Our Top Ten Best Cycling Holidays
From the ancient spiritual pilgrimage of the Camino De Santiago, to the Lakes District of Patagonia,from the storybook landscapes of Bavaria to the undiscovered beauty of Corsica, here are 10 of our best guided bike tours. Chosen from an eclectic blend of our most popular tours, tour leader favorites, and some of our most celebrated tours that have garnered international press and awards. Each has been chosen for their exceptional nature and reflects our company's strong commitment to designing tours that are culturally immersive, highly-sustainable, and deeply connected to the local culture, and people of each region. And while we believe that all of the tours we design are very special, and offer unique experiences only available in those places, we know people love to know what "the greatest hits" are. So here they are: our Top Ten Tours.
1. Bike Across Italy - From Venice to Pisa
Cycle into the heart and soul of Italian history, art, culture and cuisine
This is it - our most popular tour - the classic bicycle tour that we first created back in 1972; the “big bang” of our family business. If you love “everything Italy”: Roman and Renaissance history, the landscape, the great artworks, the architecture and the famed cities, and the wonderful culture, food and wine, then you'll love our most beloved tour across Italy from Venice to Pisa. Beginning in romantic Venice, you’ll cycle through the heart and soul of Italy, following routes we've ridden for over 30 years. You’ll enjoy gourmet meals and wines from Italy’s most renowned culinar regions, Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany and you’ll have time to wander
through the great art cities of Ferrara, Ravenna & Florence and end your journey by exploring Lucca and pedaling to Pisa. Along the way, you’ll take in local markets and discover a side of Italy seldom seen by tourists.
Highlights: Gourmet meals and wines. Venice. Ravenna. Florence. Lucca. Pisa. The gorgeous countryside of Tuscany. The farms, orchards and food of Emilia-Romagna.
"The trip of a life time. The tour guides were amazing and worked tirelessly to provide everything we needed. The routes were incredible, the food fantastic, the hotels spot on" .Jacqueline M., Brooklyn, NY
2. Cycling The Camino De Santiago
An ancient Spanish spiritual pilgrimage and the “tour of a lifetime”
Selected by National Geographic Traveler magazine as one of "50 Tours of a Lifetime, this is more than a beautiful bicycle tour, it’s an ancient pilgrimage. A spiritual journey and truly an experience not to miss. "A pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is the finest journey in Spain," wrote James Michener, and if you join this singular tour across northern Spain, from the Pyrenees to the Atlantic, you too will discover the magic of the Camino de Santiago. From Gothic cathedrals, to medieval monasteries, you’ll pedal through one of Spain's premier wine growing regions - the Rioja - and encounter pilgrims and adventurous travelers from around the world.
Highlights: Follows the route of the Codex Calixtinus. 1000 years of history along the Camino de Santiago. Coordination to obtain your Pilgrim's Passport. Guided tour of León. Burgos
"this tour has just enough of everything you could possibly want in a bicycle tour: history, food, great routes and interesting people. There are few routes in the world where you bicycle or walk by 20 people speaking 5 different languages! Throughout history the Camino was a corridor that connected Europe. More recently it has become a path shared by thousands of people every year—exploring as they travel towards Santiago. You'll find extraordinary cuisine, history, landscapes and great bicycling on many of our tours—but this particular one has just the right amount of all of these elements to make it extra special!"
Dana S., Fairport, N
3. Bicycling Patagonia's Lake District Plus the Islands Of Chiloe
Cross the Andes from Argentina to Chile on our top selling tour in S. America
Escape south and spend two weeks in the South American summer cycling through the Andes and crossing the continental divide from Argentina to Chile. You'll pedal from the high plateau of San Carlos de Bariloche, coast alongside shimmering Andean lakes, and wind down through the valleys of the border region into Chile's Lake District. Shimmering bodies of water will be a constant theme as you descend from the Andean lakes to the ocean, passing through scenery and a landscape so diverse you'll feel as if every day you are visiting a new country.
Highlights: Chile's Lake District, the Argentinian and Chilean Andes, Views of Osorno and Calbuco Volcanoes, Waterfalls on the Petrohué River, Thermal Pools, San Carlos de Bariloche
"I have described this as the best vacation of my life." Toni H., Steamboat Springs, Colorado
4. Cycling Corsica Plus! Beaches and Bonifacio
A Tour Leader and Staff Favorite And Possibly Our Most Beautiful Bike Tour
"Pure cycling pleasure." One of our tour leaders favorite choices for Top 3 Tours, Corsica is one one of the most spectacular bicycle rides in the Mediterranean basin, and for some, the world. As one of our our leaders says, "Corsica has phenomenal roads that lead to endless pleasures: beaches, mountains, the wonderful and exotic aroma of the maquis (local wild shrubland), fiadone (delicious Corsican cheescake), and Pietra (chestnut beer), rides that are challenging without being exhausting. From the sea, Corsica appears as a large piece of Alpine Europe floating on a bed of cobalt blue,. Geologically, Corsica is more closely related to the Alps than it is to its larger neighbor to the south, the Italian island of Sardinia. But culturally and linguistically this birthplace of Napoleon is all Mediterranean. Inlets and harbors are filled with bright blue and white fishing boats and palm-lined streets bustle with colorful marketplaces and a a wide variety of cultural blends and exotic dialects brought from northern Africa, mainland Italy, and the rest of the Mediterranean basin. An island of stunning natural beauty, Corsica is also an island of delightful surprises and cultural treasures for the touring cyclist.
Highlights: Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. Extraordinary coastal and mountain scenery. French and Mediterranean food. Picturesque villages. Beautiful Pisan and Genoese churches. Fabulous beaches. Impressive watchtowers along the coast.
"Corsica was really magical. It has everything, lush forests, desert, beaches, mountains. I would love to go back ." Susan A., Colorado Springs, CO
5. Bike Across Portugal
Our best selling tour in Portugal - a journey back in time
Cycle peaceful roads and explore ancient Roman cities as you ride across Portugal's south-central lands and rugged West Coast. You'll ride through an ever-changing tableau of undulating wheat fields, ancient cork and eucalyptus groves, and extensive olive orchards, vineyards, and farms. As you pedal through the western outpost of continental Europe, amidst a landscape delicately framed by stunning beaches and endless blue sky, you'll be immersed in a historically rich and uniquely Portuguese landscape. The ride takes you through towns and cities whose architecture blends and harmonizes its centuries of ancient Roman, Arabic, Medieval and Renaissance influences. Along the way, you'll visit an active marble quarry, see the ceramics of São Pedro do Corval, explore the celebrated Medieval town of Evora and enjoy wonderful wine tastings, excellent, earthy cuisine and a stay in a variety of historic hotels and Pousadas.
Highlights: Rural roads, serene historic hotels. Roman ruins., medieval cities, the Alqueva reservoir, one of the world's best places for stargazing. Artisanal pottery, winemaking and marble work. The stunningly rugged coastline and the Southwestern point of the Continent and the Vicentina National Park.
"How would you describe this tour to a friend? In a word... Peaceful. The countryside is gorgeous, the people are friendly, the food/wine are YUM, the shoreline is breathtaking, and traffic is minimal and courteous. Make it last forever :)"
Jarmila G., Idledale, CO - May 201
6. Bicycling the Danube: Germany to Budapest, Hungary
Listed in Outside Magazine's " The 6 Best Cycling Tours in Europe" and National Geographic Traveler's "50 Tours of a Lifetime"
As the most traveled, and celebrated bike route in Europe, this famous route along the 2,000 mile Danube River has long held an allure for cyclists. Wending through the heartland of Europe and crossing through the 4 distinct countries and cultures of Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia, while visiting the capital cities of Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest along the way, the cycling on this route is known for its ideal of blend excellent cycling and its rich tapestry of European history and culture. Cyclists enjoy long and leisurely rides along meandering bike paths down quiet roads that wind through picture-perfect villages and historic medieval towns past Roman ruins and over historic bridges, all the while enjoying a changing tableau of pastoral farms, ancient villages, sweeping alpine vistas, and wonderfully authentic dining, drinking and lodging options along the way.
Highlights: Bicycling along Europe's largest river. Cycling in four different countries, Crossing the Iron Curtain by bike. Vienna. Dinner cruise on the Danube. Budapest. The "Hungarian Tuscany". Bavarian hospitality. BEER & Pretzels.
"We had a fantastic, once in a lifetime, experience. Our tour leaders were the best. They were very professional and had great positive attitudes, even with a novice cyclist like me. The whole trip was very organized and we never encountered any problems. Our trip down the Danube was first class and we had a blast!!" Howard B., Austin, TX
7. Cycling Italy's Dolomites Plus the Sella Ronda
Italy's most famous and dramatic mountains with world class cycling routes and a staff favorite
If you love the idea of experiencing a blend of Italian, Austrian and German culture amidst the tremendous backdrop of Italy's most famous mountain range while cycling one of the most challenging routes in cycling history, then this is the bicycle tour for you. You'll pedal through the heart of this region's stunning valleys and over world famous passes and discover why UNESCO honored the Dolomites with World Heritage status for its "exceptional natural beauty". Imagine 8 days of breathtaking mountain roads, winding through ancient forests and Alpine trials, all the while enjoying traditional Tyrolean meals and top quality local wines. You'll visit Cortina d'ampezzo ( Italy's "Aspen"), Corvara and Trentino Alto Adige, home of the Gruppo Sella Massif (which hosts thousands of cyclists each year to ride the Sella Ronda.) After the Sella Ronda you'll whiz downward to the Alto Adige region, where Italian is the second language to German (and even a third language – Ladino, is spoken). When you arrive you'll feel as if you've been transported to Austria, where it's time to relax, and enjoy a well-deserved beer, some delicious Wurstel and of course, a Strudel!
Highlights: The Dolomites! Stunning scenery. Multiple two night stays. Incredible Cycling Roads. WWI Historic Sites. Unique part of German speaking Italy. Well-maintained long distance bike paths. Cortina.
"Wonderful, riding the Dolomites was the experience of my life." Virgina S., Oakland
8. Cycling the Dordogne Plus! the Vineyards of Bordeaux
One of France’s most stunning river valley’s takes you along the scenic route to taste world-famous wine and food.
We think the Dordogne is one of Europe’s most underappreciated rivers. The Dordogne River Valley is part of the historical region of Aquitaine, which for centuries was vaster and richer than the territory held by the kings of France. It passes through deep gorges, steep cliffs, fertile farmland to its mouth in the Bay of Biscay near Bordeaux. That is why we love sharing the experience of cycling along the river from Brive-la-Gaillarde to St. Émilion by way of some of the nicest cycling routes and most hospitable hosts in Europe. Along the way you will visit cave sculptures at Cap Blanc, explore St. Émilion for two nights and sample some of France’s finest wine and food on one of our all-time favorite bicycle tours.
Highlights: beautiful landscapes, Gouffres of Padirac, 3 nights in Sarlat, Rocamadour, medieval castles.
"This was one of the best cycling vacations I have taken in Europe. (I have taken 13) I LOVED France. Our guides were great. Also, I really, really love the EP format with the arrows allowing me to be more free on my own. The people, the scenery, the culture, the history. The food (and wine of course)! I loved it all." Helen Z., Las Cruces, NM
9. Cycling the Lakes of Austria and Slovenia Plus! Ljubljana
Three countries, three cultures, and a lifetime worth of views on this tour of a lifetime.
How often is it that you can say you’ve cycled across the borders of Austria, Slovenia and Italy? While Cycling the Lakes of Austria and Slovenia you will pedal through the intersection of Slavic, German and Italian culture as you cycle scenic roads with stunning backdrops of alpine landscape – you’ll even experience a hint of Italy’s Mediterranean coast along the way. This tour includes everything you can dream of from quiet roads, picturesque villages, Mediterranean views and rides along gently rolling rivers.
Highlights: Lake Ossiach, Drava river path , Tarvisio, Klagenfurt, Villach, Lake Faak, Lake Bled, Border hopping between Austria, Slovenia and Italy, Julian Alps.
"What was your favorite experience on this trip? It is a toss up between the soup cooked in the outdoor caldron and schnapps tasting in Podkoren and the carriage ride around Lake Bled. The tour had everything from casual fun to sophisticated splendor! It was an excellent trip!"
Kathy V., Roseburg, OR
10. Bicycle Hidden Tuscany Plus! Tufa Towns
Cycle through hidden gems that are often overlooked in this picturesque region of Italy.
Modern Italians have re-discovered this scenic area for its landscapes, villages, and historical sites and we're happy to offer you an opportunity to discover it, too. Dive into the rich Italian culture and history of Tuscany as you cycle off the beaten path and into important Tuscan towns including Volterra and San Gimignano. You will explore little-known towns like Massa Marittima and Castiglione della Pescaia, and relax like roayalty at the end of a day in some local spa hotels such as one we sleep in near the important Etruscan site of Populonia. Explore a more remote part of Italy, as you take this unforgettable ride between two famous Italian destinations--Tuscany and Rome.
Highlights: Tufa towns of Pitigliano, Sovana, Sorano, Two-night resort stay in Sovana, cycling along ancient volcanic craters, Etruscan tombs and ruins, Viterbo and its papal palaces, culinary specialties (olive oil and pecorino cheeses), Two 2-night stays, Volterra, San Gimignano, Ridge rides looking out across vineyards, cypress trees, olives, and the Tyrrhenian Sea.
"Absolutely Amazing! After my first Experience Plus tour I knew biking was the best way to see a country. I have just finished my 14th tour and am as thrilled now as I was 20 years ago. Love, love, love your tours." Terry G., Annapolis, MD