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.

Bike Through the Côte de Nuits Wine Region with VBT

Cote de Nuits biking
Côte de Nuits, an area located along the northern flank of the Cote d’Or limestone ridge that serves as the heart of the Burgundy Wine region, is known for cultivating the best Pinot noir in the world. Six of the region’s communes produce Grand cru wine—the highest distinction of wine in the Burgundy region—mostly made from Pinot noir with one exception (Musigny has gran cru distinction for both its Pinot noir and Chardonnay grapes). Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are thought to be indigenous to Burgundy and therefore are of the best quality in the world.  Despite the abundance of Pinot Noir in Côte de Nuits, oenophiles will attest that the variances in terroir (soil makeup and climate variations) and production techniques make the taste of each vineyard’s wine extremely unique—even within various vintages from the same winery.

The soil in Côte de Nuits is largely composed of limestone—a byproduct of the ancient inland sea that once covered9-L Burgundy—which provides both the ideal amount of nutrients and drainage for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. In fact, in the 18th century Côte de Nuits wines were known for their “health giving properties” and were the only wine that King Louis XIV would drink upon recommendation from his personal physician.  This association with the King actually provided a marketing boost for the Côte de Nuits wines over nearby regions like Champagne and Bordeaux at the time.

Clos de Vouges
Travelers on our Burgundy: The Wine Route tour will cycle through some of these famed vineyards as we’ll wind our way to Nuits–Saint–Georges, the main commune and namesake of the Côte de Nuits region. Upon arrival, we’ll hop off our bikes for lunch on our own at any of the town’s restaurants. There are many wine growers’ cellars in close proximity to downtown Nuits–Saint–Georges or if you crave variety be sure to stop in to the Le Cavon de Bacchus wine shop which stocks many local vintages. One of our favorite local wines is Clos de Vougeot, which is the largest single vineyard in Côte de Nuits to achieve the grand cru designation.

169-XLAfter lunch, we’ll be treated to a lovely cycling route on our way to Dijon along small access roads that are mostly used by local vineyard workers. During our ride, we’ll see the same vineyards where Cistercian monks toiled for centuries making wine for religious services. It is thought that the very first red wines in the world were made here and that monks macerated the grape skins so the typical rosé wine would more closely resemble the blood of Christ. As we make our way north we’ll reconnect with the Route des Grands Crus, where you may stop and explore charming villages such as Vosne-Romanée and Gevrey-Chambertin before reaching Dijon and our hotel.

Route de Grands Crus
This is just one example of a typical day spent on our Burgundy: The Wine Route biking vacation. To read more what our travelers have to say about this popular tour 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.

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