Top ten unusual combination holidays

Now before you start thinking that an unusual holiday combination might be going on safari with your sister-in-law or taking a camping trip with your nan, this top ten has been compiled to point you in the right direction.

These combinations combine classic holiday activities, such as walking, cooking and learning a language, with not so obvious choices, like walking with a donkey or archaeological sightseeing on a bike. Whatever you’re looking to do on holiday, these unusual combinations are guaranteed to get you thinking outside the box and away from the typical tourist trail.

1. Language lessons & walking, Spain

There’s just something about walking that inspires conversation. Maybe it’s because walkers aren’t facing each other or perhaps being outdoors allows minds to wander as free as feet. A holiday that combines Spanish lessons with walking provides ample excuses to test out new skills, or rekindle old ones. Spanish-speaking guides introduce you to mountain walking trails away from the crowds, and who knows, you might return able to pepper your conversation with native wildflower references.

Best time to go: May/June and September/Oct
Our top selling trip: Spanish course & walking holiday, Picos de Europa, Spain
Read more: Things to see & do in the Picos de Europa and Walking holidays in Spain travel guide

2. Winter activities & Northern Lights, Finland

An eight day holiday allows you to expand explorations through snow-covered wilderness on traditional non-polluting modes of transport such as snowshoes, husky-sleds and cross country skis. You’ll also get to hang out with über cool Finnish activity instructors and hosts. These local guys and gals will get you involved from day one with hot tubs, saunas and glasses of glögi creating a warm and cosy winter’s evening as you anticipate the advent of the Aurora Borealis.

Best time to go: December to April
Our top selling trip: Finland winter activity holiday & Northern Lights
Read more: Winter activity holidays in Finland and Northern Lights in Finland

3. Archaeology & cycling, Jordan and Greece

From the preserved provincial Roman ruins of Jerash in Jordan to Mycenae, Epidaurus and the ancient city of Eva in the Peloponnese, these two cultural heavyweights have long provided archaeologists with untold excuses to explore the ancient world. Now imagine combining an archaeology tour with cycling. Not only would you be doing your limbs and the environment a favour but you’d also be getting much closer to the key sites and local people. Cycling trip to Petra, anyone?

Best time to go to Jordan: March to June and September to December
Best time to go to Greece: March to June and September to October
Our top selling trips: Petra and Wadi Rum by bike, Jordan and Greece cycling holiday, archaeology tour
Read more: Cycling holidays in Jordan travel guide and Archaeology holidays in Greece

4. Cooking & walking, French Riviera and Italian Alps

Walking holidays in France and Italy should always include an impromptu alfresco picnic and there’s no finer food to unveil other than the leftovers from last night’s evening meal. Staying with former chefs, meeting local folk and going to farmers’ markets help you understand the farm to fork philosophy that underpins rural life. Learn, laugh and discover the essential ingredients that go into our extra special cooking combos.
Best time to go to French Riviera: April to November
Best time to go to Italian Alps: May to September
Our top selling trips: French Riviera holiday, walking, culture & cooking option and Italian Alps walking and cooking holiday
Read more: France travel guide and Italy travel guide

5. Biking & barging, Netherlands & Belgium

Experience the Netherlands and Belgium by bike and barge and you'll instantly be transported to a way of life that's as wonderfully old fashioned as windmills and horse-drawn carriages. Biking and barging is a brilliant way to limit your impact on the environment in between visiting the villages and provincial towns aligning the route from Amsterdam to Bruges via Gouda, Antwerp and Ghent. Get off the typical trail in the company of local folk without disturbing the peaceful waterside ambience.

Best time to go: April to June and September/October
Our top selling trip: Amsterdam to Bruges bike and barge holiday
Read more: Amsterdam to Bruges cycling tours
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Unusual combinations or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

6. Northern Lights & whale watching, Norway

Set sail around the fjords of Norway and there’s more than a couple of natural phenomenon to keep you up all night. Watching whales and dolphins, including orca, humpbacks and fins, is almost as exciting as catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights. Chances of successful sightings are extremely high, and sailing from Sørkjosen in the winter is the best way to stack odds firmly in your favour.

Best time to go: October to January
Our top selling trip: Norway Northern Lights and whale watching holiday
Read more: Killer whales in Norway and Northern Lights in Norway

7. Yoga & walking, Austria and Spain

Yoga and walking fit together like apple strudel and vanilla sauce or flamenco and tapas, which is why Austria and Spain are so highly regarded when it comes to stretching in sublime scenery. Getting to know local instructors, guides and hosts in the East Tyrol Mountains or against a Mediterranean backdrop never fails to rejuvenate the senses. Your visit will also provide a sustainable two way partnership with small communities living in remote rural regions.

Best time to go to Spain: March/April and October
Best time to go to Austria: May to September
Our top selling trip: Yoga and walking holiday in Spain and Austria yoga & walking holiday
Read more: Yoga holidays in Spain and Austria walking holidays guide

8. Walking with a donkey, France

Now this is a slightly unusual holiday combination but if you’ve always leaned towards the carrot rather than the stick when it comes to holidays with kids then walking with a donkey might just be the answer to all your ‘how much further?’ needs. Find out more about local French food producers, the countryside, and each other, as you take the reins and stroll between the farmhouses of Ardèche and the Rhône Valley.

Best time to go: April/May and Sept/Oct
Our top selling trip: Family walking holidays with a donkey, France
Read more: France family holidays guide and Walking holidays in France guide

9. Cycling safaris in Kenya & Tanzania

For an unusual, and exhilarating, way to explore east Africa, combine your safari game drives with cycling in Kenya and Tanzania. You’ll ride through the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, through coastal forests and villages, on a mix of paved roads and dirt tracks, for between 50 and 100km each day. Forget the 4x4s, two wheels is the ideal way to become closer to the nature, wildlife and culture in two of Africa’s most sensational safari destinations.

Best time to go: June to August
Our top selling trip: Biking holiday in Kenya and Tanzania
Read more: Kenya & Tanzania travel guide

10. Kayaking & foraging, Sweden

Escape into Sweden’s great outdoors as you take to the water by kayak and forage in the forests for seasonal ingredients. As a 6,000 island archipelago, Sweden is an exceptional location for a sea kayaking expedition and spending nights under canvas, wild camping, offers a unique experience for anyone looking to get back to nature. Juniper mayo and buckthorn jams are just the start of things to come on a kayaking and foraging adventure around Sweden’s Saint Anna archipelago.

Best time to go: June and September
Our top selling trip: Kayaking in Sweden, foraging and food
Read more: Kayaking holidays in Sweden
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Pierce Martin] [Language lessons & walking, Spain: Kamila Maciejewska] [Cooking & walking, French Riviera & Italian Alps: Anna Kaminova] [Northern lights & whale watching, Norway: Simon Infanger] [Walking with a donkey, France: Jerome Bon]