Imagine a one-of-a-kind journey of undiscovered roads to follow, new sites to explore, hidden panoramic views and overnight stays at Relais & Châteaux properties. These 12 itineraries offer exactly that, chosen from 146 Routes du Bonheur and tailored to the months and seasons.
For many travelers, Ecuador is a much-dreamed-of destination. From the Ecuadorian capital to the wilderness of the Galapagos Islands, a chance to explore fascinating and unspoiled sites. This land of adventure where Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution by natural selection, is a return to origins. Mere photographs cannot capture the sensations and emotions experienced there in person. From the Andean summits to the Pacific Ocean, this trip is a thousand journeys in one.
CASA GANGOTENA, Quito
HOTEL DEL PARQUE, Guayaquil
ECOVENTURA - GALAPAGOS, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno - San Cristóbal, Galapagos
PIKAIA LODGE, Galapagos
February - Morocco: Exploring Imperial Cities
Crossing Morocco from Casablanca to the sublime imperial cities of Fez, Meknes, and Marrakech means discovering the history of the first Idrisid sovereigns (8th century), experiencing the Middle Atlas mountain range, being amazed by craftsmanship born of age-old traditions, and getting lost – with confidence and a smile – in the maze-like medinas (historical city centers). This trip around northern Morocco is a subtle blend of history and culture, a concoction of bewitching flavors and scents, those that have drawn artists and adventurers here for centuries and which continue to cast the same captivating spell in 2023.
HÔTEL LE DOGE, Casablanca
CHÂTEAU ROSLANE, El Hajeb (Region of Meknès)
RIAD FÈS, Fès
VILLA DES ORANGERS, Marrakech
For a brief time, from mid-March to late April, the blossoming of the cherry trees heralds spring in Japan. Across the country, for this fleeting period, all the people are abuzz. On the main island of Honshu, from Tokyo to Utsunomiya to Matsumoto, time seems to stand still as parks, onsens, temples and other traditional ryokans are enveloped in delicate blooms. Visitors, too, are swept up in a flurry of petals in this enchanted, ephemeral ambiance beautifully captured in the words of the poet Moritake: “A fallen blossom / returning to the bough, I thought -- / But no, a butterfly.”
GÔRA KADAN, Hakone
ASABA, Izu, Shizuoka
TOBIRA ONSEN MYOJINKAN, Matsumoto
BETTEI SENJUAN, Minakami
OTOWA RESTAURANT, Utsunomiya
April - The Road to Italy’s Great Lakes
Between the Alps and the Po Plain, Mother Nature has created seven glistening gems, seven lakes carved out by ancient glaciers. Whether you appreciate them from the shore or from aboard a sailboat or small motorboat, these lakes are encircled by landscapes of infinite beauty. In the foreground, splendid villas surrounded by centuries-old olive trees, cypresses, lemon trees, and fragrant bay-trees. In the background, the protective, nurturing mountain peaks. Every lake in northern Italy has a story of its own, yet all seem to be the true source of romanticism.
VILLA CRESPI, Orta San Giulio
DA VITTORIO, Brusaporto
VILLA FIORDALISO, Gardone Riviera
Scotland seems to have traced its own horizon in a realm between heaven and earth. Traveling from Glasgow to Edinburgh means discovering legendary sites that some even consider mystical, along with mist-enveloped lochs, emerald-colored hills and windswept islands. It means driving through scenery straight from the silver screen and contemplating mansions and castles steeped in history. It means visiting venerable distilleries, rubbing elbows in friendly pubs, lingering in distinguished restaurants. And it means feeling the warm hospitality of its people.
GLENAPP CASTLE, Ballantrae
AIRDS HOTEL & RESTAURANT, Appin
KINLOCH HOUSE, Blairgowrie
This is an extraordinary journey through southern Africa, well off the beaten track and far from Western civilization. Namibia, Zambia and Botswana form an idyllic triad for those who love wide-open spaces and wilderness. From the Namib Desert to the shores of the Okavango, from the Zambezi River to the breathtaking Victoria Falls, this journey sagaciously follows the footprints of The Big Five: lion, elephant, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo and leopard. See the real rulers of the savannah in landscapes and from lodges to be remembered for a lifetime.
EPAKO SAFARI LODGE & SPA, Omaruru, Namibia
ROYAL CHUNDU – LUXURY ZAMBEZI LODGES, Livingstone, Zambia
GREAT PLAINS SELINDA, Selinda Reserve, Botswana
DUBA PLAINS CAMP, Botswana
The very name suggests getting away from it all: the open road, the wind in your hair and music in your ears, from folk to pop to rock. California is not just a state, it’s a state of mind, a land of liberty, home to a shimmering desert, giant sequoias and celebrated vineyards. Stop to gaze at the HOLLYWOOD sign, to gape at the daring surfers on the waves or rollerbladers on the palm-lined avenues. The ultimate California dreamin’ is done along the Pacific Coast Highway, the famed Route 1 running from San Francisco to San Diego via Los Angeles. An unforgettable road trip to the Mexican border. Just start your engine and choose your tunes.
CHÂTEAU DU SUREAU, Oakhurst, Yosemite Nat. Park
L’AUBERGE CARMEL, Carmel-By-The-Sea
RANCHO VALENCIA RESORT & SPA, Rancho Santa Fe
August - Engadin: Summer in the Swiss Alps
In southeastern Switzerland one of Europe’s highest-altitude and most mysterious inhabited valleys can be found. From the Engadin summits, you can admire Liechtenstein, Austria and Italy all at once. Between the villages of Pontresina and Samnaun, in the canton of Graubünden, discover fascinating natural treasures, from hidden mineral springs to shimmering mountain lakes. It is the ideal terrain for hikes as you search for the fabled edelweiss flower before boarding the Glacier Express for one of the most beautiful railway journeys in Europe.
HOTEL WALTHER, Pontresina
IN LAIN HOTEL CADONAU, Brail
SCHLOSSHOTEL CHASTÈ, Tarasp
CHASA MONTANA HOTEL & SPA, Samnaun
September - Discovering the Wines of the Douro Valley
Deep in the Douro Valley, the geometry of the vineyards forms a true work of art. Here, the quintas (the regional name for wineries) have, for centuries, sculpted the waterside landscape. In Portugal, the Douro is a land all of its own that religiously honors the rhythm of the seasons. In 2001, the wine region was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its exceptional beauty and traditions. This upriver journey is an opportunity to discover both the region and its incredible variety of wonderful wines.
THE YEATMAN, Vila Nova De Gaia
CASA DA CALÇADA, Amarante
QUINTA NOVA WINERY HOUSE, Sabrosa
October - Quebec: The Colors of Autumn
How can one truly know the beauty of autumn without having traveled to Quebec in the fall? Each year, between September and October, the landscapes of ‘La Belle Province’ are newly painted by Mother Nature. For a few weeks, trees everywhere become a blaze of colors: dazzling shades of orange, red, and yellow. From Montreal to Quebec and the Eastern Townships, the region completely redecorates its forests and towns. And, with the crisp air and deep-blue sky, it is also an ideal time for whale-watching at the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord.
STONEHAVEN LE MANOIR, Sainte-Agathe-Des-Monts
MANOIR HOVEY, North Hatley
AUBERGE SAINT-ANTOINE, Quebec
November - Rajasthan: Journey to the ‘Land of Kings’
Sovereigns have their own country and it is called Rajasthan. This itinerary takes travelers to an unfamiliar region of India: from the forts of Jaisalmer and Ranthambhore to the Thar Desert, the verdant forests of a national park and the colorful clamor of the cities of Jodhpur and Jaipur. The eye is spellbound at every turn: first the ancient splendor of the maharajahs, then the dazzling attire of the Rajputs, the architectural treasures of palaces and shrines. A dizzying journey through a little-known land of enchantment.
SUJÁN THE SERAI, Jaisalmer
MIHIR GARH, Jodhpur
SUJÁN JAWAI, Bisalpur
SUJÁN SHER BAGH, Ranthambhore
December: Alsace: The Land of Christmas
Santa Claus might be from the North Pole, but Alsace is unquestionably the home of Christmas! You need only travel the region during the month of December to know. Between Strasbourg and Colmar, there are countless Christmas markets, wooden chalets beneath gigantic fir trees, and traditional winstubs – Alsatian taverns serving beer, sauerkraut and all the accoutrements. You should also visit the region’s wineries to sample the delightful Gewürztraminers and Rieslings. In wintertime, all of Alsace is twinkling with holiday lights, reflected in the sparkling eyes of children – and children at heart.
HOSTELLERIE LA CHENEAUDIERE & SPA, Colroy-La-Roche
LE CHAMBARD, Kaysersberg
LA MAISON DES TÊTES, Colmar
LES BAS RUPTS, Gérardmer