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Winter sun holidays: the AA Roadwatch guide

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The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting cooler… but if you don’t have school-age children, you don’t have to put away the Factor 50 just yet. While peak sun holiday season is drawing to a close, plenty of European destinations hold on to their sunny weather right through the autumn months. In fact, it might be the perfect time for that sun trip: prices are lower, crowds are smaller and you can bask in the knowledge that you’re avoiding cold weather at home!

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”TENERIFE (Canary Islands, Spain)” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”22261″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]If you’re dreaming of long days on the beach, there’s no better place than Tenerife, where the sea is at its warmest in the autumn months. As with the other Canary Islands, it boasts year-round warm weather. Daytime temperatures seldom dip below 20 degrees and rain is fairly rare. The island has no shortage of sandy beaches to laze on, with an unusual twist – many of them have black sand, due to the island’s volcanic origins, so you’ll be guaranteed plenty of variety for your holiday snaps.

Tenerife has been welcoming tourists for over half a century and its resorts stay open 365 days a year. In Playa de las Américas, the biggest resort, you’ll find hotel and apartments for all budgets. If it’s nightlife you’re after, look no further than the Veronicas Strip, full of bars that stay busy long into the night. For those travelling with toddlers though, Los Gigantes on the west coast is a slightly quieter option, with plenty of restaurants centred around a marina.

If you want to venture beyond the pool or beach, the island has plenty to offer. It’s home to two UNESCO heritage sites: Spain’s highest volcano in Teide Mountain Park (where you can take a cable car for unrivalled views) and the picturesque old town of San Cristobál de la Laguna. You can also take boat tours to see dolphins, or have a day out in Loro Parque zoo.

ESSENTIAL INFO: Package holidays start from €350 per person for a week, or if you’d prefer to book independently, flights are available from Dublin, Cork and Shannon (year-round) and Knock (until November) costing around €200 per person return.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”THE ALGARVE (Portugal)” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”22262″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Portugal’s Algarve region stays sunny well into autumn, with temperatures hovering at the 20 degree mark. Taking up most of the southern coast between the cities of Faro and Lagos, it’s home to over 150 sandy beaches, many of which are framed by spectacular orange cliffs. The Atlantic Ocean gives Portugal a great variety here – there are calm beaches ideal for paddling and catching rays, while others have the perfect conditions for surfers to catch waves, particularly near Lagos.

You’ll still have a large choice of hotels in autumn, with the added bonus of shorter queues for restaurants. Albufeira is the biggest resort town, with a famous strip of bars and clubs to dance until the small hours. Away from the strip, it also has the quieter Old Town, with bars and restaurants to while away the warm autumn nights.

You could easily spend a week relaxing by the pool and exploring the various beaches, but the city of Faro also is well worth a visit, especially its own historic Old Town. History buffs will also like the Castelo de Silves, an impressive Moorish hill-top fortress, while thrill-seekers can enjoy a kayak tour from Lagos. Lagos is also home to a zoo and a national park with playgrounds for those with young children.

ESSENTIAL INFO: Package holidays are available from €200 per person for a week, or flights go from Dublin (year-round) and Cork and Knock (until November), starting from €100 per person return.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”CYPRUS” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”22263″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Tucked away in the corner of the Mediterranean, Cyprus boasts sea temperatures of up to 26 degrees, so there’s no risk of dipping a toe in and running away shrieking. Or if you’d rather just soak up the sun, there’s an average of nine hours sunshine a day in October, so don’t forget the suncream.

There are resorts dotted around the island, with plenty of hotels to choose from. For nightlife, it can only be Ayia Napa for all-night parties. If that’s not your scene or you’re travelling with infants, try the quieter town of Coral Bay, just outside the resort area in Paphos.

Away from the beaches, Cyprus has plenty for history and culture fans to enjoy, including Aphrodite’s Rock, the 2000-year-old Tomb of the Kings and the huge archaeological sites at Kourion and Salamis. There’s also a wine festival in Limassol and a 10-day arts and culture festival in the capital, Nicosia. The waterparks stay open until late October, while most tourist attractions and zoos are open year-round.

ESSENTIAL INFO: Package holidays start from €450 per person per week. If you’re booking flights only, you’ll need to connect via London Stansted, with a total cost of around €260 per person return.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”MALTA” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”22264″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Like Cyprus, Malta’s location in the Mediterranean means that summer weather lasts until November, with the mercury lingering in the low twenties. Beach lovers have a choice of gold sand, red sand and flat rocks, while the seas are very warm for swimming and usually clear enough for snorkelling. The catch is that the island gets a little more rain than other destinations in October. However, the majority of days are dry and showers tend to last very short periods of time – so be sure to pack a light raincoat along with your suncream.

Bugibba, on St Paul’s Bay in the north, is the oldest and biggest resort. There’s a vast choice of hotels and apartments to suit all ages, and most of the tourist-aimed bars and restaurants stay open until at least late October. St Julian’s Bay, closer to the capital Valetta, is known for its nightlife and clubs.

Outside the resorts, Malta is full of historic sites worth visiting, especially the old city of Mdina, known as the ‘silent city’. The capital Valetta also has plenty of beautiful old buildings, while the picturesque island of Gozo makes a great day trip, with ferries every 45 minutes from the north of the country. A more unusual attraction is Popeye Village – the set from the 1980 Robin Williams film, which has been turned into a theme park.

ESSENTIAL INFO: Package holidays are available from about €300 per person for a week, while flights run from Dublin year-round, costing around €135 per person return.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”ATHENS (Greece)” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”22265″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]If you’d like a sun holiday with a difference, why not combine it with a city break and head to Athens? If you stay in Glyfada – a beach resort filled with hotels, restaurants and shops to the south of the Greek capital– you can have the best of both worlds. Spend a few days relaxing on the pebbled beaches in Glyfada itself or the sandy beach at Varkiza, where the seas are even warmer than the air, and then take the tram into Athens for sun-soaked sightseeing.

No trip to Athens is complete without a visit to the world-famous Acropolis and Parthenon. The city’s ancient history is very much on display and there are plenty of organised tours. You can also take a cable car to the top of Mount Lycabettus or spend an afternoon wandering the tiny streets of the old town in Plaka.

Set in the shadow of the Acropolis, Plaka is famous for its nightlife, as is the nearby Syntagma area.  If you want to dance the night away, the last tram returns to Glyfada at 2:30am at weekends. (For the real night owls, they start up again at 5:30am!)

ESSENTIAL INFO: Package trips to Athens are relatively rare, but are normally around €300 per person per week. You can also book flights year-round from €135 per person.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”FURTHER READING” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Looking for more ideas for short breaks? See below!

Best things to do in Porto in just 24 hours

Travelling to Berlin – the AA Roadwatch guide

Travelling to Amsterdam – the AA Roadwatch guide

Travelling to Edinburgh – the AA Roadwatch guide[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”DON’T FORGET!” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]

We hope that everything will run smoothly on your trip, but AA Travel Insurance will give you the peace of mind that you need before you jet off.

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All images used under CC0 licence.

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Categories
Europe Featured Greece

Family holiday in Greece? Here’s what you need to know

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Unfortunately, financial uncertainty doesn’t have a monopoly on Greeks; thousands of tourists travelling to the south-eastern European country will be affected by the current upheaval. AA Travel Insurance is advising everyone to consult their insurance providers to ensure they’re covered if things go wrong whilst abroad.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1433512831965{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]What to look out for in your Travel Insurance policy[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Despite being the sensible thing to do before jetting off, taking out basic travel insurance doesn’t mean that every box is ticked. If you’re covered under a cheaper policy, it might be the difference between being able to claim for insolvency or not. Put simply, make sure that your level of cover provides for End Supplier Failure. This covers any irrecoverable, unused costs and charges relating to third party companies that become insolvent within your booking, such as accommodation providers, hotels, car hire, ferries, coaches, which you have paid or are contracted to pay. This benefit comes as standard under AA Travel Insurance policies and allows you to claim up to €2,000.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1433512831965{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Why buying early is best[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]After Greek citizens delivered a resounding ‘No’ vote in the referendum on Sunday, no clear outcome to the crisis is on the horizon. It appears then that financial insecurity will continue with the likelihood of short-notice strikes or industrial action more acute.

With AA Travel Insurance, you’re covered for unforeseen industrial action if it leads you to abandon your holiday. This benefit can be invoked if you’ve been delayed for more than 24 hours from the scheduled time of departure. For this reason, it is best to take out travel insurance at the time of booking your holiday. Without it, or even by leaving it to the week before you depart, could be the difference in losing a chunk of your accommodation costs due to a flight delay.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1433512831965{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]When not to travel[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs is invoked in most policies. Currently, the DFA has advised tourists to Greece to ‘take normal precautions’. Due to the current financial turmoil, however, it is best to keep abreast of goings-on and regularly check its security status in the run up to your departure. If bouts of social unrest lead the DFA to caution against travel, flouting this advice could result in a claim being rejected by your insurance provider. You can check the security status of countries worldwide by clicking here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1433512831965{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Keep your money safe, and your valuables safer[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Although the Greek Government has indicated that Capital Controls will not affect tourists, the DFA has advised that you bring enough cash to get by. It’s best to take more than one means of cash with you – cash, debit and credit cards. Some tourists will most likely resort to carrying around high amounts of cash, due to the fact that ATM activity is limited in Greece. Also be aware that most businesses on Greek islands will not accept debit and credit cards. Therefore, increased levels of cash on your person can arouse a higher risk of theft or loss. It’s best to make sure your policy covers for this should the unfortunate happen.

As a precaution, ensure that cash is kept secure within a safe in your hotel/apartment – they generally come with insurance in case money is stolen from it.  It’s also a good idea to check that suitable protection is in place with your accommodation provider.

AA Travel Insurance provides cover for up to €350 cash per person travelling and €100 per person for those under 18.  If your personal belongings (valuables etc.) are stolen we’ll cover this up to €3,000, alongside luggage and baggage which are covered up to €3,000 per person.

AA Travel Insurance also has a 24 hour emergency assist English-speaking helpline if something goes wrong. Contact us immediately on + 353 1 431 1205[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1433512831965{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1433517982393{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”1/1″][action full_width=”yes” content_in_grid=”no” type=”normal” show_button=”yes” button_text=”Get a Travel Insurance Quote” button_link=”http://www.theaa.ie/travel” background_image=”18625″ button_text_color=”#ffffff” background_color=”#0a0a0a” button_hover_text_color=”#e5e5e5″ button_background_color=”#ffcc00″ button_hover_background_color=”#ffcc00″ button_border_color=”rgba(0,0,0,0.01)” button_hover_border_color=”rgba(0,0,0,0.01)”][/vc_column][/vc_row]