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Guest Choice: Healdsburg, CA

Just north of San Francisco in the heart of Sonoma County lies the delightful city of Healdsburg. Surrounded by three major wine-producing regions, Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valley, this is truly wine country. This charming city is a treasure for food-lovers and offers stunning views as you bike along the rolling hills of grape vines.

Our newly redesigned California Wine Country 4-Day Weekend trip takes you through these captivating landscapes and lets you unwind in the charming epicenter of Healdsburg. Here you can sip on very good wine at countless wineries and tasting rooms and feast on equally good food at one of the award-winning restaurants. In a city where old-town culture combines with new, award-winning features, Healdsburg will in some way or another win your heart. When you’ve got the time to take in the city on your own, here’s where I would go to get the most out of my visit.

Ride past vineyards on Trek Travel's California Wine Country bike tour

Where To Go to Wander: Downtown Healdsburg
Just steps away from Hotel Healdsburg, take a stroll through the downtown center surrounding the town plaza. Each block is lined with charming shops, tasting rooms, galleries and outstanding restaurants. In true Wisconsinite-fashion, I search out specialty cheese shops to indulge in new bites of local flavors. Stop by the Cheese Shop of Healdsburg for local artisan cheeses and accoutrements and take your snacks and a blanket to the plaza for a relaxing afternoon picnic. Stop for a pick-me-up with the perfect cup of coffee at Flying Goat Coffee, or for a lovely cup of tea, chai, or hot chocolate. If you have Saturday morning available, be sure to visit the Farmers’ Market one block west of the Plaza to enjoy the the local food community.

Where To Go for Baked Goodss: Downtown Bakery & Creamery
Stopping in to this family run bakery is a must while visiting Healdsburg. Owner Kathleen opened this bakery in 1987 with her friends, all former colleagues at the award-winning and renowned Chez Panisse. Today Kathleen and her children run the bakery, serving up the best baked goods in the area. Using the best local and organic ingredients they can find, the quality of their creations is impeccable. Satisfy your post-biking sweet tooth with one (or two) of the famed sticky buns, or peel apart one of their fresh, buttery croissants. Don’t miss out on trying the cinnamon and sugar-dusted donut muffin that is raved about by locals and visitors.

Where To Go to Dine: Bravas Bar de Tapas
Healdsburg is considered the gourmet center of Sonoma County, and there is no shortage for where you can grab a really great bite to eat just a walk away from your hotel. Enjoy Bravas Bar de Tapas, awarded with “One of the top 20 tapas restaurants in the US” by Travel + Leisure and a “Top 100 Bay Area Restaurant” by the San Francisco Chronicle for the past three years. This tapas bar serves up traditional Spanish and modern tapas-style dining. Owners Mark and Terri Stark are James Beard nominees and own a few restaurants in Sonoma County, this one being their newest, and well-recognized already. They have created a relaxing and fun space to share plates and sip on a cocktail from their impressive drink menu. Sit out on the patio under romantic strings of lights and share the paella with a group of friends or try a selection of smaller plates. This restaurant is a top-choice for locals and visitors, so be aware of busy weekend nights. I’d recommend calling ahead to reserve a table, 707-433-7700. Read more culinary favorites by our Trip Design Manager Meagan Coates from her trip to California Wine Country, including Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen and h2’s Spoon Bar.

Visit Healdsburg SHED on Trek Travel's California Wine Country Luxury Cycling Vacation

Where to go for a snack and shopping: SHED
Winner of a 2014 James Beard Award for restaurant design, SHED is a community gathering space designed to bring us closer to the way we grow, prepare, and share our food. Part market, part café, part farm, this culmination is a delightful stop for fresh flavors and local shopping. Earlier this year we had the honor of interviewing owner Cindy Daniel to learn more about her creation of SHED. The offerings start with a large menu selection including beverages made at their fermentation or coffee bar and a café serving up combinations of fresh, local ingredients. While you’re there pick up artisan-made goods in their packed “pantry” that you won’t be able to resist perusing. Try a refreshing kombucha or shrub at their fermentation bar or a sandwich or salad from the café, grab a seat on the terrace and enjoy.

About Guest Choice:
You will often hear us say, “It’s your day, you decide,” because our smaller group size allows the flexibility for you to decide how your day unfolds. In addition to multiple daily ride options and shuttle flexibility, this also means that we offer ‘guest choice’ nights designed for you to indulge at a local restaurant of your choosing, or explore the local sites. Whether you want to order take-out while relaxing by the hotel pool or get dressed up for a fancy dinner in town, guest choice nights let you craft your own perfect evening.

The Art of Finding a Great Hotel

The difficulty of finding a great hotel, one that meets everyone’s needs, is a pain that all travelers have felt. Yet our trip design manager, Meagan, tells us that booking the perfect hotel doesn’t have to cause headaches and anxiety. Today she shares her secrets on where to look and what questions to ask in order to get it right the first time.

“Whenever I am traveling (especially to a new destination) and I need a place to stay, I simply start by asking my friends. There is nothing quite as relevant and dependable as a strong personal recommendation. I’m lucky since most of my friends are in the travel industry and their word of mouth carries some serious weight.

Inle hotel on Trek Travel Myanmar bike tripsIf I can’t find a place I love based on what my pals have to say, I look to my favorite travel publications to see what nods they give hotels in the area that I’m planning to travel. Afar, Travel & Leisure, and the NY Times, as well as websites such as Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Relais Chateau, are all great places to look. I also check out online reviews, blogs and booking sites (such as Trip Advisor) to see how different hotels rank in the area.

Once I settle on a few options, I like to dig into the exact location on a map. Is it within walking distance to all of the attractions I would like to visit? And more importantly for me personally, what kind of restaurants are nearby? The hotel website is my next reference—I look at the rooms and room types to decide what best suits me. I look for super detailed information about the hotel breakfast and coffee options. If they don’t have great coffee I am not going! It’s sometimes nice to have tasty dining options on site and entertainment as well, even if it is just a cozy lounge or terrace with a view to enjoy a beverage.

Amorosa Hotel on Trek Travel's Bike Ride Across ItalyOf course, the amenities and services are important to keep in mind. Does the hotel have a sauna, mini bar, bike rental or fitness center? I look around the hotel site for special offers and sometimes (gasp!) even pick up the phone to see if I can talk to the friendly reservation department about getting the best room available at the best price or complimentary valet, breakfast or another perk.

After all that, I just kick back and imagine myself on vacation! If I am lucky, I won’t spend too much time at the hotel because I will be out riding my bike or exploring.”

Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge, Meagan! 

Culinary Delight

A great meal is about more than the food on your plate. A perfect atmosphere makes any meal taste richer, effortless company makes it more fulfilling, and the right beverage helps it go down easily. A wave of nostalgia always sweeps over us as we sit down to our first meal at home. We crave the flavors and the environments of far away places. Though Healdsburg and Tuscany may top our list, we know that our next vacation will bring new tastes to savor, new friends to laugh with, and new landscapes to adore.

Healdsburg, CA by Meagan Coates

I sat down at my desk after returning from a weeklong bike trip in California’s wine country with a request to write a piece on my favorite North American restaurant and I have found it nearly impossible to pick a clear winner. Napa and Sonoma biking trips with Trek Travel

My first inclination is Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg—an obvious choice as they receive so many nods in the culinary world with their fresh, local and seasonal food that is perfectly paired with a supremely local wine list and formal but non-stuffy service. Diners enjoy fresh caught fish, local duck and an array of farm-fresh vegetables in a hip and beautiful dining room with expansive ceilings and large windows.

Our Trek Travel groups even have the unique opportunity to dine in the intimate wine library off the hotel lobby after spending a day on the bike and an afternoon at the pool or spa on property. We cap it off with decadent desserts like the chocolate tart with pear sauce or the variety of fresh sorbets served in an old-fashioned soda jerk style container.

california-wine-country-weekend-02-1600x670However, I would be remiss not to mention other Healdsburg haunts like my new favorite—The Shed—located just off the square behind Hotel Healdsburg. Area farmers showcase their handmade products and provide the makings of super hydrating “shrub” drinks at the fermentation bar. I sampled the strawberry, carrot and kumquat but ultimately loved the blood orange best.

Or, just steps away are other amazing restaurants such as Willi’s Seafood, Ravenous, Bistro Ralph, Barndiva and countless others. Savor a craft cocktail at h2’s Spoon Bar (like the cucumber martini!) or just stroll around Healdsburg and you are sure to find something that suits even the most discerning palates. After visiting restaurants in every corner of the world, Healdsburg is definitely the best kept secret for foodie’s looking to travel in North America.

Tuscany, Italy by Kari Kruckow

But close your eyes and take a 6,000-mile journey across the Atlantic. Rolling green hills lined with cypress trees, sun kissed vines, slow food and delicious wines…oh and Roberto. Welcome to Tuscany!

Last week I was able to cycle through this beautiful region and experience its culture. The way Trek Travel invites you to be a local for 6 days on a Trek Bike is amazing. Cycling was the biggest highlight for me on this trip, but food was not far from the top.

I encourage you to grab a little something to munch on…I promise you will get hungry as I tell you about my favorite lunch spot on this trip: da Roberto, Taverna in Montisi.

Roberto made us all feel at home as soon as we rolled in on our bikes. He is a countryside cuciniere (cook), whose only claim is to feed himself and guests honestly. Roberto is a true joy and lives to feed people at his table. His mantra is to wake up every morning happy and build a space of peace, balance and harmony to offer to people that dine at his Taverna, which ties perfectly to the experience that you have cycling through Tuscany.

Aside from the comfort and ambiance, the food prepared was as honest, delicious, and as inspiring as the hilltops that overlook the Tuscan valley. The three-course meal was not a surprise on this Trek Travel trip, being as every meal and break on the bike offered plenty of fuel for the calories burned that day.

Tuscany LuxuryRoberto started off the lunch with a unique bean and carrot salad. It goes without saying, but the beans sourced from a local farmer, the carrots grown in his garden behind the restaurant. Food aside, one of the best “accents” to the menu was Roberto’s story behind each dish, his amicability is contagious with every guest that comes into his “home.” Next was the homemade pasta with a true Italian Ragu sauce, to coin a phrase, “mama, mia!” The lunch ended with three dessert options, my favorite was the panna cotta with berries. It provided just enough guilt and enough fulfillment to encourage the balance of the gorgeous ride that afternoon.

Roberto is proud of his food by identifying flavors by gathering fresh, local ingredients, protecting the value of biodiversity, and visiting farms for fresh cheeses and to certify the quality of his meal.

Roberto’s lunch experience was enriching on all levels and what made for a perfect afternoon was the short bike ride to a beautiful accommodation, which felt like an estate and offered a very relaxing evening.

What can I say, Tuscany is tasteful in so many ways. And it is certainly my favorite culinary delight in Europe.

La Course: First Women’s Tour de France Race 27th July 2014

As the clock strikes noon on the final day of the Tour de France, July 27, 2014, twenty teams of six riders will race around the Champs-Elysees circuit a total of thirteen times to complete an iconic photo finish.

Silque_AR5Q6689AThe inaugural La Course female race is sure to be a day to remember as the event promises to bring together the crème de la crème of women’s cycling as the top ten women’s teams are invited along with the top five national teams and five invited wild-card teams.

The women’s peloton will race on a 90km course leading into a historic finish in Paris and where it is likely to end in a sprint finish. Prizes will include intermediate sprints for the best sprinter’s classification on each of the first eleven laps and a prize for the best young rider under 25-years-of-age in addition to the honor of standing on the podium as the first ever queens of the Tour to be crowned by male blackboard official and kissed by podium boys.

In addition to the 100 cyclists in the female peloton, policewomen from the Paris Police Prefecture will be responsible for watching over La Course, which will also have a 100% female jury. Tour de FranceThe winner of La Course will collect a prize of €22,500, the same sum awarded to the men’s Tour stage winners. For cyclists the world over, especially females, this day will be one for the record books.

Join Trek Travel with front row seats at an exclusive viewing of the finish of both La Course and Le Tour behind the security lines at the prestigious Automobile Club de France in Paris. In this elegant venue on the magnificent Place de la Concorde, guests will savor a celebratory glass of champagne and a lavish buffet while watching each race unfold. Enjoy the fanfare and excitement of the 1st La Course and the 101st edition of the Tour de France finish as well. Visit Trek Travel’s website for details.

Final Trip Preparation…

Ed: Last week our Trip Design Manager, Meagan, spent a week out in the field with a few of our guides getting ready for our California Wine Country bike trips. What follows is her experiences.

I’ve always known our Trek Travel guides work hard. Until this past week, though, I had no idea just how hard. The final trip preparation is the time for our guides to put the finishing touches what has been laid out by our expert trip designers. I had the unique opportunity to shadow the final trip preparation for our 10th Anniversary edition California Wine Country Luxury trip and three of our top-notch guides, Rustin, Greg and Jason gave me an inside perspective on the whole process.

We rode and drove all of the bike routes, detailing every turn, tracking mileage and modifying when there were road closures, traffic or other unforeseen issues along the way. We met with hotel managers, restaurant maitre’d and servers, local bike shops, spas and specialty shops, working tirelessly to make the trip flow without a hitch. We selected picture perfect picnic locales and sketched out the tablescapes in addition to seeking out local specialties and recipes for delectable roadside feasts. Each and every reservation was confirmed from start to finish. They wrenched on bikes, getting each one dialed for the guests soon to arrive. It’s no wonder our guests rave abut the seamless flexibility of our trips—it’s all by design and hard work of our Jacks and Jills of all trades, our extremely professional and fun Trek Travel guides.

Here are some photos of what was an exciting (albeit a bit exhausting) week in California. Don’t worry, we managed to have some fun along the way. We told jokes, had competitions to see who could come up with the best ways to use the word of the day, tried out some spectacular local fare and I even got to visit the Redwood forest that I haven’t seen since I was a kid. So, take it from me, the next time you’re enjoying aTrek Travel adventure be sure to thank your guides not just for the stellar service they provide each day during the trip but for all the preparation that goes into arranging a cycling vacation of a lifetime.

Increase Happiness By 50%

Since it’s Bike to Work day, we asked Meagan, our Trip Design Manager, to tell us her thoughts on biking to work in the bike friendly town of Madison, WI.

How does 20 minutes each day improve my happiness level by 50%? I will tell you how: biking to work. Seriously, it takes me 10 extra minutes each direction to bike rather than drive to my office and I start and finish my days AT LEAST 50% happier than when I drive. There’s just something about it: it could be as simple as breathing in the fresh morning air, or the smiles I get along the way from other commuters. Or maybe it is that tiny bit of sweat that I get when I climb the little hill on my wayback to my house that makes me feel like I accomplished something and inspires me for my workout. I love the way biking to work makes me feel and now that I have my routine, it isn’t a huge commitment.

Trust me, I know what it is like to come up with excuses not to ride to work. Things like, “I have a meeting out of the office and I might need to drive there” or “what if something happens at home and I need to rush there in my car?” or “I hate helmet hair”. Well, the fact is that it just isn’t that big of a deal. Nine times out of ten, I can borrow a car in an emergency and I can almost always bike instead of ride to places in town (and it is much more enjoyable). My hair doesn’t get too messed up, I don’t need to wear dorky cycling clothes or worry about being super sweaty (we also have a shower at work when I really need it). I can also carry whatever I need in my backpack or panniers.There are just no good excuses in the summertime not to bike to work.



If a date is marked as Private, it is reserved for a private group.

Looking to travel with a small group or looking for a custom date?
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What is the Difference?

Ultimate Luxury:

Savor some of the most spectacular, 5-star properties in the world. Exuding luxury and elegance, these one-of-a-kind accommodations offer the chance to rejuvenate at award-winning spas, dine at Michelin-starred restaurants, and more.


Enjoy luxurious accommodations handpicked for a refined experience. From signature spa treatments to delicious local cuisine, you’ll be more than provided for; you’ll be pampered.


These handpicked hotels provide relaxation and fun in a casual and comfortable environment. Delicious cuisine and great service mix perfectly for a memorable stay.


On select cycling vacations, you’ll stay at a mix of Explorer and Luxury hotels. Rest assured, no matter which hotel level you’re at, our trip designers carefully select every accommodation.

Activity Level

Level 1:

Road: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 25 mi (40 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Gravel: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 20 mi (35 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 1-3 hours of hiking. Up to 5 mi (8 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Level 2:

Road: 2-4 hours of riding. 20-35 mi (35-60 km). Up to 2,500 ft (750 m).

Gravel: 2-4 hours of riding. 15-30 mi (25-45 km). Up to 2,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 2-4 hours of hiking. 4-8 mi (6-12 km). Up to 1,500 ft (450 m).

Level 3:

Road: 3-5 hours of riding. 25-55 mi (40-85 km). Up to 4,500 ft (1,500 m).

Gravel: 3-5 hours of riding. 20-40 mi (35-60 km). Up to 3,000 ft (900 m).

Hiking: 3-5 hours of hiking. 6-10 mi (9-16 km). Up to 2,000 ft (600 m).

Level 4:

Road: 4+ hours of riding. 40-70 mi (60-110 km). Up to 8,000 ft (2,400 m).

Gravel: 4+ hours of riding. 30-50 mi (45-80 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

Hiking: 4+ hours of hiking. 7-15 mi (11-24 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

What are your trip styles?

Classic - Reserve:

Savor the finer things as you relax in luxurious 5-star accommodations and wine, dine, and ride in some of the most unforgettable destinations around the world.

Classic - Signature:

Explore beautiful destinations by bike, enjoy extra inclusions, savor delicious local cuisine, and enjoy the perfect mix of accommodations.

Classic - Discover:

Enjoy a casual cycling vacation with fantastic routes and comfortable accommodations.

Ride Camp:

Train like the pros in some of their favorite riding destinations.

Pro Race:

See the pros in action at the biggest cycling events of the year.

Cross Country:

Tackle an epic adventure that takes you point-to-point across mountains, countryside, and more.


Enjoy a bike tour on your schedule with just your chosen travel companions.

Single Occupancy

Sometimes it’s more convenient and comfortable to have your own room while on vacation. We understand and that’s why we offer a Single Occupancy option. The additional price guarantees a private room all to yourself