Ask Joan

Sailing in Turkey (above), or Coastal Croatia, France and US

Sat, Jul 6, 2013, 01:00

We are an active mature couple planning a 17-day trip to to Boston and the Massachusetts coast – and taking in a family visit in Northampton – in early September. Have you any suggestions about the eastern coast and islands? Can we book a group tour from Boston for four days, or should we hire a car?
– DJM, Dublin

Labor Day, September 2nd, heralds the end of the summer and this is a lovely time to visit coastal Massachusetts. The weather is still warm but the masses are gone, roads are less crowded and accommodation is better value.

As there are no companies offering tours of this region I would suggest that having explored Boston you hire a car and tour the Massachusetts Cultural Coast, which comprises Quincy, Plymouth Country, Southeastern Massachusetts (Bristol County), Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

You can avoid the Cape Cod traffic at weekends by taking the ferry from Boston Harbour to Provincetown and renting a car there,

This area is famous for its variety of bed and breakfast inns along the coast and inland around the many lakes and ponds of the region. There are also great hiking and biking trails, day trips and island tours you can do. For information on accommodation, sightseeing and activities, visit The blog on is a good place to find out about events, sights and useful tips.

We are five friends (a straight couple, a gay couple and a widow) and three of us turn 60 next year. We all want to go on a special trip after Easter and before May. We are thinking of hiring a yacht in Turkey, Greece or the Balkan coast, any advice on a bit of luxury for the five of us, not sharing with others? – TD, Donegal

The Croatian coast is stunning, with hundreds of islands to explore. The flights to Dubrovnik usually begin around Easter with Aer Lingus. Ryanair has a flight to Zadar this season but it is too early to say if it will operate next year. I suggest in Croatia for chartering luxury crewed vessels. They have a great variety of craft available. For Greece, you could have a look at what is available with Odyssey Sailing. They have a wide range of charters available and experienced skippers who help you explore the Greek islands like natives,

In Turkey, the traditional gulet is the way to explore the ancient coastline with its cliffs and coves. Under sail, these boats look majestic. Chartering is possible from a number of ports and you should check out what is available with Some of the companies I have mentioned have special offers for advance bookings.

I am hoping to take a short break in August with my two teenage daughters. I’d like to go
to France, Spain or Italy. My children like sports and water sports and I like to chill. I don’t want to hire a car. I’d like an apartment or hotel with triple room.

– LD, Dublin

As you have two teens to amuse, a holiday village might fit the bill. There are a number of good quality places in France, Italy and Spain with Pierre & Vacances. The holiday villages usually have great sports facilities and clubs for teens. Around Biarritz they have a number of properties and it is easy to get there with direct Ryanair flights. It is a great location for water sports. You may even just consider the Pierre & Vacances hotel in town, five minutes from the beach where the girls could join a surf school.

In the south of France, with access via Nice and the great transport system of this region, the holiday village Cap Esterel has special offers in August of around €950 for a week. There is also a spa on site. Italy isn’t really an option as the resorts are not easily accessible by public transport, but there are quite a lot of PV resorts along the Mediterranean coast of Spain with air access from Ireland,

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