Posted 1st Dec 2016
Perhaps you enjoy a Sunday afternoon stroll along a nearby beach, or enjoy getting to know a city on foot? Maybe you’re a rambler and love to get out into the hills most weekends? Or perhaps you’re a keen hiker who loves a challenge and takes to the mountains at every opportunity to enjoy full days among high passes and peaks?
Thanks to Inntravel, it doesn’t matter what your style of walking is – they have holidays to suit all levels, with walks from place to place or based at a single hotel. Whatever you choose, feeling the sun’s gentle warmth while exploring their carefully chosen destinations at a quiet time of year is simply a lovely way to spend a holiday.
Sunny trails under clear blue skies
Now that the British summer – such as it was – is long gone, it’s the perfect time to think about an ideal escape… unwind in warm breezes under sunny skies, and let Inntravel take care of all the arrangements. Authentic, family-run hotels lie at the heart of Inntravel’s collection of Slow Holidays: from small inns to luxurious Portuguese country houses, and from handsome stone farmhouses to ornate Moroccan riads, the choice is both unique and varied. And wherever you choose, you will enjoy a warm welcome and delicious regional cooking.
The Mediterranean & beyond
Inntravel’s self-guided holidays over autumn, winter and spring are suitable for all levels, and feature just about every beautiful corner of southern Europe you can imagine; plus there are walks with your own guide in Morocco, India and Nepal. So if you fancy chasing away the winter blues by strolling along the unspoiled coastline of Almería in south-easternmost Spain, walking across the colourful slopes of Madeira (an island known as ‘the floating garden’), or exploring the mountainous heart and enticing coastline of Cyprus, there is bound to be an itinerary to tempt you.
Cyprus – endless views & sunny smiles
"While we were poring over our map in a small village, a woman in a house nearby spotted us and brought out mandarins and pomegranates, fresh from the trees in her garden.”
This spontaneous act of kindness from a total stranger was just one of many abiding memories that Inntraveller Nicola Coleman from West Sussex brought home from her recent walking holiday to Cyprus. But this was no one-off gesture – it was a delightfully natural response from a Cypriot – a people whose very DNA ensures a true sense of hospitality, and for whom visitors are like long-lost friends – greeted with a welcome that is as warm as the Mediterranean sunshine itself. Hoteliers and restaurateurs alike will tell tall tales and anecdotes while insisting you try the house speciality, or a bottle (or two!) of the local Keo beer. At his village taverna in Lofou, ebullient and eversmiling Costas Violaris is not backward in coming forward. He’s proud of his land, its culture – and its beer – and it’s not unknown for him to get out his bazouki to start strumming a traditional folk song, for the benefit of whoever happens to be in that evening!
Andalucia’s favourite daughter
In wild and breathtakingly beautiful Almería, James Bond has dodged bullets, Indiana Jones survived a death-defying jeep chase, and Lawrence of Arabia melted hearts with his bravery…
Now, when (slight exaggeration) the loudest noise you are likely to hear is a purring cat, it’s hard to imagine that somewhere as peaceful as this, tucked away in the southeasternmost corner of Spain, has been chosen as the location for so many actionpacked films.
Next year marks two decades since the region’s Cabo de Gata Natural Park was made a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and there is no doubting that the story of the woman behind it would make a fantastic film in its own right.
In fact, it is widely regarded as a miracle that this area was preserved from development, and this is largely down to the tenacity of one woman – a remarkable lady called Francisca Díaz Torres.
“Doña Pakyta”, as she was affectionately known, devoted her life to the conservation of the family estate, which comprised more than 3,000 hectares of the Cabo de Gata. She repeatedly refused to sell her family’s estate – against considerable commercial pressures – and championed an environmental movement that saved the area from falling victim to mass tourism and intensive farming. From an early age, her inquisitive nature had shone through: she loved the arts and travel and formed a deep appreciation of the fragility of the landscapes surrounding her home. Her life’s mission – and that of her husband and, later on, her nephew – was to preserve and protect the area against the onslaught of unbridled land speculation, and the concrete monstrosities built in the name of tourism along many of the costas in Spain in the 1960s are a stark reminder of how visually different this beautiful area could have been.
Before her death (she died in 2014 at the grand old age of 103), Doña Pakyta was honoured with the official recognition of being named ‘Andalucía’s Favourite Daughter’. It is no exaggeration to say that it’s down to her that beaches such as Mónsul and Genoveses still appear almost untouched – a remarkable testament to Almería’s undoubted beauty, and to the pioneering spirit, passion and commitment of one remarkable woman.
See all this and more...
To find out more about Inntravel’s collection of Slow Holidays to the Mediterranean and beyond this autumn, winter and spring, visit their website – www.inntravel.co.uk – or call 01653 617000. There are walking holidays to suit all tastes and levels, so whether you wish to discover the Three Faces of Cyprus and the island’s famous hospitality, or explore the Coast of Almería (thanks to the extraordinary legacy of Doña Pakyta), Inntravel’s friendly team of experts will show you the way.