Where to go on an e-bike vacation

Anywhere where we have cycling vacations, we also tend to offer e-biking. It’s always worth asking if you can upgrade to an electric bike. There are lots of vacations offering e-bikes in Europe, and a growing number in Asia, too. Italy is a great place to go electric. Its landscapes have a fair few hills, and there are lots of interesting villages to cycle between. In France, e-bikes make short work of hilly Provence, and make the easy Loire Valley even more accessible. What’s more, e-biking makes hot, sticky places like Kerala less likely to reduce you to a sweaty mess.

1. Baltics

With the help of a support vehicle, you can cover the most beautiful parts of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on one cycling vacation. The Baltic States offer a heavily wooded landscape, interspersed with marshland and meadow, lakesides and natural parks. National Park Lahemaa in Estonia is puddled with clear lakes, spindly spruce and mossy banks, whilst Vente Cape in Lithuania is all a-twitter with birdlife.

2. England

Devon – a county divided by high hedgerows but united in its stance on which order jam and cream goes on a scone – might seem like a gentle English idyll, but its bulky moors, Dartmoor and Exmoor, provide genuinely challenging cycling. An e-bike can make short work of the slopes and help you dash for cover if there’s a rain shower.

3. France

Watch out, Tour de France. On an electric bike you can overtake the hardiest of road cyclists uphill – an immensely satisfying feat in the Pyrenees. France is famous for its wine regions, and vines flourish on slopes. If you’re an oenophile, don’t let the undulations put you off: pretty Provence and beautiful Burgundy are easy on an e-bike. If you like it flat, with chateaux, pick the Loire Valley.

4. Holland

In the Netherlands, e-bikes now outsell regular bikes, meaning you won’t be alone in your lowland adventure. Famously, there are no hills here, but dyke cycles, windmill-hopping and wildlife-spotting are all high on the agenda. Cycle from Amsterdam down into Belgium and finish in Bruges, staying on a barge every evening – there’s no better way to celebrate the two country’s canals and cycle paths.

5. Italy

There are almost unlimited options for cycling in Italy. The Dolomites aren’t as hilly as you’d expect, thanks to routes around Lake Garda, you can escape the crowds of the Amalfi coast by cycling from Sorrento to Puglia, enjoy islands in style in Sardinia or Sicily, and enjoy reaching the hilltop towns in Tuscany and Umbria.

6. Portugal

Found inland from Lisbon, the Alto Alentejo is one of Portugal’s most beautiful cycling areas, but few visitors ever seem to travel beyond Évora. The Guadiana River, the salt flats and the seaside provide flat cycling, the sparkling Atlantic just-glimpsed in flashes through forests of cork oak. Elsewhere, you can make the most of the Atlantic coast on a pedal from Porto to Lisbon.

Electric bike travel advice

Harvey Downard, from our specialist vacation company Cycling for Softies, has this advice:


“Be aware that e-bikes only go down to certain sizes. Currently, if you’re under 5 foot there are less options available – we will have a limited number of smaller e-bikes soon. It’s true that e-bikes are a little heavier than normal bikes. A Bosch battery and motor will normally add around 5kg to the weight of a bike, but the tech is constantly getting better, smaller and lighter.”

Battery power

“We never provide a spare battery, but guests do get a charger and are required to charge their batteries at the end of the day. On some longer days they may cycle with the charger and top up the battery at lunch, but that’s quite rare.”

E-bike only tours

“The distances on e-bike only are a little longer than we would usually build into an itinerary, but the main reason they’re e-bike only is the hilly landscape. There are a few longer climbs in the areas, which are tough without the extra assistance. With e-bikes we often hear stories of our guests blasting past the local Lycra-clad cyclists, which gives them a huge amount of enjoyment!”
Christian Locke, from our specialist cycling company Headwater, has this advice:

Why take an e-bike?

“They’re easy to use, you don’t need to be as fit and hills are a lot easier, plus longer rides are possible. Places like Provence, Tuscany and Umbria are well suited to e-bikes, and parts of Portugal, too. They’ve got rolling hills and can be quite hot – but on e-bikes you’re not exerting yourself. We do see more people booking e-bikes in those places.”

Not for kids

“However, we don’t suggest that children use them. They tend to be heavier bikes because of the motor and battery packs, and there’s a bit of responsibility involved in using the controls on a motor powered vehicle.”

Before you set off

“We do a bike briefing at the start of the trips. People learn how to fit their battery, how to take it out, and how to charge them. Most people generally remember to charge overnight. You just need to be aware that although you don’t need to be a particularly experienced cyclist, you need to have ridden a bike before and you need to be able to take control of a slightly heavier bike.”
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Electric bikes or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Tips from our travelers using e-bikes

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful e-bike travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
Unless you are super fit consider the e-bike option, there's quite a few hills in Istria and we're glad we did.
– Suzanne Gray, cycling from Trieste to Pula
“The operator says this is their easiest ride and mostly flat which is true. But the ride between Nazare and Obidos has some significant hills that get steep quickly. When I saw a graph of the elevations I decided to request an electric bike. It was doable for my husband who is an avid biker but I was glad to have an e-bike (we're both in our 60s).” – Laurie Crossman booked a Porto to Lisbon self-guided vacation.

“We are 59 and 65 respectively and given the heat and, in particular, the state of many of the back roads, were very happy to have the extra electrical assistance. While the bikes on a good road with minimal traffic could go up to 24km/hr, we mostly went not more than about 8km/hr as the roads were in parts very rough. We found 4-5 hours/ day very manageable and a good way to see a lot, and build in a little morning tea stop in a local place – hot sweet milk tea and samosas mainly! That left the rest of the day to sightsee or sit with a good book in lovely home stay gardens, feeling satisfied we had had a good physical work out.” – Els Termaat booked an e-bike tour of Kerala

“The hired electric bikes were very important for exploring the lovely countryside for us 70 + year olds! We cycled 20 miles a day. The cool weather helped, I must say.” – Hilary Mayne booked an electric bike cycling vacation in Devon
Written by Eloise Barker
Photo credits: [Page banner: toxawww] [Baltics: Abrget47j] [England: Steven Penton] [France: James Orr] [Holland: Gouwenaar] [Italy: Markus Bernet] [Portugal: Joao Bento] [Suzanne Gray quote: Denis Simonet]