Elba hiking vacation, Italy

“Walking is a pleasure on this beguiling island in the Tuscan archipelago, which mixes dramatic coastline with wild meadows, soaring peaks and lip-smacking wines”

Highlights

Pisa | Elba | Marciana Marina | optional excursion to the island of Pianosa | Cavoli Beach | Portoferraio | walking through forests, along coastline and through a valley of abandoned vineyards | local produce and wine tasting

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Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Elba hiking vacation, Italy

Accommodation and Meals:
On this tour we will spend 7 nights in small hotels. All accommodation is locally owned and staffed, which provides employment and income alternatives for many locals. Where meals are provided, there is a focus on using locally sourced produce and traditional ingredients in locally-run establishments. For meals that are not included, clients are encouraged to eat in authentic, family-run restaurants that showcase the best of Italian cuisine prepared from local produce and to ensure the local communities benefit from our visit. Recommendations are provided by the local leaders.

Local Craft and Culture:
This tour is ideal for whoever is interested in nature, picturesque villages and idyllic beaches. We will take beautiful coastline walks offering panoramic views and stop along crystal clear beaches with the option to swim, weather dependant. We will explore the heart of Elba with its wild landscapes and interesting rock shelters with deers and mouflons. We will use public ferries, as well as group transfers to reach the destinations, to minimise our impact on the territory.

Community:
This trip is designed to allow a high degree of economic benefit to the local communities. On Day 6 we organise a produce wine and tasting experience using small local producers to help their businesses and offer a genuine experience.
Water:

This is a really important issue and it’s becoming more and more crucial to provide water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. We advise our clients to take a water bottle they can refill at the hotels and where else available along the way as tap water is drinkable in Italy.

Traveling with respect:
Few vacations have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a walking trip. It is a quiet, low impact activity requiring comparatively little resources to support. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem and our trip leaders encourage clients not to stray from paths to minimise this. We do believe in leaving more than just footprints, however; this walking tour actively encourages guests to chat with local people, visit local cafes and bars, purchase local produce, gifts and crafts and discover what life is really like along the Elba Island. Clients are briefed on how to minimise their impact on the environment while traveling; particularly on managing litter. If bins are not immediately available waste can be collected by guide and throw away as soon as possible, where appropriate.

UK office
It all starts at home so we have first worked to reduce our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies in place, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Group size
We operate small group tours that have a low impact on the communities we visit and we always ensure our operations do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. This allows us to stay in unique and characterful accommodation that would not have benefitted from tourism due to their limited size.

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