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Specializing in active Cultural, Walking, Hiking, Cycling and Wildlife Adventures to 100+ Countries, after 43 years of creating small group and self-guided tours, making the most of the world is in Exodus Travels’ DNA. However, you wish to explore, the adventure of a lifetime awaits. Review the tours below or speak to your travel agent for hundreds of other options.

BOTSWANA

Wildlife & Wilderness of Botswana

Your chance to

• Explore the Okavango Delta and Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
• Admire the mighty Victoria Falls
• Look for game by 4WD, boat and on foot

At a glance

• 11 nights full-service camping (in two-person tents with camp beds and mattresses provided) 2 nights in hotel
• Travel by Toyota Land Cruiser
• Some long and bumpy roads
• Staying in some remote locations

Delta, Falls, salt-pans and bush are the backdrop to the fantastic wildlife and wilderness of Botswana

Take a journey into the wilds of Botswana. Glide along the Okavango Delta in traditional makoros and admire a billion stars from the otherworldly and eerily silent Makgadikgadi Pans. Search for Africa’s emblematic wildlife on the Savuti Marsh and the Moremi reserve and take to the Chobe River, known for having the highest concentration of elephants anywhere. Finally discover why David Livingstone, upon seeing Victoria Falls, declared ‘scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.’

Day 1: Arrive Maun.
The trip starts today at our campsite located on the banks of the Thamalakane River. The campsite has hot showers, bar, swimming pool, and the restaurant is known for its good food and ambience.

Day 2: To Okavango Delta.
We pack minimal gear for 2 nights into a smaller bag, before a 4×4 transfer into the Okavango Delta. At the ‘polers’ station’ we meet a new team of local staff from a nearby village who will look after us during our stay in the delta. With them we travel in mokoros deep into the Okavango Delta. We have lunch at our campsite on the banks of the river, and in the late afternoon we head out on our first game walk. We return to camp before sunset and enjoy our first meal in the African bush.

Day 3: Morning game walk; sunset mokoro ride.
We get up early this morning for a game walk with a guide from the poling team. There are never any guarantees with wildlife, but there is the chance of seeing elephant, buffalo, and other smaller game. We return to camp for a well deserved brunch and some time to relax. In the afternoon we take a short mokoro trip on the river to view the sunset before returning to camp.

Day 4: Return to Maun; free afternoon.
This morning we board our mokoros for the trip back to the polers’ station. We meet our vehicle and transfer back into Maun for the night where we will purchase supplies for the days ahead. The afternoon is free to relax by the pool or take an optional scenic flight over the Delta.

Day 5: Visit Makgadikgadi Salt Pan.
After a relaxed breakfast we head east to the vast Makgadikgadi saltpan. Depending on the season or if the pans are wet, we will camp wild on the pan or one of the campsites nearby. The Makgadikgadi saltpan covers an area over 16,000 square kilometres and forms the bed of an ancient lake – now dried up. The sunsets on the pan are truly spectacular.

Day 6: Cross into Zimbabwe to Victoria Falls.
A long drive north before crossing into Zimbabwe to the town of Victoria Falls situated minutes from the waterfalls of the same name. The falls themselves are over 1,700m wide and 100m tall making them the largest waterfalls in the world and are one of Africa’s most famous highlights. We will have the opportunity to find out more about the various activities on offer available for tomorrow.

Day 7: Free day for optional activities.
Today is a free day to partake in one of the many optional activities on offer ranging from white water rafting, flights over the falls and various others.

Day 8: Free morning to visit Falls; afternoon to Chobe; optional boat trip.
This morning there is an opportunity to view Victoria Falls themselves (park entry fee not included) from the Zimbabwean side. From here we drive back to Botswana and take a short drive from the border to the town of Kasane, where we camp on the banks of the Thebe River, a tributary of the mighty Zambezi. The afternoon is free, with an option to view game on the famous Chobe Waterfront by taking an exciting river cruise on the Chobe River. This is widely regarded as one of the best game cruises in Africa with a very good chance of seeing the elephant herds coming down to the river to drink before the sun sets.

Day 9: Into Chobe N.P. and visit Savuti area.
We take an early morning game drive back to the Chobe Waterfront area. Chobe is famous for its large population of elephants, but is also home to plenty of other exciting game including lion and wild dog. After exploring the Northern end of this huge park, we head south into remote and rugged terrain, passing in and out of the national park, before finally reaching the Savuti area at the southern edge of Chobe National Park. The Savuti Marsh, often dry, is fed by the Savuti river channel which alternately flows and then dries up for years at a time. Recent flooding in 2010 and 2011 has given this area new life. This area is also home to plenty of game, but is especially well known for its lions, and the large numbers of elephant that walk enormous distances to find fodder.

Day 10: Full day game drives on Savuti Marsh.
We take morning and afternoon game drives on the Savuti Marsh. There is a good chance to see lion, cheetah and hyena that follow the seasonal zebra migration through this area. Large secretary birds and kori bustards are often seen strutting around the Savuti marsh and small red-billed francolins provide a noisy morning wake up call.

Day 11: Game drive on way to Moremi.
After breaking camp we drive all the way to Moremi Game Reserve. We pass through a variety of habitats including the Mbabe depression, Mopani forest and past great Acacia trees before arriving at Khwai village and the North Gate entrance of Moremi Game Reserve. Moremi National Park is the jewel in Botswana’s wildllife crown. Protecting much of the northern part of the Okavango Delta, it is made up of waterways, marshes, islands and open grasslands.

Day 12: Full day of game drives.
We’ll go on morning and afternoon game drives through this beautiful protected area, trying to find the large variety of animals that live here. Despite its wet reputation, there is plenty of dry land in Moremi, which allows our game drives to cover significant distances while spotting game in the sometimes dense vegetation. As well as elephant and lion, Moremi is a good place to spot leopard and cheetah, and the red lechwe, a water dwelling antelope, often seen grazing amongst the lillies.

Day 13: Morning game drive; to Maun.
We enjoy our last morning game drive through the park before travelling back to Maun, and back to our riverside campsite. We can enjoy the swimming pool before enjoying our last dinner at the campsite restaurant.

group-travel

Day 14: Depart Maun.

What’s included

• All breakfasts, 11 lunches, 8 dinners
• All accommodation
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation
• Visas or vaccinations


CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


CZECH REPUBLIC

Prague to Budapest Ride


Your chance to

• Cycle along rivers, through forests and national parks
• Discover four European capital cities steeped in history
• A wide range of local culture, cuisines, wines and beers

At a glance

• 8 days cycling with 90% vehicle support
• 80% tarmac, 20% gravel cycle paths
• Mix of quiet country roads and some busier sections
• Group normally 5 to 15, plus local leader, assistant guide and support driver. Min age 16 yrs
• 10 nights in comfortable 3 and 4-star hotels with en suite facilities
• All breakfasts included

Cycle the heart of Europe including four historic capitals

Central and Eastern Europe offers a vast range of landscapes, languages, cultures and cuisines. Once the seat of the Austro Hungarian Empire, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary boast a rich history, nowhere better demonstrated than in their capital cities. Outside these historic urban centers lie vast areas of winding rivers and forests, many now maintained as national parks, as well as numerous castles and rural towns and villages. This is the setting to a fascinating biking trip, taking us down country lanes, marked cycle paths and through this changing scenery. The terrain is not challenging however the route covers a good distance to ensure we see the best of what’s on offer. From the banks of the Danube to the wine cellars of Moravia, there is plenty to see and experience every day, and no more relaxing a way to see it than with the freedom offered by a bicycle.

Day 1: Start Prague.
Start in Prague; we recommend booking an extra night prior the tour or an early arrival to meet the group and explore the city’s top attractions and wander through the alleys of the pretty Old Town.

Day 2: Transfer to Ceske Budejovice; cycle to Cesky Krumlov by the Vltava River.
We transfer 150km to Ceske Budejovice to collect our bikes. Our first day is a relatively short one to warm us up, as we cycle to Cesky Krumlov on the Vltava River. A feature of the old town here is the narrow, crooked streets and the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. There may be time to visit Cesky Krumlov Castle, one of the largest in Central Europe, which overlooks the town from its strategic position on a horseshoe bend in the river. Cycle approx. 32km

Day 3: Ride through the forests and hills to mediaeval spa town of Trebon.
Leaving Cesky Krumlov behind us we head out into the hilly countryside. Our route flattens out as we enter the Trebon Basin, a lowland area of forests, meadows and lakes. Our destination is Trebon, a mediaeval town of Renaissance architecture, now also known as a spa town. There is also a neo-gothic tomb set in an English-style Park plus a good number of cafés and restaurants in which to relax and enjoy a hearty meal. Many local dishes here make use of the famous Trebon Carp. Transfer to our hotel in Jindrichuv Hradec. Cycle approx 55km

Day 4: Cycle through the Trebon Basin along Greenways Trail to UNESCO town of Telc.
Today we pass a number of man-made lakes as we follow sections of the Greenways Trail, part of a network of hiking and cycling trails in the Czech Republic and Austria. Our ride finishes at the Renaissance town of Telc, registered on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List in 1992. From here we transfer to Znojmo on the banks of the river Dyje, often seen as the gateway to the wine-making area of South Moravia. Cycle approx 70km

Day 5: Cycle past vineyards to Mikulov.
Today’s ride aims to discover the rich fertile flatland of the region of Moravia, home to an abundance of vineyards and wine cellars. We cycle until Mikulov, a real gem located directly on the border with Lower Austria. Worth visiting are the town’s pretty castle, the town square and the surrounding architecture. In the evening we enjoy a wine tasting. Overnight in Mikulov. Cycle approx 63km

Day 6: Ride into Austria through the UNESCO grounds of Lednice, the Versailles of Southern Moravia; continue to Poysdorf and transfer to Vienna.
Today we enter Austria through the UNESCO grounds of Lednice, known as the “Versailles” of Southern Moravia; we continue to the wine-producing town of Poysdorf, from where we transfer the final 47km to Vienna. Once checked into our accommodation Cycle approx 55km

Day 7: Free day in Vienna; morning optional guided bike ride around the city.
Today is free to explore the beautiful and historically imperial city of Vienna. It’s old historical centre is bursting with cultural, historical and architectural wonders and was the former HQ of the Hapsburg Empire.The city is brimming with sights for all tastes including the majestic Schoenbrunn Palace (summer palace of the Hapsburgs),the popular Kunsthistoriches Museum and Hundertwasser Haus as well as countless breathtaking churches, cathedrals and concert halls! No visit to Vienna is complete without a visit to one of it’s many famous cafés for coffee and cake or soaking up all the culture this city has to offer in one of Vienna’s many parks or beer gardens. An optional guided bike ride around the city is available for those who prefer a more active morning.

Day 8: Follow the Danube Cycle Path to the Donauauen N.P.; into Slovakia and on to Bratislava.
We join the Danube Cycle Path, following a quiet route out of the city and into the Donauauen National Park, past the red-tiled turrets of Castle Orth and the chateau at Eckartsau. We cross the border at the town of Hainburg and enter Slovakia, winding our way towards the capital Bratislava, strategically positioned along the Danube. Cycle approx. 70km

Day 9: Morning sightseeing in Bratislava; cycle to the Slovakia-Hungary border and continue through Halaszi to Hedervar; transfer to Esztergom.
In the morning we have some time to explore Bratislava, wandering through the narrow cobbled streets of the charming old town of Slovakia’s capital city. Due to it’s strategic position on the Danube, it has previously been an important economic, cultural and political centre of Central Europe. Whilst the old town is quite compact, it is packed with beautiful 18th century buildings and sights such as St Michael’s Gate and the mediaeval city walls. We then continue our ride and cross the border into Hungary, cycling through peaceful rolling countryside before arriving in Hedervar, a small village of around 2000 inhabitants. From here we transfer to our hotel in pretty town of Esztergom. Cycle approx. 58km

Day 10: Follow the Danube beneath Visegrad Castle, ride through rolling hills to Vac; transfer to Budapes; free time for sightseeing.
We leave Esztergom mid morning. We begin the ride with a 4km section of a cycle path alongside the Danube before joining the road. Our route meanders over rolling countryside and through rural villages until we reach Vac, where our cycling ends. From here we transfer approximately 45 minutes to Budapest. The remainder of the day is free to explore Budapest. Cycle approx. 45km

Day 11: End Budapest.

What’s included

• All breakfasts
• All accommodation (see below)
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader, assistant guide and support driver throughout
• Local bike hire

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation is available
• Visas and vaccinations


CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


COSTA RICA

Cycle Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama


Your chance to

• Cycle 3 Central American countries
• Ride through tropical scenery
• Relax in the charming Bocas del Toro islands

At a glance

• 14 nights comfortable hotels, in a mixture of colonial and modern properties, all with en suite facilities
• 12 days cycling with 100% vehicle support
• 80% tarmac, 20% unpaved track
• Routes mainly follow quiet roads and can be potholed

Challenging rides through tropical scenery spanning 3 countries

Starting in the graceful colonial city of Granada and ending in bustling Panama City, our route takes us into Costa Rica’s steamy rain forests, alongside active volcanoes and to the tropical island paradise of Bocas del Toro. The rain forest is home to an incredible variety of wildlife and bird species. We explore the island of Ometepe at Lake Nicaragua, and search for Howler monkeys whilst rafting on the Tenorio River. Our journey ends with a ride along the Panama Canal following our visit to the famous Miraflores Locks.

Day 1: Start Granada.
Those on the group flight land at Managua and will be transferred to Granada (approx. 1 hour). Those on land only arrangements should make their own way to the start hotel this afternoon. Following a short briefing in the evening, it’s time to get some rest before our day’s cycling tomorrow.

Day 2: Ride along shore of Lake Nicaragua; visit Masaya Volcano N.P.
After breakfast, we have an overall tour briefing as well as indications for the initial cycling stage. Any last-minute adjustments to the bikes are made before we set off towards the shore of Lake Nicaragua. As we reach the lakeshore, we enter into the Asese Peninsula recreation area, a beautiful protected area, where the traffic is kept to a minimum and several species of exotic birds can be spotted. Our lunch stop offers stunning views of the large volcanic mass of Mombacho. Upon arrival back at our hotel, we’ll have time for a swim or stroll along La Calzada, Granada’s main pedestrian street. Late afternoon we will head for the Masaya Volcano National Park for a night visit to observe molten lava bubbling away in the depths of the huge crater. It may also be possible to spot the “Chocoyos”, a sub-species of parakeet which nests in the crater walls, having evolved to become resistant to the constant emissions of sulphuric gas. Due to safety concerns, the visit to the crater is limited to 15 minutes (and occasionally the park is closed altogether), we then return to Granada for dinner.

Day 3: Cycle through Pueblos Blancos; to Ometepe Island.
After breakfast and a 30 minute drive, we stop to enjoy the beautiful view of Lake Nicaragua, Granada and the Mombacho Volcano from the popular mirador at Catarina, situated just above pretty Laguna Apoyo. We then cycle through the rolling countryside which surrounds the famous ‘Pueblos Blancos’ (White Towns). These are seen as the birthplace of Nicaraguan culture, as well as General Sandino, the hero of the modern revolution. We continue to the larger town of Masatepe, which is a popular destination for Nicaraguan families looking for nicely crafted furniture, pottery and ornamental plants, the specialty of the locals. We will take a quick ride into the centre of town to see the central plaza and church, the typical lay-out of a Latin American town. Our final ‘Pueblo Blanco’ is San Marcos, where we have lunch. Then back onto the bikes for a fast downhill ride to meet the Pan Am Highway at Jinotepe. The transfer from here to the ferry dock at San Jorge takes about an hour and a half. From here it’s a 1 hour boat crossing to Ometepe Island – the views of its twin volcanoes (Concepcion and Maderas) are spectacular. If we arrive early enough, we will have the option to ride the 8 miles to the hotel, but this is dependent on the notoriously erratic ferry schedules and we may need to complete the journey by minibus (approx. 20 mins). If we do ride this section then it is almost all flat, with just one short climb near the end. We spend the night close to the wildlife-filled Charco Verde Lagoon. There are great sunsets from our hotel on Ometepe Island.

Day 4: To San Juan del Sur.
Today we depart the hotel around 10.30am, which gives us some free time beforehand to hike the trails around the lagoon to spot more wildlife or relax on the beach and admire the view. For keen cyclists who want to get some extra miles in, an early morning ride to the Ojo de Agua fresh water spring can be taken, great for a cool dip in crystal-clear water. Approx. 12 miles round trip, with a good climb over the isthmus which divides Concepcion volcano from Maderas volcano on Ometepe; take $3 for the entry fee. We cycle to Moyogalpa and get the ferry back to the mainland. We then get in the saddle again for a ride to Rivas, the largest city in southern Nicaragua and then along La Chocolata Road towards San Juan del Sur, a Pacific beach town. The road takes us through dry forest where we may see Howler monkeys and large iguanas, we also pass through several small villages which experience no tourism other than our biking groups. If you plan to bring any gifts for local people, the children and teachers in the small rural schools along the way really appreciate pencils, pens and crayons. After finishing the mild climb which then drops us onto the Pacific side of Nicaragua, we ride just a bit further west to the two beautiful beach ‘Playa Marsella’, in time for a late afternoon swim. Our hotel for this evening is close to the main San Juan del Sur beach, a great place to watch the sunset or simply enjoy the hotel pool.

Day 5: Ride from Pacific to Lake Nicaragua; transfer to Costa Rica.
Starting early to avoid the heat, we cycle over the continental divide and down to La Virgen before transferring approx 20 minutes to the border. After clearing immigration at the Costa Rican border (which can take a while at the Nicaragua border post) we’ll have a brief lunch stop near La Cruz and then continue south along the Pan Am highway to just outside Cañas, another good sized town. Our arrival will be late in the afternoon due to ongoing highway constructions.

Day 6: Wildlife trip on Tenorio River; Bijagua valley ride; ride to Lake Arenal.
This morning we get out of the saddle early in the morning for a 2 hour float down the Tenorio River, a haven for birds and wildlife. As our raft takes us gently along the river, we can expect to see several species of monkey, iguanas, coatis and a wide range of birds. There are also crocodiles along the lower stretch of the river and our experienced guides will not only handle the oars but will also point out as many species as possible. This is likely to be a big wildlife highlight of the trip! Afterwards, we transfer up to near Bijagua, then cycle back down to the Pan Am Hwy before lunch. Right after our meal we head up to the hilly region surrounding Lake Arenal where our afternoon biking stage will begin. This is quite a challenging section and although the distance is short there are several climbs and it can also be rather windy. The rewards are the spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding hills.

Day 7: Cycle to La Fortuna.
After breakfast we set off on our bikes towards La Fortuna. This is one of the most spectacular cycling stages, starting in lush agricultural land which gradually gives way to thick rainforest as we approach the dam which forms Lake Arenal. Watch out for monkeys, toucans and the amazingly colourful neon-blue Morpho butterflies as we cycle. If it’s clear the dam is a great place to take a break for a wonderful view of Arenal Volcano. We spend the night in a hotel in the centre of La Fortuna which has observation decks for views of the volcano, as well as pools, jacuzzis and pretty gardens. The town of La Fortuna itself is a major tourism destination within Costa Rica, so those looking for souvenirs will be well satisfied.

Day 8: Ride up from tropical lowlands with views of Arenal volcano; visit thermal springs.
Today’s ride follows a circular route through the region surrounding La Fortuna taking in a great variety of terrain and ecosystems. Starting with a fast descent to the town of El Tanque, we pass through agricultural land devoted to bananas and sugar cane before heading into a rugged hilly zone leading back towards rainforest near the small town of La Tigre. We stop for lunch at Chachagua. Toucans are especially common here and there are some incredible views of the jungle and Arenal Volcano. As we approach La Fortuna again, there is one final steep climb before we reach our hotel. This evening we include a visit to the Eco-Termales Hot Springs to soothe any aching muscles – the best hot springs in the area!

Day 9: Morning jungle ride; afternoon cycle along Caribbean coast to Cahuita.
Another early start today as we head east into the rolling terrain of the San Carlos plains, riding though rich agricultural zones, sugar cane and pineapple plantations and rural villages. We are generally descending on this leg, although there are some short climbs later in the morning when the heat becomes more noticeable. Watch out for toucans as we make water crossings. Our initial destination today is Aguas Zarcas, from where we transfer to Rio Frio for lunch (approx. 2 hours). We continue by bus onto Limon (1 hour) where we start a beautiful 45km (28miles) cycle ride along the Caribbean coast road. Our destination is Cahuita, a typical Caribbean town, complete with a lively reggae music culture and spicy cuisine.

Day 10: Ride to Panama border; boat to Bocas del Toro islands.
Today we begin biking south at the base of the towering Talamanca Mountains. We follow the main coast road at first, before turning off to the indigenous community of Bri-Bri, home to members of the Guaymi tribe. We may see some of the traditionally dressed women in flowing embroidered dresses as we pass through this area. The ride continues through vast banana plantations to the border crossing on the banks of the Sixaola River. After a quick lunch we leave Costa Rica and walk across the derelict bridge which takes us to Guabito, the Panamanian port of entry on the Sixaola – the crossing can be a little challenging as the bridge is not in great condition, so caution is required. After the border formalities, we board the bus through the frontier town of Changuinola and then through steep rainforest hills which are inhabited by indigenous people. We hit the coast and board a private boat transfer to cross into the Caribbean to the wonderful Bocas del Toro Islands, our home for the next two nights.

Day 11: Free day.
A free day today to explore the beautiful Bocas del Toro Islands, which are rapidly becoming a popular destination in the Caribbean. Today you will get a chance to see why: spectacular palm-shaded white sand beaches, crystal clear water, wonderful snorkelling and diving, lots of wildlife, kayaking and even great surfing are all available! It’s also possible to take boat trips to the other islands, or go on dolphin watching tours. All of these optional activities can be arranged through the hotel or nearby tour agencies whom we have long-established relationships with. For those who want to ride today, biking is available on the island and the 20-mile round trip to Bocas del Drago on the island’s western tip is recommended. Bikes can be hired locally, as our bikes will stay on the mainland at Almirante.

Day 12: Jungle ride; descent to Pan-Am Highway; transfer to Pacific coast (or Santiago).
After taking a private boat back to the mainland we drive to Punta Robalo for a morning biking stage through beautiful jungle scenery. After lunch we transfer 1.5 hours through the mountains that separate Panama’s two coastlines after which we begin our second biking stage. The change in temperature, humidity and eco-systems is significant as we gain altitude. At the top of the pass we find beautiful Lago Fortuna, set in a rainforest-clad tropical valley. We then have a fast downhill ride with great mountain views and several river crossings to Gualaca and the Pan-Am Highway beyond. Upon meting the Pan Am Hwy junction we board the minibus for the drive down to Las Lajas, a lovely, isolated Pacific beach, which stretches for miles. Here we can enjoy a great tropical sunset, here while relaxing under the shade of a palm thatch palapa.

Day 13: Tropical lowland forest cycle ride; to Panama City.
An early start today as we avoid the heat and traffic on our ride through the Panamanian countryside. We have a short drive to Guabala, a customs/passport control point on the Pan Am highway. Once our documents have been checked, we will offload the bikes for a fairly challenging ride through a quite remote and hilly section of the western portion of Veraguas province. Some of the morning’s ride takes us along remote back roads past large sugar plantations and through dry tropical forest. We finish biking close to the town of Jaguito, where we have lunch then board the bus for the drive to Panama City (approx. 3 hours). We cross the famous canal where we’re very likely to see huge ships as they make the journey between the Caribbean and the Pacific. Our hotel is located in the suburb of Albrook, where many opulent residences are testament to the days when US military officers and Canal Authority officials lived in the city.

Day 14: Ride a stretch of the Panama Canal.
Our final day of biking is truly memorable: we cycle along a stretch of the Panama Canal and see all of its highlights (please note that access is currently suspended at the Caribbean coast and so we cannot presently cycle the entire length, but we are monitoring this situation). We start from our hotel, close to the Pacific end of the Panama Canal and transfer with the bus (15 minutes) to the Miraflores Locks to view the process of raising and lowering the traffic. Entrance to the Visitor Centre is included. Departing Miraflores, we bike from the entrance into Soberana National Park which spans nearly the entire width of the country along the east side of the canal. We have a great lunch stop with views of the passing ship traffic from the peace of Gamboa Rainforest Resort. After lunch we return to our hotel, leaving us some free time, perhaps to explore Casco Vieja, the historic old town of Panama City. This evening we will be taken to the lovely Las Clementinas, one of the best restaurants in all of Panama have to have our last meal.

Day 15: End Panama City.
Our trip ends after breakfast this morning, and those on group flights will be transferred to the international airport for the return journey home.

group-travel

What’s included

• All breakfasts
• All accommodation (see below)
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout
• Cycling leader and support teamLocal bike hire

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation only (available on request from GBP410)
• Visas or vaccinations

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


CROATIA

Dubrovnik & the Dalmatian Coast

Your chance to

• Visit the UNESCO cities of Split, Trogir and Dubrovnik
• Explore one of Europe’s most beautiful coastlines
• Take a boat ride to Mljet Island

At a glance

• Travel by private bus, boat and local ferry
• A relaxed trip with some day walks
• Group Normally 4 to 20 plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs.
• 7 nights in hotels, all en suite
• 7 breakfasts and 1 picnic lunch included

Stunning islands and the historic cities of Split, Trogir and Dubrovnik

With stunning architecture and arguably some of the best scenery in Europe, the Dalmatian Coast is truly unique. This is a relaxed week taking in the best of this striking coastal region. We start by exploring the UNESCO cities of Split and nearby Trogir, before sampling island life on beautiful Korcula. We complete our trip with three nights in Dubrovnik, possibly the most perfectly preserved Renaissance town in the world, with a jumble of narrow streets and red-tiled roofs tucked tightly within the city walls.

Day 1: Start Split airport; transfer to Trogir.
Start Split. On arrival we take a short transfer to the UNESCO town of Trogir in time for dinner. We stay in the old walled part of this charming town.

Day 2: Transfer to Split; free time to enjoy old town before taking ferry to Korcula Island.
We look around Trogir in the early morning before we take a short transfer to Split, another UNESCO city. There will be free time in the beautiful old city centre before we catch a fast ferry in the late afternoon to the island of Korcula. The mediaeval walled town of Korcula, reputedly the birthplace of Marco Polo, is often described as a mini Dubrovnik. This picturesque town is located at the tip of the island where the distinctive red roofs jostle for space between ancient towers. Like Dubrovnik the old town is a warren of small lanes and alleys: a great place to explore and a photographer’s paradise.

Day 3: Drive to the village of Pupnat and walk back to Korcula.
Time to stretch the legs a little and visit the interior of the island. We transfer after breakfast to the village of Pupnat and start our walk back to Korcula Town. Korcula Island is one of the most varied and wooded of the Adriatic Islands, providing welcome shade during the summer months and a pleasant walking environment. The route follows a series of paths and tracks through olive groves, vineyards and peaceful hamlets.

Day 4: By boat to Mljet Island N.P.; gentle walk to the peak of Montokuc for panoramic views.
After breakfast we transfer by boat to Mljet Island whose National Park status has ensured limited development. The island is a lovely tranquil place to walk, cloaked in forest and dotted with tiny hamlets. Our goal today is to reach the peak of Montokuc, which offers panoramic views of the beautiful Dalmatian Coast, before returning to our hotel on Korcula. On occasion, if the weather is bad the ferry cannot sail. If this happens there are alternative excursions, or we will stay on the island of Korcula and visit Vela spilja, one of the most important prehistoric archaeological sites in Europe.

Day 5: Ferry to Dubrovnik; visit Ston en route.
We return to the mainland today and the wonderful city of Dubrovnik. The drive follows the Peljesac Peninsula, home to numerous vineyards, where we will have the chance to try the local wines as well as oysters in one of the restaurants in Ston en route.

Day 6: Dubrovnik city tour.
A full day in the remarkable old city of Dubrovnik which includes the Rector’s Palace, the Franciscan and the Dominican Monasteries. Dubrovnik exudes old-world charm with its location right on the Adriatic, the fine religious buildings surrounded by heavily fortified walls and the jumble of red-tiled roofs. The shelling of Dubrovnik by Serb troops in 1991 and 1992 outraged the world. Fortunately over the last 10 years great care has been taken to re-build the damaged parts of Dubrovnik and the city has now returned to its former glory. The cobblestoned streets of the Old town, or Stari Grad, features fountains, churches, palaces and museums – all built from the same light coloured stone. There are no motor vehicles in the city but at night the streets come alive as locals and visitors take an early evening stroll along the Stradun. This is the main street and is covered in smooth shiny marble. Following the walking tour, there will be time for a walk along the famous city walls: this is optional and costs 12 Euros for entrance into the site.

Day 7: Free day to relax in Dubrovnik, or take optional trip to Mostar in neighboring Bosnia.
Today is free for further exploration of the city. Relax either on a boat trip or the beach or perhaps enjoy an optional visit to the famous bridge at Mostar in neighbouring Bosnia Herzegovina (subject to availability). The old bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was destroyed in 1993 but the bridge has been reconstructed with a combination of new stone and sections of the old bridge recovered from the River Neretva below. Opened by the Prince of Wales in 2004, the bridge symbolizes both the destruction of the Balkan conflict and the hopes of the local and international communities for closer relations between the past warring factions.

group-travel

Day 8: End Dubrovnik.

What’s included

• 7 breakfasts and 1 picnic lunch
• All accommodations
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation
• Visas or vaccinations

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


Cycling the Dalmatian Coast

Croatia Biking Tour

Your chance to

• Cycle peaceful coastal routes
• Island hop by boat and bike
• Explore the UNESCO city of Dubrovnik

At a glance

• 5 days cycling (including one optional ride on Mljet) with 100% vehicle support
• 90% good quality tarmac, 10% gravel road
• Quiet roads with a good mix of flat and rolling terrain
• Group normally 4 to 16 plus leader. Min age 16
• 7 nights hotels
• All breakfasts included

Peaceful coastal cycling routes along the spectacular Dalmatian coastline.

Known to have the clearest waters in the Mediterranean, and undoubtedly packed with historic and cultural interest, the Dalmatian Coast is one of the true wonders of Europe. We follow some of the best cycling routes the area has to offer with much of the tour taking place on the long and beautiful islands of Hvar and Korcula, travelling by ferry between the islands. The scenery alternates between seaside villages, tiny mediaeval towns and lovely pebble bays. We end our journey in the fascinating UNESCO city of Dubrovnik. We have two nights here to soak up the atmosphere of this uniquely preserved city.

Day 1: Start Jelsa on island of Hvar.
Start Split airport; after a look around the old quarters of the city and a visit to the UNESCO Diocletian Palace, we have dinner then transfer to the port to take an evening ferry to Starigrad on the island of Hvar. We then continue by road to Jelsa where we spend the first two nights.

Day 2: Circular ride exploring the island of Hvar, including Hvar town and a climb of about 10km with fantastic views.
A circular ride exploring the lovely island of Hvar. We head first to Stari Grad following the old Roman road, a route with quite a tough climb but with lovely views of the old villages of Hvar. Here we take a break from cycling and transfer by vehicle to the town of Hvar where we will have a chance to wander around the narrow streets of this quintessential Dalmatian town. Rather like a mini Venice, the streets of Hvar are marbled and there are elegant gothic palaces and cathedrals inside the city walls. There will be some free time to explore Hvar before we cycle up a challenging hill to a view point overlooking the island of Brac. We will have lunch at the viewpoint whilst taking in the breathtaking views. After lunch there is a lovely sweeping descent all the way back to Stari Grad. From here we continue along an old Roman road to Vrbovska and then follow the coast road back towards Jelsa.

Day 3: Ride east along the island with views of both coasts, heading to port of Sucuraj; ferry via mainland to Korcula.
Today we ride east along the narrow part of island with views of both coasts as we head to the port of Sucuraj. The road is generally quiet and there are a couple of challenging climbs today to get you warmed up, however the support vehicle will be available for anyone who doesn’t want to cycle up the hills. Heading east, we have wonderful views of the mountainous mainland and the turquoise waters, we pass small villages, olive groves and tiny vineyards on our way to Sucuraj. From Sucuraj we take a ferry to Drevnik on the mainland, transfer by bus to Orebic, then catch another ferry to Korcula which is the historical centre of the island and in a lovely setting on the Peljesac Channel. It is also known for its outstanding cultural and historical heritage with a long tradition of seafaring, shipbuilding and stone-masonry as well as being the birthplace of the adventurer and traveller Marco Polo. Once on Korcula we have a short 15min transfer to the small town of Lumbarda which will be our base for the next three nights. From June – September a ferry runs from Ploce to Trpanj, from here we will take the bus to Orebic and then the ferry to Korcula. This shortens the time spent in the bus travelling from Drvenik to Orebic and makes the journey a bit more fun and picturesque.

Day 4: Free day in Korcula; optional visit (with bikes) to picturesque island of Mljet.
Today we have a free day to relax in Lumbarda, go for a swim at the sandy beach on Przina or explore the charming town of Korcula at your own pace. There is an optional visit (with bikes) to the picturesque island of Mijet. Those choosing to explore Mljet and its famous National Park will take a boat ride to Pomena, which is also the entrance for the Mljet National Park. Here you can enjoy a very scenic but short ride around the two lakes.

Day 5: Scenic ride on forested island of Korcula, from Vela Luka to Korcula town.
After breakfast we will start our circular ride on the forested island of Korcula. We start with a transfer to Vela Luka and from here we ride to the pretty village of Smokvica, before transferring to Pupnat where we will have lunch. From here we get back on the bikes and cycle all the way back to Lumbarda after a great exploration of the island. Today is a busy day and there are some hills, but we will use the support vehicle where necessary.

Day 6: Ride through the vineyards of Peljesac Peninsula towards the mainland; continue to Dubrovnik by bus.
After a short ferry ride (approx 20mins) to the Peljesac peninsula we follow this narrow and rugged finger of land. The route passes through olive groves, quiet villages and the famous vineyards hugging the steep slopes descending to the clear waters of the Adriatic. We complete our ride along an easy unpaved track to the tiny cove at Zuljana. From here the traffic levels increase so we take our support vehicle to Dubrovnik. En route there is a short stop at the small historic town of Ston, a beautiful example of a fortified town and Dubrovnik-style architecture. We should arrive in Dubrovnik in late afternoon. We spend two nights in a lovely hotel which is 10 minutes drive from the old town of Dubrovnik.

Day 7: Free day to explore Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik exudes old-world charm. Its location right on the Adriatic, the fine religious buildings surrounded by heavily fortified walls and the jumble of red-tiled roofs, make this a truly enchanting place. The shelling of Dubrovnik by Serb troops in 1991 and 1992 outraged the world. Fortunately over the last 15 years great care has been taken to re-build the damaged parts of Dubrovnik and the city is now returned to its former glory. Old town, or Stari Grad, is filled with cobblestone streets, fountains, churches, palaces and museums – all built from the same light coloured stone. There are no motor vehicles in the quiet city, but at night the streets come alive as locals and visitors take an early evening stroll along the Stradun, the main street, covered in smooth shiny marble. Dubrovnik is famous for its fine seafood, and what better way to end our Croatian experience than splashing out on a feast of freshly grilled fish within Dubrovnik’s city walls.

Day 8: End Dubrovnik

What’s included

• 7 breakfasts
• All accommodation
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout
• Local bike hire

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation (available on request for a supplement from GBP100)
• Visas or vaccinations

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


FRANCE

Mont Blanc Highlights

Your chance to

• Walk the best of Mont Blanc Circuit
• Stay in a comfortable chalet
• Explore the mountain town of Chamonix

At a glance

• 5 days centre-based walking; 1 free day
• Travel by minibus, local train and cable car
• Altitude maximum 2352m, average 1525m
• Group normally 4 to 14, plus UK leader
• 7 nights in comfortable chalet, all rooms en suite
• All breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches and 6 dinners included

Beautiful alpine walking on the best of the Mont Blanc Circuit

The circuit of Mont Blanc is one of the finest walking routes in the Alps. It is in reality a series of paths linking the seven valleys that surround the highest mountain in Western Europe, Mont Blanc. To complete the whole circuit normally takes a fortnight, but for those with less time this one-week Exodus tour takes in the most outstanding sections with beautiful mountain highlights each day. Throughout the holiday we are based in the delightful Chalet Chamonix with dramatic views of Mont Blanc and use private buses to travel out each day to re-join the next stage of our walk covering beautiful secitons of the famous circuit. At the end of each day we return home for afternoon tea or for those who wish a dip in the chalet’s bubbling Jacuzzi.

Day 1: Start Chalet Chamonix
Those making their own way to the chalet should aim to arrive late morning to early afternoon for introductions. There is time to walk into the centre of Chamonix in the afternoon before a pre-dinner briefing from the walking leader.

Day 2: Drive to the head of the Chamonix Valley; walk to Switzerland via Les Bonhommes and the Col de Balme; descend back into France passing Chalets de Balme.
Our first walk of the week is on the slopes of the Col de Balme from where we will have stunning views back to Mont Blanc as well as into Switzerland. From the small hamlet of Montroc (1380m – 4400ft) we have a short warm up walk before the trail turns uphill on a steady zigzag path. As the trees thin out the views get ever better and by late morning we reach Aiguilette des Possettes (2200m – 7220 ft). This is a stunning peak from where we are rewarded with a superb panorama view over the Chamonix Valley, the Aiguille Rouge national park and around to Switzerland. The path continues down to the Col du Possettes and then on a steady path becoming ever more winding and finally down to La Tour. (1450m – 4750ft). 6 hours walking. 9km – 6 miles, 820m – 2700ft up, 730m – 2400ft down

Day 3: Transfer above Les Houches; ascend to the Bel Lachat Refuge, before crossing the Carlaveyron Natural Reserve and summiting the Aiguillette des Houches and the Aiguillette du Brevent.
A spectacular walk from (1370m – 4450ft) up to the Bel Lachat refuge on the classic TMB and GR5 routes. Crossing the beautiful Carlaveyron Natural Reserve we summit the Aiguillette des Houches (2285m – 7500ft) for one of the finest views in the Alps – looking directly across the Chamonix Valley to the Mont Blanc summit. Passing through alpine meadows we descend by a different route to La Flatière (1370m – 4500ft). 7 hours walking, 11km – 7 miles, 900m – 2950ft up, 930m – 3050ft down

Day 4: Starting from Les Houches we cross the Col de Voza and continue towards Les Contamines.
A short transfer takes us through picturesque hamlets and quaint Savoy farmhouses to Maison Neuve our start point above the village of Les Houches. From here we begin our climb to the Col de Voza (1653m – 5360ft) from where we enjoy sweeping views of the Chamonix Valley and Aravis mountains. Crossing the lines of the Tramway du Mont Blanc, the highest rack railway in France, we head into the Bionnassay Valley, dominated by the spectacular Aiguille de Bionnassay and its glacier. We continue via the little village of Le Champel towards Les Contamines commune (1015m – 3330ft). Many of our walking leaders choose to run this day in reverse which is equally excellent. 7 hours walking, 11km – 7 miles, 560m –1840ft up, 610m – 2000ft down

Day 5: Free day for optional walks, activities or sightseeing.
Free day for optional walks or sightseeing. Your leader will be able to advise you of possible walking routes or you may choose to visit the bustling alpine resort town of Chamonix, which is only 20 minutes’ walk away and has numerous shops, bars, restaurants and cafés. There are several cablecar excursions you can make from Chamonix, of which the most spectacular is the ascent to the Aiguille du Midi (3842m – 12600ft), offering fantastic views of Mont Blanc and surrounding peaks. It should also be possible to take the mountain train up to Montenvers for close up views of the glacier, Mer de Glace.

Day 6: Drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Italy; climb to Bonatti refuge and traverse high above the spectacular Ferret Valley to Courmayeur.
We drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Italy for a chance to soak up some Italian atmosphere! From Arp Nouva (1770m – 5805ft) we climb up and along to the Bonatti refuge. At just over (2000m – 6560ft), the view from here is one of the finest on the tour. Mont Blanc itself, the towering rocky peak of Grandes Jorasses and the glaciers that crowd the northern flank of Val Ferret are there to be admired. Following a dramatic traversing path we contour high above the valley before descending towards the valley floor. Time allowing we head off to Courmayeur, the perfect spot for a well-deserved Italian ice-cream. 7 hours walking, 12km – 8 miles, 450m – 1500ft up, 550m – 1804ft down

Day 7: Drive to Les Praz; walk via Lac Blanc to La Flegere then descend by cable car.
We drive to les Praz and then take the cable car to La Flégère (1877m – 3900ft). From here it is a mostly steady, but at times a steep and rough path to the beautiful Lac Blanc. This is the highest point of the week (2352m – 7715ft) and a spectacular setting with dramatic, panoramic vistas. If we are lucky we will be able to see a majestic ibex grazing on the mountainside. We then descend via a second path, making a circular route, and continue back to La Flégère, from where we take the cable car back down to the valley floor. 7 hours walking, 9km – 6 miles, 520m – 1690ft up, 520m – 1690ft down If the Flégère lift is closed, or there is low lying snow and it is not possible to walk to Lac Blanc then we will instead walk to the beautiful Lacs des Cheserys and then onwards to Flégère before descending past the charming Chalet Floria (there will be time for a cup of tea) and onwards to Chamonix. This will make a total climb of 746m – 2445 ft and descent of 1184m – 3880ft. This is a stunning and beautiful day that equals the original. We only anticipate this happening on the spring and autumn departures. 7 hours walking, 8km – 5 miles, 890m – 2920ft up, 500m – 1640ft down (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8: End Chalet Chamonix.

What’s included

• All breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches, 6 dinners
• All accommodations
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Visas or vaccinations

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


Tour du Mont Blanc Hotel Trek


Your chance to

• Stay in small hotels and pensions
• Admire spectacular views of Mont Blanc
• Enjoy 3 rest days to relax or sightsee

At a glance

• 14 nights hotels/pensions/village inns
• 10 days point-to-point walking with baggage transfers
• 8 days challenging and 2 days moderate walking
• Altitude maximum 2537m, average 1525m

Admire spectacular views of Mont Blanc from the iconic surrounding trails

For those who like to enjoy the comfort of a bed every night we offer the Mont Blanc circuit as a fully accommodated walking holiday, with all nights spent in a variety of lodgings from family run 2 and 3-star hotels to basic inns or pensions. Again keeping to the ideal duration to complete the full route, we include 10 walking days and 3 rest days, in which time we cross the borders of Switzerland, Italy and France and enjoy unrivaled views of the Alps and Mont Blanc itself. The itinerary is essentially the same as on the camping version (trip code TWB); with your qualified International Mountain Leader (IML) guiding the way you still complete the famous circuit, and your baggage is transported for you by our support vehicle, but we offer the comfort of a bed in quaint, picturesque accommodations en route so you can enjoy your walking holiday in comfort. In some places we use a hotel for just one night, before moving on the next day, occasionally we settle in for a few nights and use local transport to take us to the next point of the circuit.

Day 1: Start Chamonix.
Start at the designated hotel in Chamonix, France. In the evening there is an introductory briefing by your leader.

Day 2: Follow Grand Balcon Sud, excellent views of Mont Blanc; return to Chamonix.
From Chamonix we walk to Les Praz and take the téléférique to La Flégère (1,900m – 6230ft). The trail today is named the ‘Grand Balcon’ and is on the opposite side of the valley from Mont Blanc, affording excellent views of the whole massif lying to our south. Initially we contour and then climb to reach the high point of the day, Lac Blanc (2352m – 7715ft). The trail descends and then contours high above the valley before a final climb down to the hamlet of Montroc (1,371m – 4500ft) from where we take a short scenic train journey back to Chamonix. In the afternoon there is a very short section of ladders/steep steps with handrails to descend.

Day 3: Over Col de Balme into Switzerland; night at Col Forclaz.
We travel back to Montroc at the top of the Chamonix valley where we begin our ascent to the Aiguillette de Posettes (2201m – 7200ft), descend a little and then climb towards the Col de Balme (2,191m – 7190ft) from where we follow one of the paths across the border from France to Switzerland. Excellent views all morning of Aiguille d’Argentière and Aiguille du Tour and its glacier. After lunch we walk through to the small Swiss hamlet of Trient (1,296m – 4250ft). Good views of the Trient Glacier. A sting in the tail today as we finish with a steep climb from Trient to our hotel at the Col de la Forclaz (1527m – 5010ft).

Day 4: Follow Bovine Route to Champex.
We leave the Col de la Forclaz, where we can look directly down into the Rhône valley and the Swiss town of Martigny and follow an historic path used to take the cows to high pasture, the ‘Bovine route’ (2049m – 6720ft). Our trail takes us through meadows and high alpine pastures before we descend to the charming town of Champex (1486m – 4880ft) set beside a picturesque alpine lake.

Day 5: Along Val Ferret to La Fouly.
Now on the east side of the main Mont Blanc Massif we walk south, descending through woods to the Val Ferret and on to Issert (1,055m/3460ft) and other small, pretty, alpine farming villages. This is quite a good day for flowers, including orchids. We continue up the valley to the remote village of La Fouly (1600m/5250ft). This is at the foot of Mont Dolent, whose summit is at the meeting point of France, Switzerland and Italy.

Day 6: Follow river La Drance; climb to the highest point of the tour at Grand Col Ferret and into Italy. Overnight at La Palud.
Still following the same valley and the river ‘La Drance’, we climb to the ‘Grand Col Ferret’ (2537m/8320ft), the highest pass of the tour. Now in Italy, the valley is also called ‘Val Ferret’. The mountain views from the Col are stunning with the Grandes Jorasses dominating the scene. We walk down the valley to Arp Nouva (1,770m/5800ft) then travel by bus to our hotel in La Palud near Courmayeur.

Day 7: Rest day.
The nearby ex-spa towns of Courmayeur and Entreves have picturesque older sections, which are worth a visit, especially for the keen photographer. There is a cable car from La Palud to Point Helbronner (3,461m/11350ft) and on across the glacier to Aiguille du Midi (and in fact on down to Chamonix). This is a splendid (optional) excursion, which gives close-up views of all the big peaks. Alternatively you might wish to relax and recover in the Spa bathes at Pre Saint Didier a short bus ride from Courmayeur.

Day 8: Return by bus to Planpincieux and then climb steeply from the valley to Mont de la Saxe.
We start with a short bus ride to pick up the TMB and from the road (1675m – 5500ft) climb up to the Bonatti refuge (2025m – 6640ft). Today we follow beautiful contouring path around Mont de la Saxe to Courmayeur. The views of the south Mont Blanc massif are exceptional as are those of the towering, cliffy peak of the ‘Grandes Jorasses’ and the glaciers which crowd the northern flank of the Val Ferret. In the afternoon we have a long, steep descent to Courmayeur (1,230m – 4030m) (superb ice creams!) from where we take a short bus ride back to our hotel.

Day 9: Cross the Col de la Seigne back to France, descend through la Ville des Glaciers to Les Chapieux.
Today we are heading for the Val Veny and the start of our walk at La Vissaille (1660m/5450ft). We’ll reach this by bus to then start climb gently along good paths beneath the massive glacier de Miage and pass Lac Combal before the gradient becomes steeper as we follow the old Roman road and head for today’s pass: the ‘Col de la Seigne’ (2,516m/8250ft), which marks our re-entry into France. A fairly steep descent brings us through la Ville des Glaciers (1,789m/5870ft) and finally after quite a long walking day to Les Chapieux (1,553m/5090ft), a small remote hamlet inhabited only during the summer months.

Day 10: Ascend to Col de la Croix du Bonhomme, then contour across to the Col du Bonhomme.
We have now reached the southwest corner of the circuit and turn north to climb once again. First we make a steep sustained climb to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2,478m/8130ft) and then contour around to the Col du Bonhomme (2,328m/7640ft). We then start the proper descent on a steep path, through meadows and over a Roman bridge and finally to the village of Les Contamines (1180m/5900ft). A short bus ride down the valley takes us to the pretty village of St Gervais, the perfect place for a day off.

Day 11: Rest day.
A well-earned rest day. There are many options to fill your day including taking the cog railway to Le Nid d’aigle, the Eagles Nest, a popular start point to climb Mont Blanc, or browsing around the local market of Les Contamines. There are plenty of optional walks in the area or one can simply relax around the pleasant town of St Gervais or even treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa.

Day 12: Over Col de Tricot to the Chamonix Valley; overnight at Les Houches.
Today is a challenging day with plenty of ups and downs. From St Gervais we have a 10 min transfer to re-join our route before ascending to the Chalets de Miage (1,560m/5120ft). From here we take a trail that climbs steeply to the Col de Tricot (2,119m/6950ft) before descending very close to the snout of the Glacier de Bionnassay. Good views of the north side of the Mont Blanc Massif. Eventually we make another ascent to reach the Col de Voza (1,652m/5418ft) where we re-enter the Chamonix Valley and make our final descent to the village of Les Houches (993m/3225ft).

Day 13: Best views of Mont Blanc today; long ascent to the Brevent, descend to Chamonix.
We cross to the north side of the Chamonix Valley and climb steeply through pine forest and then on open mountainsides to reach the high point of the day at Brevent (2,525m/8290ft). This is a long walking day but will probably afford the best views of the French side of Mont Blanc and its neighbouring peaks that we shall have on the whole trek. We descend to Plan Praz (1970m/6460ft) and take the cable car to Chamonix (1,061m) for a well-deserved beer.

Day 14: Free day in Chamonix.
Free day in and around Chamonix. There are several good walks around Chamonix, and also spectacular (optional) excursions by cable car or mountain railway.

Day 15: End Chamonix.

What’s included

• All breakfasts, 10 picnic lunches, 12 hotel/restaurant dinners
• All accommodation
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Visas or vaccinations

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


Loire Gastronomic Self-Guided Cycling - Premium

Your chance to

• Visit the finest chateaux in France
• Stay in superb hotels, including the Chateau de Chissay
• Sample outstanding local cuisine and local wine

At a glance

• 6 nights hotels, all rooms en suite
• 5 days cycling (including 2 optional rides) with luggage transfers
• 85% on quiet tarmac roads, 15% on cycle paths and tracks
• The terrain is mainly flat, ideal for first timers

Cycle through idyllic scenery and visit the finest chateaux in France

This is an incredibly relaxed self-guided itinerary, ideal for those who enjoy their food and wine as much as culture and cycling. The distances are kept short, with optional cycling days built in so you have plenty of time to explore the many fabulous chateaux, enjoy long lazy lunches or a lengthy stop at a vineyard. If this isn’t enough to tempt you, the setting is beautiful, with rides along the pretty river banks that meander through the countryside. To top it off our hotels are superb and your evening meals will be a highlight!

Day 1: Start Chissay.
If you have arranged to join the transfer we will pick you up from St Pierre des Corps station and take you to Chissay (please see the joining information), where your fabulous chateau hotel awaits. There will be time for a swim before dinner.

Day 2: Cycle along the Cher River to Chateau de Chenonceau; cycle on to St Ouen-les-Vignes via Amboise.
This morning’s ride will start with gentle pedalling along the banks of the Cher river, which will lead you to the superb Chateau de Chenonceau with its famous arches majestically spanning the river. Described by Flaubert as ‘floating on air and water’, it’s arguably the most beautiful of all the Loire landmarks. It will be difficult to tear yourself away from this beautiful spot so it makes a great stop for lunch on the terrace of The Orangerie restaurant. You will then head off through the shady Amboise forest and on to Amboise – don’t worry if you don’t have time to explore properly as you can easily come back tomorrow. Your final stretch leads to the elegant village of St Ouen-les-Vignes and Jacques and Odile Arrayet’s bijou hotel beside the river. Odile is a professional sommelier, and Jacques an artistic chef de cuisine, so you’re in for some treats here! Ride Approx. 27km.

Day 3: Free day to return to Amboise; or cycle along the River Cisse to Vouvray.
Today is a free day but with Amboise only a 5km cycle south it makes for the perfect day trip. Visit the flamboyant royal palace and the elegant Clos Luce, a 15th Century manor house where Leonardo da Vinci lived and worked for the last few years of his life. His workshops house 40 giant models of some of his most spectacular creations – the first plane, helicopter and tank. The beautifully landscaped gardens bring life to his botanical drawings and geographical designs. Alternatively, it is an easy 15km return cycle along the river Cisse to the wine capital, Vouvray. It is most famous for its wine made from the Chenin Blanc grape. A little way out of Vouvray, the Moncontour Museum gives you the opportunity to visit a winery and some ancient wine cellars; there is the chance to do some comparative wine tasting at the end of the tour or visit Chateau de Valmer where King Charles VII once stayed. Optional Ride approx. 15km

Day 4: Two routes available. The shorter option goes via Limeray, alternatively cycle to Autreche; both then converge and go to Chaumont; finish in Chitenay.
Today you have the option of two routes, both offering lovely peaceful cycling. The shorter option takes you via the sleepy village of Limeray, with its lovely white church with impressive collection of statues. Alternatively, you can head north through open countryside to Autreche, there is the opportunity to see a lot of wildlife en-route so keep the binoculars handy! The routes then come together and go on to Chaumont. The impressive 15th Century chateau was built on the site of the original 10th Century castle destroyed by Louis XI for the treasonable acts of it’s then owners. Famously Catherine de Medici forced her late husband’s mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to give her Chenonceau in exchange for Chaumont. Between May and October, the chateau hosts the International Garden Festival with a different theme each year. A final shady riverside stretch takes you via the pretty villages of Les Montils and Seur and on to Chitenay where you’ll spend the next two nights.

Day 5: Free day to visit the chateau at Cheverny. Alternatively, cycle to Chateau de Chambord.
The 17th Century chateau at nearby Cheverny, with its wonderful white stone facade, makes a great day trip. The richness of its furnishings and antiques are incredible, and the gardens are superb. The chateau has an interesting history, as if out of a regal soap opera, including intrigue and murder. Its latter history has been a little less dramatic but the chateau kept its place on the main stage by being used as a model for Marlinspike Hall which features in some of the Tintin adventures. There is a permanent Tintin exhibition open for viewing. Alternatively, if you head a little further afield you can visit the magnificent Chateau de Chambord, it is a 50km round trip, so makes a perfect day trip. Set in the heart of the huge Foret de Boulogne, this 16th Century masterpiece appears straight from a fairy tale, and reflects the lavish tastes of its original owner, King Francois I. Today, the surrounding park has been declared a national nature reserve, protecting all sorts of wildlife including deer, boar and eagles. Optional Ride approx. 50km.

Day 6: Cycle via Fougeres-sur-Bievre and along the Cher River to Montrichard; then ride onto Chateau de Chissay for a well-earned dip in the pool!
After breakfast your ride will head south past well-tended vines and sleepy hamlets surrounded by fields of sunflowers. We recommend stopping for lunch on the terrace beside the fortified chateau of Fougeres-sur-Bievre, before cycling downhill to the River Cher. Here the charming old quarter of mediaeval Montrichard is huddled beneath the 11th Century keep. The town has a definite mediaeval feel to it, particularly in some of the buildings in the square. You can sit here, enjoy a coffee and admire the half-timbered houses. The castle dominates the town and is famous for imprisoning Richard the Lionheart. A final flat cycle follows the Cher back to Chateau du Chissay for a well earned dip in the pool!

Day 7: End Chissay.
A transfer has been arranged to take you back to St Pierre des Corps station. See the joining information for more details.

What’s included

• All breakfasts and dinners
• All accommodation (see below)
• All luggage transfers
• Route notes and mapsLocal bike hire

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation (available on request -compulsory supplement from GBP234)
• Visas or vaccinations
• Arrival & departure transfers (available on request)

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


GREECE

Walking on the Greek Islands

Your chance to

• Discover the three islands of Paros, Santorini and Naxos
• Gentle walks amid idyllic scenery and remote villages
• Enjoy delicious local Greek cuisine

At a glance

• 7 nights in 2- and 3-star hotels with en suite rooms
• 4 full days and 2 half days walking on 3 islands
• Travel by public transport, boat/ferry and coach
• Low altitude throughout

Walks on Santorini, Paros and Naxos
The Greek islands have much more to offer than most would think: archaeological treasures, history, culture, dramatic landscapes overlooking an azure coloured sea and, of course, delicious food. Our week starts on the beautiful island of Naxos, before heading to Santorini and Paros. Exploring the irresistible island of Santorini on foot will certainly be the highlight of our week. Hopping from one wonderful island to the other, we enjoy a relaxed week of gentle walks through picturesque villages, lush valleys and sandy beaches.

Day 1: Start Athens; overnight.
The group flight usually arrives into Athens in the early evening and will be met and transferred to the start hotel. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon. In the evening our guide will hold a welcome meeting to discuss the week ahead, give advice on the local area and answer any questions. Accommodation: Jason Inn or similar

Day 2: Morning ferry to Naxos; afternoon explore the town and visit the Temple of Apollo.
In the early morning, we transfer to Piraeus Port and catch the ferry to Naxos. The ferry will leave the port at 7.25am and takes about 5.5 hours. On board the ferry there is a good selection of restaurants and cafes which will serve food and drinks throughout the journey. After checking in at our hotel, we will take a walk to explore the main town, Hora, a Venetian Castello town. The market area is a delight to wander through, with its craft shops, chapels and quaint restaurants. On the islet of Palatia stands the impressive Portara, ancient marble gateway, the entrance to the remains of the temple of Apollo. Walk: Distance 2km Ascent 50m Descent 50m Time: 3 hours Accommodation: Hotel Aeolis or similar

Day 3: Walk through the mountainous heart of the island, from Filoti to Apiranthos, a mediaeval village on Naxos’ high plateau.
Today we trek the lush valley of Tragea, famous for its ancient olive and citrus groves. It is a great opportunity to discover the most authentic part of Naxos, where picturesque villages and churches punctuate our walk. Walk: Distance 8km Ascent 200m Descent 200m Time: 4 hours Accommodation: Hotel Aeolis or similar

Day 4: Morning ferry to Santorini; afternoon explore the caldera in Thira.
Today there is a free morning to explore Naxos. In the early afternoon, we take the ferry to Santorini (approximately 2.5 hrs). Santorini is one of the most famous islands in the world. Known mainly for its beautiful beaches, it is a remnant of a volcanic cone whose top was blown off. A huge eruption (estimated 1450 BC) gave it its crescent shape and many speculate that it was the location of the legendary lost Atlantis. This beautiful island has a lot to offer to walkers, including magnificent views of the Mediterranean. In the late afternoon, we will have a walk around the town of Fira to enjoy the stunning views of the caldera. Walk: Distance 2 km Ascent 0m Descent 0m Time: 2 hours Accommodation: Hotel Sunrise or similar

Day 5: Walk along the caldera from Thira to Oia.
Leaving Thira behind we trek along the ‘Cliff Trail’ to Oia. The six mile trail is well marked, not too challenging but well worth the effort. Views out over the Aegean as far as the eye can see are virtually ever present as we wind gently up to the edge of the volcanic caldera. Reaching Oia, a pretty village of narrow winding streets, whitewashed houses, boutiques, galleries and cafes, there is time to explore, relax and soak up the culture. Walk: Distance 10km Ascent 200m Descent 200m Max Time: 5 hours Accommodation: Hotel Sunrise or similar

Day 6: Morning walk to the volcano in Santorini. Afternoon ferry to Paros.
In the morning we walk down the steps to the old harbour and take a boat to the island of Kameni in the middle of the Caldera. We will walk to the crater of the volcano amongst lava and pumice stones, enjoying panoramic views of Santorini and the nearby islands. We travel back to Santorini and on to Fira. Leaving Santorini in the afternoon, we board the ferry to Paros. Our ferry departs at 3:30pm, and the journey is approximately 3.5 hours. Walk: Distance 1km Ascent 100m Descent 100m Time: 1.5 hours Accommodation: Hotel Pandrossos or similar

Day 7: Walk the ancient paths in the heart of Paros, from Lefkes to Prodromos and the coastal villages of Marpissa and Pisso Livadhi.
In the morning we take a bus to reach the heart of the island and the village of Lefkes, here we join the Old Byzantine path that runs all the way to the east coast of Paros. The route is believed to be about 1000 years old and traverses the entire island from Parikia to Piso Livadhi. We will walk through the white marble quarries which have been made famous by many Greek masterpieces including the Venus de Milo which was made from Parian marble. Today’s route will also pass through many mediaeval villages. In the afternoon we take a bus back to Parikia. Walk: Distance 9km Ascent 0m Descent 350m Time: 5 hours Accommodation: Hotel Pandrossos or similar

Day 8: Ferry transfer to Piraeus; end Athens.
We take the ferry back to Pireus (approx.5hrs) and transfer to Athens airport where the trip ends. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport for the return flight to London.

What’s included

• All breakfasts
• All accommodation (see below)
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout
• Arrival & departure transfers

What’s not included

• Travel Insurance
• Single accommodation (available on request)
• Visas or vaccinations

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


ICELAND


Iceland Northern Lights

iceland adventure travel northern lights

Your chance to

• See glaciers, lava tubes and waterfalls
• Experience unrivalled natural phenomena
• Search for the Northern Lights
• Flybus transfer to meet any flight

At a glance

• 4 nights hotel
• 3 and a half days sightseeing
• Glaciers, geysers and waterfalls
• Wonderful photographic opportunities

See Iceland’s best sights in one weekend

The ephemeral Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis have fascinated people for centuries. During this tour there is a visit to some of the most impressive sights in the south including the Glacial Lagoon, Thingvellir N.P and a number of mighty waterfalls. Underpinning this will be the efforts to experience the world’s best natural lightshow, as the forecast are monitored to maximize the chance of success.

Day 1: Our trip begins at our Reykjavik hotel in the early evening. For those not arriving with the group reception will have details of time of the welcome briefing.
Our tour begins at our hotel in Reykjavik in the early evening. Iceland’s compact capital city is well worth exploring, and we strongly recommend a couple of extra days before or after your tour. Two of the most striking attractions are the Hallgrímskirkja Church; a fine example of expansionist architecture and the beautiful Harpa Concert Hall. The nearby old harbour is a great starting point to explore the narrow streets of the old town.

Day 2: Drive along the south coast stopping at Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls and Reynisfjara volcanic beach; evening Northern Lights excursion (available on two nights).

Today we leave Reykjavik driving east along the beautiful southern highway. Our first stop is Seljalandsfoss, a 60m high waterfall, offering visitors the unique experience of being able walk behind the cascade. We continue on though barren yet beautiful countryside to an area badly affected by the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. We have short stop here to see the visitor centre and watch a film featuring fantastic footage of the eruption and its aftermath and how local farmers and their families coped. We continue on along the coast visiting the 60m high Skógafoss waterfall, the nearby Skóga Museum, here we’ll learn how Icelanders of centuries past survived in this harsh environment. After lunch our next stop is the black volcanic beach at Reynisfjara, with its salt caves and towering columnar basalts. The final part of our journey takes us across the black expanse of the Myrdalssandur floodplains, created by river which formed after the eruption of a volcano under the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier. Our hotel for the night is the Laki, located just outside the small village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur.

Day 3: Drive across Skeidararsandur floodplains to Skaftafell for stop and visit; on to Svinafellsjokull outlet glacier for easy glacier walk. Drive to Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon.

We set out today across the massive Skeidararsandur floodplains, created in a similar fashion to those at Mydalssandur. These floods however only occurred in 1996, and there is still little vegetation. Our first stop is the visitor centre at Skaftafell, part of the Vatnajkull NP, which covers about 10% of Iceland. From here we head to Svinafellsjokull, an outlet of the glacier where we go for a short walk. We will be using crampons and ice axes however the terrain is not challenging and even those with no similar experience should pick it up quickly. The glacier offers some fantastic photo opportunities, with its walls of brilliant blue ice, thousands of years in the making. We travel onwards to the beautiful Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, here you really will feel like you’re in another world. This unique lagoon was created in the 1950’s as the glacier retreated from the coastline, leave a 300m deep, 20sq km lake littered with icebergs. On the beach you will find large chunks of ice washed up on the black volcanic sound. It really is quite hard to explain just how ‘other worldly’ this small corner of Iceland is. The drive back to the hotel is approximately 90 minutes (125km), plenty of time to reflect on the days adventures.

Day 4: Drive along the south coast passing Eyjafjallajokull Volcano; visit Gullfoss Waterfall, spouts at Geysir and World Heritage Site of Thingvellir N.P.; on to Reykjavik.

We make our back along the south coast, travelling inland from Selfoss. Our first stop is the mighty Gulfoss Waterfall; one of Europe’s most powerful. Hundreds of cubic tonnes of water a second pass over the edge of the falls into the canyon below. We also visit Geysir, home to the inimitable hot spouts. The most reliable eruption comes from Strokkur and occurs every 5-10 minutes, firing jets of hot water and steam 30 metres into the air, a spectacle not to be missed. Our final stop before returning to Reykjavik is Thingvellir National Park, where the world’s first democratic parliament sat in 930AD; It was not until 1798 that it moved to the capital. Thingvellir is also the site of the rift valley marking the Mid Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling part, causing an area of around 7km to literally sink into the earth.

Day 5: Morning visit to Leidarendi lava tube cave and the Blue Lagoon; end Reykjavik.

group-travel

We visit the Leidarendi lava tube cave. The cave is a great example of lava tubes with many fascinating lava formations. The flow of the lava can be easily seen in many places inside the cave and lava formations such as small stalagmites and stalactites are around. The cave is easily navigated and in winter the cave is often filled with glistening icicles of all shapes and sizes, creating an amazing world of ice. After caving we head for the Blue Lagoon and soak in the thermal baths before our flight back.

What’s included

• All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners
• All accommodation
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation
• Visas or vaccinations


CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


ITALY


Walks of the Cinque Terre and Portofino


Your chance to

• Discover the beautiful Cinque Terre
• Enjoy picturesque coastal paths
• Visit the luxury resort of Portofino

At a glance

• 5 days centre-based walking; 1 free day
• Low altitude throughout
• Moderate fitness is required
• Group normally 6 to 15. Min age 16 yrs
• 7 nights 3-star hotel, all rooms en suite
• All breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner and 1 winetasting included

Located on a part of Italy’s most beautiful coastline, our base in the seaside town of Moneglia is a real treat for visitors. Our hotel is just metres away from the beach which has been awarded the European Blue Badge for cleanliness and sustainability, and the town is perfectly nestled between the Cinque Terre and Bay of Portofino. On inspirational walks through hills, woodland and coastal villages we will discover why these areas have earned names such as the Gulf of the Poets. Many of the country’s most iconic trails are situated in the region and the temperate climate, ample opportunities for walking, relaxing and sampling delicious food and wine, make this trip a great introduction to Italy.

Day 1: Start Moneglia.
Start at our base in the seaside town of Moneglia.

Day 2: Follow coastal trail from Moneglia to villages of Deiva Marina and Framura.
We will start our trip with a coastal walk exploring typical Ligurian seaside villages. Total walk approx. 13km

Day 3: Take the train to Cinque Terre N.P; walk the stunning paths to some of Liguria’s prettiest villages.
Today we will set out to visit the famous Cinque Terre (Five Lands) in the Ligurian ‘Gulf of the Poets’. This area has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. Our walk begins from famous Sentiero Azzurro Ligure (Ligurian Blue Path), which by will take us through terraced vineyards and olive groves on old mule tracks, connecting the five pituresque villages. Total walk approx. 12km (However some sections of the path may be closed hence we may need to take train between villages)

Day 4: Walk on the Portofino peninsula and explore the world renowned village of Portofino itself.
This morning we will set out by train to Santa Margherita Ligure, a charming coastal town, where we will begin our hike to the once sleepy fishing village, Portofino, now playground of the rich and famous. Total walk approx. 13.5km

Day 5: Free day to relax, take optional walks, try kayaking or visit nearby Lucca or Genova.
Today you will enjoy a well-earned break and perhaps spend your day relaxing at the beach. The more active might like to use the opportunity for some sightseeing. Genoa, the region’s capital city, home of Christopher Columbus and one of the largest aquarium’s in Europe is not be missed. Alternatively, you could use the day to visit the marble quarries at Carrara.

Day 6: Transfer to Rapallo by train, take the cable car up Montallegro for fantastic views and walk down to Chiavari; afternoon wine tasting.
This morning we will take a short train ride to Rapallo and the cable car up to the sanctuary of Montallegro. From here we will set out on a walk through quiet woodland, catching glimpses of the Ligurian sea en route to the seaside town of Chiavari. In the early evening we will have the chance to enjoy the local speciality at our well-deserved wine tasting! Total walk approx 9km

Day 7: Return to the Cinque Terre area for an alternative walk through glorious coastline and colorful villages.
This morning we will head back to the famous Cinque Terre to walk some of the quieter, alternative trails. The exact path you will walk will depend on local track conditions, but they are generally on higher ground than the classic Sentiero Azzuro, so offer even more spectacular views of the coastline and villages. Total walk approx 7 or 10km

Day 8: End Moneglia.

What’s included

• All breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner, 1 wine tasting
• All accommodation (see below)
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation (available on request – limited availability)
• Visas or vaccinations

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


Tuscany Cycle Siena & Chianti


Your chance to

• Ride along the quiet roads of classic Tuscany
• Enjoy famous Tuscan cuisine and wine
• Relax in the beautiful city of Florence

At a glance

• 7 nights at 3 and 4 star hotels with en suite facilities
• 5 days cycling, average 58km/day
• 100% vehicle support (with limited seats)
• 85% tarmac, 15% easy gravel roads (most optional)

Ride along the quiet roads of classic Tuscany

The Tuscan landscape is one of the most evocative and romantic in Europe with cypress trees lining the roads, olive groves, vineyards, ancient hill-top towns and, of course, classic Renaissance cities. Our group cycling tour is carefully planned to take in the best of Tuscany without feeling rushed or over-cultural: part of the joy of the Italian lifestyle is sitting and watching the world go by with a glass of Chianti in your hand! During the week we ride through diverse areas of Tuscany, such as the hills of Chianti and the beautiful around Montepulciano. Riding north, we enter ‘Le Crete’, a wonderfully scenic region that’s home to some of Tuscany’s best towns and villages. We then enjoy Siena’s magnificent Campo before biking past the towers of San Gimignano and onto our final destination in Florence. Following quiet roads, we mix point-to-point and circular rides to make a perfect cycle tour of this region, without the need to transfer at the beginning of each day.

Day 1: Start San Quirico, in the heart of Val d’Orcia.
Start in the hilltop town of San Quirico D’Orcia, one of the most beautiful and charming medieval towns of the Orcia Valley.

Day 2: Circular ride through classic Tuscan countryside via Pienza, the wine town of Montepulciano and thermal spa village of Bagno Vignoni.
Following an ancient pilgrimage route, the Via Francigena, we head towards Pienza, a charming town full of history and culture. From here we cycle to the wine centre of Montepulciano, famous for its Vino Nobile. We then head towards the mediaeval village of Monticchiello and on to Bagno Vignoni, before making our way back to the hotel.

Day 3: Ride through vineyards and the walled town of Murlo to Siena.
A classic day’s riding, showing Tuscany at its most picturesque. Following quiet roads, we head out of San Quirico with a first stop at Montalcino. We then descend on gravel roads via Castiglione del Bosco and the road to Murlo. From here we ascend the short but steep Rospatoio Pass and take a lovely road section via Ville di Corsano, as we approach the splendid Gothic town of Siena.

Day 4: Free day in Siena to explore or relax.
Siena is one of Italy’s best-preserved medieval towns with one of the world’s most gracious squares, the Campo.There is plenty to see in Siena and its sights are best explored on foot as the town is compact but hilly. There are many museums and buildings of interest to visit, such as the impressive Duomo. Alternatively you may choose to head out for an unguided ride.

Day 5: Ride via Gaiole and Radda to Castellina in Chianti.
From Siena we head directly into the heart of Chianti. Our route takes us via some lovely small villages and hamlets, as well as some spectacular vineyards and castles, such as that of Castello di Brolio. Here there is the option to take a wine tasting of the some of the area’s finest wines. We then cycle via Gaiole and Radda in Chianti, with options to ride to the abbey of Coltribuono, before our final section to Castellina in Chianti, where we stay for two nights.

Day 6: Circular ride through the Chianti hills via San Gimignano and Monteriggioni.
From Castellina, we travel through some lovely countryside before taking an amazingly scenic descent into the lower valley. From Poggibonsi we head towards the distant towers of San Gimignano nestling between the hills and small hamlets. San Gimignano is sometimes crowded, but this does not take away from what is one of the most interesting sights in Tuscany. We spend a few hours enjoying the atmosphere, walking by the walls and admiring the town’s high towers. Our return route passes through the quieter Colle di Val d’Elsa, and on to the walled town Monteriggioni, before returning to Chianti and the quiet roads leading to our lodge. There is an option to take a transfer back to Castellina from Monteriggioni.

Day 7: Cycle to Florence via Panzano and Greve in Chianti.
We depart from our hotel and start riding a spectacular road towards San Donato in Poggio and on to Panzano in Chianti. We then take quiet backroads to the walled mediaeval village of Montefioralle and on to Greve in Chianti. Here we have time for lunch and to admire the market square, before heading towards Stada and Impruneta, known for their local terracotta production. We finish by taking a panoramic road towards Florence, cycling all the way to Piazzale Michelangelo for a final group shot. We will arrive in Florence in the early afternoon, giving you time to start exploring this wonderful city of the Renaissance including the Cathedral and Baptistry – the oldest building in the city. Also see the Ponte Vecchio, the superb bridge over the river Arno, lined with goldsmiths and the most famous symbol of the City.

group-travel

Day 8: End Florence.
End Florence. Please speak to our sales team if you would like to book extra nights in Florence.

What’s included

• All breakfasts
• All accommodations
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout
• Local bike hire

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation (available on request from GBP240)
• Visas or vaccinations

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


Classic Dolomites - Premium

Your chance to

• Choose moderate or challenging weeks
• Trek around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, UNESCO World Heritage
• Relax in a comfortable 4 star hotel with wellness centre

At a glance

• 7 nights 4-star hotel with comfortable en suite rooms and wellness centre
• 5 days centre-based walking
• Not recommended for vertigo sufferers
• Altitude maximum 2900m, average 2500m

Trek through the Italian Dolomites

The small village of Villabassa, just north of Cortina d’Ampezzo, is nestled close to the Austrian border and sandwiched between the spectacular, jagged limestone peaks of the Dolomites. From here we enjoy an excellent choice of routes with the opportunity to relax in comfort at the end of a day’s walking. During the week, we venture into the Fanes-Sennes and Dolomiti di Sesto National Parks for great views of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Historically the front line between Italy and Austria-Hungary during the First World War, the trails take us each day through incredible open-air museums.

Day 1: Start Villabassa

Day 2: Walk to the beautiful Lago di Braies.
The ideal start to visiting this vast area is a walk straight from the hotel through the very pretty, flower filled Braies Valley. We walk through small villages and farmland until we reach the magnificent Lago di Braies (Pragster Wildsee), one of the 297 glacial lakes of the area. It is certainly one of the most beautiful thanks to being surrounded by jagged peaks that are reflected in the extraordinary mirror-like surface of the lake. We follow the route of ‘SS hostages’, the leaders of 19 countries who were freed after the First World War by the inhabitants of Neiderdorf/Villabassa. Challenging grade weeks will also include a traverse across the flanks of Croda Rossa (Hohe Gaisle), famous for the way it gleams red in the sun, before descending to Ponticello (Bruckele).

Day 3: Walk amongst beautiful wild flowers during the climb up towards Strudelkopf.
We walk amongst beautiful wild flowers on our climb up to the summit of the Strudlekopf (2307m). We stop at the Durrenstein hut in the early afternoon for a rewarding homemade apfelstrudel. On our descent down the valley, we explore fortifications and tunnels from the First World War on our return. Challenging grade weeks ventures first to the summit of Durrenstein (2950m), a majestic peak which boasts views all the way to the Austrian Tyrol After a short stop at the summit, we traverse across to towards the Strudlekopf, a route which offers exceptional views across this range of colourful jagged spires.

Day 4: Walk from the Kreutzberg Pass to the Nemes Alm.
Today we visit the Kreutzberg Pass with its Napoleonic trenches and we also enjoy a quick stop in a wonderfully hospitable mountain hut for some local Kaiserschmarren, a filling pancake dessert that is usually accompanied by homemade apple or plum sauce – just don’t have one all to yourself! Challenging grade weeks enjoy an extended walk towards the ridge and could include a climb up Col Quaterna or Knieberg (2503m) alongside the Austrian border.

Day 5: A free day to relax or enjoy optional activities.
A free day to relax in the hotel’s wellness centre or take a self-guided cycle ride around this wonderful area. Alternatively, you can make your way to Bolzano to visit a museum dedicated to the Oetzi, the 5000 year-old ‘iceman’ whose remarkably well-preserved body was found in 1991 high on a glacier on the Austro-Italian frontier. Or you could journey to the attractive provincial capital of Lienz in Austria, where it is possible to sample some Austrian hospitality.

Day 6: A memorable circuit around the famous ‘three chimneys’, Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
We enjoy a memorable circuit around the famous ‘Three Chimneys’, or Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Set amid one of the classic mountain groups of this area, our circuit around these impressive peaks is certainly a highlight of the week. Challenging grade weeks take a more challenging and exposed route, which includes a spectacular traverse across the scree beneath Mt Paterno or Paternkofel (2722m) and may include a visit to the Bullejochhutte.

Day 7: To complete the week, we take an amazing tour around the summits of Monte Piano.
To complete the week, we take the amazing attacking route of the Austrians up to the summit of Monte Piano (2324m). Using an impressive network of safe paths, bridges and ladders, we find ourselves upon the flat-topped mountain surrounded by some of the most impressive scenery in the Dolomites. It is the site of an open-air museum dedicated to the First World War where trenches, dugouts and shell craters can be seen amongst the many alpine flowers. On our return, we have time to spot the brilliant blue gentians, alpine white edelweiss and bright saffron that create a beautiful scene around Lake Misurina, thanks to the beautiful pink off the limestone rock. Challenging grade weeks enjoy a dramatic traverse of Mt Piano’s summits, including an exploration of the exposed gun galleries.

Day 8: End Villabassa.

What’s included

• All breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
• All accommodation (see below)
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation (available on request) GBP200
• Visas or vaccinations

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


Walking The Amalfi Coast

At a glance

• 7 nights family-run hotel with small outdoor swimming pool and en suite facilities
• 4 days centre-based guided walking
• All transport by private minibus
• Low altitude throughout, not suitable for severe vertigo sufferers
• Moderate walks, leisurely pace; good level of fitness recommended

Walk the stunning Amalfi coast and explore the fascinating ruins of Pompeii

The Amalfi Coast is one of the most dramatic coastlines in Europe. Mountains jut steeply out of the Mediterranean and picturesque towns nestled in the coves below. Walking the ancient hillsides studded with lemon groves and framed by deep gorges, we descend from the Agerola Plain to the quaint towns of Positano, Ravello and of course Amalfi itself. No visit to the Bay of Naples would be complete without a trip to see the remains of Pompeii under the imposing volcanic cone of Mount Vesuvius. The best is saved till last with arguably the world’s best coastal walk: the ‘Walk of the Gods’. Away from the trails we partake in the favorite traditional pastime and sample incredible food and wine just like the Italians do.

The perfect combination of idyllic coastal views, heritage sights and picturesque towns make the Amalfi Coast our most popular destination for walking. We have been operating this trip for over 15 years, using the comfortable Hotel Due Torri run by the friendly Acampora family who offers genuine Italian hospitality and ensures each guests has a wonderful stay.

Day 1: Start Bomerano

Day 2: An impressive walk to top of Monte Tre Calli for great wide-open views of the coastline.

From the hotel it’s a short stroll to the village square (or in the case of Bomerano, a triangle) and the start of today’s walk. The circular route provides a good chance to stretch the legs; following a mixture of paths and tracks ascend to the top of Monte Tre Calli to be rewarded with spectacular wide-open views of the jagged coastline and seemingly endless blue sea. The Agerola Plain and the village of Bomerano are laid out below us and on a clear day we can see as far as the famous island of Capri, a haven and idyllic hideaway for many celebrated artists and writers over the past 200 years. After admiring the majestic scenery descend to Bomerano and enjoy some rest time before a hearty dinner (10 km, 4.5 hrs walking including stops).

Day 3: Follow mule tracks and steps down to Amalfi; free afternoon to explore the famous cathedral.

Start walking towards Amalfi, a town popular with the British since Edwardian times when the upper classes favoured the town as a pleasant place to spend their winters. The route has a downhill bias, following the path down from Bomerano at 700m to the shores of the Mediterranean, accompanied by wonderful coastal views. There are sections of steps today (approx. 2000 in total), but there are also plenty of opportunities to rest and go at your own pace. On arrival in the town you will see the large Duomo (Cathedral) dominating the town with its brightly-coloured tiled cupola (dome), which along with the baroque facade and interior, is a typical example of regional architecture. Take some time to explore the town, swim in the small bay or enjoy a well-earned gelato before taking the transfer back to Bomerano (9km, approx. 5 hrs walking including stops).

Day 4: Drive to Bay of Naples; visit fascinating ruins of Pompeii and take a walk up Mt Vesuvius.

Drive to Bay of Naples; visit fascinating ruins of Pompeii and take a walk up Mt Vesuvius.
Transfer to the Bay of Naples, the area spanning between the region’s capital city, Naples, and the town famed for its lemon groves, Sorrento. Situated on the lower foothills of the volcano dominating the Gulf, Pompeii was a thriving port town until Vesuvius’ catastrophic eruption spanning two days in 79AD during which the city was buried in ash and pumice. Lost for 1700 years, Pompeii is now a UNESCO World Heritage site as the perfectly preserved remains give us an amazing insight into life in a Roman city, complete with bathhouses, bakeries and homes- some of which are still have walls adorned with detailed frescoes. You may take some time to explore the site this morning, perhaps opting for a detailed tour accompanied by a local guide. After lunch, travel by bus high up onto the slopes of Vesuvius to view the volcanic crater. Depending on weather conditions, it may be possible to take an extended walk around the caldera and beyond, led by an expert volcanologist (optional).

Day 5: Guided walk through Valle delle Ferriere N.P. to Ravello
Starting from Amalfi, follow the stream gently upwards through lemon groves, past the shells of former paper factories (a major local industry from the 12th to 19th centuries) and medieval ironworks into the Valle delle Ferriere National Park. Continue on, crossing wooden bridges and following shady paths carpeted with wild flowers in season, to the beautiful moss-clad waterfalls within the closed gates of the nature reserve. Exodus groups have exclusive access to this beautiful protected area; a real privilege as entrance is restricted to those with prior authorisation. The route then follows the track back before turning up to the quaint village of Pontone. We stop to take in outstanding views of Amalfi and enjoy a picnic lunch in the charming village piazza before proceeding up to Ravello, a town much favoured by the Bloomsbury set and other artists and intellectuals due to its secluded location and inspirational scenery. Take some time to explore at your leisure; perhaps visit Villa Cimbrone with its meticulously landscaped gardens, (9km, approx. 4 hours walking)

Day 6: Free day to relax or take a boat to Capri, visit Naples or Herculaneum (all optional).
Day at leisure to relax at the hotel or go down to the seafront. The hotel also offers private transfers (payable locally) to the most popular attractions in the region not covered during the rest of the week, including the city of Herculaneum. Also destroyed during the disaster of 79AD, Herculaneum was buried in mud rather than ash and it is said that this lead to the site being even better preserved than the bigger Pompeii. You might instead choose to take a ferry to the chic island of Capri and the funicular through lemon groves up to Capri town (seasonal). These optional excursions can be arranged locally by your leader. Alternatively, spend the free day by the pool or in true Italian style in a café, sipping espresso and watching the world go by!

Day 7: Walk of the Gods’ with superb panoramic views all the way to Positano; return by boat to Amalfi; try some locally-made Mozzarella cheese.
A fitting finale to the week is one of the world’s finest day walks. Leaving the hotel it’s a short stroll through the quiet village of Bomerano before we join the ‘Sentiero degli Dei’ (Walk of the Gods), thus named as it provides some of the most evocative views in the world, of ragged cliffs speckled with tiny villages and extensive views of the sparkling Mediterranean sea. The route follows undulating hills, carpeted with flowers in season, the contours of the land and the coast. The trail is broken by insights into local life, passing shepherds huts and ancient stone houses carved into the limestone before we descend a long series of steps to the colourful Positano, an almost vertical town clinging to the rock face of a sheltered bay. Take some time to explore the alleyways lined with wisteria and designer boutiques or have a dip in the clear water of the beachfront before returning to Bomerano by boat and bus (seasonal) in the late afternoon. During the week many meals will have included some delicious local smoked mozzarella cheese and before dinner we will have the chance to see how it is made and taste the mouth-wateringly fresh final product.(12 km, approx. 6 hrs walking including stops).
Day 8: End Bomerano.

What’s included

  • All breakfasts, 4 packed lunches and 6 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout

What’s not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request from GBP220)
  • Visas or vaccinations

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


Cycle Cilento & the Amalfi Coast

Your chance to

• Discover the rugged Cilento National Park
• Cycle along the stunning Amalfi Coast
• Enjoy the Italian warm hospitality and succulent cuisine
• Explore the beautiful towns of Amalfi and Ravello

At a glance

• 5 days cycling with 100% vehicle support
• 100% tarmac roads
• Mainly undulating with a few steady climbs
• 6 nights 3 and 4-star hotels and 1 night farmhouse
• All breakfasts and 1 dinner included
• E-bike hire available on request

Cycle along the stunning Amalfi Coast
Cycling is a great way to explore the stunning natural and cultural treasures of Campania. This tour takes us through the best routes and contrasts of the region, from the relatively unknown and unspoilt Cilento to the popular lively Amalfi Coast. The Cilento National Park is largely undisturbed by the 21st Century and as we cycle through quaint fishing villages we realise that the traditional way of life is still very evident. We also visit the Greco-Roman city of Paestum, with its three major Doric style temples, before heading to the lovely town of Minori on the Amalfi Coast. Here we cycle on some of the most scenic routes in the world, while visiting beautiful towns including Positano and of course Amalfi itself. All the cycling will help to build our appetite for the fine food that the area is famous for!

Day 1: Start in Palinuro, on the southern coast of Cilento N.P.
Those on the group flight will fly to Naples and get a transfer to the start hotel in Palinuro, a lively picturesque village on the southern coast of Cilento (approx. 3 hours drive from Naples). Capo Palinuro is renowned for its outstanding natural beauty and impressive underwater caves. Please note that the departures on the 25th March, 7th and 14th October 2017 will start in the lovely seaside town of Marina di Camerota. The cycling route on Day 2 of these departures will be very similar to the standard followed on the other departures, only slightly shorter (50km, rather than 55km).

Day 2: Cycle along the most undeveloped stretch of coastline in southern Italy, then inland to the Mingardo Canyon and abandoned village of San Severino.
We start early in the morning with a scenic ride along the Southern Coast of the Cilento National Park, the most unspoilt stretch of coastline in southern Italy, offering spectacular views of the Gulf of Policastro. We arrive in the lovely coastal town of Marina di Camerota for a short break and then climb inland to the amazingly located village of San Giovanni a Piro. We cycle around the impressive Mt Bulgheria and to the Mingardo canyon before making our way back to Palinuro.

Day 3: Ride to Capo Palinuro then to the mediaeval village of Pisciotta; descend to the coast and Casalvelino.
From Marina di Camerota we follow the beautiful coastline to the peninsula of Capo Palinuro to the mediaeval village of Pisciotta. From here we climb gently to the town of Ascea. En route back to the coast, we cycle past the ancient Greek settlement of Velia with its pink gate dating back to the 4th Century BC, before heading to the plain of Casalvelino, where we stay in a lovely agriturismo.

Day 4: Undulating ride through charming coastal villages to Ogliastro Marina for lunch and a swim; continue on to Paestum with its 6th Century BC Greek ruins.
Today we enjoy one of the finest rides in Italy as we leave the Casalvelino plain behind and cycle through picturesque coastal villages to Acciaroli, a favourite of Ernest Hemingway. We stop for lunch either in Ogliastra Marina or Castellabate, where there is the opportunity for a swim in the sea. In the afternoon we enjoy the final section of our route to Agropoli, a charming town overlooking the sea, and ride to our hotel, just a stone’s throw away from the 6th Century BC Greek temples of Paestum.

Day 5: Train to Salerno; scenic ride to Minori, our base for the next three nights.
This morning we have time to visit Paestum’s well-preserved temples and amphitheatre, before taking a train to Salerno, the gateaway to the Amalfi Coast. After lunch, we ride one the most scenic coastal roads in the world to Minori. Along the way we stop in the fishing village of Cetara, famous for its delicious tuna and anchovies. We then continue to Capo d’Orso, offering breathtaking views over the Amalfi Coast and Capri. From here it’s mainly downhill as we cycle past dramatic cliffs and scented lemon terraces to the coastal villages of Maiori and finally Minori, our base for the last three nights.

Day 6: Cycle along the ‘Strada Amalfitana’ to Amalfi, Praiano and Positano, and climb inland to the Colli di San Pietro for great views over the Bay of Naples; return to Minori via Amalfi.
This morning we ride along the scenic coastal road to Amalfi, where we have time for a short stroll. We then continue to Furore, Praiano and on to Positano, a near vertical town of colourful buildings. The route offers fantastic views of the whole peninsula, including the island of Capri. We then make a beautiful climb to the Colli di San Pietro, on the ridge between the Bay of Naples and the Gulf of Salerno. There are several options for lunch, before we cycle back to Positano, Amalfi and finally Minori in time for the sunset.

Day 7: Free day to relax on the beach at Minori, visit Ravello and Amalfi, take a boat trip to Capri or visit Pompeii and Vesuvius.
A day off the bike to relax in Amalfi. Alternatively, you could visit glorious Ravello, take a boat trip to the island of Capri or visit the iconic UNESCO sights of Pompeii and Vesuvius.

Day 8: End Minori.
The trip finished in Amalfi after breakfast.

What’s included

• All breakfasts 1 dinner
• All accommodation (see below)
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout
• Local bike hire

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation (available on request from GBP215)
• Visas or vaccinations

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


JORDAN

Petra & Wadi Rum by Bike


Your chance to

• Cycle through spectacular desert scenery
• Visit the UNESCO site of Petra
• Camp under the stars in Wadi Rum

At a glance

• 5 days cycling 100% vehicle support
• 100% quiet tarmac roads, with some loose gravel and sand
• Mainly flat with some steep climbs and hot temperatures
• Group normally 5 to 18 plus local leader. Min age 16
• 7 nights in hotels, all en suite , 1 night basic camping

See the highlights of Petra by bike.

The Kingdom of Jordan is the perfect place to combine a cycling tour with some of the best sites in the Middle East. This bicycle tour takes us through olive groves and hill top villages in the north, while further south we will head along desert roads where the communities are sparse and nomadic and the landscape vast and spectacular. If the cycling alone isn’t enough to entice you, perhaps the UNESCO site of Petra; a night under the stars in the Wadi Rum desert; or, a float in the Dead Sea will tempt you to visit this fascinating country.

Day 1: Start Amman.

Day 2: Visit Jerash; ride/drive through olive groves and villages to Madaba.
After an initial briefing we transfer by bus for approximately 45 minutes to the ancient city of Jerash. Known in Roman times as Gerasa, Jerash is one of the best preserved examples of a Roman provincial town in the Middle East. It is a vast site with incredible ruins that enable you to almost visualise Roman life there, from the dramatic chariot racing to imagining the trading and bartering that went on along the colonnaded streets. After a good couple of hours absorbing the atmosphere of this incredible site we get back on the bus for a short transfer to the beginning of our ride, having lunch en route. When we arrive we will be introduced to the cycling team and our bikes. This afternoon we will cycle for approximately 3 and a half hours through the foothills of the Jordan Rift Valley and olive groves. This is the most fertile region of Jordan and also the most populated. We will wind our way down quiet roads and through small villages taking in the landscapes of this region. The cycling is on good roads and much of the time you will be descending. In places there may be some loose gravel that you will need to watch out for and there is one fairly long ascent. You will be briefed about the ride before you set off and the support vehicles will always be on hand. At the end of the ride we will leave the bikes for the day and transfer to Madaba. The bus journey will take approximately 2 hours. There are a number of nice restaurants in Madaba for you to choose from as well as coffee and sweet shops for those of you that want to try your first mouth-watering taster of baklava. If you are on booked onto a Premium Departure then we will return to Amman for the night instead of Madaba. This will not change the day’s itinerary at all, we will simply have a shorter transfer after the cycling. In the morning we will transfer to Madaba and continue the itinerary as normal.

Day 3: Ride to Mt Nebo for fantastic views; exhilarating ride down to the Dead Sea for a float in the saline waters; drive along the King’s Highway to Petra.
This morning we will wake up in Madaba, the ‘City of the Mosaics’. Madaba is the most important Christian centre in Jordan and is famous for its Byzantine era mosaics. The most important of these is the 6th Century mosaic of Jerusalem and the Holy Land that covers the floor of the Greek Orthodox church of St. George. This morning we will have the opportunity to go and observe the mosaic and marvel at its detail and natural colour. We will then have a very short transfer to take us out of the centre of town and reunited with our bikes. Today’s ride starts with a 7km mild ascent up Mt Nebo. We will take a pit stop at the top of Mt Nebo, reputedly the burial place of Moses but certainly the site for a spectacular view over the valley below. From here it’s a fantastic descent to the shores of the Dead Sea. Parts of this descent is quite steep but support will be at hand and you can take your time. We follow the coast on a smooth tarmac surface to Suwaima where we can change and take a float in the famous waters. After a shower it’s back in the bus for the long drive south (approx. 3 hours) along the Kings Highway towards Petra. In many places the route is spectacular and there will be a couple of stops to admire the view on the way.

Day 4: Explore the fascinating UNESCO city of Petra.
We now have two full days to explore Petra. The ‘Rose-red city, half as old as time’ – Petra was hidden for centuries until the Swiss explorer Burckhardt made his great discovery in 1812. The Nabateans, an Arab tribe that arrived here in the 6th Century BC, founded Petra. Building at Petra began in the 3rd Century BC and continued through the Roman period, financed by taxes levied on the desert caravans. Two features of Petra are unique: firstly, it is a city made defensible by being built down a series of chasms, rather than on a hilltop; and secondly, it is built directly into the rock – beautiful red and yellow sandstone carved into the most impressive facades which glow in the brilliant sunlight. During our time in Petra we will have the opportunity to explore the site from all angles. We will walk down the narrow Siq with the sandstone chasm rising 80m to either side of us and revealing El Khazneh, the Treasury as we reach its end. Set in stunning sandstone mountains there will also be an opportunity to explore the higher caves and the ‘high place of sacrifice’ giving a fantastic panorama of the whole site. At ground level we will pass the houses and tombs of the rich citizens, and the amphitheatre. A long walk beyond the centre is El Deir, the Monastery, with its superb facade topped by a huge urn. The Monastery is set in a more remote location of the site and we will have to climb around 800 steps to reach it, but it is well worth it.

Day 5: Guided tour around Petra; cycle to little Petra.
In the morning we cycle to the north of the main city to Little Petra and the Siq Al-Barid. A classical temple stands guard outside the miniature siq, which is believed to have been an important suburb to the city of Petra itself. The narrow file, only some 350m long, is crammed with triclinia, water channels and cisterns; of particular note are the remains of painted frescoes on plaster dating from the 1st Century AD, which are to be found in one of the biclinia.

Day 6: Ride/drive via the deserts of Wadi Araba to Aqaba on the Red Sea.
It’s an early start today to avoid the heat for our first real desert experience. After a short transfer to Tayba village we begin riding mostly on tarmac to Ar-Rajif. The road cuts through traditional Bedouin territory and is a seasonal stop for the nomadic shepherds of south Jordan so the chance of a local ‘tea break’ are high! The road is in a good state of repair, with some sections having been recently resurfaced. However, parts are quite heavily potholed and there is a chance that sand and stones have blown across the road and make for a loose surface on top of the tarmac and care should be taken. We head into the desert and follow the road down to Gharandal via Dilagha to Wadi Araba. There are a few ascents and descents on today’s ride and it is our longest and hardest day of riding. However, it is also the most spectacular and rewarding. The road takes you on an amazing journey through the desert and makes for a very satisfying day of riding. This day is all about the cycling allowing us to immerse ourselves in the landscape. After our desert crossing it’s a short drive to Aqaba on the Red Sea.

Day 7: Free morning to visit the beach, explore Aqaba or snorkel; afternoon drive/ride to Wadi Rum and camp in the desert.
This morning we have free time to lounge on the beach, swim, or go snorkeling. Your leader will be able to advise you on which beaches to visit and will arrange the boat trip on the Red Sea for those that wish to go snorkeling. In the early afternoon we will transfer out of town for around 45 minutes and then we will get on the bikes for the last time. This ride will take us into the Wadi Rum on a relatively flat desert road. The desert scenery today is quite different to that experienced yesterday and will evoke a sense of more recent history than what we have been experiencing until now. This is where Lawrence of Arabia and Prince Faisal assembled the Arab tribes for the attack on Aqaba in the First World War and also where sections of the film of ‘Lawrence’ were shot. Tonight we will experience Bedouin hospitality with a traditional meal, sweet tea and camping out in goat-hair tents in the desert. We will be able to contemplate our week of adventure as we gaze up at the star-lit sky, warmed by a fire. If you like you can pull your mattress outside and sleep under the stars.

Day 8: Morning desert drive into the Wadi Rum; drive to Amman.
After breakfast we take a 4×4 drive vehicle into the area for around 2 hours for a desert adventure. Following lunch, surrounded by the vastness of the desert and towering rocky outcrops, we transfer back to Amman, a journey of approx. 4 hours with a stop en route.

Day 9: End Amman.

What’s included

• All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner
• All accommodation
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout
• Arrival & departure transfers
• Local bike hire

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation (available on request)
• Visas or vaccinations

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


MOROCCO

Highlights of Morocco

Your chance to

• Explore vibrant imperial cities
• Walk in the High Atlas Mountains
• Camp in the Sahara Desert
• Enjoy a hammam at our Responsible Tourism project in Tijhza

At a glance

• 10 nights 3-star hotels, all en suite 1 night auberge, 2 nights mountain gite and 1 night camping, all with shared facilities
• Travel by private mini or midibus and camel
• Premium departures available
• Leisurely pace of travel
• A couple of long journeys

Imperial cities, Atlas Mountains, Sahara Desert and the Atlantic coast

For sheer diversity, Morocco is the perfect destination. We explore the imperial cities of Marrakech, Meknes and Fez, and continue our journey to the mountain ranges to the south, where sand dunes and kasbahs are scattered among palm oases inhabited by friendly Berbers. A highlight of our trip is a camel trek in the Sahara and a night at a Bedouin camp. We fit in a visits to Todra Gorge, the beautiful 16th century kasbah of Ait Benhaddou, and enjoy a village walk in a picturesque valley of the High Atlas. We complete the trip with a walk along the sandy beach of Essaouira.

Day 1: Start Casablanca.
Arrival at our hotel in the evening.

Day 2: Visit Hassan II Mosque; to Rabat; to Meknes.
A modern and commercial seaport, Casablanca is a complete contrast to the Morocco we are soon to explore. This morning we visit the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world. We then lunch in Rabat, the political capital of Morocco, but second to Casablanca in importance. Although mostly modern, Rabat has an excellent old quarter that we take time to explore before striking out over the northern plain to Meknes. We begin to see the scenery change as the landscape becomes more cultivated, Meknes being one of the most fertile areas of Morocco.

Day 3: Explore the Roman site of Volubilis and Meknes; to Fez.
Sultan Moulay Ismail’s old capital of Meknes is our first example of one of the Imperial Cities. The morning is free to wander the narrow streets and explore the souk (market) and perhaps have our first taste of bartering for souvenirs. In the afternoon we take a short drive to the largest and greatest kept Roman ruins in Morocco’s Volubilis. After exploring this site we continue our journey to Fez, where we spend two nights.

Day 4: Guided tour of Fez.
This fascinating city is the intellectual and religious centre of Morocco. Founded over a thousand years ago, Fez has many mosques and medersas (theological colleges) including the 9th century Karouine University, whose architecture is very similar to that seen in Moorish Spain. The medina in Fez is one of the largest in the world. In its immense and confusing warren of souks are thousands of craftsmen with their tiny shops opening onto the narrow alleyways. Noisy and pungent, hot and claustrophobic, the medina of Fez is a totally absorbing and unique experience. Our city guide shall walk us through different sections of the souk – from the dyers souk to the brass and copper souks. And of course, no visit to Fez is complete without a visit to the tanneries. Outside the medina we shall visit the Jewish District (mellah), the exterior of the Royal Palace and drive to a panoramic viewpoint over the medina. We shall also visit the potteries where the famous mosaic tables are made from the grey clay of the Rif Mountains.

Day 5: To Merzouga.
Today we have a long journey over the Middle Atlas, down through the picturesque Ziz Valley to the Hamada (flat stony desert) gradually approaching the spectacular site of the golden sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. We stay in a small and welcoming auberge on the edge of the dunes where it is easy to climb their summits to watch the sunrise.

Day 6: Walk among the dunes; camel trek; camp in the desert.
There is time today to explore the largest sand sea in Morocco or to relax in the shade of a palm tree by the dunes. The sand sea is famed for its pink dunes that take on a spectacular rose colour at sunset. In the late afternoon we partake in a genuine Saharan experience – a 2-hour camel trek through the dunes to an oasis, where we spend the night in a simple Bedouin camp.

Day 7: To Todra Gorge.
After sunrise, we leave our desert camp and travel, by camel, back to the auberge where we can have a shower before heading west towards the little town of Tinerhir and onwards to Todra Gorge for the night. Our hotel is set against the backdrop of the impressive walls of the gorge itself and we can spend the evening watching the rocks change colour with the setting sun.

Day 8: Optional morning walk; palmery tour around gorge
We spend the day in the magnificent gorge of the Todra River. There is the opportunity to take a five hour guided walk, or to relax in the gorge, walking beneath vertical cliffs rising up to 400m. In the afternoon there is the option of a guided palmery tour.

Day 9: Journey to Telouet, via the famous Kasbah Ait Benhaddou.
Leaving Todra Gorge, we rejoin the main road and drive west along the ‘Route of the Thousand Kasbahs’ via Ouarzazate and on to the well-preserved Kasbah Ait Benhaddou. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most spectacular sights of the Atlas, made famous as the location of several Hollywood films including ‘Gladiator’. After admiring the view, we may see something of the simple village houses. Continuing into the mountains we branch east through a wide flat mountain valley, finally arriving at Anmiter. Here we leave our bus and take an hour’s picturesque walk on a gentle uphill gradient to our base, where we spend the next two nights (Our bags will be transported to the gite for us).

Day 10: Morning walk in the High Atlas Mountains. Evening visit to local hammam
We start our day with a four hour walk through the villages of the Tijhza Valley, passing fields cultivated by the Berber women. Heading up into the hills on mule tracks, the peaks of the High Atlas act as a fitting backdrop to our walk. The afternoon is free to relax with a book, enjoy the mountain views, take a stroll through this beautiful landscape or challenge the local children to a game of football! Tijhza is just one of four villages in this remote valley that has been supported by Exodus for over ten years on various projects requested by the Village Association, such as building a water tower and a hammam (Moroccan steam bath) that you will have the opportunity to enjoy this evening.

Day 11: Over High Atlas to Essaouira.
Leaving the gite, we walk back to our bus for a short drive to the fortress of Telouet. Although abandoned and crumbling, we absorb the atmosphere of this labyrinthine, fairy-tale like structure. We continue our scenic drive over the High Atlas Mountains to Marrakech, driving over the Tizi’n’Tichka, which at 2,260m, is the highest road pass in Morocco. The scenery is spectacular and there are some wonderful views of the mountains. The second half of the trip brings us to the flat arid plains of Marrakech and then onwards to Essaouira.

Day 12: Free day in Essaouira.
A free day in Essaouira, a charming old Portuguese fishing port overlooking the Atlantic Ocean coast. The settlement dates back to the 15th century but the present town was constructed around 1760 by Sidi Mohammed ben Abdullah, who needed a base from which to suppress a revolt from Agadir. Today, the town is extremely relaxed and its whitewashed houses with painted shutters, artisan’s workshops, boatyards and fishermen provide a marked contrast to the desert, kasbahs and cities we have so far visited on this trip. Our hotel is situated in the heart of the old walled city, where we have plenty of time for some shopping in the souks or strolls along the picturesque beach. With many pleasant cafes and some outstanding seafood restaurants we have plenty of choice for our evening meal.

Day 13: To Marrakech, the ‘Pink City; guided tour.
After breakfast we head for the ‘Pink City’ of Marrakech and in the afternoon we enjoy a guided tour to help us find our feet and soak up the atmosphere of this amazing city. Our city guide will take us to the Bahia Palace, the Saadian tombs – which incredibly date to the 16th century – and the Koutoubia Mosque. We end in the Djemma el Fna, where the town becomes a maze of bustling bazaars, palaces and mosques. It is worth seeing this renowned landmark in the evening, as Marrakech revolves around the open-air central square. With the food stalls, snake charmers, water-sellers and acrobats, it is a place of night-time entertainment for both local people and tourists.

Day 14: Free day in Marrakech.
Today is a free day in Marrakech and there is no shortage of things to do. You might like to visit the largest Mosque in Marrakech, Koutoubia, or venture through the souks and old streets of the medina. After bartering for souvenirs in the labyrinthine souks, there will be time for a short visit to the Koranic School and Museum of Marrakech. After this unwind by taking a ½ hour Caliche ride (a bright green horse-drawn carriage) to the Jardin Majorelle. These tranquil gardens are decorated throughout in indigo blue and owned by Yves St. Laurent. A final treat would be a hammam, (traditional Moroccan steam bath).

Day 15: End Marrakech
Trip ends after breakfast.

What’s included

• All breakfasts and 4 dinners
• All accommodation (see below)
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout
• Arrival & departure transfers

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation (available on request)
• Visas or vaccinations

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


PERU

The Inca Trail

Your chance to

• Trek the classic Inca Trail
• Visit Machu Picchu before the crowds
• Explore the Inca capital of Cuzco

At a glance

• 5 nights hotels in en suite rooms, 3 nights full-service camping with dining and toilet tents
• 4 days point-to-point walking with full porterage
• 7kg personal weight limit on Inca Trail
• Altitude maximum 4200m, average 3050m

An iconic trek, following in the footsteps of the Peruvian Incas

Offering an unrivalled combination of history and dramatic scenery, the ancient Inca Trail winds its way from the powerful Urubamba River, across mountain passes and through cloud forests, passing several crumbling fortresses before reaching the lost city of Machu Picchu. This fabled trail is specifically designed to maximise the time spent at Machu Picchu with an early morning tour of the ruins, quieter at that hour before the crowds of day trippers and other trekkers arrive. (Alternative remote Moonstone trek available when Inca Trail permits have sold out).

Day 1: Start Cuzco (3400m); free time to explore the Inca captial.
Set amidst hills in the altiplano, the Imperial City of the Incas, Cuzco (3,400) was the geographic, cultural and political centre of a vast empire which, at its peak, stretched from present day Quito in Ecuador to Santiago in Chile. After the Spanish conquistadores invaded the city they started building on top of the Incan structures, resulting in unique architecture, a fusion of the Incan and Spanish colonial styles. The group flights usually arrive in the mid-afternoon, giving time to wander the cobbled streets admiring the old houses, visiting its museums, churches and pre-Columbian buildings.

Day 2: Free day; optional Sacred Valley excursion.
Today has been left free for us to explore Cuzco in more detail. You may wish to take an optional excursion to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the incredible ruins at Pisac, or a paddleboarding trip can be arranged on a lake in the plateau between Cuzco and the Sacred Valley.

Day 3: Start Inca Trail trek from km82; walk along Urubamba River then climb to Huayllabamba.
We leave Cuzco early this morning and drive to the start of the Inca Trail at Piscacucho, commonly known as Km82. The trail runs alongside the Vilcanota River beneath the impressive snowcapped Nevado Veronica, passing through cactus gardens and fields of corn until we reach the enormous Inca ruins of Llactapata, where we continue up a side valley to camp near the hamlet of Huayllabamba. On all departures, the classic Inca Trail can be substituted with the remote and beautiful Moonstone Trek.

Day 4: Cross Dead Woman’s Pass (4200m), then descend to Pacaymayu.
This is the longest and most strenuous day of the trek. A long climb takes us first through an area of cloud forest to the meadows of Llulluchapampa, then over the Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman’s) Pass, at 4215m the highest point on the trek. After quite a long, steep descent we camp in the scenic valley of the Pacamayo River (3600m).

Day 5: Over Runcuray Pass (3800m) to ruins of Sayajmarca and Phuyupatamarca.
We start the day with an easier climb which takes us past the ruins of Runquracay and over the Runquracay Pass (3930m). From now on the Inca Trail becomes a clearly defined path made of flat boulders. We pass the ruins of Sayajmarca and suddenly enter rainforest; at one point the Trail passes through an Inca tunnel. We camp on the ridge above the Inca site of Phuyupatamarca (3680m) to benefit from the views of sunset and sunrise.

Day 6: Walk down Inca steps to Wiñay Wayna and Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate.
From the ridge we embark on the infamous Inca steps: a two kilometre stone staircase taking us rapidly downhill amid a panorama of overwhelming immensity, with the peaks of the Vilcabamba range above, and the river thousands of metres below. After visiting the attractive ruins of Wiñay Wayna, we have an undulating walk through cloud forest high above the river to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate. From here we get our first full sight of Machu Picchu itself, with Huayna Picchu rising behind. Traditionally busy with groups of trekkers clamouring for dawn photos, we plan our arrival at Inti Punku later in the day so we can enjoy unobstructed views of the magnificent ruins. Passing around the edge of the ruins, we exit the site and take the bus down the windy road to the nearby town of Aguas Calientes for a well-earned rest and a shower. Our trekking permits allow us one entry into the site, which we use for our tour tomorrow, but anyone wishing to visit the citadel on both days can purchase an additional entry ticket today for approx. US$40 – your tour leader will assist with this.

Day 7: Visit Machu Picchu for early morning tour; free time to explore further; return to Cuzco by train and by road.
We return to Machu Picchu early for a tour of the ruins at their quietest and most evocative (before the day trippers arrive from Cuzco). After free time to explore individually, we then board the train in the afternoon or evening, which winds its way through the beautiful Urubamba River Valley back to Ollantaytambo (approx. one and a half hours). We continue the remainder of the way to Cuzco by road (approx. two hours).

Day 8: Free day Cuzco; optional activities available.
Today has been left free to relax after the trek or explore Cuzco further. There are a number of optional excursions available which your tour leader can arrange for you, such as mountain biking in the Sacred Valley or paddle-boarding on a lake in the plateau between Cuzco and the Sacred Valley.

Day 9: End Cuzco.
For land only travellers, the trip ends in Cuzco after breakfast today. Those who are travelling on the group flights will be taken to Cuzco airport this morning to catch the overnight flight back to London.

group-travel

What’s included

• All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners 5 nights en suite hotels and 3 nights full-service camping
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout
• Arrival and departure transfers
• Full porterage throughout
• Inflatible sleeping mat while camping

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation (available on request)
• Visas or vaccinations
• Sleeping bag (hire locally from US$20)

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


SPAIN

Walking in Andalucia

Your chance to

• Enjoy five day walks through Andalucia’s varied landscape
• Stay in a converted farmhouse with swimming pool
• Explore the fascinating Moorish history of forgotten villages
• Visit the charming city of Seville
• Walk the stunning Caminito del Rey

At a glance

• 7 nights in a comfortable converted farmhouse with pool
• 5 days centre-based walking
• Moderate/challenging walking available on selected departures
• Altitude maximum 1256m, average 612m
• Group normally 4 to 15, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
• All breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches and 6 dinners included

Walking through the olive groves and rugged hills of Andalucia

Outside the golden cultural triangle of Seville, Cordoba and Granada, the rural landscape of Andalucia is breathtaking, and what better way to appreciate its diversity than on foot. The walks take us through rugged hills, picturesque fields of sunflowers, olive groves, the granite peaks of Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park and the stunning El Chorro Gorge & Caminito del Rey. In this corner of Europe the excesses of modern life do not seem to have taken root and our home for the week is the perfect example: a rustic, homely cortijo in the heart of the agricultural countryside. During the week, a whole day is reserved for exploring the magnificent city of Seville. For those looking for more of a challenge, our weeks graded level 4 feature longer walks on steeper terrain.

Day 1: Start Cortijo Rosario, Algamitas.
Our trip starts at Cortijo Rosario, located in the heart of the authentic Andalucian countryside, approximately 100km from Malaga. Our converted farmhouse is just a short walk from Algamitas, a peaceful traditional village far from the hustle and bustle of the big towns or cities. This location is ideal as it gives the chance to experience the real Spain, whilst still offering very easy access to the best walking areas and Andalucian towns such as Olvera, Setenil and Seville which we’ll visit during the week.

Day 2: Gentle walk through rolling olive groves to neighbouring village of Villanueva de San Juan; optional tapas lunch to soak up the Andalucian atmosphere.
Today we take a guided walk on the trails and paths around the Cortijo and on to the neighbouring village of Villanueva. The countryside surrounding Algamitas is picture-perfect, covered with olive trees, beautiful farmland and rolling hills. During the walk our leader will give us a good overview of the rural lifestyle and traditions of this part of the world, which are largely based around the production of olive oil. An optional tapas lunch in the village gives us a chance to soak up the authentic Andalucian atmosphere. Once back at the Cortijo, we have some free time to relax by the pool or enjoy a drink in the lovely outdoor terrace. Dinner and overnight at the Cortijo. (12 km, approx 6 hours walking including stops).

Day 3: Fantastic walk in the Sierra de Grazalema, Andalucia’s first national park and UNESCO Biosphere reserve.
Our private bus will drive us high into the Grazalema Mountains over the Pass of the Doves. Designated a UNESCO Biosphere reserve in 1977, the Sierra de Grazalema was declared the first natural park in Andalucia in 1984 and is one of Spain’s most ecologically outstanding areas. The park is famous for its spectacularly rugged limestone landscape of cliffs, gullies, caves and gorges. We walk up past this fantastic scenery and down into the white Village of Benaocaz (9 km, approx 4-5 hours walking including stops).

Day 4: Visit Caños Santos Monastery; walk to Setenil, a unique ‘Pueblo Blanco’ with homes built into the side of a gorge.
Today we set out from the Cortijo Rosario, walking through Algamitas farmland to the abandoned monastery of Canos Santos, where we will have lunch. In the afternoon we follow the Ruta de los Molinos along the river that runs through the famous white village of Setenil de las Bodegas. Built under the overhanging ledge of a gorge, Setenil is not only famous for its peculiar architecture but also for its bars, restaurants and food shops which are ranked as the best in the region. Free time to discover Setenil and return to the Cortijo by private minibus. (16 km, approx 5-6 hours walking including stops).

Day 5: Introduction to the magnificent city of Seville with free time to explore; return to the Cortijo after dinner.
In the morning we transfer by private minibus to the magnificent city of Seville. The day is free to sightsee at our own pace. Now the capital of Andalucia, Seville was one of the first conquests of the Moors. After the fall of the Cordoba Caliphate in the 11th century, under whose direction it previously lay, it became the most powerful city in ‘Al Andalus’. Near the city centre is the evocative ‘Giralda’, an architectural masterpiece dating back to the 12th century. Close by is the magnificent ‘Alcazar’, a complex of palaces dating back from Roman times and later used by both Moorish and Christian rulers. It has fine examples of Moorish and ‘Mudejar’ architecture, rivalling Granada’s ‘Alhambra’, and stunning sculpted gardens. After the Christian re-conquest Seville became famed as the gateway to the ‘New World’; Christopher Columbus negotiated here with Queen Isabella to fund his epic voyage to the Americas, bringing her back untold riches and making Seville one of the wealthiest cities in Europe. After immersing ourselves in Seville’s history and culture during the day, we enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the city in the evening. We return to the Cortijo after dinner.

Day 6: Visit El Chorro Gorge and walk the Caminito del Rey.
A short drive takes us to the El Chorro Gorge where we are dropped off at the Guadalhorce Dam and reservoir where we begin our walk. The walk will take us to the start of the amazing Caminito del Rey, which offers some of the most spectacular scenery in Spain.The Caminito del Rey is a narrow cliffside path hanging 100m above the waters of the river Guadalhorce. Originally built around 1905 and improved around 1921 it fell into disrepair and over the past decades, the path became known as ‘the most dangerous path in the world’ or even the ‘walk of death’. The new Caminito del Rey was re-constructed and reopened to the public on 28 March 2015, with the route and design of the path keeping as closely as possible to the old one but now respecting high safety standards. Due to overwhlemingly positive feedback, as of 2017, this walk is an included activity and your leader will be walking this path with the group. After we finish the walk along the Caminito del Rey, there will be the chance to relax and have a little rest by the reservoir (8 km, approx. 3 hours walking including stops).

Day 7: Walk a circuit around the impressive Peñon overlooking Algamitas.
Today we walk a circuit around the impressive Penon Crag that looms over the Cortijo Rosario. El Penon is the highest point in the province of Seville, 1130 m above sea level, offering dramatic views of the landscape around Algamitas and neighbouring villages, hills and farmland. On the way back from the Cortijo we stop for some drinks in a lovely panoramic terrace. Dinner and overnight at the Cortijo. (11 km, approx 5 hours walking including stops).

Day 8: End Cortijo Rosario, Algamitas.
Our trip ends in the morning of day 8.

What’s included

• All breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches, 6 dinners
• All accommodation (see below)
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation (available on request)
• Visas or vaccinations

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


THAILAND

Cycle Indochina & Angkor

Your chance to

• Cycle through 3 countries
• Discover awe-inspiring ancient monuments
• Explore incredible Angkor by bike

At a glance

• 10 nights comfortable hotels, 2 nights standard hotels, 1 night standard guesthouse to experience some ‘Mekong Delta’ hospitality, all with en suite facilities
• 9 days cycling with 95% vehicle support
• Good tarmac in Thailand and Cambodia, with some easy dirt roads in Vietnam
• Traffic levels higher near the larger towns, so you should be comfortable riding occasionally in traffic

Cycle through awe-inspiring ancient monuments across 3 countries

This journey takes us through three countries with divergent histories and subtly different cultures. From the bustling streets of Bangkok, to the serene tranquillity of the shimmering paddy fields, to the magnificence of Angkor’s temples, we see a little piece of everything these amazing countries have to offer. In Vietnam we enter the Mekong Delta, a spectacular patchwork of rice paddies and waterways. Our journey climaxes in Saigon where the frenetic pace and vibrant street life contrasts starkly with the rural areas we have cycled through, and will leave a lasting impression.

Day 1: Start Bangkok.
Arrival Bangkok. Free time to explore some of the frenetic capital. There will be a group meeting and briefing in the evening followed by an optional group dinner for those that would like to join. Please bring your main luggage excluding your bike clothing, overnight bag & valuables to the meeting as they will be transferred to the cycling start point.

Day 2: Early transfer to Khao Yai N.P; warm up ride on jungle roads/trail.
Early morning transfer to Khao Yai N.P, the start point of our cycling. Our route today is over 80 kms, but we suggest you don’t attempt to cycle the full distance unless you are well acclimatized to the heat. The support vehicle follows us throughout the day, and you can cycle as much or as little as you like. Our route follows minor roads, byways and the occasional dirt trail as we skirt Khao Yai, which translates as ‘the Big Mountain’. We will pass through small villages, past monasteries and paddy fields. Continuing the ride along country back roads we arrive at our hotel in the late afternoon with time to relax before sampling some of the local dishes. Ride approx. 60 km.

Day 3: Cycle to Sa Keaw.
Today we follow minor roads through Thai rural landscapes including rubber and eucalyptus plantations as well as tapioca and rice fields, there are a few easy rolling hills, but the route is mostly flat.The ride ends when we join a busier road before driving the final short distance to the town of Sa Keaw by bus. Ride approx. 90km.

Day 4: Ride to Aranyaprathet.
Leaving our hotel early in the morning, we ride towards the beautiful Pang Sida National Park, where we can stop by a reservoir for a swim and a view of the untouched jungle on the other side. We will stop for lunch at a wildlife sanctuary before carrying on cycling on quiet, but well-maintained scenic roads on the way to Aranyaprathet, 10km from the Cambodian border. Ride approx. 85km.

Day 5: Into Cambodia and on to Siem Reap.
After breakfast we drive to the busy border and complete customs formalities as we cross into Cambodia at Poipet. We then drive to Siem Reap. Due to years of civil war the country is poorer and less developed, and this is immediately obvious to us from the state of the roads. Apart from growth in the capital and around Siem Reap, the way of life in the countryside is still very much the same as it has been for centuries. This afternoons ride from Siem Reap cycles past Wat Athvea a modern temple in the grounds of the ruins of an Angkorian temple finishing up at a market and picnic area outside of Siem Reap. Ride approx 20km.

Day 6: First of two full days to explore the temple complex of Angkor by bus and bike, including Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, the Bayon and Banteay Srei.
Today we may choose to have an early start to avoid the inevitable crowds drawn to the wonders of Angkor. The various temples are spread over a wide area, and are linked by shady avenues: meandering our way between them by bike gives us a unique perspective. Our cycle tour will include the jungle-covered Ta Prohm, with the amazing roots of the Fromagier trees clinging to the ancient stones; the largest complex of Angkor Thom, which includes the Terrace of the Leper Kings; the famous Bayon temple with its 37 towers (originally there were 49) topped with the four faces of the king; and of course the incredible Angkor Wat, with its huge moat, long causeway and massive towers – it is the largest temple complex in Asia. Ride approx 25-30km.

Day 7: Second day at Angkor temple complex.
Today we cycle outside the main Angkor complex to the outlying temple of Banteay Srei, 35km from Siem Reap town. Our route takes us past paddy fields, and through pretty villages. Banteay Srei was built in the 10th century and contains some of the finest examples of Khmer sculpture. Although much smaller than the later temples, here all of the buildings are covered in exquisite carvings. In the afternoon as we cycle back to Siem Reap we can stop and visit a few of the less visited Angkor temples. Siem Reap town is pleasant to wander around; the market has plenty of interest and excellent shopping, and there is a vibrant nightlife.This afternoon there should also be time to visit the Tonle Sap Lake, which is a branch of the Mekong River. This optional trip includes a boat trip to see the floating fishing villages. Anyone wanting to do this visit may need to miss part or all of the ride back to Siem Reap, depending on timings. Ride approx 70 km, if riding the full distance to and from Banteay Srei.

Day 8: Drive to Phnom Penh, stopping at Skuon.
Today we take a bus journey of approx. 7 hours along National Road 6 to Phnom Penh. We will have a couple of stops, one in the town Skuon, which is known for its local delicacy of fried spiders. The road is currently undergoing some resurfacing so some sections will be a bit of a bumpy ride! We should arrive in Phnom Penh for late afternoon, the perfect time for a sundowner on the Mekong.

Day 9: Sightseeing including Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the ‘Killing Fields’.
The fortunes of Phnom Penh have shifted dramatically during its history and the terrible years of the Khmer Rouge and subsequent civil war through 1970s and 1980s have scarred the country. During our stay we visit two sites, which give us a vivid impression of some of the horrors. There is the Genocide Museum, which is the former Khmer Rouge prison known as S-21 or Tuol Sleng, in the centre of the city. 15 kms of out of town is the area known as the ‘Killing Fields’ a mass grave and execution site for the former inmates of S-21. While visiting these gruesome spots may not appeal to everyone, we feel they give us an important understanding of what the country and its people had to endure just a few decades ago. On a more positive note, the city is very much on the rise again and is a fascinating place with fine examples of French colonial architecture. We tour the Royal Palace with its Silver Pagoda. There is also excellent shopping at the ‘Russian’ market, and the lively Mekong waterfront area, where our hotel is located.

Day 10: Transfer to Takeo then cycle to Vietnam border and Chau Doc.
This morning we transfer south out of Phnom Penh to the town of Takeo. Here the road becomes quieter and we mount our bikes for the 50km ride to the Phnom Den / Tinh Bien border. Once border formalities have been completed we meet our Vietnamese leader and cycle approximately 30km to Chau Doc. Cycle approx. 80km.

Day 11: Drive/cycle through the Mekong Delta to Vinh Long; catch boat to homestay.
A morning transfer by road to Long Xuyen where we take a public ferry across the river. From here we ride along a lovely quiet backroad, lined with small villages and dwellings, towards Vinh Long. Leaving the bikes on the mainland, we take another boat (20 mins) to reach our homestay on an island in the Mekong delta, known as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam. After settling in we can explore the area on foot. The rivers and canals of the Mekong delta form an amazing network of waterways. The area is famous for its abundant rice production, but in many areas farmers are now moving to more profitable fish-farming, and fruit and vegetable growing. The evening is tranquil as we have dinner at the homestay and enjoy some ‘Delta’ hospitality. We spend the night sleeping at a simple guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided. Ride approx 50km.

Day 12: Transfer to Cai Be for floating market; scenic cycle along Mekong riverbank; transfer to Saigon.
We leave by boat, stopping en route for a look at the Cai Be floating market. Here large boats moor up in the Mekong River, weighed down with fruit and veg produce. Local traders and shop owners buy in bulk in this strictly ‘wholesale’ market. A little further on we make a short stop to see local cottage industries producing such items as popped rice, popcorn and other homemade products. We continue by bus to Cai Lay where we take a scenic ride through fruit orchards and along the Mekong riverbank. Back on the bus in My Tho, we drive on to the heat, hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City, still usually known as Saigon. This is an exciting and absorbing city where scooters pack the streets and temples stand defiantly alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, it is now a free market city where anything goes. Our hotel is in the heart of this incredible city. Ride approx 35km.

Day 13: Free day.
The whole day is free to explore Saigon, do some shopping and to relax. There are a number of interesting things to see – the Saigon River, Ben Thanh Market, Reunification Palace and Notre Dame Cathedral are all within easy walking distance. Alternatively a short cyclo ride will take you to the War Remnants Museum with an interesting (if a little gruesome) photographic record of the Vietnam/American War. For those that are interested your leader can arrange an optional visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels, located 2 hours outside the city. Used by the Viet Cong during the war the network covers 3 levels and approximately 240km of tunnels. Originally these were very narrow but some areas have been widened to allow tourists to explore the system. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine!

Day 14: End Saigon.
The trip ends after breakfast in Saigon.

What’s included

• All breakfasts, 1 dinner
• All accommodation (see below)
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout
• Arrival & departure transfers
• Local bike hire

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation
• Visas or vaccinations

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


Thai Indochina Grand Tour

Your chance to

• Visit 4 countries in 4 weeks
• Marvel at dramatic temples and landscapes
• Sample delicious local cuisine

At a glance

• 21 nights comfortable hotels, 3 nights standard hotels, 1 night boat with twin share cabins, 1 night guesthouse to experience some Mekong Delta hospitality, all en suite, 1 night sleeper train, soft-bed berths
• Travel by train, minibus, bike, boat and 3 flights
• Some activity in humid conditions
• Variety of cities and countryside

The ultimate discovery of South East Asia’s culture and monuments

Long lines of saffron robed monks on their alms round at dawn, the luscious green of Vietnam’s paddy fields, the shy smile of school children in Luang Prabang: it’s the small day-to-day things that make this an unforgettable trip. Not that the bigger things won’t wow too – Angkor Wat, Bangkok’s Grand Palace, the stunning limestone seascape of Halong Bay or the frenetic pace of Saigon. There’s a lot to see in South East Asia, so as they say in Thailand, ‘why hurry, why worry’?

Day 1: Start Bangkok
There will be a welcome briefing this evening with an optional group dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 2: City tour; free afternoon.
This morning we take a short walk to the Chao Praya river where we board a long tail boat for a tour of the local canals. Bangkok was once known as the Venice of the East because of its intricate canal network. We get a glimpse of daily life as we pass locals selling their wares by the river. We will visit what to this day remains the home of the Thai Royal family at the Royal Palace complex, followed by Wat Phra Kaew, home to the Emerald Buddha, one of Thailand’s most venerated images. Another highlight is Wat Po, the largest temple in Bangkok, housing a 46m long, 15m high gold-plated reclining Buddha. We then head back to our hotel. This afternoon is free for personal exploration.

Day 3: Fly to Chiang Rai; to Chiang Khong.
This morning we fly to Chiang Rai and then visit the Golden Triangle, an area so named after the fact that the opium that moved through was worth more than gold pound for pound. We stand at a view point overlooking Burma (Myanmar), the mighty Mekong and Laos. The area’s chequered past is covered in the Opium Museum where we learn about the dark history of this beautiful and rich region of Northern Thailand, and we pause to visit the impressive red brick stupa of Wat Chedi Luang. We then transfer to the town of Chiang Khong (2 hours) where we stay overnight.

Day 4: Travel by slow boat into Laos and Pak Beng.
An early morning transfer takes us to the Thai / Laos border where we pass through immigration formalities. We say good-bye to our Thai Tour Leader and hello to our Laos Tour Leader. A short boat ride across the river drops us at Laos Immigration, followed by a tuk tuk ride to the river port where we board our private slow boat for the journey to Pak Beng.

Day 5: Visit Pak Ou Caves; to Luang Prabang.
Boarding our private boat again, we head further down river with Luang Prabang as our final destination. En route we will visit the famous Tam Ting Caves, cut out of the limestone banks which line the river at Pak Ou. These caves are filled with thousands of Buddha images brought by the surrounding villagers as a sign of their devotion. If there is time we will also stop at a number of minority villages on the way but this will depend on the water level, which affects the speed of travel on the river. Mid to late afternoon we arrive in the enchanting town of Luang Prabang, nestled in a narrow valley cut by the Mekong and Khan Rivers. This beautiful town was designated a World Heritage site in 1995. The rest of the day is free to explore the town and stroll amongst the ancient red roofed temples and French colonial architecture. There are also a number of interesting temples to visit including Wat Xieng Thong and Wat Wisunalat.

Day 6: Luang Prabang; Phu Si Hill.
After an early breakfast we will visit Phu Si Hill for stunning views over the city and the Mekong River below. The climb includes 329 steps and the path zigzags its way to the gilded stupa at the summit past various temples. After the climb we will visit The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre. We will also head out to the Kwang Si Waterfall, where we have the chance to swim in the pools.The rest of the day is free for individual sightseeing and the opportunity to sit back and relax in this pleasant town. Luang Prabang is a centre for markets in the region and there are many opportunities for the souvenir hunter to gather a few special items. For those up at dawn there is chance to witness the daily parade of saffron‐robed monks receiving alms.

Day 7: Luang Prabang
Today we will journey to Vang Lei, a small village approximately 1 hour from Luang Prabang. Our time here will provide us with an insight into village life as we learn about everyday life but also have the chance to get stuck in with some of the village activities. Dependent on the season these could be accompanying a fisherman on the banks of the Mekong, sowing or reaping rice in paddy fields or learning how to weave traditional baskets. We’ll also have the opportunity to learn about Laotian cooking and will assist a local family in preparing our lunch. Vang Lei is a village that Exodus has worked with for a few years as part of a process to bring rural villages more independence and self-sufficiency through the provision of key infrastructure. You will be introduced to the basics of the work that has been conducted.

Day 8: Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng
An early morning departure from Luang Prabang as we drive to the township of Vang Vieng, passing through numerous Hmong villages. Surrounded by lime karsts and set on the banks of the Nam Song (Song River), it is a beautiful location. The stunning drive will take approximately 6 hours to complete on roads that wind their way through the surrounding hills and limestone mountains jutting sharply above the flat river valleys. Watching the sun set on the banks of the Nam Song is ample reward for the day’s journey.

Day 9: Visit Jang Cave; afternoon free.
In the morning we climb the 136 steps to the Tham Jang caves, used as a hideout by the local community during periods of war. The rest of the day is free to explore. Optional excursions and activities are easily arranged and there are plenty of opportunities for walks in the surrounding hills, day visits to the numerous caves that punctuate the limestone scenery, or for kayaking down the Song river. There are a number of Lao and minority tribe villages in the area, which can also be easily reached in a day trip. Bicycles can also be hired for those who wish to tour the beautiful countryside on two wheels. Alternatively just sit back, relax and soak up the beautiful view.

Day 10: Drive to Vientiane; afternoon tour.
We leave Vang Vieng in the morning and descend from the hills to the capital Vientiane and our hotel located near the banks of the Mekong River, the name of the city translates as Sandalwood City. We take an afternoon sightseeing tour of this relaxed low-rise city, including Wat Sisaket the oldest temple in the city, and Haw Pha Kaew a temple which originally housed the Emerald Bhudda now on display in Thailand. The temples themselves are noticeably different in style and character from those found in Thailand and there are certainly fewer tourists! In the evening the perfect option is to retire for a refreshing beverage and watch the sunset over the Mekong River.

Day 11: Vientiane to Hanoi
Today is free to shop or explore Vientiane before we transfer to the airport for our flight to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam (flight times often vary at short notice between the afternoon/evening).

Day 12: Halong Bay
Today we make an early start for the 4-hour journey to Halong Bay. This is one of the most stunning sights in South East Asia with 3,000 limestone peaks rising vertically from the emerald sea. We cruise and kayak amongst this amazing karst scenery, stopping to enjoy a seafood lunch on board. We spend the night onboard our boat in cabins with en suite facilities.

Day 13: Halong Bay to Hanoi
We cruise back to port in the morning. We then transfer back to Hanoi where the rest of the day is at leisure to wander around the Hoan Kiem lake and perhaps enjoy a coffee and a baguette in a lakeside café or stroll amongst broad tree-lined avenues dating from the French period with its faded colonial charm. One of the more enjoyable ways to get around is by cyclo and this can easily be arranged on the street.

Day 14: City tour of Hanoi; sleeper train to Hue.
We spend the morning sightseeing in Hanoi including visits to the Temple of Literature, the site of the oldest university in Vietnam with over 2000 graduates; Hoa Lo Prison & the Old Quarter of the city with its ’36 Streets’ where each street is home to shops selling particular products – e.g. ‘silk street’, ‘gold street’, ‘paper street’ and ‘naff souvenir street’. In the afternoon we board the Reunification Express for the overnight journey to Hue, 500km to the south.

Day 15: Arrive Hue; visit Imperial Citadel & Pagoda
Arriving mid-morning in Hue we transfer to our hotel. Hue claims to be the cultural and historical centre of Vietnam, and there is plenty to see. The most outstanding sight is the Imperial Citadel with walls six miles in length; inside are the palaces and halls of the Mandarins, and the remains of the Forbidden Purple City, where only the emperor his eunuchs and concubines were allowed. This afternoon we visit the citadel and the famous Thien Mu Pagoda. The pagoda was a centre for anti-government protest in the early 1960’s and it houses the Austin car that transported a monk, Thich Quang Duc, to Saigon in 1963 where he burned himself as a protests against the president. The photograph of his self-immolation was printed in newspapers all around the world. We continue our journey to visit the mausoleum of Tu Duc, one of the most extravagant mausoleums of the great Nguyen emperors who ruled Vietnam from Hue between 1802 and 1945.

Day 16: Bike ride to local market; journey to Hoi An.
This morning we will take a cycle ride out to the Thanh Toan bridge and a nearby local market. Travelling as the locals do on we discover the sights, sounds and smells of the villages surrounding Hue. Riding past rice paddies and small villages we arrive at Thanh Toan, a small village that is home to a legendary market. There will be time to explore the market stalls before heading back to Hue for our journey to Hoi An. There is the option to get local transport to the village for a small extra cost if you would rather not cycle. Leaving Hue, our 130km journey drives through the beautiful peninsula of Lang Co between the crystal waters of a lagoon and the Eastern Sea, and then passes over the spectacular Hai Van pass (‘Pass of the Ocean Clouds’). In Danang, we climb the Marble Mountain where we explore the large caves which were used by the Viet Cong as a hospital base during the war. From the mountain peak, there are fantastic views over My Khe Beach and the surrounding countryside leading on to Hoi An. Ride approx 15km.

Day 17: Sightseeing in Hoi An
This morning will include a walking tour of Hoi An, the original European trading port in Vietnam dating back to the mid-sixteenth century. It is now a living museum, with attractive wooden merchant’s houses and pagoda-style temples with Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European architectural influences.This afternoon is free to explore Hoi An on foot as cars are banned from this world heritage site. It is also a marvellous place to wander around and enjoy the thriving riverside market and great silk / clothes shopping. If you have anything you want made up in mind, you should consider taking a picture of it along with you.

Day 18: Free day
Today is a free day to carry on enjoying this historic town. Optionals include a trip to My Son, the Cham civilisation’s spiritual home, where Cham kings were buried as early as the fourth century. Although wartime bombing has destroyed much of the site, there are a number of interesting stone towers and sanctuaries. It is also possible to visit My Lai the site of the 1968 massacre that changed public opinion on the Vietnam War, or jump on a bike for a ride through the countryside past local markets, schools and villages before continuing on to Cua Dai beach (5 km).

Day 19: Transfer to Da Nang; fly to Saigon; afternoon city tour
Today we transfer to Danang for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), an exciting and absorbing city where scooters pack the streets and temples stand defiantly alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, it is now a bustling free market city where anything goes. Our hotel is in the heart of this incredible city. We include a visit to the Ben Thanh Market, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and War Remnants Museum. The Museum has an interesting photographic record of the Vietnam/American War. Please be aware that some images at the museum are very graphic.

Day 20: Visit Cu Chi tunnels; afternoon free
Today we leave the city behind us and head north and visit the infamous Cu Chi tunnels. Used by the Viet Cong during the war the network covers 3 levels and approximately 240km of tunnels. Traditionally these were very narrow but some areas have been widened to allow tourists to explore the system. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine! In the afternoon we return to Saigon and the rest of the day is free for individual exploration.

Day 21: To Mekong Delta; visit riverside village and floating market
We drive to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta via a Cao Dai temple used by devotees of this strange indigenous religion that fuses all the great religions of the east and west. The author Graham Greene toyed with the idea of converting to Caodism. The Mekong is locally known as the rice bowl of Vietnam and produces much of Vietnam’s fruit, sugar cane and coconuts. En route we pass magnificent countryside and stop at some small cottage industries. We take a relaxing sampan cruise in the afternoon before arriving at our accommodation. The evening is tranquil as we have dinner on an island and enjoy some ‘Delta’ hospitality. We spend the night sleeping at a simple guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided.

Day 22: To Chau Doc
After a morning walk through the village we board our boats once again and cross the main channel to Vinh Long where we re-join our vehicle for the drive further into the Mekong Delta and the small border town of Chau Doc. After checking into the hotel, the evening is free to wander the town, which is situated on the banks of the Mekong River.

Day 23: Transfer into Cambodia and on to Phnom Penh
After driving approximately 1 hour to Tinh Bien / Phnom Den land border we will bid farewell to Vietnam and cross into Cambodia. We continue by road to Phnom Penh (approx 4- 5 hours).

Day 24: City tour including the Royal Palace and the ‘Killing Fields’
The town still retains a frontier atmosphere and today we have a full day of sightseeing in the capital city. The day will include the beautiful Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, so named for the solid silver tiles that make up the floor. Thankfully the complex escaped the worst excess of the Khmer Rouge rule. Similar in style and scale to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, the Royal Palace has significantly fewer visitors and there is plenty of time to wander among the traditional buildings. There is also time today to shop at either the impressive Central Market or the sprawling Russian Market, a souvenir hunter’s paradise! We visit Tuol Sleng museum or S21 (Museum of Genocide), which graphically displays the horrors of the 4 years when Pol Pot systematically ordered the murder of between 2 and 3 million Cambodians. Tuol Sleng was originally a school but was used as a torture and interrogation centre between 1976 and 1979. It is a sobering and disturbing place to visit. Please be aware that the images at the museum are very graphic. We complete our day with a moving late afternoon visit to the ‘killing fields’ of Choeung Ek. A football-field-sized area surrounded by farmland, the killing fields contain mass graves for perhaps 20,000 Cambodians, many of whom were tortured before being killed.

Day 25: To Siem Reap
Today we have a long drive to Siem Reap (approximately 7 hours). En route we stop at the town of Skuon, famous for its local delicacy – fried spiders.

Day 26: Two full days to explore the Angkor temple complex.
We spend two days exploring the temple complex at Angkor. We visit the incredible Angkor Wat, the many temples inside the Royal City of Angkor Thom, including the magnificent Bayon, which is comprised of 54 intricately carved towers in one single temple. The Bayon certainly left an impression on an early traveller in 1925 who stated ‘we stand before it stunned. It is like nothing else in the land.’ We will also see other less-visited outlying temples. Particularly impressive are Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm, still covered in jungle, just as it was when it first came to light. Discovered in the 1870s and famously described as being ‘grander than anything of Greece or Rome’ by the French explorer Henri Mouchot, this world heritage site stands alongside the Pyramids and Machu Picchu as one of the world’s most spectacular archaeological sites. Angkor is a truly magical experience and a photographer’s paradise, one of the real highlights of our trip. We will also see other less-visited outlying temples including Banteay Srei, a temple complex devoted to Brahma. One evening we will make our way to the temple complex and watch the sunset over this magnificent scene.

Day 27: Full day Angkor complex
Second day exploring the temples at the Angkor complex.

Day 28: Siem Reap
End Siem Reap.

What’s included

• 26 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners
• All accommodation (see below)
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout
• Arrival & departure transfers

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation (available on request)
• Visas or vaccinations

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


VIETNAM

Cycling Vietnam

Your chance to

• Enjoy the best of Vietnam on 2 wheels
• Eat mouth-watering cuisine
• Relax in charming Hoi An
• Spend the night on a tropical island

At a glance

• 11 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night boat with twin share cabins, all en suite 1 night sleeper train, soft-bed berths
• 8 days cycling with 90% vehicle support
• Surfaces are nearly all good tarmac
• The route is flat with the exception of Dalat and the Hai Van Pass

Enjoy the best of Vietnam on two wheels

This superb trip combines some of the best cycling routes in Vietnam with time to explore this beautiful country with its long coastline of broad, sandy beaches, shimmering paddy fields and mountains cloaked in forests. Our route takes us from the vibrant streets of Saigon northwards to the more conservative capital Hanoi. There is time to relax on a small tropical island as well as enjoy laid-back Hoi An with its wooden merchant houses, pagodas and bustling market. Finally, we take a cruise around the incredible seascape of Halong Bay with its limestone spires rising directly from the sea.

Day 1: Start Saigon.
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), formerly known as Saigon is an exciting and absorbing city where bicycles battle with lorries and temples stand defiantly alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, Saigon is now a bustling free market city where anything goes. The Ben Thanh Market and Notre Dame Cathedral are within easy walking distance from our hotel and are highly recommended.

Day 2
This morning we drive out of the city, before riding to the Cu Chi Tunnels. This offers a great introduction to cycling in Vietnam and a chance to fine-tune the bikes. The tunnels were Viet Cong sanctuaries, used by the guerrillas as living quarters and escape routes, the network covers 3 levels and approximately 240 kms of tunnels. Although originally very narrow, some parts have been widened for tourists, but even so it is still necessary to crawl on hands and knees. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine! If you prefer not to visit the tunnels you can have an unguided free day in Saigon. Places of interest include: the Emperor of Jade and Giac Lam pagodas, the former Presidential Palace (now the Reunification Hall), Ben Thanh market and the War Remnants Museum. Ride approx. 35 km.
Day 3
After an early breakfast we head out of Saigon by bus and start our cycling towards Mui Ne on the coast. We spend approx 4-5 hours on the bus today. We hit the backroads and head through tropical fruit and rubber plantations, also passing some small fishing villages as we make our way closer to the coast. We finish the ride in Mui Ne, a tranquil white sand beach where we can enjoy a swim after the day’s riding and witness our first sunset over the South China Sea. Ride approx. 50 km.
Day 4
We cycle towards Dalat; the route is undulating with occasional climbs. Along the way we pass coffee and tea plantations, as well as flower gardens and pine forests as we reach higher altitude. We rejoin the bus before the road climbs steeply to the mountain town of Dalat. We spend approx 3.5 hours on the bus today. Dalat is a pleasant hill station, formerly known as Le Petit Paris, and has been described as the most beautiful town in Vietnam. It was favoured by the French for its climate, and is now a popular honeymoon resort for the Vietnamese. Ride approx. 60 km.
Day 5
Today’s ride is predominantly downhill through pine forests and paddy fields as we descend nearly 1,500m travelling through the Bidoup Ba National Park. This area is home to rare pine forests as well as small villages inhabited by the ethnic minority people of the central highlands. Once we arrive at the coast, we head by bus (approx. 1.5 hours) to the coast near Nha Trang before boarding a boat to our tropical island retreat of Hon Ong Island for the next two nights. Cycle up to 100km according to preference.
Day 6
Having a rest from the bikes today we get the opportunity to really relax and unwind. We will join a boat trip in the morning for a spot of snorkelling and swimming in the turquoise sea before a seafood lunch is served. In the afternoon there is the option to visit a local fishing village, see the Whale temple or walk around the island to the viewpoint for a 360 degree view of the stunning mountainous coastline and the surrounding coves and white sand beaches.
Day 7
We set off early in the morning for the ride to the beautiful fishing village of Dai Lanh. A short transfer out of town past the Po Nagar Cham towers brings us to a high point and from here today’s ride is predominantly flat. The beautiful beach at Dai Lanh is a perfect place to stop for a swim and lunch before continuing by bus around the spectacular coastal cliff road towards the town of Tuy Hoa and on to Quy Nhon. (Approx 4 hours in the bus today). Ride up to 90 km according to preference.
Day 8
Leaving Quy Nhon we travel through a new economic zone over the Thi Nai Peninsula and Nhon Hoi Bridge, the longest sea bridge in Vietnam. Getting off our bikes we will visit a market, where its not unusual to be pulled aside for a photo as this part of the country does not see many western tourists. The coast line features secluded bays, sand dunes and beaches with colourful fishing boats bobbing on the South China Sea. We will cycle until we arrive at Phu Ly and then drive to Hoi An. If time permits, we will cycle the last 12 km once we turn off Highway 1 into Hoi An. Hoi An, the original European trading port in Vietnam dating back to the mid-sixteenth century is now a living museum, with attractive wooden merchant’s houses and pagoda-style temples with Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European architectural influences. It is also a marvellous place to wander around and enjoy the thriving riverside market. We spend two nights in Hoi An which is also a fantastic place to buy local art or have some clothes tailor-made for you. Its best to bring a picture or a sample of what you want made. Approx 6 hour in the bus today. Ride approx. 50 km.
Day 9
This morning we take a guided walking tour of Hoi An to explore some of the structures of historical significance in the Old Town, including bridges, temples, wells and houses. Those less interested in architecture can cycle the 5km to the lovely Cua Dai beach or cycle to the Marble Mountains, which are 19 km from town. These five marble hills, formerly islands, contain many caves, some of which were used as Buddhist (and Vietcong) sanctuaries. Also nearby is China beach, a famous US R & R spot in the war, and Danang where there is a Cham Museum, which despite being in poor condition, is very interesting. It is also possible to visit My Son, one of the most important Cham temple sites in Vietnam, where Cham kings were buried as early as the fourth century. Although wartime bombing has destroyed much of the site, there are a number of interesting stone towers and sanctuaries.
Day 10
Today we turn north again for the drive/cycle to Hue. The route passes over the spectacular Hai Van Pass the ‘Pass of the Ocean Clouds’. The views are stunning though those who prefer to avoid the 580m climb can always take a lift in the support vehicle. Once at the top it will all seem worth it as you plummet back to the ocean, then continue through small villages and timeless rural scenes to the outskirts of Hue, from where we transfer to our city centre hotel. Approx 2.5 hours in the bus today. Ride approx. 80 km.
Day 11
Hue claims to be the cultural and historic centre of Vietnam, and there is plenty to see. We take a guided tour of the city and surrounding tombs. The most memorable site is the citadel, with walls six miles in length: inside are the palaces and halls of the Mandarins, and the remains of the Forbidden Purple City, where only the emperor and his eunuchs and concubines were allowed. Then we take a boat along the Perfume River to the elaborate tombs of the Nguyen emperors, who ruled Vietnam from Hue. Tu Duc’s Tomb is very elaborate and set in beautiful gardens, along the way we will visit the famous Thien Mu Pagoda. The pagoda was a centre for anti-government protest in the early 1960s and it houses the Austin car that transported a monk, Thich Quang Duc, to Saigon in 1963 where he burned himself as a protest against the president. The photograph of his self-immolation was printed in newspapers all around the world. In the afternoon we will board the Reunification Express for the overnight ride to Hanoi, 600km to the north. Ride approx. 25 km.
Day 12
We usually arrive in Hanoi in the early morning and stop for a local breakfast and a stretch of the legs, before we are met by our bus for an approximately 4 hour drive to Halong Bay. This is one of the most stunningly beautiful sights in South East Asia with around 3000 limestone peaks rising directly from the clear emerald sea. We cruise amongst this amazing karst scenery, stopping to kayak in the sea, allowing us to get to places inaccessible by boat (weather permitting) and enjoy a seafood lunch on board.
Day 13
We continue to cruise around Halong Bay this morning before returning to port. We then drive back to Hanoi, and take a sightseeing tour of the city: this will include visits to the Temple of Literature, Hoa Lo Prison and the Old Quarter of the city. This charming city contains many beautiful old buildings, and the atmosphere is completely different from that in Saigon in the south, mainly due to the much more conservative nature of the North Vietnamese. Also, unlike its industrial counterpart, the centre of Hanoi has a faded charm with broad tree-lined avenues dating from the French period as well as some attractive lakes and pagodas. In the evening there is the option to enjoy a performance of Hanoi’s famous water puppets.

Day 14: The trip ends after breakfast in Hanoi.

What’s included

• All breakfasts, 10 lunches, 1 dinner
• All accommodation (see below)
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout
• Arrival & departure transfers
• Local bike hire

What’s not included

• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation (available on request from GBP235-hotel nights only)
• Visas or vaccinations

Hotels, Boat & Sleeper Train
You will spend 11 nights in comfortable hotels, 1 night in a boat with twin share cabins. All of these rooms are en suite. You will also spend 1 night in a sleeper train with soft-bed berths. Despite being first class, it is still fairly basic. Bedding is provided although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet.

CALL TODAY OR EMAIL TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED RATE
Group rates are also available.


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