Ask Joan: you travel dilemmas solved

Wine tours in France, getting to Strasbourg, sun holidays in September

 Visit vineyards in  Bordeaux during harvest time on a wine tour

Visit vineyards in Bordeaux during harvest time on a wine tour

 

As a non-expert wine lover, I’d like to go on a wine tour to Europe in the autumn when the harvest is due or even in progress – up to a week in duration, with visits and tastings in several wineries. I will be departing from Dublin. BMK, Dublin.
I have found two wine tours that you may find of interest. Both are in France, beginning in Bordeaux. The first is escorted by a wine expert from Mitchell and Sons Wine merchants with the Travel Department and based in Bordeaux. Over six days there will be visits and tasting in some very famous vineyards, Lynch Bages, Saint Emilion, Margaux, Beychevelle and Laubade in Armagnac. There will also be a walking tour of Bordeaux. It costs from €1,199pps plus €349 for single supplement, traveldepartment.ie.
The other tour is a fine dining river cruise on the Garonne, Gironde and Dordogne with Uniworld. There will be big meals, visits to some of the major wine producers in the region with tastings and lunches. The ship will moor or stop overnight in famous wine towns and you will get to see the harvest countryside from a different perspective. The eight-night trip includes all meals, drinks and tours from €2,995pps, single supplement €600, flights extra, uniworld.ie.

My daughter is going to Strasbourg in September for her Erasmus year. What are the best travel options? CC, Cork.
Despite being the home of the European Parliament, Strasbourg is not easy or cheap to get to. Your options from Cork are to fly to Paris with Aer Lingus and take the train, voyages.sncf.com, cheapest fares are around €80 return. Or fly to Amsterdam and take a flight from there with Hop.com/en for around €150 return. The train from Amsterdam would be more than six hours.
There is a flight from Stansted three times a week with Ryanair to Strasbourg, Tuesday Thursday and Saturday, and it is good value (could be under €60) but would mean an overnight on the way back. Or via Gatwick with Easyjet and again the timings are not great and would mean an overnight.

I am looking for advice on family sun destinations with short flight and transfer times for September with our three-year-old. Lanzarote is perfect except for the flight duration. Our ideal holiday is a short flight, short transfer time by taxi (30 minutes or less) and a hotel/ apartment in a family resort within walking distance of nice bars/ restaurants. We don’t want to rent a car. We will be travelling from Dublin and our budget is approx €1,500-€2,000 including flights. EMD, Dublin.
At three, your child is probably old enough to go on a holiday where there are children’s clubs and would have company for part of the day. Falcon Holidays have a number of family-friendly resorts in mainland Spain, the Balearics and the Algarve, with short transfers.
On the Algarve, the Falcon Holiday Village is specifically for families and the transfer is short. I have seen two weeks there from €1,715 for your family.
The Hotel Calyso in the Costa Dorada would be ideal. You could also take a day trip to Portaventura theme park. On Majorca, the Seaclub Alcudia is a good spot with a short transfer. The beach at Alcudia is very family friendly, wide, sandy and shallow. There are plenty of restaurants to visit and the lovely resort of Porto Pollensa is nearby, falconholidays.ie.
Send your travel queries to jscales@irishtimes.com

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