Forget the beach, try a cycling holiday in 2019


Cycling Holidays in 2019


Forget the beach, try a cycling holiday in 2019

What’s most enjoyable, a beach or cycling holiday?

On the face of it that question might seem somewhat of a no-brainer. One requires doing not a lot, the other involves putting in at least a modicum of effort. But the thing is, with effort comes rich rewards.

Whereas a sun, sea and sand holiday can be on the one-dimensional side – the key ingredients don’t vary much from one destination to the next – cycling holidays are multi-faceted. That ‘I heart the beach’ drawn on the soft sand with a piece of driftwood will only last until the first waves of high tide wash it away. The special and unique memories that come with cycle holidays will be etched into the mind for evermore.

If you’re sceptical about that claim, cast your eyes over these reasons why cycling holidays should feature on any travel bucket list.

Park up in picturesque towns like Mittenwald, Germany on a cycling holiday

Park up in picturesque towns like Mittenwald, Germany on a cycling holiday

Cycling doesn’t have to require a lot of effort

It’s only hardcore cyclists who get a thrill out of attempting to cycle up mountains. If you’re already one of those you won’t need converting. Cycle holidays come in many shapes and sizes; some designed for experienced cyclists, others for newbies and those of us who like to take things at a more leisurely pace when on holiday.

Slow Travel specialists Inntravel offer various cycle packages designed around individual preferences and abilities. Their grade 1-2 cycling holidays across Europe include mainly flat routes with some short ascents; nothing overly strenuous. For those who really want to take it easy there’s often even the option of zipping along on electronic bikes.

You don’t have to wear Lycra

Personally, I wouldn’t want to walk into a quaint little bar in Provence looking as though my clothes had been spray-painted onto my body. Being able to dress more or less in my usual holiday garb, and therefore looking as though I’d just casually strolled down the lane from my gîte, is a big plus.

Environmentally friendly

You might leave tyre tracks in the mud but you won’t leave a carbon footprint on a cycling holiday. If being friendly toward nature is important to you, then getting around by pedal power is worthy of consideration. And before you ask, E-bikes are emission free so also environmentally friendly.

Family cycling holiday in Austria

Family cycling holiday in Austria

Great for family holidays

The best family holidays are built on a rock solid foundation of unforgettable shared experiences, which is what these types of holidays can offer.
Take cycling in Mallorca as an example. With quiet lanes winding through pretty beaches and timeless rural landscapes, there’s plenty of routes to suit all abilities.
Family members of all ages will get a buzz out of exploring unspoilt areas to the south of the island. As well as being stunningly beautiful, it’s a lot of fun, too.

Relaxing & revitalising

Unless in the company of seriously competitive friends, there’s no race element to exploring a destination’s countryside on a bike. It’s an activity best enjoyed when the pace is slow, the sun is on your face, and a gentle breeze runs its fingers lovingly through your hair. Cycling through sunny meadows awash with wild flowers and alongside sparkling streams is guaranteed to unlock a satisfying dose of inner calm.

Cycling Holiday on flat, quiet lanes

Cycling Holiday on flat, quiet lanes

It’s good for you

Apart from having an ‘off the scale’ feel-good factor and therefore nourishment for the soul, cycling is good for the body as well. It helps increase cardiovascular fitness, toughens up the leg muscles, and washes away stress. On lower grade cycling holidays especially it’s exercising without feeling like you’re actually doing exercise.

Cover a lot of ground

A great joy of cycling holidays is getting under the skin of a specific location – finding out what makes a particular place tick. Obviously a car can cover wide areas over a short period of time, but you can also miss much whilst travelling from A to B.

You won’t spot those little things that cause people exploring the countryside by foot, or on two wheels, to pause awhile – a particularly striking and unusual flower; a moss-covered monument partially hidden in a thicket; a startled stag crossing the path; an off the beaten track picturesque hamlet.

The advantage cyclists have over walkers in this instance is they enjoy the benefits of taking it slower than a car but still get to cover a lot more ground than if on Shanks’s pony.

A distinctly local flavour

Connected with the above, the more ground you cover the more inviting bars and restaurants you notch up along the way. One of the beauties of bike travel is whenever a tantalising tavern catches your eye you can simply park up the metal steed (anywhere) and stop for coffee and cake – there are few places which don’t have some sort of local speciality sweet thing on offer.

Often ‘refreshment’ stops are part and parcel of cycle routes. These might include wine tastings at vineyards in Alsace or in Trentino, Italy. For a cycle holiday with a sparkling difference there are even ones which meander through Catalonia’s Cava country.

Refreshment stop in Catalunya on a cycling holiday

Refreshment stop in Catalunya on a cycling holiday

Travel light

There’s no need to worry about being weighed down by heavy loads. With companies like Inntravel, all your luggage on a cycling holiday is transported between hotels by someone else. All you have to worry about is what to wear to look good on the cycle path on that day’s exploration.

And there can even be beaches

If you’re still concerned about the effects of beach deprivation then consider this. Coastal areas are often ideal for cycling holidays. From cycling between hidden coves on the Costa Brava to travelling alongside a seemingly endless wide strip of golden sand at Aveiro in Portugal, there are numerous locations around Europe where it’s possible to combine Slow Travel by bike with indulging in some chill out time on a gorgeous beach.

Why not enjoy the best of both worlds?

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