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Butterfield & Robinson Celebrates 50 Years

Story by Butterfield and Robinson

Posted: January 11, 2016

Butterfield & Robinson—the world’s premier active travel company—celebrates 50th anniversary with new trips.

Since 1966, Butterfield & Robinson, the world’s premier active travel company, has created experiences of a lifetime. To celebrate this year’s 50th anniversary, B&R is dipping into its extensive archive to craft new journeys to its favourite corners of the globe.

From venturing through Bali’s jungles to cycling in Denmark, hiking through magnificent Patagonia and rediscovering Portugal’s Alentejo region, each of these nine destinations mark regions that have had a profound impact on B&R over the past 50 years.

Along with these trips, founders George and Martha Butterfield and Sidney Robinson will travel back 50 years to 1966 to re-create and guide B&R’s very first biking trip, Munich to Salzburg Biking. The six-day trip weaves its way down the slow roads of Bavaria and includes cheese tastings, cable car excursions, lessons in hand-blown Riedel glass making and meals at Michelin-starred restaurants.


Back in '66 Toronto law student George Butterfield teamed up with his high school roommate, Sidney Robinson and his wife Martha Butterfield. Itching for adventure, the three led a 59-day student trip that meandered its way through Europe. On rented bikes they rode through Bavaria, hiked the Swiss Alps and explored the quays of Paris, savoring all the local specialties along the way.

"We decided the only way we could afford to get back to Europe, where we'd travelled, worked and studied, would be to develop a student tour program," George Butterfield recalls. "Our idea was to visit great cities, arrange history seminars and spend some time biking and hiking."

The student trips ran regularly and in 1980 Butterfield introduced the concept of deluxe biking trips for adults. What started as one trip in 1980 became 400 in 2015, and after 50 years, a stumble or two, a few “eureka!” moments and an unfailing commitment to slowing down, today Butterfield & Robinson is the world’s premier active travel company.

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