Depart from the U.S.
The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight
Day 2 - Arrive in Venice
You arrive at the airport in Venice, Italy.
Once in the arrival terminal, please locate the water taxi and Information
desk. The staff of Venezia Taxi – one of the 3 operators there – will take care
of you: they will provide a voucher and show you the way to your water taxi.
From the airport pier, you'll transfer (approximately 35 minutes) to your
centrally located hotel in Venice.
The rest of the day is free to discover and dine on your own with the VBT City
Information included in your Final Travel Booklet as your guide.
Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be
available until 2:00 p.m. You may store your luggage with the reception desk.
Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you fly
in earlier than the scheduled program dates, transportation from the airport
will be at your own expense.
Day 3 - Meet Trip Leaders / Warm-up ride / Welcome reception
VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your fellow travelers and Venice representative at 9:50 a.m. in Venice. The meeting point is the bar called Café
Marco Polo Darsena on the docks of Venice Marco Polo airport (address: via
Luigi Broglio 8, Marco Polo airport). The bar is easy to find, very close to
the water transport docks of the airport where motor taxis park. Our local
representative will be holding a VBT sign. Once the group is gathered you will
depart for Cortina d'Ampezzo by private coach.
If your arrival at 9:50 a.m. is delayed, please contact our
hotel in Cortina d'Ampezzo to advise staff of the delay, and they will pass
your message along to your VBT Trip Leaders. In the event of delays, also
please see page 3 of “For Travel-Related Emergencies.” VBT highly recommends
flying to Italy
at least one day before the tour begins. This allows you to rest and recover
from jet lag before you begin sightseeing and cycling.
VBT Air Package and Pre-Extension guests: Meet your VBT
representative at 9:00 a.m. in the main lobby of our Venice hotel; he or she will be holding a VBT
From our hotel, a water taxi will transfer us first to the
mainland and the Venice Marco Polo airport, where we meet our private
motorcoach and continue on to Cortina. The transfer will last about 2 hours,
and we will make a short stop on the way. Our VBT Trip Leaders will meet us at
our arrival point and escort us to our first hotel, in Cortina.
All guests arrive in Cortina in time for lunch on your own.
Our hotel is located in the heart of the city, on the main shopping and
pedestrian area, full of life, elegant shops, restaurants and trendy cafés.
After lunch we settle in to our hotel. Later, our VBT Trip Leaders will hold a
safety and bike-fitting session, followed by a warm-up ride.
Tonight, enjoy a welcome cocktail reception in the hotel's
cozy bar. Later, enjoy our special welcome dinner in the hotel's elegant
restaurant. Some local Ampezzan specialties like casunzei, or crescent-shaped
ravioli, will immerse you in the culinary traditions of a region that has
inherited influences of both Austrian Tyrol and Italian Veneto kitchens.
Day 4 - Cycle to Cadore / Picnic on Calalzo
After breakfast, we start biking downhill along the Boite River
valley on the newly paved Dolomites Bike Path, on which we descend from a 1,250
meters (4,101 feet) to 770 meters (2,526 feet) in Calalzo. The path was once a
railway track that connected the little villages of the Cadore mountain
community. Le Tofane mountain range marks our progress. Soon we admire the
towering pyramidal peak of Antelao to our left and Mount Pelmo
to our right, with its saddle-like summit. The latter is now a natural reserve
area due to the discovery of many fossils and dinosaur footprints.
We are now in the Ampezzan
Valley, one of the four
historic Ladin valleys. The Ladins – a population evolved from Celtic tribes
and Roman soldiers – are the inhabitants of these valleys. Long remote and
secluded from the rest of Italy,
they remain a proud people whose rare language, Ladin, is closely related to
the Swiss Romansh, Surselvan and Friulian. It is also still spoken in nearby
Austro-Italian border regions.
The two Italian provinces of Trento and Bolzano
are administratively independent from the rest of Italy, meaning they maintain a
degree of autonomy. In particular Cortina retains its own legislative system,
one that is unique in the Dolomites: a council known as Regole d'Ampezzo. Under
the regole and the ancient Celtic structure of property ownership, the 800
original families administer the community's common land, which cannot be split
or sold to outsiders or other families.
Lunch is a picnic organized on the verdant banks of Lake Calalzo.
Early this afternoon you have the option to shuttle or cycle back to Cortina,
where you have the rest of the afternoon to explore on our own. You may want to
follow our routes on an easy walk around Cortina, or visit the Ethnography
museum that houses a collection of antique tools and cultural artifacts. In the
summertime, ride a gondola up to the slopes of Le Tofane or Faloria to enjoy
the breathtaking vistas of surrounding peaks. Or take a taxi ride and a walk to
the open-air Museum of the Great War on the high peaks of Rifugio 5-Torri, one
of the most exciting and moving itineraries in the Dolomites. Dinner is on your
own tonight; in the summer you may opt to dine at a rifugio high on the peaks.
After dinner, we recommend a stroll in Cortina. In the
summer, your visit might coincide with a cultural event, folk festival or
classical music concert.
Day 5 - Cycle on bike paths to Dobbiaco, San Candido, Brunico
Today we take an optional moderate ride up to Cimabanche Pass through a wooded and scenic area.
If you prefer an easier start, you may take a brief shuttle before joining an
easy downhill and flat ride on bike paths to Dobbiaco and San Candido. The
views on the way are spectacular: we pedal by the Pomagagnon
Mountain, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo
(the “Three Peaks”),
and picturesque Toblacher
Lake. En route, we might
stop to pay tribute to the victims of World War I at the intimate cemetery at
the foothills of Monte Piana.
As we arrive in Dobbiaco, the landscape changes: rocky
mountain flanks skirted with green and roadside alpine lakes give way to open
meadows and green pastures dotted with large, isolated houses, or masi.
Snow-capped peaks rise in the distance. This is the Pusteria Valley,
a paradise for bikers with its network of bike paths, bike hotels and bike
shops aimed at promoting an environmentally friendly lifestyle and healthy
discovery of the valleys.
We soon arrive in San Candido in South Tyrol, close to the
border with Austria.
Here we stop for lunch and a stroll in this thousand-year-old little city. You
can visit the ancient, Romanesque Duomo della Collegiata – the oldest monastery
in the Dolomites – and drink at one of the many stone fountains in the
cobblestone pedestrian area. The Pusteria
Valley is rich in history and legend
as it was on the ancient trade route to Aguntum
(now in Austria) from Rome.
In the afternoon we continue biking along the Upper Pusteria
Valley to Brunico, through open lush
meadows, forested woods and charming villages, always following the course of
the Rienza River. We're cycling in the heart of South Tyrol and a strong Austrian influence is
everywhere, from the language (all signs are first in German and then Italian)
to the architectural features and local traditions. Our terrain is paved except
in some short stretches in the woods. We offer both an easy and an
easy-to-moderate ride. Later we arrive at our hotel in Riscone, beautifully
located at the foothills of the Plan de Corones mountain ridge. You're sure to
feel comfortable and even spoiled here: our hotel features a large garden, an
indoor swimming pool fed by unspoiled mountain springs, in-room waterbeds and
sauna options. Dinner is served at the elegant hotel restaurant and includes a
large salad buffet.
Day 6 - Cycle through the Aurina and Tures
After breakfast today, we cycle north to discover the beauty
of the valleys of Aurina and Tures. About 90% of our biking today is on easy
paths along the Rio
After an initial stretch through Brunico's open fields, our path runs by high
mountains dotted with slope-hugging castles and cattle farms. Brunico was built
in a strategic position at the crossroads of four valleys; castles once played
the important role of watching and defending the territory. We pass tidy
hamlets of wooden houses, high steeples, well-manicured gardens and cattle pens.
In Campo Tures, we loop around the village's cobblestone city center. If you
get there early, you can visit its castle, beautifully furnished with antique
furniture, majolica stoves, glass artwork, sculptures, paintings and an armory
gallery. Lunch is included today and is a special barbecue meal of tasty meats
and crispy vegetables prepared by our host, Mani. From our lunch spot, we can
take a short easy walk to the roaring Riva waterfalls. In the afternoon you may
choose to explore more of these lovely surroundings and maybe walk to the
higher waterfall. Bike back to our hotel or hop a shuttle to pamper yourself at
our hotel spa. An optional
easy-to-moderate loop is also offered if you feel energetic and wish to ride
If you're riding back to our hotel, pause on your way to
discover the city of Brunico
and its pedestrian area, full of cafés
shops and boutiques. Or visit
the Ripa castle, once the summer residence of the prince bishops. Today, it is
one of the five museum-castles that world-famous mountain climber Reinhold
Messner has transformed into a cultural center dedicated to mountain people
from four continents.
Dinner is at our hotel restaurant.
Day 7 - The Isarco River Valley, the medieval towns of Bressanone and Chiusa
This morning we leave our beautiful hotel and pedal across
the wide Plan de Corones plateau. On the way we can admire the traditional masi
farmhouses above Brunico. Soon we rejoin the picturesque Pusteria
Valley bike path along the Rienza River
and enjoy a beautiful ride though more forests, tiny villages and covered
bridges. Before lunch near the ruins of the Rio Pusteria fortress, we have the
option to shuttle into the medieval city of Bressanone or continue riding to Bressanone
on a moderate stretch through a thickly wooded, scenic area. Bressanone, at the
confluence of the Rienza and Isarco rivers, has been a very important bishop
town, evidenced by the Duomo and its beautiful frescoed and sculptured cloister,
the Hofburg Bishopric and the stone city gates. The narrow, porticoed streets
and multicolored house facades will capture your heart. Lunch is on your own
Early this afternoon we cycle on the beautiful bike path
down the Isarco River
Valley and through the medieval city
another pearl of this valley. There we can stroll along the cobblestone main
street and maybe follow the suggestion of one of our local leaders, who says
that gelato here is the best of the valley.
From here, we shuttle to the next destination: Merano. Our
modern Hotel Terme Merano is centrally located on the pedestrian Kurpromenade
on the River Adige, opposite the historic Kurhouse. Relax, perhaps enjoying the
wellness center, before dinner on your own.
Like Cortina, Merano is a vibrant cultural city, offering
concerts and entertainment on summer evenings.
Day 8 - Resia Lake, apple trees and vineyards in Val Venosta
After breakfast, we shuttle to an altitude of 1,500 meters
(4,921 feet) to Lake Resia, near the borders of Austria
The lake is famous for the steeple emerging from its waters, from a church that
was submerged after the village
of Curon was evacuated,
dynamited and flooded following the construction of a dam. More energetic
bikers may want to bike the loop around the lake, including an uphill ride. For
all our guests, our route follows the course of the river Adige
and descends gradually. The ride is particularly picturesque with spellbinding
landscapes. Surrounded by mountain peaks, we cycle through dozens and dozens of
sprawling apple orchards, for which Venosta valley is particularly famous. We
also pass vineyards and castles adorning the slopes. Starting in late August,
we roll by many tractors and farmers tending to their fields. It's sure to be
one of your more memorable rides. Our recommended stop for lunch on your own is
the Renaissance village
If you are a very strong biker, you can opt to bike all the
way back to Merano. Otherwise we have planned to shuttle you by local train (a
20-30 minute ride), a very popular and convenient way of transportation for
bikers in this area.
Later tonight in Merano, raise a glass of Blauburgunder wine
and toast our week over a farewell dinner.
Day 9 - Free time in Merano / Transfer to Verona / VBT No-Air Package ends
VBT No-Air Package guests: your tour ends at our Merano
hotel today. The morning is free. You can take a taxi on your own to the Merano
train station. Most trains connect in Bolzano.
The taxi to Merano train station costs approx. €10-15 euro, and the ride is about 5
VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, say ciao to your
Trip Leaders and spend the rest of the morning discovering Merano. For only €4.50
euro – a special price for VBT guests – you can visit the amazing Terme Merano,
a beautifully designed building with 25 thermal pools, half of which are set in
a five-hectare (12-acre) garden. For more information, visit
www.termemerano.it. A private underground tunnel connects our hotel to this
If you prefer, shop and stroll the historic city center. Or
take a walk out of the city to visit the Truttmansdorff gardens and castle,
where Austrian Empress Sissi lived. The gardens' 12 hectares (30 acres) are
beautifully landscaped and were voted the most beautiful Gardens of Italy in
2005. After lunch on your own, be ready to leave at 1:00 p.m. on the private
motorcoach to our hotel in Verona,
where we will arrive at about 2:30 p.m. The bus is reserved exclusively for VBT
Air Package and Post-Extension guests. You have the rest of the day to explore
or relax in Verona.
If you have chosen the independent Post-Trip extension to Verona, you remain at this
hotel for three nights. When you arrive today, you can explore on your own with
VBT's City Information included in your Final Travel Booklet as your guide. If
you are visiting from mid-June to the end of August, don't miss the opera shows
in the Roman Arena, a very short walk from our hotel. A little tip: local opera
lovers say the best seats (particularly for acoustics) are the very affordable
“Unreserved Stone Steps in Sectors D or E (Gradinata D or E).” You can buy
these at the last minute at the ticket office or – best – in advance online at
http://www.arena.it/en-US/HOMEen.html. An open-air opera in the Arena is an
Day 10 - Depart for U.S.
Early this morning, transfer to the Verona Airport
for your flight back to the U.S. VBT recommends that you check the transfer
time in your “Transfer Reminder” the night before your flight. The transfer is
prearranged and prepaid by VBT.
Please note: For guests with early-morning departures,
breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk
to verify the times that breakfast is served.
Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you
extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to
the airport will be at your own expense.