A pick of six of the best cycling holidays Europe to help you choose your next… or first, experience cycling some of the most exciting, famous and spectacular destinations of Europe.
Possibly the one cycling trip you need to make in Italy is the classic Italian Coast to Coast bike ride from Venice to Pisa. Right from the moment you touch the ground and feel the warmth of the Venetian sea air, immediately while on your water taxi from the airport to your Venice hotel you realise you are on a renaissance adventure like no other. This four day grand tour of ancient Italy will have you pinching yourself as you cycle from one great city to another on quiet roads through spectacular landscape, small unspoilt villages and beautiful piazza’s, tasting local cuisine and delicacies and of course sampling the local tipple – and we haven’t mentioned the coffee yet! Italy ticks all the boxes for a cycling holiday, as you ride from the Adriatic to the Tyrrhenian cycling over the Apennines taking in all the sights and and hospitality along the way, you will by the time you reach Pisa and are taking dinner in the rooftop hotel restaurant overlooking the city towards the leaning bell tower of Pisa have completed a cycling experience of a lifetime with indelible memories for life. Dolce Vita ~ Bella Italia!
Easily Europe’s single most popular cycling tour, the London to Paris bike ride annually see’s 1000’s of cyclists cross the English channel into France before finally entering Paris and the parade ride down the Champs Elysees. With plenty of villages and pretty squares along the way, you will ride peaceful lanes and back roads from one capital to the other in three easy days on two wheels. Covering upto 100km (63mi) each day the cycling is not overly testing but you will enjoy the post ride refreshments at the end of the day nonetheless, and as you slowly approach Paris the sense of excitement and celebration is palpable by the time you catch your first glimpse of the city outline on the horizon. The final afternoon riding into Paris is one of the best afternoons city cycling you’ll experience, from the relative peace of river cyclepath and the suburbs you are quickly and expertly shepherded into the heart of the city and the familiar Haussmann architecture of the Napoleonic era. The highlight for some is the arrival to the Eiffel Tower but for many it’s the ride upto and around the incredible landmark that is le prix de l’arc de triomphe – a magnificent elevated monument that stands proud over the city and is really quite something to cycle around. The ride finish is the Eiffel tower but the climax is probably the section of cycling after that from the Eiffel tower back to l’arc de triomphe and then the turn down from l’arc de triomphe into the Champs Elysees – what a sight! You will ride the full length of the cobble avenue from l’arc de triomphe all the way to the Place de la Concorde before making your short way to your city hotel – magnifique!
Originating in the Black Forest in Germany, Europe’s second longest river, the Danube is one of the grandest rivers in the world, meandering more than 2,000 kilometres between the Schwarzwald area in Germany and the Black Sea. It is also the most international river in the world as it passes through no less than ten different countries along the way and through four capital cities; Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade before emptying into the Black Sea through the Danube Delta in Romania and Ukraine. Untouched by modernity, the Danube still holds a rich heritage of culture and unspoiled landscape for you to explore on your bicycle. Without any hills, this leisurely ride along the spectacular Danube cycle path has been carefully designed with shorter daily distances than most other cycling trips and is ideal for groups of friends, couples and families seeking a cycling holiday experience together in this beautiful part of Europe visiting great cities, tasting great cuisine and enjoying great hospitality along the way.
Firmly scribed into the tablets of fabled mountain passes of the world, completed in the mid-seventies after four years of construction, 6000 tons of dynamite and climbing to over 2000m in altitude, this was never going to be any ordinary road, but then the designers also threw in endless hairpins, breathtaking gradients and cambered curves to rival the best anywhere in the world. Reputedly a folly and strategically pointless, this mythical 90km of asphalt is now Romania’s best known tourist attraction after Count Vlad’s Castle – have we mentioned we go there too! This four day cycle will have your eyes on sensory overload as you try to take in every second of your experience in this totally unspoiled corner of Europe. From the ride out of Bucharest through the Romany villages up into the Carpathian mountains your surroundings change mile after mile of historic castles and not to forget the spectacular Vidraru Dam. The cities visited also through this trip will have your camera snapping too at the architecture and cathedrals of the region and also the local delicacies will have your taste buds snapping too. An overall unique cycling adventure with overwhelming hospitality which if you’re really keen you might even get a little of the language too before you leave!
Riding in the tracks of legends, possibly the ultimate French Alps Tour de France cycling holiday you will ever find! Cycling no less than eight of the Tour De France’s most famous climbs all in one epic cycling holiday – this itinerary has it all! Right from the start on the shores of beautiful lake Annecy – the backdrop to the greatest and most spectacular time trials of le Tour, you will cycle onwards through picturesque Isère valley to the dizzying hairpins of Lacets de Montvernier before a night over in one of the Alps big cycling stop over towns, Saint Jean de Maurienne. The following morning things begin to really rev up as you prepare to take on the mythical slopes le Croix de Fer, possibly the most stunning summit in the Alps, before then on to the mountain for ‘le combatif’, Alpe d’Huez – not the biggest of the mountains but the scene of some of the greatest and memorable battles in the history of the tour with a terrific summit town to finish and a cool beer at the top. Day three sees you transition from the high Alps into the rolling hills of Provence but not before ticking off three more summits including the prickly Col de Parquetout before resting in the pretty gateway town of Serres. The final morning sees you riding into the fertile agricultural valleys of Provence before entering the Ventoux range but not before a trip highlight and another secret of France tucked away, the Gorges de la Méouge, a stunning 10km section with arches and cuttings twisting close to the river Méouge to delight you on your way to your first morning coffee break. Once over the first climb of the day, Col de Macuègne, you then catch your first sight of the ‘giant of Provence’ ahead of you and what a sight it is, but don’t get carried away, it’s so big that you’ve still a few hours away from reaching the summit. The sleeping giant is just shy of 2000m above sea level and dominates the region, it can be seen up to 50km away! There are three gateway towns at the foot of Ventoux and for us we ride into the town of Sault to take in refreshments before our assault and make sure you’re ready, this is probably going to be the biggest climb of your life! Take your time, it’s also likely to be the most spectacular climb you ride too and the summit for most will come around two hours later by which you are greeted by the most iconic mountain top finish possible in cycle with far reaching views spreading in all directions across this beautiful region of France. The climb is done but the ride is not over, now check your brakes and prepare for the biggest downhill of your life. The views are spectacular but keep your eyes on the road as the sweeping bends and hairpins of this mythical mountain will have your pulse beating into the red for the next sixty minutes as you drop down into your overnight village of Bedoin and straight into the first cafe bar for your celebratory glass of beer – c’est magnafique!
Tenerife is no joke, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, off West Africa it is the home of no less than three volcanoes. All dominated by one… Mt. Teide, a giant active volcano that is Spain’s, and indeed any Atlantic islands tallest peak, and possibly most breathtaking climb – literally! …and we haven’t even mentioned the lava fields, towering rock formations and ancient forests yet that all inhabit this incredible little island poking out of the ocean. The moment you land you will instantly understand why this is a popular pre-season destination for the Pro Teams who come and sharpen up the legs before the fixture list hots up. Nearly all year round, the climate is fantastically stable and the riding spectacular with plenty to offer for us mere mortals too as well as the pro’s so making the Gran Canaria islands the regular go-to destination for many teams and amateurs. This three day cycling experience itinerary will take you on tour on the bottom face of this triangular island taking in all the best the island has to offer. The easy daily distances ensure you have time to ride ‘heads-up’ and soak up the sun and the scenery while you weave your way round, over and through hidden valleys, magnificent climbs and pretty unspoiled villages. Highlights include visiting beautiful unspoiled coastal fishing ports, silky smooth roads, mountain villages and of course not forgetting – Mount Teide! Make no mistake, Tenerife really only exists because of this one mountain, many moons ago this gurgling volcano broke through the Atlantic ocean surface to create the place we all love to flock to today, so remember when you’re back at the hotel bar by the pool, to make a toast to this magnificent giant volcano now standing at 3,715m and still growing! On top of all this you will also enjoy great cuisine and fantastic hospitality all the way too making this a truly fantastic short break cycling experience that you should place firmly on your ‘six of the best’ cycling bucket list… enjoy!
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