Why go on an organised cycling holiday in Europe? It’s a way to visit great places while unwinding as you get some exercise, safe in the knowledge that you’ve been provided with an excellent itinerary and map and that your accommodation and luggage awaits you at journey’s end? Throw in some interesting company, a good picnic lunch and road assistance should you need it and you’ve described why European cycling holidays are popular. Europe’s climate, mostly decent roads and varied natural terrain lend themselves to a variety of cycling holidays. You need to be relatively fit for the type of cycle journey you choose, although there are some leisurely options; then simply decide on a destination.
How about colourful Provence in France? Apart from the lovely countryside, river paths and gently winding lanes, there is some excellent Roman architecture and you may even spot some of the semi-wild Camargue horses.
Places to stay can include anything from modern boutique hotels, villas with a pool or gites. Locations of choice for cycling include the Luberon Natural Park and the Mont Ventoux area, the countryside around Arles, Tarascon, Uzes, Orange, Avignon and the Pont du Gard with its amazing aqueduct.
Austrian cycling tours, sometimes staying at charming ‘Gasthofs’, can start at Passau, Salzburg or Linz. One possible trip is the bike trail between Bludenz and Bregenz, part of which follows the Ill river to the medieval town of Feldkirch. Another is from St Michael im Lungau via the National Park to Graz, taking in forests, vineyards and typically Austrian farmhouse views while on a dedicated cycle paths. How about starting at the charming Krimml village, cycling through the Hohe-Tauern National Park by the river Salzach, eventually getting off the saddle at charming Zell am See. The Salzkammergut is Austria’s lake district and the relatively level tracks will permit you to enjoy the wild and natural beauty of locations such as Traunkirchen, St Wolfgang and Hallstatt. Trips can be extended and enhanced by adding boat and train rides while en route.
Italian cycling holidays are best around spring and autumn as it’s too hot in the Summer and can range from paths by the Dolomites and the Piedmont region to gondola-gazing in Venice. There are routes around lakes like Garda, Lugano and Maggiore. Examples of starting points are Mestre for Venice, Treviso and Verona. The Riviera dei Fiori in Liguria is excellent for mountain bilkng. Alternatively, a cycling holiday along a dedicated path starting in Bolzano, winding along the River Adige and finally to Verona will provide gentle exercise with great countryside views. For something a bit different, how about taking a trip through romantic Venice and/or ancient, historic Padua.
Posted : Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 at 11:00
As well as writing about travel, Karen Bryan offers tips on saving money, frugal living and how to live well on less, on her site Help Me To Save