GREAT EUROPE ESCAPES
Super coach: The Shamrock travel website claims to feature every operator’s coach tour programs for Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, with cost-comparison charts. There’s a 2013 Fly Free to Ireland offer for holidaymakers who book a European river cruise via the site in conjunction with an escorted coach tour of Ireland. More: shamrocktravel.com.au. Screen legends: Rome’s 40ha Cinecitta (Movie City), founded in 1937 and working home to famous filmmakers such as Federico Fellini and Franco Zeffirelli, plus providing sets for Cleopatra and Ben Hur, is opening to the public. New tours cover exhibitions and backstage visits. More: cinecittashowsoff.com; italiantourism.com.au. Inspired selection: Trafalgar has launched its 2013 Europe & Britain First Class program, featuring 104 escorted products, including Inspired Holidays, comprising three niche itineraries — a 12-day World War1 and World War II Battlefields tour to Somme and Ypres; a nine-day English Country Gardens holiday; and a 10-day Flavours of Italy gourmet adventure. More: trafalgar.com. RAIL Plus is offering live bookings for Italo, Europe’s newest high-speed rail network. The 300km/h services, with seats in three classes, operate between Milan and Naples via Bologna, Florence and Rome, as well as a nonstop Milan-Rome route that extends to Salerno. Next month, Italo will add its first services between Rome and Venice, with stops in Florence, Bologna and Padua, and will extend its Milan-Rome service north to Turin. More: railplus.com.au. Canal holidays in France: French Travel Connection has unveiled a 50-page guide to the waterways of France, including information on self-drive canal boats, crewed canal barges and river cruisers, plus myriad holiday options. Some deals include free bike hire for a second traveller on bookings for one-week, self-drive canal boat holidays. More: 1300 858 304; frenchtravel.com.au. Med for less: Monte Carlo and St Tropez on the French Riviera plus ports on the Spanish Costa Brava are highlights of a discounted one-week sailing next month on the 56-stateroom SeaDream II; now priced from an allinclusive $US3426 ($3289) a person twin-share, departing Nice October 20 with disembarkation in Barcelona. More: seadream.com. Get cracking: Albatross Tours has a $600 early-bird discount per couple on all tours in its 2013 Europe and Britain program for bookings made by December 22. On offer are northern summer tours covering Italy, France, Britain, Austria and Germany, plus itineraries that include stays in pousadas in Portugal and paradores in Spain. More: holidaystoeurope.com.au/specials. Castles and countryside: Insight Vacations also has new 2013 Europe and Britain programs with more than 100 itineraries across 42 countries, covering eight fresh tours and extensions, including an eight-day Celtic Legends trip of Scotland’s castles and myth-laden countryside; from $3565 a person twin-share, and an opportunity to see the Edinburgh Military Tattoo during August departures. More: insightvacations.com.au.
VISIT BRITAIN Off the trodden track: Back-Roads Touring has a four- day winter tour ( no more than 16 persons) ex London exploring the Cotswolds, Bath, Stonehenge and Windsor Castle, including visits to traditional Christmas markets, from $1295 a person twin-share, with three nights’ accommodation, breakfasts and selected meals, guide, mini-coach transport and entry to itinerary sites. More: 1300 100 410; backroadstouring.com.au. Road warriors: Sydney-based globalCARS is offering free pick-up and drop-off (usually up to $640 in Rome and Madrid) at 33 locations in Europe next year if you book and pay for leased vehicles by October 31. A 26-day lease of a factory-new Citroen costs $1100 ($42 a day) with unlimited kilometres, comprehensive insurance with zero excess and 24-hour assistance and service support at 15,000 centres through Europe and Britain. More: 1300 789 992; globalCARS.com.au. On the right tracks: Television personality John Burgess of Wheel of Fortune fame is hosting a 27- day Christmas Trans-Siberian tour with Travel Directors, departing December 14. Highlights include a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh and lunch with a Siberian family on Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve celebrations in Moscow’s Red Square. The rail journey is from Beijing to Helsinki via Mongolia, Siberia’s capital of Irkutsk, Moscow and St Petersburg; $13,947 a person, fully inclusive. More: 1300 856 661; traveldirectors.com.au. Winter tales: Eastern Europe specialist Beyond Travel has launched its first catalogue of winter holiday options for both eastern and western Europe, with a focus on Christmas departures. There are well-priced cruises on the Danube and the Rhine and a selection of city stays and rail packages. Hotel deals include four days in Prague (from $450), Munich (from $315) or Salzburg (from $505). More: 1300 363 554; beyondtravel.com.au.
Autumn in the Cotswolds in Britain’s beautiful West Country