Walking Vacations in Europe around the Tuscany Countryside
If you are a hiker, why not consider heading to Europe on a walking vacation?
Exodus is just one company that offers many hiking and walking vacations in Europe; some of the most appealing of these can be found in Italy. While in Italy, consider combining a walking vacation with a cultural holiday, for instance, Florence is not far away.
Here is a great example of a fabulous walking vacation in Italy. Lots of options however if you are interested. And if you would like to add on a visit to a couple of Italy’s cities as well, please be sure to contact me.
Chianti: Walking and Wine invites you to experience beautiful San Gimignano, Siena and Italy’s most famous wine. When looking to know more of European art and society, there is no better place to start than Tuscany, thanks to its fine Renaissance cities, beautiful rolling countryside and outstanding Chianti wine. The landscape of southern Tuscany fulfils all expectations, with mediaeval hilltop villages and cypress-lined avenues snaking through vineyards.
Converted to a high standard, this old farmhouse is a relaxing retreat in the heart of Tuscany. Set in a rural location, Villa Casalta prides itself on the fine home-made food prepared with traditional ingredients and locally produced wines and olive oil. Back in the 19th Century, this beautiful farmhouse used to be the residence of a noble family of Siena. Now it belongs to Delia and her daughter Roberta, who have provided outstanding country hospitality for over 20 years.
All twin and single rooms are en suite and there is an outdoor panoramic pool available for guests (open when the weather is warm enough – usually mid May to end of September).
Day 1 Start Villa Casalta.
Day 2 Visit the mediaeval market town of Greve in Chianti and the hilltop village of Montefioralle; afternoon wine tasting at Villa Casalta.
Day 3 Travel to Siena and explore the stunning historic centre; learn about Tuscan and Italian wines at the Wine School.
Day 4 Circular walk from our lodge to the tiny village of Fonterutoli and back to Castellina.
Day 5 Free day.
Day 6 Discover the magnificent city of Florence, considered the birthplace of the Renaissance.
Day 7 Walk to picturesque San Gimignano with free time to explore Palazzo Comunale, Pinacoteca and Torre Grossa. Wine Tasting.
Day 8 End Villa Casalta.
Mode of travel: 5 days centre-based walking; low altitude throughout. Group size:Normally 6 to 16 plus leader and local staff. Accommodation: 7 nights renovated farmhouse with swimming pool. Food: All breakfasts, 5 dinners and 3 wine tastings included.
Is Iceland on your list? Decisions, decisions….If Iceland is on your list, when are you thinking of going? And are you going on an independent journey, or do you wish to travel with some kind of tour? I first published this post in 2017, and have updated it from year to year. Here is yet another revision.
February/ March- you may find fewer tourists perhaps, lower prices, of course cooler weather, and likely the Northern Lights.
June-August, the tourists are out in full force, prices are higher, but the weather is normally warmish and less inclement, and the days are long.
September/ October, you are back to fewer tourists, etc. etc.
Winter Months in general- fewer tourists, lower prices, and Northern Lights!
Today I am concentrating on winter travel in this blog post for those you have Iceland on their list. If you wish to travel there in the summer, please see the posts entitled “Off to Iceland” and “Visiting Iceland“.
Icelandair has long had packages for independent travel- self drive tours, day trips from Reykjavik etc. They regularly run advertised specials at various price points…….
By working with a travel advisor, we can find the perfect trip just for you. Are you going primarily for the Northern Lights? Always a bit risky given that they are not guaranteed. Do you want to go into the hinterlands, or stay in the city? Do you want to book day tours or drive yourself? What about an actual tour where someone else does the driving on those rough Iceland roads?
If travelling independently is not quite what you are looking for- consider travelling on a small group adventure trip- i.e. with G Adventures or Intrepid Travel……or forming your own group with an itinerary made for your own interests- photography, relaxation, adventures………you would be surprised at how inexpensive this can be! Four people sharing a vehicle is a great inexpensive option to explore.
I would be more than happy to work with you to form a group with an itinerary of your choosing……
Adventure One with G Adventures
Iceland Northern Lights & Golden Circleis an option for an adventure winter vacation. Most people that visit Iceland go in the summer, but there’s a whole other side to this place in the winter months. (It is called “Iceland,” after all.)
Iceland’s otherworldly aura seems to heighten at the winter months, when viewing of the Northern Lights is at its peak and the contrast between the cool, crisp air and its steaming geothermic hot springs heightens. Couple that with hiking through Þingvellir National Park, meeting the famous Icelandic horse, exploring lava caves, and chasing waterfalls, and you’ve got yourself a spectacular winter adventure like no other.
See another side of this amazing country. Priced from $1649 plus flights, this is another option if you didn’t feel like exploring Iceland independently.
Adventure Two with Intrepid Travel
For a more comfortable vacation , consider this trip- Premium Iceland in Winter– an 8 day trip with the itinerary below. This trip is for those people hoping to enjoy comfort at night with wonderful accommodations, and adventure during the day. Priced from $3885 plus flights, etc.
Search the sky for dancing lights by night and discover natural wonders by day on this eight-day Premium adventure. Travel with a local leader who brings the landscape to life as you view the mighty Gullfoss waterfall, drive through hardened lava fields in Skaftafell National Park, see the eerily calm waters of the Glacier Lagoon and wander among Reynisdrangar’s imposing basalt sea stacks. Take in dramatic views from your feature stay hotel and journey from Hvolsvollur to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in pursuit of mother nature’s most spectacular show.
Experience the breadth of Iceland’s incredible natural phenomena – ancient volcanic rock formations, black pebble beaches, glacial lakes and geothermal lagoons.
Travel with an experienced local leader who will explain geographic features, share stories of Iceland’s history and folklore and narrate your nightly sky watching with the science behind aurora borealis.
Stay in the stylish Fosshotel which offers up priceless views of the surrounding landscape, modern comforts and an excellent restaurant that uses the freshest Icelandic produce.
Discover the secrets of Icelandic cuisine during a home cooked dinner on a local farm and unleash your appetite on Reykjavik’s exciting food scene.
This trip is designed to give you the best chance at seeing the spectacular dancing lights of the aurora borealis in the northern sky.
Adventure Three with Collette Travel
Iceland’s Magical Northern Lights is another option in the world of tours……larger groups then the two above, which often means great economy of scale.
Experience the “land of fire and ice” and chase the aurora borealis across an ethereal wonderland. In the dark of the night, search for the northern lights as you drift along on an evening starlit cruise. Travel the “Golden Circle,” home to renowned natural wonders, and spend time at Thingvellir National Park, gaze at Gullfoss waterfall, and see the explosive geothermal fields at Geysir. Explore Skógar Museum and see traditional turf-built homes. Walk on a black volcanic sand beach. See Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon filled with floating icebergs. Relax in the warm, mineral-rich water of the Blue Lagoon. Spend your days surrounded by natural wonders and your nights in search of the elusive dancing lights.
Priced from $2199 plus flights, this also provides a reasonable option for some major exploration.
All this to say, if Iceland is on your list, there are lots of ways of exploring this wonderful country. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact me…….if not this year, why not plan for next?