Plan Your 2014 Adventure!

Plan Your 2014 Adventure!

Our website is now updated with exciting new 2014 destinations and next year's departure dates and prices. Each trip brings you the beating heart of a region—ahead of the curve, away from the crowds, and deep in the fabric of local life. Add to that our legendary guest service, renowned local guides, and meticulously crafted itineraries and you have a winning recipe for exploring the world.

Find out all about some of our new initiatives below.

5 Reasons to Experience Maremma
The Best Time to Enjoy Provence
Create Your Own Adventure With Select Experiences
A Day On the Trail in Northern California
Walking the Camino de Santiago

5 Reasons to Experience Maremma

Even experienced travelers can be excused for never having heard of Maremma—it's one of Italy's best-kept secrets. This rolling seaside region of wheat fields, medieval villages, and rugged butteri herding cattle from horseback is largely unknown to the tourist crowds...and you'll want to keep it that way. Walking its Etruscan footpaths and coastal rambles with our expert Italian guides, you'll experience far more than a vacation; you'll savor the old ways of Italy brought to vivid life. Here’s what else you'll enjoy on CW's new-for-2014 Italy: Maremma Guided Walking trip:

  1. Sunsets Over Giglio Island. For the last two nights of your stay in Maremma, you'll be delighted by the legendary hospitality of the four-star Hotel Torre di Cala Piccola on the Argentario Penninsula. There, you'll enjoy sweeping views of the Tyrrhenian Sea, with Giglio Island in the distance—and luminous, technicolor sunsets each evening.
  2. Mysterious Footpaths of the Via Cave. Approaching the town of Pitigliano, you'll descend from the green lines of vineyards into a narrow canyon of volcanic rock. This unique path—one of the region's renowned Via Cave or "Cave Roads"—was actually hand-carved by Etruscans two millennia ago. It's an unforgettable way to experience Italy's rich history.
  3. "Curative" Spas with Roman Roots. When you stay in the town of Saturnia on your first night, you'll be only steps away from a bathing spot that dates back to the Romans. The ancient Terme di Saturnia hot springs has drawn crowds since Nero's day—though you'll have to judge their rumored "curative properties" for yourself.
  4. Acquacotta's Rich Flavors. Long considered the "breadbasket of Rome," Maremma offers the same vibrant flavors of Tuscany's legendary cuisine with a down-home, country twist. Take, for instance, the hearty stew that locals call acquacotta, a warming blend of toothsome broad beans, simmered greens, artichoke hearts, fresh-grated pecorino romano cheese, and a thick slice of bread to soak it all up. Delizioso!
  5. Ancient Frescoes of Tarquinia. Before the Romans, there were the Etruscans...and Maremma was their home base. Connect with this ancient civilization in the necropolis of Tarquinia, a massive underground complex of barrel-vaulted tombs frescoed in vibrant red, indigo, gold, and green by anonymous bygone artists. Here, you can take in an unforgettable mix of scenes—detailed murals depicting moments from daily life, striking landscapes, and festive celebrations.

The Best Time to Enjoy Provence

CW is proud to offer two new ways to enjoy the iconic Provence region of France. Our France: Classic Provence Self-Guided Walking trip and France: Provence to the Coast Self-Guided Biking trip both offer memorable ways to savor this land of olive groves and hilltop villages. But when to go? Here’s what we recommend for the best times to visit Provence:

April—Beat the crowds by coming early in the season. You can expect perfect walking and biking weather: moderate spring temperatures (between 50 and 60 degrees) and cool nights.
May—Expect tremendous weather. On our biking trip, this is also when the famous Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer Gypsy Festival takes place. For better or for worse, this is also when many courses camarguaises (festivals related to bullfights, but without the animal being killed) are held.
June—Lavender starts to bloom in late June.
September—After the scorching heat of the summer, September is a welcome respite in Provence. It’s also when the wine is harvested, as well as olives.
October—Expect a bounty of fruits and vegetables! This is the season for fresh apples, pears, squash, and olives. October is also when mushrooms are foraged.

Create Your Own Adventure With Select Experiences

CW’s newest travel style captures the essence of a destination—its sounds, sights, people, and flavors—in just three to four days. Select Experiences are great on their own but the real magic comes when you combine them together to create your own unique adventure. Or, add these private getaways to our Walking or Biking trips and extend your dream vacation. Here are three examples of ways to use these versatile trips:

  • "It was my first time going to Spain and I wanted to do it my way. That's why it was great to create my own special itinerary from the Rioja, Madrid, and Seville Select Experiences. CW even arranged transfers between destinations and custom stops along the way!"
  • "My husband and I didn't have much time to travel this year. Fortunately, we were able to turn just a few free days into an unforgettable adventure by reserving CW's Nicoya Peninsula Select Experience in Costa Rica."

Search CW's Select Experiences—including brand new departures to destinations like Brazil and
France—here.

A Day On the Trail in Northern California

There's so much to enjoy on CW's California: San Francisco to Point Reyes Self-Guided Walking trip. Every day will provide a notebook’s-worth of new memories—from side streets in San Francisco, to the headlands of Point Reyes. Here’s what you might experience during a typical day on the trail:

8:00am—Woke up in the stylish-but-comfortable Casa Madrona, overlooking Sausalito's sleepy waterfront. We wandered down the shop-lined main street to a cute little café for brunch.

9:30am—Started down a wide well-maintained trail into the lushly-carpeted Tennessee Valley, a state park alive with stands of lupine, checker-bloom, and riotous buttercups. We could hear the ocean breakers in the distance.

10:15am—Arrived in the lovely Tennessee Valley Cove, a quiet inlet nestled between bluffs. It’s the perfect spot for a quick snack and a few contemplative moments beside the pounding surf.

12:30pm—Followed the trail up to a coastal plateau from which, looking south, we could just make out the distant skyline of San Francisco. We stopped and ate a picnic lunch with fresh cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery beside a wild blackberry bush.

2:00pm—Muir Beach is a lovely strip of sand and surf in a protected cove, ideal for a quick dip after a long hike. We spent a leisurely hour relaxing by the water and then wandered up into the nearby town.

3:15pm—Arrived at the Pelican Inn, a slate-roofed and semi-timber-framed inn that looks exactly like an English country estate. Our bags were waiting for us when we checked in.

6:00pm—Ate a delicious dinner alfresco in the hotel’s restaurant: Mussels in butter sauce and English-style chips washed down with a crisp pint of lager. Yum!

8:00pm—Walked back down to the waterfront to watch the sunset. With just the gulls for company, the sense of independence was palpable. Thanks to CW’s attention to detail and meticulous route notes, we were able to enjoy the California coast our way.

Walking the Camino de Santiago

For centuries, the faithful have been trekking across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago (also known as “The Way of St. James”). Now it’s your turn. We’re excited to debut our Spain: Camino de Santiago Self-Guided Walking experience, which brings you all the best of this renowned route in a manageable 9-day format. We asked the trip’s designer and manager, Alex Hynes, to tell us a bit about it.

First off: what exactly is the Camino de Santiago?

For starters, it’s one of the three most-followed Christian pilgrimage routes in the world (after Jerusalem and Rome)—so the cultural and historical significance is just huge. It exists because the remains of St. James were said to have been found in Northern Spain during the Middle Ages, so for over a millennium pilgrims have been traveling across Europe to pay their respects. The Camino is actually a whole network of routes fanning out across Spain—all coming together as you get closer and closer to the city of Santiago de Compostela.

If you’re walking the Camino, what can you expect to experience along the way?

Well, we follow the French Route—perhaps the best known of the official pilgrimage routes—and we walk highlights of the path all the way from the French border to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela itself. We’re one of the only travel companies to offer this. Along the way you’ll pass through seven distinct regions of Spain, so you get an incredible cross-section of the country’s diverse cultures, climates, cuisines, etc. From Basque Country, with its stone houses and rolling hills, to the central plateau of Spain, where the landscape changes, to the lush, green hills of Galicia—which many compare to Ireland in the UK. In terms of the personal experience, the idea of walking on the path with other pilgrims is very meaningful for some people. There’s a lot of camaraderie on the road; the spirit of making a journey together is really intense.

What were some of the challenges in creating CW's itinerary?

It’s something we’ve wanted to do for many years, but have held off on until we could put together the right local partners, accommodations, and plan. Since the experience of walking the Camino is a very personal one, we felt that this would work better as a Self-Guided trip than as a Guided one. The biggest challenge was the distance. The whole Way is over 300 miles—to walk it end to end usually takes a few months. We know that most people don’t have that luxury. Most other tour companies just offer a small 6-day section of the route; we wanted to give the full Camino experience. Working with local partners,
I identified special walks all along the entire length of the route to create a trip to remember. It’s all of the
highlights—the local inns, beautiful cathedrals, and amazing cuisine—with none of the lowlights. I know
people are really going to love it.