When British rainclouds seem never-ending, look for the silver lining as you browse flights to Miami and dream of swaying palm trees, hunky tattoo artists and tanned Don Johnson types lounging on pastel-hued balconies. Within minutes of landing at Miami International Airport, you could be sipping Cuba Libres on South Beach, surfing the breakers off Biscayne, or nibbling sloppy tacos in Little Havana.
Winter is high season in Miami, courtesy of its sizzling tropical climate and a sunshine record to die for. The beaches can be crowded, but immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and you’ll soon forget about the lack of elbow room. Hit the town in February for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival or the Miami International Boat Show, blag your way into an exclusive private viewing at Art Basel during December, or shadow your favourite singing stars at the Winter Music Conference in March. Snap up cheap tickets to Miami even at peak periods by booking several months in advance to get the best dates and rates.
Air France’s one-stop route via Paris Charles de Gaulle is worth looking at if you’re departing from Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow or Birmingham, but stop-over lengths can vary considerably, so check flight times before you buy. British Airways runs a one-stop service from Manchester via London Heathrow which takes around 15 hours in total. American Airlines links various UK airports with Miami via New York JFK, while Virgin Atlantic offers direct services from London Heathrow. Air France and TAP Portugal also service the Heathrow-Miami route.
Miami International Airport is situated 8 miles northwest of the city centre, so it’s only a short hop away from the action. The supershuttle whisks you straight to your hotel or any other destination of your choice – book online in advance and arrive without a care in the world. If you can’t wait to hit the waves, the Miami Beach Flyer metro runs between the airport terminal and Miami Beach, while the MetroBus is a quick and cheap way to reach most downtown destinations.
The Magic City casts its own unique spell. Like all the best US cities, it goes without saying that the shopping is great, the food is wonderful and the visitor facilities are unparalleled. Yet Miami offers a different slant, thanks to its Cuban influences and Caribbean vibe. The world-famous Art Deco quarter is a design aficionado’s dream, while the urban graffiti of Wynwood Walls is another generation’s take on flamboyant self-expression. Watch the motionless chess players in Maximo Gomez Park chewing on their cigars as they contemplate their next move. Walk along scenic Bayfront Park at sunset and you’ll understand why Miamians find it hard to tear themselves free from its magical pull.
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