Travel Deals: China, Cornwall, Europe, Greece, Italy, Russia

With Europe teetering on the brink of recession, here are some economical travel deals. The strength of the Australian dollar against the euro is an added incentive.

SAVE 20% on an 8-day cruise through the Greek Islands with Tempo Holidays.The Jewels of the Cyclades offers a combination of conventional cruising and private yachting on the 51-metre motorsailer Galileo from $A1565 per person twin share when booked and paid in full by March 10. The cruise departs Athens and visits Poros, Poliegos, Folegandros, Santorini, Ios, Paros and Mykonos, with plenty of time to explore the islands and swim in tranquil hidden coves along the way. The M/S Galileo features 26 elegantly decorated guest cabins with ensuites and large windows or portholes, as well as an outdoor bar, jacuzzi, lounge and sundeck. www.tempoholidays.com

SAVE up to 7.5% on Topdeck’s European trips including the epic 49-day Mega European through 20 countries. The offer applies to the base price of trips departing between April 1, and May 31, 2012 and when booked and paid in full by 28 February. Topdeck is also taking 5% off trips departing between June 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013. The offers apply to new bookings only. Topdeck’s longest trip, the Mega European, is the ultimate adventure exploring Europe from London to Spain, Turkey, Croatia and Poland now from $A5872 per person – a saving of $A373.  www.topdeck.travel

SAVE 5% on a journey through the English countryside visiting picturesque villages and tasting regional delights with Back-Roads Touring. The 7-day Corners of Cornwall small group tour starts from $A2261 per person twin share, an earlybird saving of $A119 when booked and paid in full by February 28. The tour explores Salisbury, the gardens of Trebah and Heligan, historic Falmouth and the old fishing town of St Ives to sample rich ice-creams, Cornish pastries and Atlantic crab. It also visits Port Isaac which features in the TV series Doc Martin, Padstow for a lunch at celebrity chef Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, Dartmoor National Park and the cathedral city of Wells.

Catering for mature travellers, Back-Roads Touring offers leisurely-paced, small group tours of no more than 16 people which travel along country lanes and stay in boutique accommodation.  info@backroadstouring.com.au

VISIT the birthplace of modern Western civilisation on Cox & Kings’ new Journey through Ancient Greece. This 8-day escorted small group journey explores Greece’s classical sites and magnificent scenery from $A2047 per person twin share. Departing Athens, highlights include the Acropolis, the ancient theatre at Epidaurus, the Corinth Canal, Mycenae, the birthplace of the Olympic Games Olympia, the World Heritage site of Delphi including the Temple of Apollo and the Thermopylae Battle Site. reservations@coxandkings.com.au or visit coxandkings.com.au.

CRUISE China, Japan and South Korea and enjoy three nights in Beijing with a great value fly, cruise, stay deal from Cruise1st. Departing 10 June, the package includes 8 nights aboard Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas, a two night pre-cruise and one night post-cruise stay at Xizhao Temple, return flights to Beijing and hotel transfers. Prices start from $a1699 per person twin share from Sydney and Melbourne; $A1849 from Perth; $A1969 from Brisbane and $A2229 from Adelaide when booked by March 4. The cruise starts and ends in Beijing visiting Tianjin, Nagasaki, Miyazaki, Kobe, Fukuoka and Busan. www.cruise1st.com.au

ENJOY concerts at the world’s most famous opera houses, private performances and lectures on great Russian writers on a special departure tour of Russia with Bentours. Departing May 29, the 13-day Russia of the Great Composers, Painters and Writers visits Moscow and St Petersburg and includes a luxury cruise through the countryside and deluxe accommodation from $A6198 per person twin share. This journey includes the Kremlin, Red Square, Peterhof, Catherine Palace, Hermitage Museum, opera or ballet performances at the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theatres and the Tolstoy house and Dostoevsky memorial apartment. It also features a 6-night luxury cruise through the Russian countryside with three private opera performances on-board the MS Volga Dream and a choir performance in Yaroslavl.  www.bentours.com.au.

EXPLORE the splendours of southern Italy, from Naples to Sicily with two tempting tours from Tempo Holidays. The 5-day Emerald Tour is the ideal extension to a stay in Rome, visiting Naples, the Pompeii ruins and the stunning coastal towns of Sorrento and Amalfi from $A955 per person twin share. The tour also visits the beautiful island of Capri and an optional visit to the Blue Grotto cave.

Continue travelling past Italy’s “boot” on the 8-day Discover Sicily coach tour from $A1201 per person twin share. Starting and finishing in Palermo, this fully inclusive tour visits the island’s historical sites including the famous temples at Agrigento, Syracuse, Taormina, Catania and Cefalu and includes wine tasting on Mount Etna and sampling typical Sicilian produce in Ragusa.  www.tempoholidays.com

* Deals on Taste for Travel are quoted in Australian dollars, however all travel companies are located worldwide and will quote in the currency of your choice.

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