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Our Europe Story

In 1998 our founder made his way to Europe with a few dollars in his pocket, a surfboard and hiking boots in hand. Surfing soon took a backseat after discovering the treasures of the European Alps, and good coffee! The lure of the Alps hiking trails, rivers, lakes and villages never went away, prompting a return to live there in 2012 with his family and carve out the foundations of Active Adventures Europe. As we've kept doing over the years with all our destinations, our Europe adventure tours are the result of our personal commitment, passion and experience in every location. 

Our Europe Story

From the beginning...

We ran the first Active Adventures trip in 1996 with just three clients, sharing our favourite parts of New Zealand. It was a great trip with plenty of home-made trifle, long but awe-inspiring hiking days and story-telling late into the night. The next trip had a few more takers and it didn’t take long for the trips to gather momentum. Soon, we had a small team of staff to run our trips and had clients from far and wide keen to join in the adventures. For two decades now, the company has maintained its identity of running small, fun, physically challenging, outdoor adventures in destinations we know and love.

Other Active Adventures Destinations

After becoming established in New Zealand, in the early 2000's one of our enthusiastic guides decided to research offering our type of trips in South America. With a vast knowledge of South America from years spent in Costa Rica surfing and teaching English, as well as guiding tours around the continent for backpackers, itineraries were designed that we knew our clients would love. With the support of an excellent and dedicated team in New Zealand, we started and launched our South America trips in Peru, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and Patagonia.

Then, in 2010, we launched our Himalayas trips. With New Zealand having a very close link to the Nepalese Himalayas (most famously connected by Sir Edmund Hilary and the Hilary Foundation) we realised how well Nepal fits the Active DNA. Before we knew it the Himalayas quickly became a very popular destination for our clients, with many of them on their second or even third Active trip!

The behind-the-scenes team

We have a fantastic team running the show behind the scenes - a small and focused group of multi-talented individuals. We all bring a set of unique experiences, and with our own active lifestyles, we genuinely understand what it takes to experience a journey like no other, from the moment you get in touch and beyond. We look forward to you being part of the ongoing Active Adventures story.

Trip Reviews

  •   4.75 out of 5 (from 55 reviews)

    Stunning

    Stunning is the first word that comes to mind. This was my 4th trip with Active and as usual it was 5 stars across the board. When I first heard about the trip I called Phil to learn more. He told me the Dolomites were the most stunning, picture perfect landscape he's seen and he wasn't exaggerating. I've never said WOW so many times before. Every turn would lead to a breathtaking scene.
    The trip was managed very well as are all Active trips. The guides were great, within days feeling like long time friends. The food and accommodations were excellent, luxury mountain hiking with 5 course meals, electricity and plumbing to be found at every stop!
    The Dolomites are a must visit and I can't think of a better group to do it with than Active Adventures. Looking forward to my next adventure with them.
    Boris Diskin Review Image
    – New Jersey, United States
    Dolomiti, October 2016
  •   4.77 out of 5 (from 119 reviews)

    IT’S THE GUIDES

    Mt Blanc is a giant rock. And this trip is essentially you walking around it. Doesn’t sound too FIVE star does it? Well, as rocks go it’s pretty spectacular. And you get to go through three countries where they speak a bunch of non-English languages that I’m sure I was supposed to learn in high school and use TWO currencies … (Really Switzerland? With the Franc … Get over yourself). Although there are other trips and other providers that will guide you around this rock, the Active trip is better because the people that work for Active are awesome at what they do. We worked with Lynette in NZ to book the trip and although we never met, we are pretty much best friends now. I can think of no better indication of a good business than return customers. Of the twelve people in our group, ALL of them were return Active customers. Why? The Guides.

    For this trip, we had three French guides from Companie des guides de Chamonix and one Kiwi from Active. The French guides were enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and fun. I would recommend all of them without hesitation, especially Jean-Marie our driver (see below). But Kiwi Nick from Active was the Difference Maker. He is so incredibly nice that you know he has a wonderful girlfriend back in New Zealand. And they do all these wonderful couple activities that are super cool. Like paddle boarding. And you can’t wait to hang out with them because they’re awesome. And they booze, of course, because couples that DON’T booze should not be trusted #lifelesson. And you may say, ‘Well Neil that’s not appropriate saying that about a guide’s personal life’ ... but whatever. Lynette is not going to take it out of this review because we are best friends. Nick handles all his guide responsibilities extremely well but it feels like he is a part of the group. He’s experiencing and sharing this trip along with you rather than just showing you Mt Blanc. Rarely will a guided trip like this go EXACTLY to plan. Weather, injuries, construction, conflicting personalities among the group, etc. are just some of the problems the guides need to be prepared to deal with quickly. Thankfully we had few of these issues, but Nick was always attentive to our enjoyment. I’m still not sure how he put up with me. I know how horrible I am. I live me every day.

    Beyond the guides, the trip is strong.
    ACTIVITIES: Although you are hiking in a relatively compact area the hikes are varied and challenging enough to make that post-hike beer taste awful nice. The kayaking day was beautiful but marred by our decision to use a double kayak. Or as they should be known, “Murder Boats”, because after about 5 minutes in a double kayak you want to bludgeon each other to death. Get the single. The last day we did the rafting option because the rope course was rained out. Not only did we not die, we ended up having a lot of fun cruising on glacial water through downtown Chamonix. On the free day in Courmayeur, I did the via ferrates up Mont Chetif, which was fun. The hike to the top was the toughest hiking of the trip. I would recommend planning your off day before the trip rather than on the fly. The via ferrates does sell out.

    MEALS: There was cheese LITERALLY everywhere. If you don’t like cheese like me, just keep quiet about it. Those French obsess over cheese like there is alcohol in it. The lunch spots were transcendent. That’s when you could feel truly present in the Alps. Whatever crap you had waiting back home, like say … Ellen in HR who is pretty much just the worst (don’t worry, she’ll never read this. I bet she drowns kittens on vacation. She. Is. The. Worst.), all that stuff melts away. The dinners were local and delightful.

    HOTELS: The accommodations are essentially ski lodges. We had hot showers, warm beds and beers. A few places had pools & hot tubs. They were all close to our hikes which cut down on van time, which I’m sure disappointed my trip mates because they probably enjoyed my daily dissertations on the importance of hair metal in American culture #Cinderella.

    Overall, these Active folks know what they are doing and you will have fun on this trip. Maybe I’ll get to meet you on one of their other trips I’m sure we’ll be signing up for in the future … Patagonia hmmm? I’ll be the one talking about David Lee Roth.

    Best,
    Neil C
    ~~~
    Jean-Marie (Driver): I think they based the “Most Interesting Man in the World” ad campaign on this guy. If he is a part of your group, sit next to him during meals and buy him wine. Get him to talk, his life is amazing. We had a guy on our trip that did 28 marathons, 33 triathlons, was a licensed pilot, spoke French, played hockey … ON ICE and that dude wanted to hear more from Jean-Marie. I shouldn’t even be allowed to read his biography (and there was a rumor he was going to write one)! He’s THAT interesting. One of the day off options should be, “Go drinking with Jean Marie”. I’d do the trip all over again if they added that. It was an injustice that he carried my bags. At least my bag was light #manpacking
    Neil Crossan Review Image
    – California, United States
    Tour du Mont Blanc, October 2016
  •   4.77 out of 5 (from 119 reviews)

    Put this trip on your to-do list!

    Another wonderful trip with Active Adventures! That is what I say about Active Europe’s Tour du Mont Blanc. This was my fourth trip with Active and once again I was impressed with how they do business. Active’s Andy and Nick were excellent representatives for Active Adventures. They are fun, personable, engaging, helpful, and quick to help if there was a problem. The local guides, Jean-Marc, Suzanne, and Jean-Pat, were fun and a joy to be around. Their English language skills were excellent which was great since my French is pathetic! Point to a mountain or an object of curiosity and they could tell you about it. The whole crew worked together great to ensure everyone enjoyed the hiking regardless of pace, weather or skill level. The accommodations were great. Even the one hotel described a “rustic” (meaning it didn’t have en-suite bathrooms) by the guides was delightful. The food was excellent as to be expected and thankfully the hiking burned off the calories allowing for full indulgence at every meal! Oh! The Cheese! The wonderful cheese! Be prepared to sample some of the best cheeses around.
    Now, for the important part, the Tour du Mont Blanc. Definitely something everyone should do in their life. The Alps are magnificent and the towns along the way are beautiful. Active picked great trails to hike that highlighted the beauty of the area. Throw in their choice of towns to explore (especially Annecy’s Old Town), kayaking and mountain biking and it really is an Active Adventure. I highly recommend taking the gondola from Courmayeur, Italy all the way to the Agullie de Midi if the weather is nice (Mother Nature was kind to us with only one day of rain, some fog, and LOTS of clear skies). The view from the gondola over the glaciers is awe-inspiring. Definitely a highlight of the trip. Active doesn’t pay for this but it is well worth the Euros. Active does pay for an Aguille de Midi trip from Chamonix, France but it doesn’t cross the glaciers so I suggest doing it from Italy (weather permitting) and choose the Accro-Park option in Chamonix at the end of the tour. However you decide to do it, the Agullie de Midi is a must do. The views of the Mont Blanc mastiff are spectacular! If you like zip lines and ropes courses the Accro-Park is a great time. If you want a challenge and have the time I recommend doing the Black course (they have four courses; Green, Blue, Red, and Black). Overall, I really enjoyed this trip. If Active didn’t have so many other trips I want to do, I would do this one again!
    Damon Weimer Review Image
    – Washington, United States
    Tour du Mont Blanc, September 2016
  •   4.77 out of 5 (from 119 reviews)

    Glaciers, Cheese and Cows!

    Great time hiking in the mountains. Couldn't ask for a better time then to sit at the base of glaciers for lunch and relax (even have a nap) while listening to the cow bells.
    Donna Weimer Review Image
    – Washington, United States
    Tour du Mont Blanc, September 2016
  •   4.77 out of 5 (from 119 reviews)

    Lean Review

    What an incredible trip! The itinerary has the perfect balance of activities to keep the trekking exciting but not too exhausting, and provides flexibility in the case of unexpected changes that may come up. The food was one of the highlights of the trip; there is nothing quite like setting up a picnic on the side of a mountain full of cheeses, meats, and other delightful treats. But what truly made this an exceptional adventure were our guides Phil, Andy, Jean Marc, and Jean Marie. Their energy, enthusiasm, and flawless teamwork provided the signature of an ACTIVE Adventure, and continues to make these trips stand miles apart from any other travel company. Though we started as 10 individuals, we quickly became 1 family. Thank you for another unforgettable journey; we look forward to the next one!
    Georgina Lean Review Image
    – California, United States
    Tour du Mont Blanc, July 2016

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Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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