We’d like to introduce you to one of our sister companies – VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, who, like Windstar was recently recognized as one of Travel + Leisure World’s Best award winners for 2013.
VBT offers 48 deluxe bicycling and walking vacations in 21 countries worldwide, including destinations throughout Europe, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, Peru, Argentina, and the United States.
Each trip offers unique sightseeing and cultural activities, includes all accommodations, many meals, two expert local Trip Leaders, and full van support. Unlike other active vacation companies, VBT also includes roundtrip international airfare from over 30 U.S. cities and select Canadian cities for all overseas vacations.
VBT shares their featured tours’ most memorable moments of discovery:
When you take an active vacation with VBT you get much more than just a guided cycling or walking tour of your destination because our unique brand of immersion travel incorporates cultural moments of discovery into every one of our tours. Not only does a VBT vacation include airfare, use of VBT bikes and walking poles, many meals, all accommodations and two local Trip Leaders to guide the way; but it also includes fun, authentic and enriching interactions with locals via home-hosted meals, guided tours, history lessons, and wine and olive oil tastings. To get an idea of some of these unique activities, we’ve compiled a list of memorable moments of discovery you’ll experience on some of our featured tours for Windstar travelers.
A ferry ride to Giglio Island and a private tour with a local guide
Offered on our ‘Tuscany By the Sea’ biking vacation
On Day 6 of this tour we’ll board a ferry to Giglio Island, arriving in the village of Giglio Porto. With a local guide we’ll head to the walled hilltop town of Giglio Castello—which is dominated by a fortress called the Rocca Pisana—and explore the site with her. This town is the oldest inhabited center on the island and still retains much of its medieval atmosphere. After the tour, we’ll head to Campese Beach for an informal lunch in one of the local restaurants before spending some free time swimming or relaxing on the beach.
What our travelers say: “The discovery day on Giglio Island was my favorite. As I speak Italian I was able to talk with the various merchants on the Island and truly learn so much more about the little resort of Campese. That evening was so special as we chose a local restaurant which only served fresh fish from the sea.”—VBT traveler from California
Explore an underground city made from salt
Offered on our ‘Poland: Cycling through the Old World’ vacation
During our time spent in the town of Wieliczka, we’ll descend into the famous underground salt mines for a private tour of the fascinating chambers and tunnels that were created over the centuries. The mine, which was placed on the original list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, continuously produced salt from the 13th century until just recently and is one of the oldest salt mines in the world. Don’t miss the “Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland” where everything is carved from salt – including the chandeliers. During our tour, we’ll also enjoy a Polish vodka tasting in one of the underground chambers.
What our travelers say: “I loved this trip mostly because of the cultural experience that we had. Some of the highlights were visiting the Salt Mine and seeing the Cathedral made out of rock salt, the food was outstanding and very reasonable, our guides were very knowledgeable and friendly”—VBT traveler from Rhode Island
Olive oil tasting and tour at a family-owned mill
Offered on our Tuscan Coast biking vacation
During our visit of the family-owned and operated Fonte di Foiano olive oil mill, we’ll meet the Di Gaetano family for a private tour of the press and workshop. During our tasting, Michael Di Gaetano will explain the differences among regions and how varied the flavors can be. Afterward, enjoy an included lunch—prepared by Michael himself, using organic and fragrant vegetables—on the farm grounds.
What our travelers say: “We had lunch at a wonderful olive farm. The owner and his two sons gave us a history of his farm and how they had resurrected it from previous owners 40 years ago and made it into an internationally known prize winning olive oil producer.” – VBT traveler from Virginia
Prepare Sicilian delicacies with a local chef
Offered on our ‘Sicily: Biking the Southern Coastal Villages’ vacation
During our stay at the Hotel Kallikoros we’ll get to walk around the large estate to pick borage, wild fennel, lemons and oranges before learning to prepare an authentic Sicilian meal with our harvest under the guidance of our chef. Then we’ll enjoy all the food prepared for dinner, with lots of red wine!
What our travelers say: “The trip is a wonderful introduction to the foods and charms of Sicily. It provides an opportunity to sample the wonderful variety of foods found in Sicily, tasting the wines and all while experiencing the surrounding countryside.”—VBT Traveler from British Columbia
Savor tea and scones—and spirited conversation—with a Killarney family in their home
Offered on our ‘Ireland: Walking the West Country’ vacation
While visiting the town of Killarney we’ll meet Denis Kissane, a local friend who will give a nostalgic presentation on his childhood in “The Old Bohareen.”The following afternoon we’ll meet up again with our newfound friend who invites us to see both his childhood home (featured in his previous night’s talk), and his current home, where he will entertain us over tea or coffee and freshly-made scones.
What our travelers say: “VBT gave us a “birds eye” view of Ireland. In a few days, we walked/hiked lovely countryside, visited local families, ate excellent food and stayed at local, authentic hotels and guest houses. It was truly a trip of a lifetime!”—VBT Traveler from North Carolina
To learn more about VBT’s special vacation offers for Windstar travelers please click here.