{ GREAT EUROPE ES­CAPES }

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Europe - MERRY KIRK­WOOD

Europe by road: Grab a dis­count on Drive­Away Hol­i­days’ Peu­geot car hire through Europe booked and col­lected be­fore De­cem­ber 31; from less than $13 a day. Save more than $1000 on a 21-day new car lease, with a 50 per cent re­duc­tion on de­liv­ery and re­turn fees (from Drive­Away’s 45 lo­ca­tions in nine coun­tries). More: 1300 363 500; drive­away.com.au.

Timely tours: Book be­fore De­cem­ber 22 for $600 a cou­ple early­bird dis­count on se­lected Al­ba­tross 2012 Europe and Bri­tain sum­mer tours ex­plor­ing Italy, France, Bri­tain, Aus­tria, Ger­many, Bel­gium, Switzer­land and The Nether­lands. Con­sider the eight-day Dutch Flo­ri­ade tour, which takes in Amsterdam, Mondo Verde Gar­dens near Valken­burg and the World Hor­ti­cul­tural Expo at Venlo (April 5 to Oc­to­ber 7; held once ev­ery 10 years). More: 1300 135 015; al­ba­tross­tours.com.au.

Ital­ian interlude: En­joy 13 days of good food and wine and spec­tac­u­lar scenery on a Har­vey World Travel tour through the Vat­i­can Mu­se­ums, Sis­tine Chapel and St Peter’s Basil­ica, the Vene­tian canals and Tus­can vine­yards; from $5424 a per­son twin-share, with a 10 per cent dis­count if booked and paid by De­cem­ber 18 for travel be­tween April 16 and May 31, and Au­gust 24-31, 2012. More: 132 757; har­vey­world.com.au.

Swiss ski break: Con­sider a Jan­uary 7-14, 2012, Travel As­so­ci­ates seven-night ski pack­age at Chalet Ma­zot, en­joy­ing Zer­matt’s three ski­fields; from $1739 a per­son twin-share in­clud­ing re­turn econ­omy flights from Gatwick Lon­don, re­sort trans­fers, ac­com­mo­da­tion with break­fast and din­ner, and a sixday lift pass. More: 1800 044 066; travel-as­so­ci­ates.com.au.

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