2018’s Top 10 European Bike Rides
Top 10 European Bike Rides
If cycling appeals to you, Merit Travel can provide assistance to help you on your way. Take a self-guided gastronomic cycling tour through the Loire Valley or join guided cycling tours through the Baltics, across Albania or from city to city with the Prague to Budapest cycling tour. Here are our top 10 biking getaways in 2018…
10) Tuscany Cycle Siena & Chianti
In at number ten, we begin our countdown with cycling in Tuscany. From Siena, one of Italy’s best-preserved medieval towns, to Chianti, home of the regions finest wine, this ride is the ideal intro to Tuscany. A region idealised by many, and rightly so, with sprawling vineyards and olive groves Tuscany’s landscape is recognisable and truly romantic. Steeped in history, hill-top towns and winding roads, it’s best explored by bike. Meander your way through Tuscany on this relaxed itinerary which encourages you to embrace the laid-back Italian life style. Swap the handlebars for a glass of wine in hand. No need to race through or culture cram, enjoy the sights, food and history, at your own pace, one pedal at a time.
9) Cycling in Sicily
The biggest island in the Mediterranean sea, stunning Sicily’s rich cultural and culinary heritage makes this island a sublime visit. From rustic home cooking to exploring the antiquated past of the Phoenecians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and Spanish, Sicily has so much to offer the explorer on two wheels. Cruising through the lower valleys of the Iblean Mountains allows you to whizz past swaying farm lands, deep gorges and enchanting coastal scenery.
8) Porto to Lisbon Atlantic Ride
Picturesque Portugal is a top contender for a European bike ride. The hilly capital Lisbon topped Lonely Planet’s ‘must see’ list for travellers in 2018. We begin in pleasing Porto, cycling here follows a flat and gentle route and the itinerary is flexible to allow you to scout out Portugal’s bright beaches and take your pick of its prime eateries. The Atlantic Coast of Portugal will take you through a range of landscapes, from pleasing pine forests to sprawling sand dunes in Sao Jacinto Natural Reserve. The fort village of Obidos is also a postcard perfect place to spend a night.
7) Cycling in Sardinia
Our lucky number 7 is Cycling in Sardinia. With a shimmering sea that illuminates towering lime-stone ridges, Sardinia’s natural beauty is clear to see. Crowds of bubble-gum pink flamingos cover the Sinis wetlands, cycle from here on to the verdant Costa Verde (Green Coast) which is budding with Mediterranean vegetation. When you cycle in Sardinia you spend a wonderful week pedalling past emerald waters, ancient ruins and smooth peanut butter beaches. After some more challenging gradients, reward yourself with uplifting scenic sights and a plate stacked with Sardinian delights.
6) Cycle Cilento and the Amalfi Coast
Combine your passion for cycling with a gastronomically indulgent itinerary! Cycling allows you to completely explore both unspoilt Cilento and the lively and loved Amalfi coast. The Amalfi coast provides unrivalled scenic routes and rich delicious local cuisine. Cilento is less well known but offers a quainter impression of Italy, with peaceful traditional fishing villages and a glimpse into a more leisurely pace of life. With all that peddling you’re bound to work up an appetite, you won’t be disappointed by the celebrated culinary finesse and fine food that these regions have to offer.
5) Cycling Puglia and Matera
Half way through the countdown and Cycling Puglia and Matera comes in at number 5. Get behind the handle bars and weave your way through the heel of Italy. Cycling in Italy’s deep south immerses you in the fascinating regions of Puglia and Basilicata. With Salento’s sublime seafood and wonderous wine, this destination really is foodie heaven. Sleeping under the charming dry-stone roof of a ‘Trulli’ house in Alberobello makes this trip a truly memorable experience. Ostuni, known as the ‘white city’, is perched on a hill top and a savoured spot to watch a Mediterranean sunset. Breeze through idyllic countryside towards Gallipoli and bask in the laidback Italian lifestyle. When you cycle through the region you can embrace the beauty of the countryside and make pitstops at some delicious cafes and restaurants along the way.
4) Dolomites, Lake Garda and Venice Ride
The Dolomites form part of the limestone Alps in north eastern Italy. Drink in the dramatic jagged mountain backdrop and cruise along smooth roads and tracks all the way to the Adige River. Discover spectacular scenery without the long climbs. The famous Lake Garda is a serene retreat offering a welcome break with breath-taking views. Relax on a pleasant boat ride where you can soak up these delightful vistas before continuing your jaunt through fair Verona and Padova. Finally you’ll arrive at the city with no roads, Venice. Step aboard a gorgeous gondola to uncover this romantic marble domed city’s intriguing past.
Taking bronze in our countdown, open your eyes to amazing Albania! It wasn’t until 1991 when the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania collapsed that foreigners could enjoy this wonderfully scenic location. Beginning on the border of Macedonia, cycling uncovers soaring snow-capped mountains, unbelievable beaches and charming rural villages. Go off the beaten track, the beauty of Albania will surprise you. If you’re looking for something more than a leisurely bike ride, Albania provides a challenging work out in a captivating setting. The Ancient Greek and Roman mosaque ruins of Butrint are a UNESCO heritage wonder and Llogara National Park is one of Albania’s major draws.
Stealing second place is exploring the Baltics by bike. Go on a two-wheeled journey of discovery as you cross Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Baltic coastline gives life to lush national parks, home to wild boar and moose, as well as spectacular alpine forests which earn this region its nickname of ‘Estonian Switzerland’. Admire the architectural highlights as you cycle through three fascinating countries. Marvel at the wonder of Jurmala’s expressive crafted wood buildings or wander the streets of turreted Tallin. The Town Hall Square is celebrated for its classic merchant houses. A cycling route that takes in a wealth of natural beauty and explores beautiful Baltic towns, Cycle the Baltics is our much-loved number two.
1) Cycling the Dalmatian Coast
And finally, the bestselling and number one cycling trip is… Cycling the Dalmatian Coast. The stunning sapphire waters and terracotta topped buildings of the Dalmatian Coast are the perfect backdrop for a cycling holiday. From picturesque seaside villages to lavish port towns, Croatia is an idyllic location to get fit and soak up some much-needed rays. Peaceful coastal cycling routes combined with an itinerary that allows you to revel in the fascinating history of Croatia’s oldest towns including Split and UNESCO world heritage site Dubrovnik, it’s not hard to see why this is your number one!
May 2, 2018