Cycling is a beautiful sport that enables you not only to arrive at a certain destination by your own strength but also to enjoy the surroundings along the way. Especially if you choose some amazing scenic destinations – and there are quite a few of these around the world. Read on to learn about the best bicycle touring destinations in the world.
1. Important considerations
- When to go on a cycling tour?
Before deciding on where to go, you have to make some important considerations. First of all, timing. In order to explore some of the great places around the world by bike and enjoy nice weather, it’s best to plan your cycling holiday accordingly to your desired location. For example, the best period for cycling in the UK is somewhere from February to April. However, it will largely depend on the country you’re planning to visit, so make sure to take the weather into account as well.
- DIY or guided tour?
When it comes to organizing a cycling holiday there are two options concerning the trip itself: a DIY or guided tour. You can opt for a DIY tour but that means that you have to book a flight, a hotel, transportation and transfers and plan your own rides. It is an option which leaves you plenty of freedom but it’s also the one that’s more challenging for organization. It is quite cheaper, but it requires you to have some knowledge of the area, to manage and plan cycling tours and to be able to read a map well. Another option is to go through a cycle tour provider. In that way, you will have the accommodation, services, mechanics, food and guide included in the price of the tour. Of course, it is a more expensive option, but you don’t have to worry about a thing and you can relax and enjoy cycling along with the view.
- Hire a bike or take your own?
This is a very tricky question. Basically, if you decide to take your own bike, you’ll need to pay for the transport and the transportation box for your bike. The positive side is that your own bike is already set to optimal condition for you and you know it’s exactly what you need and want. On the other hand, hiring a bike costs differently in diverse places. Plus, you’ll also need to make some adjustments to make it suitable for your needs. The ultimate decision lies upon you, but have in mind the place you’re visiting, the distance and means of transportation as well as the costs of transport and hire services.
2. Northern European countries
Now that you have considered all the important factors concerning your trip, it’s time to check out some beautiful biking destinations you’ll want to add to your bucket list. We’ll start off with some of the Northern European countries such as Denmark, Iceland and Norway. Denmark is at the top of the list being one of the most bike-friendly countries in the world. Everything from distant villages to busy city streets is well connected by cycle tracks. One of the most popular cycling routes is number 29 from Nibe to Hvalpsund, which takes you through several scenic towns along the Danish countryside. You can find all the information you need for your biking trip on Denmark’s official tourism website. You can also opt for visiting all the highlights of Denmark or you can choose to go biking in Copenhagen, where you can cycle through the city and also outside the city to check out some hidden gems.
Iceland is another Northern European country perfect for cycling. There’s a route you can use to cycle around the whole country – the Ring Road. This route is incredible, it takes you along some beautiful sceneries including landscapes and waterfalls. This route is mainly flat but if you wish to up your experience you can choose another route towards highlands, called the F-roads. The deeper you go into the highlands, the more you’ll be able to enjoy serene views of untouched and unspoiled nature. The landscape in Iceland is pretty rocky and rugged, due to the fact that it is a volcanic country.
Norway is a dream-come-true country for cyclists. It’s one of the countries with the best cycling infrastructure. Throughout the country, there are numerous bike lanes, parking spaces for bikes, bike rental services and even the world’s first bike lift, which help cyclists up steep hills without having to get off their bikes. The best period to go on a cycling tour in Norway is in summer when the days are long and warm. Besides the breathtaking scenery, the routes also enable bikers to see some wildlife in their natural habitat. Biking trips can even be made into camping trips too.
3. Mediterranean countries
Next on the list of best cycling holidays take us to the Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Italy and France. Let’s start with Spain. Spain is a country perfect for a spring cycling tour. Winter is too cold while the summer period is too hot for this kind of adventure. The terrain comprises both flat parts but it also has some long climbs. There are also several small islands. Popular routes include locations such as Mallorca, Girona, Calpe and Denia.
Italy is yet another popular Mediterranean country for cycling. One of the top places for cycling is definitely the mountain range the Dolomites, in Northern Italy within the Alps. It’s a huge area to be explored. The road interchanges parts that go up and down, so there’s rarely a flat area. This route is convenient for those of a more adventurous spirit. Some of the well-known climbs are Falzarego, Valparola, Sella, Campolongo and Passo Pordoi. Another attractive location is Tuscany, famous for its dirt roads, lacing between the tarmac. The region is varied and covers over 22,000 km squared. But if you have the right bike with all the necessary bicycle accessories, you should have no problem exploring any kind of terrain.
All the bike lovers and cyclists know about France and the Tour de France. France has many popular locations suitable for cycling such as Paris, Cannes, the Alps, Mont Ventoux, Luberon Valley, or the Col de Galibier. It is surely one of the best cycling trips you can take. France has an incredible cycling infrastructure, connecting all the regions. If you decide on this particular trip, make sure to visit some stages of the popular Tour de France.
China has the largest number of bicycles in use than any other country in the world – which isn’t strange considering the fact that it’s the most populated country in the world. The country has made quite some efforts to maintain a good biking system working on their infrastructure. So now cycling tracks cover all the regions, especially those in big cities and the nearby countryside. In cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou biking is the best option for moving around. However, some regions outside the city have some challenging terrain, but at the same time feature beautiful scenery and unforgettable adventure.
5. Latin American countries
Buenos Aires was ranked in the top 20 bike-friendly places after building many bike lanes and developing a public bike share program. If you wish to explore the city by bike in an hour – it’s free. You just need to take a bike. There are also several companies that offer one-day cultural bike trips around the city. One of the most stunning and amazing tours is a 12-day ride through the Patagonia region of Chile and Argentina. The reason for its popularity is the scenery as the track itself passes through the Andes, with several sights of volcanoes, waterfalls and glaciers. Imagine photos you could snap there!
Cuba is famous for its picturesque landscape and countryside, with not many hills and traffic, making a perfect country to explore by bike. It’s definitely one of the most exciting places in the world. The best way to cycle on Cuba is with an organized tour, since hiring a bike is limited. There are several companies that organize these cycling tours and one of the most popular ones is definitely the 15-day ride exploring Cuba’s highlights. It is actually a gentle 8-day riding trip. However, if you wish to travel independently, it’s a better option to take your own bike. It’ll make things so much easier for you.
- The USA
The last decade has been the one creating a better infrastructure for cyclists throughout the USA. Nowadays you can explore big cities such as New York and San Francisco as well as different landscapes such as forests, waterfalls and deserts with your bike. There are many bike lanes, campsites and well-stocked bike supply and repair shops. One of the most popular routes for bikers is the one along the Pacific Coast. However, not all interstate roads are safe, but there are many other secondary roads that are safer for bikers.
- Southeast Asian countries
Hanoi to Laos Mountain Bike Epic is an adventurous and exciting biking tour that starts in Vietnam, goes across the Tram Ton Pass, the highest road pass in Vietnam and ends in Laos. This route is special because you pedal through the hill tribes, steeply-terraced valleys and secluded trails while resting along the way in traditional villages. Countries that are not so developed allow you to visit the remotest villages and cities and explore them in their original state. You’re able to see the true beauty up close in that way.
Another Southeast Asian country popular for its bike rides: Cambodia. If you prefer cycling in the countryside, this is the country for you. Popular tours include Backroad tours of Cambodia, which take you from Angkor Wat to the Cardamom Mountains. This is your chance to get to explore the sandy southern beaches, busy Phnom Penh and magnificent Angkor Wat while pedaling through diverse scenery such as rice paddies, temple ruins, lush national parks and ornate palaces. The best part of the tour is going through the ruins of Angkor Wat complex on two wheels, avoiding the crowd and moving on your own pace.
Bangkok has become a bicycle riding leader recently, even though it’s big, busy and hot. Thailand features Asia’s longest bike lane, through five provinces north of Bangkok in the length of 185km. Many companies offer half-day tours to some even longer trips throughout the country. The newest and most popular tour these days is a 15-day Thailand to Singapore tour. Make sure to check it out if you ever visit Thailand.
- New Zealand
The country most famous for its diverse natural beauty and stunning landscapes is a definite must-see. Cycling along the South Island takes the best of what New Zealand has to offer. One of the popular routes starts in Queenstown, which is the adventure capital of the country. It continues along the famous Central Otago Rail Trail through small gold-mining towns like Alexandra, Omakau, Wedderburn and Hyde. This route gives you the possibility to enjoy the open plains with pure and serene rivers while paddling through the beautiful area and breathing fresh and crisp air.
Munda Biddi is the world’s largest off-road cycling route. It lasts for two weeks and starts in Perth and ends in Albany. It was opened in 2013 and since then it has been developing is reputation as a mountain biking mecca. There are also shorter rides available around Perth, including winery tours and city streets. You can also make your own biking route by checking out the Cycle Perth website. If you wish to experience an easy ride make sure to visit Rottnest Island, where you can hire a bike and you don’t have to share the road with cars. A peaceful and serene ride for sure.
All the countries in the world have some interesting places that you can visit by bike, but not all of them have highly developed cycling infrastructure. If you decide to set off on such an adventurous journey, make sure to set the right timing, to decide on the key elements and the country you’re up for and get ready to have the time of your life while promoting your health and enjoying the beautiful scenery around you.