Pedal power has to be the most rewarding way to enjoy the United States – your own efforts powering you on, the chance to stop anywhere you please, and watching the world go by with the wind in your hair and friends in your slipstream.
It has become very fashionable indeed to sit on a bike in your bedroom recently. Pedalling in full Lycra while looking at a little screen full of other computer bikers all “climbing a mountain” together. Nobody seems to know who invented the bike, but whoever it was surely didn’t have this in mind. Put the wheels on the floor. Get out the front door, explore, and have an IRL adventure like no other.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
There are countless cycling paths and routes across America, every state offering a unique and exhilarating choice of places to savour upon a saddle. Here are seven spectacular routes to whet your appetite for an exciting and liberating journey on two wheels.
Natchez Trace Pathway – Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee
Three states, 444mi (715km) and infinite beauty. This historic travel corridor dates back 10,000 years. Yet across all those millennia, there has never been a better time to saddle up and cycle along it – and not just because of the relatively recent invention of asphalt. The scenery changes slowly as you make your way, offering up epic forests, peaceful waterways and astonishing waterfalls. And along the way are numerous reasons to stop – so leave yourself plenty of time. Cyclist-only campsites, sensational Southern cuisine, waterfall hikes, fabulous fishing – you may never leave this wonderful place. You’re better off attempting the full ride in spring or fall, as it can get pretty hot and humid in the summer months.
East Camino Cielo Road – Santa Barbara, California
This three-hour ride is perhaps the most staggering to make the list. And since it only takes up half the day you can still have an afternoon enjoying the delights of local wineries. Win-win. Travel along a single-lane road on the ridge of a mountain range (including Santa Barbara’s highest point, La Cumbre Peak) and enjoy great views of the city and the sea. It’s not the easiest ride on the list, but, with a nice mix of climbs and cruises, it’s perfectly doable for fit beginners.
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail – Alaska
This is the only ride on the list during which you might see a beluga whale. There’s a distinct possibility you’ll see a bald eagle, too – and even a moose. All potentially rather distracting – so take it slow on this 11mi (18km) stretch of paved, car-free road that snakes along the Cook Inlet coast through towering forests. If the animals don’t show up, fear not, you will definitely see North America’s highest peak Mount Denali. You’re also guaranteed extraordinary views of downtown Anchorage, the Chugach Mountains, Mount Susitna and Fire Island. This easy route, named after a former Alaska governor, is one of four greenbelt trails in Anchorage so if you find yourself wanting more you’re in luck.
Arkansas River Trail System, Little Rock – Arkansas
Arguably the best bike trail in the south, this 88mi (142km) loop connects 38 parks, across 5,000 acres (2,023ha) of parkland, and will see you ride past six museums, all worthy of a stop. Scenic breaks abound, thanks to the glorious Arkansas River. You’ll coast through Little Rock, North Little Rock, Maumelle and Conway, enjoying an array of habitats, landscapes and activities. If you’re a fan of Bill Clinton, you can pop into the Clinton Presidential Library; for those who prefer outdoor adventures stop in Two Rivers Park, swap your wheels for hooves for a while and enjoy the wooded wetlands on horseback. And, in Burns Park, you’ll find more reasons to lock up the bike for a while, thanks to a 36-hole golf course and a fishing pier.
Crested Butte – Colorado
This town, which sounds like the name of an exotic bird, is considered one of the homes of the founding fathers of mountain biking. And it is just about as wholesome and outdoorsy a place as you can get. The surrounding area is peppered with alpine trails, but the place to pop your two-wheel Colorado cherry has to be the 401 Loop. It’s 14mi (23km) of ups and downs that lead to the 11,339ft (3,456m) summit with 360-degree views of the Elk Mountains. Along the way you’ll enjoy alpine lakes, aspen groves and shoulder-high skunk cabbage. A climb to start you off is swiftly rewarded, as all climbs have flower-filled surrounds and a gentle downhill meander.
Root River State Trail, Fountain to Houston – Minnesota
If you’re a paranoid cyclist convinced something is going to go wrong with your wheels, there is no better place to bike than this 42mi (68km) paved rail-trail. In this relatively short distance there are six bike tune-up stations (complete with air pumps and bike maintenance tools galore) which were installed as part of the state’s Pedal Minnesota initiative. What this tells you is that they love cyclists in this part of the US. And you’re going to love them as much as they love you when you travel along this path with its limestone bluffs and cross dozens of bridges each more beautiful than the last. You’ll pass through the quaint communities of Lanesboro, Whalan, Peterson and Rushford, and witness abundant wildlife such as wild turkey, deer, hawks and rattlesnakes. You’ll also find plentiful campsites, B&Bs, restaurants and museums.
Jekyll Island – Georgia
If you prefer your bike rides to be sweat-free with swimming, this 16mi (26km) loop, on a flat, paved path, is as good as it gets. You’ll see most of the island and have the chance to stop at spots such as the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, where you can meet these stunning creatures and learn about the work done to protect them – and popular wedding location Driftwood Beach, famed for its extraordinary trees. If you’re travelling with kids or grandparents, this is the one ride on the list that you can all enjoy. Kick back a little and spend some time (ideally a night or two) at the historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel to enjoy river- and beachfront dining, a round of golf or two and the Ocean Beach Club. Make sure to pack the Verizon Visa Card so that you can earn rewards on most of the things you buy, and then redeem those rewards on…more travel!
Make sure to pack the Verizon Visa Card so you can earn rewards wherever Visa credit cards are accepted. You can then redeem those rewards on even more travel. To learn more about the Verizon Visa Card and start earning rewards, visit verizon.com/verizonvisacard.
In partnership with Verizon, CT is offering a promo code of $35 to be used across Culture Trip for one year. Enter VERIZON35 at checkout to redeem.
The Verizon Visa® Card is issued by Synchrony Bank pursuant to a license from Visa USA Inc.
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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.