For me, the perfect holiday entails lying on a white sandy beach, maybe wandering around cobblestoned coastal villages and marinas, and usually the most adventure comes from whichever books I’ve packed...

So when I was invited to review an adventure holiday, you can imagine I was slightly wary.

The generous offer came from Artisan Travel, a company offering ‘bucket list travel experiences’ in a range of locations across the globe.

In partnership with local tourism providers, Artisan Travel creates itineraries that best reflect the region you’re visiting, and give you a true taste of the place in a short time.

Despite my initial concern, not being the most obvious candidate to take part in an activity weekend, the trip was advertised as suitable for all ability levels, including beginners and families and, heartened by the idea, I agreed.

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The Gozo Ferry at Mgarr Harbour. Photo by Joseph Caruana and Visit Gozo

We arrived in Malta in the early afternoon, and were greeted by a friendly driver organised by Artisan Travel and its local partner Gozo Adventures, who drove us through traffic-packed streets to the ferry port which would take us to the small island of Gozo.

Once off the boat we were picked up by another driver, who would take us to our hotel.

We had read that Gozo, which is just nine by four miles across, is quieter and greener than its sister island of Malta, and – having visited Malta before – I would argue that it was also far more impressive.

We were put up in a hotel, the Cornucopia in Xaghra, which gave off a relaxed and friendly first impression, which was later confirmed by the helpfulness of the staff and laidback atmosphere.

On our first evening we met with Cornil, owner of Gozo Adventures, for a drink by one of Cornucopia’s pools. He welcomed us to Gozo, gave us an itinerary and information pack and answered our questions, before dinner in the hotel.

The next morning it was time for the first activity. Thankfully for me, they eased us in with the easiest of the three – hiking.

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Overlooking Ramla Bay. Pic: Visit Malta

We were picked up bright and early by our guide, Didi, who led us on a very enjoyable hike, lasting about 90 minutes (including a break for coffee by a lovely cove) and covering just under five miles. Didi was excellent, explaining local points of interest and providing good conversation throughout. The walk was not too challenging, although I was slightly misled by a colleague who assured me ‘you’ll be fine, Gozo is completely flat’ before our departure - I can confirm that is not the case.

The overall schedule for the trip allots either a morning or afternoon for an activity, with the remaining half day of leisure time (of which all of ours were spent by the pool!) and we returned to the hotel that lunchtime for a well-deserved relax.

The next day brought an afternoon of climbing. I will admit, I booked this one by mistake, having thought I’d agreed to biking instead – my fault for not reading emails properly...

Nevertheless, we met with Didi again and I braced myself to face my lifelong fear of heights at some of Gozo’s cliffs and rock faces.

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The cliffs of Gozo. Pic: Visit Malta

All our equipment was provided and Didi gave us a demonstration (making it look like a walk in the park) before we got going, climbing up and abseiling down.

I would be lying if I said this was not one of the most challenging things I had ever done – mentally and physically – and I did not reach the very top, but having given it a good go, after a few minutes back on the ground I was proud of myself for trying something I never thought I would do. The adrenaline didn’t hurt the overall experience either.

The final day brought us a sea kayaking trip with a new guide, David. Although it’s hard to choose, this was the highlight of the trip for me.

We set out from Hondoq Bay and headed for the even-tinier-than-Gozo island of Comino.

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Kayaking to Comino. Picture: Chris Davies and Visit Gozo

The kayaking itself was tough (not helped by the fact my kayak partner was terrible at steering... Hopefully he never reads this) but it was a beautiful day and the water was clear and turquoise. It looked like something from a film.

Once at Comino we went for a short walk before snorkelling around some of the island’s caves and later back out in some more picture-perfect shallows.

As far as the ‘bucket list experiences’ Artisan Travel boasts on its website go, this must be up there among the best.

At the end of our four day trip, we were tired and aching in muscles we rarely use, but I have to say it was one of the most enjoyable holidays I have ever had.

Having never been on a package holiday before (I haven’t deliberately avoided them, just always end up booking things myself) I was seriously won over by how easy everything was.

So, even for the non-adventurous among us, don’t rule yourself out of experiences like this one - you will seriously regret it.

BOOK: The four-night Activity Weekend in Gozo, through Artisan Travel (01670 785085,

INCLUDES: Flights (London), transfers, four nights’ B&B, one dinner and three guided activities (kayaking, climbing, biking or hiking).

PRICE: From £725pp.

TRAVEL: Until December 17, 2020