One of the best kinds of holiday you can take is one that takes full advantage of the company of your friends. Whatever your age, taking a break with a few close buddies provides a great opportunity to chill out together, do something different and explore somewhere new – and our South of France villa holidays is one of the best places to do it.
Booking a luxury villa in the South of France means you’ll have communal spaces as well as your own privacy, and you and your friends can cook, relax and lounge next to the pool as a group. Now, as blissful as that sounds, we know that some people prefer to have a few lively days while they’re away. To make sure your holiday isn’t totally dominated by tanning, barbecues and cooling dips in the pool, we’ve scoped out some of the best group activities and day trips for groups of friends heading to the South of France.
A nice traditional starter
One experience that’s going to be central for many people visiting the South of France is sampling some of the fantastic wines produced throughout the region. But don’t just leave it at picking up a couple of bottles to enjoy over dinner – why not dive right in and get a closer look? Winerist does a great harvesting and tasting day trip at the Château Saint-Martin-de-la-Garrigue winery, where you get the chance to pick grapes while nibbling snack and drinking aperitifs. Not a bad way to spend the day!
Or a rather tastier tour
And of course, what better to go with wine than a spot of France’s other great export – food? Nice is a particularly good place to go on a tour thanks to its rich fusion of classically French and Mediterranean styles, and the three hour walking tour through the city from Food Tours of Nice takes in some of the sights and loads of the flavours.
Then how about something to work it all off?
If you spend your holiday indulging, you might be tempted to pop to the gym a little more often when you get back. You can avoid this grim necessity by exercising while you’re away, and what better than a challenging bike ride that rewards you with some utterly stunning views? The trip up Col de la Madone is certainly worth the effort – you can find out more at Active Azur.
Or you can just get back on with all that luxury eating
OK, so we’re not quite finished with tempting you with the South of France’s tastiest treats. For a real taste of luxury, why not book yourself in for a truffle hunt? You and your friends can experience the history and practicalities of truffle hunting before heading off yourselves – and you might even get to sample the famous ‘black diamonds’ yourself if you strike it lucky. Les Pastras is Provençal organic farms that offers hunting trips between May to September and November to March.
And maybe learn a new hobby (or indulge in an old one)
You might be surprised to learn that the South of France has a fantastic selection of golf courses that welcome players of all abilities – and you know you’ll find an enticing bar (while will doubtless have a sunny veranda) if you don’t play yourself. Where2golf.com is a great place to start your search, with details on links in Aquitaine, The Côte d’Azur and Corsica.
Or take a walk without the clubs
As Mark twain once famously said, golf is the best way to ruin a perfectly good walk. And if you want to enjoy the walk without punting a tiny ball about the place, there’s some grand hiking to be done in the South of France too. There are some amazing views thanks to the beautiful landscape, and you could find yourself walking across the top of a mountain, through idyllic woodland or beside a river – the opportunities are pretty much endless. Check out these handy guides for walking in Languedoc, Aquitaine and Provence.
Then there’s the coast…
Of course, the South of France is famous for the Côte d’Azur, and that beautiful stretch of coastline is a great opportunity to take advantage of all the activities the sea has on offer. One perfect way to mix a bit of marine adventure, sea air and friendly competition is a spot of sea fishing. Grab a couple of cold beers, head out on the boat, bait your hook and see what you can reel in – you might even catch yourself enough for a Bouillebaisse! There’s a good guide to get you started here.
…And under the sea!
If you don’t fancy an excursion on top of the sea, how about one under it. You’ll find some fantastic spots for scuba diving all across the south coast of France, with some particularly good dive spots near Nice. The water can be as clear as the Caribbean on a good day, and thought it’s not quite as warm there’s still a ton of stuff to see. Diamond Diving is a great resource to get you started on your undersea adventure!
Get cultural with Van Gogh in Arles
If you’re hankering for a bit of culture to bring a little variety in the midst of all the winery-tours and white water rafting, a gentle stroll through Arles could be just the thing. Made famous in numerous works by Van Gogh, many of the places he sketched and painted still exist today in much the same state as you can see in the pictures, and a walking tour of the town will show you exactly where you need to go to see them.
And treat yourself to a top notch meal
And returning to delicious, delicious food for our last suggestion, why not treat yourself and your friends to a meal you’ll never forget? There’s a great selection of Michelin Starred restaurants throughout France, and the South is no exception. This handy list is sure to help you find one that’s close by!
Perhaps exploring all the South of France in one go, might be a bit too much for a single holiday! We have travel guides for each of its individual regions, so why not check them out and decide where to head next: Dordogne, Aquitaine, Cote d’Azur, Midi-Pyrenees and Provence?