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Q Could you recommend a company that could help us to organise an Iranian holiday to celebrate my husband’s 60th birthday in June?
Jennie Burnett, via e-mail
A The Foreign Office revised and downgraded its travel advice on Iran in July, but it still advises against all but essential travel to most areas, warning: “British travellers to Iran face greater risks than nationals of many other countries due to high levels of suspicion about the UK and the UK Government’s limited ability to assist in any difficulty. So you will have trouble finding a UK tour operator to take you, but other countries have less stringent advisories and you could travel to Iran with Peregrine Adventures (0845 8639667,peregrineadventures.com ), an Australian tour operator with a UK office. It has a 16-day Ancient Persia in Depth trip in May, which is a circular tour from Tehran taking in Hamadan, Shiraz and Yazd, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, and costs £2,305pp excluding flights and visas. Canadian company Elder Treks (0808 2341714, eldertreks.com ), which specialises in adventure travel for the over-fifties, also has an Iran tour. It costs £3,930pp (excluding flights and visas) for 21 days and the itinerary includes the ancient city of Persepolis, the largest ziggurat (pyramid) in Mesopotamia at Choqa Zanbil and a stroll over the famous bridges of Isfahan. The tour departs in April and October, however, so may not fit in with the birthday plans. Travel insurance should be valid to Iran for UK travellers if the claim doesn’t have any relation to the reasons why the Foreign Office issued the travel advisory, but you should of course check with your insurer.
Q I suffer from winter depression due to low levels of sunlight, and am looking for a week’s holiday in mid to late November in a destination where light levels would be equivalent to March or April in the UK. Our budget is about £300 each and it would be good if we didn’t have to fly for too long.
Name and address supplied, via e-mail
A If you’re looking for pleasant, sunny weather you don’t have to travel far: a week in Lisbon or the neighbouring resort of Cascais, with average temperatures of up to 17C in mid-November, should do the trick. Booking.com has seven nights’ B&B at the pretty boutique hotel The Charm of Cascais for £469 for a double room, while easyJet flights start at about £75 in mid-November. For guaranteed sunshine, the Canaries would be the safest bet. Lowcostholidays (08444 770078, lowcostholidays.com ) offers a week’s B&B in a studio apartment at the Los Zocos Club Resort in Costa Teguise, Thomson flights and transfers for £304pp. For a top-up during the winter you could also consider a trip to the spa at Lucknam Park Hotel (01225 740570, lucknampark.co.uk ) near Bath for its Haslauer Reflective Sun Light Therapy, which costs £30 for 40 minutes. It promises to replicate the change of light from sunrise to sunset and create the feeling of a warm summer’s day while you relax on a lounger.
Q We are spending Christmas in Prague staying at Le Palais Hotel. Could you recommend somewhere to enjoy a celebration meal and should we book in advance?
John Lawcock, via e-mail
A Carp is the traditional dish for a Czech Christmas Eve dinner, which is the main festive meal – Christmas Day is more like our Boxing Day. Try the Alcron in the Radisson Blu hotel (radissonblu.com ), which has a Michelin star and gets rave reviews as the best fish restaurant in Prague. You should certainly book in advance.
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