Category Archives: Activities

How to See Puffins in Iceland

What do you know about puffins? They're smaller than penguins, they live in Iceland, and they're cute. Great! Unfortunately, they're also elusive little creatures, with unique and specific migratory patterns and a habit of nesting in remote hundred-meter cliffs. Like the Northern Lights, puffins are unpredictable, but here are a few suggestions of where and when you're more likely to spot them.

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Africa’s Wildlife: The Big Five

Game hunters in Africa originally coined the phrase "Big Five" to describe the five animals deemed hardest and most dangerous to hunt on foot: the elephant, lion, rhinoceros, leopard and buffalo. Because of their size, aggression, intelligence and speed, these animals were trophies that came with significant risk, and were therefore prized above all others. Safari operators now use that same phrase to describe the animals they know their clients hope to "shoot" with their cameras.

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Fun Family Vacation in Costa Rica

Over the holidays, I lead Backroads family trips in Costa Rica. Since schools are on break during this time, it makes for a great chance to take a family vacation. And a trip together is the perfect occasion to strengthen family bonds, make memories that last a lifetime and even create new traditions.

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Enliven Your Senses in Granada, Spain

Crossing paths with the thousands of olive trees strewn on the surrounding hills, it was hard for me to imagine that behind them was the most enchanting city I would encounter in Spain: Granada. It now makes perfect sense as to why Backroads offers an Andalucía bike tour that ends in this magical city.

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On a Winter’s Day in Copenhagen

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.

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Hut-to-Hut Hiking in the Dolomites

Back in 1996, I was tasked with a dream research assignment at Backroads. The mission, which I gladly accepted, was to create an all-new luxury hiking itinerary in Italy’s prized Dolomite region. Stunning mountain peaks, fairy-tale valleys, an abundance of cozy accommodations and, best of all, the comfort of Italian cuisine made me an instant fan of this compact alpine playground.

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Breathtaking Bermuda

They say that in Bermuda, "You can shake the sand from your shoes but it will never leave your soul." I truly felt this when I visited for my first time to do research for our new Bermuda biking trip. Bermuda rests about 650 miles east of South Carolina’s coast and is incredibly rich with culture, passion, energy and color...

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Top 10 Cycling Roads in the Americas

Before I became a Backroads Trip Leader, a crazy project took me on a bicycle adventure along the spine of the Americas, from northern Canada to southern Argentina, chasing down the Rockies, the Sierra Madre and the Andes mountains. Here is what I consider to be the Top 10 Best Roads Segments from that trip. This list includes different sceneries, jaw-dropping sights and some of the places that made me shout out "wow" uncontrollably. Moreover, some of these routes can be experienced on your next Backroads adventure!

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Loving London over Reason

It was like yesterday. It was almost yesterday. But it was actually 7 months to the day that I left London, my home for four years, to return to the Bay Area. England, however, has woven itself into my being and I still feel within me the madness and wonder that life in London brings... I can't tell you what it all meant to me, what it means to me, but I can share with you some of my favorite places that moved me to love London over reason. You will find them a great addition to visiting traditional tourist attractions. They are places that I and other Londoners enjoy over and over. Which ones will keep you going back?

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Active Trips That Let You Do It Your Way

Mixed abilities, mixed interests, mixed goals, or maybe mixed inclinations. Whatever label we put on it, this is one of the key quality factors that differentiate Backroads: choice. You choose where you want to go, who you want to travel with, what activities you want to enjoy – and for how long or how far. The leaders are not there to decide your day, but to see what you want to do and help make it happen.

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