Ask Joan: your travel dilemmas solved

Taking teenagers on holidays, and where to holiday in Ireland with the family

My wife and I would like to take a week away in July or August this year. We have a son aged 16 and he would like to bring his friend.

We would prefer Spain, Italy or Portugal, and a destination that would have some sports or beach activities for the boys and a little night life (not too much), and obviously something for the mid-40-year-olds. We would prefer self-catering. – EMG, Leitrim

Surfing is a great activity for teenagers and, an Irish company, has self-catering accommodation in the lovely town of Ericeira in Portugal.

The Ecolodges cost from €160 per night and can sleep up to five. There is good availability for July. Surf lesson would cost €107 each for five days, with equipment and pick up each day.


You could also look at other areas where surfholidays operate and book your own accommodation. They have a number of bases in Spain, France and Portugal that are ideal holiday destinations.

Pierre et Vacances, the French holiday company, has club-type holiday accommodation dotted all around the Mediterranean. This type of holiday allows you to self-cater and enjoy the local restaurants. PV holidays are popular with families and the lads could take part in activities and meet other teenagers.

A two-bedroom apartment in a coastal area of Spain, such as Costa Brava, or Costa Blanca, will cost in the region of €900-€1,400 per week. See

The Italian islands of Sardinia and Sicily are both easily accessible from Ireland with flights from Ryanair and Aer Lingus, and offer a good variety of self-catering accommodation.

Alghero in Sardinia is particularly nice and there would also be an opportunity for the teenagers to engage in water sports and other activities. There is plenty of accommodation to rent on websites such as,, and

Consider also resorts on Lake Garda, where you can explore the lake, stay in a small village and the boys could go to Gardaland, the theme park. has a good selection of self-catering properties.

Do you have any recommendations for a family with an expectant mother and 15-month-old to visit in Ireland? They love culture and scenery and would like a two-week trip basing themselves during that time in two or three places and doing day trips. – LS, Dublin

The family may like to consider a small town or city for a few days, a coastal location and then perhaps the mountains. Small cities such as Galway and Kilkenny are hives of activity. Salthill would be a great place to locate for a few days, with the beach, walks, and activities at Leisureland.

In Kilkenny, Newpark Hotel is all about families in the summer. See, The sunny south east is dotted with many family-friendly homes on and near lovely beaches. Wexford offers a lot of things to do, places to visit and festivals through the season. See

The Wicklow mountains offer easy access to the coast, Dublin city, scenery and culture. The other mountainous region to consider is Donegal.

Through the summer there are a lot of festivals, many of them family-friendly, and you can find details on Find accommodation to rent on, and

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