Active Leisure & Camino de Santiago
Looking After You With Wellness, Relaxation and The Great Outdoors
Variety is the spice of life and there is certainly a wide variety of “outdoor activities” awaiting you whether it’s land, water or air you’re looking for! With the lush green coast of Northern Spain and Portugal, the azure Mediterranean, the majestic mountain French Pyrenees ... to name but a few … this part of Europe, with its Mediterranean climate, was made for the lover of the great outdoors.
Being active on vacation is becoming an increasingly more prominent part of the trips we arrange and as all our team members, on a personal level, enjoy exercise, sports and generally unwinding with nature, we love including “active outdoors” experiences for our guests, as part of their itinerary. Even though our main focus is on food, wine and cultural trips in Spain, Portugal and SW France, we are always happy to incorporate active leisure as well as wellness and relaxation elements to our guests’ tours. They make for a perfect break from the lively city and complement our itineraries well! What’s more, many times these off the road sports and nature activities are a great opportunity to make the most of the breath-taking scenery and connect even more with the locals and the local culture.
Spain, Portugal and SW France have limitless options for hiking and biking from the Camino, Pyrenees, Alpujarras, and Picos de Europa to gentle coastal paths, water ways and country lanes. There are many great walking and cycling trails all over that are well-kept and well signposted. In various regions we can happily include bike hire for you so saddle up and cycle away to your heart’s content along the peaceful country roads through the vineyards in La Rioja, along the Canal Du Midi in Carcassonne or along the Atlantic coast of Portugal. But, if you prefer your own two feet to 2 wheels then: On the Costa Brava, the “Camins de Ronda” as they are known in Catalan, are a series of footpaths linking together some of the Costa Brava’s coves - a 220km hiking trail in Spain. As the path meanders on the cliff top, the Mediterranean embraces the rocks below, opening at times to give us the gift of a curious cove or an idyllic inlet. Magnificent views abound and exhilarating sea air and unspoilt beauty await you at every corner of the extensive coastal path, whether a gentle stroll or a longer walk to discover a hidden cove. The famous Camino de Santiago or Way of St. James is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, in NW Spain, where, legend has it, the remains of the apostle, Saint James the Great, are buried. While we know where it ends it is difficult to establish where the Way begins and over the years many different Caminos have emerged. Walking the Camino is not difficult, as most of it is on fairly flat and solid paths, but it is time-consuming and pilgrims can take days and weeks to walk it. We will be delighted to include a day or two for you if you wish to try the Way of St. James. For more serious hikers and mountaineers the Picos de Europa or Peaks of Europe in Northern Spain abound with spectacular scenery of river-filled gorges and sky reaching mountains, the Sierra Nevada National Park in the south-east of Spain boasts the highest point in continental Spain and the extensive GR10 hiking route in the Pyrenees climbs up and down the mountains following the border, on the French side.
For those who prefer the more serene side to the active outdoors, we arrange some fabulous private sailing experiences throughout Spain, Portugal and SW France, whether it’s a skippered sail around the scenic Spanish Costa Brava or a relaxing Rabelo cruise on the Portuguese Douro River. A boat trip can be one of the most relaxing and rewarding activities of your trip! If you’re looking for something a little more active then we can also incorporate a range of water sports into your trip if you wish like kayaking, scuba diving or surfing! Avid surfers will know that northern Spain offers the vast Basque coastline and happens to qualify as a world-class surfing spot as too does Portugal - a famed surfer’s paradise.
If you’re looking to hit the fairways then there is an endless list of World class Championship Golf Courses, so pack up your tees and lace up your shoes! Spain offers some of the finest golfing in Europe, with courses designed by the likes of Robert Trent Jones and Seve Ballesteros. There are over 300 golf courses (and counting), mainly scattered along the Costa Brava and Costa del Sol. In northern Spain the PGA Catalunya, on the Costa Brava, is considered, by many, to be the best golf course in Spain. Then in the South, you may like to play Valderrama, home of the 1997 Ryder Cup. In Portugal the Algarve is a golfer’s wonderland with an increasing number of superb golf courses designed by renowned architects. Jack Nicklaus’s signature Monte Rei North course is here and also the dominating Oceanico complex offering the Old, Victoria, Laguna and Pinhal courses.
Why not spend an active morning walking, cycling or sailing then reward your morning’s efforts. Take a stroll along the beach, sit on a sunny terrace sipping a delicious cocktail, enjoy a relaxing massage or use your hotel’s spa facilities … then this evening treat yourselves to an exquisite meal! See more leisure activity ideas in our Custom Build Your Experience section. We cater to everyone … but, if you don’t see what you’re looking for, don’t dismay, contact us today!
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away Mark Twain