Hot town, summer in the city

Sun, sea and islands to explore in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Sun, sea and islands to explore in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Sat, Feb 9, 2013, 00:00

GO ASK JOAN: Your travel questions answered by JOAN SCALES

We are a family of five – three children aged 11, 19, 21 – and we wish to visit Sarajevo between August 8th-18th to watch our son represent Ireland in the European under-16 basketball championships. There are a number of matches in Sarajevo but we would also like to incorporate a holiday in and around Bosnia or Croatia. I would prefer not to hire a car. We would like to incorporate some local culture, along with family holiday activities. We don’t mind where we fly from as there are no direct flights. We are quite happy to use buses, trains, etc to keep costs down. It would be fantastic if you could give us some ideas, or even recommend a full package. – RE, Belfast.

The best option would probably be to fly to Dubrovnik and take the bus to Sarajevo. There are buses every day from Dubrovnik and it takes about six hours. I am sure the basketball association has a list of accommodation in Sarajevo that would be suitable for your family – if not, see sarajevo-tourism.com. You can then return to Dubrovnik for your holiday and enjoy the sun, sea and islands around the coast. Aer Lingus has flights to Dubrovnik from Dublin; in August they cost from €320 each. I also looked at flying to Split via London Luton and Frankfurt, but it was more expensive.

I suggest talking to Sharon Wall at Croatia Tours, in Dublin ( croatiatours.ie, tel: 01-8780800. They are experts on this region and have a variety of accommodation available. An apartment would probably make sense for you.

We would love to do some Greek island hopping this year, but have a fairly limited budget. Is there a way to do this cheaply? – RN Tipperary

The good news is there will be an Aer Lingus flight to Corfu, beginning in April, for about €220 return. Athens would cost about €230 return. However, as the prices go up a lot for high season, your best option would be to travel in April or May. The weather will be nice, and accommodation will be less expensive.

Ryanair has flights to Rhodes, Kos, Kefalonia and Corfu from Stansted, and some routes from Liverpool and East Midlands. The prices at the moment are not any less than flying with Aer Lingus, but last year they had a good sale early in the season.

You can check out ferry services online at greekferries.grand aferry.com.

My friends are about to organise our post-Leaving Cert holiday for early August. The two destinations we have thought about are Barcelona and Paris. We would like to go somewhere with things to do during the day that is not too expensive and has good nightlife. It would also be a great advantage to visit a place with a beach. There will be about eight of us and we do not mind self catering or staying in a hostel. – COD, Meath.

These are two great cities with lots to offer. Putting them into perspective, Paris can be more expensive than Barcelona but has amazing things to see around every corner. Clubbing in Paris is also fun.

In August, when the locals have fled to the coast and country, the Paris Plages (manmade beaches) open along the Seine. The exodus may also mean some places will be fermé.

Hostel prices in Paris are about €20-30 per night each, and food is cheap from the supermarkets and markets. Book a hostel with a kitchen to save money. Pub prices are stiff, but drinks from the supermarkets are cheap. Find ideas of things to do on timeout.fr/ paris/en, en.parisinfo.comand girlsguidetoparis.com.

Barcelona will be hot in August, but with beaches in the city, it is ideal for a cool time. Clubbing in Barcelona goes on all night, on the beach, underground, and some clubs don’t open until 6am. See timeout.com/barcelona. Hostels are plentiful, with prices from €15-30 per night. Food and eating out is good value. Flights to both cities are reasonable, and both have excellent public transport.


Send your queries to jscales@irishtimes.com

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