Cruising » Downtime in the West Med!

Downtime in the West Med!

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Summer is here and for most of us that means long charters and busy boss trips, but hopefully in between trips, you will have a day off. We would like to offer a few tips for making the most out of it!

We have spent a number of years in the yachting industry and while a day at Moorea Beach is a good laugh, we always encourage crew to make the effort to do something different. Get out and explore the beautiful places we are so lucky to work in!


France:

Provence wine tasting - about 50 mins from Antibes is Draguignan, the countryside is beautiful, full of vineyards, rolling hills and tasty local restaurants. Wine lover or not, it is a fun day out! Our recommendations are Chateau D’Eclans http://esclans.com - Jas D’Esclans http://www.jasdesclans.fr Chateau Saint Pierre http://www.chateaustpierre.com/?lang=en

Masion Des Vins http://www.maison-des-vins.fr

vineyards

And if you are feeling like spoiling yourselves after a long charter then try Les Relais Des Moines for lunch. http://www.lerelaisdesmoines.com. It is superb!

Aix en Provence/Avignon - If you are in La Ciotat, Toulon or Marseille then don’t miss driving up to Aix en Provence. Only 45 minutes away, so a perfect location for a day trip or a weekend getaway. A wonderful dinner spot is L'Espirit de la Violette http://lespritdelaviolette.com/restaurant-a-aix-en-provence.

If you have the time then carry on up to Avignon. The historic walled city is your perfect base to explore the vineyards of the Rhone Valley. Do not miss! Domaine Font de Michelle http://www.font-de-michelle.com/en/ and Vieux Telegraphe http://www.chateauneuf.dk/en/cdpen85.htm

Also visit the Palais des Papes, Pont d’Avignon and a casual but delicious dinner spot is La Fourchette http://www.la-fourchette.net/index_uk.html

palais papes

Canyoning and George du Verdon -  Start your day by canyoning in Castellane in the stunning Alpes de Haute Provence! With 10 meter cliff jumps, abseiling and water tunnels, it is truly an exciting day for all! http://canyoning.gorgesduverdon.eu/canyoning-dans-le-verdon-dans-la-clue-de-saint-auban

Then take a drive through George du Verdon. There are many local restaurants and beautiful towns to visit and if the thrill of canyoning wasn’t enough, end the day with a bungee jump!

Gorges Du Verdon


Spain:

Penedés Wine Tour on bikes - this is an absolutely fantastic crew day out. We have taken three different yacht crews on this trip and everyone has had a ball!

Penedés is the cava region of Spain and whether you are based in Barcelona, Vilanova or Tarragona, it is close enough for a great day trip. http://www.elmolitours.com/bike/bikecava/foodwine.html

VILAFR2

Montserrat Benedictine Monastery - Take the train in the direction Manresa or hire a car to see the stunning monastery only an hour from Barcelona. You can then take the rack railway or the cable car up to the monastery followed further by either a Funicular or walking trail. (Yes its high!) http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g187497-c79251/Barcelona:Spain:Day.Trip.To.Montserrat.html

Surf trip San Sebastian - If you happen to be lucky enough for a 3 day weekend then jump in a car and make the 5 ½ hour drive to San Sebastian. Stay at Surfing Etexea! These guys are locals and know all the best breaks and will make your stay amazing! http://www.surfingetxea.com

La Tomatina August 26th - Keep this date in mind and if you are lucky enough to have a day off then make your way to Bunol. Wow what a day! Just steer clear of tomatoes for a while afterwards. Trust us, you wont want to eat one http://www.latomatinatours.com

ARROJA2

Italy:

Cinque Terre Cinque Terre or “Five Lands” compromises five villages along the Italian Riveria. There are incredible tracks along the steep cliff faces joining each village together.

There is also a train if hiking is not for you. We would suggest staying in Vernazza but every village is picturesque. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/italy/cinque-terre

Tuscany - If you are in La Spezia or even Genoa, hire a car and set out to explore Tuscany. Endless vineyards, beautiful county side and historic sites to see.

Start in a beautiful town not far from La Spezia called Nocchi. Somewhere off the beaten track and truly beautiful. Have lunch here! http://www.osteriacandalla.it%20andf then make your way to Pisa for a quick photo pretending to hold up the tower.

You could then continue down the coast for a tasting at Tenuta Sanguido Sassicaia http://www.tenutasanguido.com/eng/Sassicaia.html%20 and come back up through Florence.

There are many vineyards to stop into on the way and it is a wonderful drive!

Bussana Vecchia view near S Egidio

Bussana Vecchia - If you are in San Remo don’t miss Bussana Vecchia for lunch. Abandoned in 1887 after an earthquake, it is now home to a community of artists. This derelict yet charming town has an amazing grill restaurant with the most spectatular views! And back in town, don’t miss gelato at Grom!!! http://www.grom.it/en/

There are obviously hundreds of things to do but these were some of our favorites last year.

*Image credits: Wikimedia/Wikipedia/Wikipedia/Wikimedia


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