Destination of the week:

Rome, the pretty way

The new superhighway for the summer of 2010 is the Via Francigena – the Roman road that is the basis for "200 miles to Rome", a new three-week independent walking trip from ATG Oxford (01865 315678; It begins in the hills of Tuscany with a stretch through vineyards and hill towns from San Gimignano (pictured right) to Montalcino, then gets wilder with high forest and volcanic terrain via Viterbo to the Italian capital.

It is designed to be walkable in three segments of about 70 miles, lasting a week and costing around £800 – covering accommodation in fascinating locations such as a house built into medieval walls in Monteriggioni and an inn in a chestnut wood in Seggiano. The full route is open only in September and October, but the first week can be tackled any time from 1 April to 31 October.

Flights are not included in the price; Pisa is the easiest airport for the start of the route, and Rome Ciampino for the end.

Bargain of the week:

Calibrate your comfort around the world

The airlines serving Australia and New Zealand are now looking at their forward bookings for the low season from mid-April to late June, which is traditionally when fares are cut dramatically. Through Trailfinders (0845 054 8080;, Air New Zealand is currently offering a price of £699 in economy for a London-Los Angeles-Auckland (pictured right)-Hong Kong-London circuit; it is the only airline offering a true around-the-world service (and the itinerary can be reversed if you prefer).

Trading up to Premium Economy adds £970 to the fare, which works out at around £30 for each hour of the trip – and comes to a total of £1,669.

Trailfinders also has some packages involving business-class flights, including a week in Mauritius with half-board in a four-star hotel for £1,999, and a week's fly-drive to South Africa for £1,799. Both these packages are based on two sharing.

Warning of the week:

Dengue fever in Delhi

The Commonwealth Games are to be staged in the Indian capital from 3 to 14 October this year. But the city is experiencing a dengue outbreak, with part of the blame placed on preparation for the Games.

Up to the start of last month, more than 500 people in Delhi had contracted dengue – a deeply unpleasant fever spread by daytime-biting mosquitoes, for which there is no prophylactic. The city's municipal corporation has fined Commonwealth Games officials for letting water stagnate on the construction site (pictured below).

Tip of the week:

Trains, not planes

No one said that booking complicated European rail trips was supposed to be easy, but the impediments are reducing with the news that the Trainseurope desk at St Pancras station in London is now open on Saturdays. It is located on the lower level, inside the East Midlands Trains ticket office.