Start the new year as you mean to go on, with these four timely trips
Visit North America’s award-winning Geopark
Why go? More of a book now, but if planning for summer try Stonehammer Geopark, New Brunswick, Highly Commended in the World Leisure Organization International Innovation Awards to see a billion years of history.
Where to stay: Tanners Inn B&B has rooms from C$99 (£62) and is home to the Stonehammer Geopark Art Studio, where you can create your own souvenir.
Getting there: Air Canada has daily flights to Saint John from Toronto (2hrs), Montréal (1hr) and Halifax (45mins).
Follow your heart to the Croatian capital
Why go? Zagreb is often overlooked by visitors to Croatia. Which is a mistake: the city has many sites and museums, plus nearby Mt Medvednica offers magical wintry walks.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day here to indulge in licitar hearts – colourful, romantically shaped biscuits, the traditional symbol of Zagreb.
Where to stay: The Palace Hotel was the city’s first – opened 1907 – and has a great location. Doubles €100-170.
Getting there: Plenty of new routes are opening up for 2013 – British Airways operates daily flights from Heathrow (2.5hrs; £112 return). Ryanair, easyJet and Norwegian have all also increased their services for 2013.
Celebrate 600 years with a bracing dip
Why go? At the very tip of the Jutland peninsula, the fishing village of Skagen is celebrating its 600th anniversary on 22 January. Among the Viking celebrations, Skagen is hosting a brrr-racing challenge for anyone needing a fresh start to the New Year. Join in with the Winter Swimming Festival (26-29 Jan): the Icebreaker Winter Bathers Club is inviting hardy souls to try a chilly dip on 27 January.
Visit www.visitdenmark.com for more info.
Where to stay: Hotel Plesner has 16 beautiful rooms, handy for beach and town. Doubles from £108.
Getting there: Norwegian flies London-Aalborg from £80 rtn.
Reach dizzy heights in Europe’s tallest building
Why go? Almost twice as high as any other viewing platform in London, The View from the Shard opens on 1 February 2013. From a lofty 244m, you’ll get an incredible 360° view over one of the greatest cities on earth.
Adult tickets are £24.95 in advance; online pre-booking is available now at www.
Where to stay: The Tower is just over the river from The Shard and has ‘wow-factor’ views at a lower altitude. Doubles from £112.
Getting there: The Shard is next to London Bridge Station in central London. Mainline
trains, buses, Underground services, ferries, taxis and ‘Boris bikes’ are all available.