What better way to experience the picturesque European countryside’s quaint villages, historic sites and ancient cities than on a cycling holiday?
Cycle friendly Europe is the birthplace of the sport’s triple crown – Tour de France, Vuelta España and Giro d’Italia, and every corner is covered by cycle routes, meaning you can travel for days without seeing a single car.
From picnicking in olive groves or vineyards, visiting castles and cathedrals to freewheeling down awe-inspiring mountains into lush river valleys, before stopping at a comfortable hotel for the night, cycling holidays in Europe take you to a whole other world.
With regional cuisine and locally-produced wine, the pace is as relaxed as you choose to make it. Luggage is moved between overnight stops, so there’s no need to worry about carrying it. You’ll have well-researched cycling notes and route maps to take you to the most interesting points on your journey. Cycling is low-impact exercise – you’re never too old, and most routes are suitable for children. For couples, singles, or families a cycling holiday is the best way to explore Europe.
Here’s an idea of what to expect:
Cycling Through France
According to Bikecation, cycling is France’s second national sport after football, with rural villages used to cyclists stopping for a break and a bite to eat. France has a vastly varied topography from imposing mountain ranges, such as the Massif Central, Alps and the Pyrenees, to verdant river valleys and plains – the Rhône Valley and the Loire, with its architecturally unique châteaux. Make sure you have plenty of spare camera memory as you’ll find a photo-worthy scene over every rise.
You’ll pass through small rural hamlets rich in tradition, local produce and friendly locals, and experience the laid-back way of life. If you prefer, head to the snow-capped mountains.
Snaked with cobbled roads, multitudes of hairpin bends and stomach-turning drops, the trails take you to dizzying altitudes where you can catch your breath, dazed by the panoramic views. Then freewheel down the other side, eyes watering against the cold and hair flat against your head. Perfection.
Cycling Through Spain Holidays
The bicycle is a common mode of transport in Spain with many rural sheep flocks even being herded by bike, so everyone is used to seeing cyclists along the lanes and tracks and cycle holidays here are becoming increasingly popular.
The wonderful climate in Spain provides you with excellent year-round cycling conditions and it’s a great way to experience the Spanish culture, cuisine and countryside. The feeling of freedom that being on a bike brings and the joy of exploring the country under your own pedal power is immensely rewarding and good for your mind, body and soul, environmentally friendly and, above everything else, fun.
Mainland Spain is a mountainous country, dominated by high plateaus and mountain ranges, the main one being the daunting Pyrenees. These mountains make the Pro Cycling Tour, the Vuelta de España, so testing. Spain also has a large network of Via Verdes – Greenways, which are old railway lines that have been restored for recreational activities such as cycling, walking and horse riding. So, all in all, there is something for all levels of cyclists from leisurely excursions along the Via Verde, to exploring the white villages that are synonymous with Spain, or climbing to snowy heights in the mountains.
The countries that make up Europe all have their own unique culture, topography and, of course, cuisine, and this is what makes Europe the perfect place for a cycling holiday.