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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…

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Cycle and surf from Bordeaux to Bilbao

Cycle and surf from Bordeaux to Bilbao A 300-mile bike ride from France into Spain, with surfing and beach yoga interludes along the way, proves exhilarating – if exhausting When I heard about Ticket to Ride’s new “cycle surfari” from Bordeaux to Bilbao – cycling 300 miles over seven days and surfing en route – I jumped at the chance to join. OK, so I only ever cycle a few miles to work. And sure, I’ve never been on a surfboard. But how hard can it be? Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Rachel Dixon Tweet

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10 of the best activity holidays worldwide: readers’ travel tips

10 of the best activity holidays worldwide: readers’ travel tips Kayaking, cycling, running and hiking from the Andes to Iran … Our tipsters aren’t content with a book and deckchair For climbing and scrambling with a twist head to Le Bourg-d’Oisans in the French Alps south-east of Grenoble. Stay in one of the many campsites (Le Château de Rochetaillée is excellent) before finding La Montagne Sports shop in town who will kit you out for €10 per day with everything you need for the area’s seven spectacular via ferrata routes. On another day, head an hour’s drive west to Alpes du Grand Serre and experience the thrill of scrambling, climbing and traversing along rock, over a raging river and…

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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)…

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A backpacker’s guide to Uzbekistan: a one-month itinerary

A backpacker’s guide to Uzbekistan: a one-month itinerary Explore Silk Road heritage, deserts landscapes, Tashkent’s metro and the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara in a country encouraging tourists with new, relaxed visa policies From the blue-tiled mosques of Bukhara to the remote semi-autonomous region of Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan offers ancient culture and ample opportunity for adventure. Highlights include riding Tashkent’s glitzy metro, admiring Silk Road-era architecture and strolling Samarkand’s backstreets. Add to this Uzbek hospitality, as warm as it is heartfelt, colourful festivals and the fact you’re following in the footsteps of the greatest travellers and conquerors in history and there are all the ingredients of a riveting trip. Getting into the country, and getting around it, is now much…

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Eastern Eden: a utopian community in Essex

Eastern Eden: a utopian community in Essex Essex was once a hotbed for alternative communities. Working holidays now offer peace and purpose in one of the few surviving examples At first glance the village of Purleigh, on the Dengie peninsula in Essex, does not look like an obvious place for radicals. A crow is gently muttering to itself in the horse chestnut tree when I arrive and a man is opening the cricket pavilion. Generations of people, however, were drawn to these flatlands east of London in the late 19th and 20th centuries to create their own vision of Utopia in a succession of pioneering communities. Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Carol Donaldson Tweet

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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…

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Happy eco-campers: protecting wildlife in Cambodia

Happy eco-campers: protecting wildlife in Cambodia A new eco-tourism camp keeps a remote forest safe from poaching, and offers a laid-back stay with creature comforts The path to Preak Tachan ranger station, in Botum Sakor national park, Cambodia, snakes through dense, silent forest. It crosses bubbling rivers and clearings where luminous butterflies flit around gargantuan hanging vines and tall wild grasses. It’s The Lost World, Indochina-style. I half expect a dinosaur to come crashing through the foliage. The 1,712 sq km park – in the Cardamom mountains in the south-west of the country – is home to rare wildlife such as the pileated gibbon, Asian elephant, clouded leopard and Bengal slow loris. But with the triple challenges of poaching,…

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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…

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In Ethiopia, your holiday really can change lives

In Ethiopia, your holiday really can change lives A new tourism project in the northern Ethiopia highlands brings spectacular scenery and a warm welcome, where ‘your holiday can become the source of someone else’s dreams’ We arrive at sunset. The guesthouse sits on a rising prow of rock with dizzying views of the vast gorge below. The altitude is around 3,000 metres, and after six hours’ walking, I am tired. Inside the thatched hut, two young women are tending a fire where the shiro, a kind of bean stew, is cooking. I glance out of the small window and a lammergeier, a bearded vulture, comes sailing past. Perhaps he, too, is drawn by the smell of food. This is…

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