It’s rapidly becoming an overworked phrase but undoubtedly 2020 has been a strange year. For many reasons a lot of us have missed out on our summer holiday, whether that is through travel bans, financial worries or cancellations. But, the time will come when we can travel again, and when that moment arrives we will be ready for it with our pre-planned bucket list of cycling holidays!
Cheap and easy
Many of the most popular destinations for winter-sun are perfectly set-up for cycling; think Mallorca, the southern beaches of Spain and the Canary Islands. What makes for an easy package holiday also works for cyclists; get out in the morning for some sunny miles, fill up at the all-you-can-eat hotel buffet then relax by the pool or on the beach.
Tenerife is the perfect place to experience this as it is both a cycling mecca – even Team Ineos go there for their warm weather training – and it is well set up for tourists travelling from the UK. Mount Teide, the extinct volcano in the very centre of the island allows you to pedal from sea-level to over 2,300m in one continuous climb, whilst the coastal roads and lower slopes provide more varied terrain. For a quick, cheap cycling fix there are plenty of budget packages on offer from discount airlines
Exotic and far flung
Home to some of the most diverse wildlife in the world Costa Rica is a fabulous holiday destination and also offers some fantastic cycling. The central mountains of Costa Rica split the country in half and with one coastline meeting the gentle Caribbean and the other the wild Pacific you are guaranteed an ever-changing vista as you pedal your way around the peninsula.
To explore both sides of the continental divide, a place to place holiday, with an organised cycle tour guide will allow you to experience everything Costa Rica has to offer. The cycling is as varied as the scenery with some challenging days in the mountains and some total chill-out rides along palm lined beaches. Follow the Caribbean coastline before crossing to the Pacific via the active volcanoes, hot springs and cloud forest near the centre for a cycle ride that you won’t forget in a hurry.
Close to home
You don’t have to travel far, or leave the UK, to experience wide open spaces and dramatic landscapes. Cycling in Scotland is a wonderful experience with its rugged coastlines, quiet roads and breathtaking mountains it is a great place to explore by bike. The North Coast 500 has been designed to guide you around the northern edges of The Highlands using the most scenic roads.
It takes you to the most challenging mountain climbs, including the legendary Bealach na ba, the pass of the cattle at Applecross, but rewards you with some unforgettably stunning views. It is perfect for cycle touring with loads of bike friendly accommodation along the way. Starting in Inverness it is easily accessible by train making it a great no-fly option for UK tourists.
When cyclists think of mountains their thoughts often turn first to the classic cols of the French Alps; Alpe d’Huez, Col du Galibier and Le Telegraphe are all both feared and revered but the Pyreneés can offer just as much, if not more to the col-hungry cyclist.
The Raid Pyrenean is an official challenge covering 720km from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean coast, over all the famous cols of the Pyrenees, in 100 hours, from start to finish. You will climb around 12,000 metres, over 18 different cols in a little more than four days so it requires serious fitness and determination. Those successful receive a medal and certificate from the Cyclo Club Bearnais who oversee the challenge. Whilst you can do this unsupported – if you are brave and incredibly strong – you can also travel with a cycling holiday company, who will look after you every pedal stroke of the way.
Cycling with your young family is a wonderful way to make memories but for it to be fun for everyone the route needs to be safe, easy and offer enough variety to keep the youngest pedalers amused.
The Danube Cycle path starts at the river’s source in Germany and accompanies it down to the Black Sea, 1,800 miles away. On its way, the Danube crosses half of Europe but the path is most developed for tourism in Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. Whichever section you pick you will find the cafes, hotels, museums and visitor centres are right on the route and ready to welcome you in. You will also meet many other cyclists travelling the route and because the route is so safe many families use it which can add to the entertainment and feeling of camaraderie. If you don’t feel confident booking and planning your own trip there are several cycling holiday companies who can support you along the journey.