The Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson said “Wine is bottled poetry.” It’s certainly true—just as poetry is a representation of a time, a writer, and a culture, tasting a delicious and carefully crafted wine can put you in touch with the spirit of a place, the soil, the weather, and the people who made it. That’s why wine and travel pair so beautifully. There’s nothing like enjoying amazing wine while you also see the land where it was born.
Of course, there is no country that epitomizes fine wine quite the way that France does. Here at Breakaway Adventures, we have several amazing tours that will bring you deep into the heart of French wine country. Here’s a list of our top three tours for French wine lovers:
This independent, mellow walking trip will take you to some of the most stunning and grand châteaux along the Loire River, from the Château de Chambord, the largest château in the Loire Valley, and a hunting lodge of sixteenth-century French king François I that was once visited by Italian Renaissance painters including Leonardo da Vinci. You’ll walk through fields of poppies, stunning vineyards, and you’ll stay in charming inns with owners who serve delicious food as well as outstanding French wines.
This is another gentle walk through French vineyards, one that runs parallel to the famous Alsatian Route Du Vin, the oldest wine route in France. You’ll be positively charmed by these villages filled with half-timbered, pastel-painted buildings dripping with flowers as well as by the local vignerons, who tend to insist upon visitors sampling an array of their wines.
Walk the land where some of the most famous wines of France are made: Chablis, sparkling Crémant, Irancy, Aligoté. This is Burgundy at its finest. But in addition to the opportunity to sample many of the finest wines in the world and stroll past picturesque vineyards, you’ll also pass gorgeous villages tucked against river banks, rolling hills dotted with poppies and sunflowers, and you’ll stay in hotels specifically chosen for their hospitality and cuisine—which always includes the best in regional wines.
There is nothing quite as soothing to the soul as the floating sensation of gliding across the snow. What skier doesn’t remember vividly an image of a frosted mountaintop in the distance, bluebird skies, and a glittering sea of fresh powder laid out before them?
Whether you’re a beginner cross-country skier who’s looking to get inspired and improve skills or an intermediate skier who wants to practice in some of the best skiing country in the world, we have two perfect trips for you:
Austria is an ideal destination for snow-lovers, and Leutasch combines excellent skiing—the Olympics were held here twice—with sleigh rides, winter walking, tobogganing and even curling. And all this winter fun is served up alongside luxury accommodations. And best yet, it’s an excellent trip for beginner and intermediate skiers who want to improve their skills in an amazing location.
On this trip, you stay in the Hotel Xander, a historic inn located in the Leutasch Valley. The family-owned hotel’s tucked next to a village church that’s topped with an onion dome. Our resident guide, Steve Barrington, will meet you and outfit you with all the equipment you’ll need for skiing, and he’ll accompany you and help you build your skills as you explore for five days, climbing and descending gentle or more challenging hills. You can head cross-country toward the German border or make your way to the Olympic village at Seefeld. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the area on your own in the afternoons.
Breakfast and dinners are included, but lunches are on your own, which we think is one of the best parts of a ski trip. As you explore the villages of the valley, you can stop for lunch each day in the traditional Austrian mountain restaurants, an utterly charming experience.
Cross Country Skiing in Davos
Beginners, those looking to improve their skills and alpine skiers all rave about this trip in the Swiss Alps. Your trip includes a Davos card, which you can use to get around on buses and trains; a 6-day cross-country ski pass; cross-country ski equipment; and three morning lessons with a professional ski instructor. You can choose the difficulty of the trails, but you’re sure to find gorgeous views of the surrounding valleys and villages. And if you want to take a day off skiing, there’s still plenty to explore.
For seven nights, you’ll stay at the stunning four-star Hotel Meierhof in the town of Davos. The hotel includes a building dating to 1890 that will charm you with its pine-scented formal lobby, hand-carved grandfather clock and romantic dining room. An update to the hotel added top-notch amenities, including a spa, solarium, steam bath and whirlpool. But the hotel is especially well-known for its exceptional dining and outstanding wine list. It’s the perfect place for après ski.
Getting a great deal on airfare can make a big difference in your travel budget. And there can be such variance in the prices from moment to moment, day to day, and month to month, it definitely pays to do put the extra effort into finding the best fares.
These seven tips can help you get the best deals on your next trip, so read on!
- Shop on Tuesdays
Most people shop for airfare on weekends, because that’s when they have free time. But weekends aren’t the best time to book. Airlines announce sales on Tuesdays, so shop mid-day on Tuesday or early Wednesday.
- Book in Early Mornings
Most of the airlines will update their inventory systems overnight, and if they’re going to release a few low-price seats, they’ll be available only for the first few shoppers.
- Head to Twitter
Increasingly, airlines are heading to Twitter to announce special deals. Follow your favorite airlines, and don’t forget the smaller low-cost airlines, such as JetBlue.
- Sign up for Fare Alerts
Fare alerts, such as those available from FareWatcherPlus and Yapta.com can help you find a great deal by sending you an email when prices drop. You can track multiple airfares or track a specific itinerary.
- Check the Airline’s Own Site
Third-party travel sites can be great for searching a wide variety of airlines, but checking the website of the airline is always a good idea. Some airlines tend to reserve the very best fares for their sites. Quantas and Aer Lingus, for example, often offer fares $100-$350 less than what you’ll be able to get on websites such as Orbitz.
- Don’t Fear Early Flights
Early morning flights are not only often more affordable than afternoon-departing flights, they’re also less susceptible to cancellations.
- Consider One Way Tickets
Buying two one-way tickets can actually be more affordable than purchasing a ticket round-trip, so always check by searching your itinerary both ways. Kayak will help you search for these bargains, the website calls them “hacker fares.”
Do you have other tricks for saving money on airfare? Share your favorites with us on the Breakaway Adventures Facebook page—we’d love to share your favorite tips!