Happy holidays! 10 trips to lift your spirits


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Happy holidays! 10 trips to lift your spirits” was written by Rachel Dixon and Jonathan Thompson, for The Guardian on Friday 24th January 2014 21.00 UTC

Yodelling and hiking, Austria

Flex your vocal chords on Austria’s first yodel hiking trail. A cable car from Königsleiten – part of the Zillertal ski area east of Innsbruck – takes you up to 2,200m, then you hike back down (or do it the other way round for more of a challenge). Five interactive stations – including a walk-in cowbell and the biggest alpine horn in Europe – have yodelling information and recordings. You listen, then belt them out to the echoing hills. Singing and exercise both release endorphins, so you’ll feel great.
• May-October, trail free, cable car €9 adults/4.50 kids, one way, jodelweg.at

Zip Trek adventure, Lake District, UK

Go Ape’s treetop adventures are fun but the zipwires are always the best bit. This summer, the company is launching Zip Trek, a zipline-only course. With seven lines over 4.5km, it will be the longest such course in the UK. You’ll spend two hours flying past tall firs in Grizedale Forest – sure to put a smile on your face.
• Go Ape opens 15 February, dates and prices for Zip Trek tbc, 0843 770 4415, goape.co.uk/zip-trek-adventure

Good Life workshops, Cairngorms, UK

Shepherd's Hill in the Cairngorms
Shepherd’s Hill in the Cairngorms Photograph: PR

Embrace your inner Tom or Barbara on a new series of weekends in the Cairngorms. The winter workshop includes making sourdough bread and a ukelele singalong; in spring there’ll be butchery and a capella singing; summer and autumn will see home brewing, hen keeping and DIY. Expect lazy breakfasts, soup lunches, afternoon teas and big dinners around the kitchen table, plus walks and bike rides, a woodland firepit to sit around or, in the warmer months, lounging in hammocks and wild swimming.
• £425pp for three nights full board, first workshop 20-23 February, 01479 821643, holiday-cairngorm.co.uk

Chanting, Corfu or Costa Rica

New-age musician Deva Premal runs chanting holidays in Corfu and Costa Rica. Each day starts with two hours of “ecstatic chant” – mantras, songs and circle dances – with further sound exploration in the evenings. By day, you can swim, sunbathe, explore, surf or ride. The Corfu retreat takes place in Magoulades village, in the north-west of the island. The Costa Rica trip is based at Blue Spirit, a hilltop retreat in Nosara, which overlooks a three-mile long, white sandy beach.
• See devapremalmiten.com for dates. Corfu: six days €607pp, with breakfast and lunch but not dinner, flights, or accommodation, which costs from €15 a night. Costa Rica: seven days €750pp, including workshops, but not flights or accommodation, which costs from 0 a night full board

Wellbeing yoga, Miami

Wellbeing yoga retreat  at the Standard, a boutique hotel in Miami Beach
Photograph: PR

This new yoga break at the Standard, a boutique hotel in Miami Beach, is for hipsters, not hippies. The swimming pool has underwater music and DJs. One private yoga lesson and a daily group class are included and you can pay for more. You also have unlimited use of facilities including Miami’s only hammam and a hot tub with waterfall – plus a massage and a bathing treatment. Bike hire is free for guests, so you can cycle to South Beach.
• From £587pp for five nights B&B, flights extra, 020-7644 6111, wellbeingescapes.com

Spirit festival, Bali

At this annual yoga, dance and world music celebration in Ubud, there are more than 150 workshops led by inspirational speakers, special classes for children, evening performances and Balinese street food. You’re doing good too: in six years, the festival has raised ,000 for local charities.
• From 5pp for six nights B&B in a homestay, flights extra, +628 11 392 2293, balispiritfestival.com

Swim with pigs, Bahamas

Wild swimming pig at Staniel Cay in the Bahamas.
Photograph: Alamy Photograph: Alamy

Swimming with dolphins is a common bucket-list goal, but how about doing it with pigs? The feral porkers of Big Major Cay, an uninhabited island in the Bahamas, enjoy a dip and will swim out to meet visitors, who take them treats. Regular boats take guests to Pig Beach from swanky Fowl Cay resort , a costly private island with six villas. Those on smaller budgets could try Exuma Cays Adventures, which runs island-hopping day trips including Pig Beach.
• 0pp, +1 242 357 0390, exumacaysadventures.com

Ballooning, Bhutan

Bhutan claims to be the happiest nation on Earth, based on its (own) gross national happiness. True or not, guests at the new Gangtey Goenpa lodge are sure to be in a good mood. The luxury lodge has floor-to-ceiling windows with views across the valley, and the 12 bedrooms have fireplaces and rolltop baths. This summer, the owners are launching hot-air balloon flights – the world’s highest-altitude commercial balloon flights and a spectacular way to experience Bhutan. But the price may not make you quite so happy …
• Doubles from 0 a night B&B, ballooning 0pp, +975 2 34 0943, easternsafaris.com

Learn to be a cowboy/cowgirl, Australia

Cowboy skills in Bingara, New South Wales
Photograph: PR

Always wanted to be a cowboy? Have fun learning the ropes at Garrawilla, a working farm in Bingara, New South Wales, where you get to shear sheep, muster cattle, and do ranchwork such as fencing. You’ll sleep soundly in the farmhouse after hard work and home-cooked food. On the last day, you can ride the horses to the river and swim with them, then have a few beers with local stockmen. Happy days.
• From £560pp for four nights all-inclusive on the ranch and two nights B&B in Bingara, including transport from Sydney but not international flights, 020-8144 5990, golearnto.com

Sailing and meditation, Caribbean

It’s hard to be grumpy when you’re sailing around the Windward islands on a luxury catamaran. Yemaya Mystery offers “adventurous holidays with awareness of nature and space for reflection”. In practice, this means sailing from bay to bay, hiking on the islands plus snorkelling or diving. There is active meditation in the morning, perhaps on a deserted beach, and silent meditation in the afternoon. To complete the sense of freedom, you can get naked: there are places left on a naturist version of this holiday (departing 31 March). Don’t worry: clothing is de rigueur on other dates.
• Seven nights from €890pp, including most meals but not flights or transfers, +1 473 538 8704, yemaya-mystery.com

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