The late actress Anita Eckberg buffed up Rome’s allure while splashing in the Trevi Fountain in the 1960 film La Dolce Vita. Scores of movies today have cemented plots in locales that, like the fountain, intersect with planned vacation itineraries offered by leading tour operators.
One trend-setting company, Freewheel Holidays, specializing in self-guided bicycle vacations throughout Europe, offers the chance to visit cinema locations on several of its 2018 itineraries. Included in program rates are lodging with breakfasts, detailed route notes, point-to-point luggage transfers and complimentary bike rentals.
Movie buffs or anyone with a love of history and adventure will enjoy these bike tours:
Austria’s Lake Constance welcomed the crew filming Quantum of Solace. Cyclists can visit the strikingly modern opera house (Festspielhaus Bregenz) where the nefarious Quantum organization meet up during a performance of Tosca. Lake Constance Family Special is a 7-day journey that wanders through vineyards and Baroque villages, and by castles and Roman ruins, with suggested stops at the Zeppelin Museum to view a model of the famous Hindenburg airship. The per person double rate is from £569. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/lake-constance-family-cycling-tour.
Italy’s Venice was the site for The Talented Mr. Ripley. On any of Freewheel Holidays’ itineraries of Venice, guests can stop for an espresso at the old café in Piazza San Marco, a meeting place for Ripley (Matt Damon), Marg (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Mr. Greenleaf (James Rebhorn). Tours range from five to eight days. Venice Round Tour is one example. Days 1, 2 and 7 focus on Venice. Other days are spent exploring the foothills of the Italian Alps near Vicenza to Bassano del Grappa to Treviso, enroute sampling trademark grappas and proseccos and Italian village life beyond La Serenissima. The per person double rate is £619 and includes bike rentals. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/venice-round-tour-7-nights.
Belgium’s Bruges is a treasure trove for cyclists who watched In Bruges. They can visit where the hitmen hole up, Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce Hotel, and brave, like Ken (Brendan Gleeson), the 366 narrow steps of the Belfry. They can meet for a beer as the main characters did at 1 Zwart Huis (the Black House) and gaze, as did guilt-stricken Ray (Colin Farrell), at the Hieronymus Bosch painting of The Last Judgment at the Groeninge Museum and dine at Cafedraal where Ray enjoys his first date with the cheerfully drug-dealing Chloe (Clémence Poésy), before punching out the lights of a Canadian couple. They might even linger, as Ray and Chloe did, on the Meestraat Bridge, between Vismarkt (Fishmarket) and the Groenerel. Bruges and Belgian Coast is a 7-day itinerary that targets families with easy cycling routes and child-friendly attractions. Rates are from £469 per person double. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/bruges-and-belgian-coast-6-nights.
Czech Republic’s Prague can be visited through the lens of Mission Impossible. As the mission falls apart, controller Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) falls into the Vltava River from the famous Charles Bridge; the art deco headquarters of villain Max (Vanessa Redgrave) is the Hotel Europa on Wenceslas Square. Prague to Vienna is a 9-day holiday linking these cultural capitals with lakes, forests, vineyards, the old Iron Curtain and historic towns of south Bohemia and Moravia, including two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The per person double rate is from £949. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/prague-to-vienna-self-guided-cycling-holiday.
Another itinerary in this region utilizes the Elbe (River) cycling path between Prague and Dresden. Enroute to Dresden’s Zwinger Palace, Semperoper (Opera House) and Frauenkirche is Theresienstadt, a World War II concentration camp. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/prague-to-dresden-cycling-holiday.
UK’s Oxfordshire made an indelible impression in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) learns to waltz at Divinity School, Bodleian Library, Oxford. He recovers here after being poisoned in Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince. In Duke Humfrey’s Library in the Bodleian Library, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Hermione (Emma Watson) mull over who to take to Slughorn’s Christmas party. Oxford & The Cotswolds is a 7-day program offering glimpses of England’s finest stately home, Blenheim Palace, and quiet villages that seem removed from the 21st century. The per person double rate is £599. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/oxford-amp-the-cotswolds.
To check trip availability, make reservations, or to find out more about Freewheel Holidays’ leisure cycling tours call +44 (0) 161 703 5823, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.freewheelholidays.com.