TRAVEL NOTES

 
Timothy Barber
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DISCOVER THE BALKANS
The historical and cultural richess of the Balkans may have been shrouded by darker shadows in recent decades, but they are increasingly on the agenda for inquisitive travellers. Cultural specialist tour operator The Traveller offers several fascinating trips to the region, each guided by an expert lecturer, of which the pick could be a journey through Serbia and Macedonia over 11 nights in July. It explores Serbia’s Vinca civilisation, the Petrovaradin Fortress overlooking the Danube, Nis, where Constantine the Great was born, and Byznatine history and art. Tours to Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece are also available over the summer. Serbia & Macedonia tour departs 11 July, £2,290 per person including flights, transfers, hotels and guiding. www.the-traveller.co.uk

ESCAPE TO THE MALDIVES
Among the substantial delights on offer to anyone visiting the dreamy Maldives retreat Huvafen Fushi, one of the more unusual is the resort’s underwater spa, in which you can be massaged as exotic fish swim past the huge windows. Then there’s gliding over the reef in a glass-bottomed kayak, or simply sitting back in your beach bungalow and watching the sun set over the ocean, before dipping into your private plunge pool. Bliss. Happily, travel operator ITC Classics is offering an £830 per person discount for couples needing a luxury break of the Huvafen kind, on a seven night stay for the cost of six. Seven nights from £2,505 per person based on two adults sharing a Beach Bungalow with plunge pool on half board basis, including flights and speedboat transfers. www.itcclassics.co.uk