Cycling is a booming leisure pastime and biking holidays are a great way to combine this hobby with a short break. For minimalists there’s no better way to see new scenery or visit places that are not easily accessible than with a cycling tour, where you need nothing more than a hearty meal at the end of the day and the clothes on your back to keep you going. Whether you are an absolute beginner, or a more experienced and athletic mountain biker, enjoying that perfect biking holiday is just a question of selecting the right tour for the budget available. Below are a number of suggested possibilities, or of course you can plan your own route and take your own bikes.
Cycle Holidays for Beginners
Norway, Lotofen Islands:
An eight day cycle tour around the beautiful Lotofen Islands is ideal for beginners as it’s a gentle and easy 165 mile ride. If you book with an operator, accommodation is provided in romantic log cabins in each overnight fishing village stop, while the spectacular mountain and beach scenery is unbelievable. Cyclists can try seafood for dinner, take midnight walks or enjoy a relaxing Scandinavian sauna – the perfect way to wind down amid this magnificent scenery.
Germany, Bavarian Lakes:
This is another fairly easy circular bike ride from Munich and takes in a host of fairytale Bavarian villages. The seven night trip has hotel accommodation available in villages on the route, and visitors can meander through the valley, catch a cable car to the top of Germany’s highest peak for a short break, as well as passing by the Olympic town of Garmisch Parten-kirchen.
Spain, Camino de Santiago de Compostela
Travelling a short section of this famous religious pilgrim route by bike is a great way to see some fantastic Spanish countryside. Overnight stays can be arranged in refuges, costing around £7 per night, and the shortest section of the pilgrim route takes around five days to complete. The Camino Frances, which leads from the Pyrenees across the north of Spain, is the most popular waymarked trail, and you can see everything from cathedrals to remote churches and exquisite architecture.
Croatia, Island Hopping
Brilliant seven night packages can be purchased, generally incorporating 155 miles of cycling, with nights spent on board a motor yacht. The cycle routes are demanding and the islands visited include Hvar and Korcula. Perfect for those who want to spend some time exploring the famed city walls of Dubrovnik, or visitors who want to take a day out to sunbathe on deck.
France, Carcassone to Bordeaux
The demanding, mountainous route of this cycle tour will challenge experienced cyclists to the full. The route takes in some of the most remote Ariege countryside, the Pyrenees and the Cathar castles. The nine night tour pulls in 270 miles of cycling.
UK, Coastal Trails
Recognised cycle tours of the UK include the Cornish Coastal Way, a 200 mile trek involving around six days of cycling, or the Coast to Coast. The Coast to Coast starts in Whitehaven and weaves its way across the Lakes and Pennines – it will take at least three days to complete the 140 mile ride. For many cyclists, it will be a simple matter to plan individual routes for these tours, staying at youth hostels or small hotels along the route.
So whether you choose to plan your own route or use a tour operator, there are few better ways to get back to basics than by exploring the world on a bike in 2013.
Author Bio: Graham Knowles is an experienced cyclist who has travelled the world by bike. He needs nothing more than the road beneath his wheels and the sound of silence amid gorgeous mountain scenery to keep him content.
Photo Cycling Abroad: francois