Something to declare: RAF St Mawgan; airport upgrades; driving through France

The best deals, the latest hot spots and what's new in travel


Destination of the week: RAF St Mawgan

The travelling public is becoming accustomed to the idea that air force bases can be gateways to attractive locations. Beauvais in northern France is the cheap option for Paris, while Hahn and Baden-Baden in western Germany open up the Moselle and Rhine valleys, respectively. And Cornwall's main RAF station is enjoying its best summer yet for civil aviation.

St Mawgan's is an important base for Atlantic operations by the RAF, but it also doubles for civilian purposes as Newquay (and triples as "Cornwall International Airport").

The existing services from Stansted on Ryanair (0906 270 5656; www.ryanair.com) and from Gatwick and Plymouth on Air Southwest (0870 241 8202; www.airsouthwest.com) are augmented this summer by links from Manchester, Leeds/Bradford, Bristol and Dublin on Air Southwest; and from Birmingham and Durham Tees Valley on BMI (0870 60 70 555; www.flybmi.com).

Monarch Scheduled (08700 40 50 40; www.flymonarch.com) will fly from Newquay to Malaga from November; it is also flying to the Spanish resort from Aberdeen and Blackpool.

Bargain of the week: airport upgrades

For anyone who loathes trying to sleep in close proximity to complete strangers on overnight flights, paying for an "instant upgrade" at the airport has some appeal.

You would imagine that it would appeal to the airlines, too, since they earn extra cash by filling empty business-class seats. But two of the carriers that used to offer the prospect, TAP of Portugal and Malaysia Airlines, have adopted normal airline practice: you have to pay the difference between the economy fare paid and the full business fare.

One welcome exception is Sri Lankan Airlines (020-8538 2001; www.srilankan.aero), which offers space-available upgrades to the Maldives or Colombo at Heathrow airport for £520 each way. With economy fares typically around £700 return, this offers only a modest saving on the return business-class fare of around £1,900.

But many travellers will want to upgrade only on the outbound, overnight flight - not the inbound, daytime flight. And a total of around £1,220 for business-out, economy-home, looks a good price.

Warning of the week: driving through France

About one million British families are expected to head south through France during the next eight days. Next weekend, 30-31 July, is likely to be the busiest - and most dangerous - on the French autoroute system.

Few British motorists are aware of some key legal differences in the event of a breakdown. Anyone who breaks down on the motorway in France can be rescued only by the police, not a breakdown company. You must call the police on one of the emergency phones, situated every 2km along the motorway. And before many garages in France will touch your car, they will demand to see the vehicle log book (registration certificate).

THE ROAD TO CONSTANTINOPLE

The 400-mile road journey across northern Greece, from the Adriatic port of Igoumenitsa to Kipi on the border of Turkey, used to take a good 12 hours. But the opening this month of a key stretch of the Egnatia motorway will help to reduce the trip to a target time of seven hours.

The Romans had the right idea about traversing the Greek mainland, although it has taken two millennia for their vision to be properly exploited. Around 130BC, the Via Egnatia (left) was built as an important military highway linking Rome with Constantinople (now Istanbul).

Today, the ancient thoroughfare has been superseded by a new four-lane superhighway across northern Greece. The latest stretch to open links Asprovalta and Strimonas in the Greek province of Macedonia. Work on the Egnatia motorway began a decade ago, mirroring the ancient route. It covers more than 400 miles across the difficult terrain of the Pindus mountain range, with 1,650 bridges and 30 miles of tunnels.

One aim of the multi-billion euro project - half funded by the EU - is to encourage tourism to the less visited parts of northern Greece. There are officially 270 sites of historical interest along the route.

For British travellers, the new road is accessible via Igoumenitsa, which has links from Italian ports such as Bari, Brindisi and Ancona. For drivers heading overland to Turkey and beyond, it presents a more appealing option than the drive through the Balkans.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
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
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?