£445 -- Condé Nast-Recommended Corsica Escape, Save 49%
Don’t like France? Try Corsica. OK, it is officially part of France, but the Corsicans barely seem to notice. The French have only hung on to the island for the past couple of centuries – it was briefly a Republic before that – but long enough for one Napoléon Bonaparte to be born there. Small but not to be messed with, he sums up the island pretty well. Corsica’s coastal towns might be tame enough, but wander inland and the wildness – tough, scrubby vegetation, sharp, herby scents on the wind and the doughty sun – soon crowds in. I walked across the island a few years ago and constantly expected some moustachioed bandit to wander out of the maquis, hiding place of renegades for centuries, cartridge belt slung over his shoulder and trailing a mule. Instead I got lots of friendly goats.
Our great deal to the island presents a similarly soft introduction. You start, in spring or autumn, at a beachside resort, with all meals and plenty of activities thrown in. You may find it hard to tear yourself away but I do recommend a sortie beyond the safe confines of the hotel, into the interior. The good news? This is such a scandalously good deal you’ll have no need to resort to banditry and can calmly enjoy the sun and that herb-soaked wind instead.
£185 & up -- Luxury UK Train Journeys w/Meals & Bubbly
Whether the glory days of train travel were actually as glorious as Venice Simplon-Orient-Express imagines them to be hardly seems to matter – you’ll still have a very jolly day out on one of their indulgent, champers-fuelled rail days. There’s possibly no greater pleasure (OK, not quite true) than sitting in a comfortable, forward-facing train seat, second-hand buzz from other people’s personal stereos completely absent and glass of bubbly in hand as you watch lovely scenery go by.
That pretty much sums up the train tours on offer this week, with the addition of some pleasant-sounding meals, curious tours and even – fascinatingly – a magician. Almost as supernatural-sounding is the news that the train journeys are discounted at all. I suspect Venice Simplon regards these deal thingies as a tiny bit vulgar, so perhaps be a bit hush-hush about it, but grab this offer while you can.
£299 -- Slovenian Alpine Week in 'Magical' Setting, w/Meals
To me, this headline conjures up something like a scene from a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. That’s a rarity at Travelzoo and, compared with our usual Sharm el Sheikh and Costa del Sol package deals (excellent bargains, of course), setting off on this holiday could indeed be a little like wandering into some strange, enchanted wood. The location, Lake Bled, only adds to the fictional feel. And, indeed, among the delights on offer is the chance to swim across the lake to the “fairytale [that word again] island church in the middle”.
Look, for £299 for a week in this idyllic-sounding place, I’m packing! If you look over the lake and see a winter-pale, lanky fellow blowing water spouts halfway across, it’s probably me.