Ask Joan

Pula and the islands, Harry Potter in a day, and Fiji

 Aer Lingus has added Pula to its destinations, bringing the Istrian peninsula and pretty towns such as Porec within easy reach for short breaks and holidays

Aer Lingus has added Pula to its destinations, bringing the Istrian peninsula and pretty towns such as Porec within easy reach for short breaks and holidays

 

We have travelled to Dubrovnik and surrounding Islands for the last seven years. We love it but find it getting increasingly more expensive. I see Aer Lingus are flying into Pula and we were wondering is it as pretty but less expensive in this area. Could you give us some tips and also some information on island hopping there.

– GC, Dublin


Great news that Aer Lingus will have Pula in Istria this summer; prices are from €150 at present on Tuesdays and little more expensive on Saturdays. Popularity often pushes up prices and this is probably what you have been finding in the Dubrovnik area. The Istrian peninsula is less developed than Dubrovnik but just as beautiful. Pula city is full of Roman ruins and the resort towns of Porec, Rovinj and Rabac are lovely.

Costs are in the region of €85-€140 per night for three star hotels upwards and€50-€90 per night self-catering. From the coastal towns it is easy to island hop. From Dublin clickandgo.com have put together packages to Istria and a week in Miramar Hotel in Rabac will cost from€425pps B&B, half board in Rovinj in the Amarin Resort from€482pps and half board in Valamar Hotel in Porec from €547pps.


My daughter is a huge Harry Potter fan and I would love to take her to the studios in England for a birthday treat. Do you think we could do it in a day from Dublin to keep costs down?
– HB, Dublin

It would be possible to make in a day and will mean a long day. The most time and cost effective route is flying into Stansted on the 06.25 or 08.15 flight with Ryanair. Cheap fares are normally available from six weeks in advance and you should be able to get fares for €50 or less. Avoid Sundays, rail travel is often disrupted then.

Off peak train fares don’t begin until 09.00 and would cost £49 for two, see thetrainline.com. This routing would mean changing at Tottenham Hale for the Victoria Line on the Underground, to Euston and then the Overground to Watford Junction. Journey time is around one hour 40 minutes. Train fares and times from Gatwick are less but you are restricted to certain services. There is a bus to Warner Brother Studios from the station and is costs £2 return. You should be able to have at least four hours at the studios; tickets cost £29 for adults and £21.50 for children and can be booked on wbstudiotour.co.uk. All together the day out will cost around€240.


My wife and I have an opportunity to visit Fiji and accommodation is not an issue. We only intend to stay there for between five and seven days and then head to somewhere else. Have you any ideas for the somewhere else for another 10-14 days? – HT, Cork

Fiji is a long way to go for a short visit, and has a warm tropical climate which is ideal for beach holidays. The rainy season is from November to April; temperatures are over 28 degrees year round.

It seems that Los Angeles could be a good stopping point, either on the way out or back. Fiji Airways have direct flights to Nadi from LAX and it takes around 11 hours.

Around Los Angeles you have the resorts of San Diego, Santa Monica, and Long Beach. Heading south to Mexico, Puerto Vallerta has a great range of upmarket beachside resorts. You would be looking at fares from €1,200 upwards for the whole journey. Try classicresorts.ie, topflightsworldwide.ie or trailfinders.ie.
Send your questions to jscales@irishtimes.com

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