Outdoor activities for a European vacation

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of January 15-21, 1998
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Outdoor activities for a European vacation
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Outdoor activities for a European vacation
Question: Stephanie, we need some serious help — and fast. We leave for Europe for two months on February 8 and we need some adventures. We are staying in Prague and this is what we want to do:

Ski for three weeks, then train and hike through Italy and land on Crete, where we want to do some hiking and kayaking for two weeks. Can we just rent our own kayaks on Crete? Is there an outdoor-adventure company on Crete that can help us with camping for two weeks and kayaking? Any magic you can do would be great.

Phil and Matt
Washington, D.C.

Adventure Adviser: I have a few thoughts that might possibly enhance your already spectacular plans. If you're going to buy a Eurail pass anyway, you may want to consider skiing in France.

The reason: La Grave and the Association 9 Vallees ski safari. You've probably heard of La Grave, the intense death-wish of a mountain and heart of everything extreme just 75 southwest of Chamonix. But you may not have heard of the Association 9 Vallees's ski safari, highlighted in Outside's December 1996 issue.

The week-long safari winds across the heart of the French Savoy — you on skis, your luggage on a shuttle. A typical itinerary takes you from Valmorel to Val d'Isere and all the resorts in between.

I ask: What better way to see the French Alps? For more details on the ski safari, call 011-33-4-79-06-51-77 or fax 011-33-4-79-06-44-89. If you don't want to go to France, Austria's Arlberg is a fine choice. Make sure you do the round-trip ski from Zürs to Lech and back, and follow it up with a glass of glühwein at the Hotel Alpenrose in Zürs.

As for renting a kayak on Crete, I have three suggestions. The first is to rent a kayak by the hour off the little pebble beach in the town of Loutró. The Hotel Porto Loutró (825-91-091) should know where this beachside kayak rental is located.

If that sounds too risky, you could sign up for The Northwest Passage's (800-732-7328) seven-day inn-to-inn sea kayaking trip along Crete's south coast. But if you want to do your own thing and be assured of renting a quality kayak, you may consider renting a high-performance folding kayak before you leave the States.

Folding Kayak Adventures (800-586-9318) offers several boats for rental, and the price includes four-piece paddles, PFDs, spray skirts, sea socks, safety gear, repair kits, an assembly video, and written instructions.

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