Something To Declare: Gothenburg; Steam for Settle; Warsaw airport closures; Northern Spain, via Southern Brittany
Saturday 24 July 2010
Bargain of the week: Gothenburg
Sweden saw a slump of 29 per cent in British visitors last year, according to the Office for National Statistics. But the country's second city, Gothenburg, finds itself at the centre of a fares war later this year – as both easyJet and British Airways decide to launch services to the city's main airport, Landvetter.
The first easyJet link begins from Gatwick on 6 September. BA starts competing from Heathrow on 28 November. And on 10 December, easyJet starts flying from Manchester to Gothenburg, in direct competition with City Airline.
With existing routes on SAS from Heathrow to Landvetter, and on Ryanair from Stansted and Prestwick to Gothenburg's Save airport, fares this winter look attractive.
A pre-Christmas trip (departing 11 December, returning three days later) costs £46 return on Ryanair from Stansted; £53 return on easyJet from Gatwick; or £109 on British Airways from Heathrow; all these assume no baggage (though BA includes a 23kg allowance, as well as complimentary drinks and snacks, on its flights).
From Manchester on the day of its maiden flight (10 December), easyJet is offering its lowest fare on the route – £53 return – if you come back four days later.
Tip of the week: Steam for Settle
Starting tomorrow, the Railway Touring Company will begin to run a weekly steam-hauled service over the Settle and Carlisle line. These specials, which are set to operate every Sunday to 5 September from York via Leeds to Carlisle, are named after The Waverley service, left, that steam hauled between London St Pancras and Waverley station in the Scottish capital for decades until 1968.
The Waverley will be hauled by one of several historic steam locomotives including 46115 Scots Guardsman. Standard-class fares start at £65. You can book on 01553 661500 or at railwaytouring.co.uk.
Warning of the week: Warsaw airport closures in September
The main runway of the only airport serving the Polish capital is to close for engineering work over the first three weekends of September: 4/5, 11/12 and 18/19 September. The work is necessary to increase the load-bearing capacity of the runway. A shorter runway will still operate during these dates, but is suitable only for smaller commuter jets with reduced weight. An estimated 170,000 passengers will be affected by the closures. Some airlines are operating flights to Lodz airport instead, about 80 miles south-west.
Destination of the week: Northern Spain, via Southern Brittany
The much-delayed ferry link from St-Nazaire in the south of Brittany to Gijon on the north coast of Spain looks set finally to launch on 1 September. With the help of a £25m aid package, GLD Atlantique is earning the funds as part of a "Motorway of the Sea" project.
The link is aimed at reducing the number of trucks on Europe's roads by offering maritime alternatives, but it will also open up many possibilities for British motorists. Using Brittany Ferries' links on the western Channel, for example, drivers can reach northern Spain with minimal driving yet still the chance to explore beautiful cities such as St-Malo, Rennes and Nantes.
The timing is especially good since it coincides with the ending of P&O Ferries' long-established route between Portsmouth and Bilbao. The final voyage departs Bilbao on 27 September. "We are extremely sorry that this will be our last year on the route but despite our most concerted efforts can see no way to make the service financially viable," says the company.
The St-Nazaire-Gijon link is a joint venture between Grimaldi Lines of Naples and the French ferry operator LD Lines (0844 576 8836; ldlines.com).
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