Ski, sun and Sligo fun
GO ASK JOAN: Your travel questions answered by JOAN SCALES
Our family would like to go skiing in January but we don’t know where to go. We think Austria? We have two girls, seven and six, and want to get lessons for them. Ideally we would like to be in a busy-ish place because I might not ski myself. Nice food and restaurants are a must and a good hotel. – CPF, Waterford
Austria is a great destination for family skiing with excellent facilities. Austrian food is good but not necessarily haute cuisine. There is an emphasis on hearty eating, with great casseroles, soups and use of local ingredients, however the patisseries are fantastic.
The Hotel Post in Lermoos is a lovely family hotel, very well run, with good food and great leisure and spa facilities. It has a lovely outdoor area with views towards the Zugspitze Glacier. It is also five minutes walk to the ski school and lifts, so ideal for little legs. See post-lermoos.at. Get to Lermoos by flying to Munich and taking the train or hiring a car.
The Gastein valley in the Hohen Tauern mountain range sits above a series of thermal springs. The combination of deep valley and high mountains is perfect for skiing and the ski school at Angertal is great with children.
It is an hour by train from Salzburg – a lovely city and worth a day. The valley is also a spa destination, has a mountain healing gallery, a casino and good shopping. There are two towns, Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein, the latter is quieter. The Norica Hotel in Bad Hofgastein includes free entry to the Alpenthereme with great swimming pools and waterslides. See hotel-norica.at. Most of the hotels/holidays I have mentioned can be booked with topflight.ie, tel: 01-240 1700, with flights from Cork too.
Down Mexico way
What is the cheapest way to get a flight to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico in January? I have looked online and am completely confused because of the variety of departure cities. - RS, Cork
The biggest problem getting to Puerto Vallarta is not really the price, there are flights for under €900, but the time it takes. British Airways ( ba.com) has fares in January to Los Angeles and San Francisco from Dublin, Cork or Shannon via Heathrow, for around €580 return, including taxes. From LA or San Francisco you can take an Alaska Airlines flight to Puerto Vallarta for about €335, see alaskaair.com. It will mean a stopover on the way out.Sligo shenanigans
We are a group of 10 friends in our 20s heading to Sligo for a weekend break at the start of December. We would like to do a bit of surfing, but other than that, we have no plans. Could you please advise us o n anything worth doing while in Sligo, be it food, adventure, nightlife, or just something a bit different! - FMN, Dublin
Sligo is a good spot for a weekend away, with lovely scenery and lots to do. The Clarion Hotel has a surf package for two nights that includes accommodation (rooms are huge), dinner one night, and a surfing lesson at Strandhill, for €135pps, clarionhotelsligo.com.
Take to the waters and the wild with sligoadventure.ieand you can try kayaking, biking and horse-riding. Sligo has some great hill-walking, you could climb Belbulben from the south face, or visit Queen Maeve’s Cairn on top of Knockarea. Muddy Boots Trekking has half and full-day outings with a qualified leader, tel: 071- 91 43646, or email email@example.com.
Stroll the lovely beach at Strandhill, see the megalithic tombs at Carrowmore, walk in Dooney Rock Forest Park, see the sculptures in the Hazel Wood, try to find The Glen and see the Glencar Waterfall.
Ward’s bar on Coney Island is worth a trip, and you can drive out on the causeway, nice for a Saturday afternoon pint.
In town, Furey’s Bar has open mike sessions and there’s live music in Shenanigans on Bridge Street. Shake your booties in Toffs on John F Kennedy Parade, and The Velvet Room on Kempton Promenade.
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