Self-Drive Cooking Vacations with The International Kitchen
We have many wonderful self-drive cooking vacations here at The International Kitchen. And although most of our clients prefer culinary vacations that include all transfers and transportation, a self-drive option is a great way to save money (as transportation costs are a major part of trip cost) and to immerse yourself in the culture of the destination.
In a word: no! We don’t offer cooking vacations in major cities, and quite frankly would never think to do so. I’ve driven in Rome and Palermo, and it is awful! But driving in the countryside is an altogether different story. True, you might have to wait for a herd of sheep to cross the road, you might have to stop and backtrack if you miss a turn-off, you might even have trouble figuring out how to open the gas tank on the rental car. (Yes, all of these have happened to me!) But even these experiences become part of the adventure.
Most cities have rental car agencies out of the major traffic zones, such as at the airport or train station with clear indications of how to get out of the city. (Do note that sometimes it costs more to pick up a rental car at the airport, however.) The highway system for the most part is easy to use once you get used to it (the signs point always in the direction of the next town down the line, so it’s handy to have a map and someone to read it). And really, what better way to stop and smell the roses than to be able to stop at will to smell the roses!
Here are a few of our of our favorite self-drive itineraries!
Discover Normandy is a wonderful 4- or 6-night option for those wishing to explore this gorgeous part of France. And it is priced at a great US$1700 per person for the 6-night itinerary! It’s hard to beat that, especially when you add in the charming B&B accommodations and the great cooking lessons.
Or, why not take a Provencal Adventure in the south of France? This self-drive itinerary in the village of Tavel has all the charm one would expect of Provence, and it is one of the best wine-producing areas in southern France as well. From the vineyards of Chateauneuf du Papes and the famed rosé wines of Tavel, to the lavender fields in bloom, the itinerary includes wonderful cooking with your hostess, but leaves plenty of time to explore the region.
Finally, our wonderful 3-night Flavors of the Real Italian Countryside has both a version that includes transfers and a self-drive option! You not only get to explore the beauty of accommodations in a 700-year-old castle, you get to taste the amazing cured pork products with the King of Parma Hams himself.
Have you driven in Europe? Did you have any adventures, and would you do it again?
By Peg Kern
(Please note that pricing is as of June 27, 2016, and is subject to change until under deposit.)
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