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Escape to the sun for your outdoor fix with one of these short haul breaks

Hiking in Morocco

 

From the colourful city of Marrakesh to the foothills and then the higher slopes of the Atlas Mountains, where you can walk amongst fertile green valleys and panoramic uplands, this is a great way to prepare for summer hiking on home turf.

The weather is ideal for hiking, warm sunshine and warm breezes during the day (but cool evenings so take an extra layer or two) and as a cultural as well as an outdoor experience Morocco is hard to beat.

Check out our feature on hiking in Morocco here

www.inntravel.co.uk

 

Mountain biking in Provence

The single track trails above Sospel in the Alpes-Maritime region are dry and dusty pretty much year round. They wind through olive groves and old medieval hill towns, with views to the south of the Mediterranean (you can ride all the way to the sea if you fancy a dip) and with over 170km of marked trails in the area you don’t necessarily need a guide, although hiring one will give you insights into the additional 430km of local trails.

For more on mountain biking around Sospel check out our feature here

www.trans-provence.com  

 

Diving in Egypt

The warm, clear waters of the Red Sea make this one of the best destinations on the planet for both novice and expert divers; or you can simply snorkel, since even without SCUBA gear you can see an amazing amount of sea life on reefs that are just yards from the shore.

There are literally hundreds of dive sites to explore at the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghada, Makadi Bay and El Gouna, varying from reefs to wrecks, and it’s also possible to dive with various species of shark at some sites.

For more on diving in Egypt check out our feature here

www.redseaholidays.co.uk

 

Kayaking in Menorca

Menorca’s 216-km long coastline is relatively unexplored and ideal for discovering by kayak. You can circumnavigate the entire island (it will take about ten days) or do shorter day paddles taking in a beautiful selection of coves, sea cliffs, sea stacks and some of the island’s 99 beaches (many only accessible by sea) on either a sit-on-top, which requires no previous experience, or a regular sea kayak for more experienced paddlers.

www.menorcakayak.com

 

Hiking in Madeira

The spectacular island of Madeira has a network of irrigation channels known as levadas, used to water sugar, banana and mango plantations, with footpaths which run alongside, and you can use the paths to explore Maderia’s  sub-tropical landscape, which varies from high moorland to dense forests.

The walking isn’t especially strenuous as the levadas follow the natural contours of the island, but nevertheless you can encounter some serious exposure on steeper hillside – and superb views to go with it.

www.responsibletravel.com

 

Climbing in the Verdon Gorge, France

The Verdon Gorge has some of the finest limestone climbing routes in the world, and is warmed by the Provencal sunshine year-round. There are routes for all abilities although you’ll need to be confident in taking on multi-pitch climbs on the awe-inspiring 400-metre faces, but it’s a great and easily accessible introduction to big face climbing.

You’ll see vultures glide past as you ascend, and once you clamber over the rim of the gorge at the end of your climb you’ll experience sensational views across Europe’s version of Yosemite.

www.alanduverdon.com

 

Cycling in Majorca

Many of the world’s top professional cycling teams use Mallorca for their winter training camps, and for good reason – virtually guaranteed sunshine as opposed to the howling winds and driving rain of the UK, well-maintained roads with relatively little traffic and a great selection of challenging climbs along with lovely mountain and coastal scenery.

What’s not to like? And what better place to get your cycling legs back for our Tour de France summer?

www.cyclemallorca.co.uk

 

Surfing in Lanzarote

Lanzarote is known as ‘the Hawaii of Europe’ on account of the big, clean, powerful swells that march onto its north shore every winter and spring. With water temperatures in the low 20s and air temperatures in the high 20s the most neoprene you’re likely to need is a shortie, and if the grinding reef breaks of places like La Santa don’t appeal there are mellower beach breaks along the spectacular black sand beach at Famara, which is also a popular spot for beginners to take to the waves.

www.surfschoolanzarote.com

 

Sailing the Algarve

Head to the eastern Algarve to learn how to sail in sunshine and warm sea breezes. You’re close to the border with Spain so you get to explore the many lovely anchorages, estuaries and marinas along the Portuguese and Spanish coastlines, whilst Gibraltar, Morocco and the Mediterranean are just round the corner for even more variety in terms of both sailing and culture.

www.farosailingschool.com

To read more about the Algarve check out our feature here

 

Paragliding in Andalucia

The dry, sunny climate and guaranteed thermals of Andalucia are ideal for paragliding whether you’re a beginner or expert, and the area around Algodonales is perhaps one of the most beautiful in which to fly as your soar above a countryside rich in almond, citrus and olive plantations, traditional whitewashed villages and Moorish castles and rugged mountains.

This is also a land of regular festivals and fiestas, so there’s also plenty of action when your feet are back on the ground. 

www.flyspain.co.uk