We like to escape the cold and gloom of February so we are heading south once again to the Canary Islands and visit the island of Gran Canaria with its rugged, beautiful and in places amazingly green countryside. We visit hidden hamlets and explore the ancient volcanic landscape on our walks and come across many unusual and exotic looking plants such as giant sow thistles, succulent Aeoniums and huge Euphorbias as well as pretty little sand crocuses and Dipcadi – the brown ‘bluebell’. It is a good place to see trumpeter finch, Bertholis pipit and, of course, the canary. Our hotel is quietly situated in a small coastal village close to lagoons and pristine beaches and we are able to enjoy some excellent fish suppers.
£1,350 Half Board – based on sharing twin room.
Single Supplement £100
Just across the sea from Southern Spain are the Atlas Mountains in the northwest of Africa which extend from the Atlantic Ocean and eastwards for a distance of approximately 500 km. We are based just half an hour inland from the coast in the Anti Atlas in a rural village overlooking limestone pastures and on the edge of an ancient caravan route. Our delightful hotel is founded on strong environmental principles with food, which has a French twist, being of the highest quality. We can breakfast in the lovely gardens and watch Moussiers’ redstart and laughing dove. We will have the chance to learn about the Berber way of life and see some interesting wildlife including a range of plants such as endemic lavenders and palm trees and may come across camels as they head for green pastures. We hope to see the endangered (and rather ugly) bald ibis.
£1,400 Half Board based on sharing twin room.
Single Supplement £130
Galicia, situated in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, is known for its patchwork of green fields as well as its spectacular fjord-like rias (drowned estuaries) and gentle rolling landscape that are ideal for some lovely walks. It has a distinct culture from that of the rest of Spain due to its perceived identity as a “Celtic” rather than a “Spanish”, sub nation. Don’t expect flamenco as bagpipes are the traditional instrument and although paella is unlikely to be served there is plenty of good seafood on offer. Our nearest town is Arzua and the surrounding countryside gives wonderful glimpses of old Galicia. Old ladies in black walk solitary cows along the road and octopus is cooked in copper cauldrons at country markets whilst men of all ages in flat caps pass the time of day in the cafes and bars. We spend the week in a Pazo – a beautifully restored manor house in a peaceful rural area although not far from the pilgrimage route of Santiago.
£1,560 Half Board – based on sharing twin room.
Single Supplement £190
Among Grecophiles the Zagora villages in the Epirus region rank at the top of the list of favourite places yet it is a region that is surprisingly little known. The beautiful mountain scenery and flowers combined with astonishingly pretty villages make this a wonderful escape. We visit dramatic Vikos Gorge and Ioannina with its Ottoman influence and have a relaxing week discovering the traditional way of life. Our hotel at an altitude of 1000m has stunning views over Mount Tymfi and, as always, eating out in Greece in the evenings is a delight and great fun. We come across a wide range of interesting plants and butterflies and listen to the nightingale and watch out for birds of prey.
£1,425 Half Board based on sharing twin room.
Single Supplement £130
We are very pleased to return to this wonderful family run hotel in South Tyrol, which is surrounded by colourful haymeadows, mountain streams and jagged peaks. On gentle walks through woodland and on the highest Alps in Europe we discover an enormous range of alpine plants. Birds include nutcracker, ring ouzel and a variety of woodpeckers. We come across romantic ruined castle and visit Bolzano museum to the internationally famous ‘ice man’, our hotel has an indoor swimming pool with fantastic views and fabulous food and wine. Thanks to the nearby cable car we can reach the high Alps with little effort.
£1,550 Full Board based on sharing twin room.
Single Supplement £80
Having explored several parts of Croatia over the years we are visiting the neighbouring country of Montenegro with its beautiful limestone scenery and deep gorges. The coast has long been a hotspot for various celebrities but inland it is another world. There are extensive meadows, mountain pastures and varied mixed woodland. We visit the Biogradska Gora National park and a sheep farm and although it is mountainous country our walks are leisurely. This is a good place to see some unusual and late flying butterflies. We also visit Skadar Lake for birds including pelicans. Our hotel is situated on the edge of an interesting small town surrounded by woodland and offers excellent food and wine. There is also a large indoor swimming pool.
£1,450 Half Board based on sharing twin room.
Single Supplement £150
Looking ahead to June 2020 – we are planning to visit Georgia. Everything about the Great Caucasus is awe-inspiring. The mountains are breathtakingly beautiful with many peaks reaching over 5,000m and they dominate the landscape of the whole region. Much of the range lies above the treeline which has been lowered by millennia of grazing and clearance and huge areas of open alpine grasslands, cliffs, screes, snowfields and even glaciers provide homes for a huge range of wildflowers. The mountains sweep from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea, while the central region is characterised by a distinctive steppe habitat.
If you would like further details please contact us.
Photos courtesy of sv:User:Ojj! 600 and Илья Бунин CC BY-SA 4.0
During the last year N & S WILDLIFE HOLIDAYS has supported Plantlife’s Rare Plant Areas Project in Norfolk and Suffolk by making a donation to help protect much loved plants such as fen orchid, Breckland thyme and Italian catchfly.