Top Staff Picks for 2014

Paris to London cycle groupLondon to Paris by bike, one of the hot trips for 2014 When you have over 300 trips to choose from how on earth do you filter out the very best? Ask those who know our walking & cycling holidays the best. Presenting our Top 14 for Twenty14. Sue Badyari, CEO World Expeditions Travel Group Grand Combin Traverse: Having completed the Mont Blanc Classic and The Walkers Haute route, I’m pining for more alpine scenery. Our French guides on both of those treks ranked the Grand Combin Traverse as the stellar trek in the Swiss and Italian Alps – so that’s next on my list. Crossing the historic St Bernard Pass (2450m) will no doubt be a great highlight of the walk as well as the tiny hamlets we’ll meander through during the trek. Cycle Prague to Vienna: This trip really highlights the advantages of cycling tours in Europe. There are not many places in the world where you can link two iconic cities together by bike in a week. Thanks to the fantastic Greenways Trail this trip serves up plenty of history as well as good food and wine - which makes this trip very appealing indeed! Kate Baker, UTracks General Manager Crossing CorsicaThanks to the Tour de France beginning on this magical island last year Corsica is the buzz destination in Europe at the moment. Everyone I have met in my work travels in Europe recently are either going or planning to go to Corsica this year. Crossing the island of foot, swimming in natural water holes, having a taste of the GR20 (the toughest walk in Europe) and seeing the wonderful rock formations of Calanques de Piana is very appealing. With the sea and mountains so close to each other it is the perfect active destination. Catalonia by Bike for Families – With a couple of keen cyclists in tow, exploring the Spanish Catalan area at handlebar level is a firm family favourite. Spending time at the beach, visiting Figueras and the world renowned Dali Museum, incredible local cuisine, quaint small villages and comfortable farmhouse accommodation and you have an ideal active family holiday. Jaclyn Lofts, National Sales Manager London to Paris by Bike: I’m all about taking the slower, more active path on my travels so the idea of cycling between two of Europe’s most enigmatic cities is just too good to pass. There’s a wealth of sites, history and countryside to discover on both sides of the English Channel and it’s unlikely you’ll ever get to experience them unless you get on your bike and pedal through it. Philip Wyndham, Industry Sales High Pyrenees Explorer: My dream combination would be to link all three 8 day stages of the High Pyrenees Explorer trips. This would make an epic 24 day high alpine crossing of this iconic mountain range bordering Spain and France; two countries not lacking in fine food, great wine and eye popping scenery. If I could only do one stage then the third would be my pick as it includes a trek up the famed peak Pic Aneto (3404m), which is the highest peak in the Pyrenees. Turkey Walk and Cruise: Since I have a young family the more likely option is something more suitable for them, and Turkey Walk and Sail is an option which will keep the whole family entertained. Cruising the historic filled coastline of Turkey by a comfortable yet traditionally built Gullet boat, enjoying hearty Turkish food, swimming the azure Mediterranean and exploring quiet villages, ancient ruins or untouched coastline is a far cry from most people’s experience in Turkey. Brad Atwal, Marketing Manager Amalfi Explorer – Every time I see a stunning coastline picture of Italy it’s either the Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast. The diversity of this trip is what really appeals; from discovering the ruins of Pompeii, climbing to the crater of Mt Vesuvius, exploring the famous Amalfi coastline by foot or taking a dip in the Mediterranean waters – this trip has it all. Croatia Family Adventure – Multi activity not only appeals to me, I also know it will keep the kids occupied! The idea of exploring the magical southern Dalmatian islands by foot, bike or even raft sounds like heaven. The itinerary is also nicely balanced with visits to the picturesque ports where I can delve into the history and treat the kids to an ice cream at the same time. Scott Kirchner, Graphic Designer For me, it has to be the Walking in Iceland as well as The Fjordland – Norway trips. My long term love affair with Scandinavian landscapes began well before the current Walter Mitty generated frenzy for the region. Even though our trips run in the summer, I prefer destinations where the overall cooler climates produce remarkable natural settings of powerful beauty.
Our walking itineraries to both Norway and Iceland seem more adventurous and off the beaten path. In fact I find Iceland is so ‘off the radar’ and remote for most people that this itself sparks my fascination. Of course, being of an artistic inclination the fact that it is the home of Bjork is just another reason to want to go!
Efti Poulos, Reservations Consultant Hungarian Rhapsody: This trip is a perennial favourite and I can easily see why. For me, getting off the larger river cruises and cycling along the Danube is the only way to really soak in the sites and atmosphere of this famous river. To combine it with a chance to explore the cities of Vienna and see Budapest just caps off an already well rounded itinerary.
Taste of Burgundy: I did the Highlights of Holland by Barge last year and now I’m hooked on the idea of barge/boat based active adventures! Unpacking just once and having the option to switch cycling for sightseeing is a real luxury on active trips. Burgundy’s focus on great food and good wine just adds to the irresistible temptation to explore this amazing part of France.
Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, France, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Turkey

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