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Glorious Reviews of Walking in the Dordogne

Walking in the Dordogne Reviews

Read reviews of our Dordogne walking holiday, which are just as splendid as the scenery, and discover what 71-year-old Ann thought of her trip.
 

About the Walking in the Dordogne trip

A region full of elegant stone houses and medieval castles, the Dordogne boasts stunning scenery with a combination of villages, forests and farmland. Focused around the Dordogne River Valley, this itinerary has plenty of scope to absorb the history and culture of the Perigord. 
 
With marvellous food and colourful markets (particularly Sarlat) you will discover the specialities of the region including mushrooms, walnuts, chestnuts, truffles and strawberries. The Benedictine Abbey in Souillac and the delightful villages of Beynac and Domme are fine examples of period architecture that really add to the flavour of the region.
 
 
Walking in the Dordogne |  <i>Nathalie Thomson</i>
 

Traveller Tale: Walking in the Dordogne

Ann Beniusis shares her experiences from her Walking in the Dordogne self-guided tour.
 

Why did you choose to go walking in the Dordogne?

Three reasons:
1. I like walking.
2. I've never been to the Dordogne area.
3. I was due to be in France already for a wedding.
 
 

How did you prepare for your trip?

I increased my walking and cycling distance over the previous 5 months. Plus I did strength training twice a week.
 
Waking into Curemonte, Dordogne |  <i>Nathalie Thomson</i>
 

What was the overall trip highlight?

Seeing pretty new towns and villages every day.
 

What was the local cuisine like in the Dordogne? 

Tasty croissants for breakfast were delicious! All meals were beautifully presented.
 
Chateau de Castelnaud at Beynac, Dordogne |  <i>Tourism d' Aquitaine</i> Croissants Limousin cows greet us on our walk in France |  <i>Nathalie Thomson</i>

How challenging did you find the trail?

Moderately challenging, nothing I found too difficult and I'm aged 71.
 

What surprised you the most about your trip?

Enjoyed it more than I had anticipated!
 
Very happily walking in the Dordogne |  <i>Nathalie Thomson</i>
 

 

5-Star Reviews of the Walking in Dordogne tour

 
"All aspects of the trip happened as arranged. All hotels and dinners were beyond expectations, welcoming and well located- a number with absolutely sensational views. The guide notes were generally very good, and the GPS maps were fantastic as support when directions were a little more difficult to follow. 
 
The towns and villages visited - both along and at the end of each day - were sensational and contributed strongly to the overall experience. Market Day in Sarlat was a tremendous experience to spend with locals and visitors alike. The local contact was extremely professional and timely in picking us up and returning us to the train at the beginning and end of the walk, and also for arranging alternative dinner arrangements on our final evening in Souillac. 
 
The weather could not have been much better as well. Altogether, a great experience for us both." I. Jordan, Australia.
 
La Roque Gageac, Dordogne |  <i>Tourism d' Aquitaine</i>
 
"The Dordogne Walk was an excellent trip. 
 
The hotels were some of the best that I have stayed in on a self-guided hike like this. The fact that it is half-board really makes it excellent value for money and all but one of the restaurants were excellent (the one exception wasn't bad...just ok). 
 
All in all, I have to say that I would highly recommend this trip." B. Brown Jr, USA.
 
A walker on the towpath beside the Dordogne River in Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne |  <i>Nathalie Thomson</i>
 
"This tour was an amble through fields of corn, groves of chestnuts, forests of oak and honey-coloured stone villages huddled around their ancient churches. Chateaux and castles clung to hillsides while the Dordogne River threaded much of it with silver. 
 
With a baguette, the region’s famed foie gras or duck rillette and the last of summer’s sweet strawberries I picnicked on mossy forest floors or wayside stone benches. I passed not a soul except for the occasional shy farmer. 
 
Hearty breakfasts, delicious dinners in fine restaurants and comfortable rooms in places of character made this a trip that had everything - the historic, the picturesque, the bucolic and the gourmet and all experienced with a walker’s time to wonder." K. Henry, Australia.
 
Chateau de la Riviere in Fronsac, Bordeaux |  <i>Tourism d' Aquitaine</i>
 

 
 

 
Has this got you planning a trip to the Dordogne region in France? Let us know how keen you are in the comment section below!
 
  
Traveller Tale: Via Alpina Hike in Switzerland

Traveller Tale: Via Alpina Hike in Switzerland

Carlyn hiked the Via Alpina trail in Switzerland with her husband and was pleasantly surprised: the breathtaking Via Alpina trail featured all the spectacular mountain views and Toberlone chocolate stops she could've hoped for! Read on to discover how her trip went.
 

About the Via Alpina Trail

There are few walks that capture the essence of the Alps as this classic trail through Switzerland's most stunning scenery. As you walk there is a constant backdrop of 4000m+ peaks including the Jungfrau (4158m), Schreckhorn (4078m) and Mönch (4107m) together with the famous Eiger (3970m) and the Wetterhorn (3692m). 
 
Hiking along Europe's spectacular Alpine trails |  <i>Brandon Wilson</i>
 
Whilst the high mountains are an obvious drawcard, there are so many other highlights such as the sound of cowbells as you make your way along scenic paths, the picture postcard villages and towns you pass through and the wildflowers lining the trail. At night experience the engaging hospitality of the hosts in our specially handpicked accommodation and sample local delicacies.
 

 
 

Why did you choose to hike the Via Alpina?

My husband and I wanted to hike in Switzerland and the UTracks self-guided tour Via Alpina tour looked like what we had in mind.
 
The stunning Lake Bachalpsee above Grindelwald |  <i>kate Baker</i>
 

How did you prepare for the walk?

We hiked in the Cascade Mountains near our home in Seahurst twice a week in the summer and also did stair-climbing walks in our neighborhood.
 

What was the overall trip highlight?

The beautiful mountain vistas as we hiked along the trail.

The ascent above Gindelwald will prove to be very rewarding in terms of views
 

What was the local cuisine like in Switzerland? Can you describe your favourite food and drink?

We enjoyed every bite after hiking up and down from one mountain valley to the next.  It is hard to beat a Toblerone chocolate bar while looking down upon Grindelwald and the Eiger with the Wetterhorn towering above us!
 
Comfortable cabin in the Swiss Alps |  <i>Sarah Higgins</i>

How challenging did you find the trail?

Challenging is the right word!
 

What surprised you the most about the Via Alpina?

How great it was to see our luggage sitting in the hotel lobby when we would arrive in the late afternoon to check in!
 
On the Via Alpina trail
 

Anything else to share?

Yes, it was a memorable, difficult, fun, and wonderful trip!
 
 
Thanks to Carlyn Roedell for her tour report of the Via Alpina trail in Switzerland.
 

More Reviews of the Via Alpina Hike

"Absolutely brilliant trip. Scenery and exercise were outstanding but so was the organisation from UTracks. Nothing went wrong, all hotels were lovely, App map worked well. Couldn’t have been better." Fiona Cottam.

The 3692m Wetterhorn as seen from Grindelwald in the Bernese Oberland. |  <i>Switzerland Tourism</i>

"Very well planned by the team. A variety of accommodation from luxury resort to budget BnB, but balanced out to an acceptable level. My suitcase was delivered as described each day. Route was well described and mapped." R. Ball.
 
Sunrise at lake Stellisee (2537 m) with the 4478m Matterhorn in the background. |  <i>Switzerland Tourism</i>

"We arranged this last minute due to changing Covid restrictions. Nicola from UTracks was very helpful, helping us chose a holiday to suit us and sorting out all the details. The trip ran very smoothly and it was a perfect fit. Amazing scenery for just the right amount of effort." K. Griffiths, UK.
 

 
 

The Via Alpina has been described as one of Switzerland's ultimate hikes - are you in? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
 
  
 
Traveller Tale: Walking the Andros Trail in Greece

Traveller Tale: Walking the Andros Trail in Greece

O to escape to a (practically) deserted Greek island and spend your days wandering historic trails.
 
That's exactly what Sue did when she walked the Andros Trail in September. The Andros Trails are an ancient network of paths that have been revitalised as part of a sustainable tourism project. They're on Andros Island, which is part of the Cyclades islands in Greece. 
 
Read on for her tour review of this amazing self-guided walking holiday.
 
The beach in the lovely town of Paleopolis |  <i>Sarah Baxter</i>
 

Why did you choose to walk the Andros Trail?

I had been to Crete and walked the Samaria Gorge in the past and loved it. I had walked many times using UTracks in Europe and they were so reliable. I saw the Andros island trip with UTracks and it ticked the boxes for me but then COVID arrived...so it would be a few years until I finally got to walk it.
 

How did you prepare for your walk?

I used the UTracks staff for advice but largely relied on all the experience I had doing other self-guided trips around Europe, including the full Camino from France to Fisterra.
 
Hiker on the Andros Trail Self Guided Walk between Batsi and Gavrio
 

What was the overall trip highlight?

Andros is in the Cyclades but largely unaffected by mass tourism. Walking ancient trails with few others except locals on beautiful donkeys and swimming in pristine waters was wonderful. The views from the top of the challenging mountain tops were worth the trudge!

 

What was the local cuisine like? Can you describe your favourite food and drink?

I’m mad about Greek salad so I’m easily satisfied. But the quality of Mediterranean tomatoes can’t be beaten. I also loved the grandmothers recipe for meatballs with pure meat and fresh herbs, stuffed zucchini flowers, fresh herb dumplings and of course strong Greek coffee and gorgeous wine.
 
Delicious Greek food and wine
 

How challenging did you find the Andros Trail?

The trail was challenging on the two big days of serious ups and downs. The views were worth it but I would never do the trail without poles and decent boots.
 
Hikers on the beautiful round walk from Gavrio on the Andros Trail
 

What surprised you the most about your trip?

My first impression when I arrived was that there were relentless dry mountains and I couldn’t see how this was going to be fun! But the walked walks, tiny hidden villages, beautiful springs and lush valleys were a surprise. The views were utterly staggering. The ancient history of this place is captivating.
 
Andros Island makes for an enjoyable walking holiday in Greece |  <i>Sarah Baxter</i>
 

Andros Trail 5-Star Review

Need further convincing that the Andros Trail is a worthy walk? Read this 5-star review.
 
"Thoroughly enjoyed this walking holiday in Andros! We went at the start of May and it was a great time to go, with the island carpeted with wildflowers everywhere and looking stunning. 
 
Varied terrain, from green valleys, white-washed hillside hamlets and farm ruins to rugged hilltops, and everywhere you get Andros’s characteristic, very picturesque dry-stone walls and terraces. 
 
Looking down on Korthi on the Andros Trail |  <i>Sarah Baxter</i>
 
The weather was very breezy (I think it’s always a windy island), so great for walking. The trails were the best way-marked I have ever seen - we barely needed to use the very comprehensive app, map and written directions provided. 
 
We only ever saw a handful of other walkers all day, it’s a very peaceful, not very touristy island. Mostly that’s great, but sometimes limits options - eg there was only one restaurant, a pizza place, open in Agios Petros when we stayed there; and a couple of the attractions on route, the oil factory and one monastery, were closed due to Covid. 
 
Walking from Batsi to Gavrio on the Andros Trail Self Guided Walk
 
The studios and hotels we stayed in were nicer than we expected - spotlessly clean, very well-kept and very welcoming. Would definitely recommend this trip and consider other walking holidays with UTracks." C. Sargent.

 

 
  

 
Does the Andros Trail in Greece tick all the right boxes for you? Get in touch with our team of active travel experts.
 
  
Walking the Camino de Invierno and Camino Primitivo back-to-back

Trip Report: Walking the Camino de Invierno and Camino Primitivo

The inspirational Heath de Burgh has returned from her back-to-back Camino de Invierno (Winter Way) and Camino Primitivo walks. Not bad for a sprightly 80-year-old!
 
Read on for her report on walking these two lesser-known Camino trails during October.
 
Fascinating natural scenery along the Camino de Invierno |  <i>Heath de Burgh</i>

"I had a wonderful time! Both walks are terrific. I’m glad I did the Primitivo first. The Invierno was really tough for the first few days so it was fortunate I was hardened up a bit! 

Both of the walks are really spectacular and the best thing about them both was the fact that there were no crowds! I know I was there late in the season but even so I don’t think either of them would be too busy even in peak time. 
 
Cliff top views from the Camino trail |  <i>Heath de Burgh</i>

On the last few days of the Primitivo, when I joined up with some of the other Camino trails closer to Santiago, it was bumper to bumper! The Invierno was very quiet. I probably only saw 12-15 pilgrims during the entire time.
 
My accommodation was all good. In some cases there was an effort made to serve gluten free food, but it was the same experience I had in France – not much idea. I was delighted to find Spain has a lot of gluten-free beer so I pigged out on that – nothing like a cold beer after a long, hot walk! 
 
Beautiful bridge along the Camino in Spain |  <i>Heath de Burgh</i>

All of the many transfers worked perfectly and they were almost all absolutely spot on so I didn’t have to hang around cooling off and stiffening up waiting after the walk. And the luggage transfers went smoothly, as usual.
 
The weather during October was mostly good, I’m happy to say. I had a couple of days when I had to put a slicker on for a while but I didn’t have to deal with lots of heavy rain and wind.
 
Vivid green landscapes in Spain while walking the Camino de Invierno |  <i>Heath de Burgh</i>
 
I haven’t really looked at my photos yet, but I’ve attached a few just to give you an idea of what you’ve got to look forward to if you ever decide to do these two very beautiful Camino trails.

My thanks to Michele and Allie from the UTracks team for organising it all for me. When I’ve sufficiently recovered my breath, I’ll take a look at what I might do next year."
 
The route of the Camino de Invierno |  <i>Heath de Burgh</i> Walking along the Camino de Invierno |  <i>Heath de Burgh</i> Historic old church on the Camino de Invierno |  <i>Heath de Burgh</i>
 
 

About Heath de Burgh

Heath is a veteran UTracks Traveller and has completed many of the world's great hiking trails. Her accomplished routes include...take a deep breath...sections of the Via Francigena and the St Francis Way in Italy; sections of the Camino de Santiago and Granada and the Alpujarras in Spain, Mt Everest's Kanshung Face in the Himalayas; Macchu Pichu and the Inca trail; the 18-day Mongolian Panorama; and the Warrumbungle Summits and end-to-end Larapinta Trail in Australia.
 
Read her feature article about walking the full 40-day French Way of St James at 79 years young.
 
 

 

>> View the Camino de Invierno
>> View the Camino Primitivo
 
 

 
Were you inspired by Heath's travels? We sure have been and can only hope to be making these long distance pilgrimages when we reach her age. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
 
  
Watch: Amateur NZ cyclists ride the Tour de France

Watch: Amateur NZ cyclists ride the Tour de France

Here's a healthy dose of inspiration for you: in 2018, 8 'ordinary' New Zealanders (think accountants, project managers, GPs, a university dean) decide to journey to France to cycle the Tour de France in the days before the professional event takes place. 
 
Their bond is that they've all faced mental health challenges at some point in their life and this ride is a way for them all to address and overcome this issue. The group of unlikely Tour de France cyclists have raised over $90,000NZD for mental health.
 
It was all documented by Silver Eye Films in a 52-minute movie, and is now available to watch for free.
 
Below you can watch the 2-minute trailer of One Day Ahead, read a synopsis, and watch the full 52-minute film for free.
 
Incredibly, not an e-bike to be seen!
 

One Day Ahead: Trailer

 
 

One Day Ahead: Synopsis

Read the official synopsis from Silver Eye Films.
 
"The Tour de France is arguably the hardest & most famous cycle race in the world, even for a pro rider completing the tour is a huge feat. But what if an amateur cyclist attempted riding the exact same course only one day ahead of the pros?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @scotthuk


This award-winning documentary 'One Day Ahead' follows 8 ordinary New Zealander's who endure emotional and physical breakdowns as they attempt to finish the world's toughest cycle race - Tour de France. Gear ratios, cadence and determination are all critical in getting these eight guys through the tour.

Check out more of Silver Eye Films short films: https://www.SilverEyeFilms.co.nz

The Tour de France is the world's biggest annual sporting event. Normally held in July, the event sees nearly 200 cyclists race over 3400km (or 2,000 miles) climbing 50,000 metres in just 23 days. While most of the race takes part in the towns, cities, countryside and mountains of France it also often starts in a foreign country.

While One Day Ahead is about cycling, the documentary is a story of personal journeys to achieve an ambitious goal. With the highs and lows of human emotions, as eight individuals & strangers bond to become a team of one to finish one of the world’s toughest and arguably most famous cycle races.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Svelo (@svelociclismo)



To date, the team members have raised over $90,000 NZD for the Mental Health Foundation New Zealand. Heightening public awareness about the importance of mental health, and to gain understanding and improve attitudes about mental disorders is so crucial. If you or anyone you know is needing help or advice with mental health contact your country's mental health service or head to World Federation for Mental Health
 

One Day Ahead: Watch the Full Film for Free

 
 


Find your own cycling tour
> Explore France on a cycling holiday
 
 

 
What did you think of the film, One Day Ahead? Were you inspired to do something extraordinary (maybe in France?). Let us know in the comment section.
  
   
 
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 Walking Tours for Seniors

 

Guided Camino Walking Tour for Senior Travellers (12 days, guided)

Pilgrims making their way to Roncesvalles |  <i>Gesine Cheung</i>
 
This trip provides the perfect option for those wanting a guided walk along the last stage of the pilgrimage route at a relaxed pace of between 10 to 18km per day. Completing the final 115kms to Santiago means you are eligible to receive the official Compostela certificate. Along the walk you'll gain an appreciation of the historic significance of the trail while reflecting on the meditative role that walking offers.
 
Interwoven through the itinerary are opportunities to extend your camino experience with honey and cheese tasting, guided visits to churches and a visit to the spiritual conclusion of the camino at Fisterra on the Atlantic coast. Enjoy the camaraderie of a small group and local guide and at night stay in atmospheric towns in a selection of comfortable hotels and guesthouses where the local flavours are introduced by your hosts.
 
 

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.
 
 
xxxx
 

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.
 
  
 
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