Ask Joan: Honeymoon in Santorini, Ireland by rail and villas in Tuscany

Soak up the sun without breaking the bank in Santorini

Soak up the sun without breaking the bank in Santorini

Sat, Apr 20, 2013, 06:00

Myself and my fiancé are searching for a honeymoon. We hope to go at the start of September for two weeks. We have a notion of going to Greece for a good break away from it all, to eat, sleep and celebrate our marriage.

We looked at the island of Santorini, but it seems so out of budget (approximately £2,500/€3,000 for flights and accommodation), and now we are looking at Crete. We want a quiet, beautiful place where we can relax, and if possible with a pool.

We are looking at so much that we need guidance please. M&B, Antrim.


Santorini is a beautiful island and does have a lot of very pricey hotels. But don’t be put off, you can still go there. Thomas Cook has holidays to Santorini from London Gatwick for two weeks under £600 each, staying in two- and three-star hotels with B&B. You can visit the luxury hotels for cocktails.

Crete is also available from both Belfast with Thomas Cook and from Dublin with Falcon Holidays. Prices are under £600 each, but don’t book Hersonissos, it tends to be busy with students celebrating exams at that time of the year. If you want to strike out alone and make your own bookings, you could probably shave a bit off the price depending on the type of hotel or accommodation you choose. The airfares are quite high, from £250-£300 each from Gatwick with Easyjet to Santorini or Crete.

Or you could take the charter flight to Crete from Belfast on Tuesdays with thomascook.com for around £359 each or the falconholidays.ie charter from Dublin on Saturdays from €379 each. On Crete, places to consider for your honeymoon are Elounda, very pretty and up-market; Bali with its steep streets and picturesque cove; and Rethymno, which has lovely resorts around the ancient Roman city.

You will find great hotel deals on booking.com and hotels.com.

We are planning a two-week holiday in Tuscany this August. There will be three of us travelling from Ireland and four from London. I would be grateful if you could suggest any good websites to check or any other information regarding villa rental. Any advice on good car hire companies would also be appreciated. PG, Dublin.


Travel by train is always an enjoyable experience and there are a number of rail cards that might suit for your holidays. The Trekkerfour gives four consecutive days of rail travel for €110. The Explorer card gives you five days’ rail travel in 15 consecutive days for €160.

This year in light of the Gathering, there are special tickets for rail and Bus Éireann travel. Three consecutive days’ travel on train or bus cost €99 and seven consecutive days cost €199, see irishrail.ie and buseireann.ie. Tickets have to be purchased at train stations. There are many festivals on around the country and you could tie in your travel with some of these events, see
discoverireland.ie.


We are planning a two-week holiday in Tuscany this August. There will be three of us travelling from Ireland and four from London.

I would be grateful if you could suggest any good websites to check or any other information regarding villa rental. Any advice on good car hire companies would also be appreciated. PG, Dublin.

There is an agent in Ireland for To-Tuscany Villas, established in 1998, Eamonn Flanagan has seen many of the properties to rent and can advise you on a suitable place for your family, see to-tuscany.ie or phone 01-663 3939. Car hire can be pricy in Italy and larger vehicles tend to book out quickly, so book your car as soon as you confirm dates. Try arguscarhire.com or autoeurope.com.

Send your queries to jscales@irishtimes.com

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