Holidays for older and retired couples
There’s a wonderful freedom to holidaying once work pressures have begun to abate and the kids have left home. Escorted tours and cruises are a great way to explore more challenging destinations, with someone else taking care of all the arrangements, but there plenty of companies offer individual tours too. Longer trips are more possible, and there is a huge range of activity holidays – from wildlife watching to wine-tasting – to explore.
An escorted tour – usually in a small group, with a pre-arranged itinerary and a guide to oversee all the arrangements – is an ideal way to explore destinations that might feel a bit daunting to travel to independently.
It’s one of the best ways to explore India, particularly if visiting for the first time; choose from laid-back Goa and Kerala in the south, to the historic palaces and forts of the Golden Triangle in the North. It also works out great value to take a private tour with chauffeur-driven car with TransIndus.
It’s easy to overlook the riches we have on our own doorstep, but there are wonderful cultural tours around the UK, exploring everything from the historic houses of the Cotswolds, to London museums and galleries.
Drifting along on the water is a wonderful relaxing way to spend a week or two, and there are plenty of ways to spend time on the water without being on a mega-sized cruise ship.
River cruises offer the chance to travel through countries on smaller boats, with plenty of time to get of and explore; head down the Nile from Aswan to Luxor to see Egypt’s unique ancient sites, including the Valley of the Kings and the ancient city of Thebes.
Francophiles can discover a new perspective on France with a luxury barge holiday, drifting through the Loire Valley, Alsace Lorraine or Burgundy. Or, for a low-maintenance, airport-free break, the Norfolk Broads offer a relaxed pace, great waterside pubs and a diverse array of birdlife, making it a great choice for twitchers.
In Scotland, how about sailing the Hebrides in a small crewed boat sleeping six to eight passengers. Explore the beautiful islands of Mull, Jura and St Kilda, and go fishing and swimming, set lobster pots and see dolphins, basking sharks, otters and sea eagles.
If group travel doesn’t appeal, there are plenty of companies that can put together self-drive road trips, in some of the most beautiful part of the world.
Or discover the unspoilt regions of Portugal on a gentle driving holiday, staying some of the network of historic pousadas dotted across the country. Prices start from just £445 including flights.
A trip to New England in autumn offers the chance to see some of the most beautiful fall colours along the planet, with stays in cosy atmospheric inns.
Closer to home, the dramatic peaks and beautiful glens of Scotland are ideal for a foodie road trip.
Good news for vinophiles – there’s never been a better choice of wine-themed trips, from walking breaks to gastro weekends. Spain, with its rich Riojas, has a wealth of vineyards to visit, with towns like the gastro-hub of San Sebastian to visit along the way.
For port lovers, there’s no better places than Portugal’s beautiful Douro Valley, and the vibrant city of Porto, surrounded by vineyards that produce the rich red wine. And these days you don’t have to go abroad to taste good wine; an increasing number of vineyards in the UK offer weekend wine breaks. I recommend the Three Choirs Vineyard in Gloucestershire.
If you’re more into wildlife than wine, how about a whale-watching trip to the Azores; Portugal’s most isolated archipelago, over 1,000 km west of Lisbon. A safari is one of the most unforgettable holidays you can take, whether visiting Kenya’s Masai Mara to witness the Great Migration, when millions of wildebeest and zebra gallop across the plains to greener pastures, or Botswana, which has some of Africa’s most elegant boutique lodges and small-scale wildlife viewing.
Sometimes, all that’s needed is a few days in the sun to rest and relax – particularly in the winter months. Madeira, with its beautiful gardens and dramatic coastline, has reliable sunshine throughout the year, with temperatures rarely dipping below 20 degrees. Malta is another reliable bet for autumn and winter sunshine; the island is steeped in history, particularly the UNESCO-listed city of Mdina.
Further afield, Barbados has a huge range of hotels and villas for all budgets, while the atmospheric and fascinating country of Oman offers the chance to discover the history and people of the Middle East while staying in luxury hotels either high up in the mountains or on the white-sand coast.
Also see the best holidays for younger couples.
Last updated: 5 March 2020