By Laura Connor
The Costas offer a lot more variety for holidaymakers than just the traditional beach holiday as these offers show
The Costas offer more than just sun, sea and sand. Here’s our pick of the alternatives, whether you’re a foodie, a rambler or want to chill out
- GASTRONOMIC TOUR Eights nights from £1,135pp (flights extra)
Food is the star of this walking trip from the fields and forests of Navarre to the vineyards of La Rioja. Along the way you’ll sample fine wines and local produce such as asparagus, peppers and artichokes. After tucking into traditional dishes such as gorrín (roasted pig) or a fresh menestra (vegetable stew), work off the calories as you stroll past churches and hilltop villages. The final stop is Villabuena where you’ll tuck into Basque cuisine paired with local wines.
THE DEAL: An eight-night Basque Rioja Inn to Inn self-guided walking holiday costs from £1,135pp including breakfast, five dinners, four lunches, luggage transfers, GPS, maps and walking notes with Pura Aventura. Flights not included.
- HIDDEN GEMS 12 nights from £1,045pp
Uncover some of Spain’s less touristy towns on a coach tour of the white coast. You’ll find hidden gems such as peaceful Albir with its beautiful Blue Flag beach and palm-lined esplanade, charming Altea with its medieval cobbled streets, and the historic city of Burgos, on the Pilgrim’s Road to Santiago. After six nights at Los Alcázares you’ll also get the chance to visit Alicante and Murcia.
THE DEAL: A 13-day Delights of the Costa Blanca, Valencia, Burgos and Cuenca tour with Leger costs from £1,045pp, including 11 nights’ B&B, 10 evening meals, two packed lunches, Silver Service coach travel and ferry crossings.
- SPORTY BREAK Seven nights from £82 for up to six people (ferry crossings extra)
Whisk the family away to Camping Playa Brava, near the resort of Playa de Pals and 32 miles from Girona, for an active holiday. Set in a conservation areas near a wide sandy Spanish beach, the park offers swimming, tennis, football, mini-golf, canoeing and other activities. Nearby attractions include Llafranc, L’Estartit, Greek and Roman ruins at Empúries and Cadaqués plus two water parks.
THE DEAL: Venue Holidays is offering up to 20 per cent off bookings made before January 31. Seven nights’ self-catering in a four-bedroom tent for two adults and up to four children will now start at just £82. Ferry not included.
- ISLAND HIKING Seven nights from £869pp The second smallest Canary island, La Gomera is a 40-minute ferry ride from the hustle and bustle of its big sister Tenerife but remains gloriously unspoilt. Its rugged scenery of waterfalls, valleys, gorges and ravines makes it popular with hikers and ramblers. Hotel Jardin Tecina is perched on a clifftop and surrounded by gardens near an 18-hole golf course. There is a “harmony and fit programme” to get you in shape, with Pilates, step-toning, personal training and spiritual yoga.
THE DEAL: Fred Holidays offers seven nights’ half board at the Hotel Jardin Tecina from £869pp based on two sharing a standard room with a garden view, return flights departing from Gatwick to Tenerife on February 5 and ferry transfers.
- RIVER VOYAGE Seven nights from £1,090pp
Glide past some of southern Spain’s prettiest villages with a cruise along the river Guadalquivir on MS La Belle de Cadix. Starting in Seville, the trip will include stops at Cadiz for an excursion to Jerez and Manzanilla, both famed for sherry. There will also be tours of the spectacular 13th-century palace at Alhambra and the Moorish city of Cordoba.
THE DEAL: The Andalucia River Cruise and Seville trip costs from £1,090pp with Archers Direct, including Gatwick flights on July 2, seven nights’ full board, drinks, excursions and transfers. Regional departures available at a supplement.
- SINGLES HOL Seven nights from £745pp Solo travellers can kick back in the sun on a beach holiday on the Costa Brava. You’ll stay at three-star Hotel Stella and Spa in the quiet resort of Pineda de Mar. There will be lots of chances to mingle, with cookery workshops, barbecues by the beach and excursions to Barcelona, Girona, the medieval town of Hostalric and Canet de Mar.
THE DEAL: A seven-night trip with Friendship Holidays costs from £745pp including return Gatwick flights, transfers, half-board accommodation and excursions. Regional departures available at a supplement.
- CANARIES CRUISE Seven nights from £691pp
A cruise is a great way to explore the lesser known parts of the Canary Islands. As well as favourites such as Tenerife and Gran Canaria, Thomson Cruises’ Island Explorer trip takes in La Gomera, where you’ll find the spectacular Valle Gran Rey ravine, and the volcanic isle El Hierro, which is perfect for rambling.
THE DEAL: A seven-night cruise on Thomson Majesty costs from £691pp based on two sharing an inside cabin. Includes flights from Gatwick departing November 23, full board, transfers and tips.
- MOUNTAIN TREK Eight nights from £865pp (flights extra)
Take a walk on the wild side of the Mediterranean on a self-guided ramble through the Unesco-listed Serra de Tramuntana mountains. Starting in Palma, Majorca, and finishing in picturesque Alaró, which has dramatic mountain-top castle, this scenic hike is graded medium to hard. If you go in the first two weeks of February you can catch the spectacular almond blossom season.
THE DEAL: An eight-night On Foot Holidays trip costs from £865pp with B&B, one evening meal and luggage transfers. Flights not included.
- BIKE TOUR Six nights from £987pp (flights extra)
This easy cycling tour takes in the Catalan coast as you ride past unspoilt beaches, olive groves, peach orchards and pretty villages. You’ll spend two nights at 14th century Castell d’Emporda. just outside La Bisbal.
THE DEAL: A six-night trip costs from £987pp including breakfast, four evening meals, route maps, bikes and luggage transfer between hotels, which all have pools.
- HISTORY TRAIL From £570pp (flights extra)
This six-night tour starts in the city of Segovia with a self-guided walk through the medieval streets of this Unesco world heritage site. Next stop is the university town of Salamanca, where you can see the Casa Lis Museum of Art Nouveau and Art Deco and the breathtaking ornate architecture, including the Baroque central square. The final stop is Madrid for a tour of the capital’s museums and tapas trails.
THE DEAL: The Classical cities of Old Castile tour costs from £570pp including six nights’ B&B (two nights in each city), rail travel, maps and route notes. Flights not included.