VBT has 20 years of experience showing active travelers the real Italy
BRISTOL, VT—VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations is the Italy Active Travel Expert –providing excellent experiences for 20 years by using expert, local Trip Leaders, organizing unique home-hosted events and exclusive tours conducted by local guides, and utilizing their buying power to put guests in authentic and comfortable Italian accommodations. VBT offers eleven active vacations throughout Italy in 2014 including destinations in Tuscany, Sicily, Puglia, Veneto, the Dolomites and more. VBT has been offering active vacations to Italy since 1994 and now covers the whole country with a range of bicycling, walking, and cross-country skiing tours that will suit every active traveler. For Italian biking vacations, the level of difficulty ranges from Easy—an average daily mileage of 15-35 miles on flat terrain—to Moderate/Advanced—an average daily mileage of 25-60 miles on terrain that includes more hills. This range appeals to cyclists of all levels, dedication and experience.
“Italy is such a special destination when you factor in all the amazing cuisine, wine, people and the fantastic scenery,” said VBT president Gregg Marston. “And with each region we visit boasting an almost entirely distinct culture, there are plenty of reasons to explore Italy time and time again.” In addition to long running vacations, former VBT travelers will be excited to learn that the company is introducing a brand new bicycling vacation for 2014 called Lake Garda to Venice: Cycling Italy’s Veneto. On the new tour, travelers will explore the gorgeous countryside as they pedal past working farms, wineries and hillside villas.
VBT is expanding upon its core of Italian bicycling trips with three walking vacations—including the return of a traveler favorite Italy: The Quiet Pathways of Tuscany —and one cross-country ski vacation, Slovenia, Italy & Austria: Cross-Country Skiing the Alps. Years of strong vendor relationships and familiarity allows VBT to pass along an unparalleled level of quality as well as value to their travelers.
With VBT, travelers will get to experience Italy from the locals who know it best. “Our vacations deliver the most authentic, cultural experience imaginable,” said Chris Skilling, VBT’s Director of Worldwide Product. “Our team carefully designs these trips to include many unique interactions in the homes, kitchens, and workplaces of locals, which facilitates the feeling of experiencing the ‘real’ Italy.” VBT also offers a variety of off the road activities on their vacations like wine and olive oil tastings at family-owned businesses as well as cooking demonstrations, exclusive guided tours of historical sites, and even family-hosted dinners. Through warm encounters with local people and exposure to their heritage and traditions, VBT guests are rewarded with a finer understanding of Italy’s history and environment. “Our tour was just the right blend of nature, exercise, fresh food, culture, and fun. VBT did a superb job of engaging us in Italian history, culture, and geography as we moved along,” said a VBT traveler on their Amalfi Coast & Capri walking vacation.
All of VBT’s expert Trip Leaders in Italy are natives and know the local customs and traditions, as well as inside information about reliable places to shop, eat, explore, and relax. This aspect is not lost upon VBT’s travelers, as 95% of them rate their leaders as ‘excellent’. “Our guides became friends, offering encouragement, good humor and tips for finding ‘gelato of the day’ which made for great camaraderie with our fellow travelers,” recalled a VBT Traveler on the Tuscan Coast biking vacation. At least one VBT Trip Leader will be biking, walking and skiing with the group at all times and can provide in-depth knowledge of the history, flora, fauna of the surroundings whether it be on a cliff-side trail on the Amalfi Coast or a breezy ride through the rolling Tuscan countryside.
Another benefit of traveling in Italy with VBT is the small group size. This affords travelers the ability to go at their own pace, easily access their Trip Leaders, and get to know the members of the group—all like-minded travelers. “The beauty of small groups from our view point is that it gives us flexibility to arrange for our guests to stay at authentic Italian accommodations like classic agriturismos or the gorgeous masserie that reflect the destination much more than a larger chain hotel would,” said Skilling. “It also enables us to do things like home-hosted events and cooking or art demonstrations that couldn’t handle larger groups.”
As a result of VBT’s long history of running popular and successful vacations throughout the country, the company has become known as the Italy Experts. While leveraging that expertise, travelers will find the cultural experience, biking and walking routes, accommodations, and unbeatable prices make VBT the best tour operator to travel to Italy with.
Founded in 1971 by a Middlebury College professor, VBT offers deluxe, small group bicycling, walking and cross-country ski tours worldwide, including destinations in Europe, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, Peru, Argentina, and the United States. Each trip includes all accommodations, many meals, two expert local Trip Leaders, unique sightseeing and cultural activities, and on-tour vehicle support for biking and walking vacations. Unlike other companies, VBT also includes roundtrip international airfare from over 30 U.S. cities for all overseas vacations. In 2013, VBT was rated by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine among the “World’s Best Tour Operators” for the fourth year in a row. Based on reader feedback, VBT ranked 4th in the magazine’s survey, with an overall score of 94.42
Log on to the company’s website at www.vbt.com to view detailed itineraries or to sign-up for the latest full catalog of all of VBT’s vacations. VBT’s Tour Consultants can be reached at 800-245-3868, Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST.