There are so many ways to travel and much of it is dependent on the country that one is visiting. It is unimaginable to travel around without a car or Grab in Malaysia, whereas walking is the norm in Singapore and the Underground, an absolute necessity for all Londoners.
However, there is another mode of travelling we haven’t mentioned - cycling. Ever wondered where you can find the best places for the perfect cycling holiday? Read on and find out.
Image by Jace & Afsoon
The capital city of the Netherlands is most known for its bicycle-centric population and way of life. The classic picture of a bicycle leaning against railings overlooking a canal is one of the most Instagrammed photos flooding our feeds, and with good reason. Amsterdam has over 500 kilometers worth of bridges and red bicycle paths (known as fietspad) dedicated just to bicycles. Moreover, this is one country where the cyclists have priority over pedestrians!
If you are looking for a cycling holiday, then Amsterdam is the perfect place to go. Visit the Vondelpark and Apollolaan, or even join a guided bike tour to see this great city the way the Dutch do! And if you are feeling particularly adventurous, why not do a long-distance day trip from Amsterdam down to the Hague? It is a popular coastal route that the locals love and only takes 4 hours each way!
Image by Kai Dörner
Germany is known not just for its bratwurst and sauerkraut, but also for its stunning Bavarian landscape and cycle-friendly pathways.
An easy route we would recommend, and it can even be self-guided, is to start in the city of Munich. After a stop by Hofbräuhaus for some pork knuckle, begin your cycling journey through Forstenrieder Park to Lake Stanberg. The journey will take you pass atmospheric Bavarian towns, open green fields, emerald lakes and even views of the Alps.
Breaking your journey into a week will make this a relaxing cycling holiday and of course, don’t forget to stop to take photographs and see all the sights around you. For instance, look out for the Tölzer Market Street with its ancient baroque architecture and the ever present River Isar.
We also recommend a pit stop at the town of Geretsried, most known for its Lüftlmalerei covered houses. Lüftlmalerei is a type of mural artwork that is similar to the Italian tromp l’oeil. Alpine scenes that you would have scene along your cycling journey, painted across the length of these stunning buildings. Perfect for your Instagram feed if you fancy a break from posting about all those cows and mountains!
Image by Carol Jeng
If Bern is good enough for the Tour de France, then it is certainly good enough for us!
Come to Bern and cycle through some of the most picturesque villages and stunning French and Italian Alps. With over 500 kilometers worth of routes available, there is something for everyone, including gentle hills that are perfect for those intending to cycle for leisure.
If you fancy a little challenge however, consider the mountain bike trails in Grindelwald (click here for a map of the multiple cycle routes available) or a more sedate “Gstaads 4 Finger Loop” which admittedly does include some short but steep climbs. Appropriate for a cycle-centric city, there are also e-bikes and e-bike charging stations all around the Jungfau Region for use.
Even though your focus might be on cycling, don’t forget to spend some time in Bern itself. This stunning UNESCO World Heritage site has so much to offer, including Albert Einstein’s house and the Zytglogge clock tower. Oh, and don’t forget to sample the Swiss cheese fondue!
Image by Jeremy Goldberg
If you are hoping for a less conventional destination for a cycling holiday, why not consider Iceland?
Iceland is a lovely island north of Europe and is a popular place for cyclists over the summer. We strongly recommend going only during the summer because that is when the weather is at its best and the sun never sets. You need never worry about getting to your next destination when travelling on Icelandic roads, which don’t have any street lamps! Furthermore, Icelandic weather is always tricky even over the summer. It rains frequently, it gets really chilly and misty during the day and the winds are enough to blow you over. Even so, we have seen many a brave soul cycle through Iceland and having an absolute blast doing so.
In terms of routes, consider journeying along Iceland’s famous Ring Road. It takes an average of 15 days for cyclists to complete and takes you pass some of Iceland’s most iconic places. This includes the Reynisfjara black sand beach, the Skogass and Svartifoss waterfalls, geothermal hot springs and the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon!
Top tip: Download the 112 mobile app onto your phone. This is Iceland’s emergency line with GPS features, allowing you to instantly connect with the local authorities if you ever need assistance.
Have you ever wanted to travel along the River Danube, the river that cuts through half of Europe?
The Danube cycle path is one of the most popular routes in Europe. It often attracts solo travellers, families and groups alike due to its well-maintained pathways and stunning landscape. Self-guided and guided cycling tours are available, and it is recommended that you travel between May to September due to the sunny weather.
This 260 kilometers route takes you from Vienna through to Nibelungengau, Wachau and Slovakia. It is easy terrain with little to no traffic despite its popularity. As with other European cycling destinations, make sure you spend some time in the little towns you pass through. The German city of Passau has classic examples of Gothic and Baroque architecture whereas halfway through your cycling journey, you can even see the Benedictine monastery of Melk Abbey. Definitely a holiday you won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Venetia possess an idyllic, rural charm that will captivate any traveller’s heart. Free from the horde of tourists, this easy cycling route will be the perfect adventure even if you are bringing children along.
Experience the Sunday market in Bastia, whiz past acres of lush vineyards up to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Palladio, which possess its own Olympic Theatre, before calling it a day in charming local farmhouses. This route will also take you along the seacoast, where you will see lagoons surrounded by earthen dikes that are used in local fish farming, as well as historical Roman towns and majestic palaces. If you can, make Aquileia a stop on your cycling journey, where you can see Roman excavation sites.
And of course, don’t forget to round off your cycling holiday with some Italian wine!
Cycling holidays are an unconventional but adventurous way of seeing the world and we could not recommend it more! For us, the destinations suggested in this article offer some of the best routes, views and experiences. They also have the added benefit of catering to different levels of cycling abilities, including children.
If you do embark on a cycling holiday, please make sure you have all your safety precautions in place, your gears checked and ready with spares to boot. Plot your destinations, always let someone know where you are heading, then set off on one of the greatest travel experiences of your life!
A faith-driven Sarawakian lawyer who believes that it is never too late to start crafting a socially impactful legacy. When not grappling with warranties and liabilities, she loves pursuing adrenaline-fueled adventures, improving her Español and playing the violin. You can find her at @vidadeliya or https://www.vidadeliya.com