Perfect for Silver Travellers
A new tour company, SilverSpain, has come to my attention, offering healthy lifestyle breaks in Southern Spain, aimed at the fifty plus age group. We are the baby boomer generation who paved the way to sunshine holidays abroad in the 60’s and 70’s and we were all content to spend a week or two baking in the sun, with a drop of cooking oil rubbed in to help the tan along. These days we are older, and hopefully wiser, and some of us are looking for more than just a beach break.
SilverSpain recognise this and as they are based in Malaga, they know the area inside out and are familiar with all the best hotels and restaurants. With this in mid they have put together a series of SilverWeeks (Monday-Friday with options to extend), focusing on Healthy Mind, Healthy Body, Healthy Eating and Healthy Relationships.
Each programme has been carefully thought out to offer an all-inclusive experience that will leave you refreshed and hopefully rejuvenated, and show you the ‘other’ side of the Costa del Sol.
I took a taster trip recently, as part of a small group, which highlighted some of the experiences that will be included in the different programmes. We stayed at two of their popular hotels, firstly the very luxurious Hydros Hotel & Spa in Benalmadena. Despite seemingly being part of a much larger complex, the Hydros is a boutique style property, and certainly very stylish with a cool marble reception area leading through to large windows overlooking the Mediterranean. My room had plenty of space and a real luxury was my own hot tub on the deck, overlooking the sea. An early morning soak watching the sunrise was obligatory.
Later in the week we moved inland to the wonderful lakes and mountains around Velez Malaga. Our base for two nights was La Vinuela Hotel, a beautiful spa resort situated in heart of the Axarquia area, alongside a large lake and surrounded by attractive gardens.
At both hotels we ‘enjoyed’ a morning workout session with SilverSpain’s personal trainer, Leo. You can forget the pain when you have a stunning view over the Mediterranean, or across a shimmering lake to the mountains beyond. Exercise programmes, gym sessions, and guided hikes are all included in the Healthy Body Week.
Our meals were taken at a variety of different restaurants and hotels and menus embraced the Spanish love of cooking, using local ingredients where possible. Our first breakfast included a delicious and extremely healthy ‘smoothie’ to restore and revive after our exercise class.
Food is an important part of anyone’s holiday and SilverSpain’s Healthy Eating Week gives you a ‘Taste of the Mediterranean’ and the chance to visit an organic vineyard, the family owned Joaquin Fernandez Bodega, and to learn the art of cooking an authentic Andalusian paella. We also sampled some incredible tapas at El Convento Restaurant where the award-winning chef is pushing boundaries with edible flowers to create mini masterpieces of deliciousness.
Our activities were real highlights and the team at SilverSpain have worked hard to offer some unique opportunities. A guided walk around Guadalhorce Nature Reserve is a real hidden gem, within sight of the hustle and bustle of Malaga city, and a great place to birdwatch, especially in the early morning or evening.
A visit to the beautiful Desfiladero de los Gaitanes Natural Park provided the chance to take a peaceful hike through the fragrant pine trees, followed by a visit to Shanti Som Wellbeing Retreat, THE place to come and unwind and shake off the stress of modern life. Tucked away in an idyllic setting this is a very special place that instantly calms and revitalises. We took part in a Mindfulness session and all left feeling chilled and focussed.
A day excursion to nearby Cartama gave us the chance to call in at Hacienda La Esperanza, a family owned traditional country house where the owners breed and train Spanish bred horses. We were welcomed with open arms and treated to an unforgettable display of horsemanship and Flamenco dancing. This venue is not usually open to the public so we felt very honoured to be invited.
Each ‘SilverWeek’ offers a different itinerary, but all spend some time in the city of Malaga. Often overlooked as just a gateway to the Costa del Sol, Malaga has so much to offer. Beautiful sandy beaches with authentic ‘chiringuito’ beach restaurants serving up the freshest seafood. We had a delicious lunch at El Cachalote where the sardines are straight from the sea and onto the barbeque. As well as a walking tour to admire the splendid architecture, (and shops!), we spent a couple of hours chilling out at the Hamman Al Andalus Arabic Baths which included a divine massage and restored us for the tapas tour that evening. We visited three well known bars starting with the oldest bar in town La Antigua Casa de la Guardia. Then onto the ever popular El Pimpi. Finally, up to the rooftop to sip wine and watch the dramatic sunset at Terraza del Alcazaba.
I came home very impressed with this new take on a break in the sun. The SilverSpain team have put a lot of thought into the SilverWeeks and for more information on each of the itineraries, departure dates and prices see www.silverspain.com