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New holidays

New holidays


New holidays for 2019
We’re excited about our new holidays for this coming season, and we hope you will be too.

We have no fewer than nine new walking holidays, including easy, centre-based holidays in Tuscany, Catalonia and the Austrian Tyrol, and gentle hotel-to-hotel routes in Provence, the Serra da Arrabida south of Lisbon, and southern England. For something more demanding, head to Ticino in southern Switzerland, or the Arctic island of Senja (pictured above).

 

Keep one of southern France’s best-kept secrets to yourself!
Grignan, Drome Provencale
We’ve called our newest French walking holiday Secret Provence, which we think is a rather apt title. Everything that you’d expect of Provence – lavender fields, olive trees, vineyards and villages of honey-coloured stone – is here. The only missing element is the crowds, because, despite its beguiling landscapes and acclaimed black truffles, Drôme Provençale remains surprisingly little known. Punctuated with stays at chambres d'hôtes  which reflect the region’s character, our gentle walking route leads from medieval Grignan, across rolling hills, to cobbled St-Paul-Trois-Châteaux.
Enjoy an enchanting corner of Portugal away from the crowds
Serra da Arrabida, Portugal
White-sand coves backed by mountains. Vineyards which produce some of Portugal’s finest wines. Delectable fish and seafood dishes. Gentle walking routes. Quick access from Lisbon. High-quality accommodation. Six very good reasons to choose a walking holiday in the Serra da Arrábida. And here’s a seventh: the region remains little known, so come and experience traditional Portugal here, before the secret’s out of the bag.
Discover the varied scenery of Catalonia
Mas Rabiol, Catalonia
If you were to ask why you should choose Empordà in Catalonia for an easy-going walking holiday, we wouldn’t respond with one reason, but three. First, there’s the variety of the scenery. Inland, it’s all rolling farmland, sunflower-filled fields, ancient olive groves and medieval villages, while on the coast, exquisite beaches are interspersed with hidden coves, rocky promontories and whitewashed fishing villages. Second, there’s the terrific food and wine – Catalonia is one of Spain’s most gastronomic regions. Third, we’ve found an idyllic place to enjoy it all from, promising outstanding hospitality.
Experience a slice of Italy in Switzerland
Locarno, Switzerland
If you think immediately of wooden chalets and rösti when you think of Switzerland, the region of Ticino on the southern side of the Alps will make you think again. The scenery of high mountains and forested foothills that lies between Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano certainly looks Swiss. Yet the different architectural style, not to mention restaurants serving pizza and pasta, suggest that you are in Italy instead. All this makes for an intriguing holiday, one of the highlights of which – besides the glorious lake views – is the walk in the beautiful, chestnut-wooded Centovalli.
Follow easy but panoramic trails in the Austrian Alps
Stubai Valley, Tyrol, Austria
The name of our walking holiday in Austria’s Stubai Valley, An Alpine Stroll, speaks for itself. The scenery is quintessentially Alpine – lush meadows, mountain hütte (inns) and pine forests, all framed by jagged peaks – and the walking is accessible to even the most occasional of walkers. And therein lies its appeal and uniqueness: it is our only grade 1 mountain walking holiday, yet rewards you with the kind of views you would encounter on a strenuous hike. Thanks to the cable cars, getting up into the mountains is easy. To top it all off, you stay at a charming 4-star hotel complete with an indoor pool.
Revel in quintessential Tuscan scenery
Near Siena, Tuscany
Tuscany. The very name conjures up images of olive groves, vineyards, cypresses, wide-open plains dotted with terracotta-roofed farmsteads, art cities and medieval hill-top towns. Our newest holiday in the region promises all of this in spades, but will introduce you to a quieter and more authentic side of Tuscany, yet with easy access by rail to all of Tuscany’s ‘must-see’ sights. The delightful Tenuta Sant’Ilario serves as a wonderfully secluded base for gentle walks along the Via Francigena route of pilgrimage, rail trips to Florence and Siena, and exploration of charming hill-top towns.
Strike out on rewarding hikes in the ‘Arctic Caribbean’
Senja, Norway
It could be argued that, with its dramatic fusion of mountain and sea which makes for spectacular walking, the Norwegian island of Senja doesn’t need to tick any more boxes, but why stop there? History? Tick – the traditions of nomadic Sami reindeer herders stretch back over 2,000 years, and there are WWII fortifications. Wildlife? Tick – as well as seals, the island is home to many sea birds, including white-tailed sea eagles. Natural wonders? Tick – you can see the Midnight Sun from 20 May to 22 July. Tranquillity? Tick – this untamed island lies very definitely off the beaten track.
Walk in England’s newest national park
South Downs, England
Virginia Woolfe so loved the South Downs – England’s newest national park – that she believed their beauty could “float a whole population in happiness”. Prepare yourself to be bowled over, then, by the views from the ridgeways of an enticing tableau of arable farmland, shady woodland and vineyards. Add to this a trio of fine country inns – as well a smattering of historic sites, ancient yew groves, manicured gardens and even a famous racecourse – and you have all the ingredients for a very enjoyable few days away.
Stroll through scenery which inspired Watership Down
North Wessex Downs, England
It’s the bucolic charm of the North Wessex Downs which will leave a lasting impression. Yes, it may be little more than 50 miles, as the crow flies, from Central London, but this rural idyll is the antidote to big city life. Think chalk downlands which are home to wild orchids and myriad species of butterfly; thatched cottages and homely country inns; crystal-clear streams; and pockets of ancient woodland. Our gentle walking routes even lead via the ‘real’ Watership Down, the inspiration for Richard Adams’ most famous novel.
Journey between three countries on the trail of the Habsburgs
Graz, Austria
The Habsburg Empire and its architectural legacy are the predominant themes of our cultural journey by rail which starts in Austria and ends in Italy. The cities which it visits – Vienna, Graz, Ljubljana and Trieste – may be very different, but they are united by a common imperial past and a shared role in Europe’s first coffee craze. Our self-guided walking tours of each city lead you to grand edifices and little-known corners via timeless coffee houses whose décor harks back to the days of the Empire.