Discover the Beer of Central Europe with VBT

VBT Beer toast, Beers from Europe

While many of VBT’s European vacations in Italy, France and Portugal visit world-class wine regions, we also have many tours throughout Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic that give our travelers a chance to taste a variety of authentic, renowned beers from Europe. European beers tend to differ from the easy-drinking lagers, hoppy pale ales or fruit-tinged beer varieties that dominate the US market. There is a deeply rooted history of beer in Europe that tends to focus on traditional brewing styles that use wheat, barley and malt as key ingredients, especially in Germany—Bavaria in particular—Belgium and the Czech Republic.

Travelers on our The Czech Republic, Germany & Austria biking vacation will have the chance to sample  pilsners during Beer Tasting in Praguevisits to local restaurants or our featured home-hosted meal. If you opt for the trip’s pre-extension in Prague, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try pilsners from breweries all around the Czech Republic. This tour also includes a walk across the border—yes, you read that right— into Germany at Nove Udoli. This unique border crossing was closed in 1945 but reopened some time ago for pedestrians and bicycles only. Once we cross, we’ll stop at a Bavarian tavern for a typical lunch, prepared by the owner-family.

hofbrauhaus in Munich, German BeerIf you want to experience German beer at its best, be sure to take our trip extension to the Bavarian capital Munich—offered on both our Heart of Europe Bike & Barge and Lake Constance: Germany, Austria & Switzerland vacations​—which is best known for Oktoberfest and the Hofbräuhaus.  Although the Oktoberfest Fair only occurs for a 16-day span at the end of September into early October, you’ll always be able to lift a stein at the world-famous Hofbräuhaus, Munich’s largest and most famous drinking hall, where it’s Oktoberfest all year long. There is no better known beer hall in the world than this state-owned institution with seating for an astonishing 4,500 people. When visiting, you’ll be able to try any number of styles like weißbier, hefeweizen, lagers or bocks.

If Belgian beer delights your taste buds, you can taste some on our Holland and Leffe Abbey Belgian BeerBelgium: Bike and Barge vacation. Although Belgian beer can range in styles from lambics to sour ales to pale lagers, the country is best known for its Trappist and Abbey style beers. Both of these kinds have been brewed in monasteries for centuries and the monks follow a strict method of brewing to ensure their authenticity. While on tour with VBT we’ll bring these beers right to you with an evening of beer tasting right onboard your barge.

 To read more about our vacations in Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic, 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.

Discover the Art of Tuscany with VBT

Florence OverlookTuscany is deeply rooted in the Italian Renaissance and consequently, is home to vast troves of amazing Renaissance art whether in the form of Italian paintings, sculptures or adorned architecture. A vital component to any VBT vacation is the immersion in local culture that we facilitate on tour through home-hosted meals, lectures from local experts, cooking classes, visits to wineries and olive oil mills and of course, museums. With 5 vacations throughout Tuscany, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the finer side of Italian culture with VBT.  Here are some examples of the art you’ll find on our various Tuscan tours.

Florence: The starting point of 4 VBT Tuscan vacations including The Tuscan Coast and Italy: The Quiet Pathways of Tuscany​
Best known as the creative center of the flurry of productivity and inspiration that defined the Renaissance, Florence is Duomo Florencethe starting point for 4 out of 5 of our vacations in Tuscany and we also offer a pre-trip extension there as a chance to really get to explore the delights of this amazing city before starting your biking or walking tour. Visiting Florence museums is a must and if you choose to go on our pre-trip extension be sure to take our “Glory of Tuscany: Florence and the Accademia Gallery” tour that is tailored especially for VBT travelers. First you’ll visit the Accademia Gallery, where you’ll spend time enjoying a closer look at its many treasures, including Michelangelo’s sculptural masterpiece, David. A guided walking tour of the city concludes the Glory of Tuscany tour.
During your second day in Florence we also suggest going to the DavidUffizi Gallery—purchasing tickets ahead of time is strongly recommended—to view Botticelli’s epic paintings, Primavera and Birth of Venus, as well as works by Caravaggio, Raffaello and Rembrandt. If you can’t get enough, a short walk across the Ponte alle Grazie bridge over the Arno river will bring you to the Pitti Palace—the largest museum complex in Florence. It features several museums, including the Palatine Gallery which boasts more than 500 Italian paintings by acclaimed Renaissance artists like Raphael and Titian.

Tuscany by the Sea biking vacation
Orvieto Piazza Duomo
This popular vacation begins in the town of Orvieto, which was an important Etruscan city. After the Etruscan splendor, which was at its peak between the 4th and 6th centuries BC a period of decadence and exile followed. In fact, in 264 BC the Romans destroyed the city and nothing was left but ruins. Today you can see the collection of archaeological finds at Museo Faina, which includes more than 3,000 coins, Etruscan relics, and attic vases—all in a beautiful noble building facing the Duomo. You can also admire the Duomo’s fascinating façade from a museum balcony. We also highly recommend visiting the Duomo & San Brizio Chapel as well. It dates back to the Renaissance and features beautiful frescoes by Luca Signorelli.

Tuscan Hill Towns by Bike
The hotel we stay at in Siena is a restored monastery in the complex of San Niccolo’ Church, in the quietest part of the IMG_3180-Lcity. During our stay we’ll attend a presentation on the Italian Renaissance and the history of Siena by a local art historian, who will then join the group for dinner in a local restaurant. The whole city of Siena, built around the Piazza del Campo, was created as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape. Throughout history, the residents preserved their city’s Gothic appearance, which was developed between the 12th and 15th centuries. During this period, the work of Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini influenced the course of Italian and, more broadly, European art.

Cycling Italy’s Middle Ages: Lucca to Pisa​
VinciOn Day 6 of this tour we’ll ride on winding, gently rolling roads through the Valdinievole valley to Vinci—birthplace of the renowned artist Leonardo Da Vinci. There we will spend time at the Castello dei Guidi, a former castle-home that now functions as a museum dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci. We’ll visit the museum and learn about the incredible inventions of the genius.

These are just a few examples of the authentic cultural experiences you’ll have while on tour with VBT in Tuscany. To read more about our Italian vacations, 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.