EUROPEAN DEPARTURES

Continuing conflict in the former Yugoslavia means holidays to Croatia are not selling as quickly as David Skillicorn, sales manager for Phoenix Holidays (0181-563 0022) would like: "We projected a total figure of about 12,000 customers in 1995, and we think that now looks over-optimistic. So to fill capacity we're cutting prices."

For peak season departures from Bournemouth, on 19 and 26 July, the company is charging pounds 164 for a week's half-board staying at the Hotel Mimosa in Rabac. A two-centre holiday taking in the Croatian coast and Lake Bled in Slovenia (see story, left) is available on the same dates at pounds 395, departing from Gatwick.

Foreign Office advice for Croatia warns against visiting areas close to the frontiers with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro; but the Istrian Peninsula, where the resorts are located, should be safe. The FO recommends calling the British Embassy in Zagreb (00 385 41 455 5310) for up-to-date advice about travel to other parts of Croatia.

Cut-price air tickets combining destinations in Northern Ireland and the Republic are the latest innovation to a region where tourism has increased by 20 per cent since the ceasefire. British Midland (0345 554554) has services from Heathrow to both Belfast and Dublin; you fly out to one and back from the other for pounds 73 return including tax, though fares increase at weekends.

Another shot in the fares war across the Irish Sea has been fired by Manx Airlines (0345 256256), offering a fare of pounds 104 for a Luton-Kerry return. You must book at least two weeks in advance, and include a Saturday night stay.

Overnighting in Trondheim may not sound as tempting as one night in Bangkok, but is certainly quieter. It is on offer as part of a cruise along the coast of Norway, price pounds 545. Norwegian Coastal Voyage (0171- 371 4011) has departures from Gatwick and Newcastle on 17, 24 and 30 August. You fly Bergen and spend three nights aboard the steamer and a night at a hotel in Trondheim. On-board meals are included.

The lowest normal scheduled air fare from Gatwick to Gibraltar is pounds 254. For only pounds 199, however, you can get the flights plus four nights B&B accommodation through Cadogan Travel (0800 591281). Departures are on 7, 14 and 21 August.

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