Ask Joan: Legoland, getting to the Azores and cruising the Northern Lights

Your travel queries answered

Vivid red Northern Lights shine above Pioneer Peak in Palmer, Alaska. Photograph: AP Photo

Vivid red Northern Lights shine above Pioneer Peak in Palmer, Alaska. Photograph: AP Photo

 

My wife and two children would like to travel to Denmark for a week next summer taking in Copenhagen, Legoland and Lalandia. Both accommodation and car hire seems expensive, any budget tips? – GM, Cork Denmark can be quite pricey, hard to get to from Cork, and Legoland in Billund, is a three to four hour drive from the capital. Flights from Dublin to Copenhagen in the summer, if you book now will cost from €120 each, flysas.ie. Aer Lingus also flies from Dublin to Copenhagen.

From Cork, the cheapest way to Billund is via Stansted with Ryanair and could cost under €150 each but the timings are not great and may mean a stay in London.

If you rent a car, arguscarhire.ie has deals from under €200 per week in Denmark in the summer, if you book in advance. You may not need a car as you can take the train from Copenhagen to Billund, see dsb.dk for rail times and prices.

Accommodation on site at Legoland and Lalandia can be quite expensive but does include entrance fees, activities and great water parks. The cheapest accommodation option in Billund is to stay in Billundcamping.dk where you can rent a cabin near the parks from €91 per night. Daily park tickets can be booked direct on legoland.dk and lalandia.dk.

Family friendly hotels in Copenhagen include the Cab Inn, cabinn.com, while Wake Up Copenhagen, is a budget, very Danish-style hotel near Tivoli, wakeupcopenhagen.com. Other hotels with family rooms are the quirky Andersen Hotel, andersen-hotel.dk, and Ibsens Hotel, arthurhotels.dk/ibsens-hotel. Family rooms in July will cost from €130-€205 per night.

Prices may be a bit more reasonable on Hotels. com, booking.com and trivago.com if you book and pay in advance. There are often sales in January. See visitcopenhagen.com.

My husband and I are celebrating a significant anniversary early this year and would like to celebrate by taking a short cruise to see the Northern lights. Can you recommend any cruise companies and when is the ideal time to do this. – GB, Wicklow

The Northern Lights are at their most frequent in late autumn and early spring, between the autumn equinox and the spring equinox and the coldest time of the year. There is really only one company doing short cruises at that time of the year, the Hurtigruten.

This shipping line operates along the coast of Norway all year round delivering goods and moving people from place to place. It is the ideal way to see the lights and more an experience than a traditional cruise company. A number of companies in Ireland can arrange a short visit. Prices will be around €1,100 for five nights including flights and cruise. See project-travel.ie, rorymcdyertravel.ie, and the cruisebroker.ie.

My brother-in-law in Wisconsin is planning a surprise trip to Ponta Delgada, Azores in March for my sister’s birthday. He is anxious that my other sister and I who live in Ireland visit them. I am finding it difficult to figure out an intinerary. – Al, Dublin.

The Azores seems very far away but it is an easier journey than it would appear, and not too expensive. There are two airlines that share the route from Lisbon, TAP Air Portugal, tap.pt and Sata, sata.pt, fares will be around €150 in March. Both Aer Lingus and Ryanair have flights to Lisbon and fares will be around €100 return.

Send your queries to jscales@irishtimes.com