Something to Declare: Brittany; Portugal by train; Newfoundland; Taipei tails off
Friday 27 January 2012
Bargain of the week: Brittany
Train, boat and plane links from the UK to the north-west of France are looking more appealing than ever.
By rail, you can reach Brest, the most western city, in less than eight hours from St Pancras via Paris (including the change from Nord to Montparnasse stations) for a fare of £109, if you book in advance – eight weeks ahead is ideal.
For the next two months, Brittany Ferries (0871 244 0744; brittanyferries.com) has an appealing deal on its services from Portsmouth to St-Malo and Plymouth to Roscoff: £99 for a "60-hour" return for a car and two people. Book by 12 February for travel until 25 March, with some half-term limitations from 10 to 19 February.
The moment the ferry deal ends, another possibility opens: the innovative Air France subsidiary CityJet (0871 66 33 777; cityjet.com) launches its twice-weekly flights from London City to Brest on Fridays and Sundays – making for an ideal 48-hour break.
If you book by this Tuesday and travel before 24 June, there are still seats available at £138 return.
Warning of the week: Portugal by train
European nations are supposed to be getting closer by rail – but this month Portugal became less connected with the rest of the Continent. "A daytime rail journey between Madrid and Lisbon is no longer possible," reports the new edition of the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable. This follows the withdrawal of the Portuguese Railways service between Entroncamento in Portugal (east of Lisbon) and Badajoz in south-west Spain. The timetable now includes two daily bus services between the Portuguese and Spanish capitals.
In addition, several rural lines in the northern half of Portugal have been officially closed.
Route of the week: Newfoundland
Canada's most fascinating provincial capital will soon be within five hours of Heathrow once again. Air Canada's "Atlantic Express" summer schedule from Heathrow to St John's in Newfoundland starts on 18 May.
St John's is about as exotic as it gets in Canada: picturesque rows of houses, decorated in cheerful primary colours, tumble down to the stunning natural harbour of the oldest English-founded city in North America.
Find out more in the first of a new series, called Slice of the City, in tomorrow's edition of The Independent on Sunday.
Tip of the week: Taipei tails off
The Taiwanese carrier China Airlines is dropping its non-stop Heathrow-to-Taipei route on 25 March. Its rival Eva Air will continue with direct services via Bangkok.
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