Shake Hands with the World ™
With VBT, cultural interaction and learning are part of every trip
Travel to the lovely Tuscan town of Bibbona, through pine woods and on to your comfortable agriturismo lodging for delicious wines and freshly made bruschetta … After passing a beautifully preserved Gothic monastery, you arrive in the charming Bohemian village of Plav, where a local Czech family welcomes you into their home for a refreshing traditional lunch and relaxed conversation.This is the way VBT designs moments of cultural interaction—your discoveries spring from active participation with the local people. This is the essence of travel with VBT.
Exercise your mind!
Your legs are walking, pedaling, or skiing in the great outdoors, but your mind is getting a workout, too. There’s stimulating history to ponder, fascinating people to meet, tall tales to listen to, and new approaches to life to consider. We make sure you won’t miss any of it by planning interesting activities all along your route. You’ll stop to explore, meet our friends and neighbors, and learn firsthand about the rich cultural heritage of your host country in its homes, farms, workshops, and schools.
“The accommodations were excellent, the food delicious and the scheduled VBT activities always an adventure, from preparing our own apple pierogi to vodka tasting in the incredible salt caverns of Wieliczka.”
On the map & off the beaten path
You wouldn’t go all the way to Cordoba and miss one of Spain’s most famous attractions, the Mezquita mosque. Most travel companies will show it to you, and so will we. But we complement that experience with a more intimate example of Spain’s Moorish heritage by taking you through winding alleyways to experience a real Arab hammam bath, or spa. With VBT you can look forward to daily sightseeing that includes the most important monuments, plus frequent behind-the-scene forays that reveal the culture that gave rise to those iconic attractions.
“I loved the immersion into past and present Inca cultures. Highlights include hiking the Inca trail, exploring Machu Picchu, spending a day with the Cuyuni community, and visiting a rural mountain home and farmer’s market. It was an emotional, magical, and lifechanging experience for me.”
Learn through encounters with local people
A hallmark of every VBT trip is the opportunity to engage with local people in authentic and memorable ways. Riding, walking or skiing along the same provincial byways used by everyday people, you’ll be in step with the rhythms of daily life. Our trips often feature opportunities to try your hand at local pastimes and work activities. In Tuscany, discover the vital importance of olive oil to the regional cuisine and economy when you tour a family-owned olive-oil mill, enjoy a tasting, and gather with your hosts for a picnic lunch. After a rewarding day of cycling along the rugged coast of County Clare, delight in a live performance of Irish folk tunes by local musicians. “The Trip Leaders’ love and knowledge of their country was a bonus, especially when we visited one of the leader’s grandfather’s cottage by the sea. Having dinner at the homes of two families who lived on the islands brought the whole trip together and made the experience feel like we had family in Croatia. Needless to say, this was an A+ trip.”
Get the insider's perspective from your VBT Trip Leaders
Only a local can tell you who serves the best low country cuisine in Charleston … the best place to hear a Chopin piano recital in Warsaw … which Bruges pub has the most varieties of Belgian beer. That’s why VBT hires only residents of the region to guide your trip. We know how much it will enrich your perspective to have a credible expert to explain local customs, share the back stories about places you’ll visit, and recommend the secret spots only insiders know about.
“This trip was just wonderful, one amazing moment after another. Our Trip Leaders Jan and Bodhie were just magnificent. They really brought this whole territory to life with their knowledge of the history, customs, and those little places that are great to visit but would get missed on any other tour. They really took care of our group and allowed us to really enjoy the culture of the area.”
VBT Traveler—The Czech Republic
“Our Trip Leaders did a wonderful job of looking out for us, connecting us with local treasures, and sharing their love of the countryside. From our bikes, the hill-top Tuscan towns were both tantalizingly close and majestically distant. The food at the agriturisimos was delicious and fresh, and the tours of the wineries, olive oil tasting, and our country inn and vineyard, Fattoria di Magliano, were unique experiences and quintessentially Tuscan. Bravo!”
VBT Traveler—Tuscany by the Sea