TOP 10 LEARNING HOLIDAYS


TAKE A BREAK & LEARN A LOT

A learning vacation is a perfectly poised package, combining instruction in an inspiring, supportive environment, with travel and exploration, too. It’s a chance to discover new skills and new countries; gain a hobby but also an understanding of the local language, people, culture and landscape. We think that’s a pretty rewarding way to travel; our top 10 learning vacations explain where and how.

1. Photography in Iceland


Iceland begs to be photographed. Its wild coastline and icy landscapes make dramatic subjects, and photography vacations run in winter and summer here, with the chance to capture the aurora borealis, too. Trips run by photographers who live in Iceland and understand its landscapes, light and terrain provide the most inspiring breaks, with workshops, post-processing tuition and shared viewing sessions adding to the learning mix.

When to go: May and June for the midnight sun and birdlife, September to October and January to March for icy landscapes and the aurora
Our top selling trip: Northern lights photography vacation in Iceland
See all our trips: Special interest vacations in Iceland
Read more: Photography guide and Iceland travel guide

2. Spanish in Spain


Learning Spanish in Spain is the immersive way to pick up or polish the language. Enjoy small and informal lessons then practice your dialogue skills in the historical towns and local cafes of the area, where English is rarely spoken. Lots of vacations team Spanish tuition with fun activities such as hiking, water sports, cooking and yoga.

When to go: Throughout the year
Our top selling trip: Learn Spanish and walk the Camino de Santiago, Spain
See all our trips: Special interest vacations in Spain
Read more: Learn Spanish travel guide and Spain travel guide

3. Cross country skiing in Austria




Learn to cross country ski in snowy Austria, with daily tuition and an expert guide accompanying you on each excursion. Practice and improve on easy trails before exploring further afield in a range of landscapes, becoming a better and more confident skier as the vacation progresses. A week is enough to get the hang of it, with time out to explore a city or try snow shoeing, too.

When to go: January and February
Our top selling trip: Cross country skiing in Austria
See all our trips: Special interest vacations in Austria
Read more: Cross country skiing vacation guide and Austria travel guide

4. Warrior training in Mongolia


The skills taught on a warrior training vacation in Mongolia are not exactly transferable, but you’ll have a blast trying them out. Live like one of Genghis Khan’s 13th century fighters, learning Mongolian wrestling, how to shoot a bow and arrow on horseback and how to cook Mongolian dishes. Stay in a traditional ger tent, too – an incredible and unusual way to immerse yourself in life on the steppe.

When to go: June to September
Our top selling trip: Genghis Khan warrior training in Mongolia
See all our trips: Special interest vacations in Mongolia
Read more: Mongolia travel guide

5. Salsa dancing in Cuba


The Caribbean is the birthplace of salsa and in Cuba, small group dance vacations take you from two left feet to salsa master in a couple of weeks. The best trips partner you with a professional Cuban dance tutor and include accompanied nights out to a music clubs and dance venues, with accommodation in Cuba’s friendly casas particulares, for a deep insight into Cuban life.

When to go: Throughout the year
Our top selling trip: Cuba salsa dance vacation
See all our trips: Special interest vacations in Cuba
Read more: Cuba travel guide and Cuba cultural vacations travel guide

6. Crafts in Scotland




You’ll try skills such as shearing sheep, dying wool and making felt on a traditional crafts course in Scotland, drinking in the fresh air and beautiful Highland scenery as you learn. This is a chance to enjoy a simple, sustainable way of life, while learning and creating, and you’ll leave with a unique perspective into the traditional crofting techniques that have been passed down through generations.

When to go: May to October
Our top selling trip: Traditional crafts vacation in Scotland
See all our trips: Special interest vacations in Scotland

7. Painting in Spain


Improve your skills and find inspiration aplenty on a painting vacation in Spain. These relaxed, fun trips suit beginners and experienced painters alike, with expert tuition from professional painters. Park yourself under a shady tree and enjoy painting spectacular valleys, mountains, beaches and white villages, with great food and wine rounding off each day.

When to go: June, September and October
Our top selling trip: Painting vacation in Andalucía
See all our trips: Special interest vacations in Spain
Read more: Spain travel guide

8. Cooking in Thailand


A cooking vacation in Thailand is, happily, also a tasting vacation, with boundless opportunities to eat, enjoy and master Thai cuisine. A tailor made vacation that explores the entire country and its regional food in two weeks or so will give the best overview, with a tasty blend of time with guides, time with local people and time on your own to explore as you choose.

When to go: Throughout the year
Our top selling trip: North Thailand group vacation a food adventure
See all our trips: Special interest vacations in Thailand
Read more: Cooking & food vacations travel guide and Thailand travel guide

9. Scuba diving in the Red Sea




The abundant fish and coral in the warm waters of the Red Sea make an appealing backdrop for a dive course. Look out for vacations that keep group numbers really small – a ratio of four students to one PADI Instructor will ensure you learn in a calm, controlled way and cause less impact on the environment. Open Water courses can take you from a beginner to certified diver in four days.

When to go: Throughout the year
Our top selling trip: Learn to scuba dive in the Red Sea
See all our trips: Special interest vacations in Egypt
Read more: Egypt travel guide and Scuba diving travel guide

10. Yoga and massage in Portugal


Traditional Thai massage is a delightfully hands on – literally – and unacademic subject for a learning vacation. There’s no way you’ll feel like you’re in the classroom when discovering massage techniques with views of the leafy hills of sunny, rural Portugal. When you add in morning yoga sessions and three delicious Ayurveda inspired meals a day, you have a perfectly poised vacation.

When to go: June
Our top selling trip: Yoga and Thai massage retreat in Portugal
See all our trips: Special interest vacations in Portugal
Read more: Portugal travel guide and Yoga travel guide
Photo credits: [Top box: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center] [Cross country skiing in Austria: Bad Kleinkirchheim] [Crafts in Scotland - crofting: CaptainOates] [Res Sea scuba diving: Derek Keats]
Written by Joanna Simmons
Cuba salsa dance holiday

Cuba salsa dance vacation

Salsa dance vacation of a lifetime in Cuba!

From £1525 15 Days ex flights
Traditional crafts vacation in Scotland

Traditional crafts vacation in Scotland

Award winning craft vacations in the Highlands of Scotland

From £895 8 Days ex flights
Photography vacation in Southwest Sri Lanka

Photography vacation in Southwest Sri Lanka

Photograph South West Sri Lanka with us

From 2400 10 Days ex flights
Scotland craft weekends, felt making & natural dyeing

Scotland craft weekends, felt making & natural dyeing

Traditional craft courses in the Scottish Highlands

From £150 2 Days ex flights
Learn Spanish & hike the Camino de Santiago, Spain

Learn Spanish & hike the Camino de Santiago, Spain

Spanish Course + walking in the Camino del Norte

From 630 7 Days ex flights
Cuba music vacations

Cuba music vacations

Music vacation of a lifetime in Santiago de Cuba

From £895 7 Days ex flights
Painting vacation in Andalucia, Spain

Painting vacation in Andalucia, Spain

Explore your painting creativity in delightful Andalucia.

From £950 8 Days ex flights
Learn Spanish in Granada, Spain

Learn Spanish in Granada, Spain

A variety of Spanish courses in Granada

From 170 5 Days ex flights
Photography vacation in Andalucia, Spain

Photography vacation in Andalucia, Spain

Capture beautiful Andalucia through your lens.

From £595 8 Days ex flights
Learn how to kayak vacation in the Ardeche, France

Learn how to kayak vacation in the Ardeche, France

Kayaking vacation in the magnificent beauty of the Ardeche.

From £759 7 Days ex flights
Photo credits: [Page banner: Bernd Thaller]
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