Hiking the Rhine Valley 4 Days/3 Nights Departs Daily with Avanti

Rüdesheim am Rhein is one of the famous wine making
towns along the Middle Rhine Valley, with a romantic hillside setting on one of the more scenic parts of the river. It makes a good base for
hiking in this beautiful region. Rolling hills and great views.
Rudesheim am Rhine
Day 1 ~ Arrive Rüdesheim:
The town sits on the east bank of the Rhine. Find your hotel, the 4-star Rüdesheimer Schloss, near the main road along the river. You’ll receive a welcome cocktail when you check in. Rüdesheim has a charming old town, particularly the Drosselgasse, a walking street, easily reachable from your hotel. Explore the shops and cafes of this charming town, but be sure to return to your hotel for the Four-Course Dinner this evening.


Day 2 ~Rüdesheim:
After breakfast, pick up your walking sticks and backpack,
and get ready to explore the many options for hiking. One of the best is the Rheinsteg, an almost 200-mile trail on
the east side of the Rhine. To head north, take the cable car from Rüdesheim up to the Niederwald Monument above
the town, where you can join the trail. It leads along the vine-covered hills, with many great views of the river. You’ll
pass the ruins of Ehrenfels Castle before the path leads down to the charming riverfront village of Assmannshausen. The trail crosses several small valleys before you can enjoy another classic view
of the Rhine at the Drei-Burgen-Blick viewpoint. From there, you can take an afternoon Rhine River boat back to
Rüdesheim—the boat ride takes about 1 ½ hours, or you can come back morequickly by train. This hike is about 14 miles long, and will take about 7 hours.
Day 3 ~Rüdesheim:
After breakfast, you have options: you could take a morning
train or boat from Rüdesheim to Lorch, and continue hiking the Rhine 3Reinsteg as far as the town of Kaub. Much of this walk
will be along the Rhine river, with views of Bacharach on the other side and of Burg Stahleck Castle which sits above the town. Another option is to take the cable car up to the Niederwald again and headsouth on the Rheinsteg. This section of the trail leads through vineyards towards the Abbey of St. Hildegard, founded bythe legendary Hildegard of Bingen. The trail also takes you past two other abbeys to Schloss Johannisberg, one of the most famous wine-making estates in Germany and the main producer of Johannisberger Riesling. This hike is about 7 miles and
will take about 3 hours; however, it is about a half-hour’s walk from the trail to the Johannisberg estate, if you choose to visit.
Afterwards, descend the hill to the town of Geisenheim, where you can catch a train for the short trip back to Rüdesheim. In the late afternoon, enjoy a wine tasting at Georg Breuer Winery, located a short distance from your hotel, on Geisenheimer Strasse. Founded in 1880, the family-run Breuer estate produces excellent and well-known Rieslings.


Day 4 ~Depart Rüdesheim:
After breakfast at your hotel, take a last look around the town before you hop the train to your next Avanti destination!
If you are interested in more information please contact Susan Hickman at 626 449-3220 or email susan@distantlands.com

Discover the Real World of Westeros in Northern Ireland

Home of Thrones – 8 Day Self-Drive Vacation

Murlough Bay
Murlough Bay, N. Ireland

Charming seaside villages, mysterious landscapes and a ton of Game of Thrones locations, Northern Ireland is the   place to be if you’re a fan of the hit HBO series. Explore the real-life Westeros with caves, castles, forests and the famous Dark Hedges used as the location for the Kingsroad.  Explore the locations at your own pace, knowing that all of your travel plans are taken care of.

Your Self-Drive Vacation Includes:

  • Private Airport Arrival & Departure Transfers
  • 1 night in Dublin at 4-star Camden Court Hotel
  • 2 nights in Belfast at 4-star The Europa Hotel
  • 1 night on the Antrim Coast at 4-star Ballygally Castle
  • 1 night in Coleraine at the Breezemont B&B
  • 1 night in Londonderry at the 4-star Maldron Hotel Derry
  • 1 night in Dublin at the 4-star Camden Court Hotel
  • Hertz Car Rental Standard Automatic – based on Group G rental for 6 days
  • Full Breakfast Daily
  • Sightseeing Activities: Dublin City Walking Tour, Guinness Storehouse, Belfast City Sightseeing Hop on Hop off bus tour, Titanic Experience, Londonderry City Walking Tour

Interested in finding out more about the epic Game Of Thrones® filming locations?  Here’s a quick guide to all the spectacular locations in Northern Ireland.


1) Dragonstone, Downhill Beach, Co. Londonderry

Downhill, Beach, N. Ireland
Downhill Beach on the Causeway Coast

Downhill Beach is used in the filming of Game of Thrones as Dragonstone, where the Seven Idols of Westeros were burned and Melisandre, flames dancing into the night sky, proclaimed: “For the night is dark and full of terrors.”

2) The Stormlands, Larrybane, Carricka-Rede, Co. Antrium

Larrybane was the dramatic spot chosen for Renly Baratheon’s camp in Season 2. This is where Catelyn Stark agrees a treaty with Renley on Behalf of her son Robb.

3) Pyke, The Iron Islands , Ballintoy Harbour, Co. Antrim

This pictureque coastal nook is where Theon Grejoy arrives back in the Iron Islands and where he later admires his ship, the Sea Bitch. This is also where he first meets his sister Yara.

4) Storm’s End, Murlough Bay, Co. Antrim

Murlough Bay
Murlough Bay, N. Ireland

Murlough Bay becomes the Iron Islands in Season 3. This is the spot where Theon Greyjoy rides on the horse with his sister Yara. It’s also the spot where Davos Seaworth is shipwreked after the battle of Blackwater Bay.

5) The Stormlands, Cushendun Caves , Co. Antrim

In Seaon 2, Crushendun is where Melisandre gives birth to the shadow baby after being brought ashore by Davos Seaworthy.

6) The King’s Road, Dark Hedges, Co. Antrim

Dark Hedges
Dark Hedges, Ballymoney, N. Ireland

The Dark Hedges live up to their haunting name in Season 2. These spectacular trees line the King’s Road as Ayra Stark makes her escape from King’s Landing.Disguised as a boy, Ayra travels with Yoren, Gendry, Hot Pie and all the others off to join the night watch.

7) Winterfell, Castle Ward, Co. Down

Castle Ward is the prime location for Winterfell and the lands surrounding Winterfell in the North. This is where King Robert Baratheon and his retinue arrive and are met by the Starks in Season 1. This is also the place where Bran and Osha’s scenes in Season 1 take place.

8) Robb Stark’s camp, Audley’s Field Strangford Lough

Audley’s Field was used during Season 1 as King Robert Baratheon and his retinue arrive at Winterfell. It’s the backdrop of Robb’s camp in Season 2 and the place where he first meets Talisa. Later on, Audley’s Field is where Alton Lannister is imprisoned with Jamie ( and doesn’t live to tell the tale).

9) Riverrun, River Quoile, Co. Down

River Quolile
River Quolile, N. Ireland

The River Quolie features at a couple of key points in Season 1. This is where Robb’s army needs to cross the Trident, so Catelyn Stark goes to bargin with Walder Frey to seek permission. In the next episode, it’s the place where Catelyn and robb learn of Ned’s beheading and declare ” We will kill them all”.

10) The Haunted Forest, Tollymore Forest Park, Co. Down

You might remember this haunting forest from the scene in which a member of the Night’s watch rides through the snowy forest and stumbles upon dismembered Wildling bodies. It’s also where ed Stark and his boys come across the gored stag and find direwolf pups.

11) Beric Dondarrion’s Hideout, Pollnagollum Cave, Mable Arch Caves Global Geopark, Co. Fermanagh

The exterior of Pollnagollum Cave was used to film Beric Dondarrion’s hideout in Season 3.

If you would like more info contact: Susan Hickman (626) 449-3220 or e-mail susan@distantlands.com




25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin Hotel

Between the green zoo and the urban jungle, designer Werner Aisslinger and his team have created 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin. Half of the rooms look out over the ape and elephant enclosure in Berlin Zoo, while the otherhalf enjoy a stunning view of one of Berlin‘s most history-laden landmarks,the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. On the tenth floor, enjoying aphenomenal panoramic view, NENI Berlin and the Monkey Bar serve aneclectic mix of world cuisine in collaboration with trendsetting Austrianrestaurateur Haya Molcho.

Berlin Bikini Room
Urban M Room

149 rooms • Mini-bar • Safe • iHome Sound Dock • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Berlin Bikini Room L
Urban l Bike

the building • Free MINI rental • Free bicycle rental • NENI restaurant

Berlin Rooftop
Berlin Bikini Rooftop

with 360° views of Berlin and roof terrace • Monkey Bar • Function areafor 100 people • Jogging corner •

Berlin Bikini Jungle Sana
Jungle Sana @ Berlin Bikini

Sauna & fitness room with viewsof zoo •

Woodfire bakery • Design kiosk • Living room with DJ corner •

Burger de Ville
Burger de Ville @ Berlin Bikini Hotel

Burger de Ville


If you would like more info Contact: Susan Hickman (626) 449-3220 or e-mail @; susan@distantlands.com

From Seaside Biarritz to Art-Infused Bilbao

French Pyrenees & Spain’s Rioja Region Walking & Hiking Tour

Hike France & Spain1On a map you’ll see the line. One side France. The other, Spain. There it is—definitive, exact. But set foot here and you’ll see it’s a place all its own. An independent spirit shines through as you gaze out over the sparkling Bay of Biscay and walk the high plains and valleys of the often overlooked Pyrenees. As you take in a game of basque pelota and wonder how many pilgrims throughout the centuries have walked this very same stretch of the Camino de Santiago. And raise a toast to the vibrant color and light—and excellent wines—of La Rioja.

CaminoDay 1 Hike along the coast, passing beautiful beaches, quaint seaside villages and rugged rock formations  Arrive in the idyllic town of St-Jean-de-Luz, beloved for its picturesque square lined with cafés, boutiques and seafood restaurants Stroll along the town’s sheltered port, where beret-capped fishermen tend to their colorful boats.

Days 2-3 Discover Basque Country’s pastoral charm as you strideHike Map through green sheep-dotted hills in a region celebrated for its fromage de brebis—a creamy cheese with a sweet taste  This is the land immortalized in the Legend of Roland Hiking in the Pyrenees, skirt the line between France and Spain on an ancient route once used by pilgrims and smugglers  Visit an artisanal cheese farm and soak up the scene in riverside St-Etienne-de-Baïgorry, a hamlet brimming with typical Basque timbered houses.

Hike3Day 4 Welcome to Spain! We cross the border into the Navarra region for a walk on the renowned Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route  Exchange greetings with travelers from all across the world as you ramble through medieval villages and across old stone bridges along the “Pilgrim’s Way”  Taste an array of local pinchos—delicious small plates.

Days 5-6 Rural beauty and tranquility surround us in La Rioja wine Hike 5region, where hundreds of ancestral wineries have thrived for generations  As you hike, admire the play of sunlight, shadow and color on the vineyard-laced landscape  Amble on ancient cobblestone streets in historic villages like Navaridas and Elciego Savor Basque specialties at a Michelin-starred restaurant—the ideal finish to an extraordinary week.

For More Information Contact Susan Hickman 626 449-3220 or email: susan@distantlands.com

When rivers flow into oceans – Viking Cruises head into new water

Viking StarViking Cruises has always been known for river cruising, now they are heading into the open waters of the ocean with their newest ship, Viking Star.  Engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports, guests have an easy and efficient embarkation and disembarkation, allowing them more time to spend enjoying each destination. With early reviews already in, Carolyn Spencer Brown of Cruise Critic has called Viking Star a “game changer,” and Gene Sloan of USA Today proclaimed “you’re going to love Viking Star.”

Viking Star’s christening was the culmination of a maiden voyage that began April 11 when the ship set sail from Istanbul. Over the last five weeks, she made stops in what will be regular ports across the Mediterranean and Western Europe, including Athens, Santorini, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice, Barcelona, Seville (Cadiz), Gibraltar, Lisbon, Paris (Rouen) and London.

Viking Star SpaViking Ocean Cruises guests enjoy curated itineraries that are designed to best showcase the destinations that they visit, with a complimentary excursion in each port and an onboard cultural enrichment program that includes academic lecturers, local speakers and interactive demonstrations. Viking Star is one of three ocean cruise ships on order; two additional ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky, are currently under construction.

From now through May 31, 2015, Viking is offering U.S. residents 2015 Special Savings and 2016 Early Booking Discounts with 2-for-1 pricing on cruise departures and savings of up to $750 per person on international air. Viking Inclusive Pricing. provides unparalleled value—with every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Passengers also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry and 24-hour room service—a value of more than $2,400 per couple for an average cruise.

Contact Susan Hickman at Distant Lands. 626 449-3220 or Susan@distantlands.com

Tell us about the travel experience you’re looking for.  Complete this form and Susan will get back to you no later than the next business day to help you plan your vacation.

Glacier & Waterton Lakes Bike Tour

The Epic Grandeur of Montana’s & Alberta’s National Parks

Backroads Glacier & WatertonYou know they call it Big Sky. But somehow you’re still amazed by how “big” it is. You question why you don’t live closer to the mountains. You enjoy hours of scenic roads and the sound of your wheels spinning. You finally understand what the Continental Divide is all about. You race someone to the next crystal blue lake. You ride and talk. You ride and don’t talk. You’re awestruck by a waterfall’s force. You swear you’ll never book an all-inclusive beach resort vacation again. You’re in two of North America’s greatest national parks. And you’ll never be the same.

Contact Susan Hickman for more information. 626 449-3220 or susan @distantlands.com

The Eurail Austria Pass: The sound of music and…

Austria RailComfort. Relaxation. And it all comes together with the Eurail Austria Pass. It gives you extensive travel on the national rail network of Austria, with your choice of first or second class travel for 3, 4, 5, or 8 days of rail travel within a one-month period. This pass offers saverpass discounts for 2 or more traveling together and you can also decide whether you’d prefer your travel days to be consecutive or non-consecutive.

Austria ChurchIt’s no wonder that the majority of adventurers to Austria prefer to do so with an Austria Rail Pass. Breathtaking scenery notwithstanding, a train journey allows affordable flexibility and accessibility — while eliminating language barriers, local transit ticket counters, and high gas prices. And your rail pass has additional benefits to make your travel even more seamless, like transit on some InterCity Bus routes that may require reservations and a day of use on your pass, discounts on select ferries, hotels and audio city guides. See the cities and sites you’ve always imagined: like Vienna — one of Europe’s cultural capitals, located on the banks of the Danube. A romantic’s dream destination, Vienna was home to Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Johann Strauss. And, cultural connoisseurs won’t want to miss Museums Quartier, one of the largest cultural complexes in the world. No trip to Austria is complete without a stop in Salzburg, a city of incomparable architectural beauty. (Did we mention it was also where “The Sound of Music” was filmed?)

You know, it’s true what they say…those hills are alive. But the breathtaking scenery of Austria? It will remind you that you are too. The Eurail Austria pass.

For more information contact: Susan Hickman at 626 449-3220 or susan@distantlands.com

Splendors of Morocco with Abercrombie & Kent

Morrocco ArchTravel back to a slower time of aromatic mint tea in cool courtyards and sun-drenched bazaars overflowing with handmade jewelry and colorful tagines during an A&K Morocco luxury journey. With a history stretching back nearly 10,000 years, Morocco has been crisscrossed by Roman legions, Berber caravans and Muslim scholars. The country’s great cities – Marrakech, Tangier, Fez and Rabat – offer a delicate balance of ancient traditions and modern-day conveniences.

Delve into Morocco, from its historic cities to its mysterious desert, staying in an A&K Exclusive Desert Tented Camp by the Erg Chebbi dunes and spending three nights in Marrakech.

  • Discover all that wonderful Morocco has to offer, from the historic cities in the north to the mysterious desert, ending with three nights in Marrakech
  • Experience the Sahara in style when you sleep under the stars at an A&K Exclusive Desert Tented Camp alongside the stunning Erg Chebbi dunes
  • Experience life like a local with a ride on camelback and by horse and carriage; you also learn the secrets of Moroccan cuisine at an exclusive Chef’s Table experience
  • Explore Meknes and Volubilis, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, to unveil Morocco’s unique culture and past
  • Stay in the “Red City” at the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Marrakech, your home for three nights

Save $1,000 per person on select Fall departures when you book by July 31, 2015.

For more information contact: Susan Hickman (626) 449-3220 or info@distantlands.com

Attention all educators do you want to travel for free

Kids1Experience is a great teacher. It takes standing in the middle of the Colosseum to truly appreciate the significance of Roman times. You need to be able to run your hand across the names engraved on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC to comprehend the loss. Travel has the power to open young minds, unlock possibilities, and unveil understanding where the classroom just can’t. On Student Discoveries travel programs, students pay attention, ask more questions, and actually learn more. From the sub-culture of New York City’s Chinatown to Italy’s world-changing architecture, students’ minds opens further when they’re filled with the sights and sounds of important places around the world. And what they learn on the streets of Boston or in Tower of London won’t just be filed away for a pop quiz, but for something much more important—life itself.

It’s never too early to start planning your student trip and there has never been a better time to book student group travel with Student Discoveries. For teachers, when 10 students travel on a trip you travel for free and teachers receive a single room at no additional cost.

For more information contact:  Susan Hickman 626 449-3220 or e-mail: susan@distantlands.com