Europe Organised Trips

25 Fontes Walk

The paths that follow the vast network of irrigation channels known as levadas, created over the centuries by Madeira’s farmers, have rightly become popular with those looking to immerse themselves in the island’s most impressive landscapes. This 11km walk, which takes about four hours, kicks off at Paul da Serra, a high plateau where you’ll find extensive areas of rare subtropical laurel forest that UNESCO describes as of “outstanding universal value”. From here, you’ll head downhill towards Rabaçal guesthouse, a popular pitstop that seems almost lost amid the surrounding scenic grandeur, and on to Risco waterfall. You’ll continue on down to the Levada do 25 Fontes, reaching a small lake at the bottom of a cliff fed by 25 natural cascading springs. Picking up another track towards the finish, you’ll pass through a tunnel that carries water to the south side of the island.

• Departs on Tuesday and Thursday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The 11km walk is graded as moderate. Wear suitable clothing plus walking shoes or boots.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 8.15am
End time: 12.15pm

A Walk Through Paradise Valley

A walk beside one of the many man-made irrigation channels, or levadas, that crisscross the interior is a quintessential Madeira experience and a great way to explore the island’s spectacular scenery. This gentle morning stroll is the perfect introduction to this unique way of hiking, which takes you along a particularly beautiful stretch of the 100-year-old Serra do Faial. The 5.5km walk starts in Vale do Paraíso - which translates as Paradise Valley - and ends in the pretty village of Rochão. Along the way, you’ll have time to see how generations of farmers have carved out terraced fields from the steep hillsides, admire some glorious gardens and enjoy the panoramic views over Camacha, also known as “the village of basket makers”. It’s a brilliant way to get some exercise without even noticing, and is suitable for all ages.

• Departs on Tuesday and Friday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The 5.5km walk is graded as easy and is suitable for all. Wear suitable clothing plus walking shoes or boots.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 8.30am
End time: 11am

Afternoon Tea at Belmond Reid's Palace

Afternoon tea at Reid’s Palace has been an island institution almost from the moment the hotel opened its doors in 1891, and it’s a wonderfully indulgent way to celebrate a special occasion or just treat yourself. Sitting on its elegant shady terrace, gazing at the panoramic sea views, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time to a more leisured era when guests arrived by steamship and stayed for weeks. The effect is enhanced by the meal itself: dainty finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with cream and jam, and beautifully crafted cakes and pastries served on delicate china plates. The only difficulty will be choosing which tea to have from the 24 on offer, from China Green Sencha to Darjeeling Second Flush. Reid’s house blend is available to buy at its in-house boutique and makes a suitable reminder of a wonderful experience.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
The dress code is smart casual, as befits a five-star hotel: no shorts, no T-shirts and definitely no flip-flops. Transfers are not included.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 3pm
End time: 5.30pm

Blandy's Wine Tour

Madeira’s namesake fortified wines can trace their development back to the 15th century, and learning about their unique history and ageing process from one of its best-known makers is something that wine lovers are sure to appreciate. At Blandy’s Wine Lodge, the heart of a family-run wine business established in 1811, you’ll get a fascinating insight into the difference between Madeira and other fortified wines as you tour the different areas of the establishment. You’ll tour the warehouse, filled with wooden barrels, where the finest vintages are aged to perfection by the traditional “canteiro” method. You’ll visit the museum, whose collection of artefacts includes letters from Sir Winston Churchill, coins from Blandy’s bank and a 17th-century wooden trough where grapes were once trodden. The visit ends with an enjoyable guided tasting so you can appreciate the end product for yourself.

• Departs on Monday to Saturday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
At the tasting, children will be given the choice of a bottle of water or fruit juice.

Duration:

Half day

Cappadocia Highlights in a Day

The best way to get to know a destination is to immerse yourself in it, and this full-day sightseeing tour with an expert guide will give you a deeper understanding of this otherworldly region. Your experience begins with a visit to the fascinating underground city of Kaymaklı – one of the deepest underground cities in Cappadocia, where a maze of tunnels and rooms are carved eight levels deep. Next, walk around the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Göreme Open Air Museum, home to some of the most remarkable rock-cut churches from the 10th-12th centuries. The frescoes here are particularly beautiful. Your guide will take you on to Pigeon Valley, which gets its name from the pigeon houses that have been carved into the landscape. Pigeons have always been important to the Cappadocian people, providing food and fertiliser for the poor soil. In Devrent Valley, you’ll have fun trying to work out the animal-shaped rocks (the most famous one is shaped like a camel!). Visit Monks Valley (Paşabağları), where the mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys with twin and triple rock caps are unique even for Cappadocia. The final stop is Avanos, known for its pottery. The Red River has supplied many generations of craftspeople with the red clay used to create their art, and pottery has been produced here as far back as around 2000 BC.

• Departing daily from Cappadocia
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 10am
End time: 6pm

Cappadocia Your Way – Exploration by Classic Car

Explore Cappadocia in style, travelling in a classic car with your own private driver/guide. You’ll have the freedom to discover the region at your leisure. If you have a list of must-see attractions, you can simply let your driver-guide know where you’d like to go or if you're not sure where best to go, then your driver-guide will be happy to make recommendations based on your interests. This is the ultimate way to get around for families, couples, and honeymooners looking for independent exploration and a more private sightseeing experience of Cappadocia.

• Departing daily from Cappadocia
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Duration:

2 hours

Ebike Cycle to the West Coast

At just 17 miles long and nine miles wide, Malta is a dream destination for anyone who loves the freedom of exploring on two wheels. On this fun-filled adventure in the west of the island, you’ll have plenty of time to take in the area’s best-known sights as well as discover more off-the-beaten-track spots. You’ll visit the historic fortified city of Mdina with its dramatic hilltop setting - which is where you’ll be particularly grateful for your bicycle’s electric motor. You’ll experience the even sleepier charms of the neighbouring village of Rabat and of Buskett Gardens, the only woodland area in Malta, before pedalling along a lush valley to Dingli’s spectacular cliffs. From here, you’ll continue north through the quaint farming village of Mgarr down to the sea at Ghajn Tuffieha, a strip of reddish sand backed by hills draped in acacia and tamarisk trees. The last stop is Golden Bay, where you’ll have an opportunity to swim, relax on the celebrated sandy beach and linger over a well-earned picnic lunch.

• Departs on Monday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know The trip of suitable for all levels of fitness.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 3pm
End time: 8am

Embroidery of Madeira

Madeira has a rich tradition of hand embroidery, which brings together influences from across Europe to exquisite effect. One of the most highly regarded makers on the island is Bordal, founded around 60 years ago, at whose small factory you can spend a few hours learning the history and techniques of this exacting craft. You’ll discover how each piece begins with a unique design hand-drawn on tracing paper, and how the design is transferred to the fabric using tiny perforations and a sponge soaked in special blue ink. From here, the marked-up fabric is passed on to the skilled embroiderers to do their delicate stitchwork - satin stitch, pulled thread fillings, appliqué and the like - before the workshop completes the process with cutwork, washing and ironing. You’ll end the session with a real insight into the amount of hard work that goes into creating every beautiful tablecloth, pillowcase and handkerchief.

• Departs on Thursday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
This isn’t a hands-on experience, but Bordal makes kits for beginners who want to try doing Madeiran embroidery for themselves.

Duration:

Half day

Explore Southern Madeira

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of southern Madeira with a memorable trip by open-top 4x4. The day begins with a scenic drive up to Paul da Serra, the largest and highest plateau on the island, from where there are incredible vistas. The plateau is home to extensive areas of laurisilva, the indigenous subtropical laurel forest that’s so special it’s UNESCO-listed. From here, the route continues down to Ponta do Pargo on the westernmost point of Madeira - the ideal place to put a lighthouse - and along the coast to fishing villages such as Paul do Mar and Jardim do Mar, both magnets for intrepid surfers. Passing by Calheta, one of the few sandy beaches in Madeira, you’ll conclude the day’s activities with a stop at pretty Ponta do Sol, famous as the sunniest spot on the island and the place where the best bananas are grown.

• Departs on Sun
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 8.45am

Gozo & Blue Lagoon Cruise by Gulet

There are few more relaxing ways to spend a day than aboard a traditional Turkish wooden sailing boat surrounded by the sparkling azure sea, with a crew on hand to rustle up a delicious buffet lunch and snacks. On this gulet cruise to Gozo and Comino, you’ll drop anchor at a secluded bay in Gozo, where you’ll have 90 minutes to swim, snorkel and take in the splendours of the island’s coastal landscapes, or just relax on one of the two decks with a drink and a book. From here, you’ll make for Comino’s stunning Blue Lagoon - a must-visit if ever there was one - where you will have another 90 minutes or so to have a refreshing dip, check out the underwater world, head for the beach or linger on board to take photos of the fabulous rugged scenery.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The cost includes lunch, morning and afternoon snacks, and unlimited beer, wine, soft drinks and water.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 10am
End time: 6pm

Hidden Gozo By Tuk Tuk

A tuk tuk may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Gozo, but these nippy little open-sided vehicles turn out to be perfect for exploring its enchanting landscapes and historic sights. You’ll spend a happy day zipping along quiet lanes, visiting a dizzying range of highlights. When it comes to natural wonders, there are rock formations created the same way as the now-vanished Azure Window, sweeps of red-sand beach and caves that inspired Homer - not to mention several viewpoints with panoramas to die for. As for the manmade attractions, there are historic churches of all sizes, signal towers and salt pans, plus the delightful capital, Victoria, an ancient fortified city perched on a rocky outcrop in the heart of the island. Many of the places on the itinerary are not accessible on mainstream tours or by public transport, so this is a fabulous way to get under the skin of this captivating island.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Group experience \

Good to know
Lunch is not included, but there’s a 45-minute stop at Marsalforn Bay where there are plenty of small restaurants and cafés.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 10.30am
End time: 4.30pm

Hidden Madeira by Jeep & Catamaran

Experience two of Madeira’s most scenic environments on a south-coast tour that combines a jeep safari with a boat trip. In the morning, you’ll start at Câmara de Lobos, a charming fishing village that was a favourite painting spot of Winston Churchill and many others; as you’ll quickly discover, it’s also the birthplace of poncha, a heady mix of lemon juice, honey and sugarcane spirit. Continuing on, passing through banana plantations, vineyards and cherry orchards, past tiny rural villages and dramatic viewpoints, you’ll make a stop for a picnic lunch at Funchal’s Santa Catarina park. Afterwards, it’s time to head for the harbour to board a catamaran for an afternoon on the water. Madeira is on the migratory route of many species of whales and dolphins, as well as having a resident population of sperm whales, so you’ve got a good chance of spotting some as you motor gently along the stunning coastline.

• Departs on Tuesday and Saturday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 8am

Highlights of Gozo by Jeep & Comino Cruise

Malta is actually an archipelago and its two smaller inhabited islands, Gozo and Comino, have distinctive personalities that are well worth discovering. See Gozo at its authentic self on a 4x4 safari that will take you to the heart of its unspoiled rural landscapes, along winding lanes and off-road tracks. The jam-packed itinerary includes visits to a host of sites, from architectural marvels such as the charming fortified capital, Victoria, to natural wonders including caves, salt pans and an inland sea. From here, you’ll take to the water for a sailing trip around diminutive Comino, whose natural landscapes make it a popular day-trip destination for the Maltese as well as foreign visitors. You’ll pause to swim and snorkel in the limpid waters of the famous Blue Lagoon, explore the caves and bays around the island, and fit in another swim-and-snorkel session before returning to the mainland.

• Departs on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
There’s a freshwater shower on board the boat, so you won’t have to sail home with salt-encrusted hair.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 10am
End time: 5pm

Hike to Golden Bay & Popeye Village Sunset

Discover a different side of Malta with a hike through some of its less-visited beauty spots. Accompanied by a professional guide, you’ll trek through some of the island’s most stunning landscapes, from secluded bays and inlets to dramatic cliffs and caves. Along the way, weather permitting, there’ll be opportunities to chill out in tucked-away bays that even the locals don’t know exist, where you can swim and snorkel in crystal-clear turquoise waters. For a memorable finale, you’ll finish the walk at a spectacular cave overlooking Popeye Village - which began life as a film set in 1980 - from where you’ll be able to enjoy breathtaking sunset views. Suitable for all, it’s a great way to stretch your legs with like-minded explorers and immerse yourself in unspoiled nature, both on land and below the waves.

• Departs on Thursday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Entrance fee to Popeye Village is not included.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 3.30pm
End time: 6pm

In the Footsteps of the Godfather

This is the ultimate Sicilian experience for movie buffs; follow in the footsteps of Marlon Brando and Al Pacino to the movie locations made famous by Francis Ford Coppola’s epic movie The Godfather. Plus, a private car and driver means you’ll have the freedom to choose how long you spend in each traditional Sicilian town. In Savoca, you can drink coffee in Bar Vitelli: the same bar where Michael Corleone asked Apollonia to marry him, then wander through the narrow streets to the church of Santa Lucia, where their wedding scene was filmed. While you’re here, it’s worth also visiting the Monastero dei Cappuccini to see the crypt that houses mummified bodies of Savoca’s monks and nobles. In the village of Forza d’Agrò, visit the beautiful little Basilica of Saint Peter and Paul. Within the narrow alleyways of this medieval centre, all is quiet and time seems to stand still. This is precisely the atmosphere that inspired Francis Ford Coppola to shoot some of the scenes for his iconic movie here, as daily life continues behind closed doors.

• Departing daily
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
Entrance fees are not included. You’ll have a private car and driver for a maximum of eight hours.

Duration:

Half day, am or pm

Landscapes & Villages Walk

Stretch your legs and discover Madeira’s rugged north on a levada walk that features an appealing blend of glorious landscapes and picturesque villages. You’ll set off from Queimadas, in the heart of a protected ancient laurel forest, to trek beside the 18th-century Levada da Serra de São Jorge, from whose heights you’ll be able to drink in the magnificent views over the villages below. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for local birds such as firecrests, long-toed pigeons and even buzzards. Passing cascades and cutting through small tunnels, you’ll arrive at one of the island’s beauty spots: the waterfall of Caldeirão Verde, the “green cauldron”. It’s the perfect venue for a picnic, far from the bustle of modern life. From here, you’ll continue on through pastureland to Santana, a village known for its unusual colourful triangular thatched cottages.

• Departs Friday
• Year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The 13km walk is graded as moderate. Wear suitable clothing plus walking shoes or boots.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 8.15am
End time: 12.45pm

Madeira Dolphin Observation

Madeira is on the migratory route of just under 30 species of whales and dolphins, as well as being home to a resident population of sperm whales, and there are few experiences to match the thrill of seeing them in their natural environment. On this two-and-a-half-hour adventure, you’ll have an excellent chance of spotting some of these captivating creatures, along with a host of other marine life including turtles. Starting with a short introductory talk, you’ll head out to sea on a trio of nippy semi-rigid boats with Rota dos Cetáceos’ team of marine biologists, keeping your eyes peeled for the tell-tale glimpse of a fin, tail or blow. In this, you’ll be assisted by lookouts on land who have up-to-the-minute information as to likely locations. It’s a brilliant way to spend a morning or afternoon that will appeal to families with older children as well as couples.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The species you’re likely to see depends on the time of year, so do your research if there’s a particular one you’re keen to spot.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 9am, 12.30pm or 4pm (June to September); 9am or 1.30pm (October to May)
End time: 11.30am, 3pm or 6.30pm (June to September) or 11.30am or 3pm (October to May)

Madeira Dolphin Swim

With a resident population of sperm whales and its position on the migratory route of almost 30 species of whales and dolphins, Madeira is an excellent place to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. On this two-and-a-half-hour trip, starting with a short introductory talk, you’ll head out to sea on a trio of nippy semi-rigid boats with Rota dos Cetáceos’ team of marine biologists, keeping your eyes peeled for the giveaway glimpse of a fin, tail or blow. In this, you’ll be helped by lookouts on land who have up-to-the-minute information as to likely locations. As a bonus, you’ll swim in a safe, controlled way with dolphins for 10 minutes or so - a truly memorable experience that will leave you grinning for hours afterwards. It’s a superb way to spend a morning or afternoon that will appeal to families with older children as well as couples.

• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Be sure to follow the instructions of the crew when interacting with the dolphins to keep the experience as stress-free for them as possible.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 9am, 12.30pm or 4pm (June to September); 9am or 1.30pm (October to May)
End time: 11.30am, 3pm or 6.30pm (June to September) or 11.30am or 3pm (October to May)

Madeira Nights

Sample the delights of traditional island hospitality with an evening of good food, wine and music. You and your fellow diners will head to a typical Madeiran restaurant where you’ll enjoy a three-course meal of local specialities. After a light starter - tomato and onion soup, perhaps, or caldo verde - you’ll have a chance to try one of the islanders’ favourite dishes, Espetada, a skewer of tender marinated beef cooked over hot coals or wood chips. It’s usually accompanied by milho frito (fried corn) and bolo do caco, a type of bread roll made with sweet potato and served with garlic butter. During the meal, there’ll be local wines to sip and savour and live music provided by a folkloric group playing traditional instruments such as the guitar-like rajão and the colourful jangling brinquinho.

• Departs on Friday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Duration:

Evening

Start time: 7pm

Malta Exploration by Jeep

See Malta’s highlights in a day on a chauffeured 4x4 adventure that will appeal to all ages. The action begins in Mizieb, a forest of Aleppo pines, carobs and olive trees planted in the 1970s, from where you’ll head to Red Tower, a huge bastioned watchtower in Mellieha that’s 300 years older. Next on the itinerary is a pause at Popeye Village, a film-set-turned-visitor-attraction that you can visit if you wish (at your own expense), before you pick up an off-road track for a scenic descent to Golden Bay, one of the island’s best-known beaches. After taking in the breathtaking views from Fomm ir-rih, you’ll visit the lovely “Silent City” of Mdina for sightseeing and a lunch of local specialities. In the afternoon, there’s a trio of unmissable sights to savour: the spectacular cliffs at Dingli, the Blue Grotto with its complex of caves, and the quaint fishing village of Marsaxlokk. Be sure to bring swimwear: there’ll be a stop for a dip during the tour.

• Departs Monday to Saturday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Please note that entrance to Popeye Village is not included and is payable locally should you wish to visit.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 9am
End time: 4.30pm

Malta Your Way by Electric Buggy

Eco-friendly and cute in equal measure, Malta’s wonderfully named Rolling Geeks are a brilliant way to explore independently without getting lost. These little electric-powered buggies, which seat up to four adults (or two adults and two children), come with a pre-programmed GPS that shows you where to go and what you’re looking at when you get there. It’s a guided tour with a difference, where you can stop wherever you want along the way and stay there as long as you please, and even skip the bits that don’t appeal. The 17km itinerary guides you gently around the historic fortified Three Cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua, just across the Grand Harbour from Valletta, plus the sleepy villages just outside. Along the way, you’ll enjoy stunning harbour views, medieval streets lined with historic architecture and some tempting open-air cafés.

• Departs on Wednesday and Saturday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Drivers must be aged between 21 and 75 and must show a valid driving licence. Child seats are available on request for a small additional fee. The cars are not suitable for pregnant women.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 9.30am
End time: 1.30pm

Monte Botanical Gardens

Madeira is known for its lush vegetation, and a visit that takes in one of its best-loved gardens provides a perfect insight into the species that grow here. You’ll head first for Monte, perched in the hills above Funchal, which was once a popular health resort and still retains an air of elegance. Nowadays, it’s better known as the starting point for a rather unusual toboggan ride in a two-seater wicker sledge that’s on many visitors’ must-try list. A little closer to the capital, the Botanical Garden opened to the public in 1960. Once part of an estate belonging to the founder of Reid’s Hotel, it was set up to conserve Madeiran plants that were becoming increasingly rare in the wild. Bursting with colour and scent, its six zones are a delight for gardeners and non-gardeners alike.

• Departs on Saturday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Note that this trip does not include a toboggan ride.

Duration:

Half day

Mount Etna & The Crater Zones

Explore Europe’s highest volcano on a trekking and train ride adventure through beautiful valleys up to the craters. Mount Etna stands 3350 metres high and has been a designated UNESCO World Heritage site since 2013. We’ll trek to the stunning Alcantara Gorges, carved by the Alcantra River, stopping for a scenic short rest before boarding the ‘Circumetnea’: a traditional narrow-gauge train that runs around the foot of the volcano and up to Adrano. We’ll then head to Rifugio Sapienza, the guardhouse at the base of Mount Etna located 1900 metres above sea level, to head off on a soft trek to see the most recent lava flows and the now-extinct impressive Silvestri craters. After time for lunch, you can take the cable car up to 2,500 meters and continue by Jeep to the authorized crater zones at 3,000 meters with the assistance of licensed Italian Alpine Club guides. You’ll be rewarded with views out over the summit craters.

• Departing on Wednesday from Taormina
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Lunch and transfers are not included – trekkers will make their own way to the Taormina Bus Terminal. We recommend bringing warm clothing and suitable shoes. This soft trek may be too challenging for younger children.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 7am

Mount Etna Soft Trek

Add a touch of adventure to your Sicily holiday with a scenic walk up part of towering Mount Etna. Etna is Europe’s highest volcano, standing 3350 metres high, and it has been a designated UNESCO World Heritage site since 2013. Your trek will begin at Rifugio Sapienza, the guardhouse at the base of Mount Etna located 1900 metres above sea level. From here, you’ll head off on a soft trek to see the most recent lava flows and the now-extinct impressive Silvestri craters.

• Departing Monday and Friday from Taormina
• Departs year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Transfers are not included – trekkers will make their own way to the Taormina Bus Terminal. We recommend bringing warm clothing and suitable shoes. This soft trek may be too challenging for younger children.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 8.30am

Organic Farm Painting Experience

Reconnect with yourself and nature in the harmonious surroundings of a fully certified organic farm in one of the most scenic parts of Malta, not far from one of the island’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On arrival, you’ll have a guided tour of the estate, learning about what’s involved in farming organically and what that means on a day-to-day basis, from dealing with the lack of rain to tending vegetables and making olive oil and conserves. This will be followed by a painting session outside, surrounded by soothing scenery: your chance to create a unique memento of your holiday. You’ll spend the rest of the day pottering around the farm, with a suitably organic lunch served in the shade of a venerable olive tree to set the seal on a truly wellness-enhancing experience.

• Departs on Saturday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Bring cash for the farm shop if you want to buy olive oil and conserves to take home.

Duration:

Full day

Pizza Making Class

Sicily has a pizza style all of its own; even if you’ve made pizza before, you’ll be in for a treat at this pizza-making class. First, you’ll learn the secret of how to make a great pizza sauce before creating ideas for fun toppings and baking your pizzas to perfection. Enjoy your pizza with a Bruschetta mix, washed down with a glass of delicious local wine.

• Departing daily from Port Messina Arch
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Transfers are not included – guests will make their own way to the Port Messina Arch.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 10.30am

Private Cruise Around the Villas of Lake Como

Channel your inner A-list celeb and glide across Lake Como on a private boat trip showcasing the most exclusive villas. Lake Como is known for its lavish villas and this idyllic private cruise will introduce you to a few of our favourites. Impressive Villa Balbianello has immaculate gardens and a stylish terrace with a breathtaking lake backdrop; it’s no wonder it was chosen to star in Casino Royale and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Then there’s Villa Cassinella, a wow-factor private estate with towering cypress trees and a secluded, romantic setting. We’ll also sail past Comacina Island: the lake’s only island, home to a charming little white church and a fascinating history.

• Departing daily from Lake Como hotels
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
You’ll have your private boat for one hour.

Duration:

1 hour

Private Mount Etna Soft Trek

Explore Europe’s highest volcano on this private guided trekking and train ride adventure up towering Mount Etna. Mount Etna stands 3350 metres high and has been a designated UNESCO World Heritage site since 2013. We’ll trek to the stunning Alcantara Gorges, carved by the Alcantra River, stopping for a scenic short rest before boarding the ‘Circumetnea’: a traditional narrow-gauge train that runs around the foot of the volcano and up to Adrano. We’ll then head to Rifugio Sapienza, the guardhouse at the base of Mount Etna located 1900 metres above sea level, to head off on a soft trek to see the most recent lava flows and the now-extinct impressive Silvestri craters. Lunch and wine tasting at a winery will give you the extra energy to take the cable car up to 2,500 meters. Continue by Jeep to the authorized crater zones at 3,000 meters where, with the assistance of licensed Italian Alpine Club guides, you can gaze out over the summit craters.

• Departing daily
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
We strongly recommend warm clothing and suitable shoes.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 9am

St Moritz & Bernina Express

There’s something particularly charming about travelling by train. The Bernina Express is Switzerland’s ultimate scenic train – despite its ‘express’ name, it leisurely navigates mountain twists and tunnels. Your adventure begins with a drive along northern Lake Como to Tirano, where’ll we stop for coffee before crossing into Switzerland to board the Bernina Express train for the most scenic part of its route. Our one-hour train journey from Poschiavo to Diavolezza takes in the sights of the White Lake and the Black Lake, as well as breathtaking glaciers. We’ll continue by road to the iconic ski resort of St Moritz on the southern side of the Alps where highlights include crystal clear mountain lakes. There will be free time to wander around the beautiful town of Chiavenna before returning to Lake Como.

• Departing Monday and Wednesday from Lake Como hotels
• Operates April - October
• Group experience

Good to know
You’ll need to bring your passport as this experience crosses the border into Switzerland.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 7.35am
End time: 7pm

Sunset Horseback Experience

The rolling countryside around Mellieha, at the northern tip of Malta, is made to be explored on horseback. Under the care of an experienced mounted guide, you’ll spend an afternoon riding along quiet trails, taking in spectacular views of everything from distant islands to picturesque villages. Your route will take you to the ancient sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieha, high on a hilltop and surrounded by fertile valleys, whose tranquil atmosphere is something to be appreciated. You’ll also see for yourself why this part of the island is famous for its sunsets, with breathtaking multicoloured skies providing a perfect backdrop to panoramic vistas over the Mediterranean Sea: a fitting ending to a rewarding journey through one of Malta’s loveliest landscapes.

• Departs on Thursday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The experience is suitable for all.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 2.30pm
End time: 6pm

Syracuse in a Day

The city of Syracuse showcases Sicily’s timeless beauty – prepare to feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you explore some astounding historical sights. This ancient Greek colony was once the largest city of the ancient world and today it is thoroughly deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage status. We’ll take you to archaeological areas dating back to the 5th Century BC, including the Greek Theatre, the Roman Amphitheatre, the Altar of Hieron II and the Latomies of Paradise with the Ear of Dionysius. Then we’ll head to the historical centre: the small island of Ortigia, where sights such as the Temple of Apollo, the Cathedral and the Fountain of Arethusa with its famous papyrus plant await.

• Departing on Saturday from Taormina
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Lunch and transfers are not included – guests will make their own way to the Taormina Bus Terminal. Entrance fees are at extra cost (free for EU citizens under 18 with proof of ID).

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 8am

Vineyard Wine & Yoga

Taking a more holistic approach to our health is something we’re all encouraged to do, and on this wellness-themed day, you’ll benefit from everything from being in nature to a shared experience of mindful physical activity. You’ll begin with an hour-long yoga session in a magical outdoor setting, surrounded by olive, fig and carob trees as well as vines and with views of the medieval city of Mdina and elegant Verdala Palace. Guided by a professional instructor, you’ll gently work all your muscle groups in a way that’s designed to create a balanced, lean and strong inner core, as well as promote a sense of inner calm. Afterwards, you’ll tour the winery, learning about the whole process from grape to bottle. This mood-enhancing experience concludes with a wine-tasting session, accompanied by a delicious light lunch of cured meats, cheeses, warm bread and olive oil.

• Departs on Friday
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The yoga class is suitable for any level of fitness.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 9.15am
End time: 3.15pm

Wine Tasting in the Cellars of Valtellina

Slow the pace with a laid-back day of architecture admiring and wine tasting. We’ll take you to Piona Abbey, which sits at the top of the Olgiasca peninsula on the Lecco bank of Lake Como. The abbey is a typical example of Comacina Art, with its exposed square stone, and is a rare jewel of Lombard Romanesque architecture. You’ll have time to explore this peaceful site – still enjoyed by the Cistercian monks who live there today – and take in the panoramic views of the lake and west coast. Valtellina is home to more than 850 hectares of vineyards and we’ll visit one of the oldest cellars: a natural fridge (‘crotto’) in a cavity between the mountain rocks. We’ll finish the day with four wine tastings accompanied by local produce.

• Departing Thursday from Lake Como hotels
• Operates May – September
• Group experience

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 9.15am
End time: 3.30pm

Wine Tour of Madeira

Madeira has a long history of wine-making, and on this eight-hour adventure, you’ll travel across the island touring its vine-growing areas and learning about everything from the terroir to how various vintages are produced. Starting in the south and heading north, you’ll become familiar with names such as Câmara de Lobos, São Vicente, Seixal and Porto Moniz. You’ll visit several producers - and have a typical Madeiran lunch in the house of one - and taste what they make, from whites, reds and rosés to the famous fortified wines we think of when we hear the name “Madeira”. Along the way, you’ll get to enjoy scenic landscapes in parts of the island that most visitors never reach, making it a fascinating way to spend a day whether you’re a wine connoisseur or not.

• Departs on Wednesday
• Operates Year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The tour is not recommended for children.

Duration:

Full day