October 2011
NY Times columnist David Brooks recently wrote an account of a recent trip to Africa, where he combined stays in simple and luxurious camps. He came to some surprising revelations. “The simple camps were friendly, warm and familial. We got to know the guests at big, communal dinner tables…the more elegant camps felt colder… I know the word to describe what the simpler camps had and the more luxurious camps lacked: haimish. It’s a Yiddish word that suggests warmth, domesticity and unpretentious conviviality.” Read the full article here.

At Great Explorations, haimish is the essence of what we are trying to achieve in every aspect of our trips, from the hotels we stay in, to the restaurants we dine, the local experts, our guides and especially the people we try to attract. If this describes what you are looking for, read on:

It’s high season in our world and we have trips taking place in many destinations. Here are some recent comments from travelers just finishing trips:

“We all had a great trip in Croatia.  Our guides Bruno and Gabriele were outstanding.  We loved the level of biking, ride support, restaurant selections, accommodations and food.  We are so impressed that we would like to book our next trip (to Vietnam or Morocco) now!” David G. Medford, OR Croatia, Sep, 2011

“I spent 6 weeks in Europe and the highlight of my travels was the Great Explorations Tour de France bike tour. Having the opportunity to see the best cyclists in the world as they make their way up the Galibier or Alp d'Huez or warming up for the TT - amazing. To enjoy it with equally enthusiastic cycling fans and 3 exceptional guides - wonderful. Add in the chance to ride the same climbs as the Pros - spectacular. Overall, a great lifetime memory.”  Rene B. Etobicoke, ON Tour de France, Alps to Paris, July, 2011

 “Cycling through the vineyards of the Bourgogne region was beautiful. The grape harvest was 2 weeks earlier than usual so we were thrilled to be there at that time. There was a real excitement in the air in the villages that was palpable. Our guides were excellent. Because we had been on a GE trip in Italy 5 years ago, we had an idea of what to expect. It was a great trip!” Linda P.  Winnipeg, MN Burgundy, 2011

Our Vietnam January trip is fast approaching and we have a few spots remaining. It is the quintessential trip with outstanding hotels, and food, moderate cycling, and lots of time to discover this exotic country in all of its majesty. We have confirmed our guide, nicknamed ‘the Professor’. Having guided for 28+ years, I can honestly say, he is one of the best. Join us in January? Vietnam 2012.

Camino de Santiago

We’re somewhat nostalgic about the Camino de Santiago as it was our first trip offered over a decade ago. We started with this one because we believed it to be one of the classic cycling journeys in the world. Imagine over 700 km of trail, linking up villages across northern Spain.

Departures in 2012 :

May 7-21

May 25-Jun 8

Aug 24-Sep 7

Sep 8-22

US $ 3450 (15 days/ 14 nights)

US $2250 ( 7 days/ 6 nights)

Click here for more information

Parador de Villafranca, Villafranca

The welcoming atmospehere is set by 39 charming guest rooms that are accented with Castilian style furnishings and wrought iron lamps and flower- and shrub-filled gardens surround the hotel.


Hotel Costa Vella, Santiago

This intimate historic hotel has been renovated respecting the cultural heritage conservation criteria of Compostela. With its close proximity to the Cathedral this is our favourite hotel in Santiago.


Piemonte, known for the Slow Food Movement creation, white truffles and some of the most sought-after red wines in Italy, including the robust full bodied Barolo and Barbaresco, are luring travelers who seek its charms (and tastes). With the rugged Italian Alps as a back-drop, the quiet roads of this region with moderate rolling hills provide the ideal terrain for all levels of cyclists. On this trip there are opportunities to experience small villages, Roman remains, medieval castles and superb cuisine as we journey through this delicious region.

Departures in 2012

Jun 2-8; 17-24

Sep 14-21

US$2250 (7 days/ 6 nights)

Click here for more information


When people ask me which trip is a favourite, Puglia has recently been quick to come to mind. What’s to like? Imagine miles of coastline, an aqua-marine Adriatic, beaches, great wine and food, amazing hotels AND amazing cycling. With young children, my wife and I decided this year to take turns traveling to Puglia- she went in September with 5 girlfriends and I am just back from another extrordinary adventure.

Departures in 2012

Apr 18- 24, Jun 6-12

Sep 6-12; 16-22

Sep 30-Oct 6

US$2450 (7 days/ 6 nights)

Click here for more information

Haute Provence- Special Departure

Voyage to Haute Provence, a region of the pre-Alps, where the ambiance is definitely Provençal. Climb over low passes, (and Mt. Ventoux if you choose), through gorges, descend with wild mountain streams and pedal through lost villages. Robbin McKinney, founder of Great Explorations is planning on being on this one.

Special Departure

Haute Provence

May 25-June 1, 2012

US $ 2750 ( 8 days/ 7 nights)C

Click here for more information

Note: the 2012 Tour de France route was published on October 18 and we our itineraries are now up. We are taking reservations a on a first-come, first-serve basis. Click on our home page for the links to the Alps and Pyrenees to Paris trips.


Great Explorations


Tel: 1 604 730 1247
Fax: 1 604 738 7655
Toll Free: 1 800 242 18 25

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