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Why Active Adventures Europe

What makes our Europe adventures so special?

There's a whole lot more to our Europe adventures than simply hitting the well-known spots. Below you'll find the short of it and the long of it - either way, plenty of reasons to join Active Adventures Europe!  

  • Locally produced food during lunch and dinner
  • Local hosts in the hotels you'll stay at. These are family-run hotels, where the hosts really care - we put lots of time and research into these places!
  • We take care to show you places off the normal route, like Annecy, where you can endulge in different activities like sea kayaking on the lake
  • Our legendary local guiding team have intricate knowledge of all flora, fauna, history and geography. Together with our kiwi trip leader, they're an unbeatable match. So much can be lost in translation, so our well trained (in the 'Active way') kiwi guides make sure the dynamic is always well balanced. It's the engagement that matters!
  • The sprinkling of free days, where they matter. Such as in Courmayeur, which is such a beautiful place and great location to relax, wander the streets and explore the wineries of the valley below
  • Walk in, walk out – you'll never have to lug your gear around. When you get in, we'll simply give you your room key and your stuff will be in your room.

"Diverse" is probably the best single word to describe Europe. And the European Alps region is the perfect meeting of the natural environment, history, culture, cuisine and people at their most immaculate - they all come together to form the ultimate destination for an adventure vacation. That's why we've gone outside the box with our trips in the Mont Blanc region, Italian lakes and the Dolomites. Our adventures explore these regions in a diverse and authentic way with expert local guides born and bred in the area. On no other trip would you hike, bike and paddle as you circumnavigate the Mont Blanc Circuit, or paddle to quiet villages in the Italian Lakes District, or escape the crowds in a few secret areas of the Italian Dolomites.

Why Active Adventures Europe

On an Active Adventures Europe trip, you'll spend more time in the outdoors, in tiny mountain villages and immersing yourself in spectacular areas than you will sitting in a vehicle. It's all up to you to get to the next incredible place under your own steam.

With so much to see and take in, we've made sure to take care of the logistical stuff, leaving you to hike, paddle, bike and take in the hundreds of years of history, culture and cuisine that makes the mountainous areas of France, Italy and Switzerland so incredible.

Local knowledge makes a huge difference when looking at an adventure trip. With our local teams, contacts and connections we get to explore a few places that fly under the radar. Sit atop a ridge in the remote Valsesia region near the Italian Lakes district, pull into a small cove while sea kayaking on lake Annecy near Mont Blanc, bike through stunning valleys on the Italian/Austrian border in the Dolomites… It's these experiences we've crafted with on-the-ground knowledge and expertise, ensuring you'll go home having seen the real European Alps.

You'll experience great hikes, rides and paddling in small groups, meaning you'll experience Europe in a genuine, relaxed and active manner. We do some activities as a group, but there are always opportunities to get out and explore on your own.

Trip Reviews

  4.73 out of 5 (from 87 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
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Why travel with Active Adventures?

Legendary Kiwi Hospitality

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.

Expert LOCAL Guides & Trip Leaders

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.

Everything is Included

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.

A Sense of Achievement

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.

Small Groups

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.

Diverse Experiences

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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