x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Travel Deals: Savour the isolation in Bolivia or the bustle of Istanbul

Pick from trips that include trekking across the salt flats of Bolivia, stay in a "smugglers' inn" in the Czech Republic or walk the wild landscapes of Madeira in Portugal.

Bolivia

See Bolivia with Wild Frontiers's "high and wild" trip, which takes visitors across diverse landscapes, from deep, steamy jungles to rolling plains. The 16-day adventure starts in La Paz, the busy capital surrounded by snow-capped mountains, going on to Holy Copacabana, a city once sacred to the Incas and situated on the shores of the sparkling blue Lake Titikaka in the country's north-west. Visit the silver mining town of Potosi before heading to Colchani for a trek across the famous Salar de Uyuni, salt flats complete with cacti rising surreally out of the salt deposits. There's also shopping in the traditional markets of Sucre and Tarabuco to enjoy.

The 16-day trip costs from £2,510 (Dh14,880) per person, including all accommodation, most meals and beverages, government passes and permits, entrance fees and all transport outlined in the itinerary. International airfare is not included. Visit www.wildfrontiers.co.uk or call 00 44 20 7736 3968 for more information.

 

Turkey

This five-day "Faces & Places" photo tour of Istanbul by Gulf Photo Plus is a wonderful way to explore the historic city. Hosted by Bobbi Lane and David Nightingale, the trip is fully planned, with scheduled photography trips to places of interest, such as Hagia Sophia, the Sultan Ahmed mosque, Grand Bazaar, the spice market, Galata Tower, Topkapi Palace and Beyoglu Istiklal Street. At the end of the trip, participants will produce a photo essay (which will be published at a later date) and take home a portfolio of their best shots. Participants need to bring along a digital SLR camera, lens, data cards, a laptop, a card reader and tripod.

The five-day tour will take place from November 8 to 12 and costs US$2,450 (Dh9,330) per person, including hotel accommodation (based on two sharing), breakfast and lunch, local transport, all instruction, admission fees to sites, a whirling dervish performance and a Bosphorus boat tour. International airfare is not included. Call 04 360 2365 or visit www.gulfphotoplus.com.

 

Czech Republic

Get away to the Czech Republic for a quiet stay in Pisarov in the Jeseniky Mountains near Zabreh, 200km east of Prague. Accommodation is in a spacious one-bedroom apartment in what used to be a "smugglers' inn" - the main room is a restored stone stable with high, arched ceilings, wooden floors and a wood-burning stove. The scenic highland setting means visitors can practically live outdoors - activities include cycling, cross-country walking, fishing, paragliding, kayaking and horse-riding. Or visit nearby places of interest, such as the Unesco-protected medieval cities of Olomouc and Litomysl, which are a day trip away. There are also several ski resorts in the area.

A stay in the one-bedroom house costs from £29 (Dh172) per person per night, including breakfast, all-day beverages and complimentary internet. A home-cooked lunch costs around £5 (Dh30) per person, while a two-course dinner costs around £15 (Dh89), including beverages. For more details, visit www.responsibletravel.com.

 

Portugal

This is a week-long walking holiday through the wild landscapes of Madeira, from leisurely strolls along narrow paths to tougher climbs along the jagged ridges of the volcanic peaks. Trek through Ponta de São Lourenço, a nature reserve with sweeping views over the Atlantic; trek through Torrinhas Pass to Encumeada; explore the town of Santana and the remote village of Curral das Freiras on foot; and spend the last two days in Funchal, the capital of Madeira, for a wander around mercado dos lavradores, the workers' market. The climb up Pico Ruivo (1862m), the island's highest peak, is the highlight of the week.

The trip costs £479 (Dh2,840) per person (minimum age is 16), and includes five-days of moderate walking, vehicle support, seven nights' accommodation, some meals, all local transport, and entrance to some sites. Departure on September 3. For more details, visit www.exodus.co.uk.

travel@thenational.ae