Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera
The picturesque, car-free slice of the Italian Riviera known as the Cinque Terre — or "Five Lands," for its five villages — has long lured hikers. On this seven-day, six-night itinerary, participants walk along ancient mountain trails that wind through forest and pastureland, with sweeping views of the sea to one side and mountains to the other.
See Also: Frommer's Guide to Rome
Trip pleasures include ambling by steeply terraced vineyards, lunching in shady trattoria gardens and hiking through silver-green olive groves and pungent pine forests to the 1,200 year-old monastery of San Fruttuoso.
The walking on this trip is considered moderate to energetic, with distances of 10-12 miles per day along coastal trails, well-defined paths and some mule tracks (the company cautions that there are numerous stone steps and some paths can be rocky). The itinerary also includes some travel by train, ferry and cable car. This year's dates are Sept. 18-24. Price is $3,895 based on double occupancy, with a single supplement of $495. Departure point is the northern Italian town of La Spezia.
Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia: Trails of Indochina (CountryWalkers.com)
This 11-day, 10-night trip offers an extraordinary immersion into the cultures, creations and landscapes of Indochina.
The tour begins in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Luang Prabang, where participants visit 16th-century temples, imperial palaces and the vibrant night market, then make an excursion to the Hmong village of Ban Long Lao. Leaving Laos, you fly to Vietnam, where you'll explore Hanoi's Old Quarter on foot then take in the acclaimed Thang Long Water Puppet Show.
On ensuing days you'll sail on a traditional Vietnamese junk through the turquoise waters of Halong Bay, stopping to explore on foot through local villages, savoring the ultra-green rice paddies and traditional houses. Your trip ends in Cambodia, with multiple days to explore the temples and treasures of Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm and Angkor Wat.
This itinerary is considered easy to moderate, with distances averaging 4-8 miles per day. The land cost is $5,898 per person, based on double occupancy, with an airfare supplement of $600. The 2011 departure date is Nov. 7, and the departure point is Luang Prabang, Laos.
Want to expand your options? Here are three more companies to consider: English Lakeland Ramblers (www.ramblers.com) specializes in intimate itineraries through England, Scotland and Wales. Geographic Expeditions (www.geoex.com) crafts compelling hikes in Asia, South America and the Middle East. And Classic Journeys (www.classicjourneys.com) offers "cultural walking adventures" throughout North America and around the world.
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