Ask Joan: Berlin to Croatian coast by rail

Your holiday queries answered

The seaside town of Baska, Croatia is one of the more popular places, though it gets very busy in summer

The seaside town of Baska, Croatia is one of the more popular places, though it gets very busy in summer

 

My friend and I are planning an inter-railing trip this summer. We’re flying into Berlin, then going by rail to Prague for three days, then Budapest. We have a gap of three nights and were thinking of spending it in Croatia. We’d like to stay somewhere coastal, cheap with a lively nightlife (but we’d also like to experience some new culture and take in some beautiful scenery). We need to choose somewhere we can travel to by train from Budapest and to Ljubljana in reasonable time. HC, Dublin.

You can take the train from Budapest to Zagreb. There are only two train lines to the coast from Zagreb in Croatia, to Rijeka and Split. The journey to Split is the longest at more than eight hours, so I think going to Rijeka would make more sense. It would also put you closer to Slovenia. Ljubljana is about two hours away whereas it would take an entire day to travel to Split.

The port city of Rijeka is not really a holiday destination but nearby is the island of Krk, linked by a bridge. It is a big island and lively in summer. You can take a bus to the island and here enjoy the Dalmatian coast, Croatian culture, interesting villages and swim in the warm Mediterranean.

The seaside town of Baska is one of the more popular places, though it gets very busy in summer. Check the bus schedules on autotrans.hr, krk.hr/en/ and visit-croatia.co.uk for tourism information.

My husband, 10-year-old daughter and I hope to attend a family wedding in Hotel Riu, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, next March. It will be in a costly, all-inclusive resort. Are there any good websites for other holiday accommodation? What would be the best way to get there? Are there any activities or attractions in the region if we make a family holiday of it? DC, Munster.

Always a good idea to book well in advance for a long-haul trip – and do take out travel insurance. The quickest option to Guanacaste is with delta.com via New York on some days of the week, where the one-stop hop will cost about €750 return. A two-stop hop with United will cost about the same.

It may be possible to get it cheaper with Delta, about €600, and it could be two stops and take more than a day to get there.

The Riu Palace is a luxurious, five-star resort and would cost at least €3,000 for a week. However, there are some nice self-catering properties in the area. Properties on airbnb.com in nearby Ocotal Beach cost €60-€150 a night.

There are also some really lovely luxury places that you could consider sharing with other wedding guests on vrbo.com and it could still work out less than the Riu Palace.

This region of Costa Rica has beautiful beaches and a number of national parks where you can go bird and wildlife watching. A popular adventure there is treetop canopy tours where you can see birds and monkeys up close.

I would like to visit London with my daughter after she finishes her Leaving Cert. Could you recommend some high-quality bed and breakfast or well-kept low-budget hotels in central London, please? AOF, Dublin.

Uptown Reservations in London has a lovely selection of bed and breakfasts in private homes in some of the best locations in London, such as Knightsbridge, Chelsea and Kensington. A twin room would cost from £110 (€154) a night including breakfast. Reserve a room on uptownres.co.uk.

Send your queries to jscales@irishtimes.com

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