Best of both worlds
By Martha Hales
Mixing it up on holiday is one of our specialities. Many of our itinerary ideas offer a range of activities designed to make your trip into a memorable adventure, and some of them include remarkable contrasts all within the same holiday - think urban and rural, nature and culture, mountains and coastline. Keep your travelling companions happy with a holiday that ticks everyone’s boxes with trips that embrace the contrast between action and relaxation, wildlife and street life or history and hedonism. Here are five of our favourite examples of holidays that embrace variety and offer the best of both worlds.
Enjoy the contrast between mainland Ecuador’s capital city sitting amid towering peaks and the sea-level wonders of the Galapagos on this exciting tour of the highlands and islands. Enjoy Quito’s historic core stuffed full of palaces, churches, cafés and plazas all basking at nearly 3,000 metres above sea level.
Explore Otavalo’s fabulous markets, the perfect place to pick up some local handicrafts, and discover the majesty of Cotopaxi National Park and its eponymous volcano which tops out at 5,897 snow capped metres. Transfer to the beautiful and fascinating Galapagos archipelago where human influence is minimal and nature has flourished in isolation, visiting many of the islands aboard a comfortable cruise.
From the monumental scale and grandeur of the imperial capital to the rural idyll of Tula, the contrasts between rural and urban Russia couldn’t be greater. Tour the most extravagant and stylish stations of the world’s most sumptuous metro, enjoy some Muscovite cuisine and browse the fabulous array of fashions at the renowned GUM department store.
Take a guided tour of the city’s major sights and hidden gems, marvel at the sheer enormity of Red Square and the beauty of St Basil’s candy coloured domes in Moscow, before venturing into the countryside and the fairytale town of Tula, its 16th century Kremlin and its rural setting.
A combination of mountain trekking and classic safari is on the menu if you book this Ugandan adventure. Encounter various habitat zones and unusual wildlife during your hiking tour of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park - will you be lucky enough to see chimps, blue monkeys, colobus monkeys or l’hoest monkeys? Or perhaps you will be focused on the incredible variety of birds present here, more than 200 at the last count, 17 of which are endemic to this national park.
After all that legwork, sit back and enjoy the show on various game drives and water safaris in the Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National Park, home to impala, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, elephant, waterbuck, bushbuck, crocodiles and kob along with the lions that stalk them. The birdlife here is also fantastic.
Experience the two sides of this beautiful Asian gem with this urban and rural tour of Northern Vietnam, where you can get to know the historic Old Quarter of Hanoi and the delicious street food on offer, renowned across Vietnam and beyond for its authentic and vibrant flavours.
Once you leave the buzz of Hanoi behind, explore the verdant valleys and impressive karst scenery around Ninh Binh’s rice paddies by ike and boat before taking an overnight train deeper into the mountainous north for a trekking adventure around Sapa and some of the minority villages of the Black H’mong, surrounded by incredible scenery and amazing crinkle cut hillsides of rice terraces.
Uncover the vibrant history and exciting wildlife on your next holiday when you book an Incas and Amazon tour in Peru, where the contrast between the ancient hilltop Inca relics and the steamy rainforest is startling. Learn about the Inca empire with a comprehensive visit to the Sacred Valley where you can browse the colourful markets at Pisaq, sample the fresh empanadas and pick up some handcrafted souvenirs from the local Quechua people, then discover the Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo.
Admire the mind-blowing setting and engineering of Machu Picchu before spending a few days immersed in the Amazon jungle, exploring waterways and looking out for caiman, hoatzin and a huge variety of insects, plants and birds.
Make it happen
All our itineraries are intended as inspiration, full of useful suggestions and ideas, but should you wish you can customise them to suit your preferences, contact our trusted local experts to do so. To find out more about the trip ideas above, click on the links in the text. To speak to someone in the TravelLocal office please call +44 (0)117 325 7898.