Greece

Uncategorized

Rhodes, 24th May, 1 week, Flights & Apartment, €375!

greece-382051_1280_opt

Check out this amazing deal to Rhodes at the end of May! Enjoy a one week package deal in a highly rated apartment for only €375!

Rhodes probably has more to offer than any of the other Greek islands. Not only is it one of the largest islands but it has a UNESCO world heritage site as it’s capital! Wandering around the Colossus of Rhodes is like stepping into a fairy tale, but once you step outside the old city walls, you will find a modern town, full of designer shops and trendy waterfront cafés. The hill top town of Lindos is another ‘must see’. Complete with whitewashed buildings and winding alley ways, it is a photographers dream. There are also quieter resorts like Lardos and Pefkos as well as the lively resort of Faliraki. If all of this isn’t enough, why not try some Greek island hopping to some of the neighbouring islands.

 The Travel Expert's deal to Rhodes

Fly from Dublin on the 24th of May and spend seven nights in the Cosmos Maris studios in Lardos for €375 per person. Ranked number 1 on tripadvisor and awarded a certificate of excellence, this is sure to please. The icing on the cake – there are no hidden extras! The price include flights, accommodation, taxes, transfers and 20kg baggage!

Click here for more details:

 

Prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to change. Note that some links above are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

Sarah

468x60Travel Deals Banner

In The Media

Last Minute Holidays As Seen On TV3’s SundayAM, 24th July 2016

The-Travel-Expert-As-Seen-on-TV3

Looking for a break in July or August? Check out my top picks for last minute holidays as seen on TV3’s Sunday AM.

Follow me on facebook

Availability to the popular destinations (Spain & Portugal mainly) in July and August is always scarce, and this year is no exception. However, there is increased capacity with Aer Lingus and Ryanair so airfares are quite low. In fact Aer Lingus have a seat sale with up to 25% off European flights during August & September, if booked by midnight on Monday, 25th July. If you are prepared to go off the beaten track and stay somewhere further from the resort centre, you can pick up good deals on last minute holidays. I found that Italy is better value than Spain and Portugal at the moment, here are my top picks.

Last minute holidays as seen on TV3's Sunday AM

Italy Deals:

Crystal Holidays are offering a  2* Hotel in Lake Garda, the Miravalli, from €340 per person on the 6th of August. This is a basic hotel but located in the heart of Garda, so it’s perfect for anyone who just wants to use the hotel as a base. If you want to upgrade your hotel, Topflight have a Summer sale until the 29th of July with savings of €420 per person. They have Sicily, Lido di Jesolo and Sorrento on sale in August as well as Lanzarote, the Algarve and Madeira.

I like the 3* Astoria Hotel, Sorrento, it’s €789 on the 7th and 14th of August. It is situated right in the heart of Sorrento, it is great value for such a fantastic location. All of Topflight’s prices include flights, transfers and checked baggage. Click here for more details.

Last minute holidays as seen on TV3's Sunday AM

Family Holiday:

Menorca is surprisingly good value for the next few weeks. With short day time flights and very family friendly, it is an ideal choice for a family holiday. Sunway are offering package deals where transfers and checked baggage are included, staying in the popular Binimar apartments. They are a nice low rise complex, close to the town centre and the beach and have a small splash park on site. The price for 2 adults & 2 children on the 31st of July and 7th of August is €1876. Click here for more details. Last minute holidays as seen on TV3's Sunday AM

Mid to late August:

With some kids back in school as early as the 24th of August, the last week of August is best time to pick up a bargain holiday. The Aer Lingus sale has some great airfares so you should be able to pick up a package deal to Spain or Portugal for less than €400. If you fancy Greece, Falcon Holidays are offering a week package deal to Zakynthos from €399 on the 30th of August, staying in the popular Katerina Palace Hotel. Click here for more details.

Last minute holidays as seen on TV3's Sunday AM

ClickandGo.com have matched the low airfares with some good city breaks too. I like this one in Madrid, it combines sightseeing, sun and shopping all in one! Fly with Aer Lingus and enjoy a three night stay in a four star hotel for only €247 on the 15th of August. Click here for more details.

Tapas Madid, Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert

5 Tips to find a last minute deal:

1. ClickandGo.com have a ‘dealfinder’ on their website where you can select sun holidays or city breaks within 30 days, 60 days etc and it will list all holidays that they have available.

2. Use Ryanair’s fare finder’ and Skyscanner’s ‘everywhere’ searches for any destination under a specific price range. Use hotel aggregators such as Trivago & Tripadvisor to search many accommodation websites for the same hotel.

3. The Irish Travel Agents association’s website combines top travel agents offers so you don’t need to search lots of different websites. And I offer my best last minute deals in my best travel deals post which is published every Tuesday on thetravelexpert.ie 🙂

4. Compare like with like. Remember a package holiday with a Tour Operator such as Falcon Holidays or Sunway includes airport transfers and checked baggage. A 20kg checked bag to the Canary Islands with Ryanair is €100 during July and August, so that ‘cheap deal’ you thought you found, might not be so cheap after all.

5. And finally always check with your local travel agent – they are searching late offers day in, day out and will probably know immediately what is the best value at any given time.

 

All prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change.

 

Sarah

travel deals

 

Uncategorized

Top Ten Holiday Destinations in 2016

m4WjQG1451120576

With the recession well and truly over and Dublin airport celebrating their best ever year in 2015, travel agents and airlines are predicting that 2016 will be even better. So where are the hot spots?

 

It looks like old favourites such as Spain and Portugal will be the most attractive short haul holiday destinations in 2016. Although France will be busy for Euro 2016, many families who enjoyed their Summer holiday camping in France, may decide to switch to campsites near Salou in Spain or Lake Garda in Italy. Cuba, Mexico and Thailand will prove popular for long haul travel as the poor exchange rate with the US dollar is unlikely to change. Here are my top ten holiday destinations in 2016!

Majorca & Menorca

To put it simply, Irish people love Spain! Almost 1.5 million Irish holiday makers visited Spain this year and this is sure to grow again in 2016. The Balearic island of Majorca is constantly one of the favourites. The mixture of family resorts, lively nightlife and stunning scenery is a great combination and ensures Majorca offers something for everyone.

Direct flights to  Menorca were reintroduced last year from Ireland and proved to be a great success. So much so, that an extra flight from Cork has been added for 2016. This smaller and less commercialised island oozes character and is the perfect choice for families looking for a quiet, relaxing holiday in safe surroundings.

Menorca, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert

 

Lake Garda

Although always popular from Ireland, I believe many families will switch from France to Lake Garda this year making the popular Italian resort busier than ever. There are direct flights to Verona and the nearby resort of Peschiera offers plenty of campsite and hotel options. The fact that the award winning themepark,  Gardaland is on it’s doorstep, will add to it’s popularity.

Lake Garda, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert

Thailand

Thailand still offers fantastic value for money for a longhaul destination. There are numerous flights via the UK, Dubai and mainland Europe to Bangkok and Phuket. A one week package is circa €800 including flights and hotel, proving to be a great option for those looking for a touch of exotic, without the expensive price tag.

Thailand, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert

Athens & the Greek Islands

Always great value for money and appealing to everyone, the Greek islands will continue to be popular in 2016. There are direct flights to Zakynthos, Corfu, Crete, Rhodes and Kos and extra flights to Athens with Ryanair and Aegean air. This should open up Athens as a top city break destination and allow the bucket list destinations of Santorini and Mykonos to be serviced for the first time.

Santorini, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert

Algarve

Another Irish favourite, the Algarve has almost twenty flights per week in the peak Summer months. The low priced airfares mixed with numerous resort options, will ensure that the Algarve will attract many Irish visitors in 2016.

Algarve, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert

Mexico

June 2016 will bring the first direct flights to Mexico for many years. The Thomson dreamliner aircraft will fly every fortnight to Cancun from Dublin and is bound to attract couples and honeymooners looking for the luxury all inclusive holiday resort.

Mexico, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert

Iceland

WOW air introduced flights to Reykjavik in 2015 which proved a great success. People chased the Northern lights and swam in the Blue Lagoon, with lots of positive reviews. It looks like Iceland will remain popular in 2016 for weekend breaks and as a holiday destination.

Iceland, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert

Cuba

Diplomatic relations between the USA and Cuba are at an all time high and it is likely that more and more Americans will travel to Cuba over the coming years. Many people feel they such see it before it receives the Disney effect! For this reason and the fact that there is more disposable income around, Cuba looks like it could attract many Irish holidaymakers looking to travel long haul in 2016.

Cuba, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert

Croatia

For those looking for somewhere a little different but still close to home, Croatia will be a top choice. The stunning city of Dubrovnik and the introduction of flights to Zadar and Pula will ensure that there are plenty of options for Irish holidymakers in 2016. The proximity to Lonely Planet’s top destination to visit in 2016 (Kotor in Montenegro) will also add to the appeal.

Dubrovnik, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert

Dubai

With four direct flights every day, it is almost impossible to avoid seeing this world class holiday destination on travel agency windows and media outlets, all offering amazing deals to Dubai. With the loss of direct flights to Egypt and Tunisia, Dubai is also an excellent alternative for anyone looking for some Winter / Spring sunshine.

Dubai, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert

 

So where will you be travelling to in 2016? If I left out your favourite, please comment below 🙂

 

Sarah

468x60Travel Deals Banner

 

Uncategorized

Corfu, 2nd October, 1 week, Flight & Apartment, €365

greece-382051_1280_opt

Corfu is one of my favourite places for a quick break away. It is a beautiful island with stunning scenery, a laid back atmosphere and amazing food!

 

Each resort is better than the next, with many hideaways offering picture perfect cove beaches – it is an island that is just begging to be explored. The cost of living is so low, dining out is excellent value for money and the welcome you receive will have you wanting to come back for more.  The island is easy to navigate and it is worth hiring a car or taking some of the many excursions that are on offer. A trip to Corfu town is a must, this old town with an impressive fortress, has some excellent shopping and is a great place for an evening stroll. For more information on Corfu, read my blog by clicking here.

Chapel, Corfu, Sarah Slattery, The Travel ExpertSidari is one of the most popular resorts. It has a great selection of bars and restaurants without being too lively. The Sellas hotel and apartments are ideally situated beside the beach and the resort centre. Highly rated on tripadvisor and awarded a certificate of excellence, they are a great choice for a relaxing holiday.

The total cost including flights, accommodation on a bed & breakfast basis, transfers and 20kg checked baggage is only €365! This is based on a seven night holiday, departing on the 2nd of October from Dublin. And the best bit – there are NO hidden extras! TOP TIP: When you enter your search online, make sure you change the search results to ‘lowest price’ and these deals will show up clearly for you.

 

Click here to book:

 

 Like what you see? Click here to see all my travel deals in one place!

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

falcon wide

 

Uncategorized

Crete, 30th August, 1 week, flights and 5* beach hotel, Half Board, €646!

chania4_opt_opt

If you are looking for a luxury break away in one of Crete’s most beautiful locations then this deal is for you!

 

Chania is often referred to as ‘little Venice’. It’s stunning harbour filled with old Venetian buildings and narrow streets make it a beautiful place to stroll around. The waterfront cafes and restaurants are packed with people enjoying the fabulous Greek food and the atmosphere is almost tangible. Many old buildings have been transformed into boutique hotels but they still retain the character of this great city. There are plenty of quaint shopping streets with local souvenir and craft shops as well as galleries and museums to explore. The surrounding area has numerous sight seeing options, the Samaria Gorge being the most famous. Explore the mountain villages or simply relax on one of Crete’s sandy beaches, the choice is yours.

Crete

I found this great deal in the contemporary Cretan Dream Royal Hotel, situated at Kato Stalos Beach, just 6km from Chania, the location offers you the best of both worlds. You can relax in one of their luxury suites at this beach front hotel or choose to explore the vibrant city of Chania.  The excellent facilities on site as well as the warm welcome guests receive are the reason that tripadvisor awarded it with a certificate of excellence last year.

Fly direct from Dublin to Crete ( Chania ) with Ryanair on the 30th of August and enjoy seven nights in a suite at this 5* luxury hotel for only €646 per person. This includes breakfast and evening meal every day – what fantastic value!

Click here to book flights to Chania : €218pp

Click here to book hotel: €428pp

All prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to availability.

Sarah

468x60Travel Deals Banner

Uncategorized

Rhodes 2nd Sep, 1 week, flights & hotel €405!

rhodes-97279_1280_opt

Looking for a bargain break away in September? I found the perfect spot – Rhodes!

 

Rhodes is one of the largest Greek islands and arguably has probably the most to offer too. Rhodes town combines a medieval city that is listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO, with a modern ‘new’ town full of designer shops and seafront bars. If you want a more relaxed pace, choose the resorts of Lardos or Pefkos or if it is nightlife you seek, Faliraki has enough bars and discos to satisfy any nightowl.

A visit to Rhodes would not be complete without a visit to the hill top town of Lindos. The view from the top is breathtaking and exploring the hidden walkways, packed with local shops and cafes, makes the climb worthwhile! It is the perfect picture postcard, whitewashed houses on a hill side leading down to a fabulous beach.

One other plus is its location, further south than most of its Greek neighbours, you can expect higher temperatures here than on some of the other Mediterranean islands.

Fly from Dublin on the 2nd of September and spend seven nights in the Rodos Sun Hotel for only €412 per person. This receives excellent reviews on trip advisor and received a certificate of excellence last year. If you want a more relaxed resort try the Cosmos Maris in Lardos for €405 per person. This voted number 1 on trip advisor in Lardos and also has excellent reviews. Both prices include flights, accommodation, taxes, transfers and 20kg baggage, with NO hidden extras!

 

Click here to book:


 

Like what you see? Click here to see all my travel deals in one place!

 

All prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to availability. To ensure you receive my weekly best travel deals please click here to sign up to my newsletter.

Sarah
The Travel Expert

DestinationsEuropeFamily HolidaysFeaturedSunseekers

Corfu

The-Travel-Expert-Corfu-2

As a travel agent I always loved selling Corfu. I regularly got calls from customers who came back thanking me for sending them there. In fact usually people rebooked the same place the following year, they loved it so much!

I love holidaying in Greece in general, I love the people, the food and the laid back atmosphere – Corfu is no exception. Unlike many other European destinations most hotels and apartment complexes are family owned so you feel like you are staying in a home away from home.  You will probably get to know the owners and by the end of your stay you will probably be their friends on facebook!

greece-414676_1280_opt

There are many resorts to choose from, it really depends what you are looking for. If its nightlife you seek try Kavos or Ipsos, or if you want peace and tranquility try Kommeno Bay. For the rest of us there is actually a large choice. I loved Sidari, it is visually stunning with lots of small cove beaches, plenty of bars and restaurants and just enough night life without being over bearing. The canal d’amour ( canal of love) is a famous natural phenomenon where the cliffs form a canal in the sea. If you are staying elsewhere it is worth a trip to see this alone.  If I was to find fault I would say Sidari is a little too far from Corfu town and the airport for me.

Corfu Sunrise, The Travel Expert, Sarah Slattery

Messonghi and Moraitika, two resorts that run into each other are probably the most popular with Irish holidaymakers. They an ideal choice if you want to relax, have great food and some nightlife too. The main road linking the two has a strip full of bars and shops but I thought was a little run down. The beach life on the other hand is fantastic. I stayed in the Delphina Hotel right on the beach and loved it. Rooms are basic like most Greek hotels but the service and welcome you receive more than make up for that. Best of all at night time you just need to wander along the shore to find a good bar or restaurant. In fact you could actually go barefoot because the bars have chairs literally on the sand – when you read about beachfront bars, they actually mean it! There are numerous restaurants to choose from and each one as good as the next. I love the Greek food, the salads, the stifados and the saganaki! My kids loved it too, everything is so cheap you can actually order a choice of main course or starter and the bill will still be ridiculously cheap! This is one of the reasons it is so popular with families, the endless supply of watersports and slides at the waters edge is another. The sea is shallow for a long way out so you can chill on a sun bed knowing your kids are safe in the water.

The Travel Expert, Corfu blog, review, Sarah Slattery

Try Spiros’ Baracco beach bar at Messonghi for a pre dinner drink or a night cap, either way you will receive a warm welcome. The Village Taverna is definitely worth a trip, great food and a great atmosphere in the old town of Moraitika. One of the best restaurants I have ever eaten in is in this area, Archontiko. Situated at the top of a peninsula this purpose built restaurant will amaze you. It is completely different to anything in the resort centre, modern in design and stunning gardens, you really have to go here! Everything we had was fantastic but they are renowned for their amazing steaks. The whole experience feels so five star but the prices are still really reasonable. In fact that’s one thing about Corfu or Greece in general, it is so cheap to eat out and overall you will spend a lot less than you would in Spain, France or Italy.

Travelling with children

 

While most of the resorts are laid back and generally unspoilt you may find it hard to spend your money! The shops are pretty poor with most offering the same souvenirs and beach wear. Corfu town on the other hand…has great shopping! There are great local and designer shops and it is a lovely town to potter around and people watch. Cruises stop here regularly in peak season so it can be very busy and of course if travelling in July or August it can be very hot! I would suggest going early evening when the temperatures are cooler and the day-trippers have gone back to their cruise ships! Enjoy a walk around the old town and marvel at the fortess and venetian mansions, do some sightseeing and catch a nice meal before heading back to your hotel. There are regular bus services from most of the nearby resorts so take this into account when choosing your holiday resort. Although I loved Sidari in the north of the island, you wouldn’t exactly pop into Corfu town for dinner!

Corfu town, The Travel Expert, Sarah Slattery

There are plenty of excursions that can be arranged through your local representative or with local agents in your holiday resort. We hired a car and explored the island ourselves and I would highly recommend that. The roads are poor with no highways but the island is small and is easy to navigate. Stop off at hill top villages and admire the typical white washed houses or find an unspoilt stretch of beach for an afternoon dip. The island itself, the people and the landscape are what makes this island so alluring and why visitors return year after year. There are numerous hideaways waiting to be discovered, I recommend you go and find them….

 

Sarah

468x60Newsletter Banner

Uncategorized

Kos, Greece, 20th May, 1 week inc Flights, Transfers & Baggage, €355!

Boat in water, Kos, The Travel Expert

Looking for a week away without breaking the bank? This super deal to Kos in Greece is perfect!

Kos is an island of contrasts. There are quiet sandy beaches on the south coast and beaches full of water sport enthusiasts on the north coast. You will find peaceful low-key resorts as well as buzzing towns housing some of the best bars and nightclubs in Greece. Kos town, the capital mixes ancient ruins with a cosmopolitan centre. There is plenty of sightseeing as well as great night life. The sophisticated harbour is at the heart of this town, which is a great place to people watch and enjoy some al fresco dining.

Nirides Beach Kos

I found a great deal staying in the highly rated Nirides Beach apartments. Situated beside the sea in the resort of Psalidi, they offer the best of both worlds; relaxation but with close proximity to enjoy all that Kos Town has to offer. Fly direct from Dublin on the 20th of May and enjoy a seven night stay for only €355 per person. Price includes transfers and checked baggage too!

Click here for more details

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Note some links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

Sarah

travel deals

DestinationsEuropeFamily HolidaysFeaturedSunseekers

Family Holiday Guide to Zakynthos, Greece

Zakynthos

With beautiful scenery, amazing food and a low cost of living, it’s not surprising that Zakynthos is a firm favourite with Irish holidaymakers.

 

Until recently however, Greece was considered more suitable for couples or groups than families. I guess the perception was that the accommodation was more basic in Greece than its European counterparts and maybe lacking in some kids facilities. This may have been the case many years ago but certainly not any more…

Family Friendly Zakynthos Resort

I managed to find a great family resort on the Island of Zakynthos called the Alykanas Beach Village. It’s like a hotel but with self catering facilities so if you have small kids this is ideal for making breakfasts, baby food etc. They have endless facilities for adults and children, day and evening entertainment, a kids water park, kids clubs and  three swimming pools. There is a ‘quiet’ pool if  day time entertainment isn’t your thing and failing that, the Hotel is right on the beach.  They also offer free wifi, although if you are an avid ‘Facebooker’ beware –  it can be temperamental! 

Splash park at Alykanas beach resort, Zakynthos

 

Many family resorts in Greece are ‘All Inclusive’ , with all meals and drinks included. This works very well for many families but personally I prefer to dine out so the Alykanas Beach Village suited me perfectly. In Greece, the food is so good and so cheap, my personal favourites are their traditional dishes like stifado or saganaki and of course the typical Greek salads. The restaurants cater so well for kids too with most places having play areas or bouncing castles. My little ones had great fun choosing the restaurant each night and the restaurants with biggest play areas usually got picked! They also believe that the best spaghetti bolognese is not to be had in Italy, but in Zakynthos!


Zakynthos
But it’s not just the accommodation that made the holiday so special for me. Zakynthos has so much to see and do for all family. There are numerous options for day trips, a trip to see the famous loggerhead sea turtles is a must. These are now endangered so it is great to see them in their natural habitat. Another famous landmark is Navagio or ‘Shipwreck beach’ as its more commonly called. It is the most photographed beach in the world and is simply stunning.  It is only accessible by boat but there are organised boat trips to bring you there from all of the holiday resorts. A word of warning though, the bus trip from your Hotel is not the most comfortable! It is a long winding road and can lead to some upset tummies.  If you are travelling with kids make sure you get good seats on the lower deck of the bus ; trust me, the sound of sick kids on the upper deck was  not a pleasant way to start the trip! The pictures that you see of Navagio beach on various websites are, dare I say, a little misleading! Yes, it still is a stunning site, but the white ‘sandy’ beach that you see in the photos is actually tiny white stones and is quite hard underfoot. I would recommend that you bring surf shoes to make it easier to jump off the boat and if you want to go swimming. Also bear in mind that unless you go extremely early in the morning or late at night, there will be thousands of other people on the beach with you!


Navagio beach, Zakynthos
Although I would highly recommend taking one of the organised boat trips, if you don’t fancy doing this there are numerous other activities to satisfy you. All of the typical water sports you would expect to find at a beach resort are in Zakynthos too, from pedaloes with slides to glass bottom boat rides.  There is also a waterpark with plenty of slides and high speed tubes to keep kids entertained all day long.  And if you are still looking for more action you can visit the larger island of Kefalonia, less than an hour by boat, see the setting for Captain Corelli’s mandolin and the beautiful capital, Argostoli.

I am writing this on my return plane journey home, a leisurely 3 and a half hour flight. I can’t help asking why have I waited so long to bring my kids to Greece? It has so much to offer and still relatively unspoilt, I will definitely be returning.

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

Pin It on Pinterest