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Epic Drives

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Epic Drives

Nothing beats the thrill of the open road.  Travelling by train has a certain romance, but is too restricting.  Following unreliable time-tables and waiting for trains that never turn up?  No thanks!  Driving surprises and delights providing unexpected and jaw-dropping vista’s, unscheduled pit stops at small local eateries, plus the chance to visit all manner of historic monuments off the beaten track.  The train would whisk you past these without so much of a hint at their existence.  Driving invokes the travelling spirit, yet in a leisurely and comfortable manner; Driving is freedom!

Epic Drives in Europe from A&K Villas


DAY 1 - 3

Fly to Marseille Airport - drive to Provence (30 minutes)
After a long flight, Provence is the ideal first stop after landing at Marseille with just a short 30 minute drive. Ensure you book your car hire in advance to get the best deal and your pick of the cars on offer.

Lou Roucas, Provence, Bedrooms 3, Sleeps 6
The ideal starting point for a small family is Lou Roucas in the Gordes region of Provence. Here you’ll be rewarded with amazing views over the Luberon Mountains from every window as the villa is uniquely emerges from the cliffs. A private pool makes the view even more relaxing so sit back and enjoy your first evening with a glass of fine local wine.
Lou Roucas, from £1,043, sleeps 6 (four adults and 2 children).

Suggested activities in Provence include:
*Visit the popular little town of Gordes which has everything you could wish for including art galleries, restaurants and shops.
*If you’ve got a head for heights then one of the best ways to see the stunning Luberon Valley is via a hot air balloon. Local trips and tours are available but are weather dependent.
*Take a private vineyard tour, not only will you get to purchase some speciality wines, you’ll also appreciate it all the more for knowing exactly what goes into producing the perfect tipple! For the more active you can combine various vineyard trips with a walking tour to ensure you fully explore the region.

DAY 4 - 10

Provence – Nice (2 hours)
After trekking around vineyards, browsing art galleries and acquainting yourself with the laid-back French lifestyle it’s time to hit the road and head to the coast to discover all that the French Riviera has to offer. With stunning beaches, beautiful restaurants and even more beautiful people there’s enough here to keep you busy for a week.

Villa Jasmine, Cote d'Azur, Bedrooms 5, Sleeps 10
The ideal coastal family villa is Villa Jasmine. With a large heated pool, an outdoor barbecue & dining area and sea views it’s perfect for making the most of the warm summer evenings. The villa is located close to the coast in Sainte Maxime, a boutique French resort with a vast expanse of beach, a harbour and plenty of shops. From here you can take a 15 minute boat trip to the city of Saint Tropez where even an even bigger harbour with bigger boats and shops await.
Villa Jasmine, from £5,085, sleeps 10 (8 adults and 2 children).

Suggested activities in Nice include:
*A day trip to Monaco to see the famous Casino de Monte Carlo and see the famous Monaco grand prix route.
*Take to the Mediterranean and hire a boat for the day or, if you’re feeling adventurous, sail to your next destination! There is a wide variety of yacht and boat hire companies located in this region.
*Spend a day in Nice visiting the cathedrals and chapels and watching the world go by before enjoy an evening at the National Theatre which features contemporary theatre as well as French and international classics.


DAY 11

Nice – Pisa (4 hours)
After a relaxing week it’s time for an early start and a coastal drive across the border to Pisa. Known for its history and architecture, including a certain leaning tower, Pisa is the perfect place to explore on foot so park the car and stretch your legs. Head to the Piazza del Duomo which includes a further three places of historical interest within it, next visit the Knight’s Square, a good base from which to see a number of good churches and museums and of course see the view over Pisa from its leaning tower. There should be enough time to get your first taste of real Italian pizza before taking a boat trip down the Arno and grabbing some ‘gelato’ before buckling up and continuing your journey to Tuscany.

DAY 12-14

Pisa – Tuscany (3hrs 15 minutes)
Villa Margherita, Tuscany, Bedrooms 4, Sleeps 8
After whetting your taste buds with Pisa, three nights in Tuscany will be the perfect end to your two week vacation. After the pace of the French Riviera and a long day sightseeing in Pisa, the perfect Italian retreat is Villa Margherita, a typical Tuscan farmhouse in the rolling Chianti hills located close to Florence and just 5km from Grassina. The villa’s landscaped gardens make it the perfect place in which to enjoy a relaxing family vacation.
Villa Margherita, from £1,827, sleeps 6.

Suggested activities in Tuscany include:
*Wine and olive oil tasting. Travel to Badia di Passigano and visit the abbey with its wine cellars before relaxing in the abbey’s Osteria di Passigano, for a real Tuscan wine and olive oil tasting experience.
*Enjoy the outdoors! Choose from hiking, trekking, cycling or horse-riding, whatever your outdoor pursuit you’ll be well catered for here and will build up a great appetite to sample some fresh pasta.
 
When returning from Italy fly from either Florence or Pisa from Tuscany.

Car Rental prices
Car hire is available through a number of rental specialist, A&K Villas recommends Europcar.
Guide prices:
FVAR – 7 seat Viano Monospace (or similar) – low season £602, high season £1,320
PDAR – Mercedes C Class (or similar) – low season £519, high season £839

When travelling between two countries an international one way drop off fee applies, these charges are £173 + tax for dropping off in Pisa/Florence or £260 + tax for dropping off in Naples.

Insider tips…
*It’s better to start your journey in France and work your way down the coast to Italy as the cost of car rental works out cheaper.
*Ensure car insurance covers you in both countries.
*Book your car hire as early in advance as possible throughout the peak summer months car hire gets booked early      particularly for the larger vehicles.
*The best days to travel on the continent are Sundays as there are no trucks on the road so save the longer legs of the journey for a weekend.
*When you’ve travelled some distance and had a tiring day treat yourself to a chef to come to your villa and cook a special local dish for your evening meal.

A&K Villas can create the perfect bespoke European villa holiday, for more information or to book contact +44 1242 547 705, visit www.akvillas.com  or email info@akvillas.com


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