Expand your pedalling parameters as you peruse our cycling vacations travel guide and discover a variety of easy going, moderate and challenging routes to take you from Europe, to Asia, to South Africa, and beyond.
Cycling tours in Europe travel guide
Less about getting from point to point and all about enjoying the scenery, the long distance bike journey is an antidote to fast-paced modern life. The beauty of bike travel is being able to turn off the well trodden tourist trail and roam through rural landscapes and communities. It’s immersive, slow – a great way to discover Europe. Rather than relying on towns already overstretched by tourism, you can shop in small villages, sleep in family-run hotels and eat home-cooked dishes sourced from the farm just down the road.
Great journeys are about the route, not the destination, so slow down and enjoy the ride.
In much of Europe, cycling is integral to everyday life, not confined to Lycra-clad Sunday mornings. The land here lends itself to two-wheeled travel; the bike culture makes for safer cycling, city infrastructure is intact and a network of cycle paths runs like arteries through the countryside. Quit the confines of car travel and live like a local for a week. You’ll soon find the humble bicycle makes you more approachable, and your surroundings more accessible, than as a tourist looking through a window.
Our Cycling Tours in Europe Vacations
What do cycling tours
in Europe entail?
Not a circular route nor center-based, cycling tours are point-to-point journeys. Distance and terrain vary from one tour to the next. You can cross an entire continent, cycle from coast to coast or from one city to the next. The challenge is as great as you make it. Typically, the terrain will be tarmac, easy gravel roads, cycle paths and dirt trails, with some harder mountains routes. Tours include an appropriate bike and full vehicle support, but if in doubt of your cycling stamina you can choose a vacation with an optional e-bike upgrade. You will be staying in intimate, locally owned and staffed hotels, providing a financial benefit to smaller communities, and enjoying the freshest, and tastiest, regional food at nearby restaurants.
Who are cycling tours of Europe for?In another universe, bike seats are made of marshmallow-stuffed clouds, but in this one, you’ll need to put your trust in a good pair of cycling shorts. In a nutshell, cycling tours are better suited to people who have already spent some time in the saddle. Most tours require a reasonable level of fitness, even casual coastal rides clock up the miles, but put in a bit of practice before you kick off and you’ll be cruising along. Most cycling tours last for eight days, with at least six days on the road and daily distances of around 56km. Flatter, car-free routes are ideal for families, but you will need to check minimum age restrictions, which vary from tour to tour.
Small group or self-guided?If the only cycle touring you’ve come across is the Tour de France then fear not, vacation cycling tours are not a race. Small group tours are aimed at social cycling, with an experienced guide who will monitor the speed to suit the slowest. Groups are kept small to minimise disruption to the small towns and peaceful countryside you’ll pass through, and to give you more face to face time with your knowledgeable guide.
If the thought of peloton pedalling puts you in a cold sweat, then a self-guided tour offers the freedom of independent travel with the support of a guided vacation. Your time on the road can be tailored made, for flexible days of cycling, sometimes with the option to choose a longer or shorter route. Self-guided cycling is a more suitable option for families as there’s no need to keep pace with the group and, if little legs get tired, you have more freedom to stop and rest.
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Best time to go on a cycling
tour in Europe
Spring is best for cities and southern Europe, head north for cool summer rides in the sun.
The best time to go on a cycling tour of Europe is spring, summer and early autumn, from April to October, although winter in southern Europe is an option for the hardiest of cyclists. City cycling in central Europe is also more enjoyable in cooler temperatures, when the streets are quieter and fewer visitors mean more opportunities for sightseeing and less time spent in crowds. If you’re limited to the school vacations then a spring cycling tour over Easter will be better for the kids, as summers can be scorching. Autumn is a colourful time for forest trails and warm afternoons breezing through vineyards.
Amsterdam, Netherlands Weather Chart
Cycling tours in Europe,
month by month
More about Cycling Tours in Europe
The birthplace of the bicycle, Europe has something to offer riders of all abilities, with everything from shimmering coastlines to mountain paths.
A cycling tour from Porto to Lisbon encompasses the best of Portugal’s stunning Atlantic Coast, from its sublime scenery to its rich cuisine.
Discover the peaceful green heart of the Low Countries with a barge and cycling tour from Amsterdam to Bruges, past windmills and fields of flowers.
A cycling tour from Prague to Budapest offers more time to see little-known sights, visit beautiful countryside and live like a local, if only for a little while.
Castles, culture and fairly flat terrain make self guided cycling tours from Vienna to Budapest great for families and beginners with a reasonable level of fitness.
Cycle tours along the Baltic coast take travelers through quiet fishing villages, secluded forests and beautiful beaches via interesting histories.
Marseille to Barcelona cycling tours are less about the cities and more about the wide-open spaces in-between, from the canals to the Camargue.
The EuroVelo network is an ongoing project to connect Europe through long-distance cycle routes.