Dolomites cycling vacation in Italy

“This relaxed centre-based cycle tour takes in the dramatic beauty of the Dolomites, without the need for thigh-busting climbs”

Highlights

Villabassa | Brunico | Fiscalina Valley | Talschlusshutte mountain refuge | Innichen Abbey | Drau cycle path | Lienz | Cortina d’Ampezzo | Tre Cima di Lavaredo | Casies Valley | Monguelfo

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Date
Price
Basis
08 Sep 2018
US $ 1905
excluding flights
5 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 08 Sep 2018 departure
15 Sep 2018
US $ 1995
excluding flights
6 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 15 Sep 2018 departure
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Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Dolomites cycling vacation in Italy

Accommodation & meals:
We spend the week in the family-run Hotel Adler in Villabassa, an area of the Dolomites which doesn’t see much tourism in the summer months. All breakfasts and six dinners are included, the hotel food is homemade, using locally produced and sourced goods and the hotel is well known for having an extensive herb and vegetable garden and using lots of its home grown produce in the restaurant. We have planned stopping points throughout the tour allowing our groups to eat lunch in independent restaurants and cafes and we actively look to only use independent restaurants which highlight the amazing local cuisine of the Dolomites.
The Hotel Adler has recently undergone extensive work and updated all fixtures and fittings with modern energy saving versions. This includes lighting and electricity that only turns on if a guest is in the room, toilets with multiple flush options to reduce water usage and better insulation to reduce lost heat throughout the hotel.

Energy:
Hotel Adler is currently doing a project with Alperia (local energy supplier) in order to save energy usage at the hotel. They are also cooperating with the local heating plant that uses local wood for heating
Waste: Clients are encouraged to bring a reusable water bottle in the trip notes packing section. The tap water in the hotel is drinkable so clients are encouraged to fill up water bottles at the hotel at the start of each day. Water bottles can be filled up throughout the days ride at public fountains and restaurants as all tap water in the area is from the mountains and drinkable. Picnic lunches are eaten at designated picnic areas and all waste goes into the supplied recycling or general waste bins where appropriate. This is the leader’s responsibility to ensure that all recyclable waste is recycled and our picnic areas are left clean and tidy.

Community:
At several points on the trip our groups visit market towns like Brunico, Lienz and Cortina. Here they have the opportunity to shop at small stalls and local shops for handmade gifts and local produce, not only is this a great opportunity to interact with the local community it also ensures that money is being directly injected to the community. The hotel Adler host themed evenings on each night of the tour and brings in local businesses and people from the community to supply food, music, drinks and entertainment for hotel guests. One of the most popular nights is Bavarian night when the local butcher supplies and serves all starters for the evening meal and the town accordion players supply the music.Christian (Hotel owner) is a member of the South Tyrol Little Lions club. They support and encourage local children to get involved in outside projects and activities in the local area. Lots of these projects and events are based at the Hotel Adler.

Guides:
We use a local provider for our hire bikes, transfers and accommodation. All staff employed by our local partners are from the South Tyrol area, most are from the town of Villabassa where the tour is based. This part of the Dolomites is best known for its winter activities; operating a cycling tour in the summer months enables local business and people to work throughout the year. Our local partners pay their employees well. There is a high demand for cycling guides, mechanics and drivers with trailer licences in this area which ensures good wages are paid out in order to keep staff. There are a lot of qualifications needed to operate cycling tours in the Dolomites; this ensures that all our staff are well trained and up to date with relevant courses and training opportunities. All services (bike hire, internal transfers, airport transfers, route logistics, mechanics) are supplied through a local company who are based in Toblach, a town also in the Puster Valley.

Activity:
As a cycling vacation, this trip has very limited detrimental impact upon the environment, residents and communities in the regions we visit. Use of the bikes allows us to cover fairly large distances, while offering very little adverse impact, like pollution and threat to wildlife. Cycling also allows for easy access to the local population, shops and restaurants, which facilitates cultural exploration. Lots of the cycling on this trip follows the newly constructed parts of the Euro Velo bike paths through the Dolomites, these routes make use of disused railway tracks and tunnels to link the towns surrounding Villabassa and allow access to areas that would not normally be visited by tourists. By hiring our bikes locally, we also give our business to small Italian suppliers, which is beneficial for the community. Through this activity, we are able to raise local awareness for a kind of tourism which refuses to sacrifice the environment and allows real connections with people.

Group size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in a unique, family-run hotel that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to its limited size.

UK office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK office. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.






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