Austin Adventures, which built its business on multi-sport adventure tours, is now merging the multi-sport concept with its biking tours of Europe, which was previously a separate operation purchased by Austin.
ALA purchased EuroBike Tours in November 2008 from its Dutch owner Ron van Dijk, who had started his career in bike tours in 1974 as a guide, and made him an active partner in the newly expanded Austin Adventures. The acquisition gave Austin Adventures an expansion of 22 European bike tours that had been built over the 30 years of EuroBike’s existence.
Now after absorbing Eurobikes into the Austin system, the company is carrying the integration further by incorporating Austin Adventures’ multi-sport model into the Eurobikes product concept.
“Throughout the years we’ve always had great success with our biking tours,” said Dan Austin, president of Austin Adventures. “But since the multisport concept is so deeply ingrained into the ethos of our company, we know 2015 is the perfect time to take this style of adventure travel across the pond and apply it to our itineraries in Europe.”
The multi-sport concept incorporates a variety of activities using different transportation media, such as bikes, canoes, trains, ships and kayaks.
The new family-oriented multi-sport biking trips are priced at an average of $3,300 per person, with such as Croatia: Dalmatian Coast, Scotland: Scottish Highlands, Austria: Alps to Salzburg and France: Normandy.
The new lineup also includes a series of new programs for adults, including seven new Europe multisport adventure vacations designed for adults and priced at an average of $3,500 per person. The program listing includes Croatia: Dalmatian Coast, Austria/Slovenia: Carinthia to the Julian Alps, Austria: Alps to Salzburg, Spain: Catalonia, Scotland: Scottish Highlands, France: Provence and Italy: South Tyrol and the Dolomites.
Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com
Air France today cut the ribbon on its new, fully renovated lounge at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, a space reserved exclusively for passengers traveling in La Première and Business classes, respectively, and Flying Blue Elite Plus members.
It’s just another example of the ‘club wars,’ as airlines ante up on their lounges for high-end customers.
“On our legendary New York-Paris route, our passengers are already enjoying our latest long-haul cabin classes which are gradually equipping our Boeing 777 and our superjumbo the A380,” Frédéric Gagey, Chairman and CEO of Air France, said in a statement. “Today’s inauguration of this beautiful new lounge completes our offer for our Premium customers and is part of our strategy to upgrade all our products and service, both on the ground and on-board.”
The new light-filled lounge provides a relaxing environment with white and wood tones enhanced by touches of red, Air France’s signature color. A large mezzanine offers an expansive view of the runways. The curved architectural lines are signed by design and branding agency, Brandimage.
On arriving in the lounge, customers can obtain all the information they need about their trip from Air France agents at the reception desk.
Two buffets featuring hot and cold snacks, as well as a wide range of Champagne, French wines and other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Air France is also boasting both a relaxation area and an area where customers can work, including free Wi-Fi.
Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com
Eurail has been reaching out to groups not normally associated with their passes such as older travelers. The off-season, when students are in school, is a prime season for reaching older travelers and to instigate that, Eurail has produced some deep discounts for off-season travel. Eurail put its Global and Select Passes on sale of at least 20 percent off through Dec. 31 for travel through March 31. When purchased of groups of two to five people an extra 15 percent discount is available. Travelers must reside outside of Europe.
The discounts are available in both first and second class in all travel categories: Adult, Child and Youth. The European off season is a great time to travel with fewer crowds, lower prices and multiple festivals including major Carnival celebrations in February in Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Belgium.
Global Passes, Eurail’s most popular product, are valid for travel in 24 European countries (including free or discounted travel on some major shipping lines). The Select Pass is valid for travel in four adjoining Eurail countries, offering travelers 27 participating countries to choose from. Each pass varies in length and class. The Global Pass comes in lengths of 15, 21 days as well as 1, 2 and 3 months continuous; 10 or 15 days within two months. Select, Passes allow travelers to choose which days they travel within a longer period of validity.
To purchase Eurail Passes contact any of several distributers at www.eurailgroup.org/eurail-vendors. Eurail Passes also offer their holders such value added services as accommodation benefits and more.
For more travel news visit www.travelpulse.com
Located in the most southern part of France on the Mediterranean coast, the province of Languedoc is an area rich with scenic landscapes and a beautiful climate. It borders the Mediterranean Sea to the east, the Pyrenees Mountains to the south and Provence to the northeast. This region provides visitors a lovely contrast of terrain to explore and countless activities in which to partake – think rivers, lakes and amazing thermal springs; ancient abbeys and cathedrals, plus fairytale castles and unyielding fortresses. Not to mention the incredible coastline with its gorgeous beaches for those seeking beauty and relaxation. There truly is something for everyone in Languedoc. Here are five particularly compelling reasons to cycle Languedoc:
Bull Running and Bull Fighting: Bullfighting has been around since Roman times, and the tradition lives on in Languedoc. Festivals dedicated to the activity are held in the town of Beziers in August and Narbonne in September. However, bull running and bull jumping’s popularity is rapidly increasing at these events because it is considered more humane and bulls are admired in this region. In fact, crowds gather in droves to cheer on the bulls as they are paraded through the town streets.
Mediterranean Coast on the Gulf of Lyon: Beach-goers will be in their glory amid the 110 miles of coastline located along the Gulf of Lyon. Varied terrain includes marshlands, rocky outcrops and miles of sandy beaches. Saltwater lagoons provide the perfect locale for water sports and spotting wildlife. Cyclists will also enjoy the flat coastal plains here, riding alongside the beautiful water, coastal stretches and quaint fishing villages. Coastal areas to visit include the Camargue, the Radiant Coast (Côte Radieuse) and the Vermilion Coast (Côte Vermeille).
Cathar Castles: The Cathars were Gnostic Christians and founders of a new religion in the 12th century called Catharism. The Pope considered them to be heretics and were subsequently the targets of a full scale crusade. The Cathars lost their battle and most were put to death for their beliefs, but many of the castles that once protected them still stand today. The castles accessible to the public require some hiking to reach, but their magnificent presence is a sight to behold and a visit to one of these giant monuments is a virtual step back in time.
Canal du Midi: The oldest working canal in the world, this amazing work of engineering is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for good reason. Once used for commerce, the canal is now primarily a tourist attraction where visitors can travel along its 240 km length by boat, or by hiking or cycling alongside it. Connecting the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean, this magnificent feat has been referred to by the UNESCO as “a masterpiece of human creative genius”.
The Pont du Gard: A combination bridge and aqueduct, the Pont du Gard is an amazingly well-preserved structure that draws visitors in with its height (nearly 50 meters) and rich history. Rising up 3 tiers, it is the tallest aqueduct ever constructed by the Romans and is part of the structure that was built somewhere around 20 BC. It is located northeast of Nimes and towers over the River Gard. The Pont du Gard is another World Heritage Site and is a beautiful sight, particularly in the summertime when it is illuminated by man-made nocturnal lights.
To learn more about the Languedoc-Roussillon region, check out Discover France’s Languedoc Regional Information page. To find out more about the fully-customizable, self-guided Languedoc Cycling Tours, visit www.discoverfrance.com
If winter is not your favorite season and you cannot wait to shed the extra layers, think ahead to all the fantastic spring and summer festivals in France you can start planning for now. Any of the Discover France bike tours can be customized to fit a desired itinerary and travelers choose the dates! Here are some great ideas to get the wheels turning:
International Garden Festival
The former home of Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, hosts the world’s most lavish garden festival, boasting nearly 580 gardens designed as prototypes of gardens of the future.
PAIRING: Loire Valley Classic
Discover the rolling landscapes, unspoiled nature, beautiful gardens and breathtaking castles of the Loire Valley. You will explore the area between Chambord and Azay le Rideau, and indulge in the gastronomy of this region daily. Imbibe the sparkling white wine and savour sweet chocolates then stroll through the gardens Château de Chaumont.
Great Roman Games in Nîmes
Languedoc: May 2015
Antiquity comes alive with the largest historical re-enactment of Roman times in the exceptional Amphitheatre of Nîmes. The event will commemorate the accession of Augustus and the Battle of Philippi, scenes including: Emperor’s parade, military parade, gladiatorial combats, distribution of bread, chariot races and a final great battle.
PAIRING: Languedoc Countryside & Heritage
Discover sunny Languedoc on a fabulous route that takes you way off the beaten tourist path. You will have loop tours on three separate days, with opportunities to hike around St. Guilhem, visit a glass blowing museum in its birthplace, visit the icon Pic St Loup, explore the gorges of the l’Herault and more. You will be in Nîmes on Day 6 to enjoy the Roman Games.
Weekend of the Grands Crus
Bordeaux: May 30-31, 2015
The Union of the Grands Crus of Bordeaux invites all fans of great wines to experience an exceptional weekend among the best wine labels of Bordeaux. On Saturday, enjoy a tasting at the historic port, followed by an evening of private wine and food pairings or opt for cocktails and music at local wine bars. On Sunday, visit vineyards around Bordeaux or play a round of golf while tasting prestigious wines.
PAIRING: Bordeaux Wine Country
Arrive in Bordeaux a few days prior to your self-guided tour to take part in the Grand Crus events. This cycling tour is centered around Bordeaux vineyards, including Saint Emilion, Entre Deux Mers and other small wine villages throughout the region. Travel through the vines and passed chateaux, around walled towns and along winding rivers. Leave time for wine tasting, shopping and visits to cultural sites throughout the tour.
Luberon Jazz Festival
Provence: May-June, 2015
The 22nd annual festival, featuring the new generation of French jazz musicians and numerous regional musical treasures. Plus, plenty of European and African discoveries too.
PAIRING: Provence Multisport
National Geographic Adventure named this the “Best 25 New Trips of 2009”. This tour combines several activities to provide you with a unique way to discover this beautiful part of France. You will cycle through the vineyards and forests of the region, hop on a canoe and paddle down the Gardon river, hike through the mountains, lavender fields and olive groves. You have the option to do a cooking class too!
The non-stop seasonal service will operate three times per week between March 29th and May 3rd 2015, five times per week from May 4th to September 13th 2015, and three times per week between September 14th and October 24th 2015.
Flight AF 374 departs Paris CDG at 10.35, arriving in Vancouver at 11.50 the same day. Flight AF 379 departs Vancouver at 14.00, arriving at Paris CDG at 08.35 the following morning. Tickets are now on sale.
Air France will operate a Boeing 777-200 aircraft equipped with its new leisure configuration. The aircraft provides a seat capacity of 309 seats; 35 in Business Class, 24 in Premium Economy and 250 in Economy.
Louise Petter, Destination British Columbia manager – UK, Ireland and Scandinavia said: “We are delighted to welcome this new service which will offer greater choice for passengers to Vancouver and British Columbia from all over Europe.”
Air France, with its co-carrier KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, offers connectivity to 55 destinations in Europe. The new service to Vancouver is in addition to KLM’s 7 weekly flights between Vancouver and Amsterdam Schiphol. The Air France and KLM flight schedules ensure greater choice for customers connecting via the hubs at Paris CDG and Amsterdam Schiphol. Air France-KLM also has a codeshare agreement with Canadian carrier, WestJet.
For booking information visit: www.airfrance.co.uk
For information about British Columbia visit Destination British Columbia’s website at www.BritishColumbia.travel
For additional story ideas visit Destination British Columbia’s media site at www.travelmedia.helloBC.com
European Waterways, Europe’s largest luxury hotel barge cruising company, has announced new special offers for the Spring 2015 season, with savings applying of 10% off per cabin and 10% off full-boat charters. The hotel barges cruise through the waterways and canals of Europe and the British Isles, offering travellers a wide range of sightseeing opportunities.
“Springtime in Europe is like no place else on earth. The flowers bloom across the vast expanses of the countryside and warming temperatures bring villages and cities back to life,” said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways. “Our first departures of the year are always special occasions, and for the 2015 season, we are offering discounts on a wide range of cruise destinations, giving travellers plenty of options to choose from. Planning ahead for a springtime escape now surely makes the coming winter weather more bearable!”
Savour in Spring the history and fragrant flowers of Holland:
The intimate and luxurious 12-passenger hotel barge Panache gently cruises along Holland’s varied waterways, giving passengers the chance to savour the country’s hidden gems in a unique, up-close-and-personal way.
A visit to Leiden, home to the country’s oldest university and the birthplace of one of history’s greatest artists, Rembrandt
A visit to Delft, a long-time, world-famous center for fine ceramics, where passengers will visit the Royal Delft factory, established in the 17th century
The abundance of gorgeous flowers – chief among them the world-renowned tulips; Panache will take guests to the town of Haarlem, the centre of Holland’s flower-growing district, and include an excursion to the nearby Keukenhof Gardens, where seven million flowering bulbs paint a living canvas of colours in gardens that sprawl over 100 acres
The Aalsmeer Flower Auction, where each day millions of flowers are sold within fractions of seconds in an impressive and fascinating process, thanks to modern trading technology.
Next Spring, European Waterways is offering 10% off Panache’s full-boat charters and 10% off per cabin on its March 29 and April 5, 6-night cruise departures. Was £3,250pp now £2,925pp based on 2 people sharing; as well as £3,530 off the full 12-passenger charter price: was £35,300, now £31,770. Single supplements are also being waived for passengers travelling solo on Panache’s April 5, 2015 departure.
Indulge the Senses with History and Wine in Southern France
European Waterways has four hotel barges that cruise the Canal du Midi, including the Anjodi, and Enchanté. Springtime in this region offers sublime weather, with meadows of colourful flowers and trees along the banks approaching full bloom. Passengers have the opportunity to visit places such as historic Narbonne, Pezenas and the Cathar village of Minerve, and also to taste some wonderful wines at renowned wineries.
A voyage on the Rosa takes passengers through the picturesque region of Gascony with its orchards and vineyards and includes a crossing of a 1,000ft long aqueduct. Guests visit Nérac, once home to Henry IV, whose chateau is now a museum, and also enjoy a tour and private tasting at a local Armagnac producer.
For Spring 2015, European Waterways is offering 10% off per cabin and 10% full-boat charters on Anjodi, Enchanté, and Rosa, representing savings up to £718 for cabins and up to £5,400 for charters, based on specific vessel and March/April 6-night departure date selected.
Full details: www.gobarging.com
Avalon Waterways has expanded the choice of its special interest departures for 2015 to meet the increasing demand for themed holidays. Newly introduced is an Opera Cruise (15 July departure) priced from £2235* per person and an Author’s Cruise (9 August departure) priced from £2255* per person. Both are available on Avalon’s popular 13 day ‘Blue Danube Discovery’ cruise.
Avalon’s first opera themed cruise features four emerging stars from Canada’s Calgary Opera with nightly entertainment including opera-themed talks and performances by soprano Natalie Fannan, mezzo soprano Cassandra Warner, tenor Derek Johnson and bass-baritone Tyler Fitzgerald.
The author themed cruise will be accompanied by Patricia Schultz, world-renowned author of the international bestseller ‘1,000 Places to See Before you Die’. Patricia will be on board to give guests a personal insight into writing and to discuss the most impressive, must-see destinations around the world.
The 13 day ‘Blue Danube Discovery’ tour and cruise includes a two night city stay in Budapest, a seven night deluxe cruise onboard one of the newest Suite Ships,Avalon Impression as well as a three night city stay in Prague. Cruise highlights include Vienna’s famous historical sights and the medieval towns of Durnstein, Melk and Regensburg. Optional day trips are offered to Salzburg and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic.
The new themed cruises are in addition to the existing choice which includes special departures for golf, beer tasting, wellness, jazz and classical music, culinary, wine appreciation, arts and impressionist art, European history, Jewish heritage and Christmas markets.
Small group tour specialist Back-Roads Touring is offering an extra incentive to guests booking their summer 2015 breaks early by throwing in a free West End theatre pass to anyone booking a pre or post tour London hotel.
The West End theatre pass entitles holders to a ticket in the stalls or dress circle at a selection of smash-hit musicals, such as Phantom of the Opera, Thriller, Once or Jersey Boys. The offer is valid for any Back-Roads guest who books a London hotel through the company before or after their summer 2015 tour.
In 2015, Back-Roads Touring will also offer door-to-door return private transfers for all UK tours, including those listed below:
Edinburgh to London
Eight days from £1,750 per person, departing on various dates from April to October 2015.
Enjoy lunch where Jamie Oliver grew up and worked in the kitchen
Visit Sandringham Estate, the private retreat of Her Majesty The Queen
Travel through the cathedral cities of Durham and York, drive through the moorlands of Yorkshire, enjoy the peaceful national parks in the Peak District and visit the world-famous historic Cambridge colleges. Drift along the River Cam on a traditional punt to experience the beauty of the “Backs” of Cambridge University.
Kent & Sussex
Stay two nights in a hotel that is situated within the private grounds of Canterbury Cathedral
On this tour, guests can discover the south east of England including Canterbury, Whitstable, Dover and Rye. Guests will visit historical and cultural attractions such as Canterbury Cathedral, as well as peaceful gardens and the White Cliffs of Dover. There is also the chance to taste award winning English sparkling wines and explore 1066 country, made famous by the Battle of Hastings.
Corners of Cornwall
Seven days from £1,395 per person, departing on various dates from April to October 2015.
Visit the astonishing open-air Minack Theatre, built on a cliff
Explore part of Cornwall’s largest private estate accompanied by a member of the estate’s gardening team
Explore history and architecture; enjoy stunning scenery and fine food on this tour which includes Dartmoor, Falmouth, Fowey, Devon and Dorset. Drive through Dartmoor National Park where the ponies roam, explore Britain’s maritime past in Falmouth and tuck into regional culinary favourites such as a Cornish pasty and a Cornish cream tea. Enjoy lunch at Rick Stein’s ‘The Seafood Restaurant’ in Padstow and wander through Cornwall’s largest private botanical gardens, Trebah Garden.
London to Paris via the Channel Islands
Meet Molly Bihet, who was a child during the Nazi occupation on Guernsey
Why jump on the Eurostar to Paris when you can enjoy a leisurely journey to the French capital, taking in a unique corner of the British Isles where British and French influences meet? Visit Guernsey to learn about the German occupation before exploring the unspoilt beaches of Sark. In Jersey, enjoy a visit to the La Mare Wine Estate before crossing the Channel to France and visiting the extraordinary Robert Tatin museum in Mayenne.
To book, visit www.backroadstouring.com or call 0208 9870 990.
Adventurous fans of good wine and food will be thrilled to unwrap a 3D Wines & travel gift. A beautifully presented wooden casket comprises three specially selected wines and inspiration for a wine holiday to breathtakingly picturesque vineyards. It comes neatly packaged up to provide enjoyment all year round. Prices for the gift cases and annual membership start from £119 including delivery (UK mainland).
The places www.3dwinesexperience.com/places
The wines www.3dwinesexperience.com/wines
To buy www.3dwinesexperience.com/wines/the-experience
3D Wines offers everything a wine & travel lover dreams of: award-winning wines* at attractive prices and smartly packaged gifts for very special presents. For out-and-about adventures, there are gourmet trips and weekends away, as well as sociable wine tastings nearer to home. Selecting from its 30 partner vineyards and domaines in 11 regions, 3D offers wines for tasting from the Loire, Bordeaux, Tuscany and New Zealand, and arranges group or bespoke wine holidays to some of the world’s most beautiful vineyards and cities.
3D group holidays and bespoke individual itineraries
Enjoy stunning scenery, friendly expert winemakers and adventurously discovered wine locations which are otherwise not easily accessible by yourself. 3D will host its popular black truffle hunting weekend in the Rhône Valley and has added some new adventures that will tantalize every gourmet. This authentic artisanal experience takes place 20-23 February 2015. Other trips in the 3D calendar include: Hands-on Champagne blending and tutored tasting in Reims; The Loire Valley ‘Garden of France'; Sancerre Foire aux Vins & picnic weekend; Tuscan feasting and olive oil harvest.
These elegant cases of three specially chosen, high quality wines are the start of your 3D Wines membership and adventures. There are 11 different cases to choose from. The top four cases which are specially recommended for gifting are:
• Loire Valley Central case comprising vibrant Sancerre blanc Cuvée Caillottes, Saumur-Champigny Les 3 Jean, Bourgueil Breteche.
• Bordeaux case comprising impressive big hitters Margaux Cuvée 3D, St-Émilion Grand Cru Clos Villemaurine, Blaye.
• Tuscany case comprising Chianti Superiore Villa Cambi, Arteliquida Bianco, Chianti Colli Senesi Riserva 345.
• New Zealand case comprising Heaphy Series Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, Kennedy Point Syrah.
* Over the past five years, 92 percent of wines submitted by 3D Wines to the International Wine Challenge have won awards.
Notes to editors
3D Wines was established over 20 years ago for wine lovers who also want to discover the joy of visiting beautiful vineyards and meeting friendly winemakers, sharing their art & craft and warm hospitality. 3D is the place to start your wine adventures and helps members enjoy wines and visits to its partnered vineyard estates in France, Italy and New Zealand. Simple membership start from £89; or simply add a 3D Experience Gift Case comprising three bottles of high quality 3D partner wines and a Riedel glass, to transform it into a memorable gift (from £119 to £175 including membership). Choose from some 95 carefully selected wines, many of which have won top medals. Almost half of these are made exclusively for 3D members, and over a third are organic or biodynamic. 3D has 30 partner vineyards and domaines in 11 regions to visit: Bordeaux, Burgundy North, Burgundy South, Beaujolais, Rhône Valley, Loire Valley Central, Loire Valley West, Alsace, Champagne, Tuscany and New Zealand. www.3dwines.com Telephone: 01205 820745 Twitter: @3DWinesUK Facebook: 3dwines
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