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Top 5 Indoor short breaks

A short break over winter needn’t concentrate on the few nearby destinations where you can still grab some sun. Cities in colder climes have some great attractions with a roof over them where you can absorb culture, party or relax while still keeping warm. As a bonus, they are cheaper and less crowded at this time.

St Petersburg 
They say it would take nine years to only glimpse every treasure in the Hermitage so why not dedicate at least a day to wandering round the staggering collection? Other heritage attractions include the riverfront St Isaac’s cathedral and onion-domed Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood (sic). By night, keep warm with a seat at the famous Kirov ballet. You can travel by underground but when you do stroll the streets you’ll find a dusting snow on all that gorgeous architecture turns the city into a winter wonderland. 

Spend all day getting steamy in one of Budapest’s historic natural spa baths. The famous Gellert Hotel has wonderful Art Nouveau features including mosaics, stained glass windows and sculptures. The Rudas bath dates back to Turkish occupation and features an octagonal pool under a dome, while the neo-baroque Szechenyi enables you to swim outdoors even in winter. After your soak, choose from a range of affordable spa treatments. In the evening, try the respected Hungarian wines and look out for concerts in public buildings. 

Winter makes you want to comfort eat, so why not do it in style in the home of pizza, pasta and other fabulous food Italy? For a great restaurant scene, take your pick of the country’s picture-perfect cities. If you choose Rome you have the added advantage of keeping warm at the famous religious sites without the summer crowds. Don’t miss St Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican museums - which are bursting with fabulous art - and, of course, Michelangelo’s famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. 

If you’re a party animal you can keep warm dancing all night in this clubbing and gig capital and travel by underground will help cut your time outdoors between venues. The city also has some fascinating attractions, like the Bauhaus design museum and the bittersweet Checkpoint Charlie museum that displays artefacts people once ingeniously used to escape over, under and through the Berlin Wall. 
If you’re desperate for a taste of summer you can even escape to Tropical Beach a 24/7 resort in a former aircraft hangar less than an hour away by train.
It may be small but Amsterdam has some renowned art galleries. Grab a slice of summer by visiting Sunflowers in the Van Gough Museum, then head to the Rijksmuseum (reopened after a decade-long renovation), which contains some great Old Masters, notably Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. The Anne Frank Museum in the attic where she and her family hid from the Nazis is another must-see. The city’s ‘brown cafes’, named for their wood panelling, are cosy places for a beer or wine, while there’s great comfort eating to be had in the numerous pancake houses.