Ask Joan: Getting to Bad Hofgastein and exploring Alicante

Travelling to Bad Hofgastein in the summer, what to visit in Alicante and flying to Halifax

Bad Hofgastein is a very pretty town surrounded by high mountains.

Bad Hofgastein is a very pretty town surrounded by high mountains.

 

I want to go to the Norica Hotel in Bad Hofgastein, in Austria, next May with two friends. We have picked this hotel for its thermal spa, nice walks and apparently good restaurants. The problem is getting there. From what I can see there are no direct flights to Salzburg in May from Dublin. Our option is to go to London with Lufthansa and then to Salzburg and then a taxi from Salzburg to Bad Hofgastein. Option two would be to fly to Munich from Dublin but I’m not sure how to get to Bad Hofgastein from there. – JM, Dublin.

You have picked a great place, Bad Hofgastein is a very pretty town surrounded by high mountains. The Alpentherme spa is a really excellent place, especially in the summer. There are lovely restaurants, cafes and walks along the river and up into the mountains. See gastein.com for tourism information for the valley.

The train system in Austria and Germany is very good and you can easily get to the Gastein Valley. You can fly via Stansted to Salzburg most days of the week with Ryanair. At the moment flights to Salzburg from Stansted next summer are about £100 return.

You can take a train from Salzburg right to Bad Hofgastein and it takes about 90 minutes and costs about €30. Flying direct to Munich with Aer Lingus will cost about €140 return and there will be two stops on the train journey to Bad Gastein, which costs about €45 return and takes four hours or so.

Myself and my husband are going to Alicante for three days in March. Could you recommend some things to do that are accessible by public transport as we don’t drive on holidays. Other than museums we are open to most things. – AME, Dublin.

Alicante is quite a big and busy city and there will probably be enough to see there. The castle of Santa Barbara is well worth a visit and has great views along the coast. There is a small museum, shop and place to sit out at the top.

Explore the old town streets of Barrio Santa Cruz. If the weather is nice a day trip to Tabarca island, a Mediterranean Marine Reserve, would be enjoyable. It is a small island with a few cafes and you can stroll around it easily. There are ferries from Alicante port.

You can explore the coast from Alicante using the tram from Playa Postiguet, see www.tramalicante.es. The seaside towns of Benidorm and Calpe are on this line. My favourite is the old town of Altea which is worth visiting for the views, the tiny streets, the beautiful church, galleries and nice selection of restaurants.

We are hoping to fly to Halifax in Canada next summer from Dublin. There are five of us. Do you know of any low-cost carrier that might do direct summer flights? We are looking for the best value and hoping to avoid long stopovers. – TD, Dublin.

ASL Airlines France will be operating a weekly service from Dublin to Halifax for the summer season. Fares will be from €629 return including taxes and 20kg baggage. Flights will be on Thursday from July 7th-October 13th. You can be book on europeairpost.com, and 01 882 8680.

Westjet, the Canadian low-cost carrier, will be operating from Glasgow to Halifax daily during the summer season. Fares will cost from £450 return which is about €630 at the current exchange rate. You can pick up return fares to Glasgow with Ryanair or Aer Lingus for less than €50.

Send your queries to jscales@irishtimes.com.