A NEW report on the quality of bathing water at European beaches, lakes and rivers has identified the Netherlands as having the worst standards of any European Union country.

The report, issued by the European Environment Agency and European Commission, found the water at more than one in 10 of the Dutch sites tested was "poor or noncompliant" with minimum standards. Bulgaria, Latvia, Luxemburg and Belgium were also found to have "remarkably" low proportions of sites meeting standards. At the other end of the scale, Cyprus, Malta, Croatia and Greece performed best, all achieving more than 94% compliance.

Maps showing bathing water quality: www.eea.europa.eu/themes/water/interactive/ bathing/quality

- THE Venice Simplon Orient Express is to launch private luxury train trips to Scandinavia, beginning next April. The full five-night package costs £3800 and includes two nights at the hotel Cipriani in Venice (also owned by Orient-Express), two nights on board the train, and a night in Copenhagen, before arriving in Stockholm. Shorter trips from Venice to Copenhagen or Copenhagen to Stockholm are also available. The train uses restored carriages from the 1920s and 1930s and features an art deco dining car, white-gloved, liveried stewards and onboard musical recitals.


- HEATHROW Airport has announced plans to open a temporary terminal to help meet demand during the Olympics. The terminal, which will have 31 check-in desks and seven security lanes, will exist only for three days and will be for the exclusive use of athletes returning from the games. The airport hopes it will relieve pressure on the other five terminals, particularly on August 13, which is predicted to be the busiest day in Heathrow's history, with 137800 departing passengers. Meanwhile, Victor, a private jet-sharing company, has launched a summer sale for those wanting to avoid congestion at London's main airports. Individual seats on six-seater jets to Ibiza, Cannes and Mallorca, from airports including Farnborough and Biggin Hill, cost from £995 each way.

www.heathrowairport.com, www.flyvictor.com

- PARADORES of Spain, the state-owned company that manages 93 historic hotels across the country, will unveil a new property this month at Lorca Castle, in Murcia. The 83-room hotel adjoins the walls of the castle, built between the ninth and 15th centuries, and has spectacular views over the city below. Next year sees the launch of a Parador in Cadiz and work is in progress on a property in the Dalt Vila, the fortified old town of Ibiza. Double rooms cost from ?112.


- WHILE much of the UK enjoyed warm summer weather last week, at Cairngorm in the Scottish highlands the ski season was continuing. Unusually late snowfalls have allowed the resort to keep operating several ski lifts and there are hopes of skiing continuing this month, something that has happened only once before in the resort's history.


© 2012 The Financial Times Limited