As lockdown laws are easing and borders in Europe are opening, the thought of travelling again is shifting from a quarantine dream to a reality.
It’s more important than ever to support the local communities who rely on tourism, and Europeans are lucky to have an incredibly diverse range of destinations on our doorstep. That’s why we’ve created our new range of Intrepid Retreats so you can embark on adventures a little closer to home. After months in lockdown, it’s going to be difficult to decide where to go first, so we’ve rounded up ten unique experiences you’ll have on an Intrepid Retreat in Europe.
1. Visit a family-run loukoumia workshop in Greece
Get a taste of the sweet life at a family-run loukoumia workshop on our Greece Retreat. Also known as Greek Delight, the most famous of these colourful treats are found on the Greek island of Syros, the capital of the Cyclades, where you’ll be based on this trip. The loukoumia on Syros is said to be the most delicious as a result of the brackish water sourced from the mountainous areas of the island. During the workshop visit you’ll meet the family who run it, learn how the treats are made, and of course sample the local delicacies yourself!
2. Stay on a sustainably run farm in Iceland
Upon arrival in Iceland, you’ll notice something doesn’t look quite right. The landscape is striking and sprawling, but there are almost no trees. Deforestation, overgrazing, and volcanic ash have led to Iceland’s uniquely barren topography. On Intrepid’s Iceland Retreat, you’ll stay in family-run accommodation connected to a sustainable and responsible farm. The family started a tree planting project to fight deforestation and lower their carbon footprint, and during the summer months you’ll have the opportunity to do the same by planting trees yourself. They also produce almost all their food locally and you’ll get to enjoy some wholesome farm to table meals during your stay.
3. Explore the home of Prosecco in Italy
If the first thing on your bucket list is to fill the bucket with Prosecco, then you’ll delight in exploring the Veneto region on our Italy Retreat. You’ll visit the birthplace of bubbly, the gorgeous wine-growing area of Valdobbiadene (try saying that after two or three glasses). Unlike Champagne, Prosecco is defined by a grape rather than a region, but there’s no doubt that the best Prosecco in the world is found here. Stop off at two vineyards along the way, where you’ll learn about the history of the region and the popular wine, and try a little for yourself (or a lot!).
4. Attend an intimate Fado show in Portugal
Fado literally translates to “fate” and is Portugal’s version of the blues. On Intrepid’s Portugal Retreat in Porto and the Douro Valley, you’ll experience an intimate Fado show at a small local theatre. The music is soulful and achingly beautiful, usually a vocalist accompanied by an acoustic guitar, and hearing it performed live is a memory that will stick with you long after your holiday is over. But you can’t visit Porto without sampling the iconic drink that’s named after the city. After the show, your host will take you to taste some local Port – saúde!
5. Spend a day at sea with a local fisherman in Croatia
Despite its booming popularity, there are still parts of Croatia that remain undiscovered by tourists. With a population of around 800, Lastovo Island is one of those special gems and will be the base for your Croatia Retreat. You’ll experience the local’s self-sustaining lifestyle first-hand when you spend a day at sea with a fisherman and his wife, helping them bring in the day’s catch and learning about their way of life on the peaceful island. After the hard work is done, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labour and tuck into a delicious seafood lunch prepared on board the ship.
6. Visit a Sea Turtle rescue centre in Turkey
When thinking of a holiday in Turkey you’ll likely conjure up images of buzzing bazaars and magnificent mosques, but you might be surprised to learn that over half of the entire world’s population of Green Sea turtles can be found nesting in Turkey. On Intrepid’s Turkey Retreat you’ll spend a morning at the Dalyan Sea Turtle Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre at Iztuzu Beach. During your visit, you’ll hear a talk from one of the centre’s experts, and learn about their conservation efforts as well as the rehabilitation of injured Green Sea turtles. Intrepid Travel will also make a donation to the centre on behalf of each traveller in the group.
7. Hike the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco
If you’re looking to distance yourself from the modern world, then hiking through the High Atlas Mountains is the perfect escape. On Intrepid’s Morocco Retreat you’ll embark on a half day trek through remote Amazigh villages and witness their unique way of life. The experience is not only culturally immersive, but also naturally beautiful. You’ll feel like you’re on the top of the world as you navigate your way across mountain pastures, running streams and terraced farmland, and you’ll be rewarded with breath-taking panoramic views. At the end of hike you’ll sit down to lunch with a local Amazigh family and learn more about life at the foothills of the Atlas mountains.
8. Immerse yourself in Bedouin culture in Jordan
On Intrepid’s Jordan Retreat, you’ll finish a hike through Little Petra at a Bedouin camp and experience their boundless hospitality. Visitors to this camp provide the local Ammarin tribe with a sustainable income, which is crucial for preserving the traditional Bedouin way of life, as well as the natural environment. During your visit, you’ll be able to take part in some day-to-day activities such as baking bread, or participating in a culturally significant (and delicious) coffee ritual. You may even be treated to mesmerising music played on the traditional instruments known as the Rababa and Shabbabeh.
9. Tour a whisky distillery in Scotland
If you walk into a bar in Scotland and ask them for a lager with a dash of lime, they’ll tell you they don’t do cocktails. It is, however, the best place to get a good stiff drink, and if anyone knows about Scotch it’s the Scots. On Intrepid’s Scotland Retreat in Glencoe, you can wet your whistle during a visit to one of the oldest whisky distilleries, set against the stunning backdrop of the UK’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis. During the tour, a local expert will explain how the whiskey is made, and you’ll discover what makes it some of the best in the world.
10. Explore the rugged clifftops in Cornwall, England
The wild coastline of Cornwall can’t be compared to anywhere else in England. Dramatic cliffs frame pristine beaches, and unusual plants and marine life will make it hard to believe you’re still in the UK. Explore the diverse and fascinating coastline on Intrepid’s Cornwall Retreat, walking through craggy clifftops, sandy bays, and passed collapsed caves and shipwrecks. After a morning of walking, a traditional Cornish Pasty is in order. If you’ve only ever tried a Cornish Pasty at Victoria station while waiting for a train, you’re in for a treat when you taste the real deal at a family-run Chough Bakery in Padstow.
Based in the UK or Europe? Explore our new range of Intrepid Retreats and book your next adventure today.
All images sourced via Shutterstock.