There are hundreds of active European adventures you could choose to do on your vacation. At Zephyr Adventures, we have run active tours in a total of 11 different locations in Europe, although we don’t run every trip every year.
If you are an active traveler, how do you decide which Zephyr European tour you would like to join? Below I’ll discuss the five European trips we have on our 2012 schedule, guiding you to the best fit for you.
Mosel River Barge & Skate Tour, Germany: Do you inline skate? If so, then definitely consider our annual European inline skating tour. Inline skating, when you have the skill down, produces a rhythm and beauty that keeps our skate tour participants in perpetual happiness. In recent years we have run one European inline skating tour, in locations such as Switzerland or The Netherlands, and in 2012 are featuring this new Barge & Skate tour along the Mosel River in Germany. Remember, too, a) all our skate guides are also instructors and can help you improve your skills and b) this tour is open to bicyclists and our skating tour locations are ALWAYS the easiest bike tours.
If you do skate you should consider our other active European tours as well. Inline skating has certain limitations, since we need paved, smooth, mostly flat roads or paths with very few cars. Most of Europe simply does not offer that. Additionally, we find that biking and hiking have their own benefits (read below) and many of our alumni have happily switched from skating to bike or hiking tours.
Tuscany Hiking & Umbria Biking, Italy: We are really pleased with our Tuscany and Umbria tour in Italy. We believe we have the best active tour in these two beautiful provinces because we combine hiking in hilly Tuscany with biking in flatter Umbria. Hiking in Tuscany is pure joy, as we walk down farming roads situated on ridge tops with valley views on both sides. Hiking gets us places we cannot get by bike or inline skates, is MUCH easier in terms of reading route directions, and enables casual conversation with fellow tour participants. Since many people do not want to bike for an entire vacation, this combo tour is a perfect option.
Provence, France Biking: Are you a biker? If you bike regularly at home, you already know the joy of biking down a country lane, with beautiful scenery, and friends at your side to share new experiences. Biking is also a great speed: fast enough to see multiple European towns in a day but slow enough to not miss the surrounding scenery. Your decision now is simply to decide which of our bike tours to take and we have three in 2012 from which you can choose. Our Provence tour in France is probably the flattest, easiest riding of our three biking tours. There are always hills when you cycle six days in a row over hundreds of kilometers but if you prefer easy riding, this is a great choice. In addition, the Provence tour is the only food-oriented tour of the bunch. We visit a farmer’s market, tour an olive oil mill, have a picnic at a fig farm, and stop by a goat cheese producer and a honey bee farm. Choose Provence if you are a foodie.
Rioja, Spain Biking: Rioja is a fabulous area of Spain, with ancient towns, beautiful vineyards, and rolling hills. The best part about it, in some ways, is that it is relatively unvisited by foreign tourists. Americans, especially, don’t seem to have Rioja on their radar. Choose Rioja for your 2012 bike tour if you want to experience a classic European bike tour, without the crowds. Also, Rioja is our most wine-oriented European vacation, with winery visits scheduled every day.
Puglia, Italy Biking: New in 2012 we are offering a six-day bike tour in Puglia, the heel of the boot of Italy. Puglia is half Italian and half Mediterranean in its culture. White-washed houses and three-hour siestas will leave you wondering where you are and how you can extend your stay. While you could choose Puglia as the first active tour you take in Europe, the area does not have the classic look and feel of a bike tour in France or Tuscany. We especially recommend Puglia, therefore, for those of you who have already traveled in Italy or who are ready for a new area of the European continent.
Remember, too, that on all our tours we don’t stay in one big group and have three routes each day, guides, and van support. So you don’t have to be a speedster and can choose which route, at what pace, and with which of your fellow tour participants to experience each day of your European vacation.
PS As I wrote this blog post, I realized the word “activity” is not descriptive enough for me. I know others might view activity and think shopping, going to a movie, or visiting a museum in Paris. When I write blog posts, however, what I really mean by activity is “active activity”. I sort of like the sound of that but was not sure you would, so I left it out! Am I missing a better word here?