Something To Declare: closedown in Europe; clock on in Australia;

Warning of the week: closedown in Europe

The paucity of public holidays in Britain is not matched by our European counterparts. Choose the wrong place at the wrong time this summer, and it could be closed.

The Czech Republic celebrates the arrival of the first Christian missionaries on 5 July and the religious reformer Jan Hus on 6 July. Several museums close on the former; shops are unaffected.

On 14 July France closes down to mark Bastille Day with military parades and fireworks.

Croatia's Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day commemorates liberation from Serbian forces on 5 August. Ireland's August Bank Holiday is on 7 August.

Italians decamp to the countryside in August, leaving many restaurants and shops battened down at the peak of the tourist season. The rest close on 15 August. This date, Assumption Day, is also observed in Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and France. Finally, 30 August is Victory Day in Turkey.

Sarah Birke

Destination of the week: clock on in Australia

From today, the Australian Working Holiday Maker Visa becomes more inviting. This scheme is open to childless people aged 18-30, and is designed to address labour shortages in Australia. The usual validity of the visa is one year, but if you work for at least three months in a specified industry you are entitled to a second 12-month visa; the range of occupations that qualify expands as of today to include fishing, pearling, shearing and forestry. In addition, all applications lodged from now on allow successful applicants to work for a single employer for up to six months or to study for four months (previously it was three months for each).

Around 110,000 visitors are expected to take advantage of the Working Holiday Maker scheme this year, nearly half of them British.

For details see www.immi.gov.au. Applicants must pay a non-refundable A$180 or £85 fee.

Simon Calder

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