Stretch those calves and load up on carbs, because it's time to book a cycling getaway. Some destinations just lend themselves to pedal-powered tours. Trace the path of the Tour de France or the Giro d'Italia, or take things easy with leisurely rides in the flatlands of the Netherlands. Hit mountain biking trails in the Alps or the UK's Lake District, or rent a bike and see cities like Paris or Vienna from the perfect vantage point. To help you get the wheels in motion, here are a few of our suggestions for the best cycling holidays:
Amsterdam is hands-down the most bicycle-friendly city in the world. Home to more bikes than people, the Dutch capital has minimal traffic, flat terrain, and plenty of attractions. Whiz between sights like the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank's house on two wheels, make a pit stop for a picnic in the Vondelpark, then explore fascinating areas like Ijburg, with its floating neighbourhoods. But don't forget Rotterdam, Utrecht, Delft, or Groningen - all of them are paradises for cyclists.
If you want to mix up scenery, solitude and sunshine, nothing could be more appealing than cycling holidays in Dalmatia. This blissful stretch of Croatia's Adriatic coast is home to beautiful historic cities like Dubrovnik and Pula, as well as hundreds of miles of beaches. But don't stick to the mainline. With gorgeous islands like Hvar and tucked away coves waiting to be discovered, cycling holidays in Dalmatia will be an absolute delight.
The Amalfi Coast is famous for its dramatic cliff-side fishing ports, colourful flower gardens, and beach resorts like Positano. And it's perfect for cyclists. The scenery is jaw-dropping in places, although you'll need to be used to a few undulations to get the most from a coastal tour. But if you're up for a bit of pedal-work, you're in for a treat.
Cycle along deserted beach roads with the wind blowing through your hair, and the Atlantic breakers crashing against Portugal's Silver Coast. While the Algarve is famed for beach breaks, the eastern coast of Portugal is a dream for cyclists. Not too hilly, regions like the Costa de Prata offer vast beaches, coastal lagoons, rich wildlife, and historic towns like Obidos or Aveiro. And it's all accessible from Lisbon, with its vibrant cultural life and culinary attractions.
Get out into the Thai countryside or give yourself options during island escapes with a rental bike or two. Experience the tropical riches of Thailand's northern highlands, plot a route up the River Kwai, or join road cycling tours from Bangkok to Phuket - a great way to set up a week on the beach. Just be ready for a little heat, and keep yourself hydrated.
Austria offers a mixture of Alpine odysseys and urban breaks, and some of the best cycling holidays can be enjoyed in this central European nation. During the summer, take mountain bikes into the Tirol, relax during breaks in flower meadows, and take dramatic snaps of the towering peaks. Or stick to Vienna. With 1,000 miles of bike paths, the capital is made for cyclists. Follow the banks of the Blue Danube, trace the elegant Ringstrasse, or head out to the Schonbrunn Palace. It's up to you.
Put your stamina through its paces on demanding Alpine trails, or take it easy way down below in relaxed cities and chilled out valleys. Either way, Switzerland delivers for cyclists. Geneva, Zurich or Lucerne are setup for easy urban cycling, but if you can manage climbs like the Stelvio or the Furka Pass, you won't regret it. The views are incredible. Just resist tackling climbs beyond your abilities and you'll have a great time.
Slovenia is ideal for people who want to get away from urban life, but don't want a physically demanding challenge. Lake Bled is fast becoming a cycling hotspot, but don't write off Lake Bohinj. Both offer swimming spots, forest trails, and historic towns in the nearby area. But if you do want a tougher ride, that's fine too. In that case, the ascent to Kranjska Gora is unmissable.
Every cyclist knows that the French Alps is a cyclist's dream - or nightmare. But you don't have to be a Tour de France rider to enjoy the region on two wheels. For instance, you can stick to low level riding around Lake Annecy, or try less demanding ascents like Lacets de Montvernier. If you're an experienced cyclists, the Alps are there to conquer, and the views from peaks like Alpe d'Huez are simply incredible.
Follow in the footsteps of poets, cycle beside idyllic lakes, and duck into characterful country pubs during a cycling break in the Lake District. England's pride and joy, the Lake District is regularly voted the country's favourite biking location. The weaving descent at Hardknott Pass will test any riders, while anyone can loop around Windermere without any problems. There are few better places to saddle-up.
If you're looking to ride some waves rather than sit in the saddle, then a surfing holiday could be just the ticket. In fact we've got loads of different watersport options to choose from, whether you want some gentle paddleboarding experiences of you want to go all in on a diving holiday.