Ask Joan: Summer in Romania, and options for Easter

Family breaks in Alicante, Marbella, the Algarve, the Canaries and the Romanian coast

An elevated view over Biertan at sunrise

An elevated view over Biertan at sunrise

 

We bit the bullet and booked flights to Bucharest, Romania, for 16 days in July. We have three kids, aged 13, 11 and nine, who love walking, cycling, activities, and a bit of beach time. Have you any recommendations for accommodation, places to visit, and car hire? – GW, Wicklow

Romania is an interesting choice for a family holiday, offering both activities and good seaside resorts. There are a couple of travel companies that arrange organised activity holidays in the Carpathian Mountains and Transylvania.

Responsible Travel has an eight-day trip beginning and ending with a stay in Bucharest and, in between, offering cycling, canoeing, hiking and a visit to a bear sanctuary. You would stay in the mountains, visit Brasnov and also explore the famous Bran Castle, purported home of Dracula. The tour costs £599-£899 (€777-€1,167) per person and is inclusive of all transport and accommodation, plus most meals and activities; see responsibletravel.com.

Another company doing similar activity-based holidays is greenworldholidays.com.

For nature lovers, the Danube Delta in northeast Romania is a wildlife reserve inhabited by hundreds of species of birds and mammals. The best way to see it is by a small boat tour from Tulcea.

The coast from Mangalia to Marmaia is dotted with beachside resorts and would be an ideal place to rent an apartment or villa. Booking. com has a good selection of rentals.

Shop around for car hire and book it early, as car hire firms usually give a discount for booking in advance.

You can see a selection of cars to rent at arguscarhire.com.

See also romaniatourism.com for more tourist information.

We are a family of four with two children under five years old. For our first holiday abroad with the children, we are considering going away on or around March 26th for five to seven days, ideally on a flight of no more than two and a half hours from Shannon Airport. I realise at this time of year that the weather will not be great, so we are looking for a hotel with a nice pool and playground, if possible five-star. – OS, Clare

Extra flights to sunny destinations will be coming on stream on that Easter weekend. Your choices from Shannon include Alicante and Malaga in Spain, and Faro in Portugal. There are also the Canary Islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, where the weather can be better but flight time is four hours. All flights are with Ryanair.

A week in Alicante in the beachside Melia Alicante Hotel will cost about €2,500 for the family with clickandgo.com. A week in Marbella in the top-class Melia Don Pepe will cost from €4,500 with lowcostholidays.ie.

The Algarve is a family-friendly destination and there are plenty of resorts, though the weather can be mixed at the end of March. The Pestana Group has a number of hotels along the coast and some have kids’ clubs; see pestana.com.

The Martinhal resort is also a lovely child-friendly place, with a mix of accommodation types; see martinhal.com.

Lanzarote has a greater choice of accommodation and is less windy than Fuerteventura. The weather at the end of March should be comfortable.

A week in the five-star Hotel Volcán will cost from €710 each, while the Princesa Yaiza will cost from€1,100 each, with lowcostholidays.ie.

Send your queries to jscales@irishtimes.com

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