“This app will change bike training forever, it’s that good”
Sometimes the best inspiration can come from a new setting. We’ve put together some of the top cycling holidays you can go on in the UK and Europe. Fancy a week away without skipping your training regime? Look no further.
Weekend in Surrey
Stay in the same hotel that Team GB use when training at home with a Velo Weekend cycling break at Foxhills Club & Resort. The break includes an overnight stay, spa and golf access, breakfast by a British Cycling nutritionist, bike storage and a cycling goodie bag. The hotel also offers maps of local cycling routes, and if you’re feeling particularly flash, you can upgrade your room to those used by our 2012 Olympic champions, including one with a bed graced by Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Details B&B doubles are from £220 a night (01932 704500, foxhills.co.uk)
Tour de Farm in Yorkshire
There are no excuses for the dreadfully punny name, but we do like this new concept from Farm Stay UK. The farmer-owned consortium of more than 1,000 rural B&Bs and cottages has devised two cycling routes that lead from farm to farm. The Tour de North takes in the Pennines, Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire Moors, while the Tour de East offers somewhat less challenging routes in the relatively flat countryside of north Norfolk and Suffolk. Perks such as bike hire, storage and pressure washers are available, and each route has stages that can be cycled or driven.
Details Seven nights’ B&B costs from £400 for two people (02476 696909, farmstay.co.uk/News/TourdeFarm)
Look out for two-holed punctures in your tyres or elsewhere on this newly launched cycling holiday in Transylvania. The rural location makes a trip feel like a step back in time to the days of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula — but the cycling options are thoroughly modern, with bikes, guides, accommodation, support vehicles and all food and drink thrown in. Cycling on Transylvania’s rural roads has just become easier, thanks to the tour operator The Slow Cyclist helping to fund and construct about 70km of new trails in December 2015.
Details Five nights’ all-inclusive is from £875pp, departing on August 30 (020 7060 4487, theslowcyclist.co.uk). Flights to Bucharest are extra
Listen up, bearded Instagrammers in Dalston and beyond. Urban House is a hipster hostel/hotel in central Copenhagen with its own bike workshop and tattoo shop, as well as a bar serving microbrewery beers and gourmet hot dogs. Dorms and rooms have an industrial chic feel owing to exposed wood floors and wrought-iron beds. The bikes on offer (hire for £10 for six hours) are made from recycled bike parts, and are perfect for touring the city. Details Room-only doubles are from £120 a night (00 45 33 23 29 29, urbanhouse.me). Fly to Copenhagen
Wine tour in Croatia
Hotel Lone is a sleek seafront design hotel — the kind of place you may find hard to pull yourself away from. However, if you want to jettison the fine food and a super spa for the day, it offers the chance to go on a cycle ride to a local winery. The 25km ride takes in the picturesque lands around Lim Fjord before climbing to the village of Kruncici. A guide leads the way on quiet country lanes and unsealed trails to the award-winning Matosevic winery, where samples can be taken before heading back on a similar route. Depending on consumption, the return leg can be by bike or in transportation provided by the hotel. Details B&B doubles start from €114 (£98) a night; winery cycle tours are from £64 a day (00 385 52 800 250, lonehotel.com). Fly to Pula
If you think Tuscany is all rolling hills that would be a chore to cycle, think again. This new-for-2016 holiday by the slow-travel specialist Inntravel takes in the relatively flat countryside around the pine-fringed coast of unspoilt La Maremma. Gastronomic interludes include artisan olive oil producers and vineyards, and stays are in three rural farm-stay agriturismi.
Details Seven nights’ half-board is from £875pp, including luggage transfers, cycle hire, maps and notes (01653 617000, inntravel.co.uk). Flights to Pisa are extra
Gospel Pass in Wales
Velobreaks is a new tour company offering cycling holidays in the south and the Midlands. One of its offerings is this challenging cross-country route starting in the Usk Valley and ending at Ivinghoe Beacon in the Chiltern Hills. Along the way it takes in the 1,801ft Gospel Pass (the highest mountain pass in Wales), the Severn Valley and Hay-on-Wye. Guests cycle about 60 miles a day and stay in small hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses and inns.
Details Three nights’ B&B is from £495pp, including luggage transfers, maps and directions. Bike hire is from £75 (01780 671100, velobreaks.com)
France for experts
For keen road cyclists, the Raid Pyrenean is an epic classic. It is a 720km route from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean coasts of France, hugging the border with Spain along the way. With 11,000m of ascent and covering three of the famed Tour de France cols (Tourmalet, Aubisque, Pailhères), this is not for the faint-hearted, especially considering the fact that you have to complete the distance in 100 hours. Devised in the 1950s by Cyclo Club Béarnais, it is considered a legendary route. The trip includes two customised support vehicles and accommodation in two and three-star hotels.
Details Six nights’ half-board is from £1,159pp, including flights (01373 830409, marmot-tours.co.uk)
Tour London by bike
Splash the cash on a luxury London hotel stay, then bag a bargain with shopping at some of the best thrift stores in the capital. Ian Schrager’s super-cool London EDITION hotel has teamed up with the independent bike manufacturer tokyobike to produce stylish EDITION bikes in matt black. To celebrate, the hotel has also created some new cycling maps, the first of which — by the Vogue contributing editor Bay Garnett — features secret spots to pick up the best bargains and designer threads.
Details B&B doubles are from £295 per night; bike use is free (020 7781 0000, editionhotels.com)
Group trip to Greece
Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula is big news because of new airline routes, largely undiscovered villages and beaches, and some of the country’s most important archaeological sites. This seven-night trip covering about 20 miles a day starts in the city of Tripoli before heading out through vineyards and orchards on the way to the coastal former capital of Nafplio. Stops can include Agamemnon’s 3,500-year-old Mycenae kingdom and the magnificent theatre at Epidaurus, while hotels are three-star and above.
Details Seven nights’ B&B is from £725pp, including bike rental and luggage transfers (01670 785085, artisantravel.co.uk). Flights to Athens are extra
Beers and bikes in Austria
Combine bikes and beers with this cycling brewery tour. Starting in the baroque city of Salzburg, the itinerary takes in a number of brewers on the four-night trip — and tasting vouchers are thrown in. Along the way there’s stunning mountain scenery, including the jaw-dropping Austrian Lake District. Post-cycle ailments can be relieved in the town of Franking, where the hotel of choice offers unique beer spa baths.
Details Four nights’ B&B is from £292pp, including luggage transfers. Bike hire is from £53pp (01273 224066, freedomtreks.co.uk). Flights to Salzburg are extra
Luxury tours in Italy
For keen cyclists this holiday is nothing short of bike pornography. The luxury La Perla hotel works in exclusive partnership with the high-end bike manufacturer Pinarello — the Ferrari of the cycling world. It hosts a Pinarello Lounge, featuring famous championship-winning bikes and cycling memorabilia, and stays can include use of a Pinarello Dogma F8, guided tours and the services of the hotel’s full-time Pinarello mechanic. Burst a tyre and this guy, who travels beside you in the team car on outings, will change it in seconds. Other perks include daily kit laundry, use of a GPS tracker, food for the day’s cycle and a daily post-cycle massage.
Details Three nights’ half-board, including house drinks, is from €1,110pp (£943) (00 39 0471 831000, hotel-laperla.it). Flights into Venice are extra
The legendary Lakeland fell walker Alfred Wainwright would balk at the thought, but this trip takes his iconic coast-to-coast walking route idea and adopts it for bikes. Developed by Sustrans, the route starts in Ulverston, Cumbria, and concludes in Sunderland after passing through the Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales en route. As opposed to the more rugged walking path, the route is on minor roads and rideable bridleways, with daily distances a manageable-for-most 13 to 36 miles. Bike hire is from £90 for the seven-night duration, while an extra £50 helps to relieve the strain with an electric option.
Details Seven nights’ B&B is from £590pp, including luggage transfers (0800 0087741, sherpaexpeditions.com)
Cycle and surf in Cornwall
This collection of 30 or so Cornish cottages on a rural farm allows people to combine cycling with water sports over a two-night stay. The cycle-and-surf package includes two nights’ accommodation, plus gentle cycles on the Camel Trail, a nice flat route, on the first day and a choice of water sports on the second. Choose from surfing, stand up paddleboarding and kayaking. Cottages marry bright, modern design with features such as wooden beams.
Details Two nights’ self-catering at the Olde House in Chapel Amble is from £96pp, including all hire/excursions (01208 813219, theoldehouse.co.uk)
Bikes, route guides, maps, B&B stays in hotels or agriturismi and luggage transfers are included on a series of five clever Leisure Cycling Tours organised by Just Sardinia. The week-long journeys cover up to 300km (188 miles). The tour of the island’s southwest is named A Mine of Memories because it skirts abandoned mines as it weaves through the countryside and alongside wonderful empty beaches.
Details A seven-night B&B break in southwest Sardinia is from £673pp, covering 285km (01202 484858, justsardinia.co.uk). Flights to Cagliari are extra
17 Coastal Algarve
EasyJet Holidays has launched a collection of cycling holidays featuring hotels in good European cycling regions, with routes provided for guests. The hotels — which have secure storage for bikes, route maps, rental bikes and cycle repair technicians on site — are mainly in Spain and Portugal. In the latter, the Algarve is especially well suited to exploring by bicycle. Browns Sports & Leisure Club in Vilamoura has been picked as the base, and it offers recovery vehicles as well as massage treatments for sore legs.
Details A four-night B&B stay at Browns Sports & Leisure Club, Vilamoura, is from £325pp, with flights included. It costs an extra £70 to take your own bike on the plane, and transfers are £24pp (020 3499 5232, easyjet.com/en/holidays/deals/cycling)
Guided in Greece
Rolling countryside and picturesque villages are the backdrop to cycling on and off road for guests at Neilson’s Messini Beachclub in the Peloponnese. Each day guided rides, included in the price of the stay, are organised. They vary in length from about 20km to 45km. Advanced cyclists may fancy putting their names down for Expert Mountain Bike Rides covering challenging terrain.
Details A seven-night holiday, with breakfast, lunch and four evening meals at the Messini Beachclub, is from £499pp (0333 0143350, neilson.co.uk)
Mountain biking in Spain
Tackle tough tracks in the hills between Alicante and Murcia while staying at the top-class venue Las Colinas Golf & Country Club. The region is popular training territory for professional cyclists, although the grounds of the club include a gentle, 3km mountain biking route for beginners. The accommodation consists of two to four-bedroom apartments and villas. Choose a top-quality road bike or a mountain bike.
Details A seven-night stay is from €353 (£302) a person, based on four sharing (00 34 965 32 40 04, aworldapart.es)
Bike tour of Sweden
Head off through idyllic, peaceful countryside an hour’s drive south of Stockholm in the region of Sormland, staying at charming little hotels on new holidays organised by the Swedish tour operator Bike Trips. The guided group trips depart every Wednesday from Katrineholm until August 24 and cover 300km during eight days. Evening meals are provided, as are picnics, breakfast, bikes and maps. Part of the route travels alongside the pretty Gota Canal.
Details A seven-night trip is from £919pp (00 46 8-511 600 44, biketrips.se). Flights to Stockholm and transfers are extra
A lot of us feel guilty for not working out as much as possible on holiday. Here’s the perfect solution. What are you waiting for?