square and Central Park to the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty, but there’s a lot more to the city. Fantastic shopping, unbeatable nightlife and interesting history and architecture will keep you entertained for days in the Big Apple.
Whether you’re visiting to see the iconic attractions, to shop till you drop or to feast on America’s huge portion sizes, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
When to go: Christmas in New York is a magical time but if its warmer weather and slightly fewer crowds you’re after, we recommend visiting between April and June or September to November.
3 unmissable things to do in New York:
- Admire the sunset at Top of the Rock – From the observatory on top of the Rockefeller Center, you’ll get a cracking view of the Empire State Building, Manhattan and as far as the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty. The observatory is on multiple levels, indoor and out: head to the very top, outside, for a front-row spot without any glass or barriers.
- Stroll around Central Park – One of the world’s most renowned green spaces, Central Park comprises 843 acres of rolling meadows, manicured European-style gardens, a lake and reservoir. Not to mention an outdoor theatre, a memorial to John Lennon, a tempting waterside eatery and a famous Alice in Wonderland statue! If you’re visiting during the summer, pack a picnic and head to Sheep Meadow, before visiting Central Park Zoo.
- Be mesmerised by Times Square – One of the most iconic locations in the world, Times Square is a constant hub of activity. From some of the best shops and restaurants to the brilliant lights and sounds, Times Square can’t be missed. Take a Times Square Tour, snap some pics with the lit-up advertising boards and buy some souvenirs from the array of shops.
Arguably the best city break in the whole of Asia, Singapore is worth its considerable flight time. Clean, safe and boasting one of the best transport systems in the world, Singapore has fewer hassles than you might encounter in other Southeast Asian cities.
For a tiny island city-state, Singapore packs a mighty punch. Whether you’re an adventure-seeker, urban explorer or proud foodie, this sprawling metropolis has a bit of everything.
How to get there: Ready to book your holiday? We offer a range of airlines from Birmingham Airport including Air France, Emirates, KLM, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines and Swiss.
Best time to go: Singapore – for the most part – is a year-round destination. The months of February to April fall within Singapore’s dry season and experience less rainfall than other times of the year.
3 unmissable things to do in Singapore:
Eat like a local – The best way to appreciate a country’s culture is by eating the local cuisine. Punchy chilli crab, fragrant chicken rice, nutty satay, sweet and sour rojak, spicy barbecue sambal stingray: Singapore's hawker food is legendary.
Explore the Gardens - One of the most iconic attractions in the city, the Gardens by the Bay are a Singapore must-see. Encased in two giant greenhouses, here you’ll find some of the most unusual and exotic plants imaginable. Visit at night for hourly twinkly light shows set to music.
Enjoy a gorgeous sunset at Marina Bay – Singapore is famous for its stunning skyline. The Marina Bay Sands Boardwalk gives you an unrestricted view of what can only be described as the best view in the city. Visit at around 6pm so you can do some people watching before seeing the sun go down.