Take a deep breath in. That’s the literal definition of ‘inspire.’ And it’s what The Banff Centre does best. Their mandate is ‘Inspiring Creativity’ and they do it like nobody else on the planet. I promise you this: If you venture off Banff Avenue for a short walk up Tunnel Mountain, you’ll find yourself in the most inspiring place on earth.
Asking “Why Indochina?” is like asking why you ride. Is it the anticipation of what’s around the corner? The thrill of a place you’ve never been? Maybe it’s the serenity of a quiet footpath that’s 2,000 years old. Or experiencing Hoi An, a 2nd-century fishing village blending modern luxury with dynamic history. How about the fun of passing rice paddies in a blur of speed? Perhaps touching the ethereal ruins of Angkor with your own hands. Everything that’s exhilarating about biking makes the ride here an incredible adventure.
We always think of traveling as a way to discover the world and to learn about different cultures. For me, travelling is also about returning to my roots and rediscovering who I am. Leading the Active Gourmet trip in Tuscany is a chance to see my homeland through the eyes of our guests and to learn new things about myself. After all, food and wine are just catalysts. In Italy it’s all about sharing. And talking. Very loudly!
Eating on Backroads trips is not only fun, it’s necessary! With great activity comes great responsibility to fuel the body, and fuel the body properly. You may not know this, but Backroads leaders compete with each other to create the best snack table possible…
There’s nothing quite like hiking in the Swiss Alps. Over the years, I’ve thought about what makes hiking in Switzerland unique and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not merely the perfect signage. Here are a few of the elements that make the land of cheese and chocolate an exceptional place to hike.
“Awesome!” As a parent, you may try to avoid the word. But in this case, as you gaze out over the Grand Canyon, marveling at the play of light and shadow across the endless expanse, it’s perfect. And the words keep coming. Whether you’re exploring a wonderland of hoodoos and pinnacles in Bryce Canyon (“sweet!”). Traipsing amid the soaring walls and hanging gardens of a slot canyon in Zion (“epic!”). Or laughing at fireside stories under a star-speckled sky (“those leaders are so fly!”). You’ll try to contain yourself. But you can’t. Because the whole experience is truly…awesome.
You might think of coffee as just a hot beverage you drink from a paper cup in the car on the way to work. Here in Italy, coffee is not simply a drink, it’s a key aspect of the culture. It’s a social event and a tradition that Italians proudly preserve. If you find yourself looking for a pick-me-up in Italy, here are some helpful tips on what–and when–to order.
Red Nose Day is a campaign dedicated to raising money for children and young people living in poverty. To support the cause, NBC’s The Today Show co-anchor Matt Lauer decided to embark on a “Tour de Red Nose” bike ride from Boston to New York City, raising money along the way. The show’s producers asked Backroads to help by planning the route, riding alongside Matt and supporting the navigation of the entire crew. We couldn’t say no!
We’re proud to announce that our very own leader Kelsey Tonner has made the short list for the Wanderlust World Guide Award, the only global award for tour leaders and guides. Wanderlust is a British travel magazine that focuses on intelligent and inspirational travel, and Kelsey helps provide just that. We caught up with Kelsey to learn more about him and the award.
Waffles in Belgium have a distinct connection to the city or town in which they were developed, and many families and regions guard their recipes as precious secrets. When my Belgian grandma made waffles, drafts of warm air would billow out of the kitchen, filling the house with a delicious smell. While leading Backroads’ Holland and Belgium biking trips this past summer, I encountered this familiar sweet scent in the Belgian city of Bruges. It instantly kicked my senses into a frenzy, renewing my love of waffles.
Like many first-time travelers to Ireland, I had a vision of what lay ahead as my flight cruised towards the Emerald Isle. Lush hills and the rugged coastline, sheep and their shepherds, whiskey and Guinness, the melodic Irish lilt. What I didn’t yet realize was that, while the landscape and natural beauty of Ireland are majestic, it’s the Irish people who make the country truly captivating. It’s the Irish spirit–a magnetic, almost irresistible pull–that drives visitors to return again and again.
Though the Dutch may claim the title for Amsterdam, Copenhagen is considered by many to be the biking capital of the world. In fact, half of all Danes commute to work by bicycle. While bicycle commuting is gaining momentum in many major cities in the United States, touted as a mode of transportation that is friendly to the environment and the waistline, it hasn’t quite infiltrated American culture in the same way. If one looks closely at Danish society, you’ll see that the impact of bicycles on the physical and cultural landscape of its cities runs deep.
To be bewildered, amazed and humbled by nature is a phenomenon that most of us are familiar with. Nature in its purest form is a compelling force that provides profound lessons about our place on this planet. It pushes our boundaries. It challenges our definition of comfort. But most importantly, nature can help us realize what we’re capable of. The concept of personal growth through outdoor activity and the chance to share that experience with others is what allures many of us to become Backroads leaders. It’s also what inspires many leaders to volunteer to help make these experiences accessible to underserved populations.
Carved by glaciers over millennia, Montana’s Glacier National Park and Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park are nothing short of spectacular. And all of those glacier-carved valleys and dazzling glacial lakes make for some of the most incredible biking routes in North America. Check it out in this short Glacier & Waterton Lakes trip video by Backroads leader and videographer Eric Malkowski.