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New holidays

New holidays


New holidays for 2018
We’re excited about our new holidays for this coming season, and we hope you will be too.

For walkers, we have holidays ranging from a gentle exploration of the shores of Lake Constance, to a more demanding route on the Greek island of Andros. Our new cycling holidays are equally appealing, with three routes in coastal regions of Portugal, western France and northern Croatia, plus a holiday at the foot of the Julian Alps in Slovenia (pictured above), and a discovery of Normandy. Last but by no means least, highlights of our new touring holidays – journeys in SlowMotion – include a rail journey exploring Switzerland’s great lakes and a holiday linking the capital cities of northern Europe.

 

Stay in manor houses in the Minho
Manor houses of the Minho
If the Minho were to be summed up in one colour, it would be green. It’s widely considered among the Portuguese as the most beautiful part of their country and, as if that weren’t enough, it’s peppered with elegant 16th and 17th-century manor houses which have opened their doors to visitors. Neither hotels nor guesthouses, they are homes, some of which have been in the same family for generations, and staying in such places as part of a gentle walking holiday here seems a special privilege.
Marvel at the views from the shores of Lake Constance
Lake Constance
Easy walking doesn’t have to mean boring walking, as our holiday on the shores of Lake Constance, where the borders of Germany, Austria and Switzerland meet, proves. Not only are the routes varied and scenic, passing through apple orchards, vineyards and elegant lakeside villages, but the views stretch for miles, evolving over the course of the holiday and opening out along the length of the lake towards the mountains at the very heart of Europe.
Explore the quiet side of Tuscany on foot
The quiet side of Tuscany
It’s the serenity of La Maremma which will leave a lasting impression. Yes, this is Tuscany, so you can expect to see medieval villages, olive groves, fields of sunflowers, and reminders of the ancient Etruscan civilisation, but not many other visitors. Being so far west, another element that might surprise you are the sea views – not what you normally associate with Tuscany – but meandering down from the bucolic interior to the glorious Bay of Baratti brings a rewarding sense of journey.
Follow ancient, cobbled trails across Andros
Ancient trails on Andros
Simple, quiet, authentic and unspoiled… Who would have thought it possible to find such a place, just a short hop from Athens and the Greek mainland? The surprisingly large and green island of Andros, a lush oasis occupying the northernmost reaches of the Cyclades archipelago, possesses tranquil beaches, hills criss-crossed by a network of ancient paths that will appeal to keen walkers, and a rare, understated beauty.
Potter about the Charente-Maritime coastline on two wheels
Charente-Maritime seafood
Many would argue that, with its long, sandy beaches, Charente-Maritime doesn’t need to tick any more boxes, but why stop there? History? Tick – there are fortifications right along the coast, and you can delve into the region’s maritime traditions, naval battles and links to Napoleon. Good food? Tick – the oysters and mussels are some of the best in France. Wildlife? Tick – the wetlands are teeming with birds. Towns and villages to potter around? Tick – you’ll find your fill in La Rochelle and on glamorous Île de Ré. What’s more, the cycling is easy, so you’ve time to enjoy it all.
Be amazed by the mountain backdrop in north-west Slovenia
The Julian Alps
Be they of sparkling lakes, towering limestone peaks dusted with snow, or implausibly green meadows dotted with brightly painted beehives, there’s no shortage of astonishing views on our cycling holiday in Slovenia’s north-western corner. Besides the scenery, another aspect that strikes the first-time visitor is the disarming friendliness of the people you encounter, making for a very enjoyable holiday on two wheels.
Cycle alongside lagoons to Portugal’s ‘little Venice’
Costa da Prata
Beaches. Birdlife. Portugal’s very own ‘little Venice’. Easy cycle trails. Stylish waterfront hotels. Delectable seafood. Six very good reasons to choose a cycling holiday in Aveiro in northern Portugal. And here’s a seventh: the region remains very little known, so you can enjoy the shimmering lagoons and sandy expanses of the Costa da Prata (Silver Coast) without the crowds.
Experience a different side of Croatia
The hill-top village of Buje
If you think immediately of blue seas and a pine-fringed coastline when you think of Croatia, think again. The interior of Istria, in the north of the country, is, at times, reminiscent of Italy: you’ll find charming hill-top villages, Venetian architecture, Italian-influenced cuisine, and vineyards which produce top-notch (and great-value) wines. But, of course, as elsewhere in Croatia, you are never far from the sea, and our cycling holiday combines the bucolic interior and enticing coastline to show you the very best of this captivating peninsula.
Reflect on the past while cycling in Normandy
Mont-St-Michel, Normandy
Battles, beaches and belt-defying cuisine are the predominant themes of our cycling route in Normandy. Much of its history is inextricably intertwined with ours, from the Norman invasion of England in 1066, as chronicled in the Bayeux Tapestry, to the D-Day landings. Gentle routes meander through verdant valleys and half-timbered villages to Bayeux and some of the beaches where the Allies landed in June 1944, allowing ample time to visit the poignant memorials and museums and to reflect on the past. The indulgent cuisine will, however, bring you very much back to the present.
Tour northern Europe’s capital cities
Copenhagen
The name of our new journey by rail and boat across northern Europe, Nordic Cities Explorer, speaks for itself. The cities in question are Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki, which, if they had to be summed up in one word, would probably be best described as cool, stately and trendsetting, respectively. They are, however, far from one-dimensional, and there’s plenty to discover in each, from Copenhagen’s world-class galleries and museums to the Finnish capital’s Design District and fusion of eastern and western cultures, via Stockholm’s canals and medieval Gamla Stan district.
Travel on iconic railways to visit Switzerland’s great lakes
Rigi cog railway
Majestic, astonishing and impressive are all adjectives which are likely to spring to mind when confronted with Switzerland’s great lakes. Journeying by rail between them, you start at Lake Geneva, where you can take a paddle steamer across the water to a lakeside château. Next up, after a journey on the famous Golden Pass Line, is Lake Brienz, in the heart of the mountains, where you can take advantage of funiculars and cable cars to enjoy an eagle’s-eye view of the glorious scenery. Last, but by no means least, comes Lake Lucerne, watched over by Mount Rigi, the ‘queen of the mountains’.
Above ground and underground in the Dordogne
Chateau de Milandes,Dordogne
Dordogne. The name tends to conjure up images of river cliffs topped by impossibly pretty villages, of graceful châteaux set on curls of the river amid immaculately laid out gardens, and of plates of mouth-watering cuisine. But that’s just what’s to be discovered above  ground on our fly-drive journey. Under ground there are just as many natural and man-made wonders, from the deep chasm of the Gouffre de Padirac with its lakes, stalactites and stalagmites, to the cave of Rouffignac with its prehistoric paintings of mammoths, woolly rhinos, and bison.
Follow in Dalí’s footsteps in Catalonia
Dali's house, near Cadaques
We’ve called our journey by car through north-eastern Spain In Search of Dalí, which we think is a rather apt title, given that it focuses on three places with strong connections to the Surrealist painter: the castle where he spent his last years, the flamboyant Theatre-Museum which he created in Figueres, and the alluring coastal village of Cadaqués. But a holiday here needn’t only be about this moustachioed creative force – stroll through medieval villages of honey-coloured stone, relax by the sea in a quiet cove, call in at vineyards for wine-tastings, and explore the wild and rugged Cap de Creus headland.
Take the Slow Train through Asturias
Ribadesella
Be prepared to cast aside all your preconceptions when you visit Asturias in northern Spain. Here, the predominant colour in the landscape is green, the tipple of choice is not sherry, but cider, and flamenco is eschewed in favour of bagpipes. Travelling around on the agreeably slow, narrow-gauge FEVE railway, you’ll discover charming fishing villages built around natural harbours, extravagant mansions built from fortunes made in the Americas (you even get to stay in two), 35,000-year-old cave paintings, traditional sidrerías  (cider bars), and fabulous beaches which are all but deserted for much of the year.