Something To Declare: Value-added Stockholm; Rotterdam highlights; trousers with no pockets; Greece clamps down on smoking

Where to go, how to save, what to avoid

Bargain of the week: Stockholm plus

Faced with intense competition from low-cost airlines, Scandinavian airline SAS (0845 607 2772; ) is seeking to add value to its flights between Heathrow and the Nordic region.

In August and September, travellers to the Swedish capital will receive a five-day Båtluffarkort, or Island Hopper Card, for use on the ferries (see ) in the Stockholm archipelago – the remarkable scattering of 30,000 fragments of terrain that extend 50 miles east of the city. The price of the pass is normally 420kr (£33).

To qualify for a free card, buy a return Heathrow to Stockholm ticket on SAS for travel between 1 August and 30 September; fares starting at £119 return are reasonably accessible on these travel dates.

When you arrive at Arlanda airport, take your itinerary to the Visitor Centre in the arrival hall of Terminal 5 (it opens 6am-midnight daily).

Curiously, you have to pay a deposit of 40kr (£3.15), which is refunded when the card is returned to any boat company or to the Visitor Centre at the airport.

Destination of the week: Rotterdam

Holland's second city is the location for some of Europe's most impressive modern architecture – indeed, Rotterdam was the City of Architecture two years ago.

Among the highlights: the amazing 1980s cube houses, which look like a series of giant dice each resting on one corner. And a new city hostel has just opened inside them. Stayokay Rotterdam at Overblaak 85-87 (00 31 10 436 57 63; ) has 138 beds (costing around €30 a night, including breakfast), a bar and restaurant.

Rotterdam is best enjoyed during one of its many summer festivals. The North Sea Jazz Festival ( ) is on now (until 12 July, and the Summer Carnival ( ) takes place in three weeks.

And on the day that the Tour de France starts in Monaco, it is worth remembering that Europe's leading bike event in 2010 will start with a time-trial in Rotterdam.

Garment of the week: Trousers with no pockets

Visitors to Nepal face all sorts of demands for cash; for example, the Foreign Office warns "Maoist extortion of money from trekkers and climbers have been reported. Trekkers and other individuals who resist extortion demands are threatened and have in the past been physically assaulted."

Corruption is also a problem among some officials in Nepal. There has been plenty of adverse publicity about what the BBC calls "rampant bribe-taking" at the nation's main airport, Tribhuvan in the Kathmandu Valley. To try to combat the problem, the government has brought in new uniforms for airport staff: trousers with no pockets. The idea is that errant officials will find it more difficult to extort money from passengers.

A common pitfall for foreign tourists, for which they may be officially fined or be asked for a bribe, is transgressing Nepal's complicated currency regulations. In particular, possessing Indian 500- or 1,000-rupee notes in Nepal is an offence.

Warning of the week: Smoke signals

Greece is the latest European country to clamp down on smoking. From this week, warns the Foreign Office, "It is illegal to smoke in hospitals, schools, vehicles and all public places. The penalty for violating this law is a fine of up to €500." Smoking is also prohibited on inter-island ferries.

In May this year, Croatia banned smoking in enclosed public areas, with fines of 1,000 kuna (£120) for offenders. Coincidentally, the spot fines that Hong Kong plans to introduce to penalise smokers from September also equate to £120: HK$1,500.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
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

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas