Cycling holidays are set to be a big trend in 2019 and it’s no surprise after such a historic year for the road cycling sport – here are the best destinations in Europe
Cycling has seen a boom in the UK and it has risen every year since 2008, according to figures by Cycling UK. Add to that the historic year that Brit’s like Chris Froome, Gerant Thomas and Simon Yates had in the road cycling sport in 2018 and cycling has never been more current.
People are making a conscious decision to get on their bikes and this has transcended into cycling holidays too.
Thomas Cook Airlines flight data reveals that the number of bicycles taken on board a flight has gone up 115% this year compared to 2016. More specifically, the Balearics has seen a huge rise in people cycling on their islands with 10% of flights in 2018 have bikes on flights to Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza.
So, what are the top destinations in Europe for cycling?
It would be rude not to start with Mallorca given that more Brits are cycling on this island than ever. Team Sky use it as a training camp and it has become a mecca for cyclists all over the world. The Mallorca 312 is now a key event in the cycling calendar.
Thinking of getting on your bike to Mallorca then the best time to visit is either Spring or Autumn. There are some must see spots whilst there including Cap de Formentor, Port Pollensa, Lake Gorg Blau and Sa Calobra. Each spot has its challenges but the reward is absolutely stunning, as the views are breath-taking, the landscapes like nothing you’ve seen before and the roads are set up with cyclists in mind. It is the number one place for cycling and a must do for any avid cyclist.
Flights to the Balearics with Thomas Cook Airlines start from just £39.99 one way and you can book your bike on the flight in advance for £40. Read more on the Balearics cycling routes.
Dolomites – Italy
If you’re really into your cycling then you will know that the Dolomites in the northeast of Italy is an essential cycling trip. There isn’t much flat terrain but the views are by far some of the best you’ll ever experience. The UNESCO World Heritage site is well worth a visit, but expect to take on regular and sharp climbs to get there.
If you’re an adventure junkie and the idea of going up and down in the mountains of Italy then the best time to visit is between May and October. Additionally, if you wanted to extend your trip then the Dolomites are very close to the Swiss border and there’s several Alpine mountains to conquer, if you’re looking for more adrenaline in your life.
Pyrenees – France
The French roads are some of the best in the world and motorists really accept cyclists on their roads. The number one place to cycle is of course the Pyrenees, with its rich cycling history with the Tour de France. The French side of the Pyrenes boasts some 500 passes and there are limitless options for those who want to see exactly what the riders who take on the Tour de France go through.
If you want to ride like Team Sky up the French mountains then the obvious time to go is either side of the Tour de France in July but alternatively autumn months are spectacular. If you’re wondering what city you should get to, it would be Toulouse which is the best-connected airport from the UK to the Pyrenees.
Not necessarily an obvious choice, Scotland offers some incredible scenery, mountains and a glorious national park to cycle through should you choose to visit. There’s also a lot of wildlife and highland cattle to admire. If Scotland is for you then definitely consider the most northern part of the island to experience John O’Groats but before then you can always go via Inverness and the Cairngorms which is a stunning national park.
There are many positives to cycling in Scotland such as the national cycle network routes, friendly locals and the sheer number of routes that are available. Scotland has quite unpredictable weather conditions so you’re best to visit between May and September and there are several airports easily accessible to the north part of Scotland such as Inverness and Aberdeen.
Check out Sustrans for a number of long distance riding routes to choose from in Scotland.