Ask Joan: taking teens to Copenhagen, Dublin to Paris via Eurostar, how to get to Tallinn

Sat, Jul 12, 2014, 01:29

We would like to take three teenagers to Copenhagen in August. I am looking for recommendations for accommodation which is nice but not too pricey. Would you think five days is enough and have you any general advice on the city in terms of things to see and do and places to eat? KOK, Dublin

Copenhagen city centre is compact and five days would be enough to get a real feel for it. If you mix and match flights from SAS and Aer Lingus you could make it five days and four nights.

The city has been going through a transformation in the hotel sector and there are quite a few new boutique, modern and quirky hotels. The following hotels range in price from around €85 to €190 per night, and all are in good locations for walking around.

The cabinn.com is one of the first of the new wave of hotels and is the best value. Wakeupcopenhagen.com has two budget, very Danish-style hotel. Andersens-hotel.dk/en is real quirky and may appeal to the teenagers, and arthurhotels.dk/ibsens-hotel/ is in the university district. Prices may be a bit more reasonable on Hotels.com, booking.com and trivago.com. Top of the list of things to see include the Tivoli Gardens; the Little Mermaid; Christiana, the famous free town, now an attraction in its own right; the Royal Palace, though the family may not be in residence in August. Hang out at Nyhavn and enjoy the pretty quays and take a canal cruise.

An affordable range of cafes in Copenhagen are Cofoco, where they cater for a young urban crowd, see cofoco.dk. Check out visitcopenhagen.com. My brother is going to work in Tallinn in September. The family is looking at flights and ways of getting there and find that flights from Dublin are very limited and some very expensive. It has been suggested to fly to Helsinki and then go by boat to Tallinn or fly to Riga, followed by a four-and-a half-hour coach trip to Tallinn. Are these really the best options? LQ, Dublin

Forget about Helsinki, there are only two weekly direct flights from Ireland with Norwegian.com and they arrive too late at night to take a ferry. Those flight are also due to finish in October.

Ryanair flights continue through the winter from Stansted to Tallinn with good connecting times. Or look at routing through Copenhagen for Tallinn with flysas.ie for a quite painless option. Watch out for the SAS sale fares. I would love to travel to Paris via the channel tunnel from London in August. Can it be done on a budget? Online tickets seem to be very expensive. COC, Dublin

London to Paris by Eurostar is a terrific trip and well worth doing. It is great to leave one city centre and arrive in the city city of another country in under three hours.

My best ideas for keeping the cost down is to fly into Gatwick on a cheapie Ryanair or Aer Lingus ticket, take the train from there to St. Pancras. It takes under an hour and the cheapest ticket is from £10 (€12.60). That way you will not need accommodation or meals in London. See the timetables on thetrainline.com.

You can find the cheapest fares on Eurostar.com by clicking on the “Flexible with My Dates” option and it will show prices for a month. Prices start from £44.50 (€56) each way in August. If you are over 60, you can avail of a seniors’ discount. Fly back from Paris on Ryanair.com through Beauvais Airport for around €50.

Send your travel queries to jscales@irishtimes.com

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