With airlines today offering more and more affordable travel options around the world, the opportunities of where you can travel with your bicycle are becoming limitless. But with such choice comes a difficult decision of just where to travel with your bike, whether you’re training for an event or just heading away to get some sun with friends.
To make the choice a little easier, we’ve broken down some of the destination options for you in Europe with some of our favourites cycling holiday locations.
By far one of the most popular destinations for cyclists today is the Balearic island of Mallorca (or Majorca, depending on who’s telling you), well known for its cycling-friendly roads and wide choice of parcours. One day you can head out for hours in the mountains, while the next you can do a completely flat day in the saddle taking in the coastal views.
Highlights – make sure you go for a ride out to the Lighthouse, taking in the short climb of Formentor. Or if you fancy a tougher test, try the sadistic climb of Sa Calobra, one that’s unique for the fact that to climb it, you must first descend down to the bottom before turning back on yourself. If you’re looking for an event on the island, the Mallorca 312 is hugely popular, as is the Mallorca 70.3 Triathlon.
Airports – Palma de Mallorca, from which most major airlines operate.
When to go – Avoid the main summer months of July and August due to the heat, and the winter months between December and February can be up and down with the weather. Otherwise, the rest of the year provides often perfect conditions.
A fairly new cycling destination, but one that is becoming more and more popular for both holiday makers and cyclist alike of late. Professional cycling teams such as SCICON-partnered Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team have recently started to frequent the country for its ideal training environment, weather and terrains.
If you’re after a holiday combined with a good few days on the bike too, then Croatia could be your next choice given the fabulous beaches and coastal landscapes too.
Highlights – Visit the many islands off the Dalmatian Coast, including Hvar – the location of Team Bahrain Merida’s training camps. If you fancy a challenge, try tackling the 27km long Biokovo Mountain, climbing up to 1,762m above sea level. This stunning ascent takes you through the Biokovo National Park and along mountain cliffs, before ramping up at its crest with over 10% gradients in the final kilometre.
Airports – Split and Dubrovnik are the countries main airports, with Split taking you closest to the island of Hvar. Each are well accessible by the major airlines from around Europe.
When to go – As demonstrated by the likes of Bahrain Merida, it’s a good location either side of the hot summer months, staying warm enough to train effectively in over the winter months. Avoid the high summer months due to the rising temperatures.
When planning your next cycling holiday, it’s good to know which suits your needs more – a bike box or bike bag. We’ve compared each so to make the decision of which to purchase easier. Use our interactive comparison here.
Spain is an obvious destination to travel to with your bike given the warm climates and variety of terrains across the country, including many famous climbs covered in the annual Vuelta a España. Alongside the popular regions such as Calpe, Denia, the climbs of Grenada and the coastal regions of Malaga, we’ve selected Girona as our go-to destination.
Not only is it a popular home for many of the pro cycling peloton, there’s a multitude of cycling friendly accommodation and training roads. You’re likely to see a face from the WorldTour when heading out on your morning ride, and won’t be short of cafés for your coffee and cake stop.
Highlights – Make sure to pay a visit to La Fábrica Girona run by former professional cyclist Christian Meier. And once you’ve had your pre-ride caffeine fix, head out to the infamous climb of Rocacorba, a near 10km climb that’s a local favourite to test the legs.
Airports – The nearest major airport is Barcelona, and the transfer from here is about 45-minutes by car.
When to go – As you’d expect with a location frequented by the pros year round, the temperature generally never plummets, with averages of 13 through the winter. As per most southern European regions for riding, spring and autumn are the most suitable for training with mid to high 20s expected.
The European climbing ranges are plenty, and most of them are also easily accessible by major airports too. However, one of our firm favourite destinations for spending time climbing mountains is the Alps. The range of climbs, most of which have been the arena to epic Tour de France battles over the years, is endless, and the views are jaw-dropping.
Highlights – The most popular climb with the tourists is obviously Alp d’Huez, however there are many more that provide quieter roads and even more stunning backdrops to pedal up. Col de la Croix de Fer is a monster at 30km, with an Instagram worthy lake stop 2/3rds of the way up, while the back-to-back test of the Telegraph and then the Galibier set you up for a big day in the saddle. But we also recommend turning off the main roads and climbing your own path to uncover your own route up.
Airports – Geneva is the nearest major airport just over the border in Switzerland, serviced by most major airlines.
When to visit – Most of the mountain passes are closed from late November to around April time due to snow, and riding around these dates means careful kit selection is key. Then, obviously, July is hugely popular when the Tour de France is in town.
5. Bassano del Grappa
We may be slightly bias as we live and breathe the cycling around Bassano, but it certainly is a great location from which to base your next European cycling trip.
Highlights – The obvious highlight to tackle by bike is the mighty climb of Monte Grappa, rising up for 19km at an average of 8.1%. It’s a Giro d’Italia staple, and one that puts even the strongest through their paces. For something a little more relaxed, take a stroll round Bassano old town and visit the iconic ‘old bridge’, Ponte Vecchio as well as sampling some of the best Italian food the town has to offer.
Airports – Venice Marco Polo is a short 45-minute transfer from Bassano, and gives you the chance to drop into the historic city while you’re there too.
When to go – Once again, the spring and autumn months certainly prove the most suited to getting in a good amount of time in the saddle without being either uncomfortably hot, or struggling in the cold. In the winter months, you can expect single figure temperatures or below zero at times, while in the peak of summer it’s a hot and humid 30s that you’ll be tackling.
Whether travelling with your road bike, MTB or triathlon bike, there’s a bike bag in the AeroComfort 3.0 range tailored to your needs. Find out just how easy these bags are to pack in our How To Pack video.
SCICON works with several travel partners around the world, with several operating trips in Europe to the destinations mentioned and further afield. Find out more about our travel partners here.