Find out more about Cathy Toogood
Get your holiday mojo back
If your 2013 summer holiday left you feeling a little flat, or perhaps you didn’t go away as nowhere took your fancy, you may feel like you have lost your passion for holidays.
Your main getaway should be one of the most exciting times of the year, so if you’re bored of your normal two-week beach break, it’s time to change your routine and add some sparkle back to your valuable time away.
Here we offer up inspiration on breaks with a difference to help you get your holiday mojo back – whatever your taste.
Love your food?
If food plays a big part in your holidays and you love trying new dishes while you’re away, why not plan a trip around your passion?
Fans of Italian food should head to Bologna, often known as “La Grassa” (the fat one), in the north of the country. Here local specialities such as mortadella (sausage), tagliatelle, ragu and tortellini will have your mouth watering. And, if you want to know how to recreate your favourite dishes when you get home, book yourself into one of the cookery classes on offer in the city or, for even more serious foodies, enrol on a course at the city’s dedicated gelato university.
Other good options for food lovers include a trip to Granada to sample some of Spain’s best tapas, Lyon to try some world-famous French food or, closer to home, Padstow to tuck into seafood and pasties, or even to treat yourself to a meal in one of Rick Stein’s restaurants.
Or perhaps you’re a wine enthusiast?
The ultimate trip for those who love the finer things in life has to be to the Champagne region in France to sample the sparkling delights from the vineyards. And, despite the sophistication of the drink on offer, this type of holiday needn’t cost a fortune as you can travel to the area in your own car on a ferry or the Eurotunnel, hop on the Eurostar from London then rent a car, or grab a cheap flight to Reims. If you want to extend your break, you could even add on a few days in Paris at the end of your trip.
An alternative option for those in search of some of Spain’s most celebrated red wines is a trip to the Rioja region in the north of the country. Keep your costs down by booking a low-cost flight to Bilbao then hiring a car, and if you want to combine your indulgence with a beach break, head north to the Spanish coast after your vineyard trip to stay in a seaside resort such as San Sebastian.
Fancy an active break?
Perhaps lying on a beach for two weeks leaves you feeling twitchy and irritable? If so, there are plenty of destinations around the world where you can enjoy an active break while experiencing new cultures, sights and sounds.
For example, if the Tour de France inspired you to get on your bike, or if the images on your TV have made you want to try some of the routes yourself, plan a trip to the French island of Corsica to tackle some of the challenging routes that made Chris Froome and co. break out in a sweat. Alternatively, take inspiration from the current big biking race, La Vuelta, and head to Spain to take on routes in areas including Andalucia and Catalonia.
Other active options include a walking break on Crete taking in the rugged landscape and the historic sights, or an active break on Tenerife scaling the heights of Spain’s highest mountain, Mount Teide, or exploring the underwater world while on a diving trip from the island.
Love nature and wildlife?
If you love spotting wildlife, add some excitement to your next trip by planning a holiday to visit some of the world’s most amazing creatures. Combine a city break in Reykjavik with a whale watching or bird watching adventure then sit back to unwind in one of the country’s geothermal pools. Or, if you are planning next summer’s getaway already, swap the beach for a whale safari in Norway followed by a trip through the fjords and mountains.
For a blast of late winter sun, Sri Lanka is the perfect destination to combine beaches, culture and a safari in Yala National Park to see animals including leopards, sloth bears and elephants. And the good news for those who are keeping an eye on their budget is that the country offers excellent value for money as shown when it came joint top of the Post Office’s Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer 2013.
If you love wandering around art galleries admiring the work of both new and world-famous artists, take inspiration for your next trip from some of the big exhibitions that are on around the world.
If you’re looking to get away in the next month, plan a trip to Berlin to enjoy six days of exhibitions, screenings and performances as part of Berlin Art Week from September 17-22. While you’re in the city, you could also take in even more culture by planning trips to see the home of the German Parliament, the Reichstag, and Museum Island.
Alternatively, if you want to see Venice without the summer crowds, head to the unique city this autumn to experience the Biennale exhibition and to look around ‘Leonardo Da Vinci: The universal man’ held at the Accademia which brings together drawings that have not been seen together since 1980.
Fancy something different?
Or, perhaps you’re looking for a holiday to teach you something new and even to ignite a new passion? If so, think differently this year and consider a trip to Seville to learn how to flamenco or Cuba to brush up on your salsa moves.
Or, perhaps you fancy something more arty such as lessons to draw manga cartoons in Japan, willow weaving in Somerset or even an art safari in Africa?
So there’s no excuse! Get out and explore the world on your next getaway and get your holiday mojo back.
Have you been on a holiday with a difference that you’d recommend? Leave a comment below and let us know.