Introducing 6 new vacations along with the return of tours to Tuscany and Provence in new walking catalog
BRISTOL, VT—VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations has announced its full line of thirteen 2014 Walking tours featuring destinations from Peru to Tuscany to Yellowstone National Park. With VBT, travelers will see beautiful countries around the globe while experiencing new cultures, delicious cuisine and comfortable accommodations that reflect the destination. “We’ve long felt that there are few things that are more rewarding than a nice, peaceful walk,” said VBT President Gregg Marston. “Walking allows time for reflection, a chance to take things slowly and immerse yourself in your surroundings and the freedom to wander always promises new discoveries.”
Some of VBT’s earliest international active vacations were in Italy and they have become known as the Italy Travel Expert due to the company’s long history of running popular and successful tours throughout the country. In addition to the seven Italian bicycling vacations VBT currently offers, they will be providing three walking tours there in 2014: The Amalfi Coast & Capri—VBT’s most popular walking vacation, Walking the Italian Lakes featuring Lake Como and the return of Italy: The Quiet Pathways of Tuscany, which is back by popular demand.
“Whether you are new to VBT or want to travel with us again—which 98.6% of our travelers say they would—know that we’ve been visiting Italy since 1994 and select the best walking destinations in the country for our tours,” says VBT Director of Marketing Paul Williams. “And our expert Trip leaders are all Italian locals who provide unparalleled insight into the culture to our guests.” VBT delivers authentic, cultural experiences on all their trips. In Italy travelers will be immersed in local culture through insightful interactions with locals during home-cooked meals and tastings at family-run olive oil mills and locally-run vineyards.
As the season begins to turn with the onset of fall VBT wants to remind travelers about their growing list of vacations that make great warm winter walking escapes. The company offers the popular vacation Peru: Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley and the explorer’s paradise Argentina: Walking in Patagonia, as well as introducing three new vacations for 2014. The new warm winter trips include Spain: A Walking Tour of Basque Country which explores the unique mountainous region on the coast of the Mediterranean; “tramping” among mountains, crystalline lakes and pristine beaches on Walking New Zealand: Splendor of the South Island, and Walking Vietnam: The Trails of Indochina. “Vietnam is a great escape from the cold and snow of a North American winter since that time of year is their dry season,” says VBT Director of Worldwide Product, Chris Skilling. “And our inclusion of all entry fees, 4-star accommodations and internal flights, coupled with the strength of the US dollar in Vietnam, makes for an excellent value.”
For the first time in the company’s history, VBT will operate walking vacations within the United States. Sparked by their recent acquisition by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, VBT is offering three vacations to five different National Parks in 2014. Travelers can explore the Grand Canyon, Zion, Grand Teton and Yellowstone while staying in amenity-filled lodges right in the heart of the parks. VBT is also launching a walking vacation closer to their headquarters in the popular New England destination, Acadia National Park. “VBT can get you closer to the ‘real’ Acadia through years of planning with our long-time Trip Leaders and friends on Mount Desert Island,” added Skilling. “We’ve come up with a vacation that will feature the best walks, designed to show off the dramatic landscape of this beautiful park.”
Yellowstone & Grand Teton: Walking America’s Wilderness – Walk among the otherworldly geothermal features of America’s first National Park while staying at the iconic Old Faithful Inn. Travelers will also explore the huge massifs and visit pristine alpine lakes of the Grand Tetons in the trip’s first leg.
Walking the American West: Zion & Grand Canyon –This tour includes a walk through the captivating Zion canyon, where guests will admire the amazing views and unbelievable rock formations carved out by the Virgin River. Later in the vacation they’ll venture by historic railway to the Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and a must see for any avid traveler.
Coastal Maine: Walking Acadia – Travelers will experience true New England coastal culture while walking along the many trails that visit park features like Jordan Pond, Sand Beach and Cadillac Mountain—the tallest peak on the Eastern Seaboard. Guests stay for 5 nights at ocean front inns and will even participate in a classic Maine lobster bake.
VBT is also increasing its European destinations in 2014 with the return of two vacations, France: Slow Road through Provence and Italy: The Quiet Pathways of Tuscany. These will join the very popular Ireland: Walking the West Country vacation, which is rated as “excellent” by 91% of VBT travelers.
A unifying strength of all these walking vacations is that VBT hires expert, local Trip Leaders to guide all of their trips. In fact, 95% of VBT travelers rate their leaders as “excellent”. Each leader is a resident of country they lead in and therefore know the local customs and traditions, as well as inside information about reliable places to shop, eat, explore, and relax while on a VBT vacation. They’ll also be able to answer any questions a guest may have about the history or native flora and fauna of their surroundings during the intimate experience of walking with a small group of not more than 20 travelers. This group size also ensures the undivided attention of Trip Leaders as VBT finds the social aspect of walking appeals greatly to their travelers.
VBT travelers enjoy all of these outstanding experiences at the best value in active travel. VBT’s prices are lower than the competition and they include accommodations at quaint inns, luxurious resorts and comfortable, rustic lodges. In addition to many included meals, free use of walking poles and expert local Trip Leaders; there will be an on-tour support vehicle available to transport luggage, provide snacks and assist travelers at designated meeting points along the way. These trips also feature eye-opening cultural encounters at every bend in the road like talking with local families about their livelihoods in the Mekong Delta or browsing local crafts and art work at the artists' galleries of Cusco.
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, Canada 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.
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 walking vacations. VBT’s Tour Consultants can be reached at 800-245-3868 Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST.