More Active Engagement With the World
With VBT, being active is more than a workout,
it’s a state of mind.
VBT has been the leader in active vacations since 1971. But many travelers are surprised to learn that the way we define “active” goes beyond the workout you get cycling or walking. Exercise improves your mindfulness and even your mood as well as your physical health, making you more receptive to the world around you. It fully engages your senses, enriching your outdoor experience and making it more organic. Plus, it clears your mind, allowing preconceptions about different cultures to be stretched and flexed. Come discover how VBT’s thoughtful mix of physical, mental, and social stimulation can make you feel invigorated and alive.
With your feet or your wheels on the ground, you’ll be physically connected to the land and aware of the most nuanced sensory impressions. Smell the wild rosemary blanketing a Tuscan hillside … see how the Provençal light softens the landscape … taste the briny Adriatic provenance of fresh-from-the-sea Croatian oysters … feel the warmth of the Costa Rican rainforest in your very pores as you sit beneath a thermal waterfall. Sensations like these deliver a powerful sense of place that stays with you long after the journey has ended.
You don’t need to be an Olympian to enjoy a VBT active vacation. You just need to be in reasonable health and fit enough to enjoy moderate daily exercise. Our goal is to exhilarate—not exhaust—you, so every day you’ll have choices for how long, far, or challenging you want your walk or ride to be. If you change your mind or need a rest, our support vehicle is ready to provide a lift. You can skip a ride or walk entirely if you wish, staying back at the hotel to relax or pursue your own interests.
We take you off the beaten tourist path, to a place where life is unhurried and nature and culture are intertwined. You won’t just observe things from a bus window, you’ll get out to meet people at home, school, work, and play. Perhaps you’ll join Basque villagers for a game of pelota … or roll up your sleeves and cook with the founder of a Tuscan gastronomic association … or visit a Dutch dairy to learn how farmers make traditional Gouda cheese. You won’t just be a spectator, you’ll feel what it’s like to live and breathe here.
Encounters that Keep the Mind Refreshed and Engaged
As a cyclist, you know well that physical activity clears thoughts, calms emotions, and enhances a relaxed awareness. This state of mind makes us especially receptive to cultural interaction and personal encounters in our destination. So when you share a picnic lunch at the home of a Spanish family on the way to Cordoba or join in song with musicians at a cozy Irish pub, your immersion in local life and culture is authentic, enriching, and unforgettable. Vital cultural interactions like these enliven every VBT active vacation—and engage your open mind.
Personal Connections that Enliven the Spirit
Traveling with a small group not only means your encounters with local people are more personal—it also means you’ll get to know your fellow travelers much better. A
fellowship develops that lingers long after the last farewell toast. So many of our travelers tell us they have made lifelong friends on their active vacations, and some choose to travel together again. The group dynamic that develops during an active vacation builds social ties and helps nurture an interest in lifelong learning, according to experts on aging.
VBT Traveler–Slovenia, Austria & Italy
Engage all of your senses
When you travel with VBT, you’ll find that cycling or walking in the fullness of nature is only part of your vacation. We customize each of our vacations to immerse you in the daily life of your destination engaging your mind, body, and spirit. Of course, you’ll invigorate your body by being active. But through warm encounters with local people and by experiencing their heritage and traditions as they do, you’ll be rewarded with an understanding of their history and environment. You’re not glimpsing a locale behind a bus window. You’re using your senses to see with your heart. So when you share a picnic lunch at the home of Spanish family on the way to Cordoba, or discover Ireland’s spectacular glacial valley at Dunloe from a horse-drawn jaunting cart, your immersion in local life and culture is authentic and unforgettable.
Mind: learning comes more naturally
An invigorating bike ride, walk, or swim does more than exercise the body. Physical activity clears and refreshes the mind and calms the emotions, enhancing one’s mental state. Consider how refreshed we feel after a good walk around the neighborhood or working in the garden. That’s why a VBT vacation deftly blends physical activity with cultural interaction and hands-on discovery, rewarding you in many ways. We’ll introduce you to local persons of interest, teach you a bit of the language, provide colorful historical background, and help you fully experience local life and culture.
VBT Traveler–Croatia: The Dalmatian Islands
You Set the Pace that’s Right for You
On your VBT active vacation, you’ll bike roadways and paths designed to exhilarate you, not wear you out. You set your own pace, choosing from daily route options that vary in distance and degree of challenge. Enjoy a slow ride, if you like. But if you wish to pound the pedals and get a real workout on the hills, go ahead. We’ve designed flexibility into each day’s itinerary so the route and duration are your choice—the choice that’s right for you.
“Our Trip Leaders’ charm, sense of humor, and in-depth knowledge of Sicilian culture contributed to a wonderful cycling trip. Everyday our leaders provided close-up and personal interactions with Sicilian culture: the people, the food, the architecture, archaeology, and landscape.” VBT Traveler—Sicily: Biking the Southern Coastal Villages