Europe is a continent that comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Europe is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. To the east and southeast, Europe is generally considered as separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways of the Turkish Straits. Yet the non-oceanic borders of Europe—a concept dating back to classical antiquity—are arbitrary. The primarily physiographic term “continent” as applied to Europe also incorporates cultural and political elements whose discontinuities are not always reflected by the continent’s current overland boundaries.
France: Art Lovers
Historically known as the Perigord, the Dordogne region was settled in pre-historic times. There are troglodyte cave dwellings along the river valleys and famous prehistoric art sites such as Lascaux. More recently, the golden stone of the Perigord has created mellow villages, fortified churches, over one thousand chateaux, and the beautiful ‘bastide’ towns. There are vineyards, famous gardens, riversides and oak forests. For painters and photographers it is a visual feast! Colourful village markets provide the famous Perigourdine foods – the best in France.
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France: The Pyrenees
Our 2017 Pyrenees walking tour will again be based in a renovated Basque farmhouse set in the foothills of the Western Pyrenees, but almost certainly for the last time. This is the area known as the Pays Basque – the country of the Basques- a quiet corner of France on the Spanish border, and within an hour’s drive of the Atlantic Ocean. The region is sparsely populated and is a bastion of the ancient and unique Basque culture, which maintains its own language and customs. Click for more information.
France: Dordogne & Lot
Historically known as the Perigord, the Dordogne area was settled in pre-historic times. There are troglodyte cave dwellings along the river valleys and famous prehistoric art sites such as Lascaux. More recently, the golden stone of the Perigord has created mellow villages, fortified churches, over one thousand chateaux and castles, and the beautiful ‘bastide’ towns. We visit Sarlat, the best preserved medieval town in France, and experience its famous market. We travel to the pilgrimage site at Rocamadour and walk in the white limestone areas of The Lot, and the delightful Saint-Cirque-Lapopie. On our walks we visit seven of the designated Most Beautiful Villages in France (MBVIF). One day is free to visit some famous gardens, the Lascaux Caves, another beautiful local town, or to canoe down the Dordogne. Click for more information.
Spain: Picos de Europa
The Picos de Europa are rugged limestone ranges situated near the northern coast of Spain, to the west of Bilbao. They formed Spain’s first national park in 1918. The snow-capped peaks are within 30 kms of the sea, and the massifs have been sliced by huge canyons. The lush valleys and lower slopes support beech and oak forests and beautiful stone villages with ancient farming traditions. Local cuisine, and in particular the various mountain cheeses, are delicious!
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