“The Ardeche is an outdoor activity paradise; this week-long trip makes the most of its river, cliffs and gorges. Each day you'll sample a different activity - kayaking, cycling, abseiling & bivouacking.”
Two days kayaking along the Ardeche river with overnight bivouac | High ropes course | Climbing & abseiling on cliffs above Chassezac Gorge | Aven d’Orgnac cave | Cycling to local villages | Vineyard visit
Please feel free to email the Help Desk team if you need any advice on your vacation plans. We're always happy to help!
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?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
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.
“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?”
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.
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: Ardeche multi sport vacation in France
Activity: This itinerary boasts a range of both environmentally friendly and exciting activities including zip-lining through the forest canopy, cycling past vistas and villages, kayaking down the Ardeche River, climbing and caving. We are extremely careful to operate with a ‘leave no trace’ policy, which involves being vigilant with proper litter disposal and respectful of the environment and wildlife. By using local guides, drivers, equipment and excursion services, our activities also have a positive effect on the community.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, 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.
Accommodation and Meals: We spend six nights in a small hotel in Joyeuse and one night camping in Bivouac. Whilst the hotel is also environmentally conscious with its policies, by staying on a campsite for a night we are really reducing our carbon footprint for the trip. Every provided meal is a chance to showcase some of the amazing local produce available in the Ardeche region and this will be done wherever possible. The restaurant at the hotel specialises in regional dishes but also makes their own pizza with fresh ingredients in a real wood-burning stove. At free meal times, clients are encouraged to support local businesses and try out some of the large range of cafes, restaurants and patisseries in the area.
Local Craft and Culture: Where we stay in Joyeuse, there is a real mixture of old and new with artisan shops, bistros and bars of modern day France combining with the cobbled streets, narrow alleys and ramparts of the old town, where some great restaurants are also to be found. Local guides and pre-departure information can recommend the best parts of the town and the easiest ways to engage with the rich culture of the area. Joyeuse offers a bustling market every week which clients are encouraged to visit to sample some local produce and to get a taste of daily life for this community. The tour of the local vineyard is also a great opportunity to support local craft and to try the range of wines for which the region is renowned.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.