Types of special interest vacations

What do you want to achieve?

Active and wellbeing

Walking, stretching, pedalling – if keeping active is your favourite way to relax, then why not do more of the same on vacation? You don’t have to be hard at it all day every day; just find an itinerary that suits, in a destination that you’ve always fancied, and away you go. Yoga retreats in Spain, Portugal or Morocco; walking tours in northern Spain, southern Italy or the French Riviera; cycling and triathlon vacations for beginners in Girona or watersports in the Dominican Republic; you name it and we Just Do It. And if you fancy getting active over winter, Finland, Austria and Sweden in the snow are all amazing options. Cross country skiing, snow shoeing and husky drawn sleds will get the blood pumping much more readily than cotching up on the couch with a box set and tub of Quality Street.

Learn and develop

Sometimes we just can’t seem to find the energy to learn something new or delve deeper into a subject that initially excites. The trick is to set aside time. Find a tour that focuses on your special interest, circle a week on the calendar, and start the countdown. Take a jazz and classical guitar course in Portugal, start to salsa with professional dancers in Santiago de Cuba, or learn how to make traditional crafts in Scotland. Joining a group of enthusiasts allows you to learn together, bounce ideas off each other, share recommendations, tips and advice. A group guide will lead you through processes and techniques and give you feedback that allows you to learn and develop your passion, your skill set, in a positive and friendly learning environment. Learn a language in the country of origin; take photographs in amazing locations in the company of a pro; no more excuses, now’s the time to make things happen.

Cultural discovery

There’s no quicker route to a country’s heart than through its cuisine, and cooking and food vacations are one of the best ways to unlock the language of the people. The rowdy markets, the flagstone kitchen floors, the chopping boards criss-crossed with a thousand cuts. From Crete to the Cote d’Azur, Santiago de Chile to Rio de Janeiro, if you’re hoping for a vacation that mixes cooking with cultural discovery then roll up your sleeves and feel the difference. Aside from focusing on food, there are plenty of alternative routes to help you uncover a country’s cultural identity. A photography tour in Vietnam and Cambodia, an archaeology expedition in Greece or Jordan, or language and walking vacation in Spain, spring to mind. Studying a particular subject in the company of a local expert is certain to help you discover the history of a region as well as finding out more about your special interest. And o there will be plenty of opportunities to stop for a snack or two along the way, obviously.

Weird and wonderful

The Arctic’s midnight sun can be just as fascinating as the Northern Lights – and both are weird and wonderful way to see a country from a whole new perspective. Getting slightly more obscure, photographing orangutans in Borneo is always worth adding to the special interest wishlist, or how about a Halloween vacation in Transylvania? Alternatively, get right into the realm of weird and wonderful on a trip to Mongolia. This is the sort of location to send your imagination into orbit with opportunities to go hunting with eagles, homestay with yak herders or channel your inner Genghis Khan as you train to be a warrior on the vast steppe. Although these sorts of tours are definitely left of center, they’ll allow you to discover a country from a unique angle. You’ll also develop your own extra special interest in the company of local people who view these sorts of activities as pretty much standard.
Photo credits: [Active and wellbeing: Ninara] [Learn and develop: Y'amal] [Cultural discovery: Pablo Dodda] [Weird and wonderful: traveling_louise]
Written by Chris Owen
Nile cruise vacation in Egypt

Nile cruise vacation in Egypt

Discover ancient temples & tombs & travel by Nile cruise boat

From US $2099 9 Days ex flights
Finland Northern Lights vacation, Wilderness Auroras

Finland Northern Lights vacation, Wilderness Auroras

Winter activities & Aurora hunting in Finland

From £1997 5 Days inc UK flights
Umbria cooking vacation, Italy

Umbria cooking vacation, Italy

Italian cooking in a farmhouse between Umbria and Tuscany

From 1820 5 Days ex flights
Jordan archaeology holiday, Beyond Petra

Jordan archaeology vacation, Beyond Petra

World famous monuments & breathtaking desert scenery

From US $2549 12 Days ex flights
Madagascar Photography vacation

Madagascar Photography vacation

Photograph Madagascar's unspoiled beauty on exclusive tour

From 6800 15 Days ex flights
Northern Lights photography vacation in Iceland, coast & ice

Northern Lights photography vacation in Iceland, coast & ice

Photographic trip in the stunning west and southeast Iceland

From £3450 10 Days ex flights
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