A new trend is afoot. What for many years was the mainstay of adventure travel in Europe, the traditional bike tour no longer offers enough variety and satisfaction for active American travelers. Tours that can offer a combination of experiences and activities are now the hot ticket.
Decades ago, Austin Adventures (https://www.austinadventures.com/) helped pioneer the concept of multisport travel in North America. They have witnessed this evolution and, in 2018, have fully embraced European tours with much more than only cycling.
“While pedal tours are a great way to see a country, they do have their limits. The ‘perfect’ bike ride isn’t necessarily convenient or available every day,” explains Dan Austin, visionary President and Founder of Austin Adventures. “With multisport travel you can hand-pick the best of the best. Each day we focus on the perfect activity to pursue, be it biking, hiking, paddling or whatever.”
For example, Austin Adventures selects activities that each destination is best known for. “You wouldn’t want to miss kayaking in Croatia or hiking in the Dolomites, would you? Don’t get us wrong; we love cycling, but we also love the excitement and flexibility multisport gives us and the experiences and memories it provides for our guests,” adds Austin.
And for 2018, to rest up for an active week in Europe, Austin Adventures is offering a complimentary hotel stay in the gateway city the night before a trip. This means a free hotel stay at a company-recommended accommodation in, among others, Paris or Amsterdam. The only condition is that the adventure trip is booked before March 1, 2018. See: https://www.austinadventures.com/special-offer-europe-pre-trip-hotel/
So, what has driven this evolution in the company’s European itineraries? Austin points to its loyal trip alumni (representing some 70 percent of annual sales). They bird-dogged Austin’s team for new ways to experience Europe beyond the company’s time-tested and popular bike tours.
The result is an enhanced and expanded roster of Europe Multisport Adventures – Beyond Bike Touring that draws on underutilized – certainly by Americans – coastal waters and lakes for kayaking, compelling alpine regions begging for hikers and more.
Austin Adventures’ deep experience in Europe – over 30 years – means that active travelers can now nibble on Europe as the locals do – taking the time off a trail and over lunch to observe, for example, how the French slice their cheeses, how Germans pour beer and how a Croatian guide’s family lives.
Austin Adventures’ Director of European Operations, Adam Beecham, wants guests to explore Europe like a European, by revolutionizing the way Americans view adventure travel. This is accomplished by incorporating physical, mental and social elements into each adventure. He also wants to dig into Europe’s highly specialized cultures with visits, for example, to futuristic greenhouses in Holland, organic wine producers in France, places where German precision and engineering are showcased, local craft breweries in Belgium and to Italian kitchens for making homemade pasta.
“Our revamped trips to Europe will be more sustainable, involve more local experts and cultural exchanges while taking in the best of each culture, all with their signature Austin Adventures service on a silver platter,” Beecham promises.
Following are a sampling of Austin Adventures’ 2018 multi-sport European itineraries:
(note: dates with * designate family-focused departures)
- Holland to Germany - Amsterdam to Aachen is a 7-day program from $2,998 per person double ($480 single supplement; $2,698 children) rolling from Amsterdam in 2018 on May 13, June 10*, July 1* and 22*, Aug. 26 and Sept. 2. Activities include guided walks through the Dutch landscape of heath fields, tulips and woodlands and over the cobblestones in medieval centers including Maastricht; cycling up to 30 miles a day on designated bike paths; and learning how to blokart (sailing across a sandy beach on wheels). See https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/hollandgermany-amsterdam-aachen/
- Spain – Barcelona & Catalonia is a 7-day program from $3,998 per person double ($680 single supplement) departing Barcelona in 2018 on April 22, May 13, June 3, Sept. 9 and 30 to explore Catalonia’s treasures from the Pyrenees to Costa Brava and on to the Mediterranean. Hot air ballooning (optional), kayaking, eating cava served with coca de llardons (a Catalan cake) aboard a short flight, walking, swimming, rowing, boating, biking, snorkeling and overnighting in a medieval castle embellish this food-and-wine-sated itinerary. See https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/spain-catalonia/
- Croatia - Dalmatian Coast is a 6-day program from $3,498 per person double ($680 single supplement; $3,148 children) with 2018 departures along the dramatic Adriatic coastline from Split to Dubrovnik on May 6, June 10 and 17*, July 1*, 8* and 22*, Aug. 12* and 19, Sept. 2 and 23 and Oct. 7. Once the realm of the Romans and the Venetians, ruins and palaces and an evolving and remarkable cuisine reflect a colorful past just across the sea from mainland Italy. Activities include sea kayaking, tastings at vineyards, hiking, biking, beaching in buggies (beach) and (optional) walking the wall around Medieval Dubrovnik after climbing many steps. See https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/croatia-dalmatian-coast/
- Italy - South Tyrol and The Dolomites is a 6-day hiking and biking program departing Verona (Italy) from $3,398 per person double ($680 single supplement) with 2018 trips scheduled May 13, June 10, July 1 and Sept. 23. This is a region in Europe coveted for its mountain-driven beauty, wines and cuisine. See https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/italy-south-tyrol-and-the-dolomites/
- France - Provence is a 7-day hiking, biking and kayaking adventure out of Avignon from $3,898 per person double ($880 single) on 2018 summer and fall departures (TBA). Roman ruins, lavender fields forever, markets and castles mingle with wine tastings and regional fare. See https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/france-provence/
- Austria - Alps to Salzburg is a 7-day program from $3,698 per person double ($780 single; $3,328 children) with 2018 departures June 17 and 24*, July 15 and 22*, Aug. 5*, 12* and 19 and Sept. 2. Munich is the gateway to Salzburg, the home of Mozart, hiking, biking, rafting, spelunking and (optional) paragliding in this alpine playground with time enough for apfel strudel and beer. See https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/austria-alps-salzburg/
To help plan the next great journey, Austin Adventures’ 2018 catalog is available upon request. Please order ONLINE or call 1.800.575.1540 or email [email protected]. For a full roster of 2018 trips that is frequently updated beyond the print catalog, please visit http://www.austinadventures.com.
About Austin Adventures
Based in Billings, Montana, Austin Adventures has spent more than 40 years building an international reputation as a top provider of luxury, small group, multisport tours for adults and families to the world’s most captivating destinations. Acknowledged twice by Travel + Leisure Magazine with the prestigious World’s Best Awards along with other national media accolades and distinctions. Austin Adventures has perfected the art of creating itineraries featuring exceptional regional dining, distinctive accommodations, incredible guides and exhilarating activities, all while keeping all-inclusive rates and services the norm. In addition to scheduled group departures on all seven continents, Austin Adventures has developed a reputation as the leader in customized trip planning and execution. All backed by the industry’s best money-back satisfaction guarantee.