7 Ultimate Grown-Up Spring Breaks
Just because your college days are over doesn’t mean you can’t plan a spring (or summer) break. These seven upscale, organized international tours replace hard partying with top-shelf tastings and bland beachside buffets with quality fare. What are you waiting for? Get out of town with these grown-up hot-weather excursions.
Take in the sights and culinary delights of Catalonia via DuVine Cycling & Adventure Co.’s six-day, five-night bike “Chef on Wheels” tour along the Costa Brava. Award-winning New York City chef Seamus Mullen (of Tertulia and Boqueria fame) steers the vibrant wine-and-food scene along the coastal tour. It includes stops at local markets for fresh ingredients, hands-on cooking classes and dinner at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, proud owner of three Michelin stars. Tour departs June 28; $6,595 per person.
Experience South Africa’s exotic wine and food via The Forgotten Route: Train to the Karoo, organized by Wine Flies Wine Tours. The two-day train trip departs from Cape Town and travels through the picturesque, mountain-locked Karoo semidesert. Stops include Rawsonville’s Kirabo for local sips, and Ouma Bettie se Winkel farm for tastes of local dried fruit and biltong (cured meat) before a lunch of potjiekos, a meat-and-vegetable stew prepared outdoors. Off the famous R62—South Africa’s longest wine route—in Montagu (pictured), guests sip through Kingna Distillery’s latest bottlings of brandy. Finally, experience a traditional lamb braai barbecue before spending the night in a cottage at the Rietfontein nature preserve, surrounded by panoramic views. Tours depart each Friday; $125 per person.
Once-in-a-lifetime tastings at the top winemaking estates of Bordeaux, including all five First Growth producers (including Château Latour and Château Lafite Rothschild), make the Bordeaux Prestige Tour the ideal spring getaway for wine drinkers and collectors alike. Organized by French Wine Explorers, guests retire in style at the stunning Chateau Papa Clement, known for its pristine grounds and picturesque turrets. In between VIP tastings, excursions include a journey to ancient Saint-Émilion (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and a jaunt to Sauternes to visit esteemed Château d’Yquem. A trip highlight is dinner at the Michelin-starred restaurant La Grande Vigne, which boasts a cellar of more than 15,000 bottles and is located at the famous Château Smith Haut Lafitte in Pauillac. Tours depart May 18 and June 8; $6,900 per person.
Robertson’s Wine Tours offers customizable packages through Argentina’s Uco Valley, featuring everything from shacking up at luxe wine lodge Alpasión with views of the Andes to tasting pours from vineyards like Gimenez Riili and Bodega La Azul. Prepare to get your hands dirty: March is the top month to visit the vineyards, and guests can help pick Malbec straight from the vineyards. You can also visit in May, when top wineries open their cellars to the public, while stops in Mendoza city and Buenos Aires lend your New World vacation plenty of tango and local flavor. Contact to schedule a private tour; $2,700 per person, based on above trip.
Discover the roots of prosciutto di Parma, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese in the culinary capital of Italy with the Food Festival in Emilia-Romagna with Xanthe Clay, part of the Telegraph Tours program. Xanthe Clay (food writer for London’s The Telegraph) accompanies intrepid tasters to locales like Antica Corte Pallavicina (home of the legendary Culatello di Zibello ham since 1320), in addition to the aging cathedrals of Parmigiano-Reggiano producers and the cellars of Balsamico di Modena. At the Academia Barilla—built on the site of the former pasta factory—attendees partake in a pasta-making glass before dining on local fare in the evening. Along the way, taste local Lambruscos (a natural pairing with the region’s cuisine) along with lesser-known wines from Barbera and Pignoletto. Tours depart April 18 and April 19; $1,975 per person.
Omar Khan, founder of the International Business and Wine Society, has created a Coast to Coast Extravaganza, featuring luxurious accommodations and exclusive wine and food pairings. From urban culture hubs to pastoral paradises, you’ll hit America’s food meccas in one week with themed dinners from sea to shining sea. The trip begins with dinner and a tasting of iconic 1970s and ’80s wines at The French Laundry in Yountville, California. Then, fly first-class to Relais & Chateaux’s Blackberry Farm (pictured) in Tennessee, where haute Southern cuisine is paired with grand cru Burgundies from the Côte d’Or. At the Inn at Little Washington in Virginia, indulge in a “Five Decades of Hits” wine dinner, accompanied by Bordeaux First Growths. The trip concludes at New York City’s DANIEL restaurant with a screening of Babette’s Feast, followed by a re-creation of the meal with pairings of Sherry, Champagne, Burgundy and Sauternes. The itinerary is scattered with business seminars and visits with industry leaders. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a trip; $500,000 per group of six.
Sail, sip and savor your way through the storybook villages of Central and Eastern Europe via AmaWaterways’ Grand Danube Cruise. Kick off the 23-day excursion in Prague, then hit riverside towns in Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Istanbul. You’ll taste pours from Austria’s Wachau Valley during a stop in Dürnstein; the red wine blends of Villány, Hungary; and the bounty of Principovac Estate, in Croatia’s Ilok. Tours depart April 2, April 15, April 30, May 13 and May 28; cruise, including land excursions, starts at $7,178.
- 1Costa Brava, Spain
- 2Karoo, South Africa
- 3Bordeaux, France
- 4Buenos Aires and Mendoza, Argentina
- 5Emilia-Romagna, Italy
- 6Napa Valley, Mid-Atlantic, New York City and the Southeast U.S.
- 7Danube River, Central and Eastern Europe