Hopping on your bike and hitting the wide open road, covering miles of diverse scenery without a worry in the world – there’s not a lot better than heading off on a cycling holiday.
But where to start? There’s no end of beautiful trails to conquer around the world. Here we look at five of the most renowned routes, from Cuba to the South of England – and everything in-between.
La Farola: Cuba
La Farola in Cuba is short but sweet – it’s only 35 miles long, but it still packs a punch. As you zip along the Cuban highway on your two wheels, you’ll pass through tropical regions with a backdrop of steep limestone cliffs, deep canyons and stunning stretches of sea. You’ll climb up winding cliff-side roads and you know what they say – what goes up, must come down. Running from Cajobabo on the south coast of the Guantánamo province to Baracoa in the north, this one is for the experienced rider.
Cabot Trail: Canada
Widely considered one of the most beautiful cycling routes in the world, Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail promises 190 miles of coastal views, dramatic deep valleys and lush rolling hills. The route follows a loop around Cape Breton Island and though it’s challenging in parts, it’s suitable for all abilities. Anyone taking on this world-renowned trail will travel through charming fishing villages and see amazing local wildlife, including whales and bald eagles.
North Sea Cycle Route: Europe
The North Sea Cycle Route passes through eight countries and covers almost 4,000 miles. Setting off from Scotland’s Shetland Islands, the avid cyclist will pedal along Britain’s coast, through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and finally Norway. Probably not one to try in one go, but definitely one to check out if you enjoy a Scotch or two or fancy an amble along the Netherlands’ beaches. And if you want to take a few days of rest in each country, there are many interesting Europe tour options that can help you keep the trip active.
Salzach Valley: Austria
The 150-mile Salzach Valley trail starts at Gerlos Pass and ends in Salzburg, unsurprisingly covering thousands of feet in altitude. From your bike you’ll be able to admire the striking vistas across to Grossglockner Mountain, the alpine landscapes of Hohe Tauern National Park and you’ll hear the thunder of Europe’s highest waterfall, Krimmler Wasserfälle, before you see it.
The South Downs Way: England
The South Downs Way is a haven for cyclists. The route takes you through the beautiful English countryside, but don’t be fooled – it’s considered one of the toughest cycling trails in the UK. It’s 99 miles in total and around 4,300 metres of that is uphill. But you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with the dramatic scenery of Beachy Head and Ditchling Beacon, the beautifully historic city of Winchester, and many picture-perfect villages and quaint pubs. Cyclists generally allow two or three days for the trip, which runs between Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in East Sussex.