Want to see the Continent on two wheels? Here's where to head for a European cycling holiday
With an increasing appetite for both eco-friendly and activity travel, cycling holidays in Europe are on the rise.
Biking holiday bookings are up by as much as 139% in certain destinations, according to cycling tour operator BSpoke Tours. What’s more, any of their top European cycling holiday destinations can be reached by rail, ferry or road – making for a more sustainable way to travel.
But where to go? Below we’ve detailed the best places to take a cycling holiday in Europe. From tried-and-tested favourites to up-and-coming hot spots, there’s something for everyone, no matter what your level of experience or appetite for adventure.
Best European cycling holiday for: Stunning scenery
Leafy vineyards, rolling lavender fields and idyllic hilltop villages are just a few of the attractions of this colourful corner of southern France. Its quiet roads and ever-increasing number of cycling paths are drawing a particularly pedal-happy crowd, while the popular Côtes Du Rhône wine region welcomes weary riders with an array of culinary attractions.
Tuscany & Umbria, Italy
Best European cycling holiday for: Hilltop views and food
The rolling hills of Tuscany and Umbria is enough to attract any bike-loving holidaymaker. Add some of the world’s best food, beautiful views and a medieval hilltop town or two and you’ve got one of Italy’s best cycling holiday destinations. The area’s steep climbs will test serious bikers, whilst e-bikes are also growing in popularity, offering a more relaxing way to travel between the charming villages.
Best European cycling holiday for: Eco-friendly thrill seekers
This hidden gem on Spain’s northern coast gives cyclists a healthy dose of sea air with a backdrop of majestic mountains. Environmentally protected, it has 300km of pristine coastline contrasted by the rather rugged terrain of Picos De Europa, whose highest peak stands at 2,400m above sea level for those that like a challenge.
Best European cycling holiday for: Beginners
Famed for its world-class wines, the Loire valley isn’t short of a vineyard. However, wine and beautiful scenery aside, it’s the predominantly flat terrain that make it an ideal destination for first-time cyclists. The easy riding mean that it’s possible to cover substantial ground – particularly if you opt for an e-bike.
The Danube, Central & Eastern Europe
Best European cycling holiday for: A mixture of bike and boat
Passing through 10 countries and with a total length of 3,000km, the Danube cycle path is one of the most impressive stretches of bike-friendly infrastructure in the world. ‘Bike and boat’ tours are particularly popular here, which involve cycling by day and staying on the river by night. Typical routes run from Vienna in Austria or Passau in Germany to Budapest, Hungary, taking in the sights along the way.
Best European cycling holiday for: Year-round adventure
Rustic, traditional and beautiful, Portugal’s Alentejo region is an up-and-coming European cycling holiday destination. With over 265km of quiet rural roads, gently undulating terrain and a mild year-round climate, it’s surprising that its flown under the radar for so long. Dotted with sleepy villages and beautiful vineyards, there’s plenty on offer when it comes recuperation too.
South Tyrol, Italy
Best European cycling holiday for: Foodies
With 26 Michelin stars across 19 restaurants, this is the place to be for cyclists with a healthy appetite.
Dramatic scenery and luscious green valleys surrounded by Alpine peaks offer a feast for the eyes too. Each major valley in the region sees at least one cycle route running through it and charming towns offer a dash of culture before tucking into one of the many culinary delights on offer.
Best European cycling holiday for: Beach lovers
Montenegro’s star has been on the rise for some years, and it’s particularly gaining a buzz in the cycling world. It’s not hard to see why. The country is a joy to ride, with miles of stunning coastline dotted with deserted beaches and secret coves to cool off in. Plus getting there is easier than ever before, with new direct flight routes from the UK recently added.
Best European cycling holiday for: Families and first-timers
Dotted with palaces and castles, Saxony is a true German gem. The 1,300km Elbe river cycle path is the country’s most popular long-distance route. Featuring largely traffic-free paths that are mostly downhill, it’s perfect for first-time cyclists or families with younger children.
Best European cycling holiday for: History and wine
Vibrant Bordeaux provides cyclists with plenty to feast on in every sense of the word. Here you’ll find a city rich in history, an abundance of vineyards, and even a coastline where you can enjoy oysters and sand between your toes. The city – recently voted the sixth most cycle-friendly in the world – also has over 400km of cycle paths to get your appetite up first.
BSpoke Tours is currently offering a saving of £75 per person on selected March and April European cycling holidays when booked before 29 February 2020. Visit bspoketours.com for more information.