I love traveling during May and June because the days are so long and the blooming countryside is so beautiful. During this time of year we have very late sunsets which allows for more time to get to the hotel and enjoy the sea or the pool; while having a nice glass of Vermentino wine as an aperitif, of course! Our Spring Swept Away in Sardegna tours are a feast for your senses, incredible flower colors, but most of all, it's a festival of perfumes. These scents can not be experienced in many other places.
May and June are perfect as well because they are distant from the peak of tourism, which allows a real and deep experience with local culture, making it easier to get in touch with locals and experiencing their relaxed pace of life. Despite it not being prime tourist season, hotels and restaurants are still open making for a more personal experience.
It's no surprise that our Mediterranean Island Hopping tour is popular in May- when the sea is perfect. Both our May 6th and May 27th departures are confirmed and with only a fair amount of space available. Simone, what are some hidden highlights that might have led to this tour being chosen as one of National Geographic Traveler's Trips of a Lifetime in 2011?
This tour takes you to Sardegna and Corsica which are very close, though they are also very different. Politically, Sardegna belongs to Italy, and Corsica to France. Oddly enough, Sardegna has a lot of Spanish heritage as it was a Spanish colony for about 400 years and Corsica has deep roots in Italian history. In fact, Sardinian language is totally different from Italian, and reminds me a lot of Latin, while Corsican sounds a lot (a lot!) like ancient Italian from Tuscany. These differences translate into many aspects of culture and daily life, from food to music....and above all in a strong feeling for independence.
The magnificent beauty of Alghero, Bonifacio, Porto and Calvi are definitely reasons why our Mediterranean Island Hopping tour has received such praise. An evening in the historical centre of Alghero, walking with the local "movida", will help you understand why this place is called the "Barceloneta", small Bacelona. Arriving at the harbor in Bonifacio is a once in a lifetime experience. After arriving, we go for a spectacular walk that starts in the old town of Bonifacio and continues along the cliffs. Of all of the tours, Porto in Corsica is another one of my favorite places. We stay in a hotel close to the rocks, listening to the sound of the sea all night. It's a natural harbor, faraway from other villages, and that makes it very unique. We then the arrive in Calvi, a mix of Italian taste with the French way of life, it is the coolest town in Corsica for sure!
The sea is a big hit on this trip as we explore lot of pristine coastline. In fact, I have a notion that you will regret your trips to the Caribbean Islands once you've sailed on the archipelagos of small, inhabited islands between Sardegna and Corsica. You will spend the day relaxing while the captain is preparing some spaghetti with mussels paired with the local, fresh white wine.
The finale of this tour is unrivaled. Everyday we say that the day after the ride will be even better, and the last two days are not just the best days of the tour, but they are definitely among the best days of any of our tours. The day we arrive in Porto, we pass through the coastal area of Les Calanche, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with stunning granite formations of all shapes and tones of red. It's about a 10-mile downhill ride, but I always suggest stopping several times to enjoy all of the beauty. The following day is definitely challenging, but the scenery....Mamma Mia! Our ride through Calvi is possibly the most scenic ride of the trip and a fitting grand finale to our tour; many guests say that this ride is their all time favorite! This ride diplays all of the shades of ochra, and comes on huge boulders shaped from the mistral. The view is outstanding!
While Simone is synonymous with our Sardegna and Mediterranean Island Hopping tours (born and raised in Sardegna), many don't realize he is one of our specialty guides for Provence as well! What it is it about our Divine Provence tour that you are particularly passionate about and draws you away from your island life?
Wines! I know it's not very original, but when you come on the Divine Provence tour you will agree with me! And I'm not talking just about Chateneuf du Pape. When we ride in the areas of Vaiqueyras and Gigondas, it seems as though we are sailing with our bikes on a sea of grapes! It's quite an experience.
Besides the wine, the Provence scenery is absolutely stunning. We pedal all the way up Gorges de la Nesque, a canyon that never ends, until we are overlooking its vertical cliffs. It's a climb, but a relatively easy one. Once we reach the top, we reward ourselves with a lunch at Les Lavandes, a super cool provencal restaurant under gigantic plane trees!
A walk on the ruins of Glanum is a walk along the time, from local inhabitants to Romans and Greeks we'll see the layers of several civilizations. That place has something magical, considering that a genius like Van Gogh spent so much time there representing the deepest heart of those landscapes. Walking along the site during our guided visit we will feel like we are a part of his paintings. My favorite place in that area of Provence is Saint Remy, a nearby town with great artistic vibes- Van Gogh spent time here as well. Having a stroll along through the center of town and entering the glamorous art galleries is food for your soul.