Something to declare: Ancona; Egypt at Easter; Hover to the Isle of Wight; holiday money
Saturday 02 April 2011
Destination of the week: Ancona
At first sight, writes Hannah Capella, this scruffy Adriatic port east of Florence has few attractions: the remains of Roman amphitheatres dating to 115AD are disregarded next to busy roads, while the magnificent Duomo, perched upon a hill, is most frequently visited by locals looking for a parking space.
But Ancona, served from Stansted by Ryanair, is also the Italian port with the widest range of trans-Adriatic links to Croatia, Montenegro, Greece and Albania. It offers easy access to a range of destinations with airports.
Blue Line Ferries (00 45 3672 2001; blueline-ferries.com) sails year-round to Hvar in Croatia from Ancona; the trip takes 10-12 hours for €68 return for foot passengers.
The southern Montenegrin port of Bar is accessible year-round from Ancona aboard Montenegro Lines (00 382 03 031 1164; montenegrolines.net) for €51 return. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays you can bring your car free of charge. Rarely visited Durres in Albania is accessible with Adria Ferries (00 39 07 1502 11621; adriaferries.com) for €164 return.
Finally, Patras in Greece is served by Minoan Lines (00 30 281 039 9800; minoan.gr) in June, July and August for as little as €61 return; the journey takes 22 hours, stopping off at the Greek port of Igoumenitsa.
Warning of the week: Egypt at Easter
Although the unrest in Egypt has subsided, travellers should be aware of latest advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the US State Department. The latter warned this week of "a country-wide curfew" from 2am-5am". The FCO concurs, although it says the curfew is not being enforced in Luxor nor on the Red Sea coast. It advises: "According to our latest information, the security situation in Cairo and other major cities is significantly improved. Luxor, Aswan and the Red Sea resorts, including Sharm El Sheikh remain calm. However, the situation across Egypt is unpredictable and may change quickly."
Bargain of the week: Hover to the Isle of Wight
Britain's last remaining hovercraft service provides an excellent day out from Southsea in Hampshire. The hovercraft connects the resort (adjacent to Portsmouth) with Ryde on the Isle of Wight.
The normal one-way fare for the 10-minute flight is £10.50. For a fiver more, you can buy a combined hover-and-rail ticket that entitles you to a return trip on the hovercraft and one day's unlimited travel on Island Line trains (though this covers only one line, operated by retired Tube trains). More information: 01983 811 000 or hovertravel.com.
Tip of the week: Holiday money
Where should you buy your euros? Is a credit or debit card most useful abroad? And what can you do with those ancient traveller's cheques? For answers to these, or any other travel-money questions you may have, join Senior Travel Editor Simon Calder's webchat next Tuesday at 1pm, at independent.co.uk/travel
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