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January is really a month for the winter blues. Christmas is a hazy memory, you can't quite shake that cold that's been bothering you, and summer seems like an eternity away.

Why not escape for a weekend to see some of Europe's most incredible sights, and stay in the best Airbnb's you can find. Treat yo'self, gowan.

Luckily for you, we've curated a list of some of the continent's best apartment finds.

We've already booked our flights straight out of Dublin airport, ASAP….

leaving steve martin GIF

1. Zagreb, Croatia

This new stylish apartment is in the perfect location in the centre of the beautiful Zagreb, on Križanićeva street.

For a quiet and safe space which is still central, this is one of the best areas to stay in. Close to the main city square, central bus and train station, everything is easily within walking distance.

A modern, contemporary apartment with a monochromatic décor theme, yet still so comfortable, this apartment is perfect. It can host three guests, and has two beds and a bath. 

New stylish central apartment
Price: €37 per night

2. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is an incredible city to visit, the Old Town is stunning and has a huge amount of history, and most of the town is within walking distance.

It also is home to some of the best pub crawls in the world, just sayin'. This gorgeous boutique apartment has us DROOLING.

The spacious design, the window panels allowing light to stream in, we just need to stay here ASAP.

The boutique apartment is located in the Bohemian Zizkov district, packed with unreal cafés, bars, restaurants and bars with some amazing views of Prague.

3. Paris, France

We have found a sunny, cosy studio apartment LITERALLY just down the road from the Eiffel Tower. What more would you need?

The charming apartment is ideal for an escape to the Parisian life; it's both residential and family-oriented.

There are windows throughout the apartment to let in the French sun, and the location is absolutely perfect; the seventh district of Les Invalides

Just picture yourself having a coffee and croissant downstairs, looking out the window at the Parisian aesthetic. We can.

4. Berlin, Germany

A 'superhost' owns this GORGEOUS Berlin apartment, which can house four guests and his also an absolute bargain of an offer for what you're getting.

The apartment is a short walking distance away from some of Berlin's top spots, with restaurants, shops and bars surrounding the area.

The subway station is only a seven minute walk away, and the location is both safe and central. You'll be prancing around Alexanderplatz in no time…

Design apartment
Price: €34 per night

5. Barcelona, Spain

This spacious loft is on Airbnb Plus, and for a good reason.

The stunning studio apartment has an actual JETTED TUB. Be still my beating travel heart. The location is extremely central; with the city's main sights within walking distance.

The New York-style space has exposed brick walls, high ceilings of rustic Catalan wood and bold modern art.

Catch some rays on the balcony and make use of the space's incredible amenities.

Spacious loft
€70 per night

6. Rome, Italy

This 'superhost' certified apartment in the centre of one of Europe's most renowned cities is GOALS.

The apartment can house up to four guests, and is located on the first floor of a beautiful palatial residence just minutes from the Piazza Della Repubblica.

The studio home is freshly renovated, filled with light and more luxurious than our future. We LOVE.

7. Edinburgh, United Kingdom

This stunning Georgian apartment in Edinburgh's New Town is one of the best Airbnb's on the market.

The loft is a ground floor flat in the famous area, with absolutely every part of the city within walking distance. The apartment is spacious, has fantastic amenities such as a bath, and even an indoor fireplace for those cold January months.

The beautiful home as Wi-Fi, free parking down the road and houses two guests easily, with comfort being the essential promise. 

New Town apartment 
€54 per night

8. Vienna, Austria

This sunny apartment is extremely sought after, for it's dedication to space and light.

It can house four guests, and they can each experience the unique, warm decor of the apartment while being close to the most famous parts of Vienna.

The metro station at Ober-St. Veit is only a seven minute walk away, with the home featuring a spacious living room with a kitchen, one bedroom and a bathroom.

The terrace can be used in summer to soak in that European sun that we Irish can never seem to get.

Sunny apartment in Vienna
Price: €69 per night

9. Krakow, Poland

Poland is a great country to escape to, especially because of how affordable it is.

This chic loft apartment in central Krakow is only €18 PER NIGHT, we cannot believe how great it is.

Beautiful, modern studio for one or two people has air conditioning for the hot summer months, and is located on Bonerowska Street in Krakow city centre. 

The space is less than five minutes walking distance away from Krakow's main historical sights including main square, Wawel Castle, the Jewish Quarter and more.

Loft apartment
Price: €18 per night

10. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The hosts don't call it the 'stairway to heaven' for no reason. Amsterdam is one of Europe's most interesting cities, with a huge amount to do and some immensely picturesque locations to visit.

Little loft apartments near the canals and boats are such a dream come true, and this luxury apartment with warm, modern décor is perfect for a weekend away with someone special.

The private trendy studio is built in the attic of an authentic 1880 Amsterdam house, and is located in the cool neighbourhood near the food hall and outdoor markets. I wouldn't book this if stairs aren't suitable for you, however, it's a steep climb up.

Stairway to Heaven
Price: €80

You all deserve a holiday, and January is the perfect time to escape the winter blues and catch the travel bug.

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If you have a group of friends who are all mad fans of Harry Potter, now is the time to assemble them for a quick weekend break. 

Nestled away in the Scottish city of Edinburgh lies an oh-so tasteful homage to the wizarding world. 

Canongate Luxury Apartment is the stuff of muggles dreams, with each room decked out in Harry Potter themed decor. 

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There is even a desk in the apartment that once belonged to JK Rowling herself – who knows, maybe a few chapters were even drafted on it.

Much like Hogwarts, the walls are decked out in painting-printed wallpaper (though sadly these painting donts move) and the apartment entrance is hidden behind a brick door with a Platform 9 and 3/4s sign printed on it. 

The apartment boasts two double rooms, one of which is decked out to resemble a compartment on the Hogwarts Express (minus the Bertie Botts Beans and occasional Dementor visit).

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The apartment costs €330 for two nights for two people, but it's dependant on what time of year you go at. 

Be warned – the apartment is seriously popular, so you may want to get booking ASAP. 

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Everyone's jetting off on their holidays all of a sudden, and we can't help but look out the window wistfully as we sit here at home.

If you're also green with travel envy though, never fear. No longer will you have to look at your friends' Insta posts wishing you were travelling the world, too.

Thanks to cheap-ish flights and the beauty of our European neighbours, you can still go on those last-minute trips. 

Here are our top picks for Airbnb homes in Madrid, Budapest, Rome, and Edinburgh.

Madrid

NEW Remodel Madrid Sol downtown duplex €63 p/n

This chic apartment is nestled in the heart of Madrid, near plenty of the Spanish capital's main attractions.

The flat can accommodate two guests and is exquisitely decorated – perfect for the cosmopolitan traveller.

Private Studio in Sol, Madrid €80 p/n

If you're looking for a place steeped in history, this is it. This antique apartment was built in the 17th century but has been refurbished in a modern style.

The studio fits four guests, has two large balconies to enjoy, and is just a stone's throw away from Sol Square.

Budapest

Best panorama, great location on Buda side €48 p/n

This one-room flat offers a gorgeous view of the Danube and Chain Bridge.

The cosy apartment suits two guests and the hosts hope that, while everyone may arrive as strangers, they leave as close friends.

Rooftop Atelier Apt.- Cozy & Lovely €50

A mere five minute walk away from the lively bars and restaurants of the Jewish Quarter, this cute apartment is a lovely home away from home.

Sleeping up to three guests, the balcony opening onto a courtyard is just one of the many touches that make this a memorable place to stay.

Edinburgh

Converted factory with parking €103

This flat is the perfect place for you and three of your friends to enjoy the bohemian Stockbridge neighbourhood.

As well, the funky industrial-style apartment is within walking distance of Edinburgh city centre.

Quiet, bright apartment with free parking space! €62 p/n

Tucked away in a family-friendly neighbourhood, this place is so lovely with its bright pops of colour and eclectic decor.

City centre is a walkable distance away, and there are plenty of amenities nearby for the four guests staying in the flat.

Rome

PignetoRhome: Casetta Allegra €40 p/n

By far the highlight of this cosy attic home is its rooftop with an amazing terrace. Just imagine sipping an espresso up there in the morning!

The apartment fits two guests and is quite close to public transport lines.

Loft Garden San Lorenzo €45 p/n

We are simply in love with this apartment situated in the historical San Lorenzo neighbourhood.

Besides its beautiful retro decor, the flat also boasts an outdoor courtyard and has enough room for you and five friends.

 

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Honesty, it doesn't take much for us to be convinced that we need a weekend mini-break, and Edinburgh is at the top of our list. 

However, we recently discovered the existence of a Chihuahua Cafe in Scotland's capital, and now we're ferociously scrolling through Skyscanner. 

The Chihuahua Cafe brags that they specialise in too things, the aforementioned Chihuahuas and cake. 

Like we needed further convincing. 

'Our interactive animal experience allows you to take time to relax and indulge in some very rewarding company,' reads the cafe's description.  

 

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'Book a session and, once inside, our resident Chihuahuas will be roaming freely amongst guests for you to pet, cuddle, play with, take photos or simply observe and enjoy.'

There are eight Chihuahuas on site tpo play with, all with unique names and individual personalities, which you can read more about here

See you on the flight… 

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Last summer , I took a trip to Edinburgh for the first time, and was absolutely blown away by how amazing it was. 

(I've been back twice since). 

It is a city so rich in culture and beauty, combined with friendly people, good food and great fun at every turn. 

The city is buzzing with excitement, and countless things to see and do – from dungeons to castles and everything in between.

Here are the experiences in the Scottish capital that you cannot afford to miss: 

1. Dinner at The Witchery

This place is not exactly somewhere you would dine on a budget, because it is pretty fancy – but you seriously need to have an evening out for yourself and the gals here. The Witchery by the Castle has developed a world-wide reputation for its exceptional dining experience, showcasing the very best of Scotland's produce in the most magical of settings.

Now in its fourth decade, the Witchery is a Scottish dining landmark, much loved by loyal locals, its celebrity fans and visitors to the city alike. Alongside the Scottish seafood, beef, lamb and game you'd expect to find, you'll also see the Witchery's legendary Angus beef steak tartare, briny-fresh seafood platters, wild game and even some haggis featuring on the menu.

 

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2. Take in the scenery at Linlithgow Palace

Explore the magnificent ruins of the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots with a trip to Linlithgow Palace! The royal retreat was built and added to over two centuries by the Stewart kings, resulting in a superb Renaissance residence. 

High towers look out over lush greenery and a loch brimming with wildfowl, which is today a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Several monarchs were born in this royal ‘pleasure palace’, surrounded by its peaceful gardens and grounds. 

Take a jaunt around the grounds of the Palace, enjoy the lovely gift shop and explore the quaint village of Linlithgow – which is filled with cosy pubs and fun little boutiques. 

3. Experience The Real Mary King's Close

Beneath the City Chambers on the Royal Mile lies Edinburgh's deepest secret, a warren of hidden streets where real people lived, worked and died between the 17th and the 19th centuries.

The Real Mary King’s Close is a warren of underground streets and spaces, where, back in the 1600’s, Mary King’s Close and neighbouring Closes were at the heart of Edinburgh’s busiest and most vibrant streets. Once open to the skies and bustling with traders selling their wares to the Old Town’s residents, discover why would this street find itself underground 400 years later?

For years, the hidden Closes of Old Town Edinburgh have been shrouded in myths and mysteries. With a costumed character tour guide based on a one time resident, your group will explore this underground site, hearing these fascinating stories

4. Have Afternoon Tea in The Signet Library

If you manage to find yourself in Edinburgh on a weekend away with the gals then head to The Signet Library for the most wonderful afternoon tea in Scotland. You’ll discover the finest seasonal ingredients in sandwiches, delectable savouries and decadent cakes – all served on bespoke silver tea stands – so fancy.

Surrounded by vintage books and beautiful artwork, you will find yourself in ambience like no other – prepare to sit back, relax, and indulge. 

 

A rainy day in Edinburgh meant high tea at the Signet Library….

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5. Explore at Edinburgh Castle 

Edinburgh Castle is one of the most exciting historic sites in Western Europe, and not even torrential rain can dampen the experience (my god, did it bucket down!)

Set in the heart of Scotland's dynamic capital city, this most famous of Scottish castles has a complex building history. The oldest part, St Margaret's Chapel, dates from the 12th century; the Great Hall was erected by James IV around 1510; the Half Moon Battery by the Regent Morton in the late 16th century; and the Scottish National War Memorial after the First World War.

The castle houses the Crown Jewels of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny, the famous 15th century gun Mons Meg, the One O' Clock Gun and the National War Museum of Scotland.

 

Glorious sunshine at the castle tonight. Summer is that you? #sunshine #edinburgh #scotland #thisisedinburgh #sunshine #summer

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6. Eat haggis (yes, really!) 

I know what you're thinking, but just hear me out for a second. When one of my lovely pals suggested that I try the Scottish delicacy of 'haggis, neeps and tatties,' I initially was disgusted, at the sheer idea of it.

However, I gave in, and decided to give the sheep stomach a whirl, and it was DELICIOUS. The meal was served like a small cottage pie of sorts, and was genuinely so tasty. Arcade Bar is the spot to try this famous dish – you won't regret it! 

 

Lunch with mam

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We bloody love a little weekend away every now and then (we wish we could afford to go away every weekend tbh, but alas, broke).

Anyway, if you are planning to hop off to a gorgeous European city – Edinburgh should be at the TOP of your list. 

I love Paris, Berlin and all those other brilliant cities, but for some reason, Edinburgh is number one in my heart. 

The people are amazing, the architecture is gorge, and the bars are CLASS. 

Seriously, I am yet to meet a person who visited Edinburgh and didn't fall in love. 

So, I decided to do up a wee list of my favourite bars in the Scottish capital – that you simply need to try. 

Also, if you have any recommendations, send the my way !

1. Panda & Sons

Best for: a Long Island iced tea. 

Panda & Sons opened in November 2013 by Panda and his family. The foundation the bar was built on was to create a place where all ages and all people would feel welcome whether it would be for one of their deliciously creative cocktails, wide range of craft beers or their gloriously extensive wine list.

They are a hidden bar fusing the classic Prohibition style Speakeasy and a nod to the Vintage style Barbershop. All we can say is that if you find a Barbershop with some foreign currency you have made it to the Libation Destination!

2. The Albanach

Best for: a whisky on the rocks.

Loved by locals and office workers just as much as tourists, The Albanach is a classy bar that puts equal emphasis on food and drink. You won't be able to miss the 220 malt whiskies behind the long central bar, or the Belhaven beer, nor resist the contemporary Scottish menu with its pub favourites and local specialities. It's a great chance to get a taste of Highland hospitality right on the Royal Mile, with friendly staff who'll introduce you to the best of what Scotland has to offer.

3. Monteiths

Best for: an Espresso martini. 

The bar team at Monteiths pride themselves upon creating innovative and interesting cocktails using the best products available. The carefully curated cocktail list features plenty of classic drinks alongside some new creations that have been designed in-house. There’s also a selection of fantastic wines sourced from across the globe; you’ll find an eclectic mix of well-known varietals, unusual grapes and rare vintages. If beer is your tipple, then you're in luck – Monteiths also have a regularly changing selection of craft brews from Scotland and further afield.

4. Bramble

Best for: a G&T.

This hidden cocktail bar has now firmly established itself as one of the best in Edinburgh (and one of the best in the World, FYI). Its reputation has only grown over the years and the original cocktails are rightly regarded for their quality and creativity – they're seriously delish. The décor is understated, all brick and dim light (romantic) and the drink menus are bound inside the covers of old books. Despite its popularity, Bramble is relatively intimate mid-week, but it can get busy on weekends. 

 

Bramble by Bramble

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5. The Devil's Advocate

Best for: 'Cask to Cup' cocktail.

The Devil’s Advocate is a bar and restaurant situated in the historical and atmospheric Old Town of Edinburgh, in an old Victorian pump house hidden away in Advocates Close.

Featuring a mezzanine dining area and a 400 strong whisky shelf, the menu boasts seasonal and Scottish ingredients that change monthly.

 

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Ladies, this is not a drill. 

There is an actual Game of Thrones pop-up bar open right now, and the detail is incredible. 

Every Wednesday and Thursday night, the basement of the Daylight Robbery bar in Edinburgh transforms into a haven for GOT fans.

It is set up and run by a marvellous group of individuals that call themselves the Pop-Up Geeks, and we love them for it! 

 

Winter is coming… #IsThatNedStark? #bloodandwinebar #gameofthrones #edinburgh #scotland #drinks #ale #medieval #january

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The Westeros-worthy pub is filled with various props, posters and fur-covered countertops. 

The pub has an extensive drinks menu, which is filled with wine (duh!) and various infused cocktails inspired by the hit TV show. 

There is also DELICIOUS-looking, meat-filled food on the menu, including 'Frey Pies' and 'Sansa’s Lemon Cakes'. 

Em… YUM!?

Be warned though, time is of the essence; as the pop-up is only going to be open until the end of February, so you better get booking. 

BTW, if you need us… we'll be in Edinburgh.

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We all love Al Porter here in Shemazing HQ, and it looks like we're not the only ones!

It was announced today that the Irish comedian’s show At Large is nominated for Best Comedy Show at this year’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

Taking place this Saturday 27th August, Al will follow in the footsteps of Irish comedy legends such as Dylan Moran and Tommy Tiernan, who were both previously nominated for this award.

 

Hosting Edinburghs biggest comedy gala tonight !

A photo posted by Al Porter (@alportercomic) on

Speaking in Edinburgh today, Al said, “I’m over the moon and so surprised and thrilled. I’ve been having a ball with audiences of all ages over here in Edinburgh and to be nominated for this award like my heroes Tommy Tiernan and Dylan Moran were before, is just surreal.

"I’m definitely expecting a free pint in my local The Dragon in Tallaght now,” he added.

 

Backstage at the Cabaret Bar, Edinburgh

A photo posted by Al Porter (@alportercomic) on

Al's show, At Large, comes back to Ireland next month for a nationwide tour which will kick off in Vicar street on September 9th.

We wish him the best of luck!

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Uh oh, Zayn Malik is in trouble AGAIN!

The superstar was on stage with his One Direction bandmates in Edinburgh when he made a major crowd faux pas.

Zayn shouted out to the crowd, “Manchester!” before realising his embarrassing mistake.

He then went on to berate himself, saying, “We’re not even in Manchester, we’re in Edinburgh, I’m so stupid … I am so sorry.”

Now, we would normally not be impressed if this happened to anyone else, but given the insane tour the boys have been on, mistakes are bound to happen.

We’re sure he got enough slack from the One D lads anyway!

Watch the super awkward moment from 4.40 mark.

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Edinburgh is only literally a hop, skip and jump away, but it is often left in the shadow of London, Liverpool or even Newcastle as a place to head to.

But, did you know Scotland’s capital hosts a lot of festivals? We mean a lot… especially in the summer, that will make you rethink your travel plans.

Edinburgh International Film Festival 18th – 29th June
The Edinburgh Film Festival is known the world over and is probably a festival you have always said you would love to go to – sure, who doesn’t love a good film?

Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival 18th – 27th July
If you are a fan of jazz and blues then pop this date in your diary. Over ten days, 140 gigs will take place at 13 venues. From samba to swing to blues-rock there is sure to be something to tempt you.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 1st – 23rd August
This is the largest arts festival in the world and includes everything from theatre to comedy to cabaret, musical and musicals.

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Are you a keen traveller with a desire for scary movies? Then these places might be your next trip!

1. Island of the Dolls, Mexico
Situated in Xochimilco, Mexico City, this island was once home to Julian Santana Barrera. Barrera found the body of someone in the canal and in a bid to ward off evil spirits he hung old and discarded dolls off the trees. They are still there today.

2. Charles Fort, Kinsale, Cork
Charles Fort is said to be haunted by The White Lady who was reportedly a new wife who lost her husband the day after their wedding.

3. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Edinburgh Castle has a 900 year history and many, many hauntings to its name. The entire city has an underground system in which people suffering from the Black Plague were kept so if you like a scare, this is the town for you.

4. Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, USA
This was the world’s first real penitentiary and was opened in 1829. It was the first place to test the results of solitary confinement.

5. Leap Castle, Offaly
This castle has many reported hauntings to its name including The Red Lady and the Elemental (sounds terrifying!). It is now privately owned.

6. Bethnel Green Underground, London
Tragically, during WWII, 173 people were crushed to death in the Bethnel Green Underground while taking shelter during an air raid risk. Staff of the underground station have reportedly heard screams of women and children over the years.

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