Amsterdam with a 10-year-old
GO ASK JOAN:Your travel questions answered by JOAN SCALES
I have an opportunity to visit Amsterdam in May and would like to bring my 10-year-old granddaughter with me to see the sights. What suggestions do you have? – JB, Cork.
Spring is a lovely time to visit Amsterdam and every visit should begin with a canal boat tour. It is a great way to see the quirkiness of the city, colourful painted boats, tall narrow houses, and peek into peoples’ canal-side lives. There are a number of cruises, including a hop-on hop-off one, or a pizza cruise, see canalcruisesamsterdam.com.
The Anne Frank House has changed its focus to include the friends and lives of the Frank family and is more suitable to a 10-year-old now. The website annefrank.orghelps prepare for a visit with children and the questions they will ask. Most children find it fascinating.
NEMO, the striking green building on Oosterdok, is the interactive science centre and is a real hit with children. They have all sorts of hands-on experiments and demonstrations. See e-NEMO.nl.
Amsterdam has great markets and quirky shops where your granddaughter will enjoy spending her holiday money. Most markets are in the city centre and she may even enjoy buying some bulbs in the Bloemenmarkt.
A visit to the Pancake Bakery on Princengracht 191 would be enjoyable, and it is close to the Anne Frank Huis. The Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s popular open space for walks and playing.
Slovenia to Croatia
In August we would like to spend eight days in Slovenia, staying in the port of Piran, then hiring a car and driving into Croatia, spending eight days in Porec and Rovinj. What is the most convenient way to arrive in Piran, from Dublin, and the easiest way back home from northern Croatia. – BK, Dublin
For this itinerary Ryanair is the best option, with flights from Stansted to Trieste and back from Pula. Piran is only about 40 minutes from Trieste airport; you may have to change bus in Koper.
When hiring a car, the nearest Hertz location is at Portoroz. Ask about cross border drop offs before hiring.First holiday abroad
I am a single parent with four boys, 16, 14, 12 and 10. We are an active family and love the outdoors. We have never been on a foreign holiday. The two older boys are doing German in school and I thought Germany would be a possibility, or France. We are on a very tight budget. – KC, Dublin.
Germany is a good value destination for families and there are plenty of flights there. I think you should have a look at the youth hostels network in Germany, particularly those within easy access of an airport, so you can keep transfer costs down.
There are hundreds of hostels, many of them have family rooms and are sports oriented. Some are in forests, by lakes, in old period buildings, and generally all are very well run. It would be a good way for your boys to meet other children. Some of the hostels have full board packages from about €30pps per day. See jugendherberge.de, and germany.travel.
In France the best value for families is the campsite holiday, where there is on-site entertainment, swimming pools, seaside, forests and lots of other children and teenagers to play with.
Keller Campotel in Ireland has been organising family holidays for more than 30 years. It has family camping holidays on a variety of great sites in France for about €800 per week (tel: 0906-48750). The car ferry from Rosslare to France will cost in the region of €1,000 in high season. Flying to the nearest airport may be cheaper.Most companies will allow you to pay off the holiday over a period of months.
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