Backroads: What's New in 2015
Resting—on our laurels or otherwise—isn't something that comes easy to us here at Backroads. Our trip planners are passionate about finding new destinations for you to explore, and our 2015 lineup showcases a collection of our all-time best itineraries, plus new trips in Denmark & Sweden, Belize & Guatemala, Germany, the U.S. and more!
New Classic Biking Trips
BERLIN TO DRESDEN: Perpetually reinventing itself yet profuse with stirring reminders of its tumultuous past, Berlin is like no other city on Earth. Begin at the notorious Berlin Wall and travel to the opulent palaces of Potsdam, past splendid castles and vineyards hugging the Elbe River, and into newly resplendent Dresden. Singles-Solos departures also available.
CHAMPAGNE & ALSACE: Bubbling over with familiar names like Dom Pérignon, Veuve Clicquot and Gewürztraminer, this trip takes you into some of France's most picturesque wine regions as you explore medieval villages, pedal past gothic churches and savor an unforgettable meal at a Michelin three-star restaurant.
CRATER LAKE: The country's deepest lake, Crater Lake is uniquely beautiful and seemingly undiscovered. Circle the rim of this enormous caldera on two wheels, admiring the lake's intense sapphire color and amazing clarity, then kick back on the deck of historic Crater Lake Lodge.
CZECH REPUBLIC & AUSTRIA: We've perfected this dual-country trip, featuring the splendid Wachau Valley and a corner of the Czech Republic that's still remarkably unexplored. Now is the time to enjoy lush fields, deep forests, steep mossy gorges and half-timbered villages almost too quaint to be real.
DANUBE RIVER CRUISE: Step aboard your luxurious floating hotel and let the Danube River be your guide on this journey into the heart of Central Europe's most glorious ports of call. From Prague to Passau, Vienna to Bratislava and on to Budapest, experience each cityscape as it was historically designed to impress: from the water!
NORTHERN ARGENTINA & A TASTE OF BRAZIL: Biking in some of the planet's remotest locales, delving into pre-Inca history, and still enjoying world-class wines: you can't do this in many other places. From the arid and otherworldly Calchaquí Valley to wondrous Iguazú Falls, this land never runs out of wonderful surprises.
SANTA BARBARA & OJAI VALLEY: This trip pairs the best of bicycling with the best of everything else: California sun, a food-lover's dream, white-sand beaches and world-class wine. Whether you're tackling a brisk climb up Gibraltar Road or settling in for a spa treatment at the Four Seasons, you'll see just how much the Central Coast has to offer.
STOCKHOLM & COPENHAGEN: Explore Sweden and Denmark by bike and you'll see up close just how much they have in common: refreshingly clean cities uniquely balanced by neoclassic and contemporary architecture, pristine summer homes sitting among endless islands and a simple appreciation for nature, design, cuisine, culture and life. Singles-Solos departures also available.
TUSCANY ACTIVE GOURMET: What better way to punctuate a ride past classic vineyard-draped hillsides than with a glass from that vineyard's yield? This Italian adventure combines cycling with sampling—and cooking—some of the region's specialties. Sip Chianti Classico while learning how to make the perfect pizza or bowl of pappardelle.
New Classic Multisport Trips
BELIZE & GUATEMALA: From the Maya temples at Tikal to rain forest trails overhung with orchids and vines, Belize and Guatemala will enchant you. This thrilling adventure dives deep—like a plunge into the blue Caribbean—exploring mysterious caves, jungle rivers and other wonders that will take your breath away.
EVERGLADES TO KEY WEST: It's all about the water on this trip. Traipsing right over it on a boardwalk above the Everglades. Paddling through it on a kayak to the small island of Indian Key. And gliding under it while snorkeling in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
HAWAII'S BIG ISLAND: A perfect blend of flavors, colors and everything Hawaiian, this trip's activities flow together seamlessly. Bike from a rain forest to a black-sand beach in the morning, kayak on a crystalline bay in the afternoon and end the day lounging beneath the palms. Every day you're engaged, entertained and exhilarated by this Hawaiian experience. Singles-Solos departures also available.
NICARAGUA & COSTA RICA: A double dose of exhilarating and exotic adventure, Nicaragua and Costa Rica are a match made in vacation heaven. Don't miss this opportunity to spot sloths, iguanas, crocodiles, monkeys and numerous bird species on this dual-country trip.
YELLOWSTONE: As the snow piles high among silent meadows and lodgepole pine forests, you'll feel like you have Yellowstone all to yourself. Snowshoeing through this peaceful tableau, you might see bison, elk, bighorn sheep or even an elusive gray wolf stalking through the snow.
New Classic Walking Trips
BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS: One of the best places to explore on foot, Southern Appalachia is comprised of rolling hills, rocky crags and eclectic towns overflowing with Southern charm. Hike trails known only to locals and experience the otherworldly calm of the Great Smoky and the Blue Ridge Mountains on a quiet morning.
FRENCH PYRENEES & SPAIN'S RIOJA REGION: An independent spirit shines through in the Basque region that straddles France and Spain, one that you'll feel as you take in a game of basque pelota, explore proud villages and raise a toast to the uniquely vibrant color and light of La Rioja.
ISRAEL: Not just another trip to Israel, this adventure walks through classic biblical scenery—full of historic and contemporary cultural elements—as well as rolling hills, lush oases and rugged canyons. The otherworldly beauty of the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean are religious experiences of a different kind.
NORTHERN ARGENTINA & A TASTE OF BRAZIL: From vast arid moonscapes to misty rain forests and jaw-dropping waterfalls, Northern Argentina's raw splendor and diversity is unparalleled. Don't miss the chance to experience the surreal beauty on this spectacular nine-day journey.
WINE COUNTRY ACTIVE GOURMET: This trip puts you in the hands of experts and artisans for a rare and unique epicurean adventure. Hike on the estate of one of the region's first winemakers, enjoy cheese tastings and picnic on mountain tops. Experience wine country through the lens of the people who live and work the land.
New Classic Insider Trips
COSTA RICA: A nature lover's dream, Costa Rica will stop you in your tracks. Stroll through the cloud forest, visit a stunning jungle waterfall and marvel at the sheer variety of wildlife, from blue morpho butterflies to moss-covered sloths to dozens of hummingbird species.
PERU: A stunning tapestry of Andean landscapes, Inca history and Quechua tradition, this trip wraps you in the essence of Peru. Witness a mélange of cultures in Cusco, meet folk musicians, ceramic artisans and weavers, and explore the mysterious citadel of Machu Picchu.
VIETNAM & CAMBODIA: A sail among the limestone peaks in Halong Bay. Footpaths that snake through secluded rice paddies. A quiet nod from villagers leading buffalo to water. Touching the ethereal ruins of Angkor with your own hands. Full of color and intrigue, this Southeast Asian journey is unlike anything else.
YELLOWSTONE & TETONS: The Wyoming landscape is a living geology lesson that will change everything for you. Take in every piece of these amazing national parks—from the dramatic vertical peaks of the Tetons to Yellowstone's mesmerizing geysers and bizarre mud pots—with geologists, wranglers, guides and locals.
New Family Biking Trips
BERLIN TO DRESDEN: Ride the trail that was once the Berlin Wall, experience the splendor of Dresden, and pedal past lush forests, through quaint old-world towns and over shimmering waterways. Witness Germany's culture, cuisine, history and humanity on this family adventure.
ISRAEL: A dazzling fusion of past and present, Israel will captivate you at every turn. On this trip, you'll delve deeply into this ancient and holy land, discovering a rich tapestry of cultures and diverse landscape via the unique perspective that only a bicycle can offer.
NORTHERN ARGENTINA & A TASTE OF BRAZIL: A trip that your family will be talking about for a lifetime, this adventure includes the awe-inspiring Iguazú Falls, a visit to Argentina's most stunning colonial city and a spin through Quebrada de Cafayate, a brilliant canyon of undulating reds and golds punctuated with dramatically eroded rock formations.
SANTA BARBARA & OJAI VALLEY: From orange groves to palm trees to sunsets that just don't quit, California's Central Coast is a wonderland of natural beauty and a spectacular cycling destination. With galleries, surf shops and wine-tasting rooms, Santa Barbara offers something for travelers of all ages.
STOCKHOLM & COPENHAGEN: Experience freshly baked cinnamon buns in Sweden, see Viking ships up close in Denmark, and ride along a fjord—one of the most amazing land formations on the planet. This journey is your chance to find out just why the Nordic people are so happy.
TUSCANY: Sample fresh Tuscan specialties at an agriturismo, pedal serene roads past olive orchards, farmhouses and wheat fields, and stroll through the narrow lanes and pretty piazzas of tiny towns on this Italian family adventure.
VIETNAM & CAMBODIA: Watch your family's eyes grow wider each day on this truly unforgettable adventure. Walk through a long-lost capital city. Explore mysterious temples and ancient ruins. Glide quietly past homes perched high on stilts. Discover bustling markets, vibrant cultures and a Southeast Asia you never knew existed.
New Family Multisport Trips
BELIZE & GUATEMALA: Experience Belize and Guatemala up close—explore caves, dive in a barrier reef, hear a howler monkey, spot toucans, stroll across a suspension bridge, wander Maya ruins. You and your family will find a new adventure at every turn on this seven-day journey through rain forests, up mountains and along the coast.
CRATER LAKE: Splashing and rafting on the Deschutes River, an overnight at the historic (and maybe haunted!) Crater Lake Lodge, kid-size hikes and an option for adults to bike the crater's rim: this six-day adventure is the perfect family getaway.
EVERGLADES TO KEY WEST: Breathtaking and unique, the Florida Keys offer an experience as adventurous as you want it to be. There are gators in the swamps, eccentric locals on the streets, spas to be pampered in, wetlands to explore, and wild stories to hear on this family escapade.
NICARAGUA & COSTA RICA: The list of highlights on this family adventure goes on and on: a steaming volcano, three waterfalls in a cloud forest, fresh roasted coffee and a soak in a volcanic mineral spring. Just picking a favorite wildlife sighting will be tough when there are monkeys, iguanas and sloths to choose from!
REDWOOD EMPIRE: You and your family are in for a treat in this peaceful and verdant kingdom. Camp among 300-foot-tall trees, hike a canyon smothered in ferns, play on wild north coast beaches amid magical fog-filtered light, and kayak on a pristine lagoon on this colossal family adventure.
New Family Insider Trips
COSTA RICA: Delve into Costa Rica's natural wonders and cultural riches. Travel from wildlife-rich national parks to the shell-strewn coast and into the homes of our longtime friends, who happily share Costa Rican traditions and the pura vida lifestyle.
YELLOWSTONE & TETONS: Join us on this in-depth and expertly crafted exploration of two of America's crown jewel national parks. In the Tetons, marvel at glacial lakes, alpine meadows and dramatically vertical peaks. Then head to Yellowstone to walk amid some of the most extraordinary geothermal activity on earth, including Upper Geyser Basin and Old Faithful.
New Family Breakaway Biking Trips
BERLIN & DRESDEN: From cosmopolitan Berlin and the World Heritage site of Potsdam to villages that keep centuries-old Slavic traditions alive, pedal through some of Eastern Germany's most fascinating regions. Pastoral landscapes, Michelin-starred meals and Baroque splendor await on this six-day adventure.
CHINA: Traveling through China by bike shows you the country in a way you can't see by any other means. This adventure explores everything from Canton to Beijing and the rural places in between, and in the process reveals the real China, up close and personal.
GREECE: Like a gift from the gods, Crete is a cyclist's paradise. Find your rhythm on this six-day journey as you pedal seemingly forgotten roads on the outskirts of bustling port towns and savor tranquil moments at seaside cafés overlooking the sparkling blue Aegean Sea.
LOIRE VALLEY: The perfect Loire Valley sojourn, this trip spins through idyllic landscape: graceful castles, pocket-sized villages and a rolling symphony of grapevines, fruit trees and rivers. The sumptuous cuisine and delicious chenin blanc are icing on the cake.
NORTHERN ARGENTINA & A TASTE OF BRAZIL:Whether you've explored other parts of Argentina or you're a first-time visitor, you'll love venturing off the beaten path on this eight-day adventure. Visit an artisanal cheese factory, spend the night at a beautifully preserved 18th-century working estancia and conquer a 10,000-foot pass as you pedal up to the arid Andean altiplano.
PUGLIA: You may feel you've strayed into Greece but this trip highlights Puglia's distinctive appeal: silvery-gray olive trees, a rugged coastline, the sparkling blue-green Adriatic and trulli, the unusual stone buildings unique to this area. The heel of Italy's boot is the perfect escape.
SANTA BARBARA & OJAI VALLEY: The exhilarating California hills offer first-rate biking on this trip, as do the palm-fringed bike paths along the sun-kissed coast of the "American Riviera." And a wealth of diversions await along the way—quaint towns, historic sites, a nature reserve and stunning views of the Pacific Coast and Channel Islands.
SICILY: An island almost as close to Africa as to Europe, Sicily is home to architectural monuments from centuries past, local cuisine that raises the bar and some of Europe's friendliest hosts. On this journey, you'll pedal through orange groves above the Mediterranean Sea as Mount Etna simmers on the horizon.
STOCKHOLM & COPENHAGEN: Pedal easygoing terrain on a bike-friendly mix of country lanes, coastal roads and cycling path—some of the best urban biking landscapes on the planet are right here in this six-day Nordic adventure. You and your family will marvel at magnificent castles and medieval landmarks set against the pristine beauty of the Baltic sea.
TURKEY: Our adventure in Turkey explores the warm friendly Turkish coastline by day and splits nights between spectacular hotels and a Turkish gulet, serenely floating on the Mediterranean. Pedal past pine forests and olive groves, then pass evenings stargazing and enjoying small plates of almonds, honey and fresh cheeses.
TUSCANY: Tuscany isn't a destination. It's a sublime experience. Our family cycling trip features views that will stop you on your bike, turn after turn. And that's only what you'll see; the flavors you'll discover include local olive oil, pecorino and, of course, delicious handmade pasta.
TUSCANY & UMBRIA: Get ready to have your expectations exceeded on our cycling exploration of some of Italy's most distinctive regions. Splendid wines, handmade pastas and gracious hotels round out our days spent visiting hilltop towns, stunning old churches and quaint medieval streets.
New Family Breakaway Multisport Trips
COSTA RICA: If variety is the spice of life, then Costa Rica is about as piquant as travel destinations come. From stunning volcanoes and lush rain forests to palm-studded beaches and barren lava fields, this action-packed multisport trip has the kick to keep up with the country.
HAWAII'S BIG ISLAND: From the emerald-green cliffs and jaw-dropping waterfall views at Waipio Valley Lookout to the glowing lava flow in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, this island journey has no shortage of drama. Take in each day’s adventure before relaxing with a tropical smoothie, cup of Kona brew, or blissful spa treatment.