The Best Cycling Vacations

By Elizabeth Hannigan , last updated January 23, 2012

Whether you're a hardcore cyclist, eager to tear up and down mountain roads at your top speed, or you’re just a recreational biker looking for a fun, healthy way to spend your vacation, cycling vacations are a ton of fun. There's no better way to see a new country than from the seat of a bicycle. You can find cycling breaks designed for athletes looking for a serious challenge, and you can find cycling breaks that move at a pace your grandmother could handle. Choosing the best cycling vacation is going to be a matter of personal preference. Think about what you are expecting to experience, and choose the tour that best suits your individual needs.

Best Cycling Vacation for Hardcore Riders

If you are a competitive cyclist and you are dreaming of competing against the likes of Lance Armstrong, sign yourself up for one of Trek Travel's Race Cycling Vacations. The Giro d'Italia route is particularly grueling and scenic. You'll ride the same route as cycling legends Francesco Moser and Fauso Coppi, pedaling the same switchbacks and facing the same challenges. You need to be able to handle at least four to eight hours of cycling per day, at high speeds, sometimes up to 20 miles per day on mountainous terrain. This trip isn't all blood, sweat, and tears, though. You'll also get to enjoy northern Italian cuisine and the beauty of the Dolomiti Mountains.

Best Leisurely Cycling Vacation for Fresh Air Enthusiasts

If you just suffered from heart palpitations reading about the Giro d'Italia tour and you were imagining something more along the lines of beach cruisers and picnics for your cycling vacation, you should check out Mello Velo's tour of Provence. Mello Velo organizes slow tours, the whole point of which is to take your time exploring a scenic rural area. The Provence tour in the south of France involves daily rides to hill top villages like Gordes and Lacoste, and country rides to the same peaks that Paul Cezanne painted. This tour emphasizes gorgeous scenery and delicious food. You'll enjoy three gourmet meals per day, including mid day picnics and trips to local farmer's markets. You'll also have the opportunity to practice yoga, swim, and tour local vineyards.

Best Urban Cycling Adventure

Cycling is actually a great way to see a city, provided that you are cycling in a city that has embraced bikes as a mode of transportation. If you want to combine daily biking with a cultural experience, plan your own cycling vacation in Berlin. Germany's capital is criss-crossed with super safe bike lanes, usually right on the sidewalks. You don't have to worry about getting hit by a car or trying to squeeze between parked cars and traffic. The city is just big enough for you to fill up an entire week by cycling from your hotel to various cultural institutions like Museum Island and the East Side Gallery. You can even spend the evenings cycling to bars and restaurants. You'll find that the city's residents even arrive at nightclubs via bike. You can rent a bike directly from the city or from a number of small, private bike shops for less than ten euro per day.

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