News & Inspiration

Inspiration and Advice for Walking in Europe Information, reviews and advice on Wainwright's Coast to Coast walk in England. Amalfi, Cilento, Tuscany, food and more Sherpa travellers share their reviews and experiences. Information, reviews and advice on Madeira walking holidays Information, reviews and advice on walks in the Cotswolds
rss

UK & European Holiday News

The latest travel news, interviews, traveller reviews, inspiration & advice on cycling and walking holidays in the UK and Europe..
Return to Blog Home >>

 

What to Do on the Isle of Wight on Your Active Holiday

things to do on isle of wight_sherpa expeditions


With Newport Jazz Weekend, Isle of Wight Festival, Jack Up The 80’s, and Eklectica all taking place this summer, could this be the year that you will discover The Isle of Wight? There are so many more things to do in the Isle of Wight than visiting one of these music festivals and a great idea is to combine a festival with a walking or cycling holiday to the Isle of Wight.

 

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 200 miles of cycle routes, it is easy (and cheap!) to reach and enjoys a milder-than-most-parts-of-the-UK climate.

Half of the Isle of Wight is designated as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’

isle of wight holidays with sherpa expeditions

 

Sherpa Expeditions Manager Tali Emdin explains about some of the things to do in the Isle of Wight:

 

“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 traditional pubs, quiet paths, historical churches and gems of villages.

 

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

 

For those that are considering what to do on the Isle of Wight, 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, while

seeing the sunset from the only surviving medieval lighthouse in Britain at St Catherine’s Oratory is definitely worth the steep walk up!”

 

Whether you are looking for an Isle of Wight holiday on foot or by bike, you can choose one of the following two trips with Sherpa Expeditions:

 

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, 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 island.

Learn more about the Isle of Wight holiday: 5-day Isle of Wight Cycle >>

 

ON FOOT | Isle of Wight Coastal Walking

Spend a week circumnavigating the island and taking in its great natural beauty, enjoying glittering sea views across the Solent and the English Channel, its well-known white cliffs and sea-stacks around The Needles and of course miles of beaches. 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; the thatched church at Freshwater Bay; timeless seaside resorts such as Ventnor, Shanklin and Sandown; and the great Palmerston fortresses.

Learn more about the Isle of Wight holiday: 8-day Isle of Wight Coastal Walking >>


 

Isle of Wight music festival dates

Newport Jazz Weekend: 30 May – 3 June 2018

Isle of Wight Festival: 21 – 24 June 2018

Jack Up The 80’s: 10 – 12 August 2018

Eklectica: 7 – 9 September 2018

 

Both holidays join in Ryde, Isle of Wight. For more information on these trips and for bookings please contact our team of travel experts by email or phone or click through to the trips:

>>  Isle of Wight Coastal Walking

>>  Isle of Wight Cycle

 

what to do on the isle of wight with sherpa expeditions

 

Take a Hike Day

Each year on the 17th of November you will find lots of people going out to celebrate Take a Hike Day. Originally initiated by the American Hiking Society in 2013, the day is mostly known and observed by our north American friends.

 

take a hike day - walking in spain - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Aim for the day is, perhaps not too unexpectedly, to go out for a hike and appreciate the outdoors. By dedicating a specific day in the year to go out on a walking trip, more awareness and attention will be given to the benefits of walking. Not only is going out for a walk good for your personal well-being, by actually going to the outdoors, hikers will at the same time learn more about nature and their surroundings.

 

winter walking in Cyprus - Sherpa Expeditions walking holidays

©senza senso

 

Autumn days in November can be beautiful, crisp and sunny, with the colours of orange, red and brown dominating the European countryside. In southern Europe there are even islands at this time of year where sunshine is almost guaranteed and there are flowers flourishing.

If Take a Hike Day inspires you to explore even more and go on a walking holiday for a week or two, have a look at the below trips that depart daily throughout the year or in the coming months:

 

 

Happy Take a Hike Day! 

 

winter walking in Europe with Sherpa Expeditions

 

Find flowers in winter in Europe - Sherpa Expeditions

Madeira in Autumn: Apples, the Organ & More

Few places in Europe celebrate autumn in such a dynamic way as Madeira…

 

Through a wide range of festivals, you can experience a lively autumn in Madeira. Most likely, your main reason to visit Madeira in September, October & November is exploring the Portuguese island on foot. But there are many more things to do in Madeira in autumn besides navigating the island’s ancient levadas and walking paths. From wine and apple cider festivals to celebrating the organ and stunning nature, below find an overview of some of the festivals to attend this autumn.

 

Madeira Wine Festival

visit Madeira in September for the wine festival - Sherpa Expeditions


When >> 26 August – 09 September 2018

Where >> from Estreito de Câmara de Lobos to Funchal (start & finish of the Madeira Island Walking trip)

What >> The wine festival has been running since the '70s and coincides with the island’s Wine Harvest Festival, European Folklore Week and street entertainment in Funchal. Late August/early September is when the annual grape harvest takes place in Madeira and attending these is certainly a reason to plan your travel dates accordingly. There are musical performances, ethnographic parades, demonstrations of old-style viticulture tools and even the opportunity to join in treading the grapes!

More >> madeirawinefestival.com

 

Columbus Festival

plan your walking holiday in Madeira around Columbus Festival - Sherpa Expeditions

 

When >> 13-15 September 2018

Where >> the island of Porto Santo northeast of Madeira (ask our team for details on how to get there)

What >> The world-famous explorer once called home Porto Santo Island and each year in September, the island close to Madeira organises many events evolving around the epic Portuguese discoveries from the 15-16th century. You can for example witness the ‘disembarking of Columbus’, browse a 16th century market for food & craft, listen to orations as they were held at the time, and join in many of the other things to do at this time of year. Expect to be drawn back in time when visiting this small island close to Madeira in September.

More >> festivaldocolombo.visitmadeira.pt

 

Apple Festival & Apple Cider Festival

Madeira walking holidays and apple cider festival - Sherpa Expeditions


When >> 15 & 16 September 2018

Where >> Ponta do Pargo (on the far west of the island)

What >> In its 34th year in 2018, the Madeira Apple Festival is a rural event to celebrate the ‘pêro’ – what Madeirans commonly call the apple. The small festival takes place in Ponta do Pargo in the western tip of Madeira and attracts apple farmers from the surrounding farmsteads. Festivities usually include apple cider tasting, a street parade, exhibitions, and several musical performances. Besides the festival, Ponta do Pargo is a charming town to visit on its own. Or wait a few weeks for the annual Madeira Cider Festival in the weekend of 22 & 23 September. 

 

Madeira Nature Festival

madeira nature festival is one of the things to do in madeira in October - Sherpa walking holidays


When >> 2-7 October 2018

Where >> around the island of Madeira (check the stand at the Largo da Restauração for more info)

What >> Just like the Madeira Flower Festival in spring, the island’s nature festival celebrates all activities on the island that involve nature. The natural heritage of the island is rich thanks to its subtropical climate and rich volcanic soil and Madeira is even nicknamed ‘Garden Island’ or ‘Ilha Jardim’. Everything that you can do during the Madeira Nature Festival takes place on the land, in the air or in the sea and includes activities like birdwatching, mountain biking, levadas walks, sailing, and short leisure flights.

More >> madeiranaturefestival.visitmadeira.pt

 

Madeira Organ Festival

attend Madeira Organ Festival on a Madeira walking holiday


When >> normally at the end of October, exact dates for 2018 to be announced

Where >> Funchal, Machico & Porto da Cruz (which you’ll visit at the beginning of the walking holiday)

What >> The organ is a relatively unknown part of Madeiran heritage and can be found in several churches and cathedrals across the island. A series of 12 concerts will be held to showcase the instrument and beautiful music it can produce. The festival will have Portuguese and internationally renowned master organ players perform in stunning venues like the Cathedral of Funchal, College Church, Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Church of St Peter.

More >> festivaldeorgaodamadeira.com or on their Facebook page

 

Madeira is a year-round walking destination with pleasant temperatures to be in the outdoors and there are lots of things to in Madeira apart from walking. For more information and advice on planning your holiday, feel free to contact our team of travel experts in London.

The 8-day Madeira Island Walking holiday departs daily, year-round.

 

More Madeira

 

A Guernsey Event: Food & Views

Guernsey is well known for its beautiful scenery and fantastic food, so why not join the two together on your next trip to the island?

Walking in Guernsey events - Food Festival

 

Since 2015, Guernsey Island hosts the 2-week long Guernsey Food Festival in September. The event aims to support local food and drink producers as well as showcase the island’s wide variety of fresh produce, fabulous restaurants, well-known chefs and local delicacies. A visit to the island at this time of year is the perfect chance to taste all that Guernsey has to offer.

 

The festival includes plenty of events around the island for all to enjoy, ranging from beer-and-cheese-pairing to chilli-eating competitions. As different events are dotted around the island, it’s the perfect excuse to try Sherpa's great walking itinerary and burn off some of the delicious food.

 

Food demonstration event in Guernsey - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Guernsey walking holidays - Food Festival Guernsey - Sherpa Expeditions

 

The first weekend of the festival usually focuses around the Big Guernsey Market, where more than 40 food and drink stalls display the best of Guernsey cuisine along Crown Pier. There are also opportunities to join a boat trip around the oyster beds of Herm to see the island’s delicious delicacy of the Herm and Rocquaine oysters, or if you prefer to stay on solid ground, visit one of the live food shows along the pier and watch top chefs prepare their favourite dishes live on stage.

 

The Grape, Apple and Grain Festival traditionally takes place over the second weekend of the festival and is when you can enjoy a variety of craft beers, real ales & ciders, and sample a variety of street foods from all over Guernsey, whilst enjoying the live music and entertainment.

 

Capital St Peter Port offers a range of restaurants where you can have a bite to eat before venturing to one of Guernsey’s treasures: Castle Cornet, guarding Guernsey harbour and with fabulous views of the island and neighbouring Herm and Sark.

 

Visit Guernsey Food Festival in September - walking in Guernsey with Sherpa Expeditions

 

On day 3 of our Guernsey walking trip, you hike along more rugged terrain and get close to the coastline to see the largest cave in Guernsey, Le Creux Mahié. Then go up to Les Tielles, a beautiful part of the cliffs with fantastic views, and a great place for a picnic.

 

Sherpa Expeditions’ walking holiday further takes you around the Bailiwick of Guernsey, following the Channel Island Way. The 110-mile route circles the island in daily stages, usually around 5-6 hours per day. The route takes you from the Guernsey capital, St Peter Port, to Petit Bot Bay, onwards to Perelle Bay and back to St Peter Port where you can then catch a ferry to explore Sark and Herm. There’s also the option of continuing to Alderney to explore the third-largest Channel Island.

 

Visit Guernsey

  • The Guernsey Food Festival is organised by Visit Guernsey and is ‘the greatest food festival ever to arrive on Guernsey’s shores’. It celebrates the island’s culinary side and, as it takes place in September when average temperatures range around 18°C/64°F, is a fantastic time to visit the island.
  • Another big Guernsey event takes place annually, which is the Guernsey Heritage Festival - in 2018 from 30 March-10 May. This popular Festival returns for its fifth year and 2018 shines a spotlight on life in the Bailiwick of Guernsey under German rule and the islands’ subsequent liberation from the Occupying forces after WWII.

 

Text & images courtesy of Visit Guernsey.

 

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

Where to Go for Easter in Europe

Easter this year (2018) falls in the first weekend of April and is a great time for catch the first beams of sunlight all over Europe. The obvious question then is, where to go for Easter in Europe this year? In Italy, Spain and Portugal, all catholic dominated countries, there are processions and other religious celebrations for the holiday – as there are on Greek Orthodox Cyprus. Often, these are very colourful and traditional events that are well worth travelling for and to take part in or observe.

 

To give you an idea, here are five places in Europe to celebrate the Easter holidays and that are easily combined with a walking trip.

 

Easter in La Palma >> Majorca, Spain

As elsewhere in Spain, Majorca celebrates the Semana Santa (Holy Week) for Easter. The island is in a festive mood from the Thursday before Easter onward, when the biggest processions take place. The most colourful one is the La Sang procession in La Palma. Other Mallorcan places to go for Easter are the churches with performances of children and other special Easter events. On the Sunday you may find many people on the streets for their local pilgrimage and abundant picnics. Make sure to try the Easter pastries of panades and rubiols when you’re in Majorca this Easter.

 

Where to go for Easter? Go Walking in La Palma, Majorca

 

Head to Majorca a few days before Easter to enjoy all of the large processions that take place around the island and spend a few days in La Palma before you head off for your days of walking. Away from the burgeoning coastal resorts, discover the majestic Sierra de Tramontana massif of limestone peaks tumbling to the turquoise waters. Venture forth on a series of hikes through shady forests, olive groves and ancient farmsteads, visit tiny sun-drenched beaches and spend the night in a traditional monastery, listening to the sound of nightingales from your bedroom window.

Interested in visiting Majorca for Easter? Browse for inspiration the Majorca: Sierras and Monasteries walking holiday.


 

Easter in Florence >> Tuscany, Italy

Make sure you’re in Florence on Easter Sunday and be up and ready by 9am for the spectacular Scoppio del Carro (Explosion of the Cart). A tradition that goes back to the 12th Century, today, this is still an important Easter practise for the city of Florence. A cart is drawn by oxen from the Porta al Prato to the Church Square, now connected with the altar in the cathedral via a wire, here it is lit by a dove-shaped rocket from the cathedral so that it causes a 20 minutes fireworks show ‘the explosion of the car’. The whole spectacle happens in traditional 15th Century style with flowers, music, and clerics.


Visit Florence, Tuscany, for Easter holidays and a walking trip - Sherpa Expeditions

©moniko-moniko


Combine this Easter tradition with a week-long cycling or walking holiday in Tuscany. Follow the backroads in the early spring months and spot the first flowers come to bloom among cypresses, vineyards, traditional Tuscan architecture – and of course the rich Italian cuisine, oh the cuisine...

Interested in visiting Florence for Easter? Browse for inspiration the Tuscany on Foot, Cycle San Gimignano to Siena, Walking South of Siena, Cycling South of Siena, and Tuscany Cycle Explorer walking and cycling holidays.


 

Easter in Kato Paphos >> Cyprus

Right outside the church of Agia Kyriaki in the coastal town of Kato Paphos (the start and/or finish point of our Cyprus walking trips), the Passion Play, or Way of the Cross, takes place. It is one of the many Easter celebrations taking place over the island of Cyprus. Most of the residents are member of the Greek Orthodox Church, which has its own Easter traditions. Normally falling at different dates than the Christian or Catholic Easter, this year in 2018, celebrations are just one week later commencing on 6 April. Eat traditional lamb dishes and the Cypriot bread of flaounes and join any of the festive processions and performances.


Take a walking holiday in Cyprus during Easter - Sherpa Expeditions

©avlxyz


Fly in to Paphos ahead of your eight or eleven day Cyprus walking holiday and stay a few days to celebrate Easter. Then set off to explore the Troodos Mountains on foot and admire the rugged mountains, orchards and vineyards, profusion of exquisite, wild flowers and migratory birds that you can see particularly in spring.

Interested in visiting Cyprus for Easter? Browse for inspiration Winter Walking in CyprusThe Troodos Mountains and Akamas – 11 days or The Troodos Mountains and Akamas – 8 days walking holidays.


 

Easter in Braga >> Douro Valley, Portugal

There are several places to go for Easter in northern Portugal. Close to the starting point of our walking holiday, Porto, there is the city of Braga. Both cities host many concerts, dance performances, religious celebrations and street theatre activities during the Holy Week, but head for Braga to witness the Ecce Homo procession and many more Easter celebrations. It is led by coffin-bearers wearing a traditional purple robe on Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter Sunday. A traditional dessert to try for Easter if you’re in Porto or Braga is the Easter sponge cake of Pao de Lo.


Visit the town of Braga for Easter holidays & walk in Douro Valley

©donald-judge


The surprisingly unspoilt Douro Valley is just a 1-hour train ride away from Braga and home to the first demarcated wine region in the world. Associated primarily with Port, these days it produces just as much high-quality table wine and you can experience the importance of grapes when you stay at a beautifully restored manor that owns a small vineyard. Enjoy pretty walks in the wine county of Douro Valley in spring when nature is coming back to life and trails are usually quiet.

Interested in visiting Douro Valley for Easter? Browse for inspiration the Douro Rambler walking holiday.


 

Easter in Alghero >> Sardinia, Italy

Fly in to Sardinia’s Alghero airport and spend a few days to celebrate the Easter holidays. Alghero is one of Sardinia’s most famous places to go for Easter and are influenced by the (Spanish) Catalan culture. Celebrations evolve around the Santcristus, a wooden statue that washed ashore in 1606 and now symbolises Alghero’s religious identity. There are processions from Good Friday onward and on the Thursday before Easter you can witness the raising of the Santcristus at the Saint Mary’s Cathedral.


Where to go for Easter in Europe_Visit Sardinia for a walking holiday

©echiner1


These celebrations could form a fantastic start or end to your Saunter in Sardinia walking holiday. Your walks start in Santu Lussurgiu, 2 hrs away from Alghero, and take you around the Montiferru Mountain Range, Sinis Westlands, sea cliff of Su Tingiosu and many ancient sites as you follow romantic Mediterranean trails. The advantage of travelling in spring and around Easter is that you will find much bird life and generally quieter trails.

Interested in visiting Sardinia for Easter? Browse for inspiration the Saunter in Sardinia or Cycling in Sardinia walking and cycling holidays.

 

 

For more information on where to go for Easter in Europe or on any of the suggested destinations, please contact our team of travel experts


 

Timeless Med: Festivals For The Summer & Beyond

The appeal of a Mediterranean holiday is timeless. The three islands off the western coast of Italy – Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica – offer a diversity of iconic landscapes and memorable festivals.

 

Either with your family, your partner or a group of friends, the gastronomy and landscapes of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica will almost certainly appeal to your fellow travellers. Whether you want to get up close to Europe’s tallest active volcano in Sicily, swim in Sardinia’s emerald waters or explore Corsica, the most mountainous Mediterranean island, there are several trips to the islands departing in August, September and October. And to help you make a choice, below we’ve listed some of the best events and festivals to the islands for you!

 

SARDINIA

Sardinia Festivals - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Right in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Sardinia is famous for its natural beauty. The island is a cyclist’s paradise with a network of quiet roads hugging a rugged coastline. People visit Sardinia for its hospitable people, exceptional cuisine and a unique culture that includes its own dialect.

 

Why go to Sardinia in August?

1st Sunday in August: Vermentino Wine Festival | In the centuries old wine village of Monti.

7 August: The Archers Tournament | 24 archers dressed in medieval outfits join the tournament in Iglesias.

8-16 August: Time In Jazz | The island’s annual international jazz festival takes place in Berchidda.

14 August: Fireworks and Fried Fish | A firework display in Alghero that is followed by eating fried fish.

August: XXVI Summer Music | Daily live music concerts in the Chiostro di San Francesco that celebrate Sardinia’s classical music in Alghero.


Timeless Med- Sardinia Festivals - Sherpa Expeditions

©gigi murru 


Why go to Sardinia in September?

6-7 September: Corsa degli Scalzi | A commemoration of the 16th century rescue of a holy statue in the lagoon town of Cabras, it’s an 8km run with the statue from the beach back into town.

17-25 September: Round Sardinia Race | A sailing race that starts and finishes in the port of Cagliari and makes a circle around the island.

29 September: Festa Sant Miquel | The villagers of Alghero celebrate their patron saint with fireworks and parades. 

September until early December: Autunno in Barbagia | A celebration of local food, handicraft and cultural traditions of the towns and villages in the mountainous Barbagia region.

 

Why visit Sardinia in October?

30 October: Sagra della Castagne | Head to Aritzo to join the village’s annual chestnut fair.

 

In Sardinia, enjoy gentle walks and explore secluded bays by bicycle. Discover lighthouses and ancient watchtowers on long sandy beaches, taste the clear spring water of the Montiferru Mountains, swim through rock arches and watch the sunset turn the limestone cliffs yellow and pink…

Go walking in Sardinia with Sherpa Expeditions or find out about our cycling in Sardinia holiday.

 

SICILY

Segesta Temple in Sicily - Sherpa Expedtions walking holidays

©manuel  MC


Sicily has two impressive volcanoes: Stromboli and Etna. Their presence has shaped island life and travellers can bathe in therapeutic hot mud, relax on the black beaches and take in panoramic views across the Mediterranean Sea.

 

Why visit Sicily in August?

1 July – 4 September: Calatafimi Segesta Festival | Lots of theatre performances, and concerts of jazz and classical music in and around the Greek theatre of Segesta.

12-14 August: Norman Palio | A festival held on Palermo’s Piazza Armerina to commemorate the moment Sicily was liberated from the Sarecens by Roger de Hauteville in 1071.

13-15 August: Renaissance Music Festival | A music festival in the village of Erice set on the top of a mountain when top renaissance and medieval music is performed.

17 August: Festival of Saint Agatha | Catania city’s most important religious festival related to the city’s patron saint Agatha of Sicily.

24 August: Festa di St Bartolomeo | Lipari, one of the Aeolian islands just off the shore of Sicily, celebrates their patron saint Bartolomeo with stunning fireworks.


Why go to Sicily in September?

13-27 September: Festa della Vendemmia | A festival in Piedimonte Etneo that is devoted to the grape harvest. There are wine tastings, wine-making demonstrations, and of course lots of food.

16-25 September: CousCous Fest | This festival in San Vito Lo Capo attracts international chefs who join a competition in preparing couscous, of course accompanied by live music, dancing, and a very positive vibe.

29 September – 2 October: Sherbet Festival | Held in Palermo, this is a festival that dedicates four days to sorbets and ice creams.


Festa della Vendemmia - Sicily - walking holidays - Sherpa Expeditions

©Fatabugiarda


Why go to Sicily in October?

1-10 October: Sagra del Miele | The famous ‘honey of Hyblea’ was much loved by the Romans and Greeks in their days. The locals of Sortino (next to Pantalica National Park) honour the miele (honey) in October each year.

 

Take your chance to get close to the island’s impressive volcanoes on a walking holiday to Sicily.

 

CORSICA

Corsica walking holidays - Sherpa Expeditions


Dense maquis mountain ridges and granite peaks soar to 2,700m to create a rugged terrain. This is Corsica.

 

Why visit Corsica in August?

2-5 August: Porto Latino | In St Florent, join this Latin-American music festival in the village’s citadel.

5-7 August: Foire de l’Amandier | This annual festival marks the almond harvest with cooking demonstrations of Corsican dishes, tastings and painting exhibitions – it takes place in Aregno.

5-7 August: Musica Classica | A classical music festival in Santa Reparata di Balagna in an open-air setting.

15 August: Assumption de Marie | This is an important festival that is celebrated all over Corsica to mark the passage of Virgin Mary into heaven.

16-17 August: Fiera di U Nuciola | If the almond has its own festival, the hazelnut should have too! The festival takes place in the square of Cervione.

 

Why travel to Corsica in September?

3-11 September: Festival du Tango | Add some days to join the tango festival in Bonifacio’s old Citadel with guitarists, dancers, street performers and lots of food.

9-13 September: U Mele in Festa | If you like to take part in one of Corsica’s oldest celebrations, join this festival of honey in Murzu to honour Virgin Mary.

13-17 September: Rencontres de Chants Polyphoniques de Calvi | International polyphonic singers take to the stage in Calvi’s citadel.

14 September: Festa di u Ficu | In the village of Peri, join this festival celebrating the harvest of figs. It’s in the north east of Ajaccio.

 

Why visit Corsica in October?

29 September – 2 October: Tour de Corse | A FIA world rally that starts in Bastia this year and finishes in Porto-Vecchio. There are many laps that go through the island’s narrow villages so you’re sure to enjoy superb views.


Tour de Corse - Corsica walking holidays - Sherpa Expeditions

©JeanbaptisteM

 

On Sherpa’s Corsica walking holiday, start in Corte’s old town in the heart of the mountains and cross the north-south watershed onwards to the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the iconic rock formations of Les Calanches.

 

For more information on these festivals or our cycling and walking holidays in Corsica, Sicily and Sardinia, have a look at the specific trip notes or contact our team of travel experts in London. 

Cornish Coastal Challenge

Cornish Coastal Path, North Padstow to St Ives, UK - Sherpa Expeditions


  • 10% Off Cornwall Walking Holidays
  • Win A Travel Voucher
  • Contribute to the Path
  • Help Set a World Record

 

Get 10% off your October trip to Cornwall when you book a Sherpa Expeditions walking holiday on the Cornwall Coast Path. By travelling this fine part of Britain in October this year, you help set a new record on the iconic 630 miles long walking trail. Donate your saved 10% to the South West Coast Path Association

for conservation purposes or even raise extra funds for the charity and get a chance to win a Sherpa Expeditions travel voucher. (*terms & conditions apply)

 

In Cornwall, UK - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Every year in October the South West Coast Path Association organises “The Challenge”. Goal is to break last year’s 9,144 miles world record of walking and running the path in one month (that is like 56 times climbing Mt Everest!), while at the same time raising funds for the maintenance and development of England’s longest trail.

 

The individual walker with the highest donation to the association during The Challenge month of October is rewarded with a £63 travel voucher offered by Sherpa Expeditions.

 

Sherpa Expeditions is a proud member of the South West Coast Path Association and likes to keep the path accessible for many generations to come. We believe the South West Coast Path offers one of the finest walking trails in Great Britain and Sherpa Expeditions travellers can explore the path via our walking and cycling holidays.

 

Because we expect a high interest in the event, we ask you to make bookings for your October walking holiday at least one month in advance.  

 

Cornwall, South West Coast Path, UK - Sherpa Expeditions

 

Cornwall, St Ives Seascape, UK - Sherpa Expeditions Walking Holidays

 

*Terms & Conditions

10% discount offer applies to 3 trips: Cornish Coastal Path North - Padstow to St. Ives; Cornish Coastal Path West - St. Ives to Penzance; Cornish Coastal Path South - Marazion to Mevagissey. 10% discount offer is valid for new bookings made before 04 September 2016 and is applicable to trips departing between 01-31 October 2016. Direct bookings only. Discount is on the trip price only and does not apply to extensions, flights or supplements. Subject to availability; cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer and cannot be redeemed for cash. Sherpa Expeditions encourages travellers to donate their discount to the South West Coast Path Association.

Sherpa Expeditions travel voucher is worth GBP 63.00 and needs to be validated on a Sherpa Expeditions holiday departing before 31 December 2017. The travel voucher is rewarded to the individual that donated the highest amount of funds to the South West Coast Path in the month October 2016. Your donation must have received the South West Coast Path before 02 November 2016 to be eligible for the travel voucher. The receiver of the travel voucher will be announced in the South West Coast Path Association and Sherpa Expeditions newsletters. Subject to availability, cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer and cannot be redeemed for cash.

Where to Go and Celebrate the Festive Season in Europe

The festive season has started with plenty of different celebrations around Europe. Here are five festivals you can join this December or January in Slovenia, Rome, Germany, Tyrol, and Andalucía.  

 

(c)Europe-Video-Productions-Three-Kings-Parade-Spain

 

1. Three Kings Parade | Andalucia, Spain

Cabalgata Los Reyes Magos is the Three Kings Parade celebrated across Spain on the 6th January. In Andalucia, towns and cities welcome the Three Kings when the evening falls on the Iberian Peninsula on the 5th January. It's a colourful parade where the kings toss out sweets for the children waiting along the streets for the parade to pass by. 

Thousands of spectators come to witness the arrival the three wise Kings Balthazar, Melchior and Caspar dressed in traditional costumes. 

When: 6 January 2016

(c)Shadowgate-Postojna-Cave-in-Slovenia

 

2. Nativity Scene | Postojna Cave, Slovenia

The Live Nativity Scene in the Postojna Cave in Slovenia, about 1 hour drive from Trieste, is a unique performance. The caves are an attraction on its own already, but when the biblical scenes come to life they're even more rewarding. Fantasy stalactite forms, the inventive play of light, harmonious music and singing in a very acoustic environment together create an almost surreal Christmas atmosphere. At the cave's entrance a Christmas market takes place. If you want to experience the nativity scene, it's best to make a booking in advance. Shows run every half hour from 1-3pm. 
When: 25-30 December 2015

(c)www.riegersburg.com - Perchtenlauf in Reigersburg.

 

3. Krampustag | Eastern Tyrol, Salzburg & Bavaria, Austria

Perhaps less suitable for younger children, in Austria on the 5th of December the Krampustag is celebrated. Young men dress like demons: wearing fearsome masks made out of wood, fur robes, tails and use branches as weapons to chase away bad spirits. The processions organised are known as Perchtenläufe and are truly spectacular to watch. The Perchtenläufe originally take place only four nights a year, on December 21 and 24 and New Year's Eve and January 5. Good places to observe this festival are Gastein, Altenmarkt, St. Johann and Bischofshofen in Salzburg, Henndorf and other places in Eastern Tyrol and Bavaria.  
When: 21 December 2015 - 5 January 2016

Sherpa Expeditions self guided walking holidays in Tyrol & Bavaria


4. Christmas market | Stuttgart, Germany

One of the best places to go for a typical German Christmas market is Stuttgart. It is said to have one of the most beautiful markets in Europe and has a very nostalgic feel to it. The market is set up in and around the Old Palace on the Renaissance inner courtyard. There are over 280 wooden Christmas stalls, which sell a range of Christmas items and gifts. Obviously there's also plenty of German snacks and drinks available, try for example roasted chestnuts, gingerbread, Swabian specialities and mulled wine (gluewhein). 

When: 28 November - 23 December 2015
Sherpa Expeditions trips in Germany


(c)neigesdantan-Fireworks-in-Rome

 

5. Fireworks | Rome, Italy

For those of you who are in Rome over the holiday period, make sure to be part of the New Year's Eve celebrations in town. Prepare for lots of fireworks after the midnight countdown. It's especially spectacular with the backdrop of some of the world's most impressive monuments like the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Piazza di Spagna, and San Marco square. Prepare for lots of noise as well; people throw old pots, pans and furniture out of their windows to 'let go of unhappiness and prepare Rome for a happier future'.  

When: 31 December 2015

Sherpa Expeditions trips in Italy


Image of Three Kings in Spain, copyright of ©Europe Video Productions | Image of Postojna Cave, copyright of ©Shadowgate Postojna Cave | Image of Perchtenlauf, copyright of ©riegersburg.com | Image of fireworks in Rome, copyright of ©neigesdantan

It's the Season Across Europe

Christmas traditions across Europe are as varied as the villages, mountains and countryside in which they take place. To give you an idea what traditional Christmas celebrations look like in Italy, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, France, Iceland, Slovenia and Germany, we did a little research among our friends and came to the below typical traditions. 

(c)tristanf-rudolph rednosed raindeer-in-Iceland

ICELAND - GLEÐILEG JÓL!

Because the days are so short and dark the Christmas lights are put up early in Iceland. Icelanders celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December. On Christmas day the traditional meal that most Icelanders enjoy is smoked lamb (hangikjöt) served with leaf bread (Laufabrauð). The leaf bread is a hard, deep fried, thin bread that families get together to bake, cutting decorative patterns in the dough.

Baking holds a special place at Christmas time as it provides an opportunity for families and friends to do something together while the kids dance around the Christmas tree and sing Christmas carols.

There are 13 Santas, or Yule lads, in Iceland with each providing children a small present in their shoe for each of the 13 nights before Christmas. If the kids are naughty they get an old potato. This tradition has helped to ensure good behaviour for the second part of December!

 

(c)Nicola-since-1972-panettone-italy-christmas

ITALY - Buon Natale!

On Christmas Eve, children across the country leave out a glass of wine and cake for Babbo Natale (Father Christmas). In some cities, like Trieste, San Nicolò (Santa Claus) brings presents on December 6, while in Verona the tradition of Santa Lucia sees the whole city celebrate with Christmas markets and children receiving presents on December 13.

The traditional cakes eaten through the season include pandoro, originally from Verona, and panettone, from Milan, both sweet breads with raisins and candied fruit included in the panettone. On Christmas Day the hero dish is roasted capon (cockerel).

CZECH REPUBLIC - Ježíšku panáčku!

Advent, the period of fasting that begins four weeks before Christmas holidays, is the most eagerly awaited time of year for many Czechs as it means the preparations for Christmas can begin.

On Christmas Eve, fairy-tales are told and houses are decorated with mistletoe and of course a Christmas tree. Traditions include an all-day fast (it is said that whoever lasts until the evening will see a golden pig) or the throwing of a slipper (if it lands with the toes pointing at the door, it means that the girl in the house will marry within a year). Meatless dishes are served for lunch – peas, barley, or a mushroom casserole.

Other unique Czech Christmas traditions include; placing a candle in a nutshell and put it in the water. If the candle doesn’t sink, it means a prosperous year ahead.

(c)Dokiai-Aikido-christmas-lights-in-Slovenia

SLOVENIA - Vesel božič!

Around 60% of Slovenians are Christians and typically only this part of the Slovenian population celebrates Christmas. For many other non-Christian Slovenians New Year’s Eve is celebrated, instead of Christmas, however the family gets together on January 2 for the celebratory meal.

Children in Slovenia can receive gifts from St. Nicholas, Baby Jesus, Santa Claus, or Grandfather Frost. St. Nicholas visits on St. Nicholas Day, December 6. Santa Claus or Baby Jesus visits on Christmas while Grandfather, or Father, Frost may appear on New Year.

THE NETHERLANDS - Gelukkig Kerstfeest!

Most organisations in the Netherlands share in the festive spirit by rewarding their employees with a kerstpakket (Christmas box). Traditionally this contains groceries like lobster soup, bread sticks, ragout & patties, candles, crisps and maybe even a bottle of mulled wine.

The main Christmas meal is embraced by everyone, usually even two days in a row on the 25th and 26th (second Christmas Day) of December. These dinners in the Netherlands typically include either a roulade with trimmings or a raclette dinner.

GERMANY - Frohe Weihnachten!

For most Germans the one colourful tradition is the Christmas market. Beginning mostly in late November in almost every German city, town or village, Christmas markets will pop up on the local square and often in several other locations with beautifully decorated stalls, entertainment and all kinds of delicious foods like Glühwein (mulled wine) and roasted chestnuts.

Heiligabend (Christmas Eve) is the main day where presents are exchanged. Traditionally a small meal like potato salad with small sausages (Frankfurter/Wiener Würstchen) or carp are served before the opening of gifts.

(c)sarahstierch-christmas-market-in-France

FRANCE - Joyeux Noël!

As you would expect in France, the Christmas meal is something to behold with a Christmas turkey served with pommes dauphine (crisp potato puffs made by mixing mashed potatoes with savory choux pastry), green beans rolled in bacon, and some chestnuts. And it wouldn’t be a French Christmas without some good red wine of course!

Several days before Christmas the towns and villages of France take on a festive air. Town hall facades are decorated, huge trees are erected in the major squares and the main streets begin to dazzle with a wonderful array of Christmas lights.

Image of reindeer in Iceland, copyright of ©Dokiai Aikido | Image of panettone in Italy, copyright of ©tristanf | Image of square in Slovenia, copyright of ©Nicola since 1972 | Image of Christmas market in France, copyright of ©sarahstierch