8 great easier-going cycling holidays
We love the idea of encouraging people to get on a bike or to rekindle the love for riding a bike they felt in their younger years. There is nothing like pedalling down quiet country roads, letting off the brakes on that 5k of downhill or deciding where and when to hop off, eat and drink and hop back on again.
An easier cycling tour is the perfect way to rekindle your love for the bike. Some of them you don't even have to cycle every day if you don't fancy it and it lets you really explore the area you are visiting, gets you into contact with the local people and environment. If taking it easy from the saddle of a bike appeals to you, then here are eight great suggestions for easier cycling holidays.
Cycling Portugal's Atlantic Coast
Ride a trail that follows the edge of the beautiful coast of the Atlantic in north-central Portugal for mile after stunning mile. There are plenty of diversions, too, including the UNESCO World Heritage City of Porto, São Jacinto Dunes Natural Reserve, the lagoon of the Ria de Aveiro and sweet-smelling pine forests. The Portuguese people are a joy to interact with and the food at the end of the day's cycle is a rustic mix of fresh seafood, cooked to perfection.
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Provence Bike & Boat
Cycle through the gorgeous French region of Provence – and the famous landscapes of Van Gogh – on a cycle tour from Avignon to the Camargue. The leisurely bike tour holiday visits the villages and vineyards around Avignon and Arles and stops off, if you fancy, at fantastic attractions, including the highest Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard. And because your accommodation is on a boat, you will never need to ride far to the start and finish of each day’s cycling. The trip is a real insertion into rural Provençal life. You get to sample the locally produced food, bursting with flavour, pairing it with wines you never see outside of Provence, speak to the friendly locals and live at the rural French pace of life.
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The Moselle Cycle Path
If you enjoy cycling, food, wine, castles and history this relaxed cycling holiday through Germany’s famous wine growing area on the Moselle Cycle Path is quite possibly the perfect trip you’ll come across. The Roman city of Trier is the starting point for your adventure, and it is well worth spending some extra time here if you have it. Founded in 16BC, Trier is arguably Germany’s oldest city and overflows with classical and historical sights, including the Imperial Thermal Baths. The cycling is flat and relaxing, meaning that even though 45km might look like a tough day, you will fly through it with the greatest of ease.
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Lake Constance Cycle Path
Lake Constance is Europe's most popular cycle path, and there are many good reasons why. The first is the instant ease and relaxation involved in the actual cycling. Lovely long, flat paths wind around the banks of this great lake, though you will not always be by the lakeside, there is a bit of variety in the scenery. You get to visit the lakeside town of Konstanz as well as be drawn in by the majesty of the Rhine falls, the dramatic falls which pour into the lake. With fairytale villages to lose yourself in and great food and wine, Lake Constance is a beautiful trip for beginners.
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Loire Valley Cycle Path - Orléans to Chinon
Another riverside path, meaning it is nice and flat, perfect for those looking to reinvigorate their cycling life. The Loire is a classy part of France, with more chateaux than you can imagine, all bursting with character and history, each with a unique story. The Loire is also famous for its delightful white wine, producing arguably the most exquisite and delicate Sauvignon Blanc in the world.
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Danube Bike & Boat - Passau to Vienna
Another hugely popular cycling trip which takes in two of the most historic cities in Europe, Vienna and Bratislava. As this is a bike & boat trip, you spend your days cycling while your accommodation follows you down the river and by night you watch city lights glide by as you enjoy a glass of something cold and local on the deck. There is also the option to skip a days cycling and stay on the boat, should reading your book seem a better way to spend your day. However, we would recommend the cycling, it is so straightforward (follow the river!) and full of interesting and enticing asides.
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Scottish Island Hopscotch
This trip is a little more difficult but arguably more rewarding. Cycling around the Isle of Arran and Islay, home of proper whisky, is a real delight. It is a strange phenomenon, whereupon boarding a ferry, no matter how short, you feel like you are going somewhere different, and so it is after the 45 minute trip to Arran. Instantly you are immersed in island life, a slower pace where everyone knows each other and are friendly and love to speak to strangers. In Islay, car doors and front doors don't get locked; life is at a pace it was back in the good old days. All of this wrapped up in stunning scenery, and you have a trip you will never forget.
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Tuscany: Pisa to Florence Cycling
Again, this falls into the Easy to Moderate grade, but it is still more than achievable and well worth the extra turns of the pedals. The value for money in the trip almost comes in the title. Pisa and Florence! Pisa is a delightful, academic town that has a great atmosphere and a thriving bar and restaurant scene. Oh, and there is the leaning tower and surrounding buildings, just in case you fancy a visit to them! Florence is about as classic a Tuscan city as you can imagine. Honey coloured, tight winding streets lead you through a historical maze, stumbling across places like Basilica di Santa Croce, the ornate resting place of some of the most famous people ever to exist. Mix in outstanding food and wine to die for, and you have got an incredible week on a bike.
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