List 17 February

The best slooow trips

As the modern world can be oh-so hectic, we thought we’d show you some alternative ways to use your annual leave

Slow travel doesn't mean flopping on a beach – there are loads of great slow-paced trips that allow you to unwind and still have an adventure. From lazy floats down wildlife hugged rivers to tasty stays on chocolate plantations, there’s a leisurely trip for every type of traveller.

1. Laos – Board a slow boat

Link two travel faves on TravelLocal’s Slow Boat to Laos trip. Begin in the Thai city of Chiang Rai, famed for its Buddhist temples and night bazaar, before boarding the Luang Say to begin the slow, meandering two-day cruise along the Mekong to Luang Prabang. Once in Laos, relaxed excursions to the languid 4,000 Islands (Si Phan Don) and an elephant ride on the little-visited Bolaven Plateau round off this leisurely voyage.

  • Who: Travel Local (01865 242709, www.travellocal.com)
  • When: Tailormade
  • How long: 12 nights
  • How much: from £1,595 (excl flights)

2. Italy – Taste life among the lemon groves

Savour the rustic dolce vita on G Adventures’ Local Living Sorrento. Stay on a working organic lemon farm, a short walk from the picturesque Amalfi Coast. Wake each morning to the zesty farm-fresh air, before heading off on a range of slow-paced activities, from pizza-making demonstrations to a guided history walk of Pompeii. Don’t forget to try the farm’s homemade limoncello – delicious!

  • Who: G Adventures (0844 272 0000, www.gadventures.com)
  • When: Set dates, Jun-Oct
  • How long: 7 days
  • How much: from £899 (excl flights)

3. Austria – Try traditional lakeside living

Ambling more than rambling is the ethos of Adagio’s The Austrian Lake District tour. Based in the traditional lakeside village of Alatussee, this rejuvenating break includes tours into the surrounding hills, a boat trip to Kamersee Lake and a cable car to the Dachstein Ice Caves.

  • Who: Adagio (01707 386700, www.adagio.co.uk)
  • When: 15 & 22 Jun, 31 Aug, 7 Sept 2014
  • How long: 8 days
  • How much: from £1,299 (incl flights)

4. Madagascar – Relax in a wildlife paradise

A super slow safari awaits on Audley’s Hidden Beaches’ Madagascar trip. Anjajavy is in a private nature reserve: spot colourful lovebirds while swinging in a hammock and hit the beach for great snorkelling and kayaking. Also, venture to Andasibe-Mantadia NP for sightings of sifaka, cat-like fossa and more.

  • Who: Audley Hidden Beaches (01993 838250, www.hiddenbeaches.co.uk)
  • When: Tailormade
  • How long: 10 nights
  • How much: from £3,874 (incl flights)

5. India – Float around Kashmir like a king

Relax in India on Wild Frontiers’ Kashmir: Garden of the Moghul Kings tour. Slowly drift in wooden shikaras from Dal Lake to a remote camp at Manasbal, following a watery trail first plied by Moghul rulers in the 17th century. Also, stay on a houseboat in Srinagar, walk in the Himalayan foothills and visit the snowy hill station of Gulmarg.

  • Who: Wild Frontiers (020 7736 3968, www.wildfrontierstravel.com)
  • When: 12 Jun, 31 Aug 2014
  • How long: 11 days
  • How much: from £1,850 (excl flights)

6. Channel Islands – Discover the UK’s most peaceful place

Retreat to the smallest and quietest of the Channel Islands on Channel Islands Direct’s Herm Short Break. Herm has no cars and no bikes; its only hotel has no TVs, clocks or phones in the bedrooms – this is a complete break from the 21st century. Spend days walking along the white sands of Shell Beach and sinking ales in the Mermaid, the island’s only pub.

  • Who: Channel Islands Direct (08444 937095, channelislandsdirect.co.uk)
  • When: Tailormade
  • How long: 3 nights
  • How much: from £379 (incl flights)

7. Ecuador – Take a wild cruise down the Amazon

All aboard for Tribes’ new Ecuadorian Amazon Cruise, an intrepid voyage down the Napo River. The Anakonda is one of only two boats cruising the Ecuadorian Amazon, giving a rare opportunity to see this unexplored jungle. It’s a luxury boat: its 18 suites have floor-to-ceiling windows, so you can observe wildlife from the comfort of your own bed. Guided walks, canoe rides and community visits take you even further into the forest.

  • Who: Tribes (01473 890499, www.tribes.co.uk)
  • When: Tailormade
  • How long: 4 days
  • How much: from £1,215 (excl flights)

8. St Lucia – Indulge in chocolate!

On Steppes Travel’s St Lucia tour you’ll stay on a working cocoa plantation, in rustic-chic lodges: it smells glorious. The food’s good too: from line-caught tuna with cacao pesto to St Lucian choc tart. Work it all off with walks along nature trails, a visit to the Botanical Gardens and snorkelling in the balmy Caribbean.

  • Who: Steppes Travel (0845 0756 079, www.steppestravel.co.uk)
  • When: Tailormade
  • How long: 12 days
  • How much: from £2,445 (incl flights)

9. Turkey – Sail the lovely Lycian Coast

Exodus’ Gulet Cruise combines discovery with relaxation. You’ll drift along the Lycian Coast on a traditional Turkish gulet, snorkelling, lounging and disembarking for excursions – to 300m-deep Saklikent Gorge, Myra’s Roman theatre and beaches aplenty.

  • Who: Exodus (0845 287 7411, www.exodus.co.uk)
  • When: Departures May-Oct 2014
  • How long: 8 days
  • How much: from £899 (incl flights)

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