Learn something new – but on holiday somewhere beautiful and warm

One of the great things about getting older is having more choice.

Once children have flown the nest, or at least got old enough to look after themselves, it’s time to start thinking about yourself again. And this is never truer than when picking holidays.

You no longer need to worry about if there’s a shallow pool for tots, or teen-activities for youngsters. No, instead the world becomes your oyster.

Whether retired or still working, the pleasure of picking whatever you want never wears thin. Often as we age, we start to want something more on holiday than just to flop out on a beach lounger, or spend every day looking at sights. One of the best options for young-at-heart over fifties is an activity holiday.

At Flavours Holidays, the majority of guests are over 50. People are drawn to a choice of itineraries that provide something constructive to do every day. But we’re not talking full-on yoga retreat – these trips really are holidays with great food, wine, and beautiful sunny locations with time to relax. It could be cooking authentic Italian dishes with a local chef in a spacious Tuscan villa, Pilates on a terrace with a view of the sea in Amalfi, photography or painting in Venice with the help of patient instructive tutors, or learning Italian in Sicily – the appeal is that learning something new, or improving existing skills in a relaxed Italian location is a real pull. All of the holidays are available to all ages and all abilities, too.

A lot of guests on these trips are single. Some leave their partner at home, and others are widowed or divorced, or just plain solo travellers. It may be because there aren’t any single supplements or just that activities are done in small groups of like-minded fellow guests, but there is a convivial atmosphere and friendships are often built.

One guest, 65-year-old Caroline, a retired teacher, went on a Pilates holiday in Sicily partly to try and alleviate a sore hip, but also just to enjoy some sunshine. She says, ‘Our base was a beautiful, restored 19th-century villa in the olive and almond groves above Ragusa in southern Sicily. It was utterly idyllic, with a panoramic roof terrace where we’d do our Pilates, and a beautiful pool for holiday novels galore.’ She enjoyed the fact that it was a holiday with plenty of Prosecco and good food as well as Pilates. But there were also lasting benefits. She says, ‘The teacher Ros gave us each a personal Pilates plan to take home with us, and I do Pilates twice a week now, I’ve lost weight, too. I feel 40 years younger.’

Many guests return time and again to take a different course in another location, with 40% being repeat customers. Everything is kept local. There will be a trip to a nearby restaurant or vineyard perhaps, and a visit to one of Italy’s stunning cities or towns – whether in Puglia, Amalfi, Tuscany, Bologna, Sicily or Venice. Everything is paid for upfront, so there are no sudden restaurant bills to pay. And the food cooked at the villa locations is always prepared by a local chef. Language isn’t a problem either, as an English-speaking host accompanies each trip. New travellers often feel nervous but are quickly put at ease by the friendly host.

Company owner Lorne Blythe says, ‘I think trying a new skill or improving something we already enjoy keeps us feeling young. And why not do that somewhere beautiful in Italy. Makes sense to me, and I think to our many repeat guests. We’ve just celebrated the company’s 20th birthday and I’m thrilled so many people return to enjoy Flavours holidays.’

Visit or call the team on 0131 343 2500 for a brochure.


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