In the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson
Do you find yourself looking for holiday inspiration at the works of the great masters?
With next month marking 140 years since novelist Robert Louis Stevenson departed for his memorable trip in the Cévennes mountains in south-central France – he set out on 22 September 1878 – European activity holiday specialists UTracks and Sherpa Expeditions choose below five of the best self-guided ‘art trails’…
Robert Louis Stevenson >>> The Cévennes
In the autumn of 1878 Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, set out to walk across the Cevennes accompanied by “a small grey donkey called Modestine”. His journey inspired Travel with a donkey in the Cévennes, which has since become a travel classic. Starting in the Auvergne, this trip follows a winding route across a region that boasts great natural beauty, sad romantic ruins and is almost totally unspoilt.
- The Cévennes – Walking Stevenson’s Trail with Sherpa Expeditions (8 days) departs June-September, from £840 per person; longer 10-day option also available
Salvador Dalí >>> Vermillion Coast
Discover the landscapes and villages that inspired the surrealist paintings of Salvador Dalí as he travelled across the French Pyrenees, along the Vermillion coast and into Spain, on this new guided walk. Pass by Port Ligat, where the eccentric painter used to live, and stop at Cap de Creus Natural Park, whose surrealistic craggy scenery inspired the artist. On the last day stop at Figueres, Dalí’s birthplace, to visit the quirky (its exterior is decorated with eggs!) Dalí Museum.
- NEW! Footsteps of Dalí Guided Walk with UTracks (7 days) departs 6 October, from £990 per person; self-guided option also available
Vincent Van Gogh >>> Provence
Van Gogh’s time in Provence – where he first arrived in early 1888 – was the most productive period of painting in his life. Along footpaths dotted with cypress trees and lone chapels, this trip follows in his footsteps from St-Rémy to Les Baux-de-Provence and onto Arles. Highlights include the Saint-Paul de Mausole monastery (where Van Gogh painted 150 paintings in a year!) and the painter’s much loved second home, the city of Arles.
- Provence – In Van Gogh’s footsteps with Sherpa Expeditions (7 days) departs March-November, except July-August, from £760 per person
Rembrandt van Rijn >>> Holland
One of the greatest Dutch painters, Rembrandt was born in Leiden, where he also studied and opened his first studio. At the age of 25 he moved to Amsterdam; he lived in the Dutch capital until his death and this is where the Rembrandt House Museum, as well as the most notable pieces of his work, can be found today, such as The Night Watch, on display at Rijksmuseum. If you want to walk in his footsteps start in Leiden, where you can visit places such as his Latin school and his church.
- NEW! Classic Holland Cycle with UTracks (7 days) departs April-September, from £730 per person
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart >>> Austria
From Mozart’s birthplace, Salzburg, to the Austrian capital, Vienna, the city where he achieved fame, cycle through Austria’s spectacular landscapes and trace the legacies of one of the classical era’s most influential composers. Mozart composed from the age of five and at 17 he was already engaged as a court musician in Salzburg; however, after travelling restlessly, he chose to stay in Vienna, where he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos and operas.
- Salzburg to Vienna Cycle with UTracks (8 days) departs March-October, from £795 per person
Quoted prices are inclusive of accommodation, most meals, experienced guides, luggage transfers between hotels (where applicable) and clear maps with images. Flights from the UK are not included but can be booked on request.