Inspired by Le Tour? Cycling holidays around the world

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What’s On celebrates Le Tour de France by profiling some of the best cycling holidays Europe and rest of the world, like Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Myanmar.


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TUSCANY, ITALY
Good for: Foodies
In the saddle: Six days
Pedal power: Moderate
Transport yourself – and your bike – to a renaissance-painting landscape of rolling green and gold hills dotted with cypress trees and ancient Etruscan hamlets. This group itinerary is pleasingly varied, taking in everything from medieval Sienna to Tuscan villages and vineyards, with a great base in charming Montefollonica. But it’s the food and drink that will make your pedals pump a little faster. Peppered with gourmet picnics, trattoria suppers and delectable wine-tastings, this tour is a culinary delight.

duvine.com

Tuscany - cycling holidays in Europe


SRI LANKA, INDIAN OCEAN
Good for: Culture vultures
In the saddle: 14 days
Pedal power: Easy to moderate
Ancient temples, spiritual sites and mysterious ruins are blended with lush tea plantations and bustling spice markets on this tour of Sri Lanka’s backroads. You might even spot a flamingo or a leopard. You’ll traverse the sacred site of Sigiriya with its awesome 1,000-feet-high rock fortress, the Yala National Park, and Ahangama, where ‘stilt fishermen’ balance precariously on poles over the sea. The hill-country cycling section is not for wimps, but saddle-sore souls can take the train up to Nuwara Eliya, passing terraced paddy fields, sipping fragrant tea as they go.

intrepidtravel.com


THE ALPS, FRANCE
Good for: Fitness fanatics
In the saddle: Seven days
Pedal power: Very challenging
The French Alps is where the big guns come to do their training, so expect exhilarating experience. There’s the Big Cols training week or the – gulp – Riding No Hiding event, billed by Alpcycles’ toughest week for serious cyclists. You do get some gain for your pain though. The scenery is staggering, the air is sparkling, the support team is superb and the sense of achievement is unbeatable. Not least, at the end of a tough day, you return to a fabulous alpine chalet, great food, hot showers and a comfy bed.

alpcycles.com

The Alps - cycling holidays in Europe


CORNWALL, UK 
Good for: Softies
In the saddle: Four days
Pedal power: Easy
This self-guided Cornish cracker takes you along rugged cliff tops to Cape Cornwall with its mining industry heritage, free-wheels you into the artists’ haven of St Ives (visit the fabulous Tate Gallery), and guides you all the way to Lands End, England’s most westerly point. Along the way, take in everything from spectacular surfing beaches to the iconic Minack Theatre carved into the cliffs above the sea. You’ll stay in a different accommodation every night, finishing up in the picturesque fishing village of Mousehole. Cornish pasties en route optional, but irresistible.

cornishcycletours.co.uk


ANDALUCIA, SPAIN
Good for: Kids
In the saddle: Six days
Pedal power: Easy
Bring the family on this easy-peasy peddling tour in one of Spain’s most beautiful mountain regions studded with ancient forests, olive groves, orange and lemon orchards and pueblos blancos (traditional white villages). Designed to suit all ages – even grandparents have no excuse – there’s plenty to keep the kids happy, from ice-cream stops to river paddles and castle ruins, while grown-ups will love quaffing at a vineyard or two en route. A choice of comfortable accommodation is available in pretty Montecorto, and each family has its own guide.

andaluciancycling experience.com


MYANMAR, ASIA
Good for: Intrepid travellers
In the saddle: 12 days
Pedal power: Moderately challenging
Myanmar – once Burma – is set below the Himalayan foothills, and this itinerary, which can be adapted, takes adventurous types through areas closed off to travellers for more than 40 years. Revealing a lost world of cultural history and geographic splendour, the jaw-dropping impressions come in quick succession, from the sight of literally thousands of pagodas clustered at Bagan to a sublime sunset cruise on Inle Lake with its stilted villages and floating gardens. Along the way, be welcomed by smiling locals, explore untouched villages and ruins, and climb Kalaw, a hill station with echos of the country’s colonial past.

veloasia.com

Myanmar - cycling holidays in Asia


BALI, INDONESIA
Good for: Adrenalin junkies
In the saddle: Seven days
Pedal power: Challenging in parts
Mountain-bike buffs will love the challenge of this spectacular terrain that’s a world away from Bali’s tourist-trap hullabaloo. The accompanied tour of the volcanic island begins, appropriately, riding the rim of Bali’s most active volcano, the Batur Crater. Later in the week, you’ll descend from its highest peak, Mount Agung, which is steeped in spiritual significance, towering 3,142 feet above sea level. The scenery is awe-inspiring, the hospitality, be it small guesthouses or family lodgings, is gracious, and the cultural heartbeat of this island is evident everywhere.

spiceroads.com


MOROCCO, NORTH AFRICA
Good for: Adventurous spirits
In the saddle: Eight days
Pedal power: Skill and experience required
Follow remote single track trails deep into the barren and atmospheric Atlas mountains on this guide-led cycling tour. Be warned: The ride can be challenging, particularly on the most rugged and bumpy sections, but is never less than thrilling with its twists and turns, ascents and descents. Superb scenery, panoramic vistas and virtually unknown villages contrast with the hustle and bustle of the famous Marrakesh souks, where the tour starts and ends. Terrific accommodation awaits you at the end of every full-on day, as does delicious cuisine.

cycleactive.com

Morocco - cycling holidays in Africa


THE DORDOGNE, FRANCE
Good for: Francophiles
In the saddle: Seven days (can be extended)
Pedal power: Easy to moderate
Avoid the height of summer, and the Perigord is yours for the taking on this self-guided tour with local support and bag transportation to family-run hotels. The Lot and Dordogne rivers meander through lush valleys while high above, ancient towns such as Rocamadour offer panoramic views. Gently hilly at times, but never arduous, this trip offers plenty of tempting pit stops. Fill your panniers with cheese and fruit from local markets, grab a crusty baguette and you’re all set for a great ride with a gastronomic feast.

cycle-the-dordogne.com

 


THE NETHERLANDS
Good for: First timers
In the saddle: Seven days
Pedal power: Easy
Novice cyclists won’t need Dutch courage if they choose Holland for their inaugural tour. With 12,000 miles of designated cycle paths, this is a country where cyclists rule. Factor in a temperate climate, flat plains, medieval cities and you’re away. The Pearls of Holland is a self-guided tour (your luggage is transported for you), mixing cycling with culture. Explore Amsterdam and its Van Gogh museum, and look around Delft, the hometown of the artist Vermeer. In between, breeze through a landscape of windmills, polders and open skies. Go before mid-May, and you’ll be rewarded by the sight of thousands of tulips, crocuses, and hyacinths in bloom.

dutchbiketours.com