Our favourite trips for ac­tive trav­ellers

Join Liz Bird as she scales some of the world’s el­e­vated es­capes, from white­wa­ter raft­ing to wild camp­ing

Food and Travel (UK) - - Contents -

Walk­ing the AMALFI

Craggy coastal moun­tains, ar­chae­o­log­i­cal gems in­clud­ing Pom­peii and pic­turesque towns are hall­marks of the Amalfi re­gion. This seven-night trip in­cludes four guided walks of two to three hours each, in­clud­ing the Path of the Gods, with panoramic views. The trail runs from Agerola to the pink-hued Posi­tano, pass­ing lemon groves, vine­yards and hill­side vil­lages in­clud­ing No­celle, a per­fect pic­nic spot. Par­tially buried in an erup­tion al­most 2,000 years ago, Pom­peii is not to be missed, with a hike to the smoul­der­ing sum­mit of Ve­su­vius. Other day trips in­clude peace­ful clifftop Ravello, for el­e­gant ter­raced gar­dens, im­pres­sive gelato and a hands-on visit to a moz­zarella fac­tory; and Capri by boat, for snorkelling and a walk along the Via Tra­gara over­look­ing the is­land’s iconic Faraglioni rocks.

THE DE­TAIL From £995pp for KE Ad­ven­ture’s Amaz­ing Amalfi trip, in­clud­ing seven nights’ full-board ac­com­mo­da­tion, in­ter­nal trans­fers and all guided walks. The near­est air­port is Naples In­ter­na­tional (50km). kead­ven­ture.com

Ac­tion in SWITZER­LAND

When the snow melts and the skiers de­part for the close sea­son, the swish ski re­sort of Gs­taad in the Ber­nese Ober­land trans­forms it­self into an ad­ven­ture play­ground for adults and chil­dren alike. Moun­tain bik­ers can tackle a 140km net­work of trails that vary in dif­fi­culty from sim­ple to chal­leng­ing, wend­ing their way through rolling hills, dense for­est and Alpine flower mead­ows. Guided bike rides can be ar­ranged for guests stay­ing in the stylish, newly ren­o­vated Huus Ho­tel, which of­fers a di­verse pro­gramme of free ac­tiv­i­ties that take in the best of the area’s scenery. Take your pick from canyon­ing, river-raft­ing on the Saane and Simme rivers, climb­ing les­sons or the High Ropes Park where the tow­er­ing trees of the Ober­sim­men­tal con­nect ca­ble bridges, rope lad­ders, zip wires and tightrope walks. More gen­tle pur­suits in­clude stand-up pad­dle­board­ing across still-as-glass lakes and guided na­ture trails.

THE DE­TAIL Dou­bles from £121, in­clud­ing break­fast. The near­est air­port is Bern-Belp (81km). hu­us­gstaad.com

AD­VEN­TURE IN THE NOR­WE­GIAN FJORDS

Dra­matic, jaw-drop­ping scenery, largely un­spoilt and much of it in­ac­ces­si­ble by foot – the Nor­we­gian fjords are ripe for ex­plo­ration. After an overnight stay in Ber­gen or Voss, de­pend­ing on your flight, you’ll be whisked through the Stal­heim Gorge to the fjord-side Vik­ing vil­lage of Gud­van­gen. From here, pick up kayaks to pad­dle down Naerøyfjord fjord, a Unesco World Her­itage Site, per­fect for seal spot­ting. In the evening, enjoy a water­side bar­be­cue be­fore wild camp­ing un­der the stars. Next day, don your walk­ing boots to scale up to 1,000m for a spec­tac­u­lar view of the fjord

be­low. Be pre­pared to rough it with a com­post­ing toi­let and no show­ers, but for an ad­ven­ture like this, who cares? On the fourth day, kayak north to re­mote vil­lages and drink from pure wa­ter­falls. Even in sum­mer months with only three hours’ dark­ness it can get chilly, so take cool-weather gear. All equip­ment, in­clud­ing wet­suits, sleep­ing bags, camp cook­ing equip­ment and tents are pro­vided.

THE DE­TAIL From £450pp, for Much Bet­ter Ad­ven­tures’ four-day Hike, Kayak and Wild­camp the Nor­we­gian

Fjords tour, with ac­com­mo­da­tion, two nights’ camp­ing, meals, trans­fers and kit. The near­est air­port is

Ber­gen (148km). much­bet­ter­ad­ven­tures.com

Hack

THE HIGH AT­LAS MOUN­TAINS

Ride Barb Ara­bian horses through the foothills and higher ech­e­lons of the High At­las Moun­tains in Morocco, tak­ing in pine, oak and cedar forests, Ber­ber vil­lages and glassy lakes. You’ll need to be rel­a­tively fit and ba­sic rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence will help as there are op­por­tu­ni­ties to trot and can­ter. Meet the rest of your group (max­i­mum ten) dur­ing an overnight stay at the Ter­res d’Ama­nar re­sort, a 45-minute drive from Mar­rakech, where you’ll be in­tro­duced to your trusty steeds be­fore a ride brief­ing and equip­ment check. The first day be­gins with a gen­tle three and a half-hour ride to Tat­ult where you’ll camp. Day three en­com­passes some of the trip’s most dra­matic views to­wards the Amizmiz Val­ley and Tak­erk­oust Lake on a five and a half-hour ride. On day six you’ll reach Tizi N’Addi at 3,100m and enjoy some of the most beau­ti­ful views of the High At­las range and 4,167m Mount Toubkal, the high­est peak in North Africa. Camp­ing is in com­fort­able two-per­son tents. Foam mat­tresses are sup­plied but you’ll need to bring your own sleep­ing bag.

THE DE­TAIL From £848pp for In the Sad­dle’s seven-night full-board Toubkal Moun­tain Trails, in­clud­ing two nights in a lux­ury ho­tel, five nights in tents and six days’ rid­ing . The near­est air­port is Mar­rakech Me­nara (31km). inthe­sad­dle.com

As­sault

THE ALPS

The beauty of this holiday is that you choose from a host of moun­tain ac­tiv­i­ties in or near France’s Ecrins Na­tional Park; base your choice on how charged with adren­a­line you feel. Run off a moun­tain with a para­chute strapped to your back and paraglide your way to the feet of the Alps, scale the rocks on a via fer­rata (pro­tected route with lad­ders and ropes for climb­ing) or tackle Europe’s long­est Ty­rolean zip wire at 130km per hour. Once you’ve cho­sen your ac­com­mo­da­tion, from back-to-ba­sics camp­ing to lux­ury farm­house B&Bs and ho­tels, you are given nine ‘points’ to use on a huge se­lec­tion of ac­tiv­i­ties, ar­ranged be­fore ar­rival. We love the sound of a nat­u­ral to­bog­gan that ends with a plunge into crys­tal-clear wa­ters, white­wa­ter raft­ing, or an af­ter­noon canyon­ing with the fam­ily as you work out the best route to take. Other ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions are bed­ding down in a tree­house or moun­tain chalet. Less ac­tive pur­suits in­clud­ing lake swim­ming and sight­see­ing in places such as La Grave, one of France’s most beau­ti­ful moun­tain vil­lages.

THE DE­TAIL From £510pp for Undis­cov­ered Moun­tains’ seven-night Sum­mer Multi-Ac­tiv­ity holiday stay­ing at Emile’s Farm guest­house in­clud­ing break­fast, ac­tiv­i­ties, maps and route ad­vice for self guided walks and bike rides. The near­est air­port is Greno­ble (85km). undis­cov­ered­moun­tains.com

Wa­ter­falls and wildlife in SLO­VAKIA’S TATRA MOUN­TAINS

For rocky peaks, lush val­leys and over 100 sparkling lakes, the Carpathian Tatra Moun­tains bor­der­ing Slo­vakia and Poland of­fer more af­ford­able hik­ing and climb­ing trails less trod­den than those of the French and Swiss Alps. This seven-night trip from Moun­tain Par­adise in­cludes five to seven hours of mod­er­ate hik­ing per day, with climbs of be­tween 400m and 1,000m, travers­ing wa­ter­falls, gorges and mead­ows, lead­ing up to moun­tain huts for food and rest. High­lights of the trip in­clude walk­ing through the Sucha Bela Gorge where you climb a se­ries of lad­ders be­side wa­ter­falls be­fore vis­it­ing the ru­ins of a 13th-cen­tury Carthu­sian monastery. Look out for golden ea­gles, mar­mot squir­rels and chamois goat-an­telopes along the way. At the end of each day you’ll re­turn to the four-star Grand Ho­tel Praha in Vysoké Ta­try where you can re­fresh your­self in the spa, or re­lax in the out­door in­fin­ity pool with dra­matic sweep­ing panora­mas across the val­ley.

THE DE­TAIL From £995pp for Moun­tain Par­adise’s Lakes and Val­leys itin­er­ary, in­clud­ing flights, seven nights’ half board ac­com­mo­da­tion, five guided hikes and trans­fers. The near­est air­port is Po­prad-Ta­try (6km). moun­tain­par­adise.co.uk

‘We love the sound of a nat­u­ral to­bog­gan that ends with a plunge into crys­tal-clear wa­ters, white­wa­ter raft­ing, or an af­ter­noon canyon­ing as you work out to­gether the best route to take.’

FINd a HOMe On THe rANCh IN WY­OMING

Get a true taste of the Wild West where the whole clan can play cow­boy with camp­fires, cook­outs and trail rides on a dude ranch near Cody in the Amer­i­can Rock­ies. Stay just 42 kilo­me­tres from Yel­low­stone Na­tional Park, in one of nine cab­ins at fam­ily-run Rim­rock Dude Ranch, named after the nearby ridge where you can enjoy an all-day ride with ex­pe­ri­enced wran­glers. Events in­cludes white­wa­ter raft­ing and a visit to the Nite Rodeo in Cody –a high-en­ergy, au­then­tic rodeo with bulls, bron­cos and cow­boys, plus kid-friendly events such as the calf scram­ble. Cody is also home to the ex­cel­lent Buf­falo Bill Cen­ter of the West, where you can learn how cow­boys and In­di­ans lived. A tour of Yel­low­stone with its gey­sers and hot springs is also in­cluded. The ranch of­fers all meals, a weekly bar­be­cue, pool, hot tub and two rides a day (for novice and ex­pe­ri­enced rid­ers).

THE DE­TAIL From £3,290pp for seven nights’ full-board ac­com­mo­da­tion at Rim­rock Dude Ranch in­clud­ing car hire, flights and ac­tiv­i­ties. The near­est air­port is Yel­low­stone Re­gional at Cody (43km). amer­i­can­roundup.com

Trek the TONGARIRO

Tramp­ing – or go­ing on long-dis­tance walks, to you and me

– is a pop­u­lar pas­time in New Zealand, where end­less trails show­case the coun­try’s spec­tac­u­lar scenery. The long­est, Te Araroa – loosely trans­lated as ‘The Long Path­way’ – stretches 3,000km from the tip of the North Is­land to the bot­tom of the South Is­land. For­tu­nately, it is split into 160 treks, vary­ing from easy to chal­leng­ing with plenty to ac­com­mo­date less-ac­com­plished hik­ers who sim­ply want to ap­pre­ci­ate the nat­u­ral beauty of their sur­round­ings. The 19km Tongariro Alpine Cross­ing is a one-day hike through the vol­canic land­scapes of the North Is­land, pass­ing through rugged lava fields and the nerve-rack­ing crater, Devil’s Stair­case, ris­ing 1,400m to 1,600m above sea level. You reap the re­wards when reach­ing the multi-cratered ac­tive vol­cano Mount Tongariro, with its bright Emer­ald Lakes, hiss­ing vents and views of Mount Ngau­ruhoe, known as ‘Doom Moun­tain’ in Lord of the Rings. The nearby Sko­tel Alpine Re­sort of­fers dorms, pri­vate rooms or small cab­ins – a well-lo­cated base to ex­plore other trails in­clud­ing the Taranaki Falls and

Tama Lakes walks, and many other recog­nis­able lo­ca­tions fea­tured in Peter Jack­son’s film tril­ogy.

THE DE­TAIL From £1,750pp for Sil­ver Fern Hol­i­days’ eight-day North Is­land trip in­clud­ing two nights’ ac­com­mo­da­tion each in Auck­land, Ro­torua and Wellington and one night in Lake Taupo, full-board, as well as car hire and walk­ing notes. The near­est air­port to Sko­tel Alpine Re­sort is Auck­land (326km). sil­ver­fern­hol­i­days.com

Walk and zip into WALES

You can chan­nel Bat­man as you reach speeds of up to 160km per hour hurtling 1.6km across a dis­used slate quarry in Snow­do­nia. Zip Wire Ve­loc­ity – the world’s fastest – is not for the faint-hearted, so you may want to build up to it via the Lit­tle Zip­per (up to 72km per hour). Then, as soon as you’ve re­gained your breath, bun­dle into an off-roader for a bumpy ride around North Wales. The lo­cale is now called Zip World Penrhyn Quarry – just one of many in­dus­trial her­itage sites the Welsh have rein­vented with aplomb. Once the world’s largest quarry, it has been trans­formed into a cav­ernous tram­polin­ing play­ground that suits all ages. But, of course, you can’t visit Snow­do­nia and not tackle Wales’ high­est moun­tain, Snowdon. There are six main tracks – rang­ing in dif­fi­culty from easy to chal­leng­ing – that reach the 1,085m sum­mit. The eas­i­est is the Llan­beris Path which fol­lows the route of the Moun­tain Rail­way. Our favourite, though, is The Snowdon Ranger Path, which starts from the youth hos­tel of the same name on the road be­tween Caernar­fon and Bed­dgel­ert and com­bines scram­bling with nar­row moun­tain paths. Which­ever you choose, you’ll be re­warded with views of ice-scoured cirques, sculpted nar­row crests and ver­tig­i­nous cliffs. There’s even a café in the visi­tor cen­tre at the sum­mit serv­ing Welsh whiskies and beer. If you don’t fancy the walk back down after a few cel­e­bra­tory ales, you can al­ways take the Moun­tain Rail­way back to the vil­lage of Llan­beris and its stel­lar lo­cal pubs.

THE DE­TAIL From £630 for seven nights’ ac­com­mo­da­tion at three-bed­room The Pines Lodge. Zip Sa­fari from £40pp. hol­i­dayre­treatswales.co.uk zip­world.co.uk

pil­grim­age

PEAK DISTRICT

This part of Der­byshire has long drawn climbers and walk­ers from across the globe, who ram­ble and ab­seil their way around and up its di­verse and beau­ti­ful land­scapes. Op­tions and grades are plen­ti­ful, from Dovedale’s fan­tas­ti­cal for­ma­tions and the craggy ridges of The Roaches to the steep plateau crest of Stan­age Edge. Get to grips with ba­sics on a three-night break with the chance to scale the Peak District’s high­est sum­mit, 636m Kinder Scout – a five- to seven-hour stint de­pend­ing on your level of fit­ness. Other lo­cal ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude moun­tain bik­ing up a gorge and ghyll scram­bling, in­volv­ing climb­ing wa­ter­falls, slid­ing down rocks and swim­ming in nat­u­ral pools. Re­tire to Castle­ton Youth

Hos­tel, a newly re­stored Gothic man­sion in 13 hectares of park­land, where nearby Cave Dale pro­vides a spec­tac­u­lar view of the ru­ins of 11th-cen­tury Pev­eril Castle, founded by one of Wil­liam the Con­queror’s knights. For more laid-back pur­suits, visit the Ge­or­gian spa town of Bux­ton, stately home Chatsworth House, known as ‘The Palace of the Peak’ or Bakewell, the town famed for its cherry and al­mond tarts.

THE DE­TAIL From £299pp for Lost Earth Ad­ven­tures’ three-night Peak District ad­ven­ture week­end, in­clud­ing hos­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion, break­fast, lunch and one evening meal, equip­ment and in­struc­tion. lostearthad­ven­tures.co.uk

Op­po­site page, clock­wise from top: Italy’s Amalfi coast; kayak through the fjords; get mov­ing in Switzer­land. This page: Nor­way’s un­spoilt fjords are breath­tak­ing

Op­po­site page, clock­wise from top left: Europe’s long­est zip wire; white­wa­ter raft­ing in the French Alps; cy­cle your way around Ecrins; a lake gleams in Slo­vakia. This page, from top: ex­pe­ri­ence the At­las Moun­tains in the sad­dle; get a taste for ranch­ing in Wy­oming

This page, clock­wise from left: New Zealand’s Emer­ald Lakes; sign up for the likes of ghyll scram­bling, kayak­ing, climb­ing and hik­ing in the Peak District

From top: hike and zip wire your way through Snow­do­nia; en­counter fish­er­men as you hike through the Peak District

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