Directline Holidays, a leading online travel agent, explains it’s easy and cheap to find adventure closer to home for those who can’t afford to venture beyond Europe this year.
Maria Whiteman, Directline Holidays CEO, said: “Following the recent announcement of A-Level and GCSE results many will be looking to take a break to celebrate the end of all their studying and hopefully some successful grades.
“Historically the much-lauded gap year or extended six-week break was the holiday of choice, but significant increases in university fees alongside other tough financial realities means that many may be looking for an alternative adventure this year.
“We offer a number of shorter breaks which can provide some light relief at a much lower cost.
“A number of our holidays fill the gap for those looking to explore more or find a different kind of travel adventure and they are just as well suited to our older customers who might want to experience a taste of the long late gap year.”
Here are a selection of the best deals currently offered by Directline Holidays.
Trekking in Croatia
Trekking across mountains, national parks and stunning scenery may conjure up visions of New Zealand or Nepal, however Croatia offers stunning national parks at a fraction of the cost. Just a two-hour flight from London, it certainly beats a thirteen-hour or twenty four-hour flight to Nepal or New Zealand respectively.
Croatia has eight national parks, the most popular and the largest of which is Plitvice Lakes. The park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in recognition of its outstanding natural beauty, and has a grand collection of waterfalls, lakes, forests and diverse animal life to discover. The sixteen lakes are renowned for their distinctive colors, which change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight. Pathways and wooden walking trails make the lakes accessible to visitors after an adventure.
Horse riding in Tuscany
Horse riding may come from the gauchos that ride the pampas in Argentina, or from the Red Indians who rode across desert land in old western movies, but Italy’s own Tuscan region can offer just as spectacular terrain for an authentic riding holiday. Add a one and a half hour flight, as opposed to the thirteen hours to Argentina and it makes perfect sense.
Exploring the gentle forest trails, valleys and woodlands is suitable for all riding abilities and would suit families and couples alike. Experience the most captivating views as you learn to horse ride under the Tuscan sun. The area is also suitable for those keen to experience some true Italian culture.
Mountain biking in Austria
Mountain biking is big in the States, but it’s not necessary to cross the Atlantic Ocean to experience the ultimate ride. Think of Austria and the Sound of Music and untouched, mountainous terrain will come to mind. Austria has some beautiful and crowd free trails ideal for mountain biking, and many are just a stone’s throw from major airports.
Mountain biking is suitable for adrenaline junkies, or for all the family. Riding can be either as freeride, cross-country or tight singletrack, all of which are interlinked with cable cars to transport you high into the mountains.
Surfing in Portugal
The main surf hangout may be Bondi beach, but don’t overlook Portugal for some surf and sun. City breaks to Lisbon and Porto and beach holidays to the Algarve are more than a match for the twenty-hour flight to Australia’s counterpart.
Portugal is arguably the best location of mainland Europe for all types of water sports. With the Atlantic’s winds to increase the surf and aid sail power, and the Algarve’s beautiful beaches it has something for everyone. To top it off, Portugal’s laidback lifestyle makes it the perfect spot for downtime during an active holiday.