Described as a ‘living brochure’, the Inntravel Discovery Day is held every three years to inspire its customers looking to book their next holiday with the ‘Slow Holiday’ experts. On Saturday 2nd December, hundreds of enthusiastic customers travelled to Cheltenham Racecourse to meet the Inntravel team and representatives from many of the destinations/tourist boards/hoteliers that work hand in hand with Inntravel.
Dougie and I are big fans of Inntravel, as any reader of this blog must know by now. We booked the ‘On the Waterfront’ trip in January this year, experiencing the beauty of Portugal’s cities by taking the train from Porto to Coimbra then finally Lisbon. Realising the style of travel, accommodation and the support from Inntravel was just what we were looking for, we booked the Lakes and Mountains walking holiday in Austria, adding on two fantastic city breaks in Salzburg and Vienna.
Inntravel have been offering walking holidays in Europe since the late 1980s and the number of options available is constantly growing: cycling trips, train and self-drive tours have all been added to the Inntravel itineraries. Whether you’re an amateur who just wants to try a gentle walk, or a seasoned traveller who is keen to tackle more strenuous activities, Inntravel has a holiday to suit. If you appreciate good food, hotels of character and the joy of a taxi taking your luggage onto the next hotel for you, you will love picking up the provided maps and route notes and finding your own perfect holiday in some stunning locations.
The day was hosted by TV celebrity and slow travel enthusiast, Kate Humble. She entertained everyone with her tales of cycling round Cuba, cross-country skiing in Switzerland and walking with her dog, Teg, in Wales. Travelling slowly, Kate explained, helps you to appreciate a country’s culture and gives opportunities to really get under the skin of a destination, meet its people and appreciate life at an easier pace.
Other presentations included the vivacious Andy Montgomery, half of the Buzztrips team with her husband, Jack. Andy and Jack have worked with Inntravel for many years, route-checking and creating walking tours. Having lived in Tenerife for over 14 years, they know the Canary Islands inside out. Andy gave us a flavour of each island, from the hiker’s paradise that is La Gomera with its topography like a tablecloth that’s been pinched in the middle, to the ancient sacred sights and tinkling goat bells of Gran Canaria.
Think you know Portugal? I did, but it seems I didn’t know about this beautiful north-west corner. A new Inntravel walking holiday for 2018 is ‘Manor Houses of the Minho’ based in the lush countryside north of Porto. This holiday really caught my eye. The idea of staying in traditional manor houses, quaffing Vinho Verde and exploring the Lima Valley is particularly appealing. We were fortunate to have one of the owners of the manor houses, Count Francisco de Calheiros, attending the Discovery Day. Just looking at the photographs of the beautifully-restored houses and sensing the passion he has for this very special region, you couldn’t fail to be smitten.
When we weren’t listening to engaging speakers, we were visiting all the stands, chatting to representatives and sampling their treats. Wine from Madeira, jams from Spain and Mozart balls from Austria were all very welcome as we filled our Inntravel bag with brochures, maps and the odd biscuit or two.
Dougie and I left Cheltenham with heads full of breathtaking mountain walks and romantic train rides. We were excited to learn more about the Canaries but then we do have a soft spot for those magical islands as it was in Tenerife where we met: that unforgettable holiday romance of 1987. Together we’d love to continue to explore and Inntravel has a canny knack of tempting us every time we open a brochure, whether it’s online, in print or wonderfully live.
You won’t be surprised to hear we have already booked our next holiday with Inntravel. Take a look at this photo and guess where we’re going next…
Ok, I’ll tell you. We are off to Finnish Lapland in the New Year, to try our hand at cross-country skiing. With a bit of luck we might see the Northern Lights but if not we still have a week of excellent food, plenty of exercise and the most beautiful, snowy scenery to look forward to.
For more information about Inntravel and the Discovery Day, take a look at these posts from fellow bloggers who attended the event:
This post is in collaboration with Inntravel. As previous customers we had already decided to attend the event but I received compensation to cover some of our travel costs plus my blogging time. All opinions and my overwhelming admiration for this company are truly my own.