If you’re reading this blog, chances are you don’t need us to explain why cycling is one of the most rewarding experiences out there. We can take that as a given, right?
You might find us more useful when it comes to taking things further, though. Maybe you’ve reached the point where you’re thinking about combining your passion with a holiday, getting away from these shores to see what bike tours in Europe have to offer?
Top European cycling destinations
Between us, the team at Flyingeese have ridden a lot of stunning routes on the continent, so if you’re considering taking a cycling holiday in Europe we can probably help in one way or another.
The first question we’d ask anyone is ‘What do you have in mind?’. How much cycling do you want to do? How demanding? Do you have a goal you’re aiming at?
If you’re looking to tick off some classic bucket-list rides, the French Alps must be on your radar. They offer demanding terrain for even the most experienced of cyclists. Top spots include Alpe d’Huez with its 21 notorious hairpins, the ‘hors categorie’ (rough meaning: ‘insane’) Col de Galibier, and the unique Col d’Izoard. As you’d expect from the nation that brought the world le Tour, things are well set up for amateur enthusiasts as well as the planet’s top pro’s.
The Italians are big on bike touring too, and with both the Alps and the Dolomites on their doorstep they’re spoilt for choice. The classic ride to try is the Maratona dles Dolomites, which takes you up and over as many as seven mountain passes in a single day, depending on which of the three versions of the course you feel brave enough to tackle.
Every year there’s an official race day for 9,000 lucky riders which you need to enter by ballot, but it’s easy to arrange independent bike tours at other times – the Val Badia area is particularly popular in the ‘Riders’ Week’ before the Maratona.
Spain offers decent prices and a reasonably high chance of good weather – Mallorca in particular has long been used for training camps by pro’s and keen amateurs alike. If you’re really up for a challenge, you could make a trip to Tenerife to tackle Europe’s longest uninterrupted climb, a 50km stretch that takes you from sea level to more than 2,300m.
Discover Portugal – Europe’s hidden gem
Finally, we have to put in a word for Portugal, and the Algarve in particular – it’s where Flyingeese are based, and we’re there for the simple reason that we think it offers the best cycling holidays in Europe. The quality and variety of routes is really exceptional, and if you know where to go (which we do!) then you’re guaranteed near-empty roads with stunning views.
The Algarve deserves its reputation as a place perfect for taking it easy – the food and café culture would be reason enough to visit – but when you’re in the saddle the challenges are as exhilarating as any in Europe.
This really is a subject we get evangelical over. Why not get in touch so we can tell you more about it?