Geoquono


Auto Ads


Geoquono



Geoquono


Auto Ads


Geoquono



Spring adventure: trail running on Madeira

Spring adventure: trail running on Madeira Madeira may have a sedate reputation but the wild, rugged landscape is the perfect place for hiking and trail-running in the spring sunshine Having found a bench in the hot spring sunshine, I was unwrapping my bolo de caco – an excellent toasted sweet potato sandwich, slathered in garlic butter – when “Michael Jackson” walked past. He was dressed Thriller era, and accompanied by a few pirates and a brass band in orange Afros. The band struck up. Michael strutted. The bystanders on Funchal’s lively Avenida Arriaga cheered. That evening, the fancy dress and frivolity were fully unleashed. It was Madeira Carnival’s main parade – one of the Portuguese island’s biggest celebrations (10…

Read more ›

A father-and-son ski trip to Andorra

A father-and-son ski trip to Andorra Returning to the Pyrenees for a family skiing adventure many years after a stag-do, it’s not just dad who has grown up. So has Andorra … It is 10am and I’m trying to engage my two sons in their first skiing lesson. My vow to be a patient teacher and never raise my voice to Rafa, 16, and Luca, 14, has already broken. “Get that bloody foot up,” I yell as an outraged professional instructor and his junior students serenely practise snowploughing nearby. It’s day one, we have only been on the nursery slopes for 20 minutes. I watch groups of young men on the piste ski past me and can’t help feeling…

Read more ›

Six of the best wild trail runs in the UK

Six of the best wild trail runs in the UK ‘Going for a run’ is exhilarating when forests and mountains are the backdrop. Two trail runners pick six stunning routes for beginners from their new book There’s no doubt that running as a pastime is booming; big city marathons report record numbers of entries – London received over 250,000 applications for its 40,000 places in 2018 – and Parkrun interest has soared, from 13 runners in 2004 to over three million globally today. But the focus has always been parks and pavements, with off-road running dominated by cross-country and fell races. Now, more of us are venturing into fields, forests, moors and mountains in search of a wilder kind…

Read more ›

20 of the best activity holidays in the UK and Europe

20 of the best activity holidays in the UK and Europe Lying by the pool not your thing? We’ve got everything from horse riding to multi-activity beach breaks to get your endorphins going Inntravel has a new three-centre, self-guided walking holiday to Senja, an island sometimes called Norway in miniature, north of the Lofotens. The trip starts with two nights on the smaller island of Sommarøy in the “Arctic Caribbean”, so-called because of its white beaches and azure sea. The next stop is the fishing village of Mefjordvær, for coastal walks and an ascent of Segla, the island’s sail-shaped peak. The final three nights are based in a waterside wooden cabin at Hamn i Senja, on a spit of…

Read more ›

10 of the best cognac distillers, tours and tastings, France

10 of the best cognac distillers, tours and tastings, France Exploring Cognac and the Charente region gives an insight into a brandy rich in history – with a barrel full of tastings on offer Cognac is one of France’s most iconic products, yet little of it is consumed at home: 98% is exported. Authentic cognac can only be produced from a specific region but this vast vineyard stretches from the grand town of Cognac itself inland across the Charente region and over to the Atlantic coast. It is a delight to explore, with winemakers, distillers and the famed maisons de négoces (cognac merchants) open for visits. Most people begin in Cognac with one of the multimedia tours (around €20)…

Read more ›

Holidays that make a difference: 25 ethical trips in the UK and worldwide

Holidays that make a difference: 25 ethical trips in the UK and worldwide Our pick of community projects, homestays, ethical tours, working holidays and trips that benefit women’s charities and initiatives ThailandOriginally set up to help the fishing village of Ban Talae Nok recover after the tsunami of 2008, Andaman Discoveries has expanded its community tourism programmes across Thailand. From the beginning, the social enterprise has been committed to providing communities with additional income to allow them to continue living the way they want, and 50% of all profits support local development. A wide range of activities includes sleeping out in the jungle, visiting ethical elephant sanctuaries and snorkelling with the sea nomads. But for a taste of rural…

Read more ›

Walking in the Caribbean: sun, sea … and treks

Walking in the Caribbean: sun, sea … and treks With its gorgeous coastlines, lush interiors and volcanic peaks, the Caribbean is now a hot ticket for hikers, too – as our writer finds in Antigua and Montserrat Rendezvous Bay is billed as Montserrat’s only white-sand beach; all the others are volcanic black. When we reached it, the secluded cove was deserted. We followed huge, tractor-like tracks left in the sand by green turtles, and floated in the warm, crystal-clear water as pelicans dived for sprats overhead. Then we dried off – and pulled on our walking boots. This beach doesn’t get crowded because it can only be reached after a stiff hour’s hike. Related: A bike tour of the…

Read more ›

Milan art tour: fresco heaven, without the crowds

Milan art tour: fresco heaven, without the crowds Resist the urge to splurge in the city’s chic shops and instead lose yourself in its transcendental art Think of Milan and you think of fashion. The first time I spent more than a few hours in the city, I roamed the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – Italy’s oldest shopping arcade, built in the 1860s and still home to the original Prada store, which was opened by the designer’s grandfather Mario in 1913 – wishing that I was rich (or at least, not quite so broke). What on earth is a girl with an overdraft and a fierce lust for buttery leather supposed to do in a place where everyone is…

Read more ›

10 of the best meditation retreats in the UK and Europe

10 of the best meditation retreats in the UK and Europe We pick mindfulness and meditation holidays in beautiful surroundings – many combined with other activities like walking, singing and tai chiMore retreat top 10s: yoga | creative | by readers In the Dart valley near Totnes, the Sharpham Trust meditation centre offers mindfulness retreats of different lengths throughout the year, including walking and singing breaks. Some are held in the estate’s mansion, others in the Barn Retreat nearby. For full immersion in the natural world, its Nature Connection retreat has accommodation in bell tents in the woods, with guided meditation and mindfulness activities, foraging and feasting on wild food.• Three-night meditation retreats from £145 full-board. Three-night Nature Connection…

Read more ›

Voices in the wilderness: a singing retreat in rural France

Voices in the wilderness: a singing retreat in rural France Teaching singing and meditation isn’t an obvious calling for a former punk rocker, but this one helps our participant hit the high notes on a break in the remote Massif Central ‘Get that gob open, Liz,” says Peter. “I’m not seeing any teeth.” I obey, stretching my jaw wide as we’d done in an earlier “howling wolf” exercise, and find that not only can I hit a top F# without squeaking, I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. When I booked a three-day singing retreat at Peter Evans’s farmhouse in rural France, I had been apprehensive about displaying my pitiful abilities to some intimidating Oxford choral scholar type. But instead I found…

Read more ›