VICTOR PILKA recalls three continental European holidays he took 35 to 40 years ago at the height of the brief boom in shuttle coach services that created its own demand for higher specification vehicles offering passengers more comfort and operators better reliability...but the reality could be different

Advertisements in the windows of A265 JDC, a 70-seat Setra S228DT Imperial new to Martindale of Ferryhill, Co. Durham, promote two-week holidays in Spain from £74 to £99. It was parked in Ashton-under-Lyne in Greater Manchester. 

The late 1970s and early 1980s brought a new — but short-lived — era in coach travel from the UK to various European holiday destinations, mainly in northern Spain, the south of France and northern Italy. I took three such holidays and have vivid memories of them, not all of them happy. 

This was before the age of inexpensive air travel and internet holiday booking. A variety of enterprising tour companies started offering competitively priced holidays in attractive Mediterranean and Adriatic destinations with travel by coach and accommodation in either tents or caravans. 


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