We’d like to introduce you to one of our sister companies – VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, who, like Windstar was recently recognized as one of Travel + Leisure World’s Best award winners for 2013.
VBT offers 55 deluxe bicycling, walking and cross-country skiing vacations in 26 countries worldwide, including destinations throughout Europe, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, Peru, Argentina, and the United States.
Each trip offers unique sightseeing and cultural activities, includes all accommodations, many meals, two expert local Trip Leaders, and full van support for biking and walking vacations. Unlike other active vacation companies, VBT also includes roundtrip international airfare from over 30 U.S. cities for all overseas vacations.
On a VBT tour, each day’s activities and encounters stimulate your senses, engage your mind, and refresh your spirit. Each tour features an appealing choice of bicycle routes and includes distinctive cultural interaction with encounters with local people from village markets to family homes, exceptional regional wine and cuisine, and charming lodgings that are destinations in themselves. You choose the pace that’s right for you—and VBT will take care of everything else.
VBT shares a typical day on their Tuscany by the Sea bicycling vacation:
Active days require fuel, so we always include a hearty morning meal. In Tuscany you’ll find a bountiful regional cuisine offering of Italian figs, prosciutto, cheese, and biscotti. After breakfast, you’ll gather with your Trip Leaders to review the day’s route options. Strap on your bike helmet, and you’re off.
A morning ride is a wonderful way to start the day. On Day 7 we’ll cruise along quiet country roads, passing fields of poppies and sunflowers, with vineyards gently sloping down to the sea. Enjoy the route on the wine roads south of Scansano, famous for the red Morellino wine.
Every day features at least one cultural excursion away from our bikes. On Day 4 we’ll board a ferry to Giglio Island and arrive in the village of Giglio Porto by late morning. With a local guide, we shuttle to the walled hilltop town of Giglio Castello—dominated by a fortress called the Rocca Pisana—and explore the site with her on a private tour. This town is the oldest inhabited center on the island and still retains much of its medieval atmosphere.
On days when lunch isn’t on your own in the town we are in, VBT will provide a picnic lunch on the road typical of our host country’s cuisine. On Day 5 we’ll take in stunning countryside views while enjoying a picnic lunch filled with local Italian meats, cheeses, fresh bread, and a local sweet for dessert. After lunch, we cycle through a thick pine forest, and then roll along a sandy beach where a refreshing swim sounds mighty enticing.
Enjoy some free time during the day back at our hotel Antica Fattoria La Parrina—featured in Condé Nast Traveler magazine—located on a century-old 1,200-acre farm that produces wine, olive oil, vegetables, fruits, flowers and tasty cheeses. We can relax at the wonderful pool or take a walk on the mapped trails that weave through the estate. Or you may opt for horseback riding in the area, well-known for its local breed of Maremma horses.
Food is such a large part of a country’s culture that at VBT we not only want you to taste the delicious flavors on your vacation but often times we’ll learn how to prepare certain foods on the trip so you can see the tradition behind a region’s cuisine. In the late afternoon on Day 4, our hosts at our hotel conduct a cooking class. Out on the terrace, we’ll learn how to prepare typical Tuscan cantucci—delicious almond cookies that are best when dipped in sweet Vin Santo wine.
Every VBT vacation concludes with a festive farewell dinner on the tour’s last night. On the final day of this vacation we’ll celebrate another amazing trip with our new friends at a local organic farm and our dinner features authentic Tuscan cuisine crafted from farm fresh ingredients. Before dinner is served we’ll enjoy an aperitivo and sip on local wines—produced right on the farm—while watching the sunset.
The evening winds down and you look up at the brilliant starry sky and reflect upon another day filled with great experiences. Perhaps you’ll pause for a nightcap at the hotel bar before bed. A wonderful day is done, and a wonderful day awaits…
To learn more about VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations and the 55 deluxe bicycling, walking and cross-country skiing vacations they offer, check out their website www.vbt.com.