These days, it’s not so much the venturing off the beaten path that matters. It’s how one does the venturing. In Europe, interesting new options continue to spring up. Among them, a new luxury guided walking tour of Spain’s Camino de Santiago from Country Walkers.
Launched in 2015 for repeat guests, the tour is available to the general public beginning with May 2016 departures.
The itinerary is a condensed version of the Camino Frances ⎯ French Way ⎯ of the ancient pilgrimage route from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela.
The nine-day tour from Pamplona includes “easy-to-moderate” distances of between five and nine miles per day. Highlights of the route include UNESCO World Heritage cathedrals; Basque mountain villages; the Rioja wine country; historic Castile and León, plus the Galician countryside.
Guests sample regional cuisine during their stays in boutique hotels, historic former palaces and country homes. And guides offer insights into the history, culture and heritage of the ancient Way of St. James.
“Our expert guides are local to the area. Each has a specialty. Some are historians; some are artists, some chefs. You’ll get insider perspective on destination. It’s a huge cultural experience,” Jamen Yeaton-Masi, vice president of worldwide product for Country Walkers, tells Travel Agent.
In Italy, cyclists are finding the Adler Spa Resorts hold a special allure.
The collection of four boutique properties has been owned and managed by the Sanoner family for generations. Three hotels in the Dolomites and one in Tuscany offer road bikes, mountain bikes and e-bikes for guests.
The property’s settings provide a backdrop that’s particularly conducive to bike holidays.
Alder Dolomiti in the heart of Ortisei is surrounded by 30 different trails of varying altitudes. Serious cyclists can venture out on renowned Alpine ski trails dotted with mountain lodges. Other options include a complimentary group “Bike & Hike” led by the hotel’s resident biking guide. A five-night Bike & Wellness PLUS package is available through October 11. It includes four different guided bike tours, a sports massage plus a session in the hotel’s Salt Grotto.
"Recently, we have added more bike options for our guests, as cycling has become ever more popular thanks, in part, to e-bikes, which allow cyclists of all abilities, ages and fitness levels to explore the stunning mountain landscape that surrounds us," Adler Dolomiti spokesperson Alessandra Insam tells Travel Agent.
At the Adler Thermae in southern Tuscany, guests can cycle through the hillsides of the UNESCO World Heritage Val d'Orcia. A “Biking Break in Tuscany” package valid through December 20 includes three professionally-guided bike tours and three sports massages.
For an adrenaline rush of a different kind, Abercrombie & Kent has announced new off-road Land Rover Adventure Travel journeys for 2016. The self-drive small group journeys put guests behind the wheel of a Land Rover Discovery 4.
“We’re seeing a great deal of interest for our new programs,” Richard Harris, senior vice president of product content and operations for Abercrombie & Kent, tells Travel Agent.
Guests can power through fields, forests, mountains, rocky outcroppings and, even, glaciers on the Land Rover Adventure Travel programs. They’re available in Iceland, England, Scotland and Spain. An A&K tour director and Land Rover experience instructor accompanies the group.