Top Moments of Discovery on VBT’s Most Popular Tours

One of the things we pride ourselves on here at VBT is incorporating cultural moments of discovery into our tours. The price of a VBT vacation includes airfare, use of VBT bikes, many meals, all accommodations and 2 local Trip Leaders to guide the way; but it also includes fun, authentic  and enriching interactions with locals via home-hosted meals, guided tours, history lessons, and wine and olive oil tastings. To get an idea of some of these unique activities, we’ve compiled a list of top cultural highlights on some of VBT’s most popular European tours.

A guided tour of Český Krumlov, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Offered on our Czech Republic, Germany & Austria ​biking vacation
Cresky Krumlov Tour
During our 2 night stay in this medieval town on the banks of the Vltava River we’ll get to delve a little deeper than most visitors when we take a guided walking tour of the city’s historic center and learn about local life from our own private guide, Standa.

Learn the secrets of braiding fresh mozzarella during a hands-on demonstration in Sorrento
Offered on our The Amalfi Coast & Capri walking vacation
Mozzarella braiding
After a picturesque walk on the Alta via dei Monti Lattari trail—a path that winds upwards into a beautiful chestnut forest before opening up to a gorgeous view of the Gulf of Salerno—we’ll visit a  a family-owned organic farm in Torca where we’ll also learn how to braid mozzarella during a hands-on demonstration.

Ferry Ride and Guided Tour of Giglio Island
Offered on our Tuscany By the Sea biking vacation
Giglio Fortress
On the morning of Day 6 we’ll board a ferry to scenic Giglio Island, part of the Tuscan Archipelago. We’ll arrive in the village of Giglio Porto, meet our local guide, and take a shuttle to the walled hilltop town of Giglio Castello—which is dominated by a fortress called the Rocca Pisana—to explore the site with her. This town is the oldest inhabited center on the island and still retains much of its medieval atmosphere.

Chocolate Factory Tour and Tasting
Offered on our Sicily: Biking the Southern Coastal Villages​ vacation
Chocolate factory
After a lovely morning cycle to the town of Modica we’ll enjoy one of the more interesting visits of the week,  the chocolate factory of the Bonajuto family. The Antica Dolceria Bonajuto is the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily—they’ve been operating since 1880!—which processes cocoa seeds according to 400-year-old Aztecan techniques. Naturally, a mouth-watering tasting is a must after our tour.

Cycle through the home of the Ladin people
Offered on our Italy: Cycling the Dolomite Valleys vacation
Dolomite valley
En route to our hotel in Cortina, we’ll cycle through the Ampezzan Valley, one of the four historic Ladin valleys. The Ladins—who evolved from Celtic tribes and Roman soldiers—are the inhabitants of these secluded valleys whose rare language, Ladin, is closely related to the Swiss Romansh, Surselvan and Friulian. During some free time in Cortina you may choose to visit the Ethnography museum that houses a collection of antique tools and cultural artifacts.

Private walking tour of scenes that inspired van Gogh
Offered on both our Provence: The Alpilles cycling tour and France: Slow Road through Provence walking vacation
Van Gogh Tour

In the quaint commune of St-Rémy-de-Provence we’ll meet up with local art historian, Mathilde Duvillier, to visit many of the places that inspired some of van Gogh’s most well-known paintings—including the famed Starry Night. The main village is closed to car traffic and features ancient restored houses, Renaissance facades and impressive hotels that have been converted to museums and galleries. After our tour we’ll get to stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets, browse the craft shops, and dine in the town that was once the painter’s muse.

Olive oil tasting and tour at a family-owned mill
Offered on our Tuscan Coast biking vacation
Tuscany Olive Oil tasting
During our visit of the family-owned and operated Fonte di Foiano olive oil mill, we’ll meet the Di Gaetano family for a private tour of the press and workshop. During our tasting, Michael Di Gaetano will explain the differences among regions and how varied the flavors can be. Afterward, enjoy an included lunch—prepared by Michael himself, using organic and fragrant vegetables—on the farm grounds.

Learn about the unique construction of a trulli house
Offered on our Puglia: Italy’s Undiscovered Coast biking vacation
trulli
During a stop in Alberobello we’ll visit with a local expert to learn about trulli houses and why they have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A trullo is a unique type of building, characteristic of this region, consisting of a whitewashed, round house topped by a large cone of local stones—all assembled without mortar. Many trulli are still used and inhabited today, and some of their roofs show mysterious chalk marks, either to protect from evil or to bless the house.

Learn the ancient art of Stonecutting
Offered on our Croatia: The Dalmatian Islands ​biking vacation
Stonecutters School in Croatia
During our stay in the port town of Pučišća we’ll visit the stonecutters’ school here. Brac’s world-renowned stone has been used in the construction of some the world’s most famous buildings, including Diocletian’s Palace in Split and the White House in Washington, D.C. This is a unique opportunity to see students’ work and learn about a near-forgotten craft at one of the world’s few remaining stonecutting schools.

Explore Andalusia’s Christian and Arabic history
Offered on Spain: Under the Andalusian Sky​ biking vacation
alhambra
We’ll embrace the region’s diverse heritage through visits to Christian cathedrals that once stood as Moorish mosques. Explore the Mezquita of Cordoba and enjoy its magnificent gardens and stunning architecture on a guided tour. In Granada, we’ll meet our local guide who will take us to the Alhambra Palace for an included visit of the Palace and Generalife Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

To request a full catalog with all of our 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, available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST or on Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

Best Reasons to Travel to the Tuscan Coast with VBT

Gregg--Vineyard Tuscan Coast

So much of southern Tuscany seems to have emerged from the earth itself. Tiny villages huddle within walls and rise atop hills as if divinely sculpted from the very stone upon which they perch. Quaint farms – many of them transformed into countryside agriturismo inns – offer up a bounty that finds its way onto famed Tuscan tables. As we cycle along its friendly Wine Roads—whose soil bear vintages so bold they can only be called Super Tuscans—we pass ancient olive groves that produce smooth elixirs beloved by the Medici family themselves. VBT will bring you the heart of the Etruscan Coast and here are some of the best reasons why you should join us.

The Cycling
thumbs up
There are wonderful biking routes throughout the tour, but one of our favorites is the day we take in the scenery on a spellbinding cycle along one of the most picturesque routes in Europe, from Sassetta to Suvereto. During our ride we’ll pass cork and pine trees, medieval estates, and fields of sunflowers before arriving in Suvereto—an ancient village that dates back to the year 1000. Located on a hill overlooking the coast, the town is a true jewel full of history and art. After walking the ancient streets, we’ll continue on a thrilling downhill ride to Montioni where you’ll have the option to hop on our van and shuttle through a beautiful area of flat grazing lands, or continue riding back to our inviting country hotel.

The Agritourismi
Agriturismo Montebelli--Exterior at night

At VBT we place a certain emphasis on our guests immersing themselves into as much local culture as possible, and a big part of that are the accommodations we carefully select.  One of our favorites, the Agriturismo Montebelli—which has 91% thumbs up rate from Trip Advisor—is a gorgeous country hotel located in the Maremma region that is surrounded by olive trees, gardens and vineyards. VBT travelers will enjoy using their tennis courts and bocce courts, as well as relaxing in the outdoor pool or taking advantage of their horseback riding facilities for a leisurely ride. We’ll also dine on fresh food, much of which is grown right on the property and cooked up by the chefs at their amazing restaurant.

Wine and Olive Oil Tastings
Tuscany Olive Oil tasting
Not only will we pedal past beautiful wine roads like the Strada del Vino—which traces the Ornellaia vineyard to Bolgheri along gently rolling hills—we’ll also enjoy a tasting of some of the best varietals in our Agrihotel’s wine cantina in Collemezzano. Also, on day 6 of the tour, we’ll visit the family-owned and operated Fonte di Foiano olive oil mill in Livorno. Upon arrival we’ll meet members of the Di Gaetano family and enjoy a private tour of the press and workshop. During our tasting, Michael Di Gaetano will explain the differences among regions and how varied the flavors can be.

The Pre-Trip Extension
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The Tuscan Coast tour begins with an optional pre-trip extension of two days in Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance. Florence is a perfect city to discover on foot because many of its attractions are centrally located in the small historic city center that stretches from Piazza del Duomo south to the Arno River. By day you can see all the masterpieces of art that are on display throughout the city and at night we’d recommend heading up to Piazzale Michelangelo, and taking in its enchanting  views overlooking the city.

To learn more about how you can visit this region on VBT’s popular The Tuscan Coast 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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