Ask Joan: Cycling in Andalucia, first time family holiday in Europe, where to go in October


For several years me, my husband and our two boys ( eight and 10) have stayed at an all-inclusive hotel in Ireland but the boys are now past the activities on offer there. So we thought of booking something in Spain, Portugal or around Lake Garda in Italy.

The boys are very active, love sports and crafts and we were thinking of a hotel with half board and a kids’ club . We haven’t been to Europe before so don’t know where to begin. Have we left it a bit late to book something around the first week in July? – MQ, Down.

The first week in July is high season and quite a lot of holidays are booked up. I have come up with three possibilities. The Falcon Holiday Village in the Algarve is a great place for families. There are lots of activities with kids clubs, soccer camps, drama, and sports. The resort is at Balaia an hour from Faro airport. The price, from €792pps, is for an all-inclusive holiday (

From Belfast there are all-inclusive holidays in the Insotel Punta Prima resort in Menorca. This has a kids’ clubs, entertainment, a tennis school and football. This costs from £792pps (€929) with

Holidays to Lake Garda from Belfast with Crystal Holidays are booked out but Topflight has availability for self-catering, B&B and some half board.

The Hotel Splendid Palace, overlooking the lake at Limone, has great outdoor swimming pools and a children’s’ club.

If you go to Lake Garda, the boys might like to visit Gardaland, Italy’s biggest theme park.

A week in the Splendid Palace half board will cost from £793pps (€930.50) through

We’re a family with four children aged from six to 12. We’ll be in Cad iz in Spain for a week in June visiting family and plan to stay for another week, ideally doing an activit y holiday,such as an organised cycling trip. Can you suggest any? We will hire a car. – JT, Dublin.

In the hills of Andalucia at Montecorto is Andalucian Cycling Experience. Everyone is catered for here, from tots to hard-muscled ironmen.

Each family has their own guide and routes are tailored each day to the family’s ability. If anyone gets too tired, there is a support team to collect you and bring you back to base. You don’t have to cycle every day, you can also go hiking, horse-riding, canoeing or sight-seeing in the white villages of Andalucia.

Based in the village of Montecorto, near Ronda, the accommodation is either self-catering in a townhouse or farmhouse hotel. The self-catering costs from €425 per adult with discounts for children based on age. The price includes accommodation, bicycle and guided bike ride every day. Though you may like to take day out to visit Ronda or explore the area. Details from Ashley on 0034-952 184042 and

My boyfriend and I are looking for a two-week adventure/sun/beach holiday departing early October but we’re finding it difficult to decide on a destination due to the time of year. It’s either out of season or monsoon season in a lot of places. – TC, Cork.

When it’s out of season in the northern hemisphere, it’s in-season in the southern hemisphere while places along the equator do not vary too much in temperatures.

In the tropical zone, October is hurricane and typhoon season, and you can be lucky or unlucky.

How about surfing in the Canary Islands? Surfholidays. com has a base in Lanzarote and you could combine adventure with sunbathing. There are direct flights to Lanzarote from Cork.

Further afield has a variety of adventure trips during October all around the world. You could trek the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, walk the Lycian Way in Turkey, cycle in Cuba, safari in South Africa and explore South East Asia or India.

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