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The Sunday Times Travel writers Mark Hodson and David Wickers.


Recommended by The Times, Which and Daily Mail

Best cycling holidays

 By Annabelle Thorpe, Editor of 101 Short Breaks

Exploring on two wheels is an increasingly popular way to spend time on holiday, whether it’s a few miles’ glide between hotels, or long days of pounding up and down hills that would challenge a Tour de France pro. Specialist companies offer routes in locations as far-flung as South America and Africa, while there are plenty of gentler options closer to home, with the chance to explore some of Europe’s most beautiful regions on tranquil back roads. Choose from escorted group tours, or self-guided weeks or short-breaks, where your luggage is transported between hotels, leaving you truly free to explore.

Hotel-to-hotel tours

The main objection to a holiday on two wheels is the logistics, but there are a couple of specialist tour operators that have cracked this. Headwater has wonderful selection of independent cycling holidays where you are given fitted bikes, all the gear you need and detailed maps and guides. You stay at a different hotel each night – usually somewhere small and characterful – and your luggage is transported to the next hotel.  You can pick a holiday depending on your level of activity and even choose electric bikes. Check out the options in FrancePortugal and Austria.

Short breaks

If you don’t want to commit to a week or more, Headwater also has a great selection of four-day cycling breaks. You can explore the lovely coastline of the Real Algarve in Portugal or enjoy gourmet food and fine wines amongst the Chablis vineyards of Burgundy. For something a little more strenuous, you could do the Hilltop villages of Provence.

Solo cycling

A cycling holiday can be a great option as a single traveller – whether you want to join a guided group, or set off under your own steam. See this selection of cycling breaks for singles including a single-sex twin-share scheme, for those travelling alone who don’t mind sharing a room.

Family holidays

With both hands on the handlebars, a cycling holiday is a great way to get the kids away from their phones and screens. Inntravel has a programme of family cycling holidays around Spain that offer a totally different experience to the crowded Costas. Highlights include the Quiet Lanes of Mallorca and Bikes, Backroads and Beaches on the Catalan coast. Or explore the castles and spectacular fortresses and abbeys that dot the countryside around the Danube – a pleasingly flat(ish) region, that means even younger children can tackle the route without becoming too tired.


If you’re the kind of cyclist that likes to pound up and down hills (or even mountains) and clock at least 30-40 miles a day, then the Healthy Holiday Company has some great options, including the Italian Dolomites and the chance to discover the spectacular scenery and unspoilt villages of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. To combine adventuring on two wheels with other activities, Mark Warner offers inclusive mountain biking at some of its resorts in Greece and Sardinia, offering guests the chance to join guided, group tours or explore independently, on top-notch Cannondale Trail 4 bikes. For a real adventure further afield, choose the open roads and wide, unique landscapes of South Africa, on a trip based out of Cape Town, including the chance to ride the spectacular Chapman’s Peak drive, in the company of experienced guides and pro cyclers.

Last updated: 9 August 2019

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