The Question: Can you recommend an ideal mother-daughter European trip to celebrate her high-school graduation? I like to cycle; she likes the beach, and we both like a bit of adventure.
Forget the milestone of graduating high school. The real congrats due here are for you two finishing off the teenage years with the desire to travel together. For your question, I queried boutique travel company Quench Trip Design ( quenchtravel.com). Companies of this ilk create unique adventures and suss out small hotels. Quench owner Jennifer Deacon put together these one-week (or thereabouts) itineraries for you:
Italy: First up, the Cilento Coast, which Deacon describes as similar to the Tuscan Coast or Amalfi Coast – 20 years ago. The area offers everything on your list: biking trails and beaches where you don't have to fight for a spot to plant your umbrella.
Start off in Naples – “the dark horse of Italian cities, but so great,” she says – and then split your time between the medieval town of Pisciotta and a little family-run hotel in the mountains near Paestum.
“Medieval Pisciotta is perched high above the sea with a maze of pedestrian-only streets to navigate. The modern port below is a charming little strip of cafés and small businesses; there are beaches and a small marina. From here you can enjoy the nearly deserted but pristine beaches. … There is a great national park system with walking and biking trails, and guided excursions would be recommended for these days.”
Second leg: Drive to Il Cannito ( ilcannito.com), which Deacon describes as “an absolute gem of a small, family-run property.” This is the place to relax, bike, hike or take a guided visit of the famed Greek temples near Paestum. The hotel's matriarch, “Mama,” also offers cooking classes in the kitchen. “From there, they can also arrange a private boat trip down the coast to the otherwise inaccessible beaches of Cilento, and swim in amazing private coves.”
Spain: Another recommendation? Mallorca, one of Spain's Balearic Islands and home to “gorgeous hotels, great mountain biking and beautiful beaches,” Deacon says. “Compared to the rest of Europe, Mallorca is relatively affordable.”
Begin at the Portixol hotel ( portixol.com), she suggests. It is close to Palma, but not too close to the partying crowd. “There is a seafront bike and walking path that goes for miles in each direction and the hotel has a fleet of city bikes that they lend to guests. They can also take yoga classes and get massages.”
Next, head for the village of Deia. “The scenery here is stunning: pine-laden mountains, gardens, olive groves, the sea is practically below the village – via a steep decline – and the village itself has some great restaurants, boutiques, and cafés. It has been an artists' retreat for years and years.”
Unpack your bags at S'Hotel D'es Puig ( www.hoteldespuig.com). (Translation: the hotel on the hill.) For biking, hook up with Tramuntana Tours ( tramuntanatours.com) to explore the trails in and around Soller and Deia. For your beach fix, there's a local favourite called Cala Deia, below some craggy cliffs. “The water is crystal clear and a gorgeous turquoise and sapphire colour.”
Both trips offer up plenty of lingering mother-daughter moments – and with you two getting along so well, the scenery can provide the drama.
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Follow Karan Smith on Twitter: @karan_smith.
Special to The Globe and Mail