For the active traveler, the only thing more enjoyable than taking in a destination’s scenic landscapes and unique architecture, is breaking a sweat while doing it. With this in mind, more and more tour companies are offering tours especially for those adrenaline junkies, allowing them to bike and hike their way through some of the world’s most breathtaking destinations.
The pilgrimage route of Spain’s Camino de Santiago (“Way of St. James”) boasts a wealth of legends and traditions that adventure seekers have been following for over 1,000 years. The route takes travelers through northern Spain, all the way to Santiago de Compostela, where as tradition has it, is where the saint’s bones are buried.
Easy Rider Cycling Tours, an adventure travel company specializing in European bike trips, has been guiding cyclists along the Camino since 1998. “Each person’s experience of the Camino is unique,” says Jim Goldberg, the company’s founder. “Most of our biking guests come for the challenge and the history and the personal sense of achievement.”
Easy Rider’s 11-day Camino bike tour covers 330 miles from Burgos to Santiago where cyclists pedal through Castile-Leon and Galicia to Santiago. On the way, they’ll have a chance to see the bridge of Itero and the ornate Church of San Martin, as well as spend a day exploring Leon’s Old Quarter and Gothic cathedral. Guests will also enjoy historic accommodations in monasteries, manor houses, and the five-star Parador de Santiago de Compostela.
Rates for the 11-day El Camino de Santiago bike tour start at $4,350 pp dbl and include all accommodations, most meals, snacks en-route, use of a 27-speed bicycle, experienced guides and a support van. Groups are limited to 16 participants. For more information and departure dates, visit easyridertours.com.
Travelers interested in a Latin American cycling adventure, meanwhile, may enjoy the 9-day Bicycling Costa Rica Plus! the Pacific itinerary being offered by ExperiencePlus!
This cycling trip gives participants plenty of time to explore the unique wildlife, forests and beaches of Costa Rica on leisurely rides around the Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. Throughout the trip, guests will get to spend time in the rural villages on the San Carols Plains, zip through the treetops on a rainforest canopy tour, hike through El Silencio Rainforest Preserve and take a dip in the famous Arenal Volcano hot springs. Guests can expect to cycle an average of 14 miles a day.
Rates run $2,995 pp dbl and include accommodations, most meals and activities as per itinerary. Various departure dates are available between September 2011, and 2012. Participants who book by Aug. 1, 2011, will save $200 pp. For more information, visit experienceplus.com.
If biking through vast wilderness of magnificent peaks, ancient glaciers and pristine mountain lakes sounds more like the perfect vacation, consider Backroads’ Canadian Rockies Biking itinerary.
Priced from $2,998 pp dbl, this 5-night journey takes cyclists from Banff to Alberta, including a ride through Icefields Parkway and spectacular Lake Louise. Other highlights include a visit to the Columbia Icefield Centre, where guests will learn about the massive frozen expanse, one of North America’s primary freshwater sources; a trip to explore Sunwapta Valley’s riverside byways; and a stop at Maligne Canyon, as well as several optional hiking tours in Banff and Jasper national parks.
The Canadian Rockies Biking itinerary has several departures available from June through September 2012. For more information, visit backroads.com.