Can you ski in Europe in summer? And where are the cut-price flights to the Costa del Sol?
Wednesday 08 August 2012
Q. Is it possible to have a skiing holiday in August? If so, where do you have to go? (We'd prefer Europe.) Kay Thomas, London
A. Many of the southern-hemisphere ski resorts are at their best in August. Below the Equator, August corresponds to February in the northern hemisphere. South America – particularly Argentina and Chile – offer the best prospects, with Australia and New Zealand also feasible. But they are also expensive to reach.
Year-round skiing is possible at very high-altitude glacier-based resorts in France, such as Les Deux Alpes and Tigne, but frankly it is an expensive and unrewarding prospect for anyone familiar with winter skiing in the French Alps.
Perhaps you could consider a different adrenalin activity for summer, such as mountain-biking, kayaking and whitewater rafting – available at many Alpine ski resorts, or indeed in rural Slovenia (see our feature this coming Saturday in the Independent Traveller). Or get a last-minute package at a Club Mark Warner or Neilson Beach Club, where all manner of activities, from tennis to windsurfing, are available.
Q. I'm flying from London to Malaga for the third week in August and am astounded at how expensive flights are (once baggage and everything else is added on). I have been quoted around £400 per person. Joanna Chaundy, Bedford
A. A check on a number of days across the second half of August on easyJet, Monarch and Ryanair suggests lowest fares are around £275 return, travelling at less social times of day. Add bags, etc, and the fare rises to around £325 per person. British Airways, which includes baggage and catering in quoted fares has almost nothing below £500 from either Gatwick or London City. The problem is your return dates: there is an annual surge in demand for UK-bound flights in the last fortnight of August. Bizarrely, you can pay less – perhaps £260 return – on a "full-service" European carrier via its hub, such as Iberia via Madrid or KLM via Amsterdam. As your travel dates approach, prices are likely to increase still further, so book as soon as you are able.
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