What to Expect

High-quality experiences

Van Gogh Tours is a family owned and operated company that has been running European bicycling and walking vacations since 1992 – over 25 years now! Emma Lewin, VGT’s owner and the granddaughter of Mike Sorgi and Huibertha van Teunenbroek who started the company, is committed to making sure your VGT vacation is just right.

Emma directly manages all cycling and walking tour details in the guided hotel tours in Holland, Belgium, and France, from route selection to restaurant menu coordination. She’s personally researched and arranged numerous cultural experiences that will make your active vacation a rich and rewarding experience that you won’t forget!

Our partner companies 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 energizing activity, and encounters with art, architecture, and local cuisine that relax and enrich the spirit.

Reservations

You can easily book online, or if you prefer, call us at (781) 646-0096 or (800) 435-6192 to confirm all the final details and questions – we love talking about our tours! We accept VISA or MASTERCARD. We can also be reached by e-mail at vangogh@vangoghtours.com. We require a deposit of $400 per person, per tour. If you pay by check, please make checks payable to Van Gogh Tours.

Small group tours in 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 we’re famous.

For bike and barge tours run by our partner companies, the average number of participants is 24 but varies between tours.

Payments

After your initial payment of $400 per person, the remaining full payment is due 70 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.

Hotels and meals

We’ve 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’s 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 delicious local cuisine. We often get feedback that the quality of the food on our guided walking and cycling tours exceeds clients’ expectations.

Routes

Our various routes have been designed for the less-experienced but moderately active beginner to the experienced, very fit intermediate cyclist or walker. To truly experience the country we’re visiting, we keep cycling speed leisurely. Our 25-40 mile daily cycling itineraries lead you over postcard-worthy 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’re 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.

Support van

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 on the road. When you get to your next hotel your luggage will be waiting in your room. There’s no pressure to ride further or longer than you want and you’re always welcome to ride in the support van if you need a break. The lonely driver actually loves company! Keep in mind, though, that there’s 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’s 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

We pride ourselves on the speed and quality of support we provide to people seeking information about our tours. We offer suggestions on training, packing, airline, bus and train connections, and hotel accommodations before or after your VGT vacation in our pre-departure information packet.

Bikes

For all of our tours, we use 7, 21 and 24-speed hybrid bikes in excellent condition. A “hybrid” bike allows you to sit more upright than a road bike and has 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’s very flat, so for some bike and barge tours 7-speed high-quality Dutch bikes are used.

Cancellation and Refunds

In the event of cancellation by the client the following refund percentages will apply:
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

Insurance

We strongly recommend trip cancellation insurance in case of personal or family emergency. For American clients, 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.

Eligibility

Our 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.

Helmets

We strongly recommends that all bicyclists wear helmets. On many tours helmets are provided, or are available to rent. Please see individual tour details (under “Included”) for more information about helmets.

Bicycle Insurance

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 “Included” section in individual tour details for more information on whether this is included for your chosen tour.

Changes to the Itinerary

Due to unforeseen circumstances, on rare occasions we sometimes need to alter the accommodations or routes from those mentioned in the itinerary. In these circumstances, 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.