Cycling alongside your river Noord barge, 19 antique windmills and countless stories usher you into another era…. Capri and the Gulf of Salerno spread before you from your perch on the Path of the Gods. The sight of such beauty prompts a visceral reaction: your eyes tear, your head feels light, and your heart expands…. Shadow, light, and color swirl into vivid tableaux as you cycle Fontainebleu Forest to Barbizon, where 19th-century painters were inspired as you are now. Yes, sensory impressions can last forever, especially those formed on a VBT active vacation.
At VBT, we believe that understanding a place on an intellectual, physical, and even spiritual level makes for a truer and more personally meaningful experience. So we aim to provide you with something that is not just a sightseeing tour, but a whole travel experience. You’ll invigorate your body by being active. You’ll form new ideas by encountering local people, learning their history, and participating in their traditions. Riding through the countryside, you’ll start feeling in your bones how a particular culture sprang forth from the land. It’s a more integrated, organic way to take in the world—and a far more rewarding one. While we describe our trips as “active” vacations, cycling, walking or skiing in the great outdoors is only part of it. With your senses primed and with no plate-glass window between you and your destination, you’ll enjoy a more pure, direct and authentic connection to your surroundings.
A healthy bike ride or a good walk can clear your mind, improve your focus, and even lift your mood. Simply put, exercise is not just good for your physical well-being, it enhances your mental state. So imagine how much more receptive you’ll be to new stimuli when you feel invigorated and alive. We use this opportunity to help you learn new things at every bend, introducing you to local persons of interest, teaching you a bit of the language, explaining the history, and helping you resonate with the culture and regional life through hands-on activities. In short, when you feel good you are able to make the most of every moment.
Body: perfect pacing and pampering
Make no mistake: we design our trips to exhilarate—not exhaust you. After all, it’s a vacation, not a race. So anyone who loves travel and is reasonably fit and able to enjoy moderate daily exercise is the perfect candidate for a VBT trip. One reason for this is choice: every day you set your own pace, choosing from route options that vary in distance and degree of challenge. There’s also liberal free time, and you can opt out of any scheduled activity to pursue your own interests or relax. At the end of every day you can look forward to a little pampering – perhaps a soak in the hot tub, a massage, or a spa treatment. And there is always comfort in being hosted at our gracious accommodations, where fine food and wine, plenty of amenities, and a warm welcome can always be counted on.
So go on, enjoy the slow ride or peel out and go the distance. There’s no pressure, no finish line. Just plenty of flexibility, support, and TLC.
Spirit: community and connection
VBT travelers appreciate authentic discovery that can change your perspective – if not your life. There’s something transformative about venturing off the beaten path, where life is unhurried, where nature and culture are deeply intertwined. Of course, we all know travel is great fun, but it’s also an opportunity to make new connections, and expand your vision of what life can be. We feel privileged to nurture that spirit.
In practical terms, by cycling, walking or skiing into a small village (as opposed to converging upon it in a big tour bus), we don’t disrupt the natural flow of things, we just blend right into it. Using locally-based Trip Leaders helps the process along, as they introduce you to local friends, give you the inside scoop, and facilitate rich connections. Because our groups are small, our interactions feel more personal – not just with the locals, but with each other. And as we share special experiences, a true fellowship develops that can last long after the farewell toasts have been made. Indeed, many VBT travelers meet lifelong friends and future travel partners on our trips.