With the Tour de France 2021 just around the corner, now is the time to dust off a bike and start planning a two-wheel getaway. From riding through Mallorca’s forested hills to pedalling around charming English towns, we pulled together some suggestions to inspire the next cycling holiday, with different budgets and fitness levels in mind.
UK AND THE CHANNEL ISLANDS
BEGINNER: PEDAL AROUND LONDON’S ROYAL DEER PARK AND ENJOY A HOMEMADE PICNIC
London tourists can spend the day cycling and enjoying the capital away from the crowds on a scenic bicycle tour. Cycling the River Thames route, the tour then enters Richmond Park for some deer spotting from a distance before heading to a protected garden and pub for a refreshing drink. Tourists will then enjoy a local ferry trip across the River Thames to Twickenham and sit down for a delicious homemade afternoon picnic by the exotic riverside gardens. Ginette, a guide at ToursByLocals, has lived in south-west London all her life and has been granted a license to run bike tours in Richmond Park.
BEGINNER: EXPLORE SARK IN THE CHANNEL ISLANDS ON TWO WHEELS
Cycling is a popular mode of transport for exploring the car-free island of Sark – a 40-minute ferry from Guernsey. A cycle along Sark’s La Coupee, an 80-metre-high strip of land joining Big Sark with Little Sark, is a real highlight and a visit to its Boutique Caves, an extended tunnel-like cave network with side entrances. La Valette Camp offers cycle-friendly accommodation and is tucked away on the island’s east coast with panoramic views towards Alderney and France. It is a family campsite where children can enjoy the wide-open site to play games.
Campers can either pitch their own tent for £10 for adults and £5 for children per night or hire a pre-erected tent (different sizes available) where everything is provided for home-from-home comfort – all guests need to bring are sleeping bags and lighting. Pre-erected tents are priced from £36 per night plus the site fee of £10 per adult per night / £5 per child per night.
INTERMEDIATE: EXPLORE LINCOLN BY BIKE ON THE CASTLE TO COAST CYCLE ROUTE
For cyclists looking to enjoy the best of both city and coastline, Lincoln’s Castle to Coast cycling route is highly recommended. The 100-mile round trip offers a blend of quiet country lanes, stunning coastline and a scenic view of the city of Lincoln from the perspective of its iconic Castle. The route begins in the centre of Lincoln, marking the trip with a visit to the 11th-century castle. Then, continuing through the picturesque villages of Lincolnshire with beautiful views of the Lincolnshire Wolds, the route reaches Chapel St Leonard’s endpoint by the North Sea coast.
INTERMEDIATE: CYCLE THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS WITH EXODUS TRAVELS
Keen cyclists can experience authentic Scotland while taking in the wild and dramatic beauty of the Speyside region with Exodus Travels, beginning and finishing in Inverness and passing through Dufftown and Scotch whisky country. Then, cycling through the Highlands, guests will pass through Carrbridge, home to “The Golden Spurtle” World Porridge Making Championship. The Carrbridge – from which the village gets its name – dates from 1717 and is the oldest in the Highlands. The trip ends with a visit to the prehistoric burial cairns of Bulnuaran of Clava, which have long been a source of interest and have recently gained international fame, featured in Outlander.
Exodus Travels’ seven-nightCycle the Scottish Highlandstrip is priced from £1,499 per person. The price includes accommodation with breakfast daily, all transport and activities listed in the itinerary and a tour leader throughout.
INTERMEDIATE: DISCOVER THE MOST CHARMING ENGLISH TOWNS WITH HEADWATER
For the ultimate staycation experience, this gentle cycling tour starts along the Oxford Canal. It then goes through to the villages of the southern Cotswolds and Bath, home to Roman baths and stunning Georgian architecture. The self-guided route passes through some of the best of the Cotswold villages, including Minster Lovell with its Cotswold stone and thatched cottages on the River Windrush, the medieval town of Burford, and Bibury, ‘the most beautiful village in England’ according to William Morris.
Headwater’s eight-night self-guidedOxford to Bath Cycleis from £1,529pp, including accommodation with breakfast, bike hire, GPS route maps and navigation app and services of a local representative.
BEGINNER: EXPLORE THE VOLCANIC LANDSCAPES IN LANZAROTE WITH LOVE VELO
Lanzarote is an island that offers a strikingly diverse landscape from even other islands within Canary Island’s archipelago. Volcanic eruptions that took place almost 200 years ago have carved volcanic caves and formed lakes of lava and craters, which lie juxtaposed with beaches of brilliant golden sand and transparent, sparkling waters making for an idyllic landscape to explore on two wheels.
Love Velooffers a five-night self-guided Lanzarote cycling holiday featuring a route around the famous wine region of La Geria and its neighbouring volcanoes, as well as a coastal path stopping off at quaint fishing villages for seafood and a refreshing drink. The holiday is priced from £495 per person and includes accommodation, meals, bike hire, airport transfers, emergency assistance and essential bike repair equipment.
INTERMEDIATE: CYCLE THROUGH MALLORCA’S MOUNTAIN RANGE
Much of the Serra de Tramuntana consists of forested hills against a backdrop of mountain scenery featuring multiple traditional villages, such as Fornalutx, and spectacular views of the spreading pine forests, valleys, cliffs and sea views. Thanks to Mallorca’s hills being challenging but not too steep, cycling in the mountain range is suitable for professionals and leisurely cyclists. A cycle through the Mallorcan woodlands, especially in springtime, is a must to enjoy the most outstanding scenery and a feast for all the senses with the fresh citrus scents of the olive and lemon groves.
Macs Adventure offers an eight-dayBackroads of Mallorcacycling experience with a route featuring Serra Tramuntana and Fornalutx. Prices start from £825, including accommodation, breakfasts and dinners, baggage transfers, and 24/7 emergency telephone support.
Andorra’s cycling network totals almost 200 km and crosses through 21 mountain passes – some nearly 2,500 m above sea level. In July, the iconic Tour de France will pass through Andorra on Sunday 11July – 13July with a stage finish, a rest day, plus a stage start. The route for the 15th stage, which will start at Céret, the capital of Vallespir, will enter Andorra via the Pas de la Casa border before crossing the Port d’Envalira mountain pass (2,409 m) then head down towards Soldeu, Canillo and Encamp. The cycling routes in Andorra are of varying levels of difficulty and length, so there are cycling opportunities for beginners through to professionals.
As part of the country’s initiatives to promote cycling, the 21 mountain passes are all well signposted and offer cycle-specific information on each climb, indicating the number of vertical metres to go and the percentage elevation for the upcoming kilometre. In addition, the cycle routes can be found on the Visit Andorra website, where the 21 different itineraries are very detailed and state the level of difficulty of the course, its length and the climb involved.