The Best Countries for a Cycling Holiday
You’ll never know where your two wheels can take you – just keep pedalling!
Nothing beats winding through spectacular scenery with your beloved bicycle. For a moment, the continent is your playground, and it’s just you, your bike, and the world.
Cycle paths, away from the busy streets, make the sport more serene. But if you seek greater and more leisure cycling routes, a cycling holiday will put your skills to the test.
Go for a spin on these popular holiday destinations and have a good pedal around the UK and Europe.
British Cycling Holidays
Road cycling holiday or training camp has been a tradition for hardcore cyclists. It’s a sort of taking a break from biking in the neighbourhood or local parks. Instead, zipping through between destinations. From the glorious countryside all the way to conquering the world’s climbs.
There are many ways to enjoy these leisurely rides. You might want to take the whole squad for family cycling holidays. Or you’re thinking of taking a break by yourself and seeing the secrets of the world alone. Perhaps, you and your friends are looking for a full road workout with a taste of bike adventures.
Whichever it is, you need to equip the bikes for the destinations you have in mind. But where to go first?
Top Favourite Cycling Destinations
1. Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
The Isle of Wight is tailor-made for British cycling - a dream destination for many cyclists. Known for its lush rolling hills and stunning scenery of the seaside, you wouldn’t want to pedal aside this site.
With cycle routes of over 200 miles, zip through some of the most scenic English countryside. Brace yourself for the hilly route, though!
Journey times from London can be as short as 1 hour and 40 minutes. It’s a perfect weekend cycling trip if you ask - be it by yourself or with family and friends.
2. Northern Scotland, UK
Sometimes you don’t have to look that far. Cycling around Scotland gives you an adventure not far from home. Offering world-class off-road cycling, it’s a favourite of many adventurous cyclists.
It boasts a variety of trails, from mysterious woodland to striking coastal routes. And it has a bit of everything for cyclists of all ability levels. A wonderful destination for off-road bikers, tourers and families, indeed.
If you find yourself coming back year after year, you won’t be alone.
3. South Downs Way, England
Trekking through the heart of England, the 100-mile South Downs Way is a promising route. This is notably true for mountain bikers, where a good amount of elevation awaits them.
Besides the vast array of wildlife and scenery, you can also reward yourself at pubs. There are many of them, actually, including guesthouses, located throughout the small villages.
South Downs Way is the only UK National Trail which is fully traversable by bike that can be enjoyed in many ways. And that’s for you to find out!
4. Yorkshire Dales, England
Yorkshire is blessed with dramatic landscapes, quiet roads, and great climbs, to name a few. The Dales is a bonus to the place itself, allowing you to see and feel more in touch with the English countryside.
Cycling may not always be flat, but any effort in climbing hills is rewarded with the best views. Come across historical sites, coast and castles, diverse wildlife habitats, and more!
Grassington and Settle are easily accessible from the south. Hawes or Reeth, in contrast, will take you to the heart of the Northern Dales. Kirkby Lonsdale and Kirkby Stephen open up the western part of the National Park. For mountain cycling routes, The Dales is the best to explore!
5. Tuscany, Italy
Cycling in Tuscany is nothing quite like any other experience on two wheels. With picturesque route options and movie-worthy mediaeval hamlets, it calls for you.
Siena, in particular, is popular for the legendary Strade Bianche. It’s a road bicycle race in Tuscany, Central Italy, starting and finishing in Siena.
It’s some of the best destinations in Europe and an absolute delight for cycling holidays. Go for wider tires to worry less about the rubber on the dirt and enjoy the lined cypress and vineyard views. After exploring the glorious countryside, enjoy a hearty Tuscan meal!
6. French Alps
Looking for a challenge? Located in southeastern France, the French Alps will test your road abilities.
This part of the mountain range in the Alps suits keen road cyclists best during the summer months. The magical region, as it turns out, almost gets the same hype with skiers in the winter.
Take the iconic Tour de France, for example. You don’t have to be a pro to enjoy the epic climb. But it can get dizzy, so you have to be on top of your game - and the perilous descents must be treated with respect.
Overall, with a bit of training and the right backup, you can tick off that bucket list in no time.
7. Girona, Spain
Another paradise a cyclist shouldn’t miss on their holiday bike adventures is the Girona. A famous region for training and a home for professionals, it has everything a bike rider needs. Quiet roads, varied terrain, a buzzing cycling culture, and quality restaurants. Say less!
Cycling routes are easily accessible, offering any riding you’d need or want. What’s more, the amazing Costa Brava leisure cycling routes and coastline are about 30 km away to the east. The Les Gavarres mountains are to the south, and the Pyrenean border with France is to the north.
Cycling Girona is unlike cycling anywhere else in the world!
8. Algarve, Portugal
There’s more to the Algarve than the beaches. The large variety of roads in the country paved the way for avid cyclists. You can also find several long-distance bicycle tracks all the way through the region.
Biking in the Algarve, expect a surprising journey through the finest landscapes. Pedal a bit more, and precious coastal villages welcome you. Especially in Monchique hills, you can find great challenges, thanks to the elevation.
Algarve itself is a perfect place to explore by bike and is fun for beginners and professionals.
9. Julian Alps, Slovenia
(Image Credit: Raw Cycling Magazine)
Slovenia is a hidden gem for cycling. It has picturesque road-cycling routes that take you high up into the Julian Alps. Pedal through off-road routes, gravel roads and colourful meadows. The cart tracks to the mountains and local roads can also lead you to charming villages.
What makes the country great for keen touring cyclists is it’s a little more off the beaten track. Even better, you can look for bike parks and hire local guides to discover the mystic corners of Slovenia.
10. Mallorca, Spain
How can we not include this world-famous climb on the list? Experience some intensive training in the wonders of Mallorca. The impeccable spot to swap the grey skies of the UK for the sun-kissed Balearic island in spring!
Cycle through the Mediterranean and meet cyclists and professional teams along the way. The well-surfaced roads and demanding landscapes will cater to your needs.
Routes you shouldn’t miss if you are visiting the island for a cycling holiday include:
- Cap de Formentor
- Tramuntana Coastal Road
- Sa Calobra
- Coll de Soller
A few quiet roads also lead to historical castles and mountaintop lighthouses!
Given the many countries or regions, it can get overwhelming with all the options you have. Hopefully, this guide has helped you plot your next cycling holiday destination.
Ready to take your cycling adventure to places your two wheels haven’t been yet exposed?
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