Simon Calder's Helpdesk: Other than Paris, any ideas for a city break where I can take my daughter?
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Q. Simon, it's my daughter's 21st birthday in late August, I'd like to take her on a city break to somewhere not too expensive to get to but which will give her great memories. By the way, we've been to Paris.
A. How lovely. My one concern is the time of year: late August is peak season, especially in terms of holidaymakers returning at the end of their summer breaks. Therefore fares can be fearsomely high. Last August, inbound flights from some of Spain's great cities, such as Malaga and Barcelona, fares were as much as £500 one way. In addition, cultural hotspots such as Vienna and Florence are going to be full to bursting in August. So instead, stay north: you can expect bright skies, long evenings and reasonable prices.
Amsterdam is temptingly easy to reach, but hotel rates will be sky high. So instead, consider one of the great, unsung German cities. Travel will be cheap and easy, because Germany is a business destination - and many travelling executives are on holiday in August. Hotels are excellent quality and value, and the food is great.
In any reasonably sized city, the cultural wealth is considerable. Steer clear of Berlin and Munich in August, because they will be crowded with tourists. You can't go wrong in either Cologne or Hamburg, each home to a wealth of art - and both of them great river cities with good, cheap boat trips on offer. But it is also worth considering lesser-known locations, particularly Bremen and Nuremberg, where you can get to know the city more intimately.
All these cities on the budget airlines' radar, so you can simply use the SkyScanner.net price-comparison site and choose whichever location looks best value for the dates you want to travel. Book direct with the airline, then consult our latest 48 Hours in the city you choose - which will prescribe great places to stay, eat, shop and stroll.
Finally, if Germany doesn't appeal, then consider postponing the celebrations until the first weekend in September, when you will find that fares drop across the Continent - and the fine Scottish capital, Edinburgh, also empties as the festival-goers head home.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalder
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta clashes with President Obama on LGBT equality: ‘Gay rights is really a non-issue’
- 2 37-year-old black woman found dead in police custody
- 3 Five-year-old boy forced classmate to simulate oral sex at primary school, claims mother
- 4 Game of Thrones season 6: New toy line suggests Jon Snow is not among the dead
- 5 Denmark bans kosher and halal slaughter as minister says ‘animal rights come before religion’
The 9 charts that show the 'left-wing' policies of Jeremy Corbyn the public actually agrees with
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
What the Labour party could look like under Jeremy Corbyn
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
£12500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Drivers wanted for a family run...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful leisure company is seek...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The positions above are available either part ...
£25K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Fitness Centre Supervisor / Duty Manager ...