Biking & Cycling Tours and Travel Guide
Biking & Cycling Attractions & Landmarks Guide
What could be more exhilarating than exploring a country from the seat of a bicycle?
The call of the open road; the wind at your back; the views that lie ahead. Every sense becomes stimulated: You become acutely aware of the scent of freshly ripened strawberries, the panorama of distant mountains, the jolt from every bump or defect in the road, the thrill of smooth pavement, the song of a bird and the taste of salt on your lips.
Bicycle touring is truly about both the destination and the journey. It will take you at just the right pace to meet the people, enjoy the views and savor the food and the culture of your chosen destination.
And what better way is there to combine fitness with something as pleasant as a bicycle tour?
What Can You Expect from a Bicycle Tour?
The brochures show sunny days, smiling faces, gourmet lunches and plush accommodations. And while the sun may not always shine, the rest of the pictures can be a good reflection of a typical luxury bike tour (there are less plush tours for the budget-minded).
What is virtually certain is that you will immerse yourself into a new region that may come complete with new foods, wines and customs.
Fuel for the day's ride includes both food and vital information. At breakfast, maps may be disbursed and suggestions for the daily route and attractions are discussed. Somebody has already checked out the mechanical condition of your bicycle, but it's still OK to squeeze your tires and make sure that they suit your style.
Wining and Dining
Especially if it's an intended stopping point on your tour, you might find that your lunch has been prepared for you. (If you have dietary needs, notify your tour operator in advance.)
In many cases, welcome and farewell dinners are included as part of your tour. Depending on the tour operator and style of the tour, other meals may be on your own. But that provides the advantage of dining with whomever you want and at whatever time you want -- while enjoying the types of food and drink you prefer.
Don't think that because you are bicycling that you need forget about fine dining. Is there a Michelin rated restaurant in the area? How about a favorite wine that you would like to enjoy right where it is produced? What about a spectacular restaurant view that overlooks the region where you just bicycled?
Options provide guests with not only dining choices, but also with route choices. Are you looking for a leisurely shorter route with plenty of time for shopping, people-watching at a cafe or wine-tasting? Are you ready to challenge yourself and pedal long and hard to accomplish your own fitness goals? Do you want to take it easy one day and push yourself the next?
Keep in mind that your traveling partner, if you have one, needn't necessarily follow the same route and pace that you do. You’re likely to meet new people along the way and perhaps form new friendships in fellow cyclists or locals -- there’s just something about people on bicycles that makes them seem more approachable than other types of travelers.
At the end of the day, when you reach your final destination, you usually have free time to dine, explore or relax with your traveling partner, if you did take separate rotes or travel at different speeds.
Most Popular Destinations for Cycling Tours
Cycling through Spain is a good choice for many active travelers for its varied landscape and incredible beauty, from Mallorca to Girona to Calpe. There are hills to climb when you want them and long flats in between. Opt to tackle the Camino de Santiago classic pilgrimage on two wheels, savor the goods of the wine valley of El Bierzo and, every day, refuel with delicious tapas.
In China, cyclists pedal through limestone landscapes and explore China’s top attractions, from the Forbidden City to the Great Wall. Touring China by bike with a guide is a great way to slow down and soak up the culture and landscapes of the country. Top it off with a bike ride through Yangshuo, from Guilin to Xingping, a glorious, postcard-perfect ride.
3. Dolomites, Italy
For its rugged alpine beauty and the challenge of its ups and downs, the Dolomite mountain range in northern Italy is a top cyclist destination in Europe.
If you’re up for the climbs, you won’t regret the choice - an alternative is the Bormio region, still in the Dolomites, and offering its own collection of rewarding mountain passes. An easier biking alternative in the Dolomites is along the Old Dolomites Railway, from the mountains to Venice. You’ll still get all the alpine views but with fewer ascents.
4. Tuscany, Italy
A bucket-list biking destination for many, Tuscany is an epic spot for a guided cycling tour. Tackle the most scenic bike routes of the Tuscan countryside, through the Arno River Valley, into Chianti and its delightful wine villages and into the Elsa River Valley and World Heritage town of San Gimignano.
And, of course, you’ll have plenty of time on your Tuscany cycling tour to taste renowned red wines and famous whites, while visiting vineyards and dining on savory local specialties.
Cycle the iconic Pan America Highway and see the beauty and attractions of Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. This favorite biking destination boasts Lake Nicaragua, Irazu volcano, Panama City and more, plus the chance to stop and go rafting, hiking and snorkeling.
6. San Juan Islands
Washington State’s San Juan Islands archipelago is a cyclist favorite in the Pacific Northwest. Crisscross farmland and forest on quiet country roads, climbing - if you so choose - Mount Constitution on Orcas Island.
7. Wine Country, California
Pedal from vineyard to vineyard, refueling with world-class cuisine along the way, as you cycle through Napa and Sonoma counties. Your cycling guide may have suggestions for backcountry roads less often traveled as a nice way to customize your bike tour.
8. The Baltic
Biking the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) feels like you’ve pedaled right into the pages of a fairytale. Combining natural scenery with historic sightseeing, the Baltic states are an emerging cycling destination. Get a taste of medieval history in Tallinn, bike along the renowned Route 10 - which takes you across the Baltic Sea - and continue on through lush forests, past placid lakes and through pastoral farmland.
9. Cape Town, South Africa
From the Stellenbosch vineyards along Route 62 to the Karoo Desert to the Cape of Good Hope, guided bike tours near Cape Town, South Africa, unveil all this spectacular region has to offer.
Whale watch from Hermanus, visit penguins at the Boulders colony, feel like a pro as you pedal along the Cape Argus race route and eat the farm-fresh produce from Koo Valley orchards.
Hop on a bike to explore the Neckar and Rhine river valleys in Germany, where the highlights of your cycling tour are the historic, storybook villages that line the riverbanks, wine tastings, good food and good company.
Want to sail the Rhine? Read more about Rhine river cruises - many of these voyages include as much biking onshore as you’d like to include.
11. Burgundy Region, France
With dedicated bike trails and quiet country roads, Burgundy is a bike tour favorite - again, it’s about the rolling hillside, vineyards, estates, restaurants, boutique accommodations and the wine.
Going at Your Own Pace
A reputable, well-reviewed bike tour operator is likely to have routes available for all fitness levels. You’re typically encouraged to get from point A to point B at your own pace, stopping for picnics, a wine tasting or a scenic vista whenever the spirit moves you.
Not going to finish all the miles in a given day? Your cycling tour guide will come up behind you in the support vehicle to give you a lift to the next town or back to your hotel, where you can enjoy the local culture and take a dip in the pool before dinner.
Accommodations on Cycling Tours
A good night’s sleep is of utmost importance when you’re on a cycling tour no matter how easy or challenging the terrain. You’ll want to be assured of a quiet stay on a comfortable bed, preferably well fed before catching your zzz’s and offered a hearty breakfast come morning.
Depending on your bike tour company, you may be traveling from one destination to another over a week or so, changing hotels every night. Or, you may be staying in one central location and setting off on out-and-bike rides each day.
If yours is a bike vacation that moves about a lot, ask your tour operator how your luggage will get from place to place. While you’re at it, check in about how your bike is stored overnight.
Accommodations on cycling tours will run the gamut from more rustic stays to five-star resorts, depending on your tour operator and destination. The age of the cycling group weighs in here as well, with more serious and/or younger cyclists probably needing fewer creature comforts, and those on a luxury bike tour expecting upscale accommodations with first-class amenities (in-room massage, anyone?).
For a taste of what you might expect for accommodations on a luxury bike tour, imagine:
- A mountain resort in Tennessee, where relaxing spa treatments and locally sourced meals renew mind and body after challenging days on your bike
- An elegant five-star hotel set in a historic royal chateau in the French countryside
- A magnificent country house in the Irish countryside, where you can gather for afternoon tea with your fellow riders and share highlights of your cycling tour that day
On the more budget-friendly side of bike vacations, your accommodations may look more like this:
- Deluxe camping next to a pristine lake, where your daily ride can end with a refreshing dip and a hearty meal of barbecued salmon and summer fruit crumble
- A tiny, yet historic cottage in Tuscany, tucked in amongst the vineyards
- A farmhouse in the Canadian Rockies, where a young local chef welcomes you into his home for a fabulous meal and comfortable overnight
All Biking & Cycling tours, river cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.7 for all Biking & Cycling trips.