What To Expect
Van Gogh Tours is a family owned and operated company that has been conducting European bicycling and walking vacations for over twenty years, since 1992.
VGT’s owner, Emma Lewin has a long-term commitment to making sure that everything about your VGT vacation is “just right”. Emma’s grandparents, Mike Sorgi and Huibertha van Teunenbroek started the company, and now they’ve passed the torch on to their adventurous granddaughter, who will continue running the tours in the same “Van Gogh” fashion. For the guided hotel tours in the Netherlands and Belgium, Emma directly manages all cycling and walking tour details from route selection to restaurant menu coordination. She has personally researched and arranged numerous cultural experiences that will make your active vacation a rich and rewarding experience that you’ll remember for years to come. Our associates in Europe organize the guided bicycle and walking tours in Austria and Italy, the bike barge tours, and some self-guided tours. VGT creates an ideal balance between physically stimulating activity that energizes, and encounters with art, architecture, wildlife and wine that relax and enrich the spirit.
Call (781) 646-0096 or (800) 435-6192 to confirm your reservation immediately with a VISA or MASTERCARD. We can also be reached by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We require a deposit of $400 per person (per tour). If you pay by check, please make checks payable to Van Gogh Tours.
After your initial payment of $400 per person, the remaining full payment is due 60 days before trip departure. An invoice will be sent to you about 90 days before your departure date. VGT reserves the right to regard reservations for its tours canceled when payment of the balance is not received when due.
Small Group Tours Europe
VGT has a 14-person maximum group size for all guided bike and hotel tours and a 12-person maximum group size for all walking tours, which allows us to stay in charming hotels and dine in delightful restaurants that would not be possible for more typical, larger sized groups. The small group tours format also allows VGT to continually provide our clients the personal attention for which we’ve become famous. For bike and barge tours, the average number of participants is 24.
Hotels and Meals
We have carefully chosen our hotels for their comfort, proximity to cultural sights and old world charm. Mostly we use small, family-owned hotels where the proprietors are proud to show off the family “treasure” and describe its history to you. Food is one of the highlights of any Van Gogh vacation. Meals are a time to share the events of the day with your fellow walkers and cyclists while sampling and savoring the tasty local cuisine. Former clients consistently report that the quality of the food on our guided walking and cycling tours exceeded their expectations.
All our routes are designed for the timid, but moderately fit beginner to the experienced, very fit intermediate cyclist or walker. Our cycling speed is leisurely, allowing time to truly experience the country we’re visiting. Our 25-40 mile daily cycling itineraries lead you over “postcard pretty” roads and as much as possible, over uncluttered bike paths and small country roads, often known only to locals. This makes cycling pure pleasure and a way to escape the pressures of daily life! Most tours offer detailed route descriptions so that you are always free to bike at your own pace. Our walks average 6-10 miles per day over similarly picturesque, quiet country roads, trails and walking paths.
On our guided bike and hotel tours in Holland, Belgium, and France, a support van carries all luggage, supplies, water and “goodies” and is there to assist you along the road. On arrival in the next hotel your luggage is waiting in your room (how ’bout packing lightly this year!). There is no pressure to ride further or longer than you want. You are always welcome to ride in the support van if you need a break. The lonely driver actually loves company! Note that there is no support van on the guided barge tours or self-guided tours! On our guided walking tours in France, the route is sometimes segmented, so that on certain days it is possible to ride in the van for a few hours. The Italian bike tours are organized a bit differently (see the individual “in depth” tour itineraries).
Pre-Departure Planning and Support
VGT prides itself on the speed and quality of support we provide to people seeking information about our tours. We provide suggestions on training, packing, airline, bus and train connections and hotel accommodations before or after your VGT vacation in our pre-departure information packet.
For all of our tours, we rent 7, 21 and 24-speed hybrid bikes in excellent condition. A “hybrid” bike allows you to sit more upright than a road bike, and offers slightly thicker tires, but with more speed and stability than a mountain or cruiser bike. Most bikes comes equipped with a bell, water bottle holder, pannier bag and lock. For all tours see the individual tour itineraries for specific details on bike specifications. In Holland it is very flat, so for some bike and barge tours 7-speed high quality Dutch bikes are used.
Price – Price – Price
VGT’s cycling and walking vacation prices are an exceptional value. Our tour offerings may be fewer and the number of places you’ll find our advertising more limited, but our clients consistently tell us that the overall quality of the VGT experience is a great value! Check out our prices and those of our competition. Contact former clients (we are happy to give references) who’ve cycled and walked with VGT and we’re sure that they’ll tell you to “Go with Van Gogh!”
Cancellation and Refunds
In the event of cancellation by the Client the following percentages shall be due:
After reservation and up to 90 days prior to departure: $100 per person
From 89 to 60 days prior to departure: $400 per person (loss of deposit)
From 59 to 30 days prior departure: 60% of total tour cost
From 29 days prior to departure date to arrival day: 100% of total tour cost
We strongly recommend trip cancellation insurance in case of personal or family emergency. We recommend CSA Travel Protection. For more information or if you would like to enroll, please go to www.CSATravelPro.com and enter producer code 71623447. You can also call (800) 348-9505. Sorry, this is only available for American clients.
Note: In the event of terrorist activities causing the US government to issue a travel warning or advisory to countries VGT visits, VGT will grant full credit for the tour price (minus a $100 administration fee p. p. per tour) for a tour redeemed in the same or next cycling and walking season. This applies to those tours directly run by VGT (Country of Tulips, Friesland Frolic, Treasures of Belgium, Best of Provence Walking Tour, Brittany/Normandy Guided Bike Tour, Loire Valley Guided Bike Tour, Provence Guided Bike Tour); tours run in conjunction with our associates will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Clients are responsible for choosing small group tours appropriate to their own fitness level. Minors (under age 18) must be accompanied by an adult. Minimum age of participants for bike and hotel or walking and hotel tours is ten years old. There is no minimum age for bike and barge tours.
Release of Liability Form
A release form will be sent to you and must be returned to VGT prior to departure.
VGT strongly recommends that all bicyclists wear helmets. On many tours helmets are provided, or are available to rent. Please see individual tour details (under “what’s included”) for more information about helmets.
You will be responsible for theft and damage to a bike rented through VGT. Do not leave your bike unattended even for a minute! On some tours bike insurance is included, or is available for purchase. Please see the section “included” in individual tour details for more information on whether this is included for your chosen tour.
Changes to the Itinerary
Due to unforeseen circumstances VGT on rare occasions must alter the accommodations or routes from those mentioned in the itinerary. All efforts are made to select an alternative hotel of the same high quality and to keep the route changes to a minimum. VGT also reserves the right to cancel a tour for any reason. In the unlikely event that this happens a refund of all money received will be made.