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Chill or Challenge? Self-Guided Tours for Every Activity Level

Posted on Friday, March 10th, 2023

Story by: Molly Waldstein | Travel Writer


At VBT, we pride ourselves on making bike tours accessible for people at every level of cycling experience and ability. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or an enthusiastic newbie, there’s a bike tour that’s been designed with you in mind.

Chill or Challenge? Self-Guided Tours for Every Activity Level

VBT’s Self-Guided Bicycle Vacations offer the perfect balance of independence and support—so they’re great for riders with an independent spirit—especially those who don’t have time to devote countless hours to designing a bike tour from scratch.  VBT’s Self-Guided Bicycle Vacations come with a fitted bike from our well-maintained fleet—as well as a Ride with GPS app with detailed cycling routes and voice navigation. Our Self-Guided Bicycle Vacations are rated by activity level—which makes it easy to pick a tour that gives you the level of challenge you’re looking for. Here’s a little breakdown of VBT’s Self-Guided Bicycle Vacations by activity level—so you can find the perfect match for your cycling ability and interests.

The Easiest of the Easy

Germany & Austria: The Danube River Self-Guided Tour—Pedal mostly flat, paved bike paths along the famous Danube River, stopping along the way for coffee and cake in charming medieval villages. On this Self-Guided Bicycle Vacation, you’ll even get a taste of the Alps, as we shuttle you to the high mountain shores of Lunzer See where you’ll enjoy scenic views of the lake, followed by a gentle descent back to the valley.

The Netherlands: Holland Harbor Towns & the Wadden Sea Self-Guided Bike & Boat—Explore the outer reaches of the Dutch islands and see why the Wadden Sea is recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere reserve. Cycle flat bike paths and dedicated bike lanes through the Wadden Islands—discovering cultural traditions unique to Northern Holland. In the evenings, enjoy the comfort of your historic wooden schooner, the Leafde fan Fryslân, including an on-board bar, cozy lounge, and delicious meals—including breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. This incredible Self-Guided Bike & Boat vacation truly has it all!

Take it Up a Notch

Portugal: Porto, the Silver Coast & Lisbon Self-Guided Tour—Discover Portugal’s best-kept secrets as you pedal this spectacular Atlantic coastline from Porto to Lisbon. You’ll ride gentle coastal bike paths during the early part of the week—with some steady hill climbs and extra mileage options as your journey progresses.

Italy: Puglia, Alberobello & Lecce Self-Guided Tour—The stunning sea views from beachside or at the top of a rise are well worth the effort as you discover the rich culture and incredible scenery at the heel of Italy’s boot. With VBT’s deep roots in the region, you’re bound to encounter some of our charismatic local friends along the way.

British Columbia: Vancouver Island, Victoria & the Saanich Peninsula Self-Guided Tour—Enjoy a mix of urban highlights and dramatic scenery in this delightfully varied British Columbia bicycle tour. Explore manicured gardens and nature sanctuaries—returning in the evening to the comfort of your scenic harborside hotel.

Vermont: Middlebury Countryside & the Lake Champlain Coast Self-Guided Tour—Discover the best of VBT’s backyard in our native Vermont. We’ve been cycling these hills since we can remember—and we know all the best paths to pedal along Lake Champlain, back country lanes, iconic hotels, and top-notch restaurants along the way.

Maine: Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park Self-Guided Tour—With three nights at the scenic Bar Harbor Inn, you’ve got a front row seat to the splendor of Acadia National Park. With many daily biking options, you decide how much of a challenge you’re in the mood for each day.

Italy: The Dolomites, Bolzano to Ora Self-Guided Tour—Enjoy the best of South Tyrol as you ascend and descend bikeways following the hills and valleys of the Italian Alps. With exhilarating biking, delicious cuisine, and the unique cultural heritage in the region, this tour is sure to open your eyes to European history, scenery, and culture.

Spain: Barcelona & Costa Brava Self-Guided Tour—If cycling the famous hills of Catalonia has always been your dream, this tour is for you. We carefully selected our cycling routes to provide a mix of climbs and flats—making this famous biking route accessible for riders of all abilities.

France: Vineyards of Beaujolais Self-Guided Tour—If you love French chateaux, wine, and cuisine, this is the tour for you! These carefully curated routes are right in the backyard of our French family—who helped us find delightful historic hotels and superb vineyards far from the tourist circuit. This is authentic France at its finest!

For the Dedicated Climbers

California: Death Valley National Park Self-Guided Tour—Discover the many colors of the California desert in this stupendous bike and hike vacation. Choose your level of cycling challenge with longer climbs, or shuttle back to your resort hotel where you can relax in a spring fed pool and enjoy a colorful desert sunset.

England: Oxford & the Cotswolds Self-Guided Tour—History and literature meet bucolic country cycling on this incredible tour of England’s charming Cotswold region. Cycle an invigorating mix of hills and valleys as you explore Oxford, Bath, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and many quaint villages along the way.

Croatia: The Dalmatian Coast, Korčula & Dubrovnik Self-Guided Tour—Get ready for some stiff climbs and incredible scenery on this stupendous inn-to-inn bicycle vacation. You’ll be rewarded with amazing vistas in off-the-beaten-path villages, historic monasteries, renowned wineries, and authentic local restaurants.

Italy: Tuscany, Lucca to Siena Self-Guided Tour—Cycle the legendary hills and valleys of Tuscany—stopping to explore ancient walled cities along the way. In the evenings, enjoy delightful accommodations in the heart of iconic locales such as San Gimignano, Siena, Lucca, and Florence. Iconic Tuscany at its finest!

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