BIKE, HIKE, OR KAYAK. FAMILY, COUPLE, OR SOLO. FANCY OR NO-FRILLS. WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED

The following is a small tasting menu of the kinds of vacations we have created for others and can whip up for you across our destinations. Each group of travelers has its own style and requirements. Whether you’re a solo cyclist looking to create your own Tour de France route or a multi-generational family wanting a villa stay with cultural excursions, hiking options, and a private chef, Active Vacations can plan every detail.


Family reunion in a villa
Provence, France

The Trip: The whole family, ages three to 65, want to take over a private villa in southern France for a week.  
Interests: Absolutely everyone—mom, dad, kids, and gran—has a different wish list between frantic days of pedaling among the vines to poolside abstraction to hunting down Provence’s most picturesque villages and tasty produce.
Level of Difficulty: Novices, intermediates, and saddle pros are all on this trip.
Luxury Level: Ultra luxe
Travel Style: Indulgent and active

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THE CUSTOM TRIP WE CREATED

The luxury hideout is a 16th-century stone home Villa Priory, set in 40 acres of private gardens, meadows and parkland, with magnificent views over the Luberon massif. The air-conditioned, seven-bedroom property has a piano, as well as an 80-foot heated infinity pool, private tennis and pétanque courts. A private chef, wait staff, and babysitters can be arranged. Activities include French cooking lessons, wine-tasting courses, guided bike tours, and for the kids, canoeing, zip-lining, and a magician. Visit a family-run olive oil mill and learn how olive oil is produced, meet with and taste the wares of local winemakers, hike and bike around the low-lying Alpilles mountains, and eat at the restaurant panoramique Les Remparts in Venasque, one of France’s most beautiful villages. From its rocky spur, the hamlet overlooks the Côtes du Ventoux vineyards, the Monts de Vaucluse and 6,273-foot Mont Ventoux. Saddled up on the latest carbon road bikes from Trek, the bike pros in the family can tackle the spectacular 130-foot elevation canyon road circuit of the Gorges de la Nesque to the north, with its tunnels and belvedere lookouts.


BIking and cheese-tasting with friends
Sicily, ITALY

The Trip: Four food-loving friends want to bike and bite their way through southeastern Sicily’s dramatic volcanic and maritime landscapes.  
Requirements: There's a fair amount of harmony here. All four want to eat lots, cycle hard, and come up close with the island’s history, geology, and slow food movement.
Level of Difficulty: All are bike enthusiasts ready for a mid-range challenge.
Luxury Level: 4 and 5-star farm stays, castello and palazzo hotels
Travel Style: Relaxed and sporty

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THE CUSTOM TRIP WE CREATED

The seven-day Sicilian biking odyssey starts in Syracuse province with a 25-mile loop ride taking in the nobile palazzo and baroque churches of Noto and ends among the olive and carob trees of the agriturismo Masseria degli Ulivi. Here riders enjoy a Sicilian farmhouse feast of salted ricotta and aubergine pasta alla Norma and warm seafood salad Caponata. On another day, a 44-mile pedal winds up at the 16th-century Castello Camemi, at the heart of Val di Noto’s hilly limestone countryside. Between more agriturismi stays and trattoria meals, daily rides of up to 55 miles also have longer add-ons for those who are keen—or the soft option of a return journey in the support van. Crowning the Tour de Sicilia is a ricotta-making demonstration and challenging bike and hike climb to the craters of Mount Etna in the company of a volcanologist. Ease out in the terrace jacuzzi of the cloistered 5-star San Domenico Palace Hotel in Taormina, a former Dominican monastery and national monument with views over Etna and the Mediterranean Sea. 


Long Weekend in the Alps
Lac d'ANNECY, france

The Trip: Two fit, bike loving couples want to tackle the French Alps by day, but enjoy evening lakeside splendor and sophistication by the shores of the Lac d’Annecy.  
Requirements: After the rigors of the high alpine passes of the Haute-Savoie, they want to experience fine dining and sleep in luxury.
Level of Difficulty: Everyone's ready for strenuous slopes and pro level riding—they didn't choose the Alps for nothing. Two possibly want to push their limits with some extra thigh-crunching climbs up and over the alpine Cols.
Luxury Level: 5-star all the way
Travel Style: Adventurous luxe

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THE CUSTOM TRIP WE CREATED

Amid a challenging three days of Alp summiting by bike, waterfall and glacier-gazing, the haven will be the chic city of Annecy, “Venice of the Alps”, about 65 miles west of Chamonix and Mont Blanc. The nine-mile long Lac d’Annecy is the watery jewel in the crown of soaring peaks of the Haute-Savoie region. The largest French lake and Europe’s most sparkling clean is fringed with beaches, villages, chateaux, and a bike path. From a base at the 4-star lakeside L'Imperial Palace (whose famous past guests include Edith Piaf and Charlie Chaplin), the dynamic duos will set out to tackle famous mountain passes such as the 5,292-foot Col de la Colombière. Back down among the colonnades and cobblestones of Annecy’s medieval veille ville—the old town—they'll dine on modern creative French cuisine such as "Langoustines lacquered with sweet spices" at the 2-star waterfront restaurant of Yoann Conte. Perhaps it's Annecy’s aristocratic past as the seat of the Counts of Geneva, which makes it such a glamorous hub of people-watching, window-shopping, and café-going.


A Seriously Winey Week
Rhône Valley, france

The Trip: A pair of French wine-buffs-cum-foodies want to lap up the best of the Rhône’s wine appellations north and south.  
Requirements: Visits to the leading vignobles and domaines for wine tastings and purchases are the top priority as well as haute cuisine and luxury stays, plus some history-rich sightseeing and strolls.
Luxury Level: 5-star winery stays and Michelin-starry dining
Travel Style: Relaxed

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THE CUSTOM TRIP WE CREATED

With Kelly Mcauliffe, a genial American-born sommelier and renowned Côtes du Rhône wine expert playing host, the friends will first get a taste of Provence on the Rhône, with visits to marketplaces and Avignon’s famous Palais des Papes (where Rome’s popes escaped to in the 14th century). A professional wine-tasting seminar, “The Rhône Uncorked,” will kick off a wine drenching through the top shelf terroirs of the Côte-Rôti, Condrieu, Cornas, and Crozes-Hermitage in the Northern Rhône; and Tavel, Côtes-du-Rhône, Vinsobres, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the south. Enroute Kelly will divulge what he calls the “stars of the Rhône”—winemakers, women and men, many his close friends—at wineries such as the Domaine Georges Vernay in Condrieu and Domaine Clos St. Jean in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Next comes a stay at the Domaine de la Clairefontaine with its 1-star Michelin restaurant. The wine loving duo will dine at top tables, including star chef Anne-Sophie Pic’s 3-star Maison Pic in Valence, and at the bistro Le Mangevins in Tain-l’Hermitage. Or perhaps even stop for a picnic as Kelly demonstrates how to play boules with wine bottles. As well as wine, there’ll be a cooking class, a hike up the Hermitage Hill, and a visit to the Cité du Chocolat museum, run by one of France’s leading chocolate makers, Valrhona. The trip winds up in France's gastronomic capital of Lyon with a drop in to Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse marketplace and the World Heritage-listed old town which goes back to its Roman foundations in 1 BC At the end of the visit you'll appreciate the local saying, “Lyon has three rivers: the Rhône, the Saône, and Bourgogne (wine).”