June 25, 2018
NEW: Unplug and unwind at Japan’s first glamping resort – HOSHINOYA Fuji from £304 per room per night
Swap smart phones for campfire cooking sessions at HOSHINOYA Fuji, Japan’s first glamping resort. Nestled on a hillside overlooking Lake Kawaguchi, near Mount Fuji, 40 luxurious cabins hide in a red-pine forest connected by a series of platforms offering outdoor activities to reconnect guests with nature – think morning coffee-brewing wake-up sessions and seasonal food-smoking workshops around roaring campfires. Glamping Masters are on hand for advice! Alternatively, try canoeing on the lake or nap in a hammock on the cloud terrace. Stay from £304 per room per night (two sharing; room only). Flights (Tokyo) cost from £762 pp approx (Skyscanner). Contact HOSHINOYA Fuji (www.hoshinoya.com/fuji/en/).
NEW: Swap screens for lava pools and dolphin swimming – from £1,315 pp with Activities Abroad
Leave the iPads at home and enjoy some quality family time this summer on the magical island of Madeira. Take jeep tours, try canyoning, embark on a levada mountain biking tour and go sea kayaking and snorkelling in the Garajau Nature Reserve. Discover Sao Vicente’s volcanic caves and swim in the lava pools at Seixal, go whale watching and swim with dolphins in their ocean home. This seven-night trip, priced from £1,315 per adult/£1,105 per child (age 8-11), includes flights (London), transfers, seven nights’ B&B, two lunches & two dinners, activities listed and expert guides. Departs July/August & 20 October. Call AITO* member Activities Abroad on 01670 789 991 (www.activitiesabroad.com).
NEW: Laidback living with the Faroese – Festival in the Faroe Islands from £47 pp
The people who brought the renowned G! Festival and HOYMA to the Faroe Islands are launching the exciting HOYMAbit for summer 2018 – a truly unique way to experience Faroese music, culture and hospitality. Throughout the summer months (until 11 September) these weekly home concerts (set in the islanders’ actual homes!) feature leading Faroese music artists, with homemade food and local produce, drinks, coffee and home-baked sweets. Performers include an eclectic array of Nordic artists like Eivør, the celebrated Faroese folk singer songwriter. Tickets cost from £47 pp and can be booked at www.gfestival.fo or, for more information, visit www.visitfaroeislands.com.
Slow walking and wonderful cuisine – South West France from £3,492 pp with Kirker
What better way to leave the hubbub of modern life behind than on a gastronomic walking holiday that blends beautiful landscapes, prehistoric (WiFi-free!) caves and mediaeval châteaux with the finest local food and wine? Led by Francophile James Tamlyn, this nine-night itinerary explores France’s delightful Dordogne region and its less well-known neighbour, Quercy. Departing 13 September, the price is from £3,492 pp (two sharing) including flights (London) to Toulouse, private transfers, two nights’ four-star B&B in Toulouse and seven nights in Dordogne manor houses with breakfast, lunch (some picnics) & dinner with wine each day. Call AITO* member Kirker on 020 7593 2283 (www.kirkerholidays.com).
Refresh mind, body and soul – Laos and Cambodia from £3,190 pp with InsideAsia Tours
Enjoy immersive elements and exclusive experiences focusing on wellbeing, spirituality and relaxation, whilst learning about the local culture, on a peaceful adventure in Laos and Cambodia. Take a guided meditation with a Buddhist monk, enjoy yoga and sunrise meditation sessions, explore traditional spa and wellness techniques, and much more. The blissful trip culminates in a stay in the heavenly island paradise of Koh Rong Samloem in southern Cambodia. Priced from £3,190 pp (two sharing), Soulful Pursuits includes 14 nights’ B&B, transfers, five lunches, two dinners and guided excursions. International flights extra. Call AITO* member InsideAsia Tours on 0117 244 3380 (www.insideasiatours.com).
Step back in time on the Roman road to Santa Maria – Portugal from £670 pp with On Foot Holidays
Hidden away in the green valleys of north-eastern Portugal, rural village communities continue a lifestyle that is centuries old. Enjoy the little-known and Wi-Fi-free Peneda-Gerês National Park, where distinctive granite espigueiros (granaries), wild uplands and ancient paved footpaths exist on one of Europe’s most scenic Roman roads to the monastery of Santa Maria. The week-long walking trip concludes in historic Porto. Northern Portugal costs from £670 pp (two sharing) including seven nights’ B&B, six picnic lunches, luggage transfers & route information. Graded medium-hard (11-23 km/day), with some shortening options. Available until Oct. Flights extra. Contact On Foot Holidays (01722 322 652; www.onfootholidays.co.uk).
Digital detox retreats at Rockliffe Hall – County Durham from £190 per night with Pride of Britain Hotels
Set within a peaceful 375-acre estate on the banks of the River Tees, 18th-century red-brick mansion Rockliffe Hall offers digital detox retreats combining relaxation, yoga and/or meditation on selected Mondays throughout the year. The one-night retreats include sunrise meditation, brunch, a Spa Garden session, a group meditation or yoga session, wellness classes, full use of the spa and gym, and overnight accommodation. The price is from £190 per night (two sharing). Guests are encouraged to store digital devices with the concierge team at check in. Call Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929 (www.prideofbritainhotels.com).
Ditch your devices and discover the Troodos Mountains – Cyprus from £851 pp with Sunvil
Keen walkers who head to the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus this summer will find cooler temperatures than on the coast, fewer tourists and a myriad of nature trails to explore. Stay three nights at New Helvetia Hotel, in the pretty mountain village of Platres, just metres from vast scented pine forests, followed by four nights at Casale Panayiotis, a luxury healing retreat in the ancient spa village of Kalopanayiotis, where optional experiences include learning how to make haloumi and traditional Cypriot sweets. Departing 22 June, the twin-centre trip costs from £851 pp (two sharing), including flights (Gatwick), seven nights’ B&B and car hire. Call AITO* member Sunvil on 020 8758 4758 (www.sunvil.co.uk).
Get back to nature in the Italian and French Alps – from £1,595 pp with Naturetrek
On this twin-centre holiday taking in Italy’s Gran Paradiso National Park and the adjoining Vanoise National Park in France, you’ll be surrounded by such awe-inspiring beauty that the stresses of everyday life will feel a million miles away. On daily guided walks amidst verdant valleys and towering peaks, discover fragrant Alpine flowers, dainty butterflies and graceful birds of prey, and experience utter tranquillity. Departing 26 June, The Italian & French Alps costs from £1,595 pp (two sharing) including flights (Gatwick), seven nights’ full board, and the services of a British ornithologist and botanist leaders. Call AITO* member Naturetrek on 01962 733051 (www.naturetrek.co.uk).
Revitalise mind, body and soul in Costa Rica – from £1,566 pp with Sunvil Latin America
Perched on a hilltop on the Nicoya Peninsula overlooking mangroves, subtropical forest and the Pacific coastline, Lagarta Lodge is a boutique eco-lodge where guests can truly press the pause button. Spot wildlife – from monkeys to butterflies – and exotic flora, in the hotel’s own private 90-acre biological reserve, relax in the two infinity pools, jacuzzi and spa, take in vibrant sunsets from the balcony and enjoy yoga and surfing in the nearby village of Nosara. One week’s switch-off in Lagarta Lodge costs from £1,566 pp (two sharing), including BA flights (Gatwick) and transfers. Call AITO* member Sunvil on 020 8758 4774 (www.sunvil.co.uk).
Time travel along Croatia’s quiet Dalmatian Coast – from £3,550 pp with Peter Sommer Travels
Step back in time on a journey around the fascinating archaeological highlights of this off-the-beaten track stretch of the Dalmatian Coast. Sailing on a traditional wooden gulet, this eight-day holiday takes in Šibenik’s hilltop fortresses, the Kornati archipelago’s tiny rock islets, Trogir’s magnificent – and UNESCO-listed – medieval cityscape, spectacular waterfalls in the Krka Valley, and more. Departing 8 & 15 September, Cruising the Dalmatian Coast: from Šibenik to Zadar costs from £3,550 pp (two sharing), including full-board accommodation, all crew services, expert-led excursions, entrance fees and transfers. Flights extra. Call AITO* member Peter Sommer Travels on 01600 888 220 (www.petersommer.com).
Picture-perfect privacy on Antipaxos – Greece from £989 pp with GIC The Villa Collection
Practice the art of relaxation at Bacchus House, a one-of-a-kind villa on the tranquil Ionian island of Antipaxos. The idyllic cottage for two, popular with honeymooners and couples in search of a genuine retreat, offers complete privacy, your own pool and a terrace overlooking the sea. White-sand beaches, clear turquoise waters and a few relaxed tavernas are just 15 minutes’ walk away. Even in high summer, Antipaxos is seldom crowded; the absence of shops, tourists and busy roads adding to its Hellenic charm. Departing 25 June, a seven-night stay costs from £989 pp (two sharing), including flights (Gatwick) and transfers. Call AITO* member GIC on 020 8232 9780 (www.gicthevillacollection.com).
Unplug with a paint brush – Tuscany from £1,560 pp at The Watermill at Posara
Terry Jarvis is one of Australia’s most talented watercolour artists and tutors, and his Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics) (7-14 July) will provide technical tips and a chance to switch off from everyday life. Classes take place in The Watermill’s idyllic millstream gardens and there are opportunities to paint hilltop villages, valleys and vineyards. The price of £1,560 pp (two sharing) includes tuition, seven nights’ full-board accommodation with drinks, delicious home-cooked Italian cuisine and meals out at local restaurants, transfers and an excursion to Lucca or the Cinque Terre. Flights (Pisa) extra. Contact The Watermill at Posara on 020 7193 6246 (www.watermill.net).
*AITO is the Association of Independent Tour Operators: more than 120 specialist travel companies providing an unrivalled collection of holiday ideas that cover every corner of the world. Consumers booking with AITO can be assured of high-quality holidays and excellent personal service. Visit www.aito.com for further information.
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