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Raise your glass

Our holidays in Europe’s vineyard regions can be purely about the local wines – we provide you with information on where you can call in for tastings – or equally, you can combine wine with…
  • Piedmont’s full-bodied, velvety Barolo wines deservedly rejoice in fame, but less well-known are the eleven medieval villages where they are produced, the unusual – and very enchanting – landscape of wave-shaped hills that surround the villages, and the outstanding regional gastronomy. The walks are enjoyable but reasonably short, giving you time to admire the timeless villages and crumbling castles, and to indulge in wine tastings, including one at the Enoteca Regionale del Barolo in Barolo itself.
  • Fittingly, our cycling holiday in Gironde starts and ends in Bordeaux, capital of the French wine trade, as well as visiting famous St Emilion. As you would expect, there are numerous vineyards along each day’s route where you can call in for tastings of the world-famous clarets (the perfect accompaniment to the rich cuisine), but, equally, this holiday is about visiting handsome fortified villages with intriguing, if somewhat tumultuous, histories – many changed hands between the French and English several times during the Hundred Years War.
  • For a holiday that is indulgent on every level, our two-wheeled exploration of Burgundy’s renowned wine country is hard to beat. Famous reds such as Nuits St Georges – and whites like Puligny-Montrachet – are complemented by an equally superb regional gastronomy. By day, as you follow the excellent network of cycle trails, you can feast your eyes on all manner of architectural gems, from Romanesque churches and majestic abbeys to Renaissance châteaux and fortified mansions. To top it all off, you stay in three high-quality hotels of great character.
  • The stretch of the Danube between Grein and Krems explored on our cycling holiday is considered by many to be the most picturesque, with imposing fortresses, pastel-coloured villages, and majestic abbeys and monasteries. In between are apricot orchards and vineyards, as this is the heart of the Wachau. Although highly rated, the wines are little-known outside Austria because the Austrians, quite rightly, like to keep them for themselves, so enjoy them while you have the chance!
  • Stroll through the villages on Alsace’s route des vins and you may well feel as though you are exploring illustrations in a fairy tale. The steep-roofed, half-timbered houses are painted in delicate shades of pink, green, blue and yellow, while red and pink flowers spill from window boxes. The nesting storks that sit atop chimney stacks in spring just add to the illusion. All in all, towns and villages such as Kaysersberg, Colmar, Ribeauville and Riquewihr are just as great an attraction as the fruity Rieslings and Sylvaners, the fuller-bodied Gewürztraminer, and the rich Tokay Pinot Gris.
  • Iseo is the smallest and least-known of Lombardy’s four major lakes, but is a true jewel, with imposing, angular mountains and deep gorges to the north, and the delightful Franciacorta vineyards in the hills to the south. Grapes were first planted here in Roman times but the wines – the acclaimed sparkling whites, and the velvety reds – remain as great a secret as the lake itself, serving as the perfect accompaniment to the refined cuisine of lake fish, delicious meats and distinctive local cheeses to which you are treated at the top-quality 4-star hotels.
  • Our holidays in the Loire are some of the gentlest in our selection. The walking and cycling is enjoyable, but the emphasis is squarely on the region’s wine and châteaux, an alluring combination. There is plenty of time to visit the elegant castles en route – turreted Azay-le-Rideau, sumptuous Ussé, and imposing Chinon – and to stop at vineyards for tastings of both the deliciously refreshing dry whites and the fruity and flavoursome Saumur reds. Combine this with lazy picnics on the river bank, and you have all the ingredients for a very relaxing holiday.
  • To set the scene, our Valley of Gold (Douro means ‘river of gold’) walking holiday starts in Porto, with time to explore the friendly, UNESCO-protected capital of the port wine trade. You then catch the train eastwards – a wonderful experience in itself, given that the railway line hugs the riverbank – to the timeless landscapes where the wine originates. Besides the wine, perhaps the greatest feature of this walk is the richly coloured scenery – the views over neatly striped vineyards, silver-green olive groves, rugged hills and seemingly forgotten villages are breathtaking.
  • Our Pyrenees to the Sea walk is, as its name suggests, a varied and rewarding journey from the warm, wooded slopes of the Pyrenees to the coastal village of Cadaqués, described by Salvador Dalí (whose house you can visit) as the ‘most beautiful village in the world’. The ever-changing scenery includes woodland of cork oaks; landscapes dotted with granite boulders and prickly pear; expanses of wild herbs and brightly flowering shrubs; and rolling vineyards that are earning recognition for their excellent modern-style reds.

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