Everybody loves a great hotel. And we all love that moment of discovery: walking into an elegant lobby or stepping into our luxurious room with a view out the window that reminds us we're somewhere special--whether it's a sweeping seascape or a snowcapped mountain peak. I've been fortunate to stay at some truly amazing hotels while leading trips for Backroads, and here are seven that stand out.
Lasagna, pizza, bolognese, tortellini, Chianti... the list goes on. It's safe to say the Italians have cracked some kind of food and wine code. With dining traditions nearly as rich as their Parmigiano-Reggiano, there's more to learn than the old "spaghetti fork spin" we all know and love. This post will talk about the lesser-known culinary traditions in this beautiful country and the golden rules you must know before your next Italian adventure. Let's dig in (pun intended).
Imagine taking a trip to drink champagne in Champage or port wine in Porto. What could be more satisfying? Answer: If that same trip has you biking the incredible Rue des Vins d'Alsace or hiking along the Douro River Valley's terraced vineyards between sips. With these top trips for wine enthusiasts, you can savor the local lifeblood while actively exploring stunning wine regions around the world!
Many of our trips have a Michelin-starred restaurant (or two!) as part of their program. Speaking just for France, we work with more than 20 starred restaurants! While it can take more than a year to get a seat at one of these prestigious tables, Backroads guarantees that you'll get to enjoy this incredible cuisine. We work hard to create a privileged partnership with these restaurants and have a unique experience at their properties. More than just a dinner, a Michelin-starred meal is a moment and a souvenir that stays in your mind for years!
Bend lies in the shadow of the Cascade Mountain Range and sits on the edge of the Deschutes River. She's quaint. She has a huge food scene, roasts amazing coffee, brews delicious beer, hosts live music on the river every week, and offers incredible hiking, biking and fly fishing within inches of her city center.
If I learned one thing while studying in Switzerland, it’s that fondue brings people together. Fondue in winter warms you up from the inside. Summer fondue is a naughty pleasure, like a morning mimosa. Should you find yourself high in the mountains after a day of hiking or cycling, starting to shiver beneath the green-cheese moon—maybe it’s time to ditch the diet and dip in.
I grew up smack-dab in between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara… That gorgeous drive up the 101 freeway never gets old--thousands of acres of California's farms ultimately give way to majestic mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Between the years of family trips to Santa Barbara and the years of driving through the Santa Ynez Mountains on my way to and from college, I came to master the 24-hour "must do's" in Santa Barbara County. Whether you are extending your stay before or after any of the Southern California Backroads trips or just planning a California road trip, I highly recommend exploring the history, beauty and tranquility Santa Barbara County has to offer. Here are some of my local favorites.
I have become an aficionado of Piedmont wines, which surprisingly are quite varied. Guests on the trips that I lead in Piedmont can expect to leave with a heavy dose of wine knowledge and encouragement to swirl, sniff and taste the different varietals. Although there are many to choose from, I like to encourage visitors to taste the three main reds: Barbera, Dolcetto and Nebbiolo.
The North Atlantic waters off the coast of Iceland are frigid, rough and can turn on a dime, yet within them live some of the region’s most precious resources: fish and crustaceans. Each year more and more visitors are being exposed to the region's marine cuisine, from pickled herring to dried fish. Eating Icelandic seafood can take a bit of an open mind and an adventurous palate, but when you find your preferred taste it's pure glory.
Taking in one of the greatest wonders of the world can really work up an appetite. Eat up these tips on where to dine in the lost city of the Incas--or enjoy a few favorites down below in the town of Aguas Calientes.