Travel isn’t about the destination. It’s about the journey.

It’s not about getting from A to B. It’s about all of the beautiful things that happen in between. Travel is about the unexpected friend you made while taking the scenic route or that special sunrise that you witnessed on that redeye flight. It’s unpredicted and unanticipated. It’s not always easy, but it’s unapologetically authentic. That’s why we tend to gravitate towards active travel. Whether we’re hiking the Grand Canyon or biking through the olive groves of Puglia, travel is more rewarding when we are the ones influencing our own journey.

Rhone – Orders over $75 receive FREE SHIPPING BOTH WAYS

When we first encountered Backroads, it was on an adventure through Puglia, Italy. I’m not sure if it was the burrata, the biking, or a little bit of both, but we were immediately hooked. It was the friends that we made on our journey that made us feel connected to something greater in the universe. It was in the moments of solitude that I felt clarity in my purpose. It was in concurring the gradients of the terrain that I felt empowered. When we heard about their new river cruises, we knew we had to head back to Europe for an epic, active adventure.

Authenticity is an often-used word in travel, but unfortunately, it’s so rarely delivered through a traditional tour. When you’re being shuttled from boat to bus to the nearest wonder of the world, it’s easy to lose track of what makes travel so special in the first place. We miss the chance to immerse ourselves in a culture and to connect with the soul of a place.

What is Backroads?


Billed as the “World’s #1 Active Travel Company,” Backroads leads adventure trips to 48 countries and territories around the world. Whether you want to go on a multi-sport adventure trip (hiking, biking, rafting) through the National Parks of the United States, cycle through the mountains at the edge of the world in New Zealand, or enjoy a luxurious river cruise on one of Europe’s rivers, Backroads does it all. Everything is refined, tasteful, and completely unpretentious.

Lorna Jane (US)

Who Would Enjoy Backroads?

  • Adventure enthusiasts
  • Luxury lovers
  • Weekend warriors
  • Social butterflies
  • Anyone who appreciates unique experiences
  • Off the beaten path travelers
  • Traveling like a local

Cycling & Cruising in One


This trip, Backroads teamed up with AMAWaterways, winner of Cruise Critic’s illustrious Editors’ Pick Award. Backroads and AMAWaterways curated an unforgettable trip down the Danube River from Prague to Budapest. We were joined by 20 other Backroads people and ~140 AMA Waterways gusts, ready to enjoy the splendors of the Danube from our luxury ship, the AMASonata.


We’re huge fans of river cruising, having cruised the Mekong River, Po River, Douro River, and now the Danube River. Many river cruises tend to skew towards an older, more sedentary crowd, but the AMAWaterways Cruise and the Backroads crowd shattered all stereotypes. Everyone was active, adventurous, and ready to be immersed in the local culture.
In 2017, Backroads will have a total of 71 river cruise departures including trips down the Douro, Rhine, Seine, and Mekong, along with The Danube departure.

But I’m Not the Best Biker…Can I Still Backroads?


While many started in Prague, the actual cycling and cruising commenced in Vilshofen, Germany.  After biking through the Bavarian Forest, we explored a few the wine fields of Wachau Valley in Austria and the home of musical masterpieces in Vienna. After Vienna, we cycled through Bratislava, Slovakia and ended in the beautiful city of Budapest.

The great thing about Backroads is how they accommodate every type of rider.  If you’re the next Tour de France winner, they have top of the line, carbon-fiber bikes to rent and longer more challenging routes planned.  If you’re a beginner rider who feels intimidated or is afraid you won’t finish the routes, no need to worry! Backroads has electric bikes, which are great for tough hills.  They also have easier routes planned every day for those who would like a more leisurely ride.  The best part is you can quit at any time! They have a guides on the route and several supply vans that will whisk you away to your hotel at any moment if you’re not feeling like riding or just want to have a spa day.  

The Route

While many started in Prague, the actual cycling and cruising commenced in Vilshofen, Germany.  After biking through the Bavarian Forest, we explored a few the wine fields of Wachau Valley in Austria and the home of musical masterpieces in Vienna. After Vienna, we cycled through Bratislava, Slovakia and ended in the beautiful city of Budapest.


While we dipped into some of Europe’s greatest cities, it was the back roads we took along the way that made it all worthwhile. Pulling over to admire Austrian castles, enjoying a sun shower in the vineyards of the Wachau Valley, refueling at a biergarten on the side of the road (when in Germany, am I right?), and biking across the Iron Curtain from Austria to Slovakia – those are the moments that are forever entrenched in my brain.

It’s crazy to think that less than 30 years ago, in my own lifetime, we wouldn’t have been able to complete this bike ride. Less than three decades ago, the communist powers shut down contact between these countries. Now, in 2016, Backroads and plenty of bikers from all countries, ride across the infamous “Iron Curtain” from Austria into Slovakia. Less than 30 years ago, people were risking their lives crossing the “curtain” and the Danube River to get to freedom in Austria. With Backroads, we had the chance to ride through history.

Men's Premium Activewear - Rhone

The Food


When it comes to gastronomy, Backroads never disappoints. Always honoring the local fare, our week was filled with Bavarian feasts and the best beers in the world. From lunches in castles to dinners on the Danube, every meal was completely 5-star. When we were in Puglia, this meant burrata-making classes in a traditional Trulli house in Puglia. When we were in Bavaria, this meant an Oktoberfest kick-off feast complete with live music, Oompah dancers, and Bavarian pils beers (yum!). With Backroads, you experience life as the locals do.

When night fell on the Danube River, we were always treated to a feast. The AMAWaterways dining team made sure that any weight we were losing on the trails came back on at dinner.

Unique Experiences


As always, Backroads did not disappoint when it came to our immersive experiences. We kicked off with a wild Oktoberfest filled with oompah music (“oompah…doompah…”), and Bavarian pretzels in the birthplace of Pilsner beer. Scott channeled his German routes and even learned how to dance like a Bavarian. Whips not included.

The rest of the week was filled with private lunches in castles (no big deal), gourmet meals, and crossing country lines (5 countries in 7 days!). While we enjoyed unique experiences day after day, it was our closing night in Budapest that is the memory shining brightest of all.


As we dined in front of floor to ceiling windows at The Chef’s Table, a gourmet restaurant aboard our AMASonata boat, the sun set on beautiful Budapest and the night sky blackened above us. Our captain invited us onto the top deck where we were treated to the most delightful sensory feast of all. With classical music serenading our ears over the loudspeaker, we cruised the Danube with a farewell illumination tour. With the absolute best view of Budapest, we watched the city come alive.  

The People

While we love active escapades and enjoy the pure heart pump of adventure, it’s the people on Backroads that keep us coming back for more. Backroads has fostered a special community of travelers around the world. It’s a group of people who sweat together, ride together, laugh together, and build a community like no other. It’s the hours we spend biking everyday that such a special bond is built. I’ve never met such a great group of genuine, fascinating, smart people.

Our days are spent riding through the most magnificent meadows, admiring the beautiful hillsides, and helping each other on those challenging hills. Our nights were spent together, not because we have to, but because you want to.  There’s nothing better than recapping the day’s ride over dinner with your new best friends.  On and off the road, we formed an unbreakable bond.

Have you taken a Backroads trip?  Let us know what you thought.

Are you interested in taking a Backroads trip? What’s stopping you from going?

Thank you to Backroads for sending us on an epic active river cruise down the Danube River! As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely our own.