On a cycling holiday you’re immersed in the landscape. Life doesn’t whiz by as you watch from the coach, car or train window: you become part of the landscape through which you are passing. Conversations with locals happen. Amazing photos happen because you can stop when and where you want. No deadlines, except getting to your bed for the night. Opting for the luxury version of a cycling holiday means you fully supported every kilometre of the journey, so all you have to do is ride, enjoy those leisurely breakfasts, long lunches and delicious dinners along the way, knowing that your luggage will be transported to your next destination daily. You can choose from guided or self-guided options, and your trusty mount will be a well-maintained bike (or e-bike), with back up support if you get a flat tyre or the weather turns bad.
TravelManagers’ Helen Rolton shares some of her favourite luxury cycling holidays, which are designed to make your time on two wheels as enjoyable as possible.
1. Norway – Oslo to Bergen
Located by the Aurland river in the heart of the Norwegian fjords, the luxury boutique lodge 29|2 Aurland is the perfect base from which to explore this beautiful region and ride the popular Rallarvegen trail – a mountain road along the Oslo to Bergen train line. About 82 kilometres in length, the trail traverses some of the most beautiful areas of central Norway, filled with mountains, valleys, glaciers, rivers and lakes. This is a cyclist’s paradise and will test your mettle in return for breathtaking scenery.
2. Japan – Noto Peninsula
On this guided cycling holiday on the Noto Hanto (Peninsula) in Japan, you’ll be treated like family; the result of this operator’s years fostering and nurturing close relationships with the locals which has resulted in a deeply authentic Japanese experience in an area with few tourists. You’ll cycle the spectacular coastline of old Japan, visiting sleepy fishing villages and gorgeous ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) along the way. Buddhist temples, tea ceremonies, and steaming onsen baths are part of the journey as you make your way along the peninsula. A stay at the exquisite Kayotei, a beautiful 10-room ryokan, is sure to be a highlight, and the owner may join you for a glass of sake at the end of the day.
3. New Zealand – 22 unique cycle trails
With 22 unique cycle trails, most with luxury options, it’s not surprising that New Zealand is a popular choice for a cycling holiday that combines beautiful scenery with a touch of indulgence. One of the most popular is The Great Taste Trail, which explores the Tasman Bay area at the top of the South Island. Every day you’ll visit wineries and craft breweries, artists’ studios and galleries, artisan food stalls and cafes from your secluded boutique luxury lodge home base. You can even choose to take a helicopter to the remote Kenepuru Sound for a ride through native bush with breathtaking scenery around every corner.
4. France – The Loire Valley
Treat yourself to a leisurely five-day, self-guided cycling tour through one of Europe’s finest wine producing regions – the Loire Valley. The distances are kept short, with time to explore the many fabulous châteaux, enjoying long lazy lunches or a leisurely stop at a local vineyard. Ride along the pretty riverbanks that meander through the countryside and stay in hotels which have been handpicked for their warm welcome, location and elegant cuisine. There’s even a complimentary wine-carrying service on this holiday – purchase your wine at the vineyards en-route and your purchases will be waiting for you at your final hotel!
5. Italy – Prosecco region
Cycle through the picturesque, vine-covered hills of Italy’s Prosecco region, pedaling on back country roads and through breathtaking vine-covered hills which extending as far as the eye can see. You’ll pass through fascinating historic towns along the way, including elegant Treviso, Bassano and medieval Asolo. One of many highlights is visiting a local Prosecco producer, with the opportunity to sample different varieties of Prosecco during a guided wine-tasting. At the end of each day, your efforts will be rewarded with the best of local gastronomy, and of course, more of that crisp, delicious Prosecco.