Outdoor World

The sweet air of the Cvennes: a British writer on life in the rural heart of France

As the Cvennes national park celebrates its 50th anniversary, Adam Thorpe reflects on how the intricate hills of the Massif Central protect its wildlife and way of life I sometimes think of the Cvennes as the massive knuckles of a sleeping green giant. Insular, tough-minded and Protestant, our home for the last 30 years has sharp granite and limestone hills that here and there stretch up out of deep valleys into proper mountains. Much of it is felted in dwarf holm oak, the evergreen and often impenetrable stuff of southern…

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Outdoor World

10 of the best pilgrim routes in Europe: readers travel tips

From marching with monks to heavenly Korean food, our tipsters have experienced joy spiritual and earthly on these venerable trails Winning tip: Pilgrims Way, Winchester to Canterbury A 10-day pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury, following Walking The Pilgrims Way by Leigh Hatts (Cicerone), included many ups and downs, both literal and emotional. There are many glorious parts of the walk, but the one that took my breath away was the hard push up Hackhurst Downs in Surrey, through a gorgeous yew-lined avenue, which then opened magnificently on to Blatchford Down.…

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Outdoor World

Spain road trip: Granada to Almera

The Alhambra marks the start of a drive taking in historic cities, a river valley and mountains and ends in Almeras spaghetti western desert Granada is dominated by its mighty Moorish fortress, Spain map On day two, take in the Alhambras Nasrid palaces, Generalife and the Alcazaba before driving north-west through rolling olive country to picturesque Priego de Crdoba (N-432 & A-339, 76km). The town is a restful place to be, and feels like the essence of Andaluca; its cities of Baeza and beda, both miniature gems (and renovated in…

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Outdoor World

Getting fizzy with it: the Italian wine route that sparkles

An Italian region and a sparkling wine, Franciacorta may not be well-known but it is great for vineyard visits and fine places to eat and stay Put sparkling wine and Italy together and the usual answer is prosecco, but 200km west Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) status, making it one of the most strictly regulated wines in the country. Capitolium, and the Unesco-listed Walking tours are available at Infopoint Centro (via Trieste 1/Piazza Paolo VI). And between this weekend and 8 September is the Ricci Curbastros family has…

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10 of the best scenic rail journeys in Europe

Nothing quite beats the romance of travelling on a steam train or shunting through mountains. These rides showcase Europes spectacular landscapes La Rhune, France Length 4.2kmAdult fare 19 return A quaintly old-fashioned rack- or cog-railway sets off from a low mountain pass inland from Saint-Jean-de-Luz to ascend the westernmost peak of the Pyrenees. All the way there are views back over the Basque coast and countryside. Although passengers board in France, on the summit they are greeted by a choice of Spanish bars. The train returns to base, but you…

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