Ask Joan - teenagers in Portugal, tulips and Bosch in Netherlands

Family fun in Ericeira and Nazare, viewing the tulip fields of Keukenhof and the work of Hieronymus Bosch

Ericeira, in  Portugal is an ideal spot for families, with  lovely beaches and good surf schools

Ericeira, in Portugal is an ideal spot for families, with lovely beaches and good surf schools

 

We have booked flights to Lisbon for one week and are travelling with our children aged 17, 15 and 12. I would really like for our kids to meet other kids of similar ages. They would like sun and sand while my husband and I would like some culture. We would like to go to a coastal place outside of Lisbon. Do you have any suggestions? HOL, Waterford

The nice thing about Lisbon is that there are some great resorts close to the city. Taking into account the ages of your children, I think resorts that are good for water sports would work for you.

The town of Ericeira is only 35 kms north of Lisbon and is a traditional old seaside town and port. Ericeira has lovely beaches and surf schools which would work well for the children and they would get to meet others their own ages. You will find places to rent on ericeira.net and see also surfholidays.com.

Further north again, along the Silver Coast is the famed surfing town of Nazaré. It has some of the best beaches in Portugal and is a traditional town with a warren of narrow streets and a funicular that links the Plata and Sitió areas of the town. The views from Sitió are fantastic and there are lovely walks.

Both of these towns are typical Portugal fishing ports and as such have their own culture and places of interest to charm the adults. See the tourism office here.

We would love to go on a trip to the Netherlands to see the tulips and also to visit the Hieronymus Bosch exhibition in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, which is on until early May. We would be flexible as to times, but we’re pensioners so a maximum of three nights would be our financial limit.

There are plenty of tours to visit the bulbs, but there doesn’t appear to be much scope to take time out to go to ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and in any case we would really like to spend one night there. MPR-B, Tipperary.

To make the most of your time, we need to look at this as two separate tours, one to ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch) and one to Kuekenhof, the centre of the tulip fields. Fortunately the fares to Amsterdam are good value, with plenty of flights from Aer Lingus and Ryanair. It should be less than €100 each return. The best time to go will be mid-April to see the tulips and avoid the weekends.

If you take an early flight from Dublin, you could do the tulip fields on your arrival day. The No 858 bus from Schiphol Airport Plaza takes under an hour and the combi ticket costs €24. See keukenhof.nl/en for all the details.

For budget accommodation in Amsterdam, you could look at easyhotel.com or ibis.com, both under €100 per night. If you have time in Amsterdam, I would recommend the Rijks Museum for a visit. It has an incredible array of artifacts, rijksmuseum.nl/en.

Take the train from Centraal Station to s-Hertogenbosch, it takes an hour and costs around €16 return. For details and opening times of the Hieronymus Bosch exhibition, see bosch500.nl/en. Expect to pay around €90 for a reasonable hotel there, see booking.com.

Send your queries to jscales@irishtimes.com.

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