Forget cliche destinations, big buses and chain hotels – make your next European holiday authentic and adventurous.
If you’re thinking about a trip to Europe, there’s plenty of big bus tours or cruise ship journeys on offer. But if you are after a more personalized adventure – one where you are not just a face in the tourist crowd – you should consider a boutique small-group adventure.
A Local Guide Makes a Big Difference
On a small-group adventure, there’s never more than 16 people and some tours are even smaller. You’ll travel with a local guide – someone who was born and bred in the region, who speaks the language, knows the customs and can answer your questions about local history and culture. The guide is also the person who manages transport, accommodation and entry tickets for you – all you need to do is sit back and enjoy.
An Authentic Experience
Another feature of the small group adventure is the authentic nature of the experience. Accommodation is locally-run and has been hand-selected for its character and charm. Sometimes special food or accommodation experiences are included – maybe staying in a historic palace or dining with a local family in their home.
Small-group adventures will take you off the beaten track and offer interesting local experiences. You can explore quaint villages, go on a rural bike ride, learn about local cuisine, take a boat trip or hike in the mountains.
Here are a few destination ideas that are a little bit different from the norm, to get you thinking about your next European adventure…
Sail the Coast of Croatia
The Dalmatian Coast, set by the sparkling waters of the Adriatic Sea, is one of the world’s most stunning locations. For a different kind of adventure, consider exploring Croatia by private yacht – with a maximum of eight passengers, you’ll sail down the coast, disembarking each day to explore old towns, palaces and medieval fortresses. You can laze on an island beach, wander cobbled streets or take a seat at a waterside restaurant and watch the world go by.
Head for the Heel of the Boot in Southern Italy
Tuscany has been everyone’s Italian travel darling for years now – but for something a little different, consider exploring the fascinating south of Italy. Stroll along the beautiful Amalfi Coast and sip cocktails in sophisticated Trani. Explore Polignano a Mare, a stunning clifftop village protected by medieval city walls, then head for Lecce, a town in the very heel of the boot, studded with sumptuous mansions and magnificent Roman ruins.
View the Spectacular Northern Lights
The Northern Lights are an awe-inspiring spectacle. The eerie green, pink and violet glow that dances across the sky is simply surreal.
To see the lights, you’ll need to head very far north – perhaps to Norway or Iceland. And this will give you the chance to see some spectacular landscapes along the way – in Iceland, you can explore volcanic craters, lava fields, glacial lakes and dazzling waterfalls.
Eat and Drink your Way Through Northern Spain
The north of Spain is one of the world’s great food regions. Catalan, Basque and Galician cuisines are all regionally distinct, featuring sumptuous flavours and fresh produce. Explore underground wine caves, graze on astonishing tapas by beautiful beaches, tuck into a traditional stew in a small mountain village and eat your way through cosmopolitan cities – all washed down with a glass or two of local Rioja, of course!
Take a Slow Boat Through the Canals of Southern France
Taking a small boat down the Canal du Midi is a great way of seeing a regional area of southern France in depth. The journey will be paced according to the desires of the eight passengers on board – fancy stopping in a village for a mid-morning coffee and croissant? Or heading on to the next town where a medieval fortress awaits your exploration? You’ll see vineyards, medieval villages, castles and churches – it’s a beautiful part of the world.
There is a whole world of unique small-group adventures waiting for you.