If winter comes can spring breaks be far behind?

INFORMATION DESK: YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR PANEL OF TRAVEL EXPERTS
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My wife and I want to take a special spring break in April, but we do not want to go skiing or spend any time on the beach. We have pounds 1,000 to spend. Can you suggest anything?

Alexander Carnegie

Reading

Jill Crawshaw replies: With your budget, you have a pretty good choice of destinations. I would first suggest that you have a good look at Croatia and Slovenia as attractive areas at that time of the year. There's plenty to do, with lots of walking and sightseeing. By spending a week in either, you'll have enough of your budget left over to take some excursions.

Lake Bled in Slovenia really is as picturesque as it appears in the holiday brochures, once a fashionable resort for the elite of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, later the favourite of Josip Tito whose villa has been turned into a hotel.

Spectacular mountains surround the lake, with gondola-type boats to take you to the romantic little island with its Baroque church and "bell of wishes" in the middle. Riding, golf, tennis, fishing and superb walking are just some of the activities on offer. And you can take excursions to the Lipizzaner stud farm which supplies the famous white horses to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Some 20 miles away Ljubljana has a wealth of Renaissance, Baroque and Secession architecture, some good restaurants and cafes. Many tour operators also offer day excursions to Venice for around pounds 50.

In Croatia, Dubrovnik is a walled gem which has been almost totally restored after the shelling of 1991. I was unable to spot any shrapnel holes in the patina of its stupendous high street, the Stradun, but there are still some burnt-out mansions, though happily the facades have remained intact.

Although Dubrovnik is, in fact, an almost perfectly preserved museum, it is very much a living city with a daily market, shops and bars within the walls. From Dubrovnik, ferries leave daily for some enchanting little islands such as Korcula - they claim that Marco Polo was born there, and war hero Sir Fitzroy Maclean certainly lived there - you can visit both their houses.

Tour operators specialising in Slovenia and Croatia include Slovenija Pursuits (tel: 01763 852646); Holiday Options (tel: 01444 881414 or 0161 877 6020) and Transun Travel (tel: 01865 798888).

Still after something different? Why not have a look at Seville, Spain's most romantic city, its Moorish architecture and passion for flamenco and fiestas symbolising the best of Andalucia.

There's more than enough to keep you both browsing for several days. There's the Giralda, of course, once a Moorish minaret, and the massive Gothic cathedral (believed to be the world's largest), and the huge, gaudy Alcazar, the old Moorish palace. On a more intimate scale, there's the medieval Barrio Santa Cruz and the old Jewish quarter is one of the delights of Europe.

In April you might catch either of the best of Europe's festivals: the Semana Santa (Holy Week) - Easter Sunday next year is on 4 April - or two weeks or so later the Feria, when the streets are lined with booths and the city vibrates with flamenco music, dancing and horse-drawn carriage parades. However, if you choose the Feria time you must book immediately, and there will almost certainly be a premium on the price.

From Seville you could make trips either by hired car (around pounds 40-pounds 50 a day), by public transport or join excursions offered by your hotel or tour operator. A typical day tour includes Jerez, home of sherry, with a visit to a bodega for some sampling, the Royal Andalucia School of Equestrian Art, and then on to the old Phoenician port of Cadiz. The trip will cost you about pounds 45. You could, of course, do it more cheaply for yourself, but you would need two days in which to see everything properly.

Tour operators with packages to Seville include Thomson City Breaks (tel: 0181 210 4500), Mundi Color (tel: 0171 828 6021) and Magic of Spain (tel: 0181 748 4220).

Hints for the handicapped

I want to take a physically handicapped relative to the Lake District for a break. She is confined to a wheelchair. We need a bedroom with wheelchair facilities. Is there one organisation that co-ordinates all this information?

Elizabeth Pearse

Leeds

The travel editor writes: The Holiday Care Service is a national charity which assesses properties for their disabled accessibility, here and aboard. Factsheets are available on 01293 774535.

In the Lake District one option could be the Woodlands Country House Hotel near Carlisle, which has three ground-floor adapted rooms from pounds 20 per night. It has been assessed as category two, which means that the disabled person needs to be accompanied as there are steps to negotiate. It has a booking service for members of Friends of Holiday Care, which provides discounted rates for hotels and self- catering accommodation (tel: 01293 773716).

If you would prefer a tailor-made holiday, Can Be Done (tel: 0181 907 2400) offers breaks for the disabled across the UK and abroad. Other publications include All Go, published by Big Group at pounds 4.95 (tel: 0171 383 2335), and Holidays in the British Isles - a Guide for Disabled People (pounds 7.50) produced by the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (tel: 0171 250 3222).

Have you got a question or problem? Whether you want to know the best place to go for a holiday or have a legal or medical concern, our panel of travel experts will be able to help.

Write to: the Travel Editor, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL.

Fax: 0171-293 2043. E-mail: sundaytravel@ independent.co.uk

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