Something To Declare: Little Switzerland; running late in Dubai; Greece in peak season; get to and around Paris
Saturday 02 July 2011
Destination of the week: Little Switzerland
The town of Saint Martin Vésubie, 964m high in the Alpes-Maritimes, calls itself "La Petite Suisse" because of the stirring scenery all around. It is an excellent base for hikes and climbs ranging from gentle to challenging – and is more convivial in the evenings than the average small French town. Saint Martin Vésubie even boasts its own spring in the main square, Place Félix Faure.
For British travellers flying into Nice, Saint Martin Vésubie is easy – and remarkably cheap – to reach. Twice a day, at 9.30am and 5.20pm, a bus leaves Terminal 1 of Nice airport direct to the town. The one-way fare for the 40-mile, 80-minute journey is just €1.
For more information, contact the town's friendly tourist office on 00 33 4 93 03 21 28 or email email@example.com.
Warning of the week: Running late in Dubai
According to the latest statistics from the Civil Aviation Authority, barely half of all flights from the UK to Dubai meet the industry "on time" standard of departing no more than 15 minutes late.
Toronto, Los Angeles and Madrid are also bad performers, with at least one in three flights late.
One out of four flights to Tenerife, Frankfurt and Chicago was likely to leave late, while Milan Malpensa, Helsinki, and Istanbul performed almost as badly.
Overall, though, UK airports reported the fewest delays for 15 years.
Bargain of the week: Greece in peak season
After yet more strikes and strife in Greece, the British appetite for holidays there appears to be diminishing – judging by peak-season prices on offer from the big tour operators. Fly from Manchester to Rhodes with Thomas Cook (thomascook.com) on Wednesday, 6 July, and you will pay £184, including flights, transfers and a week of three-star self-catering accommodation in the resort of Faliraki.
Even in the peak summer holidays, Thomson (thomson.co.uk) is already selling sub-£300 holidays to the island of Samos – rather than the normal £400-plus for late July and August. The price of £292 includes day flights to and from Gatwick, in-flight meals, transfers and a week's self-catering accommodation.
If you are tempted to book, note that these prices include 15kg of checked baggage – beware during the booking process of being charged £15 extra for an additional 5kg.
These holidays, like the vast majority of packages, avoid Athens.
Tip of the week: Get to and around Paris
Train, plane or bus – which is the only route from London to Paris with guaranteed Wi-Fi? How do you get from Charles de Gaulle airport to the city centre? What should you watch out for at Gare du Nord station? And what is the best deal for public transport in and around the French capital? For answers to these and other questions about the best way to get to and around Paris, visit independent.co.uk/travel at 1pm on Monday, 4 July. In a live webchat, Simon Calder will be tackling travel questions on our favourite foreign city.
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