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Italy, Greece, India, Sri Lanka

Going Solo Glorious Freedom

More and more of us are travelling alone – but out of choice, rather than necessity. The most typical reason is a proactive urge for some much-needed ‘me time’ and a rare chance to call all the holiday shots.....

Today’s single travellers span contented partners, career-breaking 30-year olds and unleashed retirees, all enjoying some glorious freedom. According to recent reports, the number of people taking solo trips has trebled since 2011 to one in six of us.

Explanations for this surge include the ease of navigating the world and staying in touch courtesy of technology, a chance to make new friends, and increased options for solos from group trips to hotels forgoing single supplements.

 

Keen to jump on the bandwagon? Including private trips to Sri Lanka, Tuscan culinary tours and unique wildlife expeditions, here are four ways to do so…

A private Sri Lanka adventure tour

We know Sri Lanka like the back of our hands – having created bespoke tours to the country for over 15 years. And we’re aware that solo trips require a particular sort of planning. There may well be some must-do’s on your list – perhaps this is the reason why you’re on a solo mission. Maybe it’s the need for a week of early morning yoga, or that once-in-a-lifetime chance to catch a sacred alms giving ceremony, that you just know your partner or family won’t be interested in.

We’ll advise on the best itinerary for you which includes places we think work especially well for single travellers. There’s challenging hikes on sacred monuments, where getting to the top of Sigiriya rock or Adam’s Peak will be a personal achievement. In lush-green ‘Hill Country’, the tea estate hotels have a convivial atmosphere where guests come together over afternoon tea. And there’s Galle and its old Portuguese fort, with blissful beaches in either direction and group-based bike tours of the cinnamon fields and lakes inland.

Once your itinerary is settled, we can carefully pair you up with a private chauffeur-guide, many of whom end up becoming lifelong friends, to make the trip even more enjoyable, easy and perfectly safe. An additional option is to stay with a friendly family for a day and get involved with daily tasks such as shopping at markets and preparing Sri Lankan favourites such as dahl and pineapple curry.

When to go: Sri Lanka can be visited all year but January – April are considered the best months.

Cultural and Culinary Tuscany

Tuscany can be tricky for solo travellers: its villas and hotels are mostly set up for couples or families, and single supplements can be brutal. A solution is newly available through Casali in Val di Chio, a wine and oil-making estate in the region’s beautiful east. Its owners, the Buccelletti family, have devised new seven-night, fully-inclusive small-group tours showcasing the real Tuscany. Taking up to eight guests and guided by locals, the tours have twin cultural and culinary focuses.

You’ll visit Montepulciano wineries for tastings, take a Tuscan cookery course and sample the Buccellettis’ favourite trattorias, gelaterias and aperitivo bars in vintage hilltowns like Pienza – famous for pecorino – and Cortona, where Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed. Casali’s beautifully renovated farmhouse makes a lovely place to lay your head. Single rooms are available, and there are no single supplements.

When to go: We recommend visiting from April to October to enjoy the best of the weather.

Find Euphoria through Wellness

Heard about metabolic medicine? The study of how our health is impacted by what we eat is the  spa world’s latest obsession, and the main focus at Greece’s newest destination spa. As Hippocrates put it “Let food be thy medicine.” Pinkish in colour, sleekly sharp-angled and swaddled by Peloponnese pine forest, the Euphoria Retreat offers bespoke programmes devoted to aims such as detoxing, de-stressing and weight loss, each of them blending Ancient Greek and Chinese philosophies. Or you can also simply book in for a soothing yoga retreat.

Whatever your choice, that innovative focus on nutrition also sees every guest’s diet customised. With meals enjoyed overlooking citrus groves or under  the mulberry trees on the terrace, we assure you, your appetite will never  be healthier. Accompanying it all are daily group meditation, Pilates and hill-walking sessions. The Peloponnese location, meanwhile, enables a cultural contrast too – with the Byzantine  town of Mystras on your doorstep.

When to go: Fantastic to visit all year round.

Track the ‘Mountain Ghost’

‘Once in a lifetime’ is an overused phrase – but we think this wildlife trip demands it. New for 2019, is an intimate small group winter expedition to Himalayan region of Ladakh in search of the majestic snow leopard.

You’ll be accompanied by one of the region’s most expert snow leopard guides, boosting your chances of seeing the ‘mountain ghost’ as these elusive felines are known. You may also spot – and photograph – other exceptional wildlife such as ibex, Tibetan antelope, blue sheep, shapo, marmot and Tibetan hare.

Not that wildlife is the sole reason to go. Known as ‘Little Tibet’, Ladakh and its awe inspiring scenery feels like some sort of last frontier. The 12 night itinerary will also see you  venture out on foot, and by 4×4 vehicle, gaining an insight into the region’s fascinating folklore, customs and traditions. It also includes a week spent living with a Ladakhi family: a privileged opportunity to learn about their culture and lifestyle.

When to go: Between December and April but there are limited departures, so it’s best to speak to the team for latest in availability.

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