Customised Tours – a few options for you to consider
The active gourmet travel tours in these countries are designed for
independent travellers, ie, they are not prescheduled escorted tours
where a number of people or groups unknown to each other
We customise holidays in these countries to suit you, and price the
tours accordingly. You may want an itinerary to follow on your own,
or you may want an escorted tour just for your own group.
The choice is yours!
Click on one of the buttons below for more information or fill out our Travel Planner or email Gail to talk about the holiday you're interested in.
Independent travellers cycling in the Loire
Normandy/Brittany – bike, walk, drive
From the sea to the forest, follow smugglers' pathways in the
footsteps of the pilgrims. Appreciate the vibrant Breton culture and
the heritage of the Knights of the Round Table, deep in the forests
of Broceliande. Savour the bounty of both land and sea – huge
Cancale oysters and mussels from the bay of Mont-St-Michel,
accompanied by a chilled bottle of Muscadet – mind blowing!
The lamb, reared on the saltmarshes at the base of the Abbey of
Mont-St-Michel, has a flavour and succulence that words cannot
describe. Indulge in copious quantities of Pont l'Eveque, livarot and
camembert, three of the most famous cheeses of France.
Sun-ripened apples and pears in a multitude of cooked forms, both
sweet and savoury, plus brilliant cider, pommeau aperitif and calvados.
See the famed Bayeux tapestry and visit the D-Day landing beaches.
Stay overnight on France's most-beloved monument, Mont-St-Michel,
to watch the highest tide of the year. Walk, cycle or travel by support
vehicle, knowing that each night your accommodation and meals are
going to be very special.
Midi/Catalonia (France and Spain)
Visit this unspoiled land of sun and seafood during autumn. Meander beside the
famed Canal-du-Midi, canoe in sparkling waters. Absorb the rhythms of the
vintage in a typical small Languedoc village. Discover Minerve in the heart of
Cathar country and the glorious little Mediterranean fishing port of Collioure.
If you are a cycling enthusiast, there is no better place to base yourself than the
historic Catalan city of Girona. Great food, a good vibe, and countless kilometres
of safe and interesting cycling.
Officially, Corsica is part of France, but in most ways it is a world away. Over the
centuries the island has had many masters but it has always maintained
its own distinctive characteristics.
Corsica's rocky landscape is immense – sheer cliffs plunge into the
bluest of clear seas, small fishing harbours nestle behind fingers of land,
the silver sand beaches are uncrowded.
The rustic cuisine features many types of air-dried meats and luscious
sheep cheeses, washed down with very acceptable local wines.
Explore the coast by boat, drive or cycle the perimeter, or set off on one
of the world's great walks through the interior of the island.
Oysters in Cancale
Driving in Corsica
The Italy we know today is a relatively young country. Prior to 1871
it was a group of duchies and small kingdoms, each with their own
strong customs. These distinctive regional differences are reflected
in the much-loved food and wine of Italy.
Let us help you to understand the different areas: a few days lounging
by Lake Como; searching the secrets of Venice; soaking up the
splendors of the Amalfi Coast – there is a huge variety, and we are
always looking for new places to explore. Wherever you go in Italy,
the people are vivacious and family-oriented and they'll make you
feel very welcome.
A real surprise package, the biggest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily
is a mere 3km from the Italian mainland, but bears very little
resemblance to it – the people look different and behave differently,
the food is different, the architecture is different. Why? Over the
centuries Sicily has seen many civilisations come and go from
Greeks and Romans to Normans and Spaniards. Even the Nazis and
the Allies left a lasting legacy.
The landscape is equally varied. The western coastline is splendid and the mighty peak of Mt Etna can be seen from much of the island. The sight of the golden orb of the sun sinking into the sea over the ruins of an ancient temple will stay with you forever.
South Tuscany and Umbria
Take this wonderful opportunity to approach the cuisine of this
bountiful region the way the locals do – with enthusiasm, with
relish – con gusto!
Absorb the special smells of the countryside as you cycle or wander
on tiny white roads through fields of sunflowers. Experience the
rhythms of the grape harvest, learn the secrets of olive oil and
cheese making, and the mysteries of lake fishing and hunting.
Historic walled towns, vibrant countryside, stunning seasonal food and wine, supportive locals. What more could one ask for?
No need to pack up and move on every day – experience life on a small organic farm, learning historic recipes, sampling the produce and sucking up the atmosphere. Return home revitalised, and not one kilogram heavier!
Relax in Positano on the Amalfi Coast
Mt Etna smoking
Wander the Tuscan countryside
Kerry Dance Tour
Explore this land of secret pathways, friendly people, inimitable music
and pubs, Guinness and oysters.
Starting in Kenmare, County Kerry, you choose any of the following
combinations of walking, boating, cycling, fishing and golfing on Kerry's
Enjoy Atlantic salmon, wonderful chowders and strength-enhancing
Guinness. Revel in the wonderful hospitality of the Irish people.
Ross Castle, Kerry, Ireland
Barcelona and the Catalan countryside
Spend three nights in Barcelona, one in the Costa Brava and another
in a restored castle in the Catalan countryside. This escorted tour is
an extended weekend giving you a tantalising taste of a very
distinctive region that borrows little from the rest of Spain.
The Catalan people have a deeply felt individual identity rooted in a
rich and glorious past. Style brings many visitors to Barcelona.
Madrid – town and around
Modern and vibrant, Madrid is a beautiful city to wander around.
Impressive art museums and galleries ensure Madrid has a place
on the European art circuit. You will also discover good food and
wine, great shopping and friendly locals.
From your Madrid base, you can visit Toledo with its El Greco
masterpieces and atmospheric narrow streets, the wondrous El Escorial
royal monastery, the Alcazar and Roman aqueduct in Segovia and the
ancient city of Avila, which is encircled by well-preserved 11th century
walls. This tour includes overnight stays in Cuenca and in Salamanca –
an ancient city famous for its early medieval university.
Andalucia – Southern Spain
Flamenco, beaches and geranium-covered, white-washed hillside villages are the essence of
Andalucia. Visit Granada and see the most romantic palace in Europe, the exquisite
Mezquita in Cordoba, the Alcazar and the Giralda tower in Seville, outstanding
Renaissance architecture in Baeza and Ubeda and the remarkable white towns
perched on the hill.
Savour small countryside towns, far off the tourist track, local specialities, such as
freshly-caught trout, taste tapas in Seville, see the flamenco contest in Ronda
and wander former smugglers' pathways.
San Sebastian and the Basque Country
The Basques are an ancient race with a unique language. For years Euskadi
(the Basque Country) was viewed with great suspicion by the world in general and
regarded as a strange, slightly sinister area full of people in a constant state of revolt.
Today it is one of the most progressive areas in Europe. Two contributing factors:
the building of the magnificent Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art
in the former grubby port town of Bilbao, and the recognition of
San Sebastian as one of the foremost towns in the world for lovers of
good food. There are more Michelin stars in this town than anywhere
else in Europe but it is possible to eat splendid food at all price points.
San Sebastian is the spiritual home of the pinxtos (tapas).
The Basque Country's rugged coastline produces the seafood that
forms the basis of many of the meals, and the mountainous green
countryside produces beef and sensational sheep cheeses. From a
base in or near San Sebastian it is possible to visit La Rioja wine region.
Medieval villages are also nestled in the hills and all farm houses are built in the distinctive Basque style with heavy beams and tiled rooves. Great surfing is possible at a beach right in the middle of town, or pop over the French border to the surfing meccas of Biarritz and
St-Jean de Luz.
Gaudi in sunny Barcelona
Beautiful Madrid is a great base
The beach at San Sebastian
Alhambra in Granada
Portugal is a fascinating country with a long and distinguished maritime tradition. It is noted for its long sunshine hours and has always been a favoured holiday destination.
This long, skinny country is easily traversed on a series of motorways
and magnificent bridges built when Portugal hosted a recent European
The backroads make for great exploring and here you will find a style of
accommodation unique to Portugal – the pousada. These are hotels built
on the site of old palaces, monasteries and other grand public buildings
and are found throughout the country.
What better way of exploring a country and its cuisine than to stay in a
series of pousadas? Many are close to outstanding golf courses, and others are
right in the centre of historic cities. The two largest cities, Lisbon and Porto are must-sees, the latter is the home of the famed port wine industry.
Portuguese cuisine is simple and flavoursome, based largely on the harvesting of the abundant fish and shellfish stocks from the Atlantic. The wine is not complex but is plentiful!
Relax on the Algarve coast
Autumn Golf – South Island
From our luxurious base in Queenstown, enjoy golf on some of the
world’s most stunning golf courses (Millbrook, Kelvin Heights and
Jack’s Point). There will be opportunities to visit leading-edge
wineries, to explore some of the Lord of the Rings sites and to
relish the food of Central Otago.
Not a golfer? Not a problem! There is so much to see and do without
going near a golf course. Lake Te Anau is one of our great treasures –
spend two nights right beside the lake. While in Te Anau, relish a
game on the unheralded, beautifully-groomed golf course with its
spectacular views over the lake. Explore the start of the famous
Kepler Track, the Waiau River and glorious Lake Manapouri.
The road to Milford Sound is widely regarded as one of the great
journeys of the world. Waterfalls thunder down sheer rock faces,
beech forest reflected in mirror lakes, and the majestic Mitre Peak
rising from the waters of the sound itself. The Milford coach has been
specially adapted to give the very best views of the scenery.
The well-appointed boat Milford Wanderer will be waiting to make
the journey out to the Tasman Sea (hopefully, the resident dolphin pod will frolic alongside!).
Later, when the boat tucks into a sheltered cove, kayak the limpid waters to work up an appetite for a splendid onboard dinner before settling into self-contained cabins for the night. After a hearty breakfast, back into the coach for the return trip to Te Anau and on to Queenstown Airport for late afternoon flights home. Should you decide to stay on for a few more days in the South Island, the active gourmet travel will be very happy to suggest places to explore, and to arrange any bookings for you.
Playing golf in Queenstown
Mitre Peak, Milford Sounds
The delights of London are known to all, but not everyone is familiar
with the glorious British countryside. On your next visit, consider a few
days on the Cornish coast where fishing boats bob in front of restaurants
serving their freshly-caught fish (think Padstow, for example).
The Cotswold hills have provided shelter for man since the Bronze Age.
The quaint villages built from the local golden stone with thatched
roofs, were once the centre of a prosperous wool industry. Wander
from valley to valley, by bike, on foot or by car.
Take the West Highland Line on one of the great train journeys of the
world up the west coast of Scotland, the route taken by the Hogwarts Express. The ferry to the Isle of Skye awaits you...
Wander the Cotswold hills
Mountains, wonderful trains, chocolate, Roger Federer, cuckoo clocks –
so many images spring to mind when the word 'Switzerland' is
mentioned. Spend some time in the major cities of Zurich and
Geneva with alpine train journeys and steamers on the famous lakes.
Keen on a personalised tour?
We will design an itinerary for you, tailormade to suit your needs, interests and time frame. You decide when and how long you wish to tour for, who with and on what mode of transport.
Or we can help you select the most suitable tour from our extensive portfolio of the very best of worldwide activity holidays.
Explore the Swiss Alps