Landscapes of the Luberon Self-Guided Cycling

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Trip code: 
C08PL
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided Adventures
Activity:
Self-Guided
Min age:
12
Group size:
1–6

Vineyards, olive groves and apple orchards, punctuated by canals and clear, flowing rivers characterise Provence.

This eight night holiday offers you a truly Provencal experience, taking in the lush countryside and mountain landscapes of beautiful Provence - the inspiration for many an artist and author, including Van Gogh, Cezanne and Picasso. Your cycle route explores the region's mediaeval towns and charming perched villages such as Gordes and Bonnieux, along with sprawling vineyards, curious caves and castle ruins, all against a vibrant backdrop of colour - think rich ochre, delicate lavender and even white cherry blossom in spring. With a number of small wine producers dotted along your route, you can stop and taste some of the region's local wine in between rides.

Highlights

  • Ride along country lanes and greenways in tranquil, unspoilt countryside
  • Taste the local wines
  • Visit mediaeval towns and castles

Key information

  • 8 nights in 3-star accommodation
  • 6 days cycling (including 2 optional rides); averaging 34km per day
  • 80% on quiet tarmac roads, 20% on cycle paths and tracks
  • The route mainly follows quiet country roads, some short sections are on busier roads

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 6 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Route notes and maps provided
  • Local bike hire (optional e-bikes)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

6

Terrain:

The majority of the route is on quiet country roads, although there are some short sections on busier roads. There is also some cycling along a dedicated cycle greenway.

Day by day breakdown
Day 235.0km/22.0miles
Day 437.0km/23.0miles
Day 636.0km/22.0miles
Day 838.0km/24.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Pernes-les-Fontaines

    Arrive at your 3-star hotel in Pernes-les-Fontaines. Relax with a dip in the pool or explore the grounds before dinner. Dinner is included at a local restaurant, transfers to and from are provided.
    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Pernes-les-Fontaines to Les Imberts

    Cycle alongside the Canal de Carpentras, before heading, via quiet country lanes and verdant vineyards, towards the ‘island city’ of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, surrounded by the clear waters of the River Sorgue. This popular town offers many riverside cafés and is a great place to stop for lunch before heading on to the charming, mediaeval village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. Visit the largest spring in France, or potter around the handful of quaint shops and cafés, before ascending to your first, stunning view across the Luberon Valley. You then descend, amidst vineyards and olive groves, to the village of Les Imberts, just below the famous perched village of Gordes.

    Ride options: 30km/19mi or 35km/22mi
    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    At Les Imberts

    Walk or cycle to the famous, mediaeval perched village of Gordes today, to experience one of the best views there is over the Luberon – a patchwork of open plains, sprawling vineyards and olive groves. Explore the village and its castle and perhaps take a taxi (payable locally) up to the beautiful l’Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque. Guided tours are available in the afternoon, or pay an early morning visit for the chance to explore at your leisure.

    Optional ride: approx. 9km/6mi 
    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Les Imberts to Apt

    After breakfast set out through the tranquil countryside and make the short climb up to Roussillon and the start of the Ochre Trail. Enjoy the views, and perhaps a morning coffee, before pedalling on to Gargas to visit the vast Ochre Mines of Bruoux, and enjoy a spot of lunch. You'll then follow quiet lanes past vineyards - perhaps stopping to taste and purchase some of the local wines - up to the perched village of Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt, before freewheeling down to the mediaeval town of Apt, famous for its crystallised fruits and traditional pottery.

    Ride options: 33km/21mi or 37km/23mi
    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    At Apt

    Today explore Apt's old town, wandering along the narrow alleyways to the ancient Cathedral of Ste Anne, which has its origins in Roman times (the lower crypt dates back to AD 1). In addition to the town's museums and the Maison du Parc du Luberon, there are also plenty of shops, cafes and colourful Saturday and Tuesday markets selling a range of locally grown produce and traditional Provencal arts and crafts.
    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Apt to Maubec

    This morning your route follows a greenway (once an old railway track) alongside the River Calavon before crossing the Pont Julien, a stone bridge built in Roman times and an excellent picnic spot. Leave the greenway then to follow quiet lanes to the wonderful village of Bonnieux, passing Château la Connorgue en-route (made famous by Ridley Scott's film A Good Year starring Russell Crowe), where you can stop for a tasting. From the village, you then head on through the centre of the Luberon with views up to the perched villages of Lacoste and Bonnieux, as you wind your way to Maubec and your 18th Century hotel.

    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    At Maubec

    Take a circular ride past apple orchards and meadows to the pretty villages of Lagnes, Taillades (with its beautiful watermill) and Robion. If you prefer a day away from your bikes then take a 35 minute taxi ride (payable locally) to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence to visit the old town, impressive Roman site of Glanum and the monastery of Saint Paul de Mausole where van Gogh lived during the period of such eternal masterpieces as The Starry Night.

    Optional ride approx. 26km/16mi
    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    Maubec to Pernes-les-Fontaines

    This morning you’ll cycle past apple orchards to the small, mediaeval town of Le Thor on the banks of the River Sorgue before continuing to the hilltop town of Thouzon. Visit Castle Thouzon (an ancient fortified monastery) and explore Les Grottes de Thouzon, a 320m-long cave carved out by an underground river over 60 million years ago. After lunch, continue on to Pernes-les-Fontaines where you’ll have time to explore the mediaeval old town and the numerous ancient stone fountains.

    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 9

    Leave Pernes-les-Fontaines

    If you are on our standard transfer our reps will take you to Avignon TGV station in time for the train to Marseilles.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

France

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

France

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All continental breakfasts and 6 dinners are included.

Provençale cuisine is a blend of many influences from the plentiful sea, to neighbour Italy and the early Roman occupation. The soil is rich and the climate is conducive to producing a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.

Whilst not the most sophisticated of the French cuisines, most dishes use the excellent tasting local fresh produce. Cooking à la Provençale uses local olive oil, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines and wild herbs, all ripened by the sun to give an intensity of flavour. You can browse among the colours and smells, and make picnic purchases at the lively local markets.

Weather

Weather in Aix-en-Provence is good throughout the year thanks to its mild Mediterranean climate. The region welcomes hot, dry summers (June to September) averaging around 30°C. Spring (March to May) and autumn (October to November) are cool and balmy and perfect for cycling.

Is this trip for you?

Your week starts in the mediaeval town of Pernes-les-Fontaines, before taking you past pretty L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, at the foot of the Vaucluse Plateau. Surrounded by the River Sorgue, this is a charming town to potter around, its narrow streets filled with quaint cafes, little antique shops, old bridges and water wheels, not to mention a bustling market every Sunday. You then move on to the town of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, overlooked by crumbling castle ruins and home to the source of the River Sorgue. After following the Ochre Trail to explore the narrow streets and pastel-painted houses of mediaeval Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt, overlooked by sprawling castle remains and two 17th Century windmills, you freewheel down to the mediaeval town of Apt at the centre of the Luberon National Park. A greenway then leads you along the middle of the valley with views up to the famous perched villages of Bonnieux and Lacoste, and on to sleepy Maubec. Your week ends with a possible visit to Thouzon's impressive caves, carved by an underground river, before you head home from Pernes-les-Fontaines.

Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)
Average daily distance: 34km (21.5 miles).
No. of days cycling: 6 (including 2 optional rides)
Terrain and route: The majority of the route is on quiet country roads, although there are some short sections on busier roads. There is also some cycling along a dedicated cycle greenway.

Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next. A representative will be there to meet you, make sure the bikes are all set up and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. Where possible we stick to cycle tracks and quiet roads to make the journeys as pleasant as possible, however, on occasion we have to use busier routes.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain an emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

You stay in a wonderful mix of hotels this week. Hotel l'Hermitage offers a relaxing stay in a 19th Century manor house with lovely grounds and a swimming pool; Mas de la Sénancole in Les Imberts is your next stop, offering Provençal-style rooms, a heated outdoor pool and a spa with sauna, hot tub and massage room; your home in Apt is the cosy Hotel Sainte Anne, a small family-run hotel just across the river from the old town; and your final stop is Bastide du Bois Bréant in Maubec, with its lovely pool and woodland setting.

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 0208 772 3936