Ask Joan

Getting from Croatia to Greece

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Sat, Jun 8, 2013, 01:00

I am a college student going inter-railing with friends in July starting in Amsterdam. We plan to finish in Dubrovnik, Croatia. As a few of my friends will be in Crete at the same time I would like to travel from Dubrovnik to Crete to spend a week with them at the end of the trip. As I will be travelling alone, I would like to know the easiest, cheapest and safest way to get from Croatia to Crete. Is there a boat I could take? How long would these boat journeys take? ENL, Dublin

The problem with Dubrovnik is there are no trains from there. You will have to take flights, bus or a boat. By boat it would be a long journey, Dubrovnik to Split, Split to Bari, Bari to Patras, Patras by land to Athens and Pireaus, Pireus to Crete. Boat fares are cheap and some of the journeys are covered on the Interrail ticket. Deck travel is the cheapest.

It would take you days to get to Crete. Then flying back to Ireland can be expensive at this time of year – though Ryanair and Jet2.com fly to UK airports from Heraklion and Chania.

However, if you go to Thessaloniki in northeast Greece, there’s a Ryanair service to Chania, in Crete for under €70. Getting to Thessaloniki from Dubrovnik is expensive by air, around €400. But you can get there by bus in a day or so. This website has travel tips for the Balkans, balkanology.com


My sister and her family live in London and I’d like to take the four of us to Brighton for a weekend to take the kids to the beach. Can you recommend accommodation that is affordable, central and walking distance to town and the beach, please? MR, Kerry


Brighton is a lively city with a great variety of accommodation, from trendy boutique hotels to stately old mansion properties and quirky B&Bs to traditional guesthouses. There is also a good selection of self-catering apartments.

However, prices are not cheap. B&Bs are around £70-£100 per night for two, apartments from around £130 and hotels generally over £100 per night for three star and over £160 a night for four star, see holidaylettings.co.uk and visitbrighton.com for a list of places to book.

Best value is Jurys Inn which is two minutes from Brighton railway station, ideal if you’re coming by train and 10 minutes from the seafront. Jurys has a sale from July 19th to September 8th for rooms – which will sleep two adults and two children or three adults– booked up to seven days in advance. During the summer, rates are from £67 - £100.


We are a family of four travelling to Portugal via Lisbon in August for 10 days and staying in San Martino de Porto. Could you recommend good value car hire as we had a bad experience in Lisbon on our previous visit?
KH , Offaly


I am sorry to hear you had a bad car hire experience, it is the one area of travel that gives arise to the most complaints.

The variables in renting a car are numerous; engine size, country of origin, type of insurance, drivers, car seats, GPS all affect the price. However I have looked at a number of companies for you and the main brands are the most expensive.

For a mid-size economy car with just about enough space for all of you, ie Corsa, Golf or Focus, Hertz, Europcar and Sixt were all around €1,000. Going through one of the broker agencies can considerably reduce the price and you may still be renting from a major firm.

Autoeurope. com was voted best car hire firm by the Irish Travel Agents Association this year and holidayautos.com took the top slot in previous years.

A mid-size car with Autoeurope is around €545 and Holiday Autos around €626. The cheapest I did find was with Goldcar, the Spanish car rental firm with a Seat Ibiza or similar, from €450.

Be aware also that Portugal introduced barrier-free tolling on some roads last year that led to confusion about payment. Most car rental firms now have tags in their vehicles and will charge the price of the tolls to your credit card. The A27 and A28 north of Lisbon are now barrier-free.

Send queries to jscales@irishtimes.com