£23 -- Dover-Calais Day Trip including 6 Bottles of Wine
No, it’s not a bribe! For some of us, six free bottles of vin, vino or wein, are an incentive to go just about anywhere, but Calais actually has things going for it beyond the booze barns you’ll no longer need to visit after succumbing to this deal. OK, the town itself may not delay you for long beyond the monuments to the lace-making that used to dominate the region (fellas, you can go for une biere) but the surrounding region of Flanders, is fascinating -- a wholly different France.
French doesn’t rule unchallenged here, for a start: you’ll hear Flemish and the dialect of Picard, as well. From the latter comes “Salut ti z’aute” for hello and “À l’arvoïure!” for goodbye (just when you thought you’d come to terms with “bonjour” and “au revoir”) but the Flemish should be more familiar: Meiners-Bassen (“Miners’ Basin”) is the nickname in that tongue for the region, after the enormous coal deposits that have long powered life here. The food on offer in this French version of Yorkshire is also very different from frogs’ legs: waffles and herring (not together), for example, along with cheese tart and plenty of beer. Which brings us back nicely to this incredible deal, letting you take a car-full of friends or family over the Channel for less than you’d spend on a London cab, along with a 6-strong liquid incentive. Please just reserve the latter until you get all the way home. Cheers!
£116 & up -- easyJet Launches Flights to Moscow (Return)
Would Marx have rolled in his grave or opened his wallet? Here’s another example of an under-visited destination, but for a different reason. Low-cost flights to Moscow may not be the last nail in the coffin of communism, but they probably represent dancing on its grave. Russia has long been a compelling destination for travellers, yet for too long expensive flights and unwelcoming bureaucracy, including ridiculously overpriced visas, have barred the way. Now easyJet has forged a path in its typically unarguable way, with bargain tickets. That £116 is about what you’d pay to get to Athens or Istanbul, yet in this case it gets you to a destination you’ll probably find far more exotic. Expect an intoxicating brew of revolutionary sites, long-legged beauties and the odd Mafioso once you get there – the last two often combined into one.
£117 -- Stockholm Luxury Stay with Upgrade, Save over 35%
Like a vicar into bondage, the Swedish capital generates an incredible amount of crime fiction for such a safe place. The TV series “Wallander” and “The Bridge” are only the latest manifestations of an unlikely talent for edgy story-telling that goes back at least to the black and brilliant Martin Beck novels of the 70s. So, what’s the Swedish capital – our third under-sung destination – like to visit? Incredibly civilised, is the answer, and beautiful, too, with countless come-hitherish cafes serving delicious pastries and coffee among faded pastel buildings bordered by cobalt saltwater. The inhabitants aren’t bad, either: lots of towering blonds, to be sure, but perhaps an equal number of brown-eyed little Moomintroll types. “Hej! Hej!” by the way, is how you say hello.