Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
Phil Hopkins
Arts & Travel Editor
9:00 AM 11th January 2021

On Yer Bike Or Shanks Pony!

‘Slow Holiday’ specialist Inntravel continues to seek out the lesser-taken path in the most beautiful corners of Europe with a selection of new self-guided holidays for 2021.

Having boosted its UK programme for 2021, Inntravel offers 17 home-grown walking breaks that stretch from the recently introduced route in the Borders down to the South Downs.

New English walking breaks for spring 2021 are: Trails of the Riverbank, a route based around the Thames Path in this, the National Trail’s 25th anniversary year; and Northumberland Coast and its Castles, along the unspoiled coast from Warkworth to Bamburgh.
Inntravel offers hundreds of tempting trails and routes across Europe, for which maps and meticulous self-guided route notes are provided, ensuring flexible and hassle-free travel. Here’s a taste:

CYCLING - Waterways of the Minho - the far north-west of Portugal
Enjoy a leisurely two-wheeled discovery of the Lima Valley, Portugal’s greenest and, arguably, its most picturesque corner, tucked below the border with Galicia. This great value hotel-to-hotel route makes good use of the extensive ecovia network of cycle paths and traces the course of the rivers Vez and Lima.

Beginning in the delightful waterfront town of Arcos de Valdevez, the route travels westwards to meet the Atlantic Ocean at Viana do Castelo with its mile upon mile of soft golden sand. Along the way, cycle past vineyards where the region’s famous vinho verde is produced, stop in Portugal's oldest town – Ponte de Lima with its Roman bridge, enjoy the proliferation of birdlife, and take the occasional paddle in the rivers’ cooling waters.

Price: from £645pp based on 2 sharing, including 6 nights’ B&B, 1 dinner, 1 picnic, cycle hire and accessories, luggage transported between hotels, and route notes and maps. E-bike: £75 supplement. Flights to Porto extra. Available 1 April - 14 July & 25 Aug – 31 Oct 2021.

WALKING - An Italian Lake Paradise – the quiet side of Lake Garda
Discover the quiet side of Lake Garda, staying in Gargnano, a small waterfront town, much-loved by D.H Lawrence. Today, it remains one of the Lake’s most authentic destinations and home to hundreds of ancient ‘lemon houses’ which once sheltered Garda’s precious citrus fruit produce.

Its quiet location makes an excellent base for exploring: there is a good choice of leisurely walking trails nearby, the frequent ferries that criss-cross Garda’s vast waters make harbour-hopping a real pleasure, and there are suggestions for some rewarding sightseeing.

Among them are the celebrated lake-fronted towns of Riva del Garda and Sirmione, and the private paradise island of Isola del Garda with its formal gardens. Stay in the family-run Hotel Gardenia al Lago, full of old-world charm, right on the shores of the Lake, with views over to majestic Monte Baldo.

Price: from £720pp based on 2 sharing, including 7 nights’ B&B, 2 dinners, route notes and maps, and discounted travel card. Flights to Verona and Bergamo extra. Available 1 April – 18 July & 21 Aug – 31 Oct 2021.

WALKING - Trails of the Riverbank: The Thames Path in its 25th Year
For this new walking holiday Inntravel has chosen what is widely considered the prettiest and most culturally interesting part of the Thames Path - a National Trail that marks its 25th anniversary year in 2021.

Starting among the dreaming spires of Oxford and finishing in foodie Marlow, pass through peaceful meadows, quintessential English villages and fine historic market towns such as Abingdon and Wallingford – the latter once being the site of one of medieval England’s most important castles.

To ring the changes from the normal linear Thames Path route, bus, boat and train journeys are incorporated, as are two night stays at elegant hotels in the village of Goring and Henley–upon-Thames, home of the Royal Regatta.

The week finishes in Marlow, the stomping ground of TV chef Tom Kerridge where now a hat-trick of places offers outstanding British fare.

Price: from £795pp based on 2 sharing, including 6 nights’ B&B, 3 dinners, luggage transferred and route notes and maps. Available 1 March – 31 October 2021.

WALKING - The Northumberland Coast & its Castles
Discover this region rich in history, once the powerhouse of England, on a leisurely walking holiday that follows the spectacular Northumberland coastal path - part of the soon-to-be opened English Coast Path.

Discover mighty castles; enjoy spectacular views of land, sea and sweeping sands, and look out for wildlife, from red squirrels in the woods to the seabirds of the islands. Featuring a charming mix of accommodation, the route leads north from the ancient village of Warkworth, with its imposing medieval castle, and finishes in Bamburgh, which boasts one of the largest inhabited castles in the country.

Among the many highlights are a boat trip to see seals and puffins on the Farne Islands and a visit to magnificent Alnwick Castle, which starred as Hogwarts in Harry Potter, and is home to the Duchess of Northumberland’s exciting 21st century garden.

Price: 6 nights’ B&B from £740pp based on 2 sharing, including 2 dinners, transfers between first and last hotels (for drivers), route notes and maps. Available 1 March - 31 October 2021.

Other recently introduced holidays include:

High Paths of Northern Portugal (Walking): The route of this self-guided walking holiday in the remote north spans the country’s only National Park, Peneda-Gerês NP which will be marking its 50th anniversary in May 2021. The views are so big and panoramic this is surely Portugal’s best walking with wow features in every ‘leg’. Price: 7 nights from £830pp based on 2 sharing. Starts 1 April 2021.

Slovenia’s Enchanted Valley (Walking): In the year when Slovenia has won the title of European Region of Gastronomy for 2021, Inntravel offers a single-centre week of walking in the remote Logar Valley, considered by Inntravel to be one of Europe’s most beautiful - much as Bled was some 25 years ago. Inntravel is unique in working with the 4-star family-run Hotel Plesnik, the one and only hotel in this protected landscape. Price: 7 nights from £885pp based on 2 sharing. Starts 1 May 2021.

The Tweed & the Scottish Borders (Walking): Explore the heart of this tranquil region, revealing romantic ruins, timeless towns and its connections to Sir Walter Scott, as 2021 marks the 250th anniversary of the writer’s birth. Price: 6 nights from £620pp based on 2 sharing. Starts 1 March 2021.

Seascapes of North Norfolk (Walking): Home to both vast sandy beaches and pristine nature reserves, this coast is teeming with birdlife. En route soak up North Norfolk’s rich history and culture including a visit to stately Holkham Hall – the childhood home of the author Lady Glenconner. Price: 6 nights from £795pp based on 2 sharing. Starts 1 April 2021.

Provincia Nostra by Rail from London (Journey by rail): During 2021, the Year of European Rail*, travel from London St. Pancras through southern France to discover ‘Roman Gaul’ – where the Romans ruled for more than 500 years. Stay in Narbonne, Nîmes and Arles, and visit the remarkable new Roman Museum of Narbonne set to open in 2021. Price: 6 nights inc. rail from £925pp based on 2 sharing. Starts 1 April 2021.

Flavours of Bilbao, San Sebastián & Bordeaux (Journey by rail): Travel by train between Bilbao, one of the great treasures of the Basque Country, to San Sebastián, a contender for the finest foodie city on the planet and on to Bordeaux, whose history has been inextricably linked to the wine trade. Price: 6 nights inc. local rail from £775pp based on 2 sharing. Starts 1 April 2021.

The Best of Slovenia from the Alps to the Adriatic (Journey by rail): While Lake Bled and Ljubljana are well visited, some of the best parts of Slovenia, tipped to be Inntravel’s No. 1 destination for 2021, are well off-the-beaten-track. Travel on some lovely old fashioned and great value trundling trains from the Julian Alps, taking in iconic Lake Bled, Goriška Brda – Slovenia's 'secret Tuscany', lively Ljubljana and Piran on the Adriatic coast. Price: 7 nights from £1,045pp based on 2 sharing inc. local rail. Starts 1 May 2021.
All existing holidays, whether journeys, walking or cycling, remain at 2020 prices.

For more information on Inntravel, visit, or call 01653 617000.