Lake Garda

Travel

Family Holiday in Lake Garda for October Mid Term Break: 1 week Flights & Apt From €1115

sirmione_lake_garda_italy-1544123_vxfeni(1)_opt (1)

Hoping to get away for the October mid term break? This family holiday in Lake Garda might do the trick!

With Ryanair and Aer Lingus both flying to Verona at the end of October, a family holiday in Lake Garda might be a good idea for the Halloween break. I hope that travel restrictions will not be in place at that time, but as always I recommend booking accommodation with free cancellation just in case you are unable to travel.
 

 

 
This deal is priced with Ryanair flights, but if you prefer to fly Aer Lingus the supplement is €79 per person. Both airlines will allow free changes up to 31st December, but with Ryanair you must travel before 31st December, Aer Lingus will allow you to change to travel in 2022.

Read: Aer Lingus allowing free changes up to 31st December
 

 

 
Lake Garda ticks all boxes, it’s got scenery, sights and plenty of style! Enjoy quiet lakeside towns, Gardaland’s thrill rides, and explore the new cycle path that is due to open this summer. I love taking water taxis across the lake and discovering new towns. The nearby city of Verona should also not be missed. One thing for sure is that if you book a family holiday in Lake Garda, you won’t be short of things to do!

Sirmione, Lake Garda

There are so many different resorts to choose from, but my personal favourite is Sirmione. It’s situated at the south of the Lake, which is handy for visiting Gardaland as well as being close to Verona. Sirmione is situated at the tip of a long peninsula that juts out into the Lake. The old town has a fairytale like castle that sets the tone and gives a magical feel to the place. Take time to explore the narrow streets which are buzzing with local shops and Italian Osterias.
 

 

 
The Garda Village apartments are situated close to Sirmione near the lakeshore and are ideally located if you want to explore Lake Garda and some of Italy’s top attractions. These basic bungalow style apartments are situated in a large complex with camping and mobile homes too. There is plenty of on-site entertainment including a swimming pool.

family holiday in Lake Garda for the October mid term break

Personally I would recommend a car if booking a family holiday in Lake Garda ( there is free parking on site), but they also have a shuttle service to take you to nearby attractions, if you don’t fancy driving. There are also some gorgeous holiday homes available, check out this beauty with a private pool.

holiday home in Lake garda with private pool
 

 

 
There are so many things to see and do nearby, but if travelling with kids, Gardaland is a must. This is one of the best theme parks in Europe and is a great day out for all the family. I would also recommend a  visit to the amphitheatre in Verona, but for more inspiration check out my handy guide to Lake Garda. I have been asked about weather during October, and while it may not be sun bathing weather, it should be warm, with the average temperature approx. 16 degrees last year – see historical weather here.

Gardaland, Lake Garda
 

 

 
Fly from Dublin to Verona on the 22nd of October for only €126 per person with Ryanair, alternatively choose to fly on the 23rd of October with Aer Lingus for €188 per person. 
 

 

 
The Garda Village two-bedroom bungalows are €611 for seven nights. Mobile home rates are cheaper and also available. There are many more accommodation options to choose from including some gorgeous holiday homes here.

Search Ryanair here €126pp

See Aer Lingus here €188pp

See apartments here 2-bedroom bungalow €611

 

 

 
All prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to availability. Please note flights and accommodation has been researched on third-party websites and facilities are subject to change – please check with individual airlines and accommodation for clarification on travel restrictions. Attractions such as Gardaland may also have restrictions in place.
 

 

 
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made but at no additional cost to you.

 

Sarah

 

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

 

In The Media

As Seen On TV3 – 10th January 2016

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

Planning a holiday in 2016? As seen on TV3 SundayAM , check out my best reasons to book early, top tips to get the best deals and where I think the hot spots will be this year.

 

Best Reasons To Book Early:

Generally speaking it pays to book early, particularly if you are looking for something specific or if travelling during school holidays. If you have a large family and need a two or three bedroom apartment or have to take particular holidays in work you should book now.  Most airlines including Aer Lingus and Ryanair have Summer sales and prices normally increase closer to departure. Many hotel websites are offering early booking savings of up to 20% if booked before the 31st of January. Tour Operators Falcon Holidays and Sunway are offering great early booking deals, including free child places and low booking deposits.

Facebook follow TV3 long

Booking early makes budgeting a little easier too. Most travel agents will let you pay a deposit now and pay your holiday in instalments. It also gives you something nice to look forward to as you look out through your office window at the rain! If you over indulged over Christmas, ClickandGo.com are offering €1 deposits on all European holidays booked ten weeks in advance.

Lanzarote Family holiday by The Travel Expert

 

Tips To Find The Best Deals:

Rather than spending hours searching hundreds of different websites, there are a few sites that are worth checking out. The Irish Travel Agents Association and Worldchoice combine special offers from Ireland’s leading travel agents on their websites.  I also combine a list of the best travel deals from around the web every Tuesday and publish it here.

 

ITAA3

 

When comparing package holidays with holidays you design yourself make sure you include baggage charges, airport transfers and local taxes. Most tour operator’s packages will have no hidden extras so make sure the ‘deal’ you think you have is really as good as it seems. Comparison websites such as Trivago or Tripadvisor  will search numerous websites for the same property and you may find significant savings. Check the distance from the airport too. Particularly in places like Barcelona, which according to Ryanair, has three airports! But Girona and Reus are miles from Barcelona. You may think you are getting a great deal and find out you have to pay hundreds of euro for an airport transfer.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert reviews cruising

 

When booking a flight make sure you check both one way and return airfares. With Aer Lingus and Ryanair for instance, you may find it is cheaper to fly out with one airline and home with another. This can also be useful for good flight times, one airline may have better times on the outward journey and another on the return. The lowcostholidays website will combine all airlines so you can automatically find the best airfares and quite often the lowest priced journey will be with two different carriers. If travelling with kids, Ryanair allow you to select half price bags even if adults are only taking hand luggage. With Aer Lingus you need to book an adult bag in order to get a child’s case for half price.

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks

 

Top Holiday destinations In 2016.

Easter will be big this year. Children have almost three weeks off school with Easter and Patricks day falling together, so get in early before prices rocket! I checked various options and prices are already quite high. The best family option I found is a week in Salou for €925 based on 2 adults and 2 children in the 4* Sanguli Resort. For more details read by blog here.

sanguli_046300_opt

 

I think campsites in Salou and Lake Garda will be particularly popular this year. Many will change from France because of the European championships and the Paris attacks. The ISIS effect also means that people will tend to stick to Spain, Portugal & Italy rather than North African destinations. This will be a European trend so the likelihood is that accommodation in these countries will be priced higher and more scarce than in previous years. This will be particularly problematic if looking for a last minute deal.

The Travel Expert on TV3 10th January 2016

 

There are direct flights to Mexico and Jamaica from June so they should be particularly popular with couples. With prices starting at €1589 for a 4* hotel on an all inclusive basis, including flights, transfers and baggage for two weeks, they are good value for long haul holidays direct from Dublin. You can pay a small booking deposit too, which is always appreciated! Check out Falconholidays.ie for more details.

Fuerteventura by The Travel Expert

 

Ryanair and Aegean airlines have introduced flights to Athens so this could be the big city break destination for 2016 . There are also onward connections with Aegean airlines to Santorini and Mykonos, which are bucket list destinations for many people.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert offers a travel deal to Santorini in 2016

 

For families looking for a relaxing family holiday Menorca could be the destination of choice this year. This is an ideal family destination. There are direct flights and package deals from Dublin with Sunway and new for 2016 is a direct flight from Cork with Stein Travel.

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

 

Cruising is getting more and more popular and prices seem to be getting better each year. MSC Cruises are offering Mediterranean cruise package deals from €1095 in the summer months, including flights and free drinks pacakges. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises are offering buy one get one half price plus free drinks packages. The all inclusive package holiday concept seems to have transferred to cruises now!

 

Wherever you decide to go in 2016 – book now, sit back, relax and just wait for the sunshine ☀

 

Prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to change.

 

Sarah

468x60Travel Deals Banner

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

Lake Garda, 9th July, 4* Garda Village, 2ad & 2ch €2529

sirmione_lake_garda_italy-1544123_vxfeni(1)_opt

Still looking to book a Summer holiday? Lake Garda ticks all boxes, it’s got scenery, sights and plenty of style!

Lake Garda has so much to offer, from quiet lakeside towns to bustling resorts. Take water taxis across the lake and visit the popular towns of Riva and Limone, explore the nearby city of Verona or simply relax and enjoy the scenery for which Lake Garda is renowned.

 

There are so many different resorts to choose from but my personal favourite is Sirmione. It’s situated at the south of the Lake, which is handy for visiting Gardaland as well as being close to Verona.  Sirmione is situated at the tip of a long peninsula that juts out into the Lake. The old town has a fairytale like castle that sets the tone and gives a magical feel to the place. Take time to explore the narrow streets which are buzzing with local shops and Italian eateries.

The Travel Expert discusses Crystal Holidays Discovery Packages to Italy

The Garda Village apartments are situated close to Sirmione near the lakeshore. They are bungalow style apartments in a large complex with plenty of facilities. They have kids clubs, a large swimming pool and plenty of on-site entertainment. Personally I would recommend a car ( there is free parking on site) but they also have a shuttle service to take you to nearby attractions, if you don’t fancy driving. There are so many things to see and do nearby but if travelling with kids, Gardaland is a must. This is one of Europe’s leading theme parks and is a great day out for all the family. I would also recommend a  visit to the amphitheatre in Verona, but for more information on Lake Garda check out my blog by clicking here.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert offers a family deal to Lake Garda

Fly from Dublin to Verona on the 9th of July for only €389 per person. This includes airport taxes and 20kg checked baggage per person. The Garda Village 1 bedroom standard bungalows are €973 for seven nights. You can also choose to upgrade to the comfort bungalows (bilo) which are €1,169.  These are slightly bigger and more modern than the standard bungalows. This is excellent value for a family holiday during the summer months and one that all the family are sure to enjoy!

 

Click here to book flights: €389 per person

Click here to book accommodation: €973

 

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.

 

Sarah

logo black_opt (2)

DestinationsSunseekers

My Guide to Lake Garda, Where to Stay and What to Do.

sirmione_lake_garda_italy-1544123_vxfeni(1)_opt

For a long time now Italy has been one of favourite holiday destinations. I have stayed in Lake Garda twice, with and without children and loved it both times. Check out my handy guide to Lake Garda, with tips on where to stay and what to do.

Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake, is extremely popular with Irish visitors. There are direct flights to Verona from Irish airports during the summer months, as well as flights to nearby Milan and Bologna. It may sound like a cliché but Lake Garda is one of those destinations that caters for everyone. It is romantic yet family orientated, quiet but full of sports activities. It is also perfectly situated to visit some of Italy’s famous cities and towns.
 

 
Lake Garda is just over two hours from Milan and Venice, and only an hour from Verona – so if you are looking for a holiday where you can get out and explore some more of Italy, then Lake Garda is for you.

sirmione, lake garda, italy

If Venice or Milan seem a little too far to attempt on a day trip, Verona is most definitely not. It’s so easy to navigate and has some marvellous sights to see. The amphitheatre or Arena Di Veroni, is stunning, and is remarkably well preserved. In fact I thought it was more impressive than the Colosseum in Rome when I saw it for the first time.
 

 
You can also visit Juliette’s house and call out to your partner from the balcony where Romeo declared his love. If on the other hand you just want to wander, Verona is a beautiful city with plenty of shops and cafes that line its historical streets.

juliettes balcony verona, near lake garda
 

 

Things to do in Lake Garda

As much as there is to do close by, you may find it hard to leave Lake Garda. It takes approximately three hours to drive around the lake, and you will be surprised at how each town differs in style and size. Water taxis are available to most towns and are a great way to explore the lakeside towns.
 

 
The cable car ride from Malcesine to Monte Baldo is a great way to see the lake from above. You will see many jumping off the top of the mountain with parachutes – it is a remarkable sight.  If you just want to relax, there are many man made beaches to choose from, but the sandy beach of Lazise is one of the best on the Lake.
 

 
Gardaland is a must visit if on holidays in Lake Garda with kids – see more on that below, and a new cycle path is due to open in 2021, which I am personally looking forward to seeing.

monte baldo lake garda

Where to stay in Lake Garda

If you are only staying for a short time the choice of location is very important, particularly if you want to do some sightseeing. Generally speaking try to stay in one of the towns at the southern end of the lake if you want to be close to Venice, Milan and Verona.
 

 
If you are staying in the beautiful town of Riva, at the very north of the Lake,  it will take you a lot longer to travel to and from destinations. The town of Garda is a popular choice and attracts many visitors because it is only twenty miles from Verona. My favourite town in Lake Garda is Sirmione.

sirmione lake garda

Sirmione is situated at the southern tip of Lake Garda, on a long peninsula that juts out from the mainland. It is stunning! The old town is dominated by a thirteenth-century fairytale-like castle, the Rocca Scaligera. The fortress is open to the public and is well worth the visit. If you are travelling with kids, don’t despair. My daughter Alex thought it was like Cinderella’s castle, so it appeals to both adults and children. 
 

 
You can choose to stay in Sirmione, but bear in mind it will be very busy with tourists in peak season. A day trip might be a better option depending on the time of year you visit. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a more relaxed village to stay in, Bardolino or Limone may suit you.

bardolino lake garda

If you are travelling with kids, Pescheira would be my resort of choice. It’s southern location allows for a short airport transfer and it is also ideal for day trips to nearby cities. Its pedestrianised streets and Roman ruins make an idyllic setting, but its close proximity to Gardaland is the main attraction.
 

 
Gardaland is Italy’s largest theme park and one of the best theme parks in Europe. It is also home to Peppa Pig Land, and Legoland is opening a waterpark there in 2021. If you are staying in Garda for two weeks you may be better to buy an annual pass. This will allow you as many visits as you like, with automatic fast pass entry to most of the rides.
 

 
However, if one day is enough for you, order your tickets online to beat the queues. This saved us forty-five minutes queuing time in July. GardaLand is a super theme park with rides for all ages and I would highly recommend it if you are travelling with kids.

gardaland

Garda is just one of the many beautiful holiday destinations Italy has to offer, but is one that I can safely recommend for everyone. Whether you want to try some fantastic water-sports, visit some stunning Italian cities or simply enjoy a peaceful lakeside setting, Lake Garda has all in abundance.
 

 
Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

Pin It on Pinterest