Ask Joan: Going to Milan, Verona and Venice and camping in Finland

Tickets for the Last Supper and taking a gondola trip in Venice

 

I am taking my daughters aged 18 and 13 to Italy at the end of June. We’re going Aer Lingus to Milan/Malpensa and arriving at 9pm so we need to book a triple room in a nice central hotel that night. Next day we are going by train to Desenzano del Garda so we only have the morning and early afternoon to see the Last Supper and the Cathedral and any other must-sees.

We are planning to take trains to Verona and Venice on day-trips. Do you recommend trying to pre-book trains if possible? The girls are also keen to take a gondola! Do you recommend a visit to the Murano glass centre? We’d like to visit the Arena in Verona and maybe even go to the opera if we can manage to get back to our hotel afterwards; do you know if it’s possible to attend rehearsals/matinees? - MM

The Brunelleschi Hotel is close to the cathedral and includes breakfast and wi-fi in the price of around €170 for a night for three. You can book directly at hotelbrunelleschi.net or via hotels.com.

Tickets to see the Last Supper are very hard to get and are released on a monthly basis. You must book in advance, but the official site is not working and there are many confusing websites offering tickets at higher prices. Il Cenacolo is in Santa Maria delle Grazie church in central Milan.

The best way to purchase tickets is by telephone 09.00am to 19.30 Monday to Saturday. If it is busy, keep trying. The number is 00390292800360, press 2 for English.

The opera at Verona is on Friday June 24 and Saturday June 25. Although Desenzano del Garda is only a half hour from Verona, you may not make the opera if you are busy in Milan the same day. If you do make it, there is a round trip coach service from Desenzano (visit Europlan.it or call 00390456209444). A taxi may be better value and you can book one at taxidesenzano.com. Tickets for the opera can be purchased on arena.it.

Trains can be booked on trenitalia.com, and you can book in advance to take advantage of Supereconomy and economy prices. Fares will be around €30 to Venice and €15 to Verona. It take around 90 minutes to get to Venice.

The gondola trip is always a great experience in Venice, but not cheap, usually around €100 for 40 minutes. Make sure to agree the price in advance.

There is a lot of see in Venice and if you are only going for the day there may not be enough time to see everything. If you do want to go to Murano and Burano see this guide on how to get there. You can see the factories yourself or you can take a half day tour with Viator.com for around €40.

I would like to do a camping holiday to Finland, but I am having difficulty accessing information about flights and camping sites. - BOD

There are two airlines flying to Helsinki from Ireland, Finnair and Norwegian. Finnair flies six days a week and Norwegian twice weekly. Fares for both will be around €200 return, you can book on finnair.com and Norwegian.com.

Camping is popular in Finland with many campsites by coast, lake lands and the island dotted Archipelago. You can find campsites where you can rent erected tents or cabins on camping.info and on camping.fi. See also, visitfinland.com.

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