Savor the Tastes of Tuscany on a Biking Tour with VBT

The Maremma region, located in Tuscany’s southwest corner, is a wonderful place to visit and explore its preserved Etruscan traditions, rugged mineral-rich hills, 400 miles of picturesque coastline and booming agritourism industry. In Etruscan times, the naturally marshy lands were drained by underground canals in order to make use of its nutrient-rich coastal plains. In the latter years of the Roman Empire, maintenance of Maremma’s canals was not kept up and the swamplands returned. However, a movement to reclaim these once fertile farmlands began in the 1800’s and by the early 20th century the region was once again bustling with farms, grazing cattle, vineyards and olive groves. Today Maremma is a popular destination in Italy to visit agriturismi (aka farm stays), which are working farms with renovated, historic lodgings that have pioneered the way travelers experience Italy’s farm to table movement.

VBT’s Tuscany by the Sea biking tour perfectly partners scenic and rewarding bike routes with stays at locally La Parrina Signowned agriturismi that facilitate an authentic experience of growing, preparing and tasting local and organic Tuscan food.  VBT travelers will love the nights spent at the Antica Fattoria La Parrina, a 4-star country resort and agriturismo that was featured in Condé Nast traveler. The Parrina is located just a few miles from white sandy beaches and sits on 1,200 acres dotted with vineyards, farmlands, fields of grain, olive groves and 19th century buildings. Today, the farm produces its own wine, olive oil, vegetables, fruits, flowers and tasty cheeses and the main villa has 13 guest rooms and 6 apartments for rent.

Cooking Class
While staying at the Parrina, we’ll get to taste authentic Tuscan recipes made with mostly organic, healthy ingredients. On the second night we’ll take part in a cooking class conducted by our hosts at La Parrina where we’ll learn how to prepare typical Tuscan cantucci—delicious almond cookies that are best when dipped in sweet Vin Santo wine. During our visit we’ll also take in the sunset while enjoying an aperitivo out on the terrace overlooking the scenic property and enjoy a group dinner at the hotel’s farm to table restaurant.
VBT Tuscany by the Sea Biking Vacation

Later on this unique biking vacation, we’ll visit the commune of Orbetello on the Tyrrhenian Sea. There, we will cycle by its famous eponymous lagoon and stop to meet some local fishermen. As we tour their fishing boat in the lagoon and learn about the fishing industry in Maremma, we’ll get to try some delicious fresh fish paired with local wine. You’ll have the rest of the evening free to dine on your own in Orbetello. We hear Baraka, a steakhouse and tapas restaurant that specializes in both traditional and contemporary Italian recipes is a favorite stop for the locals—it is even listed as the #2 restaurant in Orbetello by Trip Advisor.

Pasta CookingThese are just some examples of the delicious Tuscan cuisine you’ll discover on our Tuscany by the Sea biking tour. To learn more about this popular vacation and to see the available 2014 departure dates, please click here. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

Charming Accommodations on VBT’s Czech Republic, Germany & Austria Biking Tour

The places you stay while traveling in a foreign country can play a big part of your overall travel experience. This is why we try to avoid the big hotel chains and seek out authentic, local accommodations that are centrally located and uniquely reflect the atmosphere of your destination. Travelers on our biking tour, The Czech Republic, Germany & Austria​ will enjoy nights spent in hotels in the heart of some of Europe’s greatest cities—like Prague and Vienna—as well as locally-owned spots in gorgeous rural areas like Austria’s Wassau Valley.  Here is more information about some of the best-rated accommodations on this tour.

Mamaison Hotel Riverside in Prague, Czech Republic
Trip Advisor Rating:
4.5 stars (91% Thumbs Up)
Travelers’ Choice® 2014 Winner for Luxury
Mamaison Riverside
The Mamaison Hotel Riverside is one of our favorite hotels in Prague. This upscale boutique hotel, which boasts an Mamaison Bedaward-winning Art Nouveau design, is ideally located on the west bank of the Vltava River and provides easy access to the city’s historic and tourist districts. The National Theatre, Dancing House, Prague Castle and numerous other architectural and cultural treasures are all within walking distance of the hotel. Music lovers will appreciate the proximity to Mozart’s Prague residence. Travelers who opt for the pre-trip extension will receive a 3-Day Prague Transportation Pass to facilitate easy, unlimited public transportation to other areas of Prague.

What our travelers say:
 “We did the pre-trip extension and toured around Prague on our own. The hotel was in a perfect spot as it was close to everything we wanted to see.” - Deb from CA

Hotel Stefanie in Vienna, Austria
Trip Advisor Rating:
4 stars (89% Thumbs Up)
Received a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence in 2013
Hotel StefanieOne of the oldest Austrian hotels, the Stefanie boasts more than 400 years of hospitality, making it the oldest hotel in Vienna and also one of the most beautiful. It was named after the wife of Crown Prince Rudolph, Princess Stefanie, and blends modern comfort with traditional charm. The hotel is located near the Danube River on the Taborstrasse, the main road that leads to the heart of the city. This perfect location puts you within walking distance to such notable sights as St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Mozarthaus—where the famed composer lived and wrote many musical masterpieces from 1784 to 1787.

What our travelers say: “Our hotels were all well-located and very comfortable …the opportunity to spend time in Vienna with the post-trip extension was also wonderful. We were able to experience the incredible culture of Vienna, its wonderful parks, the varied neighborhoods, and delightful foods.” – Dan from WI

Hotel Raffelsberger Hof in Weissenkirchen, Austria
Trip Advisor Rating:
4.5 stars (88% Thumbs Up)
Raffelsbergerhof, Weißenkirchen
This boutique hotel is located in the heart of Austria’s stunning Wachau Valley. This beautiful, late-Renaissance  Hotel Raffelsberger Hofstructure was built in 1574—recently restored by the Anton family—and is full of antique furnishings, wrought-iron lamps and vaulted ceilings, that give it the flair of days gone by. The historic feeling of the hotel is complemented with modern comforts like internet access, a wine lounge, and Sanarium sauna.

What our travelers say: The accommodations were first class. I especially liked the Raffelsberger Hof in the beautiful Wachau Valley in Austria (A family run hotel housed in an old renaissance building).” – Jim from VA

These are just some examples of the unique accommodations you’ll stay at on our biking tour, The Czech Republic, Germany & Austria​ . If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

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