Interested in a cycling excursion to Tuscany’s charming villages, or mountain biking in the beautiful wilds of British Columbia? Or how about a two-wheeled climb in the dramatic volcanic landscapes of Tenerife? Mondo chose seven cycling routes that are sure to be unforgettable.
1. Tuscany, Italy
Tuscany is often said to be Italy’s most beautiful region, and cycling is a great way to explore it in the spring or fall. The distances between the lovely villages and towns in the region are not too long, and the scenery is truly captivating. And wherever you stop along the way, the local restaurants guarantee excellent food. Excursion packages are also available, with the travel company also transporting baggage and booking accommodation.
You’ll find many ideas on the internet for cycling routes in the region. One good choice is to start from any part of Via Francigena, an ancient road and pilgrimage route. If you’re starting from the small town of San Gimignano, the cycling journey takes in the magnificent city of Siena, the Val d’Orcia valley, and much more.
2. The Mosel river, Germany
Just you, a bike, lush green landscapes, and irresistible German wines – sounds like the perfect combination. If you’re tempted, a great place to start is the Mosel river valley. With its flat terrain and plentiful choice of stops in the small towns along the way, this is one of the most picturesque cycling routes in all of Europe. It’s also an easy place to begin your cycling tour, since cycling has long been a popular activity in the region.
One option is to set off from the town of Trier. From there it’s a leisurely cycle over the course of a few days to Cochem, a town about 150 km away. If you’re touring in the summer and get tired along the route, you can take a river boat with your bike to shorten the journey the easy way. In a region famed for its wines, you can enjoy them not only in restaurants and bars but also directly from the wineries. Many of them welcome tourists in the summer. When planning a trip to the Mosel Valley, it’s a good idea to check the region’s status due to the flooding in summer 2021.
3. Whistler, Canada
The region around Whistler Mountain is one of Canada’s most famous winter sports destinations. Whistler Mountain Bike Park is a major attraction for mountain bikers in the summer and fall. It is often considered the world’s best mountain biking resort. The spectacularly forested slopes of the park have a wide range of cycling paths, from gentle to hair-raising. There are lifts to take cyclists back up the slopes after reaching the bottom.
Whistler Mountain Bike Park is often considered the world’s best mountain biking resort.
Whistler is not just a place for those in search of a thrill, though. There are many routes in the vicinity of the mountain and around the lakes that are suitable for cycling for the whole family too. One of these is the Whistler Valley Trail, a car-free route with more than 40 kilometers of flat road for cyclists, runners and even roller skaters. There are superb vantage points aplenty along the trail.
4. The Dolomite Alps, Italy
The road winds its way through the lush valley, and the rugged limestone mountains seem close enough to reach out and touch. Add to this delicious food, friendly locals and beautiful villages, and the Dolomites Alps is truly a dream destination for a cycling holiday. However, be prepared for some steep uphill paths in the mountains. Although the routes are not long, even a couple of kilometers will really make you work up a sweat.
The Dolomite Alps are great for mountain biking, as the hiking trails are also open to cyclists. A more relaxed option is Ciclabile Delle Dolomiti, which is about 60 kilometers long. Much of this route is tarmacked and closed to cars. It runs along a former railroad track, with old stations, bridges and tunnels along the way.
5. Tenerife, the Canary Islands
Professional cyclists travel to Tenerife in the winter to keep themselves in peak condition. The reasons for this are the island’s pleasant climate and variations in altitude of the terrain. The roads leading to Mount Teide, the highest peak in the Spanish territories, offer a good challenge. Any of the many resort towns on the island are excellent starting points for a cycling excursion through the volcanic scenery of Mount Teide. The vineyards and beautiful pine forests along the route from Los Cristianos are a delight.
And you don’t have to be a super-fit athlete to enjoy cycling on this holiday island, as there are also plenty of routes that are not too demanding. For instance, near Puerto de la Cruz on the north coast there is a picturesque circular route of 24 kilometers that takes in the villages of Palo Blanco, Benijo and La Perdoma.
6. Lake Geneva, Switzerland and France
Cycling along the picture-perfect shores of Lake Geneva is a wonderful experience for any lover of the great outdoors. Due to the flat terrain, the going is easy. The route circling the lake, the Tour du Léman, runs mainly along quiet country roads. Cycling in the Lake Geneva area is also popular with families, as it is not too demanding.
Cycling along the picture-perfect shores of Lake Geneva is a wonderful experience for any lover of the great outdoors.
The cycling routes around the lake cover a total of 200 kilometers. If you want to shorten the journey, you can hop on a train or a boat on the lake. You won’t want to leave without a visit to the Lavaux wine region, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the towns in the area is Montreux, famous for its historic Casino Barrière de Montreux.
7. La Vélodyssée, France
What better way to explore France’s enchanting west coast than by taking in part of the country’s longest cycling route, La Vélodyssée? This 1,200-kilometer trail runs along the Atlantic coast from Roscoff in Brittany to Hendaye, on the border with Spain. The whole of La Vélodyssée may well be too much for many cyclists to take on, but fortunately it is divided into 14 stages.
Around 70 percent of the journey is by car-free roads, and along the way are many small towns, cyclist-friendly accommodation, seafood restaurants, sandy beaches, heaths, forests, and endless seascapes. You can also marvel at the wonders of oyster farming or visit majestic castles. The many towns along La Vélodyssée include the centuries-old port town of Rochefort, La Rochelle, known for its medieval towers, and the beach resort town of Biarritz.
Text: Valtteri Väkevä and Pekka Hiltunen Photos: Anna Salmisalo, Getty Images and All Over Press
The story was originally published in Mondo's issue 4/21.