Sport & Activities
Cookery Course at Villa Le Barone, Tuscany, Italy
At Villa Le Barone, guests eager to receive a practical, hands-on introduction to Tuscan cuisine may take part in a morning or afternoon cooking class with our own chefs. These classes are for small groups to guarantee that participants finish the class with all the knowledge they require to produce a delicious Tuscan meal when back at home.It is a mid-morning, two hours, hands on, practical course where you prepare a complete typical Tuscan meal. We provide our own recipes and a lovely apron you can bring back home as a souvenir. After class, on our terrace, you have lunch and taste the four course meal you have prepared.
The famous ‘Ladder of Kotor’ hiking trail, Montenegro
The view of the Bay of Kotor is one that never fails to elicit swoons and sighs - and it looks even better from above. Those that embark on the famous ‘Ladder of Kotor’ hiking trail are treated to panoramic vistas from more than 3,000 feet above the UNESCO-protected Old Town. It’s not a hike for the faint-hearted, with more than 70 U-turns following an old horse trail to the fjord, but the sights that surround you are worth the trek. Hiking the ladder during early summer means the climate isn’t scorching, but you’ll still need plenty of water and of course, a fully-charged camera. The hike can also be done from the top down if you’re not too keen on the ascent.
Where to stay: Once you reach the bottom, rest your wonderfully exhausted limbs at the award-winning Hotel Cattaro. In the heart of Old Town, the historic boutique hotel blends 18th-century charm with modern luxury, with remarkable views of Kotor Bay.
Wild and beautiful Mani region, Greece
Some of the best hikes in Greece are nestled amid rugged foothills, olive groves and rarely explored scenery. One of the wildest and most beautiful spots is the Mani - a remote corner of the Peloponnese that remains largely untouched, even with Greece’s mass tourism. No hiking in the country is quite as the dramatic as the much-underrated peninsula: walking trails stem out from tiny villages, speckled with Byzantine churches, stone towers and hilly humps.
Where to stay: Few hikers venture beyond Mani’s stunning Diros caves - but head deeper south (about a 25-minute drive from the caves) and you’ll be rewarded with a base of sleepy coves and medieval villages. While few tourists visit, even fewer stay the night: white pebbles, crystal-clear waters and time-hopping charm await you at Kyrimai Hotel. This enchanting stay encompasses the region’s history into both its buildings and cuisine: both of which have garnered several accolades, including a Michelin Star and the Best Historic Hotel of Europe by the Water Award.
Trek through Tuscany’s famous regions, Italy
Garfagnana, Lunigiana, Casentino and the Florentine hills are among the most famous in the region. Curve through the Italian countryside on a pilgrim trail: the Via Francigena winds from north to south of Tuscany, comprised of 15 trail sections that average just more than 18 km per day. On each leg of the grand hike, you’ll discover historic gems such as the famous town of Massa (known for its quality marble), while traversing through towns, fortresses and castles along the way. You’ll even catch a glimpse of the enchanting Tuscan coast. For a less demanding walking experience, take to the Wine Road of the Vernaccia di San Gimignano. This 10-mile route follows the white roads of Tuscany, stopping at some of the region’s prettiest towns, churches and even gelato spots along the way.
Where to stay: Perched in the picturesque Chianti hills, Villa Le Barone provides an ideal base for a Tuscan hiking holiday. The centuries-old villa is still lived in by the same family, who’ve retained its splendid Tuscan charm with rose gardens, authentic cuisine and that much-soughted Italian hospitality.
Pustervalley in South Tyrol, Italy
The Italian Dolomites are the dazzling poster-boy for world-class peaks. With over 90,000 acres of mountainous terrain, rolling green landscapes and thoroughly vibrant culture, they lure nature lovers and adventurers from all over the world. Avoid getting clogged up in tourist traps by going to lands less wandered – Puster Valley is an enchanting mix of fairytale woodlands, cycle paths, paddle-boat-speckled lakes, and, of course, those lovely, looming Dolomites.
Where to stay: Rest those trekked-out limbs with a night at the life-restoring Hotel Alte Goste, located in the heart of the valley with a history spanning back to 1142.
Hike from hut to hut in Graubünden, Switzerland
Experience the Swiss high life on a mountain tour between the Flüela Pass and Albula Pass. Don’t expect a phone signal up here – this is all about fresh-air fun, your company… and you. You’ll end your soul-stirring trip in the ancient village of Bergün.
Where to stay: Check into Art Nouveau award-winner Kurhaus Bergün. If you’re unsure where to start with a mountain adventure, the helpful team at this former wellness hotel can organise it for you.
Horse-ride through the valleys of Sils-Maria, Switzerland
It might not be the first activity you consider in St. Moritz – what with all the lakes to swim, mountains to hike and trails to cycle. But horse-drawn carriage rides into the Val Fex are probably the most romantic way to experience this heavenly countryside.
Where to stay: Your accommodation is an adventure in itself: Hotel Waldhaus is a much-loved, family-run hotel looking over the Fex Valley and carrying a worthy five stars. Passed down through generations since 1908, this grand forest lodge radiates old-world grandeur.
Mountain biking serenity: Arezzo, Italy
Summer-time brings flocks of keen cyclists and mountain bike lovers to the region, thanks to a 62km cycle route that runs close to Arezzo all the way to Chiusi. Since it’s almost all flat, you’ll be able to cruise through the blissful Tuscan wild at a smooth speed. Along the way, you’ll discover an 18th-century sluice gate, earth-wall houses and an impressive bridge over the Canale Mestre.
Where to stay: Embrace true Tuscan spirit with a stay at nearby Castello di Gargonza – a 13th-century fortified village with an award-winning castle hotel and apartments enclosed within. Mountain bikes are available from the hotel reception, free of charge.
Kronplatz: South Tyrol, Italy
Kronplatz is an exception to the usual rough and rugged Dolomite terrain. It’s like a smooth cone, a poster boy for the perfect slope – as if purposely sculpted for adrenaline-pumping skiing. Fast long pistes provide thrill-seekers with the ultimate descent, while beginners can cruise at their own pace on gentler slopes. Gondolas zig-zig about the place and the state-of-the-art lift system is wonderfully efficient – this is definitely Italy’s best-kept ski secret.
Where to stay: After a day hurtling down the mighty mountain, linger in a herbal bath, warm up in the sauna or enjoy a recharging treatment at Hotel Alte Goste. Book in for the weekend and soak up the Dolomites from your very own bedroom in this charming hideaway, first mentioned in a document in 1142.
Valley of Schnalstal: Merano, Italy
High-altitude adventurers will fall in love with the glaciers of South Tyrol. Head to the valley of Schnalstal and experience your favourite winter sports in a breathtaking 185-acre natural park. In dream-like Merano, ski-lovers can dive into a duvet of snow. With 40km of slopes providing wide and pleasant descents.
Where to stay: The only thing that can top it off is nearby Hotel Castel Rundegg. Savour many a delicious delicacy in the South Tyrolean restaurant and marvel at the 12th-century castle and its spacious, fine-furnished rooms.
Deep in the valleys of south eastern Switzerland, the Engadine has something for everyone. Ever tried snowkiting? Winter’s alternative to kite surfing in summer allows you to glide across the frozen Lake Silvaplana on skis or a board, propelled by a colourful kite.
Where to stay: Overlooking this winter wonderland is Hotel Waldhaus, owned by the same family since 1908, the hotel retains its golden age grandeur and irresistible warmth – the perfect way to round off a day in the snow.