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James Bond: No Time For Matera

James Bond: No Time for Matera

 
In the latest James Bond film, No Time To Die, 007 visits the whitewashed city of Matera in southern Italy. During his visit, he races about the beautiful cobblestoned streets on a motorbike and blows things up, naturally.
 
James Bond in No Time To Die
 
Unfortunately for him, he's missed out on a great opportunity to explore the hidden delights of Matera (and the neighbouring region of Puglia) if he had chosen slow travel by bike or foot. Watch the trailer below (or the film if it's showing in your region) and see what we mean.
 
 
At UTracks, we can right James Bond's wrongs. Experience Matera, and the neighbouring region of Puglia, on a wonderfully immersive walking or cycling trip. There is a comprehensive range of affordable trips to choose from:
 
 
 

 
Have you seen the new James Bond film, No Time to Die? What did you think? Are you interested in a Puglia trip? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
  
Why Our Staff Love Bike & Boat Trips

Why Our Staff Love Bike & Boat Trips

 
Every year our staff take to the field to experience a range of our active holidays across Europe so we are guaranteed to have experts on-hand to explain our unique style of travel and help you plan your perfect trip.  Read our staff recommendations below, then view all of our unforgettable bike and boat holidays.
 

 
 
Sales & Reservations Consultant, Allie, went on the 4-day Tulip Tour Bike & Barge through Holland with her mum. Cycling along canals, passing fields with gorgeous old windmills, visiting cheese factories and, of course, visiting the world’s largest tulip auction, Aalsmeer and the Keukenhof Gardens are all part of this compact cycle experience. 
 
“I was with my mum for her 70th birthday, neither of us are avid cyclists so we appreciated the dedicated cycle paths, which were also very flat. My mum chose an e-bike which meant that she was whizzing ahead of the group with the guide. This trip helped get my mum out of her comfort zone. 
 
The 'Jelmar' category A comfort barge had a cosy atmosphere which facilitated a lot of group bonding over local beers and was lovely to return to every evening. The trip enlightened me to the magic of cycling in Europe and since returning I’ve bought a bike and am looking forward to my next bike and boat trip in Croatia.”
  Keukenhof Gardens Tulip Tour
 
Sue, our PR Manager, went on a The Danube by Bike and Boat where she fell in love with e-bikes. 
 
“While this is not a challenging cycle route at all, we were keen to try the e-bikes and see what all the fuss is about. We absolutely loved them. They allowed us to cover a lot of ground (at least 50 km a day) and still have plenty of time to stop for long lunches, do some wine tasting, explore villages and take the suggested alternative routes (which often involved cycling up hills to castles, palaces and ruins). We loved that the trip was self guided but based on a comfortable barge.” 
 
Her highlights included:
  • The alternative cycle route up to Clam Castle and back down through the hills to Grein to sample ice-cream
  • Anything she consumed with apricot in it (dumplings, jam, liquor)
  • The town of Melk with its magnificent Abbey and gardens
  • The Danube Loop
  • The chocolate and liqueurs made by the monks at Abbey Engelhartszell.
  • Sitting on the top deck watching the sun come up as we glided along the Danube on the final day of our trip
Danube Bike Path
 
Reservations Supervisor Efti is our resident ‘Boat Expert’ – it’s even in her email signature! She had definitely earned the title, having been on many Bike & Boat trips since starting with UTracks in 2012. One compelling trip was the Burgundy Bike & Barge aboard a Category A+ barge. She loved waking up to a new view each morning and, of course, the ample wine tasting opportunities. Her biggest surprises were her spacious cabin and the flexibility her and her fellow cyclists had to choose their own route and decide how much they wanted to cycle each day. 
 
“St Emilion, which we visit halfway through one of the cycle days, blew me away with its historical beauty, despite all I’d heard about it being on the tourist trail. Of course, there were many tourists, but for a good reason – the wine shops, cloisters and views over the surrounding vineyards are really special."
  bike and barge holidays are a fabulous way to explore rural France, Holland and Belgium |  <i>Efti Poulos</i>
 
Sales Manager Jaclyn went on the Kvarner Bay Bike & Boat Deluxe trip. She says:
 
“If Mont Blanc is our must-do walk, I think a Croatia Cycle & Sail is our must do ride – it’s a perfect active holiday.” 
 
One of her favourite days was when they visited Rab Island: “After a walking tour led by our guide, we were taken to a great lookout point before a short cooking demonstration of the local cake and a tasting of Rab cheese. I loved Rab town, it’s picturesque and romantic and we decided to spend the evening off the boat, taking a long walk through the winding streets, up an old church tower for views and having dinner in a restaurant by ourselves."
 
  Jaclyn on Kvarner Bay Bike & Boat Deluxe
 
Reservations Consultant Hilary did the Amsterdam to Bruges - Comfort with her husband and three teenage boys. It was her first experience on a barge and now she’s a convert. 
 
“The daily active sightseeing along extremely safe cycle ways meant that my husband and I could cycle and chat together while our boys usually raced ahead to an agreed point which the guide would suggest along the way. Our guide was truly amazing and would often chat with the boys about interesting facts. Canals, windmills, Gouda cheese and herring tastings, as well as our jokes and conversations with the other international travellers on board, are the fabulous memories and images that come to mind. 
 
We all really enjoyed the luxury of not having to pack and unpack each day. This is definitely a great way to travel with your family.”
  Cycling along canal Amsterfam to Bruges
 
Dana travelled on our Veneto Bike & Boat trip from Venice to Mantua. Her highlights included:
  • The local guide, who was really informative and gave historical and social insights into Venice. Did you know that only around 50,000 citizens live in Venice now that most of the centre is ‘for tourists’?
  • All of the delicious local food (pesto pasta, prawn and zucchini risotto and guinea fowl to name a few favourite dishes) and an onboard challenge to make bigoli pasta using the traditional torchio machine
  • Heading into town most evenings after a long day’s cycling to have a drink with the other cyclists and guides before dinner
“There was a heatwave when I went, which made it challenging, but we survived by having regular bar and gelato stops each day. The terrain is flat and mostly on bike paths so apart from the heat it was relatively easy. I found it relaxing and quite therapeutic. I wasn’t a cyclist before doing the trip, but I feel more confident now and have even started cycling to work!"
 
Veneto Bike & Barge
 
To speak to an expert about our range of Bike & Barge or Cycle & Sail trips, contact us today.
 
 

 
Have you been on a bike and boat tour? Where did you go, how was the experience? Let us know in the comment section below.
 
  
Ultimate Guide to Bike and Boat Tours in Europe

Ultimate Guide to Bike and Boat Tours in Europe

Joining a bike and boat tour is a great way to explore Europe's waterways and towns. Consider the added benefits of covering a great deal of distance while only unpacking once, waking up to a different view each morning, and meeting like-minded travellers, and it’s easy to see why these active holidays are the talk of the town.
 
In this helpful guide, we discuss everything you need to know about taking a bike and boat tour in Europe. If you need more advice, feel free to contact our team of active travel experts.
 
Cycling the Danube River in Bratislava, Slovakia |  <i>Pat Rochon</i>
 

What is the difference between a bike and barge tour and a bike and sail tour?

A bike and barge tour cruises along the canals and rivers of Europe. Popular tours are in France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and exploring the many countries along the Danube river. Click to view our self-guided bike and barge tours or click for our guided bike and barge tours.
 
Veneto Bike and Barge Passau in the southeast of Germany is located at the Austrian border at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers. Bikes lined alongside the barge on our Berlin Bike & Barge trip


Bike and sail tours explore the open waters of the Mediterranean Sea and are popular in Croatia, Greece and Turkey. They are a fantastic way to explore the many idyllic islands of these nations. The vessels used are motorised yachts or gulets (a wooden Turkish sailboat). View all our bike and sail tours.
 
The majestic tallship, Atlantis Explore the Cyclades Islands on our Greek Island Bike & Sail trip Enjoying lunch on the Panagiota |  <i>Kate Baker</i>
 

What are the boats like?

We are proud to offer the largest range of bike and boat holidays in Europe, and with it, a comprehensive range of vessels that appeal to various budgets and tastes.
 

Barges

A barge is a spacious, usually flat-bottomed boat that typically features comforts such as a dining area, onboard chef, friendly staff, sunbathing lounges, and ensuite cabins. Barges are grouped in categories, from A+ to D, based on their facilities and level of comfort. Some of the large vessels can accommodate up to 135 passengers. On most trips it is possible to upgrade to a deluxe tour. Browse our full range of vessels.
 

Sail boats

Yachts also have different gradings according to their level of comfort and amenities, ranging from Deluxe Plus to Standard. On most trips it is possible to upgrade to a deluxe tour. Depending on the boat, these can feature a dining area, onboard chef, a local crew, sunbathing area, ensuite cabins, and even a hot tub!
 
 
Of course, personal taste also comes into play – some of you may prefer the smaller barges that are generally family-owned and run and oozing character while others may opt for the more luxurious vessels. Browse our full range of vessels.
 
MS Provence in Lyon View of the Middle Rhine Valley Boat moored at the ruins of 'Cleopatra's baths' on our Turkey Walk & Sail |  <i>Kate Baker</i>
 

How fit do I need to be for a bike and boat tour in Europe?

All of our active holidays are graded from 1 (introductory) to 5 (challenging). Bike and boat tours are generally on the more relaxing end of the grading spectrum. These gradings take into account:
  • the distance cycled each day,
  • topography and steepness of ascents and descents, and
  • impact of weather conditions.
You can expect daily distances between 25 and 55km/15.5 and 34mi, usually along cycle paths and low traffic roads. A bike and boat tour is ideal for beginner cyclists and anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.
 
There are generally options to upgrade your bike to an e-bike (electric bike) for an added boost to your pedalling. Read more about the benefits of e-bikes here.
 
Cycling in Croatia
 

What does a typical day look like on a bike and boat tour?

Each morning starts with a hearty buffet breakfast to fuel your day. Packed lunches are assembled before you head out. The boat will dock to land and the crew will get your bikes ready for the day’s journey.

If you’re on a guided tour, your guide will lead the way as you pedal through Europe’s beautiful countryside. For a self guided tour, you are free to cycle at your own pace as you follow the route notes (maps, navigation apps) of your itinerary.

At the end of the days cycling adventures, you’ll meet up with the boat. The crew will pack away your bike and you’ll have the evening free to prepare for dinner, socialise, read a book, or simply enjoy the surroundings as you cruise downstream. The best part about a bike and boat trip is only having to unpack once!

If you’d like to read some firsthand traveller experiences of a bike and boat tour with UTracks, find them in our Bike and Boat Travel Stories section in our blog.
 
Cycle the Inner Hebrides and the Scottish Highlands on our Scotland Bike & Boat |  <i>Scott Kirchner</i>
 

What are the most popular bike and boat tours?

Take a look at our best bike and boat tours page, where you can find the most popular trips for each country.
 

Are there family-friendly bike and boat tours?

Absolutely! A bike and boat holiday is a great way to spend quality time with the kids while exploring Europe. Find all of our family-friendly bike and boat tours here.
 
Family cycling along Danube
 

When is the best time for a bike and boat tour?

Bike and boat tours generally run between April and October, making the most of warmer temperatures. The peak period is during the European summer months of June, July and August. During summer, cabins on boats are naturally in high demand so we advise booking far in advance to avoid disappointment. However, if you're interested in fewer crowds then it is better to book outside of these months.
 

Should I go on a self-guided or guided bike and boat tour?

There are many benefits to having a professional guide lead your group. Guides are fountains of information on culture, language, and the hidden secrets of a country. Read our article on how guides make good trips great to learn more advantages.
 
On the other hand, our self-guided tours allow you to explore at your own pace. Travellers are provided with maps/directions and follow signposts that are clearly marked in most European nations.
 

Do you offer hike and boat tours?

Yes! For those travellers who prefer to explore on foot, you can find a selection of great hike and boat tours here.
 
Hiker taking in the view of the Lycian Coast |  <i>Kate Baker</i>
 

Find your bike and boat tour

 

Want more bike and boat information?

Find traveller stories, expert advice, videos, FAQs and reviews of our bike and boat tours on our bike and boat information hub.
 

 
Do you have any questions about a bike and boat tour? Ask them in the comment section below.

  
5 Amazing Winter Walks in Europe
There is no shortage of dramatic landscapes, historic landmarks, rich cultures and gastronomic delights to experience during the colder months. We’ve shortlisted our favourite winter walks in Europe that only operate in the off season or are best enjoyed chilled. 
 
Walk down to the Baths of Aphrodite where the lovely goddess is said to have bathed in a rock pool
  1. Winter Walking in Cyprus

Immerse yourself this winter in the unspoilt countryside of Cyprus on an 8-day walk through mountains, picturesque woodland and gentle orchards and vineyards interspersed with tranquil villages. A standout stop on the walk is the Baths of Aphrodite where, as the name suggests, the goddess of love is said to have bathed. 
 

>> Plan your 2021 active European winter break now in our Autumn Late Getaway Snap Sale

 
 
Chase the spectacular Northern Lights in Iceland | Michael Goh

2. Iceland Northern Lights

Although this is one of our shortest itineraries, it certainly punches well above its weight in terms of activities and experiences. Chase the breath-taking natural phenomenon that is the Northern Lights, discover Iceland’s incredible geysers and waterfalls on foot and try your hand at hiking with crampons on the Sólheimajökull glacier. 
 
 
The Portuguese Way is a quieter but no less beautiful alternative to the Camino routes in Spain

3. The Portuguese Road - Tui to Santiago

 
This winter, follow in the footsteps of Celtic, Roman and Christian wayfarers on this lesser-known and less busy Camino trail. Known as the ‘inspired’ way, you’ll be impressed by the gorgeous countryside as you follow the trail from Tui to the magnificent city of Santiago, with its impressive architecture and cathedrals. 
 
 
Walk in winter the spectacular coastal paths that link the colourful villages on the Amalfi Coast

4. Amalfi Explorer

Sitting at the edge of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for the spellbinding beauty of its natural landscape. This 50-kilometre stretch of land is famous for its colourful houses, luscious greenery, rugged hillsides and mild climate in winter. Moving at your own pace, you’ll encounter some unforgettable sights, including the fascinating ruins of Pompeii, the bougainvillea-covered cliffside village of Positano, Naples’ bustling historic centre and the stunning island of Capri, on this 7-day self guided walk. 
 
 
Explore castles and palaces in the fairytale village of Sintra, Portugal | Linda Murden

5. Portugal Palaces and Coast Walk

This relatively new self guided walk in Portugal will take you on an unforgettable journey from the fairytale town of Sintra to the coastal resort town of Cascais. Discover palaces and manor houses, an austere 16th-century Franciscan monastery in Convento dos Capuchos, mystical Mediterranean woodlands, vineyards and charming fishing villages. This is the perfect trip for culture buffs who enjoy relaxed walks and scenic coastal views. 
 

>> Find out more about our range of active off season holidays today.  

 
 
Holland Cycling Tour: 5 Star Review

Holland Cycling Tour: 5 Star Review

In September 2021, Gord and his wife embarked on their first bike tour. They chose to explore the Netherlands, which is the perfect country for beginner cyclists. Read his 5 star review of their journey, the Classic Holland Cycle, and feel inspired to take your own self-guided Dutch bike tour.
 
"Fantastic first experience for a cycling trip. My wife and I just completed the 6 day trip around the Netherlands starting and finishing in Amsterdam. We are both 60 and consider ourselves fit, but we’re certainly not hardcore cyclists. 
 
The quaint village of Edam, home to the famous cheese |  <i>NBTC</i> Cycling in the beautiful Dutch countryside Netherlands Kroller Muller Museum |  <i>Tony Henshaw</i>
 
The trip was a lot of fun. You are on mostly flat roads and 90% of the time the route is a separate pathway for bikes. The length of cycling each day was easy and we had no major problems navigating the routes. We combined the hard copy maps with the downloaded GPS and managed to stay on track. 
 
The scenery is awesome as you meander through farmland, along the coast and zip from town to town. Seeing those classic Windmills along the way always brought a smile. Great central locations for all of the hotels had us close to all of the sights. 
 
A classic Dutch ride |  <i>Richard Tulloch</i> Cycle to the Keukenhof Gardens from Amsterdam |  <i>Richard Tulloch</i> A barge with cyclists navigating the canals outside of Amsterdam |  <i>Richard Tulloch</i>
 
Cycling downtown in Amsterdam is certainly exciting but if you take your time you’ll be fine! We were blessed with great weather and that certainly made the trip for us. Fun!" Gord, Calgary, Canada.
 
Thanks for your glowing review, Gord, and we look forward to organising your next active holiday in Europe.
 
 

 
Were you inspired to go on a cycling holiday in the Netherlands? Let us know in the comment section below.
 
  
Walking in the Dolomites Information

Walking in the Dolomites Information

 
Here is everything you need to know about walking in the Dolomites. From the rich flora and fauna found in the mountains to their war legacy and must-visits, find out all about this stunning mountain range in Italy ahead of your walking trip to the Dolomites.
 
Via Ferrate, The Dolomites, northern Italy |  <i>Sylvia van der Peet</i>

What does 'Dolomites' mean?

The nickname for the Dolomites is ‘Pale Mountains’, given to them because of their soft colour. Dolomite is a calcium-rich mineral that can form rock and is named after Frenchman Deodat de Dolomieu who discovered it. The mountains are actually limestone and because in this part of Italy contain dolomite, are known as dolomitic limestone mountains.

When were the Dolomites formed?

The Dolomite mountains were formed more than 224 million years ago. The gigantic limestone mountains were formed 150 metres below sea level, but because of the movement of the earth’s surface were lifted to the level they now are.
 
Girl trekking in Dolomites |  <i>Jaclyn Loftts</i>

What flora & fauna are found in the Dolomites?

While walking in the Dolomites you can find deer, chamois and bears, which arrived via Slovenia. There’s also a large variety of birds, from sparrows to eagles. The woods that are part of the mountains are dominated by conifers, pines, larches and beech. Because the surface is great for mushrooms to grow, you can find this reflected in the regional cuisine.
 
Wild flowers in the Dolomites

What is the climate like in the Dolomites?

The climate you’ll encounter while walking in the Dolomites is typically alpine and said to be one of the best for hiking in the region. In the summer temperatures reach a maximum of 25 degrees Celsius and you can cool off in the shadow of the rich green woods and via the occasional breeze.
  Traversing across the side of Mount Paternkofel, Italy

The legacy of war in the Dolomites

You may have heard of Via Ferrate before. This is the trail of protected paths that were created during the First World War. Back in the days, the paths were used to transport munition and supplies and today you can take them to enjoy impressive views of these high alps. Around Cortina you can find the remains of a railway track that can nowadays be hiked or biked.

Must-visit museums in the Dolomites

In the open-air war museums at Cinque Torri you can learn more about the significance of the Dolomites mountains during several wars. In addition, the Dolomythos museum in San Candido Innichen shows a reconstruction of the formation of the Dolomites and talks about the area’s myths and legends. It is only in the last 150 years that the Dolomites have become a popular destination for hikers, climbers and skiers.

Celebrities and films of the Dolomites 

The Dolomites have been the setting for James Bond’s skiing scene in ‘For Your Eyes Only’ in 1981, hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics, and were a favourite holiday destination for Audrey Hepburn. Earnest Hemingway based his semi-autobiographic novel ‘A Farewell to Arms’ on a stay in the Hotel de la Poste and the Dolomite Mountains.
  Walking in the Dolomites, Italy - UTracks active European holidays

Popular walking trips in the Dolomites

 

Dolomites trivia

  • The Dolomite Mountains are home to 18 peaks above 3,000 metres in an area of over 141,000 hectares.
  • When you decide on a walking holiday in the Dolomites, you hike in a region that is on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2009.
  • It is easy to reach the mountains by train from Venice.
  • Charming refuges (or rifugios in Italian) are scattered around the mountains, connecting the trails.
  For more information on these stunning mountains in Italy and walking in the Dolomites, please contact one of our travel experts around the world.
 

Have you explored the Dolomites yet, or is it still on your travel to do list? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
 
  
Explore Hungary: 5 Reasons Why You Need To Ride Hungry's Cycle Path

Explore Hungary: 5 Reasons Why You Need To Ride Hungry's Cycle Path

 
Hungary is well known for its architecture, grand Budapest, and spicy paprika.  But for those who want to get out and explore her natural beauty, my hot tip is to hop on a bike and just ride, like my mother and I just did. 
 
We’ve returned to Vienna after a fabulous 8 days cycling along sections of the Danube Cycle Path between Vienna and Budapest. This was my mum’s first time on a self guided cycling holiday. I doubt that it will be her last. If you are planning a trip to Hungary make sure you consider a self guided cycling trip like the Hungarian Rhapsody - here are 5 reasons why: 

1. The Danube Bend 

Incredible views of the Danube river bends

Ah yes, the magnificent Danube. It’s not the only reason to visit Hungary but it certainly plays a central theme in everything you see and do. The Danube Bend, where Europe’s second longest river takes a sharp right turn and begins its journey south, this iconic river is at its most beautiful. 

Magnificent Hungarian cities, such as Esztergom, Gyor and Vac, sit right on the banks and this section of the river is extremely wide and clean. The Danube Bike Path runs right along the shore. We thoroughly enjoyed cycling here and the views of the Danube, more than anywhere else along our 8 day route. We stopped frequently to take photos, have a swim, and just admire the river (again something impossible if we were on public transport!). 

2. Self Guided Freedom

Cycling past sunflowers on the Danube Cycle Path, Hungary

 

Cycling give you a freedom and feel for a place that no other form of transport can. A self guided bike trip unshackles you completely. Our well maintained 21 speed bikes took us down back country roads of small villages, through fields of sunflowers, past vineyards, by the locals fishing in the river... by places my mother and I would have missed if we took the bus. 

We came across wild goji berries, plums, apples, and pears. The freedom to ride at our own pace and choose our own directions meant we could stop to say hello to farm animals or buy fruit at small stalls (perfect mid-bike snack). Taking it slow meant we didn’t miss the deer feeding in a cornfield and that we could stop to meet local farmers tending to their gardens. 

These are all Hungarian experiences we wouldn’t have known existed if we were on the main road in a bus or on a train… and they showed us a beautiful side of Hungary that we’ll never forget. 

3. It’s flat as a millpond!

It's flat we tells ya! Cycling the Danube in Hungary

 

We didn’t know this – but happily found out soon after arriving – that Hungary is fabulously flat… perfect for a relaxed cycling pace! Hungary has no point over 1000m; riding along the northern section of the Danube our greatest incline was only about 20m. This sure made mum happy! 

We could pedal along enjoying the river-views instead of panting, sweating and staring down at the front tyre. It also meant we had plenty of leg-energy left at the end of the days… necessary for side trips like the walk up Castle Hill in Eszergom to see the Basilica – Hungary’s largest church (a definite must do!). 

4. Bike friendly barges Cyclists taking the ferry to Szob

 

To see as much of the Danube as possible we caught the barges that cross from town to town on either side of the river. It’s inexpensive to catch the barge. There are plenty of them and the barge drivers happily welcome cyclists aboard. 

Catching a barge is a fun way to see the Danube from a different angle! This barge is taking us to Szob. We highly recommend the barge-trip to Szob, on the northern side of the river, as it takes you away from the highway and onto a beautiful track heading through a beautiful forest right on the riverbank! 

5. Cyclists are welcomed with open arms Cycling through a Hungarian village

 

The Hungarian people we encountered were extremely welcoming of us and our bikes. Drivers would slow down to a crawl and gave us tonnes of space if we came to a road. All pathways had a designated cyclist section; hotels have bike storage areas; the town centres were full of cyclists riding or pushing their bikes down the cobbles streets… But, most importantly, every cafe had a long line of bike racks out the front! 

This photo is our first stop in Hungary after crossing over from Slovenia; many other cyclists had the same idea! If you ever want to experience the true magnificence of the Danube your way, then Hungary is the place, bikes are the way and UTracks are the people who can make it happen for you. 

> Lilly and her mum travelled with us on our 8 day Hungarian Rhapsody.  

 


Have you been to Hungary? What did you think of this great nation?

  

Alpine Hiking & Mont Blanc Tours in Europe 2022

Alpine Hiking & Mont Blanc Tours in Europe 2022

 
Discover Europe's magnificent mountain range, the Alps, on an extraordinary hiking tour in 2022. Whether standing on a valley floor, or crossing a panoramic pass, the magnitude and beauty of this unspoilt region will definitely leave an impression on you.

There is a pent up demand for alpine hiking tours in 2022 and this means that if you would like to reserve private accommodation we need to hear from you as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. We have released our 2022 trip dates for guided and self-guided alpine hiking holidays in Europe. Find the right walking tour for you below or browse our full range.
 

Tour du Mont Blanc hiking tours 2022

2022 is all about the classic trips that have been lingering on our travel bucket lists. And you can't get more iconic than the Tour du Mont Blanc. There are two obvious trips to accomplish this hike: the Mont Blanc Guided Walk and the self guided Mont Blanc Classic. However, because our ideology at UTracks is all about exploring Europe your way, we also have a comprehensive range of Mont Blanc trips that vary on length, grade, and itinerary, so click here to browse all eleven of our Mont Blanc hikes. 
 
 
 

Alpine hiking tours in Italy 2022

Admire the dramatic spires of the Dolomites in northern Italy on our guided Dolomites Walk, or enjoy the independence of a self-guided Dolomites Walk. For something different, experience the guided Gran Paradiso Adventure Walk, with views to Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn ranges from the high passes and lookouts encountered. Rugged valleys carpeted in wildflowers, rocky snow covered passes and glacial lakes are typical of these alpine paradises.
 
Besides these tours, there are trips that explore the Apuane Alps, Monte Rosa, the Via Ferrata, and more. Take a look at all alpine hiking tours in Italy here
 
 
Trekking in the Dolomites |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i>
 

Alpine hiking tours in Switzerland 2022

Switzerland is a fantastic place to experience fresh mountain air. The Swiss have a fascinating alpine culture to discover. One highly rated tour is the Panorama of the Swiss Alps, a centre-based trip in Meiringen. Meiringen is the perfect centre for walking holidays for all grades (plus you only have to unpack your bag once!). There are over 300km of well-marked footpaths, which range from gentle strolls to high ridges and even glacier exploring. In spring you can follow the melting snows into meadows of glorious Alpine flowers. In summer the high ridges and rugged glacial scenery become accessible. In autumn the landscape is painted with a riot of colour as the first frosts come. The potential for walking is limitless.
 
 
Walking back down to Meiringen
 

Alpine hiking tours in Austria 2022

The Dachstein massif, southeast of Salzburg, is a small mountain range with dozens of peaks of 2500m or more, typified by its series of glaciers and sharp descents to the valley floor, the limestone mountain contains some of the largest caves in Austria. Take in the awesome views of ice fields and alpine meadows, limestone peaks and dramatic lakes as you trek this exhilarating circuit.
 
 
Taking a break from the trail in the Dachstein Alps
 
Want more? See all 40+ of our alpine hiking tours below, including destinations such as France and Germany.
 
 

 
Will you be embarking on a hiking tour in Europe's Alps during 2022? Let us know where you plan on exploring in the comment section below.
  
Watch the inspiring 'Biking Borders' cycling documentary

Biking Borders: Cycling Documentary

Enjoy some cycling escapism with this great documentary on Netflix. Released in 2019, Biking Borders follows the journey of Max and Nono as they pedal from Europe to Asia while raising money to build a school in Guatemala. On their travels, they pass through European nations including Greece, Macedonia and Turkey.
 
They were inspired to take this epic journey (over 15,000 km!) after learning that Guatemala has the highest illiteracy rates in Latin America. Prior to this, they had barely ridden at all. It just goes to show that anyone can be a cycling traveller!
 
Watching Biking Borders has inspired me to embark on my own self-guided cycling trip in Europe; although I'm thinking more along the lines of the Danube Cycle Path rather than their epic ride! William from UTracks.
 

Watch the Biking Borders trailer

 
 
This is what Netflix says:
Best friends Max and Nono bike from Berlin to Beijing, collecting donations to build a school for a unique fundraising adventure in this documentary.
 
>> Watch Biking Borders for free with a Netflix account
 
While we at UTracks admire their dedication to bikepacking, we do like our creature comforts, such as having welcoming accommodation, a support hotline, and a daily shuttle service to transfer our bags (all benefits of travelling on a UTracks trip!).
 

 
Share your review of the Biking Borders documentary in the comment section below.
 
 
11 Benefits of an Organised Camino Tour

11 Benefits of an Organised Camino Tour

Should your Camino de Santiago tour be organised or independent?

You’ve been wanting to walk the Camino de Santiago for ages and are finally getting around to start planning your Camino pilgrimage. One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you choose to travel the Camino independently or to use a Camino tour company like UTracks. 

As the world’s leading Camino travel company, we have been honing our services for over a decade now and know how to enhance your Camino experience. You can be assured to have a life changing and meaningful journey with UTracks.

See below for 11 top benefits of walking or cycling the Camino de Santiago on an organised tour. Whether you choose a small group guided tour, or a self guided trip, you’ll undoubtedly have a great time on the Camino with UTracks.

Hiker on Compostela Trail in Cantabria region, Spain Portuguese Camino sign showing the way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i> Jorge regularly leads our 'Best of the Camino' tours

1. Comfortable Accommodation

Don’t want your Camino experience ruined by sleepless nights in dormitories as your bunkmates snore and leave their smelly socks out to dry? All of our Camino tours stay in private hotel accommodation where you can expect hot showers, comfortable beds and an undisturbed rest to re-energise you for the next days walk. 

Plus, as it’s all booked in advance there’s no concern about failing to find a bed in your destination, saving you from having unexpected extra distances to walk!

Read more about UTracks’ excellent Camino Accommodation here

Parador Santiago de Compostela

2. Daily Departures

On UTracks’ self guided Camino tours we offer daily departures to best fit into your travel schedule. Start your Camino holiday whenever you want, all year round. For firsthand advice about when is the best time to walk the Camino, speak to our friendly staff. They’ll be able to give you tips regarding weather, crowds, and more.

Pilgrims making their way to Roncesvalles |  <i>Gesine Cheung</i>

3. Delicious Regional Food

Start each day right with a breakfast at your accommodation, included in all self guided and guided Camino tours. As is typical in Europe, breakfasts are usually continental and have bread, eggs, cheese, yoghurt, meats, fruit as well as coffee and tea.

When there are included dinners, these generally consist of a few courses to appease any pilgrim’s hunger. Dinner may start with a soup, rice or pasta; mains could be a chicken, fish or red meat dish; and you’ll finish with a dessert such as crème caramel or fruit. Naturally, a hearty amount of wine is on offer as well.

For a Camino experience with an even greater focus on cuisine, be sure to view our Food Lover’s walking tours. These special trips combine gastronomic delights with the Camino highlights of France, Italy and Spain.

Indulge in the local flavours of Galicia when walking along the Camino |  <i>@timcharody</i>

4. Flexible Itineraries

The beauty of a self guided Camino tour is that you can tailor it to your own trip desires. If you want to spend an extra night somewhere (to explore, to rest, whatever!) our staff can create a personalised itinerary. Best of all, because our staff have great experience walking the Camino themselves, they can provide personal advice on which towns are worth adding another night in (editors note: after reaching Santiago de Compostela, add on the Finisterre section. Basically you continue walking until you reach the edge of Spain against the Atlantic Ocean – feels like a remarkable accomplishment!).

Cape Finisterre, Galicia Spain |  <i>Marissa Ward</i>

5. Local Support

While UTracks has international offices to help you plan your Camino trip, once you’re in Europe you can rely on our local team to give you support and back up.

On our guided tours, of course you’ll have your local guide to provide information and help with any issues that arise. There’s also the convenience of having a support vehicle should you need to hitch a ride to your destination.

On our self guided Camino tours, all travellers have a contact phone number to our local team. There’s great peace of mind knowing that an English-speaking local is only a phone call away, and that they can offer advice or organise a taxi for you if the need arises. 

Exploring Alto Del Perdón while walking the Camino Trail |  <i>Scott Kirchner</i>

6. Luggage Transfers

All of our Camino experiences include a daily luggage transfer service. Only carry what you need for the day’s walk and leave the bulk of your bags at your hotel in the morning. Our luggage transfer service will then collect your belongings and drive them to your next destination. Your bags will be waiting for you in your hotel room.

On a self guided trip, your luggage is transferred for you, leaving you to explore with just a daypack |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

7. Plan your Camino with Experts

 UTracks has offices around the globe in Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane), Canada (Ottawa), New Zealand (Auckland) and the United Kingdom (London). Click here to contact your nearest office. We’re an active tour company comprised of passionate travellers who have most likely completed the trip you have your heart set on. Our team can offer firsthand advice, from the Camino route that suits your needs best to what shoes to wear to avoid blisters.

Walkers taking pleasure in the Piazza del Campo in Siena |  <i>Allie Peden</i>


8. Genuine Experiences

Having all the logistics of your Camino tour taken care of allows you to have more time to focus on your journey. Take the time to explore the fresh farmer’s markets, admire the stained glass of the churches you pass, and to sit and enjoy a café con leche (coffee with milk) on a street side bar.

Arriving in the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela after completing the Camino Trail |  <i>Edwina Parsons</i>


9. Camino Experts Since 2006

UTracks have been operating Camino tours since 2006 and are continually refining our services to ensure our travellers have the most enriching experiences possible. We’ve helped many, many pilgrims reach Santiago and earn their Compostela certificate so you can complete your Camino with assurance.

Arriving in Santiago de Compostela on the final day |  <i>Sue Finn</i>

10. Comprehensive Range of Camino Tours

Every year UTracks adds to the repertoire of Camino offerings to satiate the demand for more Camino trips. For a first time Camino pilgrim still in the planning stages you may not yet understand, but once you’ve walked one the Camino travel bug bites well and truly hard. 

There are obscure Camino trails in Sicily (the Magna Via Francigena), the Kerry Camino in Ireland, the Camino Sanabres (Ourense to Santiago in Spain), the Via Degli Dei (Bologna to Florence in Italy), and many more. Plus specialty Camino holidays like our beloved Food Lover’s Camino tours, the Pilgrims and Paradors tour (featuring luxurious historic accommodation) and Rambler tours that provide additional days to complete Camino stages so you can walk at a gentler pace.


Idyllic walking along the Camino Sanabres in Spain

11. Peace of Mind & Convenience

With all the logistics of walking the Camino de Santiago taken care of, all you need to focus on is to do the walking! Walk soundly with the knowledge that your bags are being safely looked after, you have a reserved comfortable bed to rest your weary head in, and have the peace of mind knowing that if you need a helping hand it’s just a phone call away.

Very happy Camino walkers in France |  <i>Allie Peden</i>
 
 

Is walking the Camino on your travel to-do list? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
 
  
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