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Sights of Verona

Italy boasts the romantic and historic cities of Rome, Venice, Florence and Naples. However, in terms of authentic Italian charm, and even historical architecture, Verona is one of Italy’s wealthiest destinations.

Of course, Verona served as the setting for literature’s most famous romance, the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. And you can take part in the centuries-old literary tradition by visiting the House of Juliet, standing in its courtyard and peering up at the balcony where she called to her Romeo. You can even catch a photo op with Juliet’s bronze statue, resting within the courtyard.

Verona Arena

Once you’ve had your fill of star-crossed lovers, move along to some of Verona’s historical sites. You’ll have plenty of options to explore as the small Italian city features a myriad of ancient remains. Its Verona Arena, though smaller than Rome’s Coliseum, is one of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters. In fact, the venue still hosts operas within its ancient walls to this day.

A stroll across the “Stone Bridge” or Ponte Pietra provides an opportunity to take in the Adige River from above, enjoy an outstanding panoramic view of the city, and appreciate one of its oldest structures. The bridge was initially constructed over two thousand years ago, but don’t let its age deter you. It has been restored many times since it was first built, and today it stands as one of the most prominent, and reliable features of the Verona cityscape.

Any trip to Verona warrants a visit to the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore. The centerpiece of the Piazza San Zeno contains a number of architectural styles all in one building, Built in the 9th century in honor of what was then Verona’s patron saint, the Basilica was restored in the 12th century and later expanded upon in the 13th and 14th centuries. You can admire the Basilica from outside and within, as you explore the grand structure.

Adige River

Finally, when visiting Verona, take advantage of the true charm of the city by ambling along its many great pedestrian walkways in Piazza Bra and Piazza delle Erbe. Enjoy the shops and indulge in a local specialty or two. And be sure to leave room for dessert, as there is sure to be a gellateria nearby, regardless of the neighborhood you’re exploring.

Experience the allure of Verona for yourself on an extension of VBT’s Cycling the Dolomites vacation. Andiamo!

Castles, Temples and Sacred Monuments

How can you pick just one reason to visit a destination? It’s each of the distinct, cultural attributes of any new land that really makes traveling such a rich experience. Often, some of the most compelling features of our biking and walking vacations here at VBT are the tours of historic castles, temples and sacred monuments that we come upon in our journeys. These architectural highlights give us just one more reason to visit, adding unique insight into the countries we have come so far to see.

Spain—Mezquita de Cordoba

Mosque of Cordoba

Sometimes a change of tune is a good thing. Perhaps the perfect example of the adage is Cordoba’s Mezquita. Originally constructed in the 7th century, the denomination of the UNESCO World Heritage Site has been adapted several times over by its governing inhabitants. And, yet the combination of Christian and Moorish influence upon the cathedral’s design only adds to its aesthetic appeal. Take a guided tour of Cordoba de Mezquita on our Spain: Under the Andalusian Sky biking vacation.

Puglia—Cattedrale di Monopoli

Monopoli

Attractive from afar, and intoxicating from within, is the fortified town of Monopoli. The port village’s location has drawn many invaders historically, and much of the architecture has been built and rebuilt by its flux of inhabitants. Restored in the 17th century, the Cattedrale di Monopoli is one of the most noteworthy structures in the small town. At almost 200 feet high, the cathedral’s soaring tower is visible from quite a distance. Yet the baroque cathedral offers an even more stunning view at its base. Enjoy a close-up of the historic Catterale di Monopoli on our Puglia: Italy’s Undiscovered Coast bicycling vacation.

Portugal—São Jorge Castle

St. George's Castle

Europe’s western-most capital, Lisbon, boasts a collage of architectural styles. For a classic example of Lisbon’s hodgepodge of building styles, peer up at São Jorge Castle from the Baixa neighborhood of the coastal city. Atop Lisbon’s tallest hill, the Moorish castle rests like an ancient crown, capping off an elegant blend of Roman, Celtic, and even French architectural styles. Explore São Jorge Castle on an extension after our Walking Portugal’s Douro River Valley vacation.

Thailand—Wat Rong Khun

White Temple

Just outside of Chiang Rai, Thailand, travelers will find the unorthodox and absolutely striking Buddhist temple, Wat Rong Khun. In a land known for its vibrant natural colors, Wat Rong Khun truly stands out as much for its pristine white appearance, as its incredibly intricate façade. Though the White Temple is just over a decade old, it is certain to remain among one of the world’s sacred masterpieces for centuries to come. Marvel at Wat Rong Khun on our Exploring Northern Thailand biking vacation.

Vietnam—Hien Nhan Gate

Forbidden City

Park your bike and take some time to explore the Purple Forbidden City, the former headquarters of the Nguyen dynasty. Located in Hue, Vietnam, the Imperial City was once surrounded by a moat and a large stone wall, and outsiders could only peer upon its enclosure. Admittedly, it was quite a view. Admire it yourself, and as you enter into the Purple forbidden City, enjoy a moment examining the detail of the massive stone entryway, the Hien Nhan Gate. Visit the Hien Nhan Gate on our Journey through Vietnam biking vacation.

Peru—Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Peru

What can be said about Machu Picchu to relay the wonder and awe of the “Lost City of the Incas”? We can merely echo our predecessors’ sentiments. Since its construction in the 14th and 15th century, the centerpiece of the Sacred Valley has simply amazed visitors from the Spanish conquistadors and Hiram Bingham to the ardent travelers that make their way along the Inca trail each year. Their conclusions? The journey astounds beyond words. Experience it for yourself and visit Machu Picchu on our Peru: Machu Picchu & The Sacred Valley walking tour.

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