Island Hopping on Newstalk’s The Hard Shoulder

With the mixed weather we’ve been having in Ireland this summer I’m offering listeners a chance to escape to an island for some much needed sunshine. I’ve picked Islands that are near and far that will appeal to all tastes. Maybe even appeal to Ivan too!

Starting with the biggest island in the Caribbean Cuba

Cuba Private Tour, 7 nights, Sept-Nov 2019, from €2,275pp

From its eclectic architecture to its idyllic beaches, Cuba is one of the most exceptional and unique spots to visit. The vintage culture of Cuba is like nowhere else in the world. This incredible offer includes 7 nights in three of Cuba’s stunning cities for only €2,275.

Discover the charming and quirky capital city of Havana for 3 nights, relax for 2 nights in Trinidad, one of the best-preserved Spanish colonial settlements and enjoy 2 nights in luxurious all inclusive Varadero.

Price includes: Return flights, tours and transfers. Offer valid for travel September – November 2019, other dates and tours available on request.

For more information on this offer from Grenham Travel:

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Travel Escapes

Sunny Crete Island Escape, 7 nights, 16 Oct, from €589pps

As the 5th largest Mediterranean island and largest Greek island, Crete offers golden sunshine and gorgeous beaches perfect for a fall getaway. Dreamy villages and vibrant cities wait to be discovered, where locals share their traditions, delectable cuisine and kind spirit.

Flying out on the 16th of October 2019 for a week, guests will enjoy the 4 star Eliors Mare, where they can relax on their sandy, Blue Flag awarded beach. The hotel provides authentic Cretan hospitality and glorious views of the beautiful blue Cretan Sea as well as the White Mountains.

Price includes: Return flights from Dublin, 10kg hand luggage per person, return airport transfers, 7 nights accommodation, and meals on a half-board basis.

For more information on this offer from Travel Escapes:

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Staying in Greece

Family Holiday to Zakynthos, Greek Island


Flower of the Orient

Zante, or Zakynthos as it’s also known, was given the name ‘Flower of the Orient’ by the Venetians because of its colourful landscape. The island’s interior is filled with rolling hills, olive groves, lemon trees and blooming bougainvillea. And, along the way, you can explore traditional villages that haven’t changed in hundreds of years. The whole lot’s easy to reach from Ireland’s Dublin Airport, too – the flight’s around four hours long.

Best for beaches

Zante only deals in good-looking beaches. It’s got a coastline that rivals, or perhaps even outdoes, its handsome interior, with sandy stretches and hidden inlets lapped by clear waters. Smugglers Cove, with its soaring cliffs and sandy bay, is up there with the most beautiful beaches in Greece.

Nesting ground

In July and August, loggerhead turtles flock to Zante to nest. In fact, this island’s one of the most important loggerhead nesting spots in the Mediterranean. Head over to Laganas Beach or Yerakas Beach at sundown, and you’ll see the spot where this unique event takes place.

  • 7 nights in Planoes Aparthotel in the resort of Tsilivi
  • Departing 20th August
  • From €2,169 for 2 adults and 2 children

Price includes:

  • Return flights from Dublin
  • Airport transfers
  • Checked luggage
  • 7 nights in a 1 bedroom apartment

These classic apartments come with a great poolside snack bar. And the beach is just down the road.

These self-catering apartments put you in a great spot. They’re about a 5-minute walk from Tsilivi’s main strip with its shops, bars and restaurants. The sandy beach is about the same distance.

The pool is a good size, with a children’s section and a snack bar on the side. There’s a bar in the lobby, too. And in the evenings you can watch live music and shows at two of the Planos’ sister hotels.


Call 046 906 8600 or email for more info on this package.

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Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and Topflight have covered the market very well.

Call Topflight on tel:01 2401784 or on

At the Naxos Beach, the resort that has it all, parents don’t have to sacrifice their favourite parts of their holiday to ensure that the kids are more than happy.

Parents can relax knowing that their kids are in safe hands with one of the hotel’s mini-clubs, a Baby Club that takes kids aged from 1 to 4 years and a Mini Club that caters for kids between 5 and 12 years. There are organised games, educational activities, sports events and shows, ensuring that children of all ages are kept entertained. There is even a Junior Club run especially for teenagers from the age of 13 years, where they can enjoy playing team sports, get involved in watersports off the beach and discos in the evening.

Water sports enthusiasts, of all ages will love sailing, windsurfing and canoeing which can all be done off the complex’s beautiful private beach. While onsite, those who prefer their fun on dry land can enjoy tennis volleyball, pool and bowls among many other things. Of course there are 4 swimming pools, including and Olympic sized pool for adults and 2 children’s pools.

In the evening time, the complex comes alive with entertainment shows that are loved by adults just as much as kids. Take a seat in the amphitheatre surrounding the stage and enjoy some brilliant shows, with singing, dancing and all sorts of great acts.

For those looking to kick back and relax on their holiday, there is plenty of choice. Why not book yourself in for a massage onsite or take to one of the lovely sun loungers by the pool, or even on the beautiful beach, grab a book and while away the hours in the Sicilian sunshine.

From the complex, guests can enjoy spectacular views of Mount Etna in the distance and are only 1.5km from Giardini Naxos centre and 6km from Taormina should you want to explore. The resort provides a shuttle bus service that takes guests to Mazzaro, where they can take a cable car to the centre of the Taormina- well worth a visit!

Family Option:
24th August, 4* UNAHotel Naxos Beach, Giardini Naxos 2 adults & 2 children (under 12) was €4044 now €3499 for the family Half Board
Couple Option:
10th August, 4* Hotel Ariston, Taormina was €1199 now €1049pps


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Italy’s second largest island Sardinia is catered for by The Travel Department with this lovely package in September

Call Travel Department on 01 637 1650

Highlights of Sardinia

From €1,029pp, 7 nights, Half-board, 3* hotel

Departing 21st September 2019

Flights, transfers, accommodation and excursions with an expert local guide all included


  • Begin your Sardinian adventure with a half-day guided city tour of your base Alghero, an attractive Catalan-influenced walled city
  • Enjoy a morning excursion to beautiful La Pelosa Beach, with its glittering turquoise waters and views of the islands of Piana and Asinara
  • A full-day excursion to the sparkling Costa Smeralda, where you will visit Porto Cervo and Baja Sardinia. Green forests, white sand and bright blue sea makes up the beautiful scenery of this region
  • A full day excursion to the lovely town of Bosa for a traditional seafood lunch at a local restaurant, before continuing to the remarkable archaeological site, Reggia Nuragica di Santu Antine, the oldest megalithic edifice in Sardinia
  • Plenty of leisure time to explore or relax at your own pace. Your guide will be happy to suggest places to see and things to do in the area


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CaminoWays have a very different walking holiday to the lesser known island of La Gomera

La Gomera is a hiker’s dream and the Canary Islands’ best kept secret. Only 50 minutes away by boat from Tenerife, La Gomera is a whole world apart. You will quickly forget the hustle and bustle of Los Cristianos as you travel to this sub tropical eco-haven where time seems to be standing still.

The second smallest of the Canary Islands, La Gomera is a laid-back little volcanic island, only 14 miles in diameter. La Gomera’s unique volcanic landscapes are a must-see: palm trees, banana plantations, fern rainforests dotted with peaceful whitewashed hamlets… all topped with dramatic peaks and gorges. The ecosystem of the island’s Garajonay National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. And did you know La Gomera even has its own whistling language? keep an ear out for the locals using the fascinating ‘Silbo Gomero’. The hiking trails of La Gomera are well marked, following old tracks and suitable for walkers of every level.

The Canary Island’s sub-tropical climate with pleasant temperatures all year round make it an ideal destination for hikers. History buffs can retrace Columbus’s footsteps in San Sebastian, La Gomera’s tiny capital (only just over 8,000 in population) where the explorer made his last stop before heading to America.

A 7-night package including accommodation, breakfast, 5 dinners and luggage transfers starts at €925 per person sharing.
Best airport to fly to would be Tenerife Sur

Tenerife Sur Airport: You can take a bus to Los Cristianos (15 minutes, €3.20), or take a taxi (5 minutes, roughly €20). Private transfer can be arranged by the team.

From Los Cristianos you can take the ferry to San Sebastian (capital of La Gomera) with (1 hour crossing, fares from €64 return, 3 departures/day)  or (50 minute crossing, fares from €68 return, 3 departures/day).  Check operators for latest schedule and fares.

Activity :WalkingDuration :7 NightsDistance :95 km Difficulty :Medium +Tour Type :Self-Guided Time To Go :All Year RoundPrice :from €785

CaminoWays will be launching some exciting new trails in the Canaries very soon so keep an eye on their website

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Maldives, all inclusive –

TRAVEL AGENT: Classic Resorts


  • 7 nights in 4* Riu Atoll
  • From €2,395pp, travel in October
  • Early booking offer included


Price includes:

  • Domestic flight transfers
  • Honeymooners receive 1 bottle of wine or champagne, early check-in and check-out until 16hrs (subject to availability), room decoration and surprise gift


Hotel Riu Atoll is located on the heavenly private island of Maafushi in the Maldives, and it has the best 24-hour all-inclusive service, so that you can enjoy an exclusive holiday in this unparalleled destination.


The beach and the pool are two essentials in your holiday in the Maldives. So, Hotel Riu Atoll provides guests with a pool with swim-up bar and impressive views of the sea, and another pool for children. You can also head to the beach and relax in the sun lounger area or go diving to contemplate the underwater beauty of this island paradise.


For more information, visit or call 01 874 5000


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