Luxury Travel: You could hang out at the beach this summer (or pool depending on where you live) or you could stay in a French chateaux, stroll along the banks of the majestic Loire River and take in the sights of medieval ramparts, feudal castles and ancient abbeys. Who wouldn't choose a leisurely luxury vacation over the same old summer pastimes?
Breakaway Adventures, a U.S.-based tour company that specializes in walking and cycling tours in Europe, offers several tour packages in France, Switzerland and Austria.
The Jura Vineyard Trails tour is definitely a change of pace from spending the afternoons at the local mall. Starting at $1,785 per person, this varied walking holiday explores the Jura wine region, a network of medieval towns set against the dramatic backdrop of the Jura mountain range. The route takes two of France's officially most beautiful villages: Baume les Messieurs and Chateau Chalon. The three-star hotels include a restored watermill at Arbois, and Mme Lombard's quaint wooden little hotel with its panoramic swimming pool.
The Landscapes of the Luberon Walk is based in the Luberon National Park of Provence, a land that has served as an inspiration for generations of poets, painters and writers. The tour starts at $1,899 per person and provides plenty of time to explore exquisite villages, natural wonders and historic sights.
In Switzerland, the Walking in Gstaad combo tour offers an extensive range of facilities at a four-star hotel. Guided walks, mountain biking, an indoor pool, sauna and gym are all included in the tour price, which starts at $1,959 per person for the 8-day/7-night center-based tour. Walking and mountain biking routes take in the beautiful southern hills of the Bernese Oberland, overlooking the pretty Alpine villages of Gstaad and Saanen.
If you've always wanted to explore Austria, the Austrian Lakes Activity travel package features a stop in the picturesque Austrian village of Stobl on the eastern shore of Lake Wolfgang, one of the prettiest spots in the region. A wide selection of independent walking, cycling routes are planned, typically oriented to the gentle "easy" and "1 boot" level, with optional detours for the more energetic. So the choice is yours. Local beach or foreign shores?
For LxM Amy Covington