October 30, 2015 | Kirker Holidays
With the clocks having gone back this weekend, heralding the end of British Summer Time, it’s officially acceptable to start planning a winter break. Shrug off the prospect of long dark evenings and dank blustery days by shifting your attention to everything that’s good about travelling at this time of year – whether it’s a warming winter sun holiday, an unforgettable escape in search of the Northern Lights or a short sojourn to stock up on gifts and festive ambience at one of Europe’s delightful Christmas Markets.
Whatever your preference for a winter break, specialist tour operator for discerning travellers, Kirker Holidays, can assist. Its expert team is adept at creating tailor-made itineraries to suit clients’ particular requirements and budget – from restorative short stays in characterful hotels to indulgent trips woven with extra touches to celebrate a special occasion.
From stylish five-star luxury in Oman or the Indian Ocean to captivating Cuba and the closer-to-home charms of Morocco and the sub-tropical islands of Madeira and Tenerife, Kirker Holidays has a winter sun solution that’s sure to shake off any seasonal blues. For example:
In South Africa, enjoy a 15-night self-drive holiday along the spectacular Garden Route from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth (from £3,329 pp) or spend eight nights in the Western Cape – including two nights in the unspoilt wilderness of the Cedarberg Mountains (from £2,699 pp). Travel in style on board South Africa’s legendary luxury train, Rovos Rail, on a seven-night itinerary that also encompasses Pretoria and the majestic Victoria Falls (from £4,450 pp) or explore the history, wildlife, beaches and food of Kwazulu Natal on a two-week holiday that includes game drives in the Nambiti Hills, a Spioenkop battlefield tour and a safari walk (from £2,840 pp).
Travel through Northern India on a 12-night Temples & Tigers itinerary, staying at lovely accommodation throughout, including Claridges hotel in Delhi, the Taj Mahal Palace & Towers in Mumbai and Chitvan Jungle Lodge in Kanha National Park (from £2,865 pp). Or head south, where Tea, Trunks & Traders reveals the highlights of Kerala – from its famous spice plantations and tea factories to the picturesque backwaters and wonderful sandy beaches (from £1,978 pp). Discover the Hidden Highlights of Sri Lanka on a two-week holiday that combines ancient ruins, colourful temples and colonial railways with spectacular wildlife and postcard-perfect tropical beaches (from £2,395 pp). Or set out into the Indian Ocean for island life at its most sublime: in The Maldives, stay seven nights for the price of five at the five-star deluxe Angsana Velavaru from £2,535 pp (saving £480 pp), or enjoy seven nights for the price of four from £2,649 pp (saving £1,375 pp) at the five-star Oberoi on Mauritius.
For winter-weary travellers seeking guaranteed sunshine without the overnight flight, North Africa & the Middle East offer the perfect alternative to longer-haul options. Indulge in seven nights for the price of six at the five-star deluxe The Chedi in Muscat, Oman (from £2,089 pp) or four nights from the price of three at the four-star deluxe Jardins De La Medina in Marrakech from just £598 pp. Or tick Petra off that holiday wish list during a seven-night itinerary that encapsulates Jordan’s fascinating past and diverse scenery, visiting Amman and the Dead Sea as well as the world-famous Nabatean ruins (from £1,939 pp).
Year-round sunshine, sweeping panoramic views and rugged volcanic landscapes await visitors to the Canary island of Tenerife, where Kirker clients can stay seven nights for the price of six at the four-star superior San Roque, from £1,198 pp, whilst visitors to Madeira can look forward to subtropical gardens, mouth-watering seafood and locally-produced wine as well as pleasantly warm weather. Stay seven nights for the price of six at the five-star deluxe Jardins do Lago from £985 pp, saving £90 pp.
For a cultural experience this winter, discerning clients need look no further than Kirker’s new seven-night Images of Cuba escorted tour, which departs on 14 January 2016 (from £3,186 pp). Coming at a time when the country is facing great political and social change – and when travelling independently is becoming increasingly tricky due to the surge in demand for accommodation prompted by these changes – this small group tour, accompanied by expert tour leader, Sîan Waters, is the perfect way to start off the new year.
Prefer to snuggle up in winter woollies? If twinkly fairy lights, snow-clad scenery and steaming mugs of hot chocolate are more your idea of an idyllic escape than sun loungers at this time of year, then a visit to one of Europe’s Christmas Markets will tick all the boxes. Kirker Holidays offers festive short breaks to 14 of the most sought-after Christmas Market destinations including Bruges, Copenhagen, Prague, Vienna and – new for 2016 – Montreux, where the town’s delightful lakeside promenade is transformed, from 20 November until 24 December, with festive stalls selling regional specialities, artisan gifts and mulled wine. Stay three nights at the four-star superior Grand Hôtel Suisse-Majestic, with stunning views over Lake Geneva and the Alps – from £949 pp.
Prices for a Kirker Christmas Market short break start from £389 pp for a three-night stay at the four-star superior Hotel Carlton in Lille or treat yourself to an early Christmas gift with a stay in a deluxe room at the five-star deluxe Regent Berlin, close to the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag and opera, where four nights (for the price of three) cost from £975 pp. To view Kirker’s 2015 Christmas Markets selection in full, please click here.
Or why not book the ultimate winter wonderland experience and head north in search of the Northern Lights? One of the world’s most spectacular natural phenomena, sightings of the Aurora Borealis can never be guaranteed – dependent as they are on weather conditions and other atmospheric factors – although this winter is the last chance to take advantage of the current Solar Maximum, during which there is an especially high chance of experiencing this unforgettable display first hand.
Whether or not the Northern Lights decide to put in an appearance, you can be sure of a magical time in Scandinavia and the Nordic countries at this time of year, with picturesque pine forests, crisp fresh air and deep powdery snow in abundance. Kirker Holidays can tailor make short breaks and multi-centre holidays to three of the region’s Aurora Borealis hot spots – in Iceland, Sweden and Norway – that offer the best possible chance of a sighting, while also providing a memorable few days in a true winter wonderland.
A three-night trip to Iceland, staying at the four-star Hotel Borg in Reykjavik, with a Northern Lights excursion and a full-day ‘super jeep’ excursion to the Golden Circle, costs from £1,197 pp, while three nights in Norway, staying in a traditional Rorbu (fisherman’s cabin) on the remote Lofoten Islands with two ‘hunt for the Northern Lights’ excursions costs from £1,249 pp. Sweden’s famous Ice Hotel provides the accommodation for a three-night Northern Lights trip to the heart of Swedish Lapland, where snowmobiling, reindeer rides or simply soaking up the hotel’s stunning ice sculptures augment an already unique experience – from £879 pp. Alternatively, take to the water and track the Northern Lights from the deck of a Hurtigruten cruise vessel as it navigates the dramatic coastline of Norway, stopping en route for shore excursions that range from cultural city visits to dog sledding. Prices on request.
All prices quoted include flights (London) or Eurostar travel, accommodation with breakfast, private transfers or car hire, the services of the Kirker Concierge and – in most cases, Kirker Guide Notes to restaurants, museums and sightseeing. According to the itinerary chosen, some prices will also include other meals, escorted excursions and the services of a Kirker Tour Leader.