Chattanooga, TN, December 2006 — BikeToursDirect, the one-stop resource for bicycle tours in Europe, has announced its 2007 roster of more than 200 guided and self-guided cycling programs in 30 countries. The line-up includes expanded programs in popular regions such as the Danube, Tuscany and Provence and up-and-coming bike tour destinations such as Slovenia and Croatia. New family-friendly tours, multi-sport programs, and bike/boat packages have also been added.
Rather than offer its own tours, BikeToursDirect represents more than 40 European bike tour operators, allowing it to offer many weekly and daily departures and prices that average 40 percent below United States-based bike tour companies. Self-guided tours start at less than €500 ($665) per person, double, for one week including hotels, breakfasts, luggage transfers and rental bikes. Guided tours start at about €700 ($931) per week and add support vans, dinners and guides.
BikeToursDirect’s web site, www.biketoursdirect.com, helps travelers find tours that match their preferences. The site’s “TourFinder” lets visitors specify destinations, interests, dates and level of difficulty and presents detailed information on matching tours. Advice and support are also offered by telephone at (877)462-2423 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . Clients book online and the company handles all aspects of the process — reservations, payments and contact with the tour companies. The site offers extensive reference information such as packing lists, fitness tips, links to related sites and a new message board for clients to share trip experiences and offer tips.
BikeToursDirect has expanded both the variety and types of tours in many regions. For example, the company offers 10 different programs along Austria’s Danube Bike Path including self-guided, guided and bike and boat programs as well as a new “families-only” program. Eight tours lead to or through Tuscany including leisurely self-guided programs from Venice to Florence, more challenging tours from Florence to Rome, and “training tours” guided by pro cyclists in the Tuscan hills. Slovenia features 11 different programs including easy “wine and spa” tours across rolling vineyards, tougher tours crossing the Julian Alps, and multi-sport programs with hiking, biking and rafting.
BikeToursDirect has also responded to client demand by adding to the bike and boat programs, which combine the relaxation of shipboard life and the ease of exploring the passing countryside by bicycle. Among the nearly 40 choices are bike and barge programs in Holland, France, Germany and Austria and island hopping tours on schooners and motor yachts along the coasts of Croatia, Greece and Turkey. The 250-foot barge MS Florentina is new along the popular Danube Bike Path with one-week tours from Passau to Vienna starting at €665 ($885). Travelers explore the National Parks of Dalmatia in Croatia aboard the 30-passenger motor yacht MS Linda, with rates starting at €820 ($1,090). The wooden two-master MS Andreas, with 12 cabins, visits Greece’s Cyclade Islands with one-week cruises from €960 ($1,275).
Besides the many family-friendly tours already offered, the company has added several “families-only” tours in 2007 such as the one-week bike and barge trip “Family Special: The IJssellake,” on the former Zuiderzee, targeted for families with children ages seven and older. It offers shorter daily rides and child-friendly activities such as paddling “whisper boats” along canals, an amusement park, a dolphin show and a day at the beach. Prices start at €398 ($529) per person for a family of four.
BikeToursDirect has added its first multi-sport programs including the nine-day “Slovenia Multi-Sport Adventure” with guided hiking, biking and rafting adventure in Slovenia. Hikes range from mountain trails and underground cave passages, while cycling excursions explore charming villages and ride hilly trails bordering on Italy. Rafting is on the blue-green, wild waters of the Soca River; travelers can also try more extreme sports like canyoning. Prices start at €870 ($1,157).
The Danube Bike Path was the company’s most popular tour in 2006 thanks in great part to its easy terrain, dedicated bike route and excellent signage. The six- to 10-day self-guided tour starts daily in Passau or Linz and journeys along some of the most beautiful stretches of the Danube, passing vineyards, ancient castles and abbeys and charming towns and villages, before ending in Vienna, Austria’s capital and cultural center. Starting rates range from €375 ($499) per person, double, for six days, to €657 ($874) for 10 days.
Provence tours are favorites for travelers wishing to mix cycling with culture, history, nature and French cuisine. The eight-day “Provence-Camargue” tour combines the Provençal lifestyle, lush valleys, medieval cultural centers and unique connections to some of the world’s most famous painters. The route traverses the Camargue, a nature reserve known for its wild white horses, black bulls, pink flamingos and thousands of birds, and guests spend a rest day in the Mediterranean village of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer with its fine sand beaches and narrow shop-lined streets. Self-guided prices start at €660 ($878) per person, double; the guided price is €760 ($1,011). Eight other itineraries are offered in the Provence region.
“Florence to Rome,” one of eight Tuscan itineraries, is an eight-day cycling adventure through the land of the Renaissance. The rich history and art of these two cities highlight the scenic 180-mile route through the rolling hills of Tuscany and Umbria. Small villages make way to the cities and towns of Assisi, Perugia and Spoleto, as cyclists indulge in Tuscan cuisine and world-class wines. Self-guided fares are €687 ($914); the guided alternative is €938 ($1,247).
Additional information and reservations are available at www.BikeToursDirect.com
Current Conversion 1 EURO = $1.33
For more on Cycling at ITKT