Cycling tours are becoming more popular every year, with an increasing number of people realising how wonderful it is to head out on a bike for rides that take in spectacular sights, superb food & drink and centuries of history. There’s a commonly held myth that these tours are limited to Europe’s summer months of May to September, but this couldn’t be further from the truth!
With the new year here, we’ve looked at a number of factors (weather, number of tourists and what’s popular) and compiled a selection of cycling tours that are perfect for every month of the year. From the pink salt lakes in Mallorca and the terracotta roofs of Croatia, to the perfumed cherry blossoms in Japan and the ancient wonders of Southeast Asia, there are plenty of spectacular sites and wonders to be discovered around the world.
January: Lanzarote’s Volcanic Landscapes
Cycling in Lanzarote isn't like cycling anywhere else on earth!
Often referred to as the island of 1,000 volcanoes, six years of eruptions between 1730 and 1736 created a unique, lunar landscape covered in craters, canyons and cones. Lanzarote is warm all year round; even in January, you can enjoy temperatures that reach 20°C/68°F on most days, with very little rain. Explore most of the island by bike, learning about the history, culture and gastronomy en route. Visit the volcanic cave of La Cueva de los Verdes, admire the beautiful beach of Famara with the impressive backdrop of volcanic cliffs and explore the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, where Lanzarote’s volcanic nature is at its most impressive.
View tour: Lanzarote, Land of the Volcanoes
February: Glistening Beaches in Mallorca
The pretty harbour at Port de Soller, Mallorca
Set off on a bike tour to Mallorca in February and marvel at the gorgeous display of almond blossoms in flower. Native to Egypt, the almond tree was introduced to Mallorca by the Romans in 123 BC and over the centuries, it has spread. Nowadays, there are more than seven million almond trees and it is one of the most beautiful, natural spectacles on the island. There are plenty more remarkable sights to discover, including UNESCO-listed mountains, glistening beaches, pink salt lakes, orange groves and the beautiful Dragon Caves. Alongside these natural wonders, you can visit prehistoric ruins and vibrant markets. There is also the chance to enjoy traditional Spanish cuisine, including paella made by locals in a mountain village. Cycling around the island is mostly undemanding, with an even mix of flat and hilly terrain.
View tour: Mallorca
March: Cherry Blossom in Japan
Not to be missed, Japan's famous cherry blossom
Every spring, the cherry blossom – or ‘sakura’ – in Japan turns much of the nation a pretty shade of pink. This usually begins in the subtropical islands of Okinawa around January, passing through the middle of Japan in March and April, before finishing in Hokkaido in May. Marvel at the beautiful, fragrant blooms on Kyushu, Japan’s southern-most main island. Starting in the bustling city of Fukuoka, cycle an average of 35 miles a day along quiet roads and trails, combining culture, cuisine and nature. Take a break from the saddle and admire Komzoyen-ji temple, famous for its Zen stone garden, visit Usa Shrine, dating back 1,200 years and dedicated to the Hachiman warrior god and stop at Tendai Temple beneath Mount Futago, it’s the oldest wooden structure in Kyushu having been built in the 11th century. On arrival in Beppu, explore the ‘Hells of Beppu’ steaming sulphuric ponds and bubbling mud pools, before soaking in a well-deserved onsen bath. Stay at a range of hotels and unique ‘ryokan’ inns, many of which have their own hot springs; ideal for relaxing and recharging those leg muscles.
View tour: Kyushu Coast to Coast
April: Holland’s Multicolour Tulips
What better way to see Holland's beautiful blooms than by bike?
Boat and bike through Holland’s main bulb growing region on the Tulip Tour, marvelling at the multi-coloured tulips, pink hyacinths and yellow daffodils that are in their prime during April. Beginning and ending in Amsterdam, sail to the historic village of Spaarndam, made famous by the 1865 American novel, ‘Hans Brinker’, before pedalling to the famous flower garden of Keukenhof and continuing on to Leiden, the birthplace of Rembrandt, considered to be one of the most important figures in European art. Do not leave without sampling the delicious cheese at Kudelstaart and visiting Aalsmeer, the largest flower auction in the world. Here, flowers from as far as Ecuador and Ethiopia are traded and more than 20 million blooms are sold each day.
View tour: Tulip Tours
May: Boat & Bike in Style in Croatia
With pretty harbours and idylic islands, Croatia is the perfect setting for a Boat & Bike tour
Indulge in some of the Dalmatian coast’s most beautiful attractions as you ride and sail from Dubrovnik to Split. Visitors in May can expect 14 hours of sunlight during the day and an average temperature of 16°C; wonderful weather for an active cycling holiday. Starting with a guided tour of Dubrovnik, the terracotta-roofed stage for the filming of Game of Thrones, you will then set sail for Šipan, home to verdant forests and sub-tropical parks. Continue to Lastovo Island, famous for its vineyards that produce the versatile Marastina grape. Cross to the nearby forested island of Korčula, the birth place of Marco Polo and cruise to Hvar Town, home to a magnificent Renaissance Square and Spanish Fortress. Journey to the island of Brač, which is famous for its shining white marble used for building the White House! After each day of cycling and exploring, board the Harmonia, a deluxe-class motor yacht comprising 16 luxuriously-furnished and air-conditioned en-suite cabins.
View tour: Dubrovnik to Split - Deluxe
June: Natural Beauty and Culture Along The Danube
Esztergom, one of the fascinating stops on a Danube cycling tour
Admire the glistening blue waters of the Danube River as you spend your days exploring Germany, Austria and Slovakia. The Danube River Cycle Path was Europe’s first long-distance cycle path and takes in a wealth of natural beauty and historic monuments, from wild forests and pristine islands to impressive castles and palaces. Follow the former Iron Curtain towards the Baroque Palace of Hof in Austria, admire the imperial St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna and visit the gorgeous Baroque monastery of the Benedictine brethren of Melk. Foodies will love trying some of the special cordials at the Trappist monastery at Engelszell, sampling freshly-grilled mackerel in Untermühl and sipping a vast selection of wines at the many cosy taverns. Although some summer showers are possible, June also offers travellers a high amount of sunshine (with temperatures averaging around 20°C).
View all Danube cycling tours
July: Cycle Sweden’s Archipelago
The beautiful islands of Sweden's archipelago, a great destination for nature lovers
With daylight lasting more than 18 hours each day and temperatures reaching an average of 23°C, Sweden is an ideal place to visit in the summer. Explore the incredible city of Stockholm, built on 14 islands and connected by 57 bridges at the start and end of this cycle tour. From Stockholm, pedal down through the countryside towards Utö pausing at Tyresta National Park, home to sparkling lakes and wild-roaming deer, and Tyresö Palace, an imposing 17th century palace with impressive waterside English gardens. Plus, marvel at the southern part of Stockholm’s archipelago, which was formed during the last Ice Age. On arrival at Fjärdlång, jump on a boat back to Stockholm, enjoying the spectacular views along the way.
View tour: Archipelago Island Cycle
August: Family Rides Around IJssel Lake, Holland
Harderwijk, a beautiful stop on the IJssel Lake tour
Spend a week during the summer holidays discovering Holland’s coastal lakes, villages and nature reserves on this exciting boat and bike tour that’s been created with children aged 7-11 in mind. The cycle rides do not exceed 20 miles and can easily incorporate multiple ice-cream breaks along the way. Starting and ending in the elegant city of Amsterdam, cruise and cycle around sparkling lakes, old-fortified towns, past spinning windmills and through deep-green woodlands. Kids will love the Walibi World theme park in Harderwijk and a chance to build sandcastles on Lake Veluwemeer beach. They can also see the exhibits of local Zuiderzee fishermen and famous Dutch hydraulic engineers at Zuiderzee open-air museum and have a go at steering an electric motorboat through the canals around Giethoorn. You’ll stay on a barge with shared facilities and a spacious saloon where you can get to know other families on board.
View tour: Family Special - IJssel Lake
September: Puglia’s Spectacular Sights
The striking 'Sassi' in Matera, the 2019 European Capital of Culture
From its glistening grottos and sparkling seas to its sandy beaches, Puglia offers cyclists a region rich in culture, history and gastronomy. Sun worshippers flock to the heel of south-east Italy during the summer holidays but come September, it is significantly quieter. As autumn begins, the average temperature is 17°C; ideal conditions for cycling and sightseeing. Begin in Matera, the 2019 European Capital of Culture, where you can see the intricate maze of caves known as ‘Sassi’, before you ride on to discover the ancient silver olive groves, characterful hilltop towns and unique coastal villages in Puglia. Pedal to the town of Alberobello, which dates back to the 16th century and is famous for its cluster of UNESCO-listed ‘Trulli’ (traditional Apulian dry stone huts with conical roofs). Take the train to the charming Baroque town of Lecce and bike along the south coast towards the impressive Castle at Otranto. After each active day in the saddle, stay at a mixture of three and four-star hotels and even spend a few nights at a traditional ‘trullo’ hotel!
View tour: Puglia
October: Italy, Slovenia and Croatia in One Week
The sun-drenched harbour at Piran, Slovenia
With more than 11 hours of sunlight each day and temperatures reaching a comfortable 22°C, the Istrian Coast is an ideal place to explore in October. Travel through three countries along the Istrian Peninsula, past lush vineyards, sandy beaches and historic towns. Starting in Muggia, a coastal settlement just outside Trieste, ride south across the Slovenian border, alongside the impressive coastline and through medieval settlements, before reaching Croatia. Pause at the shimmering salt flats in Sečovlje, sample local oysters and mussels in Poreč (plus visit the UNESCO-listed Euphrasian Basilica) and make the most of Pula on Istria’s southwest tip. The magnificent Pula Arena is the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have four side towers and all three Roman architectural orders entirely preserved.
View tour: Istrian Coast - Trieste to Pula
November: Vietnam by Bike & Boat
Vietnam's famous Ha Long Bay
Dry and pleasant weather in Vietnam in November make it an ideal time to discover the wonders of the country by bike. Beginning in the capital Hanoi, explore the incredible sites in this enchanting old town and enjoy authentic Vietnamese cuisine. From here, cycle past lush rice paddies and majestic pagodas on a journey visiting Hoa Lu, the former capital, and Tam Coc. Spend a night on a traditional junk boat on the mystical waters of Ha Long Bay, then kayak past floating villages to Cat Ba Island. The next stop is Hoi An, a UNESCO-listed town that was once a major trading port. Nowadays, its streets are strung with multi-coloured lanterns that create the perfect photo opportunity! Continue this relaxed cycle trip with an exploration of Vietnam’s bustling southern cities, from the ancient imperial city of Hue to the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City, and marvel at the divine river settings of the Mekong Delta. With gentle cycling terrain and the longest ride being 31 miles, this trip is suitable for all levels.
View tour: Vietnam by Bike & Boat
December: Two weeks Seeing The Best of South-East Asia
The magnificent temple complex at Angkor Wat
December is one of the best months to explore Southeast Asia due to minimal rainfall, warm (but not too hot) days and a pleasant breeze. This two-week tour winds through the beautiful countries of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand with countless sights and numerous excursions along the way. Beginning in Ho Chi Minh City, pedal through the Mekong Delta past banana and sugarcane plantations then cross into Cambodia to the gilded palace in Phnom Penh. Cycle on to Siem Reap and the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat, then relax on the sweeping white sands in Thailand before transferring to Bangkok. Dine on delicious, traditional food throughout the tour, hike through the wild jungles in Cambodia, drift (on a boat) along the famous Mekong River in Vietnam and swim in the sparkling sea at Laem Mae Phim in Thailand. The cycle rides vary from 16 to 59 miles each day, with a generous number of rest days so everyone can make the most of their time in these extraordinary countries. Stay at a selection of three-and-four-star hotels along the way, each maintaining a lovely local charm.
View tour: Ho Chi Minh to Siem Reap to Bangkok
If you would like to know more about these cycling tours, make an enquiry online or speak to one of our team by telephone: +44 (0)1273 224066