Locally run centre based vacations

Accommodations & tours combined

Choose your local base

Several of our local tour operators started out small – welcoming guests to small guesthouses, farmstays or historic properties. Over time, they branched out and began offering tours of the local area – on foot, horseback or bicycle, with or without guides – but always with the benefit of the knowledge that only comes with years of having lived in a destination, and having a network of friends and neighbours across the region.

The Moroccan Kasbah

Within this timeless setting of the High Atlas Mountains is a Kasbah that could have come from the pages of a storybook. The former home of a feudal baron, the Kasbah du Toubkal is now run by indigenous Berbers, and offers a luxurious mountain refuge for hikers. On these steep mountain slopes, the Kasbah can organise mules to carry your packs as you trek, passing ancient villages and terraced farmland. At the end of a long day on your feet, accompanied by your own personal mountain guide, steam away the aches in the traditional hammam before relaxing in your own traditional jalaba.

The Transylvanian Count

After returning to the Transylvanian village that his father had been exiled from many decades before, Count Kalnoky dedicated his life to renovating the dilapidated buildings, including a Saxon farmhouse and a castle. A trained vet, he also takes great care to preserve the surrounding landscape. And it’s a habitat that is worth preserving; the village is tucked away in the stunning Carpathian Mountains, and Count Kalnoky’s guests can enjoy bear and wolf tracking excursions, as well as bird watching. Active visitors can set out on foot to explore the countryside or the surrounding medieval cities – or the Count can arrange horse riding trips and even horse and cart rides for a real experience of life at a Romanian pace.

The Spanish finca

This is about way more than just a reheated paella; traditional recipes incorporate ingredients brought back from the new world – including tomatoes and maize – contrasting with dishes introduced by the Moors, giving them a delicious Moroccan twist. Staying at the Finca al-Manzil – an estate set in the rural and deeply traditional province of Extremadura – guests can not only sample the local cuisine, but learn how to prepare it themselves on a cooking vacation. Many of the ingredients are plucked straight from the finca’s soil – this is seriously local food. If your idea of a vacation is one that doesn’t involve peeling and dicing, then you can head out along the surrounding trails on foot or horseback, or bring your binoculars or a spot of birdwatching. Alternatively, just bring a book – and relax by the finca’s swimming pool.
Photo credits: [Count Kalnocky accommodation: Count Kalnoky's Estate ] [Kasbah du Toubkal: Kasbah du Toubkal ] [ Cooking at Finca al-manzil:  Finca al-manzil] [Help desk box: Ninara]
Written by Vicki Brown
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