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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
take part.


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, be driven

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
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.
Walk, cycle, drive 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.


Le Mont-St-Michel.jpg

Le Mont-St-Michel


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
splendours 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 


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 
harvest, learn the secrets of olive oil and
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
velvety courses. 


Enjoy Atlantic salmon, wonderful chowders and strength-enhancing
Guinness. Revel in the wonderful hospitality of the Irish people. 


Ross castle-Kerry Ireland.jpg

Ross Castle, Kerry, Ireland


Barcelona and the Catalan countryside

Spend time in Barcelona, and on the Costa Brava and stay
in a restored castle in the Catalan countryside. This will give 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
, great shopping and friendly locals. 


From your Madrid base, you can visit Toledo with its El Greco
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


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 Cordobathe Alcazar and the Giralda tower in Sevilleoutstanding
Renaissance architecture in 
Baeza and Ubeda and the remarkable white towns
perched on 
the hills.


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.


Donastia - 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 Bilbaoand 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 chee

From a base in or near San Sebastian it is possible to visit La Rioja wine region.
Medieval villages are nestled in the hills and all farm houses are built in the distinctive Basque style with heavy beams and tiled roofs. 

Great surfing is possible at a beach right in the middle of San Sebastian, or pop over the French border to the surfing meccas of Biarritz and St-Jean de Luz.


The beach at San Sebastian



Gaudi in sunny Barcelona


Beautiful Madrid is a great base


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 European
Football Cup.


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! 

Lagos, Algarve coast-Portugal.jpg

Relax on the Algarve coast


Hubert_New Zealand.png
One of the countless options for experiencing the beauty of
New Zealand.

Autumn Golf – South Island

From a 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.

Drive yourself or travel by Milford coach, 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!).

Talk to Gail about the countless other options available throughout New Zealand.


New Zealand


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.
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

United Kingdom


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

New Zealand
United Kingdom

Enjoying Minerve

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