Fly into the pilgrimage town of Santiago De Compostela and after visiting the cathedral to see the tomb of St James head west to worship at the Rías Baixas, a coast of pine trees and sandy beaches, estuaries and islands.Take the bus to Pontevedra, gateway to Las Islas Atlánticas, pristine islands that you can take a ferry across to visit and even stay the night.A second bus will take you to O Grove, a delightful beach-rich peninsula you won’t want to leave.Come for the Festa do Marisco a seafood extravaganza that takes place during the first week of October.Enjoy just-caught oysters, razor-shells, clams, prawns, scallops, crayfish and local delicacy goose barnacles.Stay on the island of La Toja, where the spa treatments at the five-star Gran Hotel Hesperia La Toja and four-star Louxo Hotel make use of the local waters.Italy’s train service may be one of the best in Europe but the journey from Florence to Siena is still best done by bus.
Take the ordinaireblue route; a more meandering option that traverses the ancient Via Francigena, the mediaeval highway frequented by pilgrims and merchants travelling to Rome.It takes in the towns of Poggibonsi and Colle di Val d’Elsa. In the 19th century Colle di Val d’Elsa became known as the Bohemia of Italy. Today it produces 15 per cent of the world’s crystal.In Poggibonsi hop off and visit the Church of San Lorenzo, built by the Augustinian order and home to a painting by Neri di Bicci of St Nicholas, a 14th century wooden crucifix by Giovanni d’Agostino and a painting of theMadonna delle Grazie. SITA runs a bus service between Florence and Siena (sitabus.it). Siena’s bus stop is at Piazza Gramsci, well inside the old city’s walled centre. Stay at the nearby Hotel Palazzo di Valli. See tuscany.net.Traverse Europe by road aboard the Prague-based Student Agency Bus which started out as a student service but is now available to all.
Its yellow fleet traverses Europe taking tourists and locals as far as Stockholm, London and Paris.The Prague to London trip is 18 hours non-stop and skirts cities in favour of the highway.Much of the 1,035km journey is done under cover of darkness leaving very little to see especially in Eastern Europe. Departing Prague’s Florenc station at 6pm it arrives in London at the Green Line Coach Station at noon.One-way costs about €82 – that’s less than most no-frills airlines and you arrive into central London, near Victoria Station.You can carry on one piece of luggage on board for free. Additional luggage costs €12 per suitcase.The price of your ticket includes hot drinks, such as cappuccino, coffee, chocolate or tea, as well as movies and newspapers while cold drinks can be purchased aboard. Blessedly, there is a toilet on board as well as air conditioning.Everyone aged under 26 and over 60 gets a 10 per cent discount.