5 Highlights of VBT’s Biking Tour of Death Valley National Park

Death Valley Scenic
Death Valley National Park is one of the most unique landscapes on earth where sprawling salt flats and sand dunes are set against backdrops of beautifully colored rock formations and 10,000+ foot mountains.  Some of the park’s features are so bizarre looking that they’ve been used as shooting locations for otherworldly TV shows and movies like the Twilight Zone, Star Wars, and Robinson Crusoe on Mars. But despite the morbid names given to many park destinations—Devil’s Golf Course, Badwater Basin, the Funeral Mountains, and of course Death Valley—it is a beautiful and mystical place for exploration by bicycle if you visit during the right time of year (which, don’t worry VBT does).  Don’t believe us? Check out our Top 5 Highlights of our Winter Sun: Cycling California’s Death Valley vacation.

Harmony Borax Works

We’ll immerse ourselves in local history during an interpretive walk of what remains of the Harmony Borax Works, where we’ll learn about the history of mining and transporting the borax deposits that were discovered here in 1881. Did you know that Dial’s borax detergent brand  “20 Mule Team” from the 1890’s was actually named for the famed twenty mule teams that hauled double wagons of borax from Death Valley to the closest railroad in Mojave, California?

Cycling from Dante’s View

Offering a stunning panoramic look at the Death Valley Basin from high above, travelers will have the option to bike or shuttle by van to the 5,476 foot viewpoint known as Dante’s View. However you choose to summit, the biggest perk of this ride is the scenic and thrilling continuous downhill—descending 5,500 feet over 23 miles—back to our hotel.

The Inn at Furnace Creek
Our accommodation for the tour is the elegant, mission-style Inn at Furnace Creek—a 20+ year recipient of the prestigious AAA 4-diamond award and akin to a lush oasis in the desert. During our stay, you may find yourself relaxing near the spring-fed pool, strolling through palm gardens, playing a round of golf or a game of tennis, or just enjoying  a refreshing drink from the Stargazers Deck.

Scotty’s Castle

This historic Spanish Colonial style villa located in Grapevine Canyon offers a window into the life and times of the Roaring ’20s and the Depression ’30s. It was and is an engineer’s dream home, a wealthy matron’s vacation home and the hideout and getaway of a Walter Scott—a mysterious con man known for scams involving nonexistent gold mines and this house that bears his name. We enjoy a 40-minute guided tour with a keeper of the house.

A Walk in Golden Canyon

We’ll hop off our bikes for an afternoon walk in picturesque Golden Canyon. The 2.5-mile trail winds through twisting narrows and colorful rock formations, and provides spectacular views of Manly Beacon and Red Cathedral.

These are just some of the highlights you’ll enjoy on our Winter Sun: Cycling California’s Death Valley vacation. If you would like to reserve a vacation—save $200 on the November 16th departure!—or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868 or visit www.vbt.com. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

5 Highlights of VBT’s Biking Tour of Andalusia

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Andalusia—the southernmost of Spain’s autonomous communities—is a virtual playground for active travelers. The diversity of its history, cuisine, cultures and of course stunning scenery, make for the perfect compliments to a fulfilling bike tour that focuses on cultural immersion. With VBT you’ll spend 7 days cruising the countryside while photomaking time to stop for home-cooked meals, wine tastings and stays in both bustling cities and picturesque mountain towns. Check out some of this tours highlights…

Cycling La Ruta del Vino
One of our favorite rides on this tour is along La Ruta del Vino—or the Wine Road—located in the foothills of the Cordillera Subbetica mountain range. Our ride begins from the town of Aguilar de la Frontera and as we make our way to Moriles, we’ll take in the scenery and even stop at a traditional bodega for a winetasting and lunch.

800px-Cordoba,_Roman_Bridge_and_Mosque-CathedralOur home for two nights is Cordoba, a cultural crossroads due to its cultural and historic ties to Jews, Muslims and Christians that have lived in the city throughout its 2,000 years. In fact, in the 10th century Cordoba was believed to be the largest city in the world.  During our stay, we’ll enjoy a guided walking tour of the city’s historic center, also a UNESCO World Heritage site, and enjoy exploring the Jederia district, where our hotel is located a couple blocks from the Guadalquivir River.

The “White Village” of Zuheros
Zuheros at night
Built onto a rocky promontory, Zuheros is considered one of Spain’s most beautiful pueblos blancos, or white villages. The town’s small homes have been built into its rocky hillside since the 10th century— the ancient Zuheros Castle even seems to be emerging directly out of the rock it was built on. The chalky-white exteriors seem to glisten in the sun, but their foundations in the earth keep them cool and comfortable, even at midday.

Jamon-LAndalusian Cuisine
Perhaps best known for giving the world gazpacho, the ingredients of traditional fare are seafood, jamón, local produce, legumes, wine and olive oil. During our stay at the Hacienda Minerva—a historic farm has been lovingly restored and also offers 4-star modern comforts—their chef will demonstrate how to cook a variety of traditional Andalusian dishes before the group gets to dine in the delicious finished products.

The Alhambra
A perfect embodiment of Andalusia’s diverse heritage is the Alhambra Palace in Granada. This 9th century structure’s Islamic and Christian influences are on display as we learn about how it transformed from a small fortress into a royal palace in the 14th century. One the final day of the tour, travelers will be treated to guided tour of both included visit of the Palace and Generalife Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

To learn more about how you can visit this region on VBT’s Spain: Under the Andalusian Sky ​tour please click here. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868 or visit vbt.com. 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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