Change, they say, is as good as a rest – and even the shortest of short breaks offers an opportunity to dust off the cobwebs.

These days, lying beside a pool for days on end feels positively old-fashioned. Instead there are myriad ways to explore and activities to try, whether you like to swing a club, catch a wave, or simply lace up your walking boots and stroll off into the hills. Here Annabelle Thorpe, Editor at 101 Holidays gives us a round-up of getaways that deliver.

1. On Foot

There’s no better way to explore than on foot. A self-guided walking holiday allows you to get off the beaten track and immerse yourself in the local landscape and culture, whether hiking Ireland’s mystical Kerry Way or exploring the coast of Catalonia.

Headwater offers a great choice of self-guided walking short-breaks. Wine tourism is an increasingly popular way to spend a few days in rural Spain; a walking tour of Rioja offers the chance to walk part of the world-famous Camino di Santiago, and visit some of Europe’s best vineyards.

And if it’s spectacular scenery you’re after, head to the Lake District, where Ramblers Walking Holidays has a base, Hassness Country House, which offers a range of great-value hiking holidays.

2. By Bike

A cycling break doesn’t have to mean puffing your way up and down hills, there are plenty of easy, flat itineraries – with luggage transferred between hotels for you. Amongst the cycling short breaks offered by Inntravel, you can drink in the beautiful French countryside along with some of the country’s best vintages, with a four-night trip to the Loire, where the cycle routes are dotted with elegant chateaux, or discover the unspoilt (and mercifully flat) plains and villages of central Mallorca.

If you want to really expand your lung capacity, you can enjoy a few days mountain biking in the spectacular Italian Dolomites whilst softies can opt for an e-bike.

3. Mind & Body

Activity breaks can often be about more than just physically doing something – offering the chance to reboot your mind as well as your body. A yoga break is a great way to step off the hamster wheel for a few days, and polish up your poses somewhere exotic, such as Morocco.

And recent research has shown that spending two hours in nature has major health benefits; discover the spectacular landscapes and wildlife of somewhere like Iceland, where days can be spent on the water, spotting majestic orca whales, with the possibility of seeing the Northern lights in the evening.

Or, if you want a restorative winter break, the snow-capped wastes of Norway offer husky-sledding, snowmobiling and aurora-spotting tours.

4. Watery Pleasures

If you’ve always wanted to try surfing but feel slightly nervous of the actual waves, check in to the Merton Hotel in Jersey, and you can learn on a ‘Flowrider’, before tackling the real thing on St Ouen’s Bay.

Or book a cottage on the Cornish coast, dotted with surf schools offering stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and kiteboarding, as well as surfing. For something gentler, cruising along the Norfolk Broads is a great way to explore the unique landscapes, with plenty of opportunities for fishing, swimming and riverside walks.

5. Teeing Off

‘Golf is a good walk spoiled’, goes the quote – but actually a day’s golfing is a great way to get some exercise and improve your stroke on an unfamiliar course. Book The Link – a stunning lighthouse cottage in Norfolk, and you’ll be right by the renowned Royal Cromer 18-hole course.

Or, head to the south-west of France to play the 36-hole complex at the Golf du Medoc Hotel & Spa – with plenty of opportunities for wine tastings and spa treatments when you come off the green.

July 2019