Travel planning

Food on Tour

If you’ve been on an ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tour in the past, I’m sure you are well aware that we do not skimp on the food. In fact, our culinary offerings are one of the many things we pride ourselves in as we believe food is a big part of a country’s tradition, identity and culture. The food you’ll enjoy on your bike trip is an integral part to the experience, from unique local dining rituals to unknown fare. With multiple courses, there is room for you to enjoy as much, or little, as you’d like so we hope you’ll try all of our dishes.

Meals and drinks on tour

For travelers with specific dietary restrictions, we do our best to accommodate your needs. Chefs in our preferred restaurants work hard to provide you with amazing meals.

To do that, we need to know about your restrictions in advance, so we gather this information in your Customer Information Form. When you complete the form, please include specific information about any food allergies, and details about what you cannot eat (e.g. “I do not eat any meat.” “I have celiac disease and cannot eat any food with wheat, barley, rye, semolina.”).

Terms like vegan and vegetarian mean very different things to different people. So, instead of general terms, please list specific foods you cannot eat: “No meat, dairy, yeast, seafood, honey.” “No meat. No shellfish.”

While we make every effort to accommodate your requirements, your menu may vary quite a bit from what the other travelers are eating. If you are uncertain whether we have what you need, please ask. If you have specific dietary requirements and are concerned that we won’t be able to accommodate you adequately, we encourage you to bring any items that you need to make your trip enjoyable. Of course, your tour leaders are available to assist you if you want to find the local specialties that meet your dietary needs.

Please note that we make tour preparations far in advance, including selecting menus. If you submit dietary restrictions, please adhere to your request while on tour and do not switch your order at mealtime.

  • B, L, & D: For each guided tour, we will provide breakfast, an occasional lunch, and a majority of dinners. For a detailed list of what meals are included on your tour, take a look at your online itinerary by searching our tour pages. The initials, “B”, “L”, and “D”, symbolize, “breakfast”, “lunch”, and “dinner”, respectively.
  • Snacks: We encourage you to stop over at cafés, restaurants and markets along the route so you can refuel. In addition, on guided tours, we provide snacks on the van if you need to refuel sooner. On guided tours, your support van will be stocked with trail mix, energy bars, seasonal fruit and water. Snacks may vary by region and availability. If you have a specific snack bar or electrolytes that you prefer, or if you are hoping to get specific nutrients (caffeine, protein, etc.), it’s best to bring some of your own snacks to make sure you have what you need.

Breakfast on tour might be different than what you’re used to at home. In Europe and South America, typical breakfast tends to be a pastry and a coffee, which is a tough way to start the day when you have a full day of cycling ahead of you. We provide you with a carbohydrate rich breakfast complete with breads, pastries, and fruit (and much needed beverage fuel, as well). Breakfasts may not always have an option for eggs, but there is almost always meat and cheese as a protein option. European restrictions actually prevent many hotels from doing food preparation which is the reason why you won’t always find eggs at breakfast. If you require something specific, or feel you need more protein at breakfast, please feel free to bring along nut butters as we find those can be great extra protein.

Most lunches on guided tours will be “on your own.” We think this option is best for our riders because it allows you to ride at your own pace and you do not have to show up for a lunch date at a specific time. Also, you get to pick one of the local cafés that catch your eye – we often have multiple recommendations for each day as options abound! Once in a while there will be a lunch spot we don’t think you should miss or you’ll be riding in a remote area that makes picnicking the best option. At those times, we’ll have lunch together.

Our dinners are an event worth waiting for. As with any event, we will take some time to enjoy our surroundings and each other. Meals are multiple courses and include wine or beer, depending on where you’re touring. Dinners tend to be later in the evening, so expect to eat sometime after 7:00 p.m., depending on the country. We also realize that, on guided tours, sometimes it is nice to have a break from the group, which is why we include a few nights with “dinner on your own”. We’ll provide suggestions for any meal that is on your own, but feel free to explore even wider!

Our first bicycling itineraries in the 70s and 80s were in Italy and at that time all dinner menus included wine. As we expanded, we didn’t want to break with tradition so we continued to offer wine with dinner on guided tours, no matter where we are traveling.  In some parts of the world beer is actually the specialty or preferred beverage of the region – think Belgium, Bavaria, Czech Republic – and in those cases we offer both wine or beer.  Of course we also always have plenty of water on the table too.

As general policy for guided ExperiencePlus! trips, tap water is available at meals and in the van unless the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises otherwise for the region of travel. Unless you’re traveling in Cuba, or very specific areas in Europe (e.g. Girona in Spain), tap water from your hotel or from any bar is perfectly potable even though you may see locals drinking bottled water. Locally, water may be heavily laden with minerals and may taste differently than what you are used to.

Each country has its own customs and culture surrounding meal time and cuisine. For more detailed information on your destination’s culinary delights check out our country specific travel planning pages.

Buon appetito!