Something to declare: Rome at half-term; Paris on the cheap; Dubai
Where to go, how to save, what to avoid
Saturday 09 May 2009
Warning of the week: Rome at half-term
The Champions League final between Manchester United and Barcelona could hardly be worse timed for half-term visitors to the Italian capital. While late May is normally an excellent time to explore Rome, the presence of tens of thousands of football supporters around the final on 27 May will disrupt the city.
Anyone heading to Italy in the last week of this month will find fares much higher than usual; flying from Heathrow to Rome on the day of the match, and back the following day, British Airways has been charging as much as £900 return, while even flights to Milan and Pisa are pricier because of demand from football fans; flying on Ryanair from Liverpool to Pisa around the time of the match costs up to £400 return.
Destination of the week: Paris on the cheap
Continuing our theme of cut-price Paris, Neil Taylor reports that all municipal museums in the French capital are free. Details of the venues in the scheme are available at musees.paris.fr.
"The two most likely to appeal are the Musée Carnavalet, situated in the Marais and telling the story of Paris, and Le Petit Palais. Or head for the Musée Moulin and Musée Leclerc to see how France's allies can be largely written out of the Second World War script.
"A museum worth the €10 admission is the Jacquemart-Andre, the Parisian equivalent of London's Wallace Collection, including a similarly stylish restaurant."
Finally, "the office just inside the entrance to the Père Lachaise cemetery gives out maps free of charge".
Bargain of the week: Dubai
Competition to the main tourist destination of the United Arab Emirates is as intense as the summer heat. Four airlines fly non-stop from Heathrow; Royal Brunei is currently cheapest, with return fares of around £240 for June. British Airways, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic are jostling around the £350 mark.
Trailfinders (0845 050 5892) has a four-day inclusive package, flying on Virgin and staying at the Hilton Dubai Creek, for £529 including breakfast.
From other UK airports, fares can be even lower, if you don't mind changing planes along the way. Trailfinders is offering £230 return from Manchester on Qatar Airways via Doha, while KLM from Glasgow via Amsterdam is £285 return. A non-stop Emirates flight from Birmingham is £309 return with Opodo.
Once you touch down in Dubai, the latest thrill ride has just opened for business: the Dubai monorail, connecting the shore with Atlantis, the resort hotel at the far end of the Palm Jumeirah artificial archipelago. Every few minutes, air-conditioned trains shuttle between Gateway station on the mainland and Atlantis.
Though intended as a much-needed piece of public transport, the new monorail (above) also provides a high-level viewpoint for the feverish building taking place on the reclaimed land.
The whole system is automated, with ticket machines selling 15-dirham (£2.80) tickets for the one-way, driverless trip – though human assistance is available.
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