Not a single complaint. Not even a sibling spat. Not while we're biking in sweltering 100-degree weather. And not while we're biking in a downpour. "I've never seen 30 people volunteer to bike in the rain, and smile about it," said my daughter, Reggie Foldes. Anyone who has traveled with kids knows it's rare--very rare--for such amiability on a family vacation. "We're usually arguing about everything, even where to eat," said Jenna Bronfman, 18. That's one reason why her parents and the other families had signed on for this Backroads trip for families with "Older Teens and 20-Somethings" in Europe. "Backroads takes all that stress away," explained Jenna's dad, Matt Bronfman, noting this is his family's fourth Backroads trip.
How do you narrow down days of hiking with your favorite people--amid some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable--into a "top 3" list? It's not easy. But I always appreciate tips from other travelers to help me make my travel decisions, so here we go...
Welcome to Split, capital of Dalmatia and the second-largest town in all of Croatia. Thanks to the unstoppable style of its natives, this bustling city-by-the-sea is a fantastic place to visit and one of Eastern Europe’s best-kept secrets.
Iceland is frequently referred to as "the land of fire and ice." It is an otherworldly landscape and one of the few places on the planet where volcanoes and glaciers coexist. But with its spectacular waterfalls, hot springs like the Blue Lagoon and a sea rich with Viking lore, Iceland should be called the land of fire, ice and WATER!
Whether it's swapping stories with a friend or traveling with a group of Backroads guests on our Douro Valley River Cruise, I can't help but share all the fascination and stories about port wine production and the country of Portugal. It's all just so darn good.
One of the reasons that Europe is so special is that, within a relatively small geographic area, you can visit incredibly diverse landscapes with their own histories, cultures and scenic wonders. While Backroads provides everything you'll need to enjoy any of our trips, these 10 destinations are especially great for first time travelers to Europe. With accessible airports and hotels, friendly locals who often speak English and dependable public transportation, among other welcoming attributes, they offer a perfect introduction to European beauty, food and charm.
The vastness and beauty of Norway’s fjords and lands are beyond description and must be experienced to be appreciated. Backroads took our group to areas of Norway most tours and visitors will never see. Every detail was planned and balanced with enough free time and choice of daily hikes depending on how one felt that day. This trip was perfect for our group of seven women, giving us the freedom to simply enjoy Norway, have fun and create memories together.
According to a local saying in Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, "Those loved by God are brought here"--a sentiment easy to understand as the Bavarian Alps can seem like heaven on Earth. For my family (myself, my Backroads husband and our toddler), it's our favorite place in the world to play and relax.
It's the second winter that I'm spending in Copenhagen, the city that also happens to be the destination of Backroads' Stockholm to Copenhagen cycling voyage. Up here in the North, the winter days are short, sunrise is late and counting the hours to sunset does not require all fingers of both hands. Sometimes it seems as if the cold is not only freezing the lakes and ponds in the countless parks and city gardens, but it is also freezing time. The hands of the watch slow their pace, as if they want to save energy for the long awaited summer, when suddenly music festivals, foodie fairs and street galleries pop up at every corner as if they were tulips and Copenhagen was not a city, but a large, fertile field. While summer is the perfect time to explore Copenhagen's art and food scene, the slow winter is well-suited to chat up the locals and engage in some philosophizing, especially when a few sun rays manage to break through the cloudy sky.
Twenty years ago, I found myself in Slovenia for the first time. I had never heard of it; to me, it was just a rumor, a whisper of adventure, a place where few were aiming their sights. "You've gotta check it out, man. No one even knows it's there." So, with very little thought and absolutely no plans, my friends and I grabbed our bags and set out for the station.