Monday, 13 August 2012 3:00 PM
There are plenty of places you can visit in Europe that offer unbridled luxury - and that doesn't have to change if you want to get active as well. To give you an idea of some of your options, here's a list of three of the best places for luxury activity breaks.
Cote d'Azur, France - walking
The Cote d'Azur in France is one of those destinations that just oozes luxury, which is unsurprising given that it's renowned as a favourite holiday spot among the rich and famous. Of course, Cannes becomes a hive of celebrity activity during its annual film festival, but other resorts such as St Tropez and Nice are also known for their high-end appeal.
However, it isn't only the towns and cities that make the region so popular, but also its stunning coastline, which is best explored on foot. From a base in the stunning Le Lavandou, you'll be within easy walking distance of a host of the Cote d'Azur's most picturesque spots, such as St Tropez, Cap Lardier and Bregancon, which is home to the French president's summer residence.
Piedmont, Italy - cycling
Cycling is another excellent way to get out and about on your holiday and, as it allows you to cover more ground than walking, it can mean you get to see a little more as you do so. The region of Piedmont in Italy is a patchwork of vineyards, which means you'll have plenty of wonderful tipples to sample at the end of each day's pedalling.
What makes the circular route that begins and ends in Benevello so good for a luxury holiday is the fantastic cuisine and wine you can try along the way. You'll visit places such as Alba - home of the Ferrero Rocher chocolate - renowned wine town Barolo and Neive, where you can sample some of the local grappa - a type of alcoholic spirit.
Other points of interest on this tour include the spa town of Aqui Terme and the medieval centre of Monteforte, which is a delight to explore. The hotels you stay in en route are incredibly luxurious, with some of them boasting private pools, while others offer breathtaking views of the Italian countryside.
Istrian Peninsula, Croatia - cycling
Croatia may not feature at the top of luxury holiday destination lists, but it really should. The country's Istrian Peninsula is characterised by delightful harbour towns, Roman landmarks and fantastic coastal views, not to mention delicious food.
Travelling along the coast from Pula to Porec will give you the opportunity to experience all the magic of this part of the country, from the stunning Roman amphitheatre at your starting point to the intimate alleys of Rovinj. Several of the cycling routes you tackle on this holiday will see you head inland, so you can get an idea of how Croatia's rustic areas compare to its gorgeous seaside.
When you're not cycling, you can enjoy wonderful seafood meals at the waterside restaurants in many of towns you visit, or pop to the beach to cool off in the refreshing waters of the Adriatic Sea.
A highlight of your cycling break here will be the chance to explore the Basilica of Euphrasius in Porec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 6th century. The church houses some beautiful frescoes and the remains of some intricate floor mosaics that are worth examining closely.