HIKE, BIKE & RAFT HOLIDAYS GUIDE

If a river flows fast, we raft it; if a trail leads up, we hike it; if there's a downhill track, we bike it – if you love life surrounded by nature then hike it, bike it, raft it.
Strawberries and cream, gin and tonic, peanut butter and jam – no, wait… anyway, some things are just meant to go together which is why we think our hike, bike and raft adventures are all set to become the latest in multi activity holidays. The roar of a river from deep within a valley can be all the inspiration you need to get the adrenaline flowing and the heart pumping. Now imagine being able to raft those rapids with an expert guide before getting some rest for the next day's hike to the river's source. Fast forward to the following day and you might be cycling down a mountain track or transferring to a different location for more hiking, biking and rafting adventures in totally new surroundings. Joining a small group lets you share experiences and have a laugh (a lot), as you stretch your limbs and your capabilities in some superb settings. Find out more in our hike, bike and raft holidays travel guide.

WHAT DOES A HIKE, BIKE & RAFT HOLIDAY ENTAIL?

Before you get to thinking that a hike, bike and raft holiday is like some kind of hard core triathlon please, don't worry; you won't have to do all three activities on the same day. This type of tour gives fit and active travellers the chance to have an adventure without pushing them to their absolute limits. The more healthy and outdoorsy you are, the more you'll enjoy it. Leaders and instructors are on hand to help you learn and develop without forcing you to do something that you're not comfortable with.
Adrenaline, and nerves, might well kick in before you raft on the Rio Naranjo or mountain bike down a rocky path in the Pyrenees, but that's kind of the point. You'll be undertaking an exciting activity, safely, accompanied by experts and using top quality equipment. Mountain slopes and river valleys in Croatia, Andorra and Costa Rica are like adventure playgrounds and provide perfect places to tune into nature and get some exercise, without disturbing the natural environment.
SMALL GROUP HOLIDAYS

Small group holidays

Getting active outdoors with other people can be great fun. That's why the majority of our hike, bike and raft holidays are for small groups (max 16 people). You get to share experiences and make new friends as well as benefitting from the knowledge of an experienced local instructor. Being part of a guided group allows you to hike in remote regions without wondering if you should have taken the left turn back at the crossroads. You'll get to relive rafting or kayaking adventures around a communal dining table over a home cooked evening meal.
Mountain biking as part of a group lets you release the brakes with a bit more confidence, safe in the knowledge that routes and safety gear have been tried and tested. If friends back home are more beach, pool and all-inclusive, don't despair; joining a small group is the perfect way for solo travellers to meet folks with a bit more zip. Single room supplements are sometimes available to provide more privacy or you can opt to share a room with someone else of the same sex at no extra cost.
How tough are they?
Hike, bike and raft holidays aren't going to be full on, hell for leather, adrenaline pumping all day every day. Generally, you'll focus on one activity each day: hiking, cycling or rafting/kayaking. This gives you chance to appreciate a region from a unique and often exhilarating point of view. It also gives legs a chance to rest as upper body takes over – a day cycling followed by a day paddling, for instance.
Hiking and mountain biking usually take place on existing tracks, to protect the natural environment and to ensure you get to the best viewpoint for a picnic lunch as safely as possible. Cycling on paved roads, with light traffic, allows you to cover greater distances and see aspects of country life not often afforded to tourists staying put in big cities. It's not going to be a race but there will be some challenges and – no doubt – a few steep gradients, a few moments where your muscles feel the burn.
White water rafting and kayaking instructors always place safety first. Rapids might well rise to Class III but you'll be in safe hands and fitted with all the correct gear including helmets, buoyancy aids and wetsuits.

Our top Hike, bike and raft Holiday

Pyrenees activity holiday

Pyrenees activity holiday

Enjoy an action packed week in the Pyrenees

From £655 8 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2019: 19 May, 2 Jun, 9 Jun, 16 Jun, 23 Jun, 30 Jun, 7 Jul, 25 Aug, 1 Sep, 8 Sep, 15 Sep, 22 Sep
2020: 17 May, 31 May, 7 Jun, 14 Jun, 21 Jun, 28 Jun, 5 Jul, 23 Aug, 30 Aug, 6 Sep, 13 Sep, 20 Sep
Helpdesk
Hello. If you'd like to chat about Hike, bike and raft or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
CENTRE BASED OR POINT TO POINT?

Centre based or point to point?

Some locations, like Soldeu in Andorra, are in the midst of mountain slopes, and just a short from a trailhead or riverbank to begin the day’s adventures. Staying in one place allows you to become orientated and explore more of a local area as you settle into the outdoor environment without needing to continually pack and unpack. You'll also get to know your hosts and get comfy in communal areas or know where to seek solitude as the mood dictates.
A point to point holiday requires you to travel to different locations so you might wake up somewhere new most mornings. This can feel like more of an adventure and allows you to experience some really remote regions as you journey deeper into the Croatian countryside, for example, or discover different national parks in Costa Rica.
WHO GOES ON THIS TYPE OF HOLIDAY?

Who goes on this type of holiday?

No experience is necessary to go on a hike, bike and raft holiday. All activities are guided and you'll receive safety instructions at the start of each day. It will certainly help if you're outdoorsy and fairly fit although a positive 'can do' attitude is just as important. Older children can join (12+) their parents or guardian, but this type of holiday isn't primarily aimed at families so don't expect to find tons of other teens. You know your children and their capabilities. Chat to the tour operator in advance about the activities and the itinerary so you know what to expect. The operator may also be able to tell you a little more about the group demographics.
Radek Nowak from our tour partner Intrepid Travel explains what to expect:
“Our hike, bike and raft holidays are for everyone. But it’s vital for you to read through the itinerary and inclusions to make sure you’re fully aware of what you’re signing up to. If you exercise regularly, you’re probably already geared up to take on one of these trips. If not, it’s probably a good idea to start doing so a few weeks prior to departure. However, the most important thing of all is to bring along an openness to learn new skills, experience activities for the first time and meet likeminded people from all walks of life. Plus, you’ll love the amazing sense of accomplishment you feel once the trip is over!”

BEST TIME TO GO ON A HIKE, BIKE & RAFT HOLIDAY

The best time to go on a hike, bike and raft holiday in Croatia, Andorra and Slovenia – is May to September. This ensures rivers are running freely and conditions are generally greener, drier and more settled without the constant threat of spring showers. July and August can get hot, especially in river valleys, so take care if you’re out all day without any shade. Waterproof sun screen and sunglasses, with stretchy head straps, are recommended, especially when rafting or kayaking. Mosquito spray and long sleeves/trousers, even in summer, can also come in handy, especially if you’re spending evenings outdoors.
If you’re keen to travel outside of the European summer, December to May are the driest months in Costa Rica. Less rain does mean that river rapids won’t be quite as fierce, but the slightly milder temperatures are more comfortable for cycling and hiking. It is a tropical country, though, so you can expect rain, heat and humidity all year-round. Just pack light with quick drying clothes.
In Kerala, the key is to avoid the June to August monsoon. In September and October you’ll find lush green forests as well as river rapids and waterfalls at the peak of their powers. Southern India is pretty hot all year round; however, mid-February to mid-May can get even hotter – worth bearing in mind if you don’t fancy climbing hills in 33°C heat and humidity. Finally, the higher you hike or bike, the cooler it gets. Be prepared with lots of layers, especially when hiking in the Western Ghats and cycling through the cooler, misty, tea estates around Munnar.
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Zachary Collier] [Rafting at Zrmanja River: Raftrek Adventure Travel Croatia] [Two men - mountain cliff: Austin Neill] [Biker - blur: Kevin Erdvig] [Group biking: ActiveSteve] [Vall d'Incles - Andorra: MARIA ROSA FERRE ] [Croatia: Camilla K] [Svaneti group hike: TDway] [Slovenia: Javier Sanchez Portero] [Costa Rica: Dennis Tang] [Kerala: editor CrazyYatra]
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