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SAVE on 1 October 2022 Danube Bike & Boat Departure

Grab this last-minute opportunity to join The Danube by Bike & Boat trip in 2022 and book onto our extra Saturday 01 October departure. For all new bookings* onto this departure the following deal applies:

  • The second person only pays half price, or

  • When travelling solo, you do not pay the single supplement.

Please contact our office nearest to you for enquiries and to confirm your booking. But do hurry as this departure is imminent. 

Lobby on board the Swiss Crown Boat Danube The picturesque city of Passau, on the border of Germany & Austria |  <i>Pat Rochon</i> Cycling through a vineyard along the Danube |  <i>Richard Tulloch</i>
 

Itinerary for 1 October 2022 Danube by Bike & Boat deal

Saturday 1 October | Arrive Passau (Germany)
Sunday 2 October | Cycle to Brandstatt from Engelhartszell (45km/28mi)
Monday 3 October | Cycle to Linz (26km /16mi)
Tuesday 4 October | Cycle to Grein via Mauthausen and Mitterkirchen (35km/22mi)
Wednesday 5 October | Cycle Tulln to Vienna (35km/22mi)
Thursday 6 October | Rest day Vienna
Friday 7 October | Wachau valley from Krems to Melk (39km/24mi)
Saturday 8 October | Cruise to Passau and disembark, trip concludes

What to expect

Follow the journey of Europe's second-longest river through three European countries and some of the most romantic European landscapes. 
From the cobblestone streets of charming Passau head out into Austria, winding your way past enchanting monasteries and majestic castles. By boat cruise the Danube River through Upper Austria to reach the romantic Austrian capital of Vienna, one of the most magical cities in Europe. 
Heading west, the pace slows down, with a memorable cycle across the Wachau Valley past rolling vineyards where the harvesting season will be in full swing. Cycle to hill top castles, meadows and forests to encounter atmospheric landscapes and sites of arresting history. Enjoy the atmosphere of life on board with like minded active travellers, sampling seasonal culinary delights and relaxing atop the sundeck with splendid views of the scenery as it gradually changes into its autumn hues.

> View trip details and book now

*Bookings made on or after Monday 19 September 2022.

Cycle The Parenzana Trail Via Italy, Slovenia & Croatia

Cycle The Parenzana Trail Via Italy, Slovenia & Croatia

It's easy to think the Parenzana Trail was purpose-built for cyclists to explore the Istrian Peninsula. However, the trail is a former narrow gauge railway line that originally connected 33 Istrian towns between Porec (Croatia) and Trieste (Italy), via Slovenia. The Parenzana name is derived from Parenzo, the Italian name for Porec.
 
Nowadays the Parenzana Trail is a great way to explore the fascinating towns of the Istrian Peninsula by bike. You'll cycle past olive groves and vineyards on your way to the ancient Roman town of Porec on the stunning Croatian coast. Along the way there is time to appreciate the unique culture and culinary delights in each country.
 
Cycling the Parenzana Rail Trail Cycling the Parenzana Rail Trail Cycling the Parenzana Rail Trail

You can ride the Parenzana Trail on the 5-day cycle trip or extend the itinerary with extra days in Slovenia on the 8-day itinerary.
 
Below are some of the highlights and attractions to be experienced while cycling the Parenzana Trail.
 

Highlights of the Parenzana Trail

 

Trieste

Once the only seaport of the Hapsburg Empire, Trieste has a lot to offer in the way of attractions such as Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia which has the widest opening to the seafront of any Italian square. 
 
 

Secovlje Salt Flats

The Parenzana trail leads you along the Piran Bay through Portorož and Lucija towns to the saltworks of Secovlje. The Secovlje salt flats are the northernmost salt flats of the Mediterranean. The salt is produced in the traditional way, based on a 700 year old method that harmonizes man and nature, and you can stop to visit the museum. 
 
 
 
The variety of scenery, activities and nature of the Parenzana Trail made this our best cycle tour to date. T. Whelan, New Zealand
 

Livade

Livade is known as the truffle centre of Istria. If you're a truffle aficionado you may want to visit in October, which is when Livade holds its month-long truffle festival. The fair offers a wide range of white and black truffles found directly in their natural habitat, the forest. Esteemed chefs turn this precious tuber into superb dishes that capture the attention of gourmets with their specific intoxicating taste. 
 
 
 

The Wine Railway

Passing through magnificent rolling landscapes and lively Istrian vineyards, it will become obvious why the Parenzana Trail was also known as the Wine Railway. After passing through several tunnels and over old bridges, you can stop and admire the fascinating viewpoints between the medieval towns of Buje, Grožnjan and Motovun. Grožnjan is an interesting artist town, where you can stop and stroll through its galleries. 
 
Hotel used on Parenzana Cycle Trail from Italy to Slovenia and Croatia
 

Motovun

Motovun is one of Istria's most charming medieval hilltop towns. Its Romanesque-Gothic bell tower with a crenulated crown from the 13th century, stands next to the Parish Church of St Stephen, dating from the 17th century, and dominates the town's historic core. In the central square is the Romanesque Municipal Palace, the largest secular building in Istria of that period surrounded by many other historic buildings.
 
The hilltop village of Motovun, a highlight of the Parenzana trail
 

Porec

Porec is a town full of culture and history. Riding through the old city centre you will find the Roman Forum, magnificent palaces from different historical periods, and to top it all, the famous Euphrasian Basilica (Euphrasiana).
 
The Adriatic town of Porec, Croatia
 
 
You can ride the Parenzana Trail on the 5-day cycle trip or extend the itinerary with extra days in Slovenia on the 8-day itinerary.
 

 
Do you want to cycle the Parenzana Trail? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
 
  
 
Walking & Hiking Tours For Seniors in Europe

Walking & Hiking Tours for Seniors in Europe

Ask any traveller going on a walking holiday in Europe what they want out of a hiking itinerary and they'll answer with three things: beautiful scenery, fascinating culture and achievability.
 
While the first two aspects are a given on most European trails, for seniors who want to do a walking tour in Europe a general request is for extended itineraries of popular routes. This allows for shorter distances to be walked each day, more time for rest and recovery, and, above all, more time to stop and smell the roses as you go on your way. There are usually plenty of museums, galleries and historical sites to explore en route.
 
The below rambler walking tours feature extended itineraries which are perfect for senior walkers or those who prefer to explore at a slower pace. One other thing to note is that all of UTracks' self-guided walking trips have flexible itineraries that can be shaped to your needs. Just reach out to our friendly team for further advice and information.
 

United Kingdom Walking Tours for Seniors

 

Hadrian's Wall Walk (10 days, self-guided)

Walking in the Vallum |  <i>John Millen</i>
 
Follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans along one of the UK's National Trails. This route stretches 83 miles/133 km across town and country, forest and moorland, World Heritage Site and National Park. The wall was originally built to separate the Romans from the 'barbarians' of the north; today you can enjoy “walking the wall” unmolested by Romans or barbarians, on this alternative Coast-to-Coast route.
 
 

Coast to Coast Rambler (18 days, self-guided)

Walkers leaving Shap Abbey |  <i>John Millen</i>
 
Discover Wainwright’s masterpiece over 18 days of self-guided walking and explore one of the UK's most popular hiking trails. This is the quintessential English hill walking and long-distance trail experience: 190 plus miles (300km) traversing three national parks and a lot of interesting landscapes, old towns and of course public houses in between!
 
Starting at the tiny Cumbrian seaside resort of St. Bees on the Irish Sea you'll head east, with the wind, into the Lake district before eventually making a triumphant entrance into Robins Hoods Bay where a celebratory pint, bottle of Champagne or ice cream whilst standing in the sea is in order. 
 
Along the way you will be amazed at the variety of the dry stone walls, the charming little villages and just how much you get to eat for a full English cooked breakfast! There are cozy small hotels, guesthouses and pubs to stay at on this tour and these, as well as the rich variety of the people that you meet en route, reflect something of the great diversity of England.
 
 

Coast to Coast Explorer (17 days, guided)

Group on their way to Black Sail Hut, Ennerdale |  <i>John Millen</i>
 
Walk England's famous Coast to Coast route with the social camaraderie of a small group and the cultural insights and assistance of a local guide. This 17 day hike is 2 days longer than the classic guided tour, making it ideal for senior hikers or for those who prefer to travel on a slower schedule.
 
 

Scotland Coast to Coast Rambler (guided, hike and barge)

A well earned drink at 'Fiddlers' Pub Drumnadrochit
 
Scotland's Great Glen Way walking trail stretches 75 miles (120km) from Fort William to the capital of the highlands, Inverness. Based on board a comfortable barge at night, this hike and cruise offers the opportunity to walk sections of the route at an easy pace from one coast of Scotland to the other. During the week long trip, the barge stops are planned to suit the walking stages, breaking them into manageable day walks of between 5-11 miles (8-17km). 
 
Guided along the route by an experienced escort, who will point out places of interest along the way, there is no shortage of highlights. From impressive views of the mystical Loch Ness to glimpses of Scotland's highest peak, Ben Nevis, this relaxed pace walk will immerse you in the Scottish Highlands. In the evening, share stories of your day with like minded travellers and relish in the accomplishment of walking the breadth of Scotland.
 
 
 

Alpine Walking Tours for Seniors

 

Mont Blanc Self-Guided Rambler (7 days)

Saxon Ridge, Tour Du Mont Blanc |  <i>Ray Wilkinson</i>
 
Specially devised for seniors and walkers who like to 'smell the roses' en route to the next comfortable gîte or mountain refuge, this relaxed walk around Mont Blanc still takes in the vistas for which the Tour du Mont Blanc is so famous. The walk traverses high passes, meadows brimming with alpine flowers and wanders through typical mountain villages. There is ample time to stop and take in the stunning scenery, enjoy a picnic of local ingredients and absorb the alpine culture as you make your way to the next accommodation. This is relaxed alpine hiking at its best!
 
 

Mont Blanc Guided Rambler (7 days)

Magnificent views on Mont Blanc |  <i>Dana Garofani</i>
 
As the above Mont Blanc tour, but you get to share your walking day with like minded fellow travellers.
 
 

Camino de Santiago: Sarria to Santiago Rambler (11 days, self-guided)

Arriving in Santiago de Compostela on the final day |  <i>Sue Finn</i>
 
This Camino trip provides the perfect option for those who want to walk the last stage of the pilgrimage route at a relaxed pace of between 10 to 18km per day, with a choice of simple or upgraded accommodations. 
 
Completing the final 115kms to Santiago means you are eligible to receive the official Compostela certificate. Along the walk, gain a wonderful appreciation of the historic significance of the trail while reflecting on the meditative role that walking offers the pilgrim. Passing through mixed landscapes, there are numerous reminders of the pilgrims past who travelled the route including crosses, statues and grain silos. The gates of Galicia lead on to the fabled Santiago de Compostela with its famous cathedral, site of the tomb of St James.
 
 

Camino de Santiago: Leon to Santiago Rambler (20 days, self-guided)

Leon Cathedral along the Camino de Santiago
 
As the above tour, although this one starts in the magnificent city of Leon and makes your Camino de Santiago experience all the more fulfilling.
 
 

Food Lovers Walking Tours

 

Food Lovers Spanish Camino

On the Camino Primitivo near Oviedo |  <i>Andreas Holland</i>
 
This unique approach to a classic pilgrimage route combines a passion for good food and produce, with the incredible history of the trail crossing northern Spain. With fully supported day walks on the best sections of the pilgrimage trail paths, including the original route from Oviedo, the essence of the pilgrimage is retained. The walking is combined with cooking demonstrations and numerous samplings of the local cuisine from the heart of Spanish modern cuisine in the Basque region to the small rural villages on the Camino, as the pilgrimage is commonly called. In the company of a local gastronomic expert, there will be many insights into the local culinary scene, two Michelin Star restaurant dining experiences.
 
 

Food Lovers French Way of St James (12 days, guided)

Sampling the local French cuisine with Mary Moody |  <i>Mary Moody</i>
 
This guided 'Food Lover's' walk along the Camino in France is destined to appeal to a wide range of palates. Beginning in Le Puy en Velay in the Auvergne, the journey on foot is a rich sensory experience taking in the best sections of the Camino between Le Puy and St Jean Pied de Port, including time in the historic and beautiful towns of Conques, Rocamadour, Saint Come d'Olt and Saint-Cirque-Lapopie. The foodie highlights are endless, with tastings of delectable cheeses, wines and truffles, interspersed with the rustic cooking style for which the region is renowned. 
 
From lunch at a small 100 year old family restaurant, which is featured in Mary's book 'Lunch with Madame Murat', to wine and Armagnac tasting, market visits, truffle hunting demonstrations and fine dining, this is a full-bodied experience. Most days include walks for 10-15kms and each night you'll stay in atmospheric accommodations ranging from restored convents to countryside inns and family run hotels.
 
 
 

 
Which trip are you looking forward to most? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
 
  
Shoulder Season Holidays in Europe

10 Best: Spring & Autumn Getaways 

Travel outside the peak season and enjoy quieter trails and excellent temperatures to get active in the European outdoors. Here are our 10 best shoulder season holidays in Europe.

To help you find the best destinations, we've selected 10 of our favourite locations in Europe to make the most of spring or autumn days. From Croatia's Dubrovnik to Spain's Alhambra and the Canary Islands to a chain of stunning Greek islands, where will you extend your summer of travel or where will your first trip of the year take you?
  

Croatia Bike & Sail

Southern Dalmatia encompasses a stunning chain of islands stretching from Solta to Mljet, and this unique cycling and sailing trip captures the highlights with an ideal balance of activity, culture and relaxation. Discover the stunning Dalmatian Coast in Croatia by bike and sailing boat. The island of Hvar is a highlight on our Croatia trips and one of the charming port towns we visit is on Brac Island. Charter a boat with your own party or join one of our weekly guided departures throughout April until October.
 
One of the charming port towns we visit on Brac Island, on our Croatian boat based trips
 

Bavaria Beer Trail Cycle

Beer brewing traditions are an art form in Bavaria and the Franconia region is home to a third of the country’s breweries. Following the Beer Cycle Route, averaging a brewery every kilometre, travellers can experience the laid-back atmosphere of the lively beer gardens, as well as plenty of sausage-tasting opportunities, and both medieval and wartime history in the exciting cities of Bamberg, Rothenburg and Nuremberg.
 
The interesting town of Rothenburg in Bavaria
 

Granada and the Alpujarras

From the intriguing city of Granada to the lofty heights of the Alpujarras, this is an excellent way to immerse yourself in southern Spanish culture and mountain landscapes. Small and surprisingly cosmopolitan, Granada offers a bizarre mixture of ancient history and modern living. There will be time to visit the Alhambra before heading into the mountains. This is an ideal shoulder season holiday destination in Spain packing in both culture and nature.
 
Walk through whitewashed villages in the Alpujarras |  <i>Erin Williams</i>
 

Transylvania Castles & Mountains

Explore some of Romania’s most stunning mountain landscapes and soak up the unique culture of Transylvania on this inspiring self guided walk. Home to a diverse range of landscapes, the Bucegi mountains offer limestone cliffs with exceptional views, pine and beech forests, and flower-laden meadows. Also, the site of Dracula’s castle, the folklore and the atmosphere make this a unique and diverse adventure in Romania.
 
Ascending through forest to the Bucegi Mountains in Transylvania |  <i>Kate Baker</i>
 

Loire Valley Cycle

Explore the vineyards & chateaux of the Loire Valley at your own pace on an 8-day self guided cycling tour in the French region. It was once known as the 'playground of kings' and today is a famous valley of impressive chateaux and vast fortune. Take time to soak up the medieval charm of Blois and discover picturesque Amboise overlooked by its impressive fortified chateau. Cycle through countryside crisscrossed with vineyards, duck farms and orchards and the remnants of feudal hunting forests.
The cycle distances and many dedicated bike paths make this ideal for anyone of reasonable fitness to complete on a regular hybrid bike or an e-bike. As you cycle, discover the best this region has to offer.
 
Hybrid bike - Loire cycling |  <i>P-Forget_054</i>
 

Interested in planning a last-minute shoulder season holiday? Our team of travel experts is available to support you with your trip planning. Contact us today.

 

Exploring La Gomera

La Gomera, one of Spain's Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, is a relaxed and unsophisticated island with a population of around 20,000 people living mostly in the capital, San Sebastian or the villages of the north. Discover its volcanic origins and dramatic mountain scenery unlike anywhere in Europe on a walking holiday with year-round departures. 

Choose from two self guided circular tour options, an 8 day and an 11 day walk. Both of these start and finish in the island capital of San Sebastian, with the 11 day tour allowing for some more exploration around Hermigua. There's also the Southern Trails of La Gomera hike that leads you around the beaches of Santiago and la Guancha.
 
Descending to Imada
 

Greek Islands Bike & Boat

On this island hopping adventure on board a comfortable boat, visit the Greek island that is known for its pistachio nuts. Explore the magical Ionian and Aegean Islands by bike and boat. Cycle to ancient ruins and quiet beaches and be spoiled by the delicious Greek cuisine.
 
Cycling in the south Aegean
 

Cycle Normandy

Think lush orchards and rolling pastures dotted with medieval villages and chateaux if you are considering the best way to explore beautiful Normandy in the off season. The Pays d'Auge of Lower Normandy is literally blanketed in apple orchards, where numerous cider and calvados (apple brandy) producers reside in their half-timbered houses.  Cycle along backroads and canal paths, past historic locations, such as WWII sites, and impressive coastline with options daily to choose a shorter or longer route (perhaps an e-bike will allow you to explore more?). 
 
Cyclists stopped outside Bayeux Cemetery in Normandy |  <i>Kate Baker</i>
 

Madeira Island Walking  

Start and end in the exciting town of Funchal! With this self guided walking tour on Madeira Island, you will in eight days discover places like Funchal, Pico Ruivo (the island’s highest peak), Santo da Serra, a network of levadas and many more stunning destinations on the Portuguese island. Visit in the shoulder season, in spring or autumn, and admire a myriad of flowers in bloom. 
 
Levada Dos Tornos |  <i>John Millen</i>
 

Villages of Istria Walk

The Villages of Istria Walk is a self guided tour on this Croatian peninsula where you can visit Groznjan with its artistic vibes, Hum which is officially the smallest town in the world, Buzet which is the truffle capital of Croatia, and the charming cobblestone town of Motovun. Trips depart as early as March and all the way into November for maximum opportunities to take in the beautiful hilltop towns, green landscapes awash with vineyards and olive groves, truffles, wine and fascinating culture.
 
Small village on Croatia's Istrian peninsula
 

Contact our team today to plan your shoulder season holiday in Europe for late summer, autumn or spring and early summer.


 
Camino: Food and Drinks You Must Try On Your Pilgrimage

Cerveza, vino and the best food on Spain's Camino de Santiago

 

If you are after some authentic Spanish flavours on your Camino pilgrimage, you are in for a treat.

 
From the brightly coloured padrón peppers to some of the very best tortillas and empanadas in Spain, here are the ultimate Camino food and drinks you simply must try on your way to Santiago.
 

Tortilla de patatas

Who can say ‘no’ to a slice of mouth-watering tortilla de patatas? The Spanish delicacy is famous the world over, with dedicated tortilla competitions taking place in Spain every year. Traditionally the dish would only include four ingredients (eggs, potatoes, salt and oil), although these days there are many versions which also add onions.
 
Tortilla is one of the most popular tapas choices on the Camino
 

Queixo de tetilla cheese

Manchego may claim the title of the most famous Spanish type of cheese but, when you are walking the Camino, you should sample some creamy queixo de tetilla. According to legend, during the construction of the Santiago Cathedral’s famed Portico of Glory, the church authorities ordered for Queen Esther’s bosom to be toned down; in protest, the locals created this cheese and gave it the shape of a woman’s breast.
 

Camino for Food Lovers: Find the right trip for you

 

Padrón peppers

This popular Camino food is found on virtually every tapas menu along the Camino de Santiago and is a variety of bright green peppers that are traditionally cooked with olive oil and salt. Although most of them have a mild taste, about one in ten padrón peppers has much higher levels of capsaicin, which gives it a much hotter flavour… and there is no way to tell until you taste it. We call it tastebud roulette.
 
Padrón peppers originally come from northwestern Spain
 

Empanadas

You will find some of the finest empanadas on your Camino journey, as the iconic crescent-shaped, savoury pastry originally comes from northwestern Spain (exactly where the Camino finishes in Santiago). Either fried or baked, empanadas are filled with a variety of ingredients such as meat, fish, seafood or vegetables. In fact, each family is said to have its own unique recipe!
 
Empanadas can have a variety of fillings
 

Percebes barnacles

Fans of seafood (and not only) will delight in what is often seen as the most exclusive of all delicacies in Galicia. Percebes, a strange-looking briny barnacle, are incredibly difficult to find and are, for many, the best food on the Camino de Santiago. They can only be hand-harvested off the rocks of the Galician coast, often a dangerous task, which explains their hefty price tag.
 
Percebes barnacles are exlusively found in Galicia
 

Tarta de Santiago

Whether you have a sweet tooth or not, you should treat yourself to a slice of tarta de Santiago to celebrate the end of your Camino journey. Although the distinctive cross of Santiago was not used until 1924 to decorate this delicious, almond-based cake, the original recipe is much older: this Camino food speciality dates back to 1577!
 
Tarta de Santiago is the perfect sweet treat at the end of your Camino journey
 

Camino for Food Lovers: Read what makes our Spain food tours so special

How about a drink?

An ice cold glass of cerveza or vino is the perfect way to reward yourself at the end of a day’s long walk on the Camino.
 
Estrella Galicia is ideal to quench your thirst when you walk the Camino
 
If you are a beer fan, the local brand is Estrella Galicia (it was founded in A Coruña in 1906 and is still run by the same family) and you will find it on the menu of every bar you pass by.

If you prefer wine, you should definitely try a glass of white albariño. Crisp, aromatic and very refreshing, albariño is native to Galicia and it is one of Spain’s most distinctive grape varieties.
 
Albariño is the most famous wine produced in the Galicia region
 

 

> Choose from this extensive range of Camino trips, including popular Camino itineraries especially designed for food lovers.

 

 
Great Walking & Cycling Tours for France's Rugby World Cup

Great Walking & Cycling Tours for France's Rugby World Cup 2023

The Rugby World Cup is being held in France in 2023. This is fantastic news for rugby fans and for people looking for a good reason to travel to France. 
 
The rugby tournament is being held between Friday, 8 September 2023 and Saturday, 28 October 2023. Matches are hosted in major cities across France, and rugby fever is sure to sweep the nation.
 
If you're looking to visit France to watch the Rugby World Cup it's also a great opportunity to participate in a bit of activity yourself. France is an amazing country to see on an active holiday, and there are many exciting walking and cycling tours that will see you become fully immersed in French culture, scenery and cuisine. 
 
In this article we've listed the host cities, the matches being played in them and the active trips in the surrounding region so you can explore France beyond the Rugby World Cup.
 

Bordeaux

Chateau de la Riviere in Fronsac, Bordeaux |  <i>Tourism d' Aquitaine</i>
 
In Bordeaux you can explore a rolling verdant landscape dotted with ancient vineyards, medieval villages and remains of the Roman Empire, you can sample some of the world’s best wines, straight from the cellar door of a magnificent chateau. With such appealing landscapes and rich cultural interest, sun-drenched Bordeaux is a delightful region to discover by foot, bike or barge.
 
Games being played at Stade de Bordeaux include Ireland v Romania, Wales v Fiji and Samoa v Chile.
 
 

Lille | Northern France

See the magnificent Chateau de Chantilly on a bike tour in Northern France
 
Visit medieval cities and idyllic villages as you travel by bike and barge from Paris to the fairytale Belgian city of Bruges, discovering the natural beauty, rich culinary traditions and warm hospitality of northern France and Belgian Flanders. Or take an epic cycle journey from Amsterdam to Paris, exploring the medieval towns, charming villages and ever-changing scenery of Holland, Belgium and northern France, or discover the moving WWI history of The North as you cycle along quiet roads and bike paths between the historic battlefields, museums and memorials of the Western Front.
 
Games being played at Lille's Stade Pierre Mauroy include France v Uruguay, England v Chile, and Scotland v Romania.
 
 

Lyon | Rhone Valley

Beautiful riverside cycling in Lyon.
 
Connecting the Swiss Alps with the Mediterranean, the Rhone River holds an important place in French history. Serving as an inland trading route where goods were transported as far back as the Greek and Roman civilisations, the Rhone connected many of France's most important cities and subsequently many smaller villages were built alongside it. Today, the cultural and architectural legacy of this period can still be found in many places along the river and can be discovered by cycling sections of the Via Rhona Cycle Path, where the culinary capital of Lyon is situated.
 
Games being played at Lyon's OL Stadium include Wales v Australia, Uruguay v Namibia and New Zealand v Italy.
 
 

Marseille | Provence & Southern France

Port of Marseilles |  <i>Sarah Higgins</i>
 
Marseille sits within the region of Provence & the Côte d'Azur. With its rich history, relaxed pace and sublime landscapes painted in a brilliant palette, Provence & the Côte d'Azur has been seducing artists, authors and travellers for centuries. Postcard-perfect scenes abound—sloping vineyards, sunny olive groves and lavender-strewn meadows, ruined Roman cities, medieval castles and busy market towns, the foothills of the Alpilles, hilltop villages of the Luberon, and glitzy beaches of the French Riviera.
 
Games being played at Marseille's Stade Velodrome include England v Argentina, South Africa v Scotland and France v Namibia.
 
 
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Nantes | Loire Valley

Wandering the cobble stoned streets of Nantes is all part of the cycling experience |  <i>Erin Williams</i>
 
Majestic chateaux, magnificent gardens, endless vineyards and the graceful sweep of France’s longest river—you’d be hard-pressed to find a more romantic embodiment of French culture, cuisine and landscape than the Loire Valley. Nantes is resplendently situated on the Loire River, a city filled with historic sights including the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, where the Dukes of Brittany once lived.
 
Games being played at Nantes' Stade de la Beaujoire include Ireland v Tonga, Japan v Argentina and Wales v Georgia.
 
 

Nice | Provence & the Côte d'Azur

Cyclist posing for a photo in Nice, the starting point of the Nice to Genoa Cycle |  <i>Andrew Bain</i>
 
Explore the glittering coves of the Côte d'Azur and the lush wetlands of the Camargue, teeming with birdlife and wild horses. Visit the vibrant markets, vineyards and villages that inspired Van Gogh and discover what makes Provence an unmissable and unforgettable corner of France.
 
Games being played at Nice's' Stade de Nice include England v Japan, Italy v Uruguay and Scotland v Tonga.
 
 

Saint-Étienne | Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Walking towards Trient |  <i>Jac Lofts</i>
 
With everything from gentle family-friendly walks to exhilarating mountaineering expeditions, the French Alps are home to some of Europe’s most exciting outdoor adventures. Here you can explore staggering alpine landscapes and historic villages by day, and relax and regroup in cosy mountain refuges each night.
 
Games being played at Saint-Étienne's Stade Geoffroy Guichard include Australia v Fiji, Italy v Namibia and Argentina v Samoa.
 
 

Saint-Denis (Paris) | Paris Region

A beautiful view of La Seine in Paris
 
An inimitable cradle of history, culture and style, and quite possibly the world’s most beloved city — Paris is hardly in need of introduction. The Ile-de-France region covers Paris and her outskirts, including the sumptuous royal palace of Versailles, and to the south, the magnificent 12th century Château de Fontainebleau and its surrounding forests. With its bounty of cultural riches and natural beauty, this is a small pocket of France that packs a serious punch, and begs to be explored on foot or by bike.
 
Games being played at Saint-Denis' Stade de France include France v New Zealand, Australia v Georgia and South Africa v Ireland.
 
 

Toulouse | Near Languedoc-Roussillion

The Capitole of Toulouse |  <i>Dana Garofani</i>
 
Toulouse is near the ancient and mysterious Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France. It is blessed with rich history and pleasing landscapes. Hilltop castles, Roman ruins and rocky outcrops dot a gentle landscape of sunbaked vineyards and shrubby prairie, pristine national parks, tree-lined canals and busy Mediterranean beaches.
 
Games being played at Toulouse' Stadium de Toulouse include Japan v Chile, New Zealand v Namibia and Japan v Samoa.
 
 

 
 
 
Who are you cheering for in the Rugby World Cup 2023? Let us know in the comments.
 
  
 
Coast to Coast to Become UK National Trail
Exciting news! Our most popular route in England, the Coast to Coast, is to become a new UK National Trail. With all the benefits for the path that will entail, it will attract even more walkers. 

As mentioned in the press release by the UK Government, Natural England will work alongside partners to improve the popular route, with £5.6 million committed to upgrade the 197-mile path. This includes funding set aside to develop a community engagement programme and maximise economic and health benefits for local people and businesses.

If you have been contemplating about walking Wainwright’s route, we highly recommend you start planning now. Our 2023 self-guided Coast to Coast dates are available to book. Don’t miss out as we are already taking booking from those that didn’t grab their chance this year.
 

 
The Coast to Coast stretches from St Bees on the Irish Sea to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea and crosses three of Britain’s most beautiful national parks: The Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, and the North York Moors.  
 

What others said about the UK Coast to Coast:

My friends and I had a wonderful experience and will definitely consider using them again for future trips. Our Coast to Coast walk was extremely well organized in terms of scheduling and luggage transfers. We were also very pleased with the accommodations. Partnering with an organised trip literally took a weight off our backs and made the walk much more enjoyable. Thank you!!

 

After postponements of 2 years due to Covid, we finally got to do our C2C ramblers trip. It proved to be everything we were hoping for and more. The hiking was demanding for 2 fit 65 years olds but we were well prepared thanks to the wonderful help of your staff. It was a wonderful trip that we would highly recommend.

 

The communication and lodging were both excellent. Lodging owners all loved working with Trina, as did I. She found us lodging wherever the walk took us whereas many others on the trail had to take taxis at the end of the day. I’m convinced Trina works magic because of her relationships with owners. Highly recommended!

 
 
More details about the status and it’s forecasted impact can be found in the press release regarding the Coast to Coast's National Trail status by the British Government. 
 

 

Contact our team of UK walking & cycling experts today for any queries regarding your Coast to Coast holiday or find a trip and book now

 

 
Walking in the Footsteps of Dali in Catalonia

Walking in the footsteps of Dali in Catalonia

Sally had a wonderful time exploring Catalonia, the region bordering France and Spain. The most famous resident to come from Catalonia is the eccentric artist Salvador Dali, and Sally and her family became immersed in the landscapes and lifestyles that formed his creativity. 
 
Read about her walking holiday in this insightful traveller tale, from the refreshing Catalan coastline to discovering fishing villages far from the tourist trail.
 
 
Hiking high above the Mediterranean coastline on our Footsteps of Dali tour
 

A spectacular coastline walk experiencing French and Spanish cultures

My family of 4 adult children loved all the little coastal towns between Collioure in France and Cadaques. The beautiful warm evenings in many of these coastal towns offered the perfect spot to sit and enjoy a meal or a drink. We enjoyed watching families and visitors promenading, enjoying a Spanish crepe or ice cream while looking out at the sea dotted with colourful boats.

The walking itself offered good variety and it did get pretty hot so we learnt to leave early. The terrain was often rocky and arid but we always arrived at the next town for lunch and a swim. The GPX tracker files we had downloaded on our phones made finding our way relatively easy. 
 
Cadaques St. Pere de Rodes Port de la Selva
 
On our first day we chose the mountain route which wasn't especially difficult but very scenic with spectacular stone walls, windmills and very old buildings. There were vineyards, olive trees and cork trees with stunning views of the coast along the way. 
 
For the rest of our trip we chose the coastal route so we could cool off in lovely little coves with crystal clear water, especially around El Port de la Selva. Thongs or 'rock proof' water shoes were essential at these beaches.
 
Coastal town of Port Lligat Old buildings on the Footsteps of Dali tour Walkers on our Foosteps of Dali tour

On the last day's trek into the stunning port of Cadaques we walked through arid country with many ancient stone caves like igloos and archways which were fascinating. On the way we dropped into Platja de Tavellera where we had the beach to ourselves apart from a couple of boats further out. 
 
Cadaques itself was a stunning, colourful and bigger port with some fun restaurants and shops. We did feel the heat here and after a good lunch our airconditioned hotel beckoned me for a much needed siesta.
 
Walking the charming old streets of Cadaques |  <i>Jaime Elfrances</i>

One of the highlights was having a late afternoon guided tour of Salvador Dali's house which he had purchased as a collection of old fishermen's dwellings and lived in for 40+ years until his wife died. It was overlooking the most Eastern part of Spain with its own garden and stories. 
 
The museum in Figueres was also truly mind blowing in its scale, range of artwork and creativity especially his own Surreal version of a Sistine style ceiling. Both the house and museum are 'must do' options and we had to be booked in advance.
 
Building on Footsteps of Dali tour Coastal scene on Footsteps of Dali An old building on our Footsteps of Dali tour

With the exception of one hotel with no air conditioning and was a very small room we were happy with all the hotels we stayed in. We especially loved the generous breakfasts but mainly preferred choosing our own place for dinner.

The only mistake we experienced at the end was returning to Collioure after the museum as it was in the opposite direction to Barcelona. It would have made more sense to catch a train directly from Figueres.

It is not difficult to see why this coast inspired so many Impressionist and surrealist painters. Overall a wonderful trip and I wish I was back there now.
 
Thanks to Sally Gough for her fantastic write-up of the Footsteps of Dali self-guided walking trip.
 
 
The pretty, little seaside town of Collioure |  <i>Seboseb</i>
 

About the Footsteps of Dali Walking Holiday

Follow in the footsteps of the surrealist painter, staying in hotels situated in charming country towns and coastal fishing villages. The journey begins by crossing the foothills of the Albères, the section of the Pyrenees where the mountains gradually give way to the sea. 
 
As you amble along well defined trails, there are magnificent views beyond the rolling hills and terraced vineyards to the sea. Marvel at the stunning Vermillion coast as you arrive by foot in Spain. Discover the coastal villages that inspired many artists over the centuries including the great Salvador Dali. 
 
Collioure
 
Catalan hospitality provides a further dimension to the walk as you reach the Mediterranean coast. Each walking day there will be two possible routes (high route or coastal route) offering greater flexibility and a chance to take in the sights, swim in the sea or ascend a high ridge for panoramic views of this stunning pocket along the French / Spanish border.
 
 
 

 
 
 

 
Have you ever been inspired by an artist, book, or film to explore a destination? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
 
  
 
 
10 Places To Enjoy European Beers On Your Active Holiday

Quench your thirst after a day’s walk or cycle with an ice-cold European beer

A reward is in place after you’ve mastered the tracks and trails of Europe on foot or by bike, so find below the best places to raise your glass. Cheers!

1. Germany

Beer is a major part of the German culture and the country has gifted the world with incredible European beers. German beer is brewed according to the ‘German Beer Purity Law’ (Reinheitsgebot), which dates back to 1500s, and specifies that only water, hops and malt can be used as ingredients.

See all trips to Germany

 
Germany is world famous for its beer gardens
 

2. Czech Republic

It may come as a surprise to some but the Czech Republic has the highest per capita consumption of beer in the world. Beer in the Czech Republic is cheaper than bottled water (typically US$/€1 for a pint of beer), and the country is the birthplace of the ‘pilsner’, the world’s first pale lager.

See all trips to the Czech Republic

 
The popular Pilsner beer takes its name from the Bohemian city of Plzen in the Czech Republic

3. The Netherlands

The Netherlands is the largest beer exporter in the world, with brands such as Heineken and Grolsch readily available globally. Its rich brewing history dates back to the Middle Ages; in fact, it was the Dutch who taught many other countries how to make beer with hops.

See all trips to the Netherlands

 

Bonus Trivia | The alcohol content in medieval beer was often very low, 1% or less, so it was not uncommon for children to drink what was called a ‘small’ ale!

 
Beer Bike in Amsterdam

4. Belgium

Belgian beer has been produced long before Belgium became an independent country. At that time, people preferred drinking beer because of the drinking water’s unsanitary condition. Trappist beer, which is brewed in Trappist monasteries (there are only 10 in the world!), is an extremely popular European beer.

See all trips to Belgium

 
Trappist beer can only be brewed by Trappist monks |  <i>Unsplash</i>
 

5. Iceland

Although beer is the drink of choice for most Icelanders, the country’s long battle with prohibition included a ban on all beer above 2.25% ABV until 1989. A small-but-impressive number of upstart brewers have come on the scene since then and 1 March is celebrated nationwide as ‘Beer Day’.

See all trips to Iceland

 

> View all walking holidays for beer lovers

> View all cycling holidays for beer lovers

 
New micro-brewers have come on the scene in Iceland in the recent years
 

6. United Kingdom

From traditional beer styles to small scale microbreweries, beer in the UK has a long history and distinct traditions. London even suffered a Great Beer Flood in 1814, when a giant vat of porter burst in the centre of the city and over a million litres of beer flooded the streets, drowning eight people.

See all trips to the United Kingdom

 
Pubs are a British institution and can be found everywhere in the country
 

7. Ireland

Ireland has been brewing pints of its famous Guinness stout in Dublin since the mid-18th century: the company originally leased its Dublin brewery for 9000 (!) years and the lease included free water supply. Today it is one of the most well-known European beers, with 10 million glasses of Guinness consumed every day around the world.

Bonus trivia: There is an official guide on how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness, which includes six steps. According to the guide, you must wait 119.5 seconds for the beer to settle between the first and second pour.

See all trips to Ireland

 
Guinness beer is one of Ireland's most iconic brands
 

8. Spain

One of the last bars on the Camino, Casa Tia Dolores is easy to spot, as it’s impossible to miss from all the beer bottles you will see hanging, from the exterior walls to the surrounding trees. Anyone can sign their name on their beer bottle and then put it on a nail among the thousands of other pilgrims’ bottles.

See all trips on the Camino

 
Make a wish when you hang your beer bottle in the Pilgrim's beer garden on the Camino

9. Italy

Italy may be the country of good wine but beer has also been enjoyed since ancient times. Roman Emperor Agricola became a fan during his service as governor of Britannia so, when he returned to Italy in 83 AD, he brought with him three master brewers from Glevum (modern Gloucester).

See all trips to Italy

 
Beer has been produced in Italy for almost 2000 years
 

10. Greece

Have you added beer to the list of drinks you must try on your next trip to Greece, along with ouzo, raki and tsipouro? The flagship Fix brewery may long have been converted into the National Museum of Contemporary Art but beer remains an important part of the local culture.

See all trips to Greece


Enjoying a cold beer by the beach in Greece
 

10+1. Corsica

For a truly unique European beer, Corsica remains one of the very few places to enjoy a chestnut beer. Named ‘Pietra’, the beer became first available in 1996, following years of studying, testing and tasting to fully assess the brewing qualities of chestnut flour. Today, this unique beer keeps growing in popularity.

See all trips to Corsica

 
Corsica's popular Pietra beer is made of chestnut
 

What’s your favourite place to enjoy a European beer? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Wine lover instead? Here are the best walking and cycling trips through Europe’s vineyards.



 
Arthur explores the Rhine Trail in Germany

Arthur explores the Rhine Trail in Germany

While the Rhine River is generally seen on an active bike and barge holiday, it is also growing in popularity to explore the charming German villages on foot. This is partly due to the development of the Rhine Trail, or Rheinsteig as it's known in German.
 
Exploring the Rhine Trail
 
Recently Arthur walked the Rhine Trail on a self-guided walking tour with UTracks. Read his account of the trip below and see why he rated this a five-star holiday. (All photos by Arthur Hanlon)
 
>> View the Rhine River and Castles Walk
 

Walking the Rhine Trail: Traveller Tale

I've just finished an 8-day walk down the Rhine Gorge. UTracks' organisation and accommodation was excellent, the food was very good and the scenery, of course, was spectacular. 
 
I started by catching a train from Mainz to an overnighter in Rudesheim, a very popular tourist town.
 
Exploring the Rhine Trail |  <i>Arthur Hanlon</i>

From there I caught a cable car up to a giant statue of Germania and then started the walk proper. The weather was hot and the paths narrow and sometimes difficult. There were three very steep sections over the whole journey where sturdy cables or ropes were essential.

I walked 20km the first day, 15km on the second and eight on the fourth. I had a little assistance from trains or ferries on the other days.
 
Exploring the Rhine Trail Exploring the Rhine Trail Exploring the Rhine Trail

My suitcase was sent on to the next riverside village every morning and I carried a 30-litre backpack, mainly for water. 

The walk ended in Koblenz, a fascinating city where the Mosel meets the Rhine.
 
Exploring the Rhine Trail Exploring the Rhine Trail Exploring the Rhine Trail

Overall, my knees held up well but muscle soreness was an issue.

Chatting to walkers and cyclists en route was fun. The overall sense of achievement -- along with sights of at least 20 hilltop castles -- was strong. 
 
Exploring the Rhine Trail
 

About the Rhine River and Castles Walking trip

Discover Germany's most popular region on the recently developed Rhine Trail (Rheinsteig). The Rhine Gorge stretches 65km along the river between Bingen and Koblenz in Germany and with its rich history, geological characteristics and unique culture it was understandably listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. The river has carved through the predominantly slate rock to produce dramatic cliffs up to 200m, the most famous of which is Loreley Rock. 
 
Exploring the Rhine Trail
 
Dotted with castles, many of which were reduced to ruins during the Thirty Years War, and with the southern slopes covered by vineyards producing the famous riesling varietal, the region is as picturesque as it is fascinating. Walking through pretty wine villages with half timbered houses, ascending to the historic castles high above the river and arriving in Koblenz where the Rhine meets the Moselle are just some of the highlights of this week long walking holiday. 
 
In the evening stay in comfortable hotels specially chosen for their location and character.
 
We very much enjoyed our hike along the Rhine. The altitude changes each day gave us a good workout accompanied with wonderful views of the river and castles each day. The quality of the hotels was highly satisfactory and the luggage was transferred without a hitch. M. Ferguson. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 
 

 
Are you interested in exploring the Rhine Trail? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
 
  
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