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The Long Weekend Alternative: Shortest Breaks Across Europe

5 Long Weekend Break Ideas for Europe

If you’ve only got a few days of holiday left this year, it does not mean there are no options to go away anymore. For those who’ve got at least 2 days of annual leave available and are looking for a weekend break in Europe, we gathered a few really short breaks across the continent and in England.

 

All of these short breaks depart daily, so it is entirely up to you to choose when you like to go. Perhaps you’re combining a break with a visit to overseas family and friends or saw a good flight offer. Our team in London can quickly support you with your request, leaving you to pack your bags and get ready for places like Tuscany, England’s Yorkshire Dales and the Swiss Alps.

 

 

Italy | Cycle San Gimignano to Siena

Weekend Breaks Europe_Tuscany walking_Sherpa Expeditions


5 Days

Departs Daily

Delve into the magic of Tuscany from the walled medieval hill town of San Gimignano to one of Europe’s best preserved medieval towns, Siena. This iconic bicycle ride takes you through the typical landscapes that characterise this part of Italy. The trip is specially designed for those who want to experience the best of Tuscany’s palette of colours at handlebar level, but who only have a few days available.

You can take this European weekend break from March-November and it is graded as a moderate-challenging cycling holiday, find more info here >>

 

England | Yorkshire Dales Mini Break

Weekend Breaks Europe_Yorkshire Dales mini break_Sherpa Walking holidays


4 Days

Departs Daily

Escape to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales in northern England and stay at the Old Brewery, a tastefully decorated house that retains its old-world charm, yet offers every modern comfort. The bed & breakfast is a stone’s throw from the River Swale, at the foot of the castle hill, and just a short walk from the cobbled market place. This little break is perfect for several days walking surrounded by peaceful trails, quiet country lanes and sleepy villages.

You can take this trip year-round and it is graded as an introductory-moderate walking holiday, find more info here >>

 

England | Isle of Wight Cycle

Weekend Breaks Europe, Isle of Wight Cycling with Sherpa Expeditions


5 Days

Departs Daily

Pick up your hire bike at the traditional seaside resort of Ryde, the largest town on the Isle of Wight, and let your holiday begin! This European mid-week or weekend break is deal for anyone looking for a short town-and-country cycling break, the circular route is undulating and distances are kept fairly short, giving you time to stop and explore. Highlights include sophisticated Cowes, world famous for its regatta; the astonishing brick-built Quarr Abbey; taking the cycle path to Freshwater Bay, which follows an old railway line; the tidal estuary at Newport, known for its chain ferry; and Chale, the shipwreck capital of the British island.

You can take this short break in Europe from March-October and it is graded as an introductory-moderate cycling holiday, find more info here >>

 

Switzerland | Meiringen: Panorama’s of the Swiss Alps

Meiringen walks_weekend breaks Europe_Sherpa Expeditions


5 Days

Departs Daily

Swiss Meiringen is famous for the Reichenbach Falls, a spectacular cataract that was the setting for the death of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes. A natural transport hub situated at the convergence of three of Switzerland’s major passes, getting around is easy and it is possible to set out each day in a different direction using a network of cable cars, postbuses and mountain railways. A perfect setting for you a quick weekend break in Europe. The high places can be reached quickly without long uphill climbs out of the valley and  you can fill a week with excellent day walks, from gentle strolls to high ridges.

You can take this short break in Europe from May-October and it is graded as a moderate walking holiday, find more info here >>

 

England | Exploring the Cotswolds

Cotswolds, England weekend breaks Europe, Sherpa Expeditions


5 Days

Departs Daily

An itinerary specially crafted for those who want a soft introduction to walking in the English countryside. Highlights include the medieval wool town of Bourton-on-the-Water, the picture perfect village of Guiting Power, the atmospheric ruins of Hailes Abbey (destroyed under Henry VIII) and the still inhabited Sudeley Castle.

You can take this weekend break from April-October and it is graded as an introductory-moderate walking holiday, find more info here >>

 

 

More information? Download the complete trip notes via the blue button on the trip page or contact our team of travel experts for a chat. 


Isle of Wight: Time Warp Travel

Sunset - Isle of Wight Holidays with Sherpa Expeditions


Isle of Wight holidays for active travellers

A place which in many ways exists in its own time warp, the Isle of Wight is ideal for an active break. Half of the island is designated as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, there are more than 300 miles of footpaths, it is easy (and cheap!) to reach and enjoys a milder-than-most-parts-of-the-UK climate. At Sherpa Expeditions, you have a choice of two Isle of Wight holidays and manager Tali Emdin explains why we’re quite big fans of the island.

 

Half of the British island is designated as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’

“Everything on the Isle of Wight is on a manageable scale – there are no huge towns or big industrial blights but long chalky downs, sandy beaches and enchanting woodlands. You will find plenty of seaside rock, ice cream and fish ’n’ chips, but also great British pubs, quiet paths, historical churches and gems of traditional villages.


Discover history on an Isle of Wight break - Sherpa Walking Holidays


Ancient church on the Isle of Wight, Sherpa Expeditions UK

 

Any given day along the famous ‘Coastal Path’ will take you through some wonderful areas...  

 

Queen Victoria’s Osborne House is quite a sight (you can even walk down to her private beach for a peek of her original ‘swimming machine’). At The Needles Park, the backbone of the island dives into the sea like a dragon’s tail with chalky sea-stack scales. And seeing the sunset from the only surviving medieval lighthouse in Britain at St Catherine’s Oratory is definitely worth the steep walk up!”


Blue skies & birds on the Isle of Wight, England


History on an Isle of Wight break - Sherpa Expeditions


Whether you are looking for a holiday on foot or by bike, you can choose from the following two breaks on the Isle of Wight:

 

ON FOOT

Isle of Wight Coastal Walking

Spend a week circumnavigating the Isle of Wight and taking in its great natural beauty, enjoying glittering sea views across the Solent and the English Channel. Learn about its well-known white cliffs and sea-stacks around The Needles and of course take in miles of beaches on an Isle of Wight holiday. Following mostly public footpaths and minor lanes, there are several attractions to break down each walking day, including a visit to the holiday home of Queen Victoria, Osborne House and the thatched church at Freshwater Bay. You’ll also be walking through timeless seaside resorts such as Ventnor, Shanklin and Sandown and the great Palmerston fortresses.

Find out more >>

 

ON TWO WHEELS

Isle of Wight Cycle

Pick up your hire bike at the traditional seaside resort of Ryde, the largest town on the island, and let your holiday begin! Ideal for anyone looking for a short town-and-country cycling break and an easy to navigate island. The circular route is undulating and distances are kept fairly short so that you will have plenty of time to stop and explore. Highlights of this Isle of Wight holiday by bike include sophisticated Cowes that is world-famous for its regatta, the astonishing brick-built Quarr Abbey and taking the cycle path to Freshwater Bay, which follows an old railway line. Cycle to reach the tidal estuary at Newport that is known for its chain ferry and on to the village of Chale, the shipwreck capital of the island.

Find out more >>

 

Both of these Isle of Wight holidays join in Ryde, the main port on the island. For more information, you can download the trip notes via the blue button on each trip’s page or you can contact our team of travel experts by phone or email. 


Isle of Wight holidays with Sherpa Expeditions


On Track – Q&A on Guernsey Holidays on Foot

Guernsey Holidays FAQ answered by Sherpa Expeditions

 

To give you a deeper understanding of our cycling and walking holidays in Europe, we like to introduce you to our On Track feature. This is a series of quick Q&A’s on a specific trip from the Sherpa Expeditions offer.

Today’s frequently asked questions are answered by resident guide John, who was in Guernsey last year to see what there is to do on the Channel Island and to select the best trails for our new Guernsey Islands – Channel Island Way trip.

"Guernsey: An active holiday filled with quiet island hopping and coastal bliss!"

#1 Doesn’t the English weather on the Guernsey Islands prevent good walking possibilities?

The Guernsey climate is amongst the mildest and sunniest in the whole of the British Isles, being warmed by the adjacent Gulf Stream and so much further south. Every year, the Island of Guernsey enjoys up to 2,000 hours of sunny weather. During the summer months, the weather is not only sunny, with average daytime temperatures of anywhere between 20°C / 68°F and 25°C / 77°F, but also extremely dry.

April, May and June tend to be the driest months on Guernsey, when precipitation levels rarely top 120 mm / 4.7 inches for this entire period.

 

#2 What is special about Guernsey walks?

Guernsey and her islands have extensive white sandy beaches and medium-high cliffs with beautiful views. In, at least spring and early summer, this is being topped by some lovely flowers. It is all a little old-fashioned and each of the islands has a unique pace of life and history. Alderney Island seems wilder and has some great bird watching opportunities, Sark Island is a bucolic beauty, and Herm Island has lovely grass backed beaches. Guernsey Island has the most variety and is of course bigger.

 

Sark - Channel Island Way, Sherpa Expeditions walking holidays

 

St Peter Port on walks in Guernsey - Sherpa Expeditions

 

#3 What language do people speak on the Guernsey Islands?

The Channel Islands were possessions of the Dukes of Normandy and when after 1066 they took over England, the islands were attached to the English crown. Although most place names and streets are in French, the Guernsey language ‘Guernésiais’, is a Norman French tongue, and you won’t hear much being spoken. People sound English generally and most who speak French are French tourists.

 

#4 What is a Guernsey holiday and exploring the island on foot like?

Guernsey is certainly getting busier. In the height of summer there are lots of holidaymakers on the beaches, in the capital St Peter Port and on the sister islands. At the same time, there is a surprising amount of countryside and this results in the coastal footpaths, except for perhaps on Herm, not being very busy. When approaching popular beaches, old Nazis fort sites, or when walking through towns it can be a little busier though. There is a surprising lack of development by a lot of the beaches and there are few kiosks or cafes on the Guernsey walks. Out of the high season, there are generally few people around.

 

Sunset on Guernsey holidays, Sherpa walking holidays

 

#5 What 3 items should we pack for a walk in Guernsey?

  • Binoculars... to spot the birdlife, such as puffins on Herm and a large Gannet colony on L’Etacs rocks of Alderney, and woodland birds Guernsey and Sark. You can even use them to spot seals on Herm Island and binoculars are useful for viewing the islands and Normandy from the varying islands,
  • Swimming costume... if it is warm enough, and
  • Sunglasses & sunscreen.

 

#6 What extra costs will we make on this trip?

Walkers on this Guernsey holiday must set aside extra budget for ferries to Herm and Sark and the flight to Alderney. Other expenses will be for airport taxis or bus transfers and dinners, lunches and coffees & other drinks. Generally, things are slightly more expensive than much of the UK and the British pound is accepted. Guernsey does have its own currency however, the Guernsey pound, which has been used on the Channel Islands since 1921 and Guernsey still has its own £1 note, as well as a £50, £20, £10 and £5 note like mainland Britain. Some shops also accept Euros and major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the islands. The other way around, Channel Islands notes and coins are not accepted in the UK.

There is no VAT in Guernsey but it is not a duty-free island. ATM machines are available at most high street banks in St Peter Port, the airport and selected sites, including supermarkets, garages and some out of town banks throughout the island.

 

 

We hope this information has indeed answered some of the questions you may have had on Guernsey holidays. If you have other queries, please get in touch with John and the Sherpa team via phone or email.

 

Did you like this Q&A and would you like to get similar details of one of our other active Europe holidays? We’d be happy for you to tell us about your suggestions.

Or if you like to be among the firsts to hear about the latest On Track Q&A destination, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter here.  


 

A Summer Holiday in Austria: Options for Hikers & Bikers

With the six-week long Salzburg Festival taking place in Salzburg from the end of July until the end of August, these months are a great time to plan for an Austria summer holiday. 

If you are planning a trip this summer to take in Austria’s spectacular scenery, we offer a number of trips that are great for cyclists and hikers alike. From June until mid-October, regions like the Dachstein Alps, Austria’s Lake District or the shore of the Danube River are fantastic to experience summer in Austria. Below, we choose three of the most exciting options.

 

Grab your hiking boots 

Austrian Lake District and Dachstein Alps 

Austrian Lake District in Summer_Hallstatt ©Liz Light

©Liz Light

 

Towering peaks, high mountain passes, alpine meadows and lakeside walks are all combined in this surprisingly compact area. The heart of Austria’s Lake District encompasses 76 crystal clear lakes, the impressive Dachstein Glacier and breath-taking rock faces up to 3,000 vertical metres high. Wander through mountain forests and alongside glimmering lakeland shores as you explore alpine villages of wooden chalets decorated with colourful window boxes.
Includes historic Hallstatt
More about this

Best of both worlds

Innsbruck to Salzburg Hike & Bike 

Austrian summer with Sherpa Expeditions

 

High above the ski resorts of Innsbruck, the Austrian Alps lend themselves to mountain hiking whilst the valleys connecting alpine towns en route to the ‘Sound of Music’ town of Salzburg are ideal for cycling. This itinerary combines both activities to ensure you get the most out of this scenic region, from hiking to one of the highest waterfalls in Europe and passing tiny ski villages to taking a guided tour of the Moserboden dam or visiting an old salt mines and beer breweries.
Includes famous ski resort Zell am See - Kaprun
More about this

At handlebar level

Hungarian Rhapsody 

Austria summer holidays with Sherpa Expeditions ©Lily Donkers

©Lily Donkers

 

Follow the winding route of the Danube and discover the lively history of one of Europe’s most important rivers. Cycle from the elegant city of Vienna and cross northern Austria before heading into Slovakia. Here, vineyards climb the slopes of the Little Carpathian Mountains and baroque architecture is ever present. Wind past the unusual artist village of Szentendre and numerous delightful towns before reaching the capital of Hungary, where you should definitely check out Sissi’s favourite palace, which towers high above the Danube.
Includes border crossings between Slovakia and Hungary
More about this


The Salzburg Festival takes place from 21 July – 30 August 2017 and if you cannot wait until next summer, there also is a spring edition, which in 2018 is from 18-21 May. The Austrian festival is celebrated since 1920, or even earlier since Mozart times. The festival showcases opera, drama and concerts and has established itself as the most important in its field

For more information and for possibilities to add extra nights in Salzburg, please contact our team of travel experts


 


Grande Randonnées & Other French Long-Distance Footpaths

There is an elaborate network of grande randonnées in France (literally "big hikes") that form part of the European long-distance footpaths. In the country alone, there is already a network of 60,000km of GR trail to discover. If that’s not enough, France has many other interesting long-distance footpaths that offer fabulous walking conditions.

Below, we selected five French long distance footpaths for you. No matter if you like to complete them in one go, like to break them up in separate sections, or just cover the best parts, as usual, our team in London can assist with your wishes.

 

Way of St James

Full Length: 1500km / 935 miles

 

French long distance footpath_Way of St James_Sherpa Expeditions

 

Rustic and charming, this is one of our most popular trips, ideal for anyone who wishes to explore some of the more unusual, less visited landscapes of rural France, coupled with a flavour of the past and a dose of religious history. It covers a large swathe of the uplands of the Massif Central, taking a path that the early pilgrims walked to reach Santiago de Compostela about 1500 kilometres later.

               >> See More & Walk this Long-Distance Footpath

 

GR20

Full Length: 180km / 112 miles

 

Walk the grande randonnee GR20 in France's Corsica with Sherpa walking holidays

 

Dense maquis, mountain ridges and granite peaks that soar to 2,700m create a rugged terrain that is tempered by deeply wooded valleys, pine forest and cascading streams. This toughest of all grande randonnées in France starts in Corte’s old town, which clings to the steep slope below its majestic citadel. It then leads from the heart of the mountains across the north-south watershed to the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Along the way you will pass ancient villages that preserve century-old traditions and visit iconic rock formations such as Les Calanches.

>> See More & Walk this Grande Randonnée

 

Tour de Mont Blanc

Full Length: 170km / 106 miles

 

Mont Blanc walking holidays with Sherpa Expeditions

 

This self-guided, extended itinerary circumnavigates Mont Blanc via a network of footpaths to explore the surrounding alpine region. Faced with picture postcard vistas from every vantage point, on a two week trek you can enjoy unsurpassed views of the different faces of the Mont Blanc massif. The trails also lead you to the highest point on the Tour of Mont Blanc, the Grand Col Ferret at 2,537m.

>> See More & Walk this Long-Distance Footpath

 

GR70 | Stevenson’s Trail

Full Length: 274km / 170 miles

 

Walk in Cevennes - GR70 - grande randonnee walks with Sherpa Expeditions

 

In the autumn of 1878 Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson, author of the book Treasure Island, set out to walk across the Cevennes region of France accompanied by “a small grey donkey called Modestine”. His journey inspired Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes, which has since become a classic travel book. Starting in the Auvergne, this French long distance footpath follows a winding route across a region that boasts great natural beauty, sad romantic ruins and is almost totally unspoilt. Today it is known as the Stevenson’s Trail or Chemin Stevenson.

>> See More & Walk this Grande Randonnée

 

GR10 | The Meridian Way

Full Length: 866km / 538 miles

 

French long distance footpaths - Meridian Way - Sherpa walking holidays

 

When the Greenwich Meridian was agreed upon as the international standard in 1884, the fact that it was passing through some of the most spectacular corners of the High Pyrenees was probably not a major consideration. Today, the line forms part of the grande randonnée GR10 that goes through the Haute Pyrenees. Highlights of the route include: the dramatic Cirque de Gavarnie, a natural amphitheatre 1,400m high; the spectacular Grande Cascade, whose 423m drop makes it the longest in Europe; and the famous Brêche de Roland, a natural rock ‘doorway’ into Spain.

>> See More & Walk this Grande Randonnée

 

 

You can find more information in the trip notes, which you can download via the blue button on each trip’s page. Or for other details and booking information, please do contact our team of travel experts by phone or email. 

 

Crossing the Lake District

New UNESCO World Heritage Site in the UK

Lake District UK new World Heritage Site

 

The latest additions to UNESCO’s World Heritage List were unveiled earlier this month, and guess what? Our beloved Lake District has made it as the UK’s first national park to be awarded World Heritage status.

 

England's Lake District was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List on 9 July 2017.

 

Inscribed to protect a landscape that has been “greatly appreciated from the 18th century onwards by the Picturesque and later Romantic movements, which celebrated it in paintings, drawings and words”, the English Lake District is applauded for having “inspired an awareness of the importance of beautiful landscapes and triggered early efforts to preserve them” according to the World Heritage Convention.


The English Lake District - Sherpa Expeditions


Walkers in the Lake District UK - Sherpa walking holidays 

Immerse yourself in the timeless landscapes of the UK’s first national park with World Heritage status

Our classic walking options allow you to experience the charms of the world famous ‘Lakeland’ - England’s largest and most visited Lake District National Park. Below we listed some highlights of our trips and why we believe the Lake District indeed deserves to be on the UNESCO list are:

 

  • A celebrated landscape, hailed over the years by poets, authors and painters such as Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter, Tennyson, Ramson and Wainwright.
  • You can follow the shores of quintessentially English lakes and find out why larger bodies of water are generally named as “mere” or “water”, whilst smaller ones are denoted by “tarn”.
  • Walk through sensational woodlands and forests that provide habitat for native English wildlife, including the red squirrel, one of the UK’s best-loved species.
  • Make time to visit poet Wordsworth’s home at Dove Cottage in Grasmere, one of the Lakeland’s most celebrated villages, and make sure to drop into the famous Ginger bread shop! 
  • Cross typical stiles and ‘kissing gates’ along the footpaths on your way to tiny, centuries old hamlets and traditional lively market towns, such as Ulverston and Keswick.
  • A descent to Borrowdale; perhaps the most delightful valley in the Lake District with its crags and broadleaved trees. 
  • Visit the traditional fell village of Caldbeck, where many of its old mill buildings, a testament to its glorious industrial past, are still in use.
  • Stop at Hoad Monument – this concrete structure, built in 1850, commemorates statesman and local resident Sir John Barrow, and offers scenic views across Morecambe Bay.
  • Cosy handpicked accommodation throughout the Lake District, including traditional pubs, rural family-owned guesthouses, as well as a Georgian townhouse. 

 

If you want to immerse yourself in these timeless landscapes, we can take you there on one of the below 10 activity holidays in the Lake District National Park.  

 


For more information and booking details, please contact our team of travel experts in our London office.  

On Track - Q&A on Hiking Norway’s Fjords

Norway Hiking FAQ - Sherpa Expeditions

 

To give you a deeper understanding of our cycling and walking holidays in Europe, we like to introduce you to our new On Track feature. Today is the first in a series of quick Q&A’s on a specific trip in our offer. We conducted this inaugural Q&A with resident guide John who was in Norway earlier this month where he hiked the routes of our The Fjordland walking trip. We describe this Norway hiking trip as

 

"A wide-ranging introduction to trekking in Norway, featuring a range of walks of different standards, in differential scenery".

Get a better understanding of The Fjordland walking trip and what you may expect of walking in Norway via the below questions and answers.

 

#1  What is special about hiking in Norway?

I think you could say there is a frontier, wild feeling to hiking in Norway. The scenery can be bleak and beautiful in places with expansive vistas over distant lakes. There are tracks of forest and then you find the fjords with the most dramatic scenery imaginable.

 

#2  To what other region in the world can you compare the Norwegian landscape?

Norway has aspects that are similar to Sweden of course, but it can also be similar to parts of Scotland and Iceland. There are moderate fells and glacial features. Norway has the same geology to parts of the Scottish Highlands and let’s face it, similar weather - southern Norway is on quite the same latitude as Northern Scotland.

 

Fjords and Lakes in Norway - Sherpa Expeditions

 

glacier on a hike in Norway fjordland - Sherpa Expeditions

 

#3  Doesn’t this Norwegian climate prevent good trekking possibilities?

Norwegian weather is frontal and fickle, it can do anything at these latitudes, there is great trekking here but you should be prepared with your clothing (good shells and layering) and have a positive attitude. The weather changes all the time. All being well, there should be enough walks of different standards in our package to enable you to cope with the vagaries of weather, as well as other things to do!

The walking remains dramatic in all different types of weather.

#4  Will we encounter other walkers on this trip?

It depends whether it is the weekend and where you are. On most of the walks in my week in July, I have seen between 5 and 12 people, it isn't a lot. Maybe on the more tourist oriented routes like from Myrdal to Flam you would see a few dozen, but mostly on bikes.

Most Norwegians have good English and although it is worth having a phrase book, generally the people speak our English language very freely... like the Dutch or Danes.

hike up prestholtskarvet in Norway - Sherpa Expeditions

 

norway hiking holidays with Sherpa Expeditions

 

#5  Are there enough places on the route for a drink or a snack?

On the walks, there are very few places where you can buy refreshments and some of the huts are unmanned. There are a couple of cafes on a couple of the routes. These are quite charming; one is for example in an old farm and another used to be a railwayman's house. A lot of the emphasis when walking in Norway is on the self-reliant experience.

 

#6  What 3 items should I pack for a Norway hiking trip?

  • Walking poles... a great help on snow patches and long steep descents. 
  • Shell clothing including gaiters... you need to be waterproof as much as possible
  • Duty free... save yourself a fortune on drinks.

We hope this information has indeed answered some of the questions you may have had. If you have other queries, please get in touch with John and the Sherpa team via phone or email.

 

Did you like this Q&A and would you like to get similar details of one of our other active Europe holidays? We’d be happy for you to tell us about your suggestions.

Or if you like to be among the firsts to hear about the latest On Track Q&A destination, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter here.  

 

Norway walking holidays with Sherpa Expeditions

Marches for Débutants

Perhaps you have been flirting with the idea of taking a walking holiday for a while now? Maybe you are thinking something not too strenuous? Have the cuisine and vineyards (including associated wines) of France always been appealing and do you like the charming towns and diverse countryside? At Sherpa Expeditions, you’re at the right place to start your search as we have a number of walking holidays in France that can be enjoyed comfortably by everyone, even first timers.

 

Although a reasonable good level of physical fitness is required, a walking holiday does not have to be demanding or only for seasoned, fitter hikers. From walking itineraries that discover some of the famous French vineyards and from following centuries-old paths in the Luberon to stepping in the famous pictures of Van Gogh, check out the below four introductory to moderate graded walking holidays in France:

 

Burgundy Vineyard Trails

Burgundy Vineyard Trails walking holiday with Sherpa Expeditions

 

Calling all oenophiles (and not only): a trip where you can wander through fragrant vineyards, meet local winemakers, discover vine-covered valleys and visit private cellars. Burgundy claims the highest number of appellations d'origine contrôlée than any other region in the country. The ‘Route des Grands Crus’ runs through many of the great appellations of Burgundy wine, punctuated by nearly 40 picturesque villages and little towns.

The walk should present no difficulties for anyone in reasonable condition and accustomed to day walks in undulating countryside. Day stages are between 10km to 20km, which comes down to 3 to 6 hours walking per day. We’ve planned the itinerary to give you plenty of time to visit sites, and vineyards, along the way.

View Trip

 

In Van Gogh’s Footsteps

Easy walking in Van Gogh's home in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Van Gogh’s time in Provence – where he first arrived in early 1888 – was the most productive period of painting in his life. Along footpaths dotted with cypress trees, crumbling farmhouses and lone chapels, this trip follows in his footsteps from St-Rémy to Les Baux-de-Provence and onto Arles.

Take in the sublime images of the region, with highlights including the Saint-Paul de Mausole monastery (where Van Gogh painted 150 paintings in one year!) and the painter’s much-loved second home, the city of Arles, where he lived in the late 1800s.

You don’t have to be super fit to do this tour, but you should be able to walk for a few hours each day and be able to cover some steep ascents and descents. Day stages are 3.5 – 6 hours of easy-to-moderate walking.

View Trip

 

Rambling in the Luberon

easy walking in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Gain a unique insight into rural French life as you walk the secret hills and gorges of the Luberon – some of which plunge to depths of 30 metres – dotted with ‘mas’ (stone Provençal farmhouses) and ochre coloured hilltop villages. Starting in the heart of Papal Avignon, you will cross a revolving landscape through magnificent forests filled with oak, maples, cherry and fig trees, but also butterflies, owls and eagles.

The walking on this tour varies between introductory and moderate. Due to the length of walks and terrain we would classify the tour as more moderate and a reasonable level of fitness and ability to walk on rocky paths is required.

View Trip

 

Vineyards Trails of the Loire

Easy walking holidays in France with Sherpa Expeditions

 

The ever-popular Sauvignon Blanc was one of the very first fine wines to be commercially bottled with a screw cap and the Loire Valley is known to be producing some excellent delicate varietals – especially the Upper Loire areas of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. With a cool continental climate that slows down the ripening on the vine, the region’s winemaking history dates back to the 1st century!

The Loire region is hilly but there are no prolonged ascents or descents and few steep gradients on this trip. Several of the days are however fairly long with day stages between 15-27 kilometres and 5-7 hours per day.

View Trip

 

 

Check out all walking holidays in France or contact our team of travel experts with any queries you may have.

The Grape Harvest Season Is Coming Up: What to Drink Where

France Grape Harvest Season in September - Sherpa Walking Holidays

 

5 Regions in Europe to experience the grape harvest and indulge in your favourite wine

With Europe’s grape harvest season coming upon us again in September, we wanted to give you some ideas for walking experiences that will appeal to oenophiles – and which wines you will best enjoy where.

 

During the grape harvest season in September, weather in southern Europe is generally ideal for walking. On top of that, there is a lot to see on the vineyards when entire villages work together to get the harvest in on time. If you’re lucky, you may stumble upon one of the many local wine festivals taking place this time of year.

 

Learn more about these five regions in France, Italy and Portugal that are great for walking – and wine tasting – in the late summer.

 

Loire Valley >>> Sauvignon Blanc

visit vineyards of Loire during grape harvest season - Sherpa Expeditions


The ever-popular Sauvignon Blanc was one of the very first fine wines to be commercially bottled with a screw cap and the Loire Valley is known to be producing some excellent delicate varietals – especially the Upper Loire areas of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. With a cool continental climate that slows down the ripening on the vine, the region’s winemaking history dates back to the 1st century!

Explore vineyards, wine estates and chateaux as you walk through the Valley of the Kings on the Vineyard Trails of the Loire – our itinerary is 8 days and takes you from Amboise to Saumur.

 

Tuscany >>> Chianti

tuscany grows grapes for Chianti_here in April_Sherpa Expeditions


Historically known for its squat bottle wrapped in a straw basket, Chianti just celebrates its 300th anniversary: the area now called ‘Chianti Classico’, between Florence and Siena, was originally designated in July 1716 by Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, in an attempt to regulate the wine trade. Chianti wine must be produced with at least 80 per cent Italian Sangiovese grapes.

Discover the famous Chianti wine region and more of Tuscany on Foot on an 7-day self guided walking holiday in Italy between April and November.

 

Burgundy >>> Chardonnay

Burgundy, France Grape Harvest walking holidays with Sherpa Expeditions


Burgundy has the highest number of ‘appellations d'origine contrôlée’ in France and Chardonnay, one of the world’s most planted grape varieties, originated here, where it remains the most commonly grown white grape. Its ability to adapt to different weather conditions makes it one of the ‘easiest’ grapes to cultivate and today it has more than 30 clonal varieties in France alone.

Starting in the walled city of Beaune, the region’s wine capital, explore the very best Burgundy Vineyard Trails on an 8-day self guided walking holiday.

 

Provence >>> Provençal Rosé

France grape harvest season walking holidays - Sherpa Expeditions


One of the most iconic, picturesque regions of France, Provence is also the home of French rosé, which today accounts for more than half of the production of Provençal wine. The main grape variety cultivated here is the darker, thick-skinned Mourvèdre, which in France is found almost exclusively along the southern coast, as it needs a warm, sunny climate to ripen fully.

On the 7-day In Van Gogh’s Footsteps itinerary, enjoy a stroll in Les Alpilles, a small massif standing out as its white peaks rise apparently sheer from the plain of the Rhône valley, its slopes covered in vineyards along with olive and almond trees.

 

Douro Valley >>> Port

grape harvest season in Douro Valley, Portugal - Sherpa Expeditions


The first demarcated wine region in the world was officially established in 1756 when the Port industry developed. Today it has the country’s highest wine classification as a ‘denominação de origem controlada’, while the Douro ‘vinhateiro’ (winegrowing) area is designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The 7-day Douro Rambler takes you deep into small working wine estates of golden terraces laced with vines, offering plenty of opportunities for scenic boat trips on the Douro River, wine tasting tours and visits to the Port lodges at Vila Nova de Gaia in Porto.


 

For more information on each trip you can download the trip notes. Or for any specific queries you may have, our team of travel experts can be contacted via phone or email

Picture This! A Cathar Castles Tour

Joining in Perpignan, this walking quest in the foothills of the Pyrenees delves into the rich history of the Cathar Country of Corbières area of Southern France. The trip follows the tragic fate of the Cathar heretics, whose ‘Perfects’ or priests were burned at the stake or driven into hiding. As well as its rich and evocative historical heritage, the area offers outstanding scenery of wild flowers, forest, charming French towns and fine local dishes.

 

If you’re curious to understand a little more what a walking tour of the Cathar castles in this part of southern France looks like, check out the images below.

 

 

Way-marks on a Cathar Castles Walk

Waymarks on Cathar Castles tour in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Waymarks on Cathar Castles tour in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Waymarks on Cathar Castles tour in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Waymarks on Cathar Castles tour in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

 

Hilltop Castles & Forts in the French Pyrenees

Castle Ruins in Pyrenees in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Hilltop village in Corbieres, France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Castle Ruins in Pyrenees in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Village in Corbieres, France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Cathar castle Ruins in Pyrenees in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Castle Ruins in Pyrenees in France - Sherpa Expeditions 

 

 

Ancient Trails of the Cathars

Ancient trails of Cathars, French Pyrenees - Sherpa Walking Holidays

 

Ancient trails of Cathars, French Pyrenees - Sherpa Walking Holidays

 

Ancient trails of Cathars, French Pyrenees - Sherpa Walking Holidays

 

Ancient trails of Cathars, French Pyrenees - Sherpa Walking Holidays

 

 

French Wining & Dining

Restaurant in the shadow, walking in France with Sherpa Expeditions

 

Cheers with French craft beer on a walking trip with Sherpa Expeditions

 

appetiser in France - Sherpa Expeditions walking holidays

 

A break on our Cathar Castles Tour in France - sherpa expeditions uk

 

fresh french pain - Sherpa walking holidays

 

Breakfast on the Cathar Castles tour with Sherpa Expeditions

 

 

Flora & Fauna

poppy fields in French Pyrenees - sherpa walking holidays

 

bird on a cathar castles walk with Sherpa Expeditions

 

French cattle near Corbieres - sherpa expeditions

 

cathar castle ruins in France - Sherpa Expeditions

 

butterflies in French Pyrenees - Sherpa Expeditions

 

roses on a walking holiday in France with Sherpa Expeditions

 

For more information on Cathar castles walks, how to get to and from Perpignan and any other queries you may have, please contact our team of travel experts or download the trip notes.