Something To Declare: Ferry to Flanders; expert Rome; music on the Danube; Italy's transport strikes

Bargain of the week: Ferry to Flanders

For the past five years, a shipping company called TransEuropa has been sailing between Ramsgate in Kent and Ostend on the coast of Flanders. It has focused on freight rather than passengers and cars, and has been largely invisible for most European travellers. But from next month, the energetic LD Lines company – which already sells crossings to Boulogne, Dieppe and Le Havre – will effectively take over marketing the operation. The Ostend Spirit – originally the Prins Filip, a Belgian ferry sailing between Ostend and Dover – will make the voyage twice daily, with a crossing time of four hours.

In order to promote the route, some very low fares are on offer – typically £45 return. Call 0844 576 8836 or visit .

To see the Independent Traveller film Twin Tracks: through the Cities of Flanders, featuring Ostend, Bruges and Antwerp, visit .

Tip of the week: Expert Rome

If our 48 Hours in Rome inspires you to visit the city, a leading British guide is offering a special Caravaggio walk to tie in with the new exhibition: James Hill (00 39 347 875 4486;

Destination of the week: Music on the Danube

"Matching music and place – that is the governing principle of this festival." So says the cultural tour operator Martin Randall Travel (020-8742 3355; ) about the 17th Danube Music Festival, which takes place 20-27 August. The firm has organised a river trip to celebrate the music of the Austro-Hungarian empire, including Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Smetana. Stops include Bratislava, Vienna and Linz.

The highlights are nine concerts in venues that are chosen because of their connections with the music. For example, at the Eszterháza palace in Fertöd, Hungary, the London Haydn Quartet will play several compositions that were first performed in the very same rococo hall of the palace.

Accommodation and transport is provided by a Danube river cruiser, the Amadeus Royal. The price of £2,900 includes flights from London to Munich, transfers and all meals with wine.

Warning of the week: Transport strikes in Italy

"Major pre-planned strikes" in the transport sector persuaded the Foreign Office to update its Italian travel advice this week. All sorts of aviation employees will be striking on Tuesday 16 February.

Meridiana pilots will take the whole day off, though the airline's cabin crew will strike only between 10am and 2pm. Alitalia pilots aim to take industrial action from noon to 4pm, while that carrier's cabin crew will withdraw their labour from 10am to 6pm. Eurofly staff in various posts will strike from noon to 4pm.

On Friday 19 February, attention switches to terrestrial transport. The Foreign Office warns of a "rail and general transport strike from 10am to 2pm".

Finally, handling staff at Milan's two main airports, Linate and Malpensa, plan to strike for 24 hours on 5 March.

More information, in Italian only, can be found on a page on the Ministry of Transport website: .

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Harry Redknapp. Mark Hughes and Ryan Shawcross
footballNews and updates as Queens Park Rangers host the Potters
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam