Jan 4, 2022 Canyon.com

13 best places for cycling holidays

Jan 4, 2022 Canyon.com

Going on holiday with your bike is one of the best ways to explore the region. Discover our favourite destinations in this guide.

13 best places for cycling holidays Where would you like to go on a cycling holiday?

One of the greatest benefits of cycling is that you can do it just about anywhere you like. A cycling holiday can help you discover new places and explore a little more off the beaten track. From notorious mountain regions to sunny beach sprints punctuated with ice cream and coffee stops, there’s a lot to gain from taking your bike on holiday with you.

Some destinations have earned a reputation among amateurs and professionals making them hives of cycling activity during peak times. We’ve made a selection of our favourite spots around the world, so take notes and get booking!



Top Cycling Holiday Destinations
Best cycling holidays Spain is one of the world’s favourite countries for cycling holidays

Cycling holidays in Spain

Spain and its multiple islands are very popular with cyclists from around the world. It ticks all the boxes in terms of warm weather, quiet roads/trails, great coffee and even better beaches for some rest and relaxation. As host of the Vuelta e Espana, Spain has earned its reputation as a fantastic destination to get some good miles in your legs.

Best cycling holidays Mallorca is a rite of passage for every road cyclist
Mallorca, Balearic Islands

Are you even a proper cyclist if you haven’t been to Mallorca? It certainly seems this way as thousands of riders flock to the Spanish island every year. Renowned for its iconic road cycling climbs such as Sa Calobra, Puig Major and Coll de Soller. The good thing about Mallorca is you can choose between easier coastal rides or tougher tests in the mountains.

Base yourself in Palma to experience the city or head to the other side of the island in Port Pollença for direct access to the mountains. Don’t worry about bringing your own bike - our Mallorca experience partners, Rad International and Canyon Base Mallorca, will ensure you have the best bike no matter where you ride on the island.

The annual Mallorca 312 in April is worth signing up for if you want to hit all the best spots in one ride in a supportive atmosphere. Choose between 312 km, 225 km or 167 km.

Mallorca Cycling Holidays

How to get there:
Fly into Palma de Mallorca
Ferries from Barcelona and Valencia
Best type of riding:
Road
Best time of year:
Year-round
Places to eat/drink:
Rapha Mallorca (Palma)
Formentor Lighthouse Cafe
Ca'n Topa (Coll de Soller)
Highlights:
Sa Calobra
Puig Major
Coll de Soller
Mallorca 312
Best cycling holidays Girona is the home and playground for many professional cyclists | © Lucas Gallone
Girona, Catalonia

As the home of many professional riders, Girona is where the who’s-who of the cycling world flock to every year. The city itself is brimming with medieval buildings and quaint shops hidden in the alleyways off main roads. Among these historic buildings is Jan Frodeno’s La Comuna (his SGRAIL 100 event starts from here every year), where you can enjoy speciality coffee and locally sourced produce. It’s the perfect start and end point for a ride in the Catalonian hills nearby.

On the subject of hills: don’t miss the opportunity to climb the famous Rocacorba, Els Àngels and Mare de Déu del Mont. And if there’s opportunity for some off-bike activities then the Lake of Banyoles should be the first place you head to.

Girona Cycling Holidays

How to get there:
Fly to Girona Costa Brava or Barcelona
Trains into Girona centre
Best type of riding:
Road
Best time of year:
Spring to Autumn (winter, if you don’t mind cooler climes)
Places to eat/drink:
La Comuna
The Service Course
La Fabrica
Espresso Mafia
Highlights:
Rocacorba
Els Àngels
Mare de Déu del Mont
Lake of Banyoles
Best cycling holidays Tenerife is a popular place for team training camps in the winter due to mild temperatures
Canary Islands, Spain

We couldn’t choose just one island here, so instead we’ll recommend you visit them all at some point in your life. The most popular islands for cycling are Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and La Palma.

Their volcanic landscape offers breathtaking scenery around every corner. Quiet roads mean the islands are perfect for road cycling and mountain biking. In fact, the Canary Islands are some of our favourite places to ride an e-mountain bike in Europe.

Tenerife is famous for Mount Teide, though its reputation precedes it. Beginning at sea level, the climb takes riders on a journey up to the highest point in Spain. The summit is 3718 m, however the sealed tarmac ends at around 2360 m. At this point, you’ll need to swap your wheels for hiking shoes or a trip in the cable car to get to the very top.

Lanzarote is famous for its persistent wind, so brace yourself! That said, training into a headwind will only make you stronger, right? You’ll find plenty of cycle-friendly hotels and it’s ideal if you want to bring the family along too thanks to it’s stunning coastline and sandy beaches.

Canary Islands Cycling Holidays

How to get there:
Flights to every Island
Ferries from Cádiz
Best type of riding:
Road/Gravel
Best time of year:
Year-round
Best cycling holidays Famous for Le Tour, France is a great place to ride your bike with options for everyone

Cycling holidays in France

Famous for the Tour de France, there’s no getting away from the fact France is a must-see country when it comes to cycling. The country’s cities are often best explored with a hybrid bike and there’s a healthy network of Véloroutes – Voies Vertes. These routes are perfect for touring bikes as well as regular road bikes. There’s so much to explore in France, so we’ve narrowed it to just three hotspots.

Best cycling holidays Climb the famous cols like the Galibier pictured here | © Kramon
French Alps

Riding in the French Alps is a true rite of passage for any cyclist. As it’s such a huge area to explore, we recommend starting with some of the more popular places where there’s plenty of cycling-friendly accommodation and cafes. If you want to go off the beaten track, we recommend referring to our Tour de France 2022 guide for hunting out some of the lesser known climbs.

The Chamonix-Mont Blanc area is very well established as a place many outdoors people frequent year-round. It’s very popular with mountain bikers for exploring the trails around Morzine. Expect to see riders like Tahnée Seagrave training around here.

The Alpe-d’Huez region (around Bourg d’Oisans) is also famous for obvious reasons. Notwithstanding the road climb of 21 switchbacks, there are many other world-renowned mountains you’ll be able to experience on two wheels in this area, including the Col de Glandon, Croix de Fer, Lauteret and Galibier.

Check the road closures depending on the time of year you plan on travelling. Many of the mountain passes are closed between November and late spring.

French Alps Cycling Holidays

How to get there:
Fly into Geneva
Regular trains to nearby cities and towns
Best type of riding:
Road/Mountain
Best time of year:
June to September
Places to eat/drink:
Many boulangeries, cafés and restaurants that are often cycle-friendly
Highlights:
Morzine
Mont Blanc
Alpe d’Huez
Best cycling holidays The south coast of France offers sun, sand and summits
Nice & Côte d'Azur - the perfect cycling holiday?

The south coast of France is magnificent if you’re looking to balance the sound of the waves with the sound of your own breathing. Nice is well-placed for mountainous riding into medieval villages coupled with relaxation in the city centre and along the coastline.

Nice has a temperate climate year round thanks to the Alps sheltering it from the worst weathers. A lot of the passes remain open year round and it’s generally dry. Alongside neighbouring Monaco, there’s no shortage of pro-riders who call this region home. Plan your coffee stop at Cycles Camellini to spot some of your favourites.

Nice is a city bursting with culture, tantalisingly good food and a buzzing nightlife. It’s the perfect place for a tough ride and a relaxed, social atmosphere in the evening.

Nice & Côte d'Azur Cycling Holidays

How to get there:
Fly into Nice - build your bike in the stands at the airport
Regular ferries to and from Corsica
Well-connected train station
Best type of riding:
Road
Best time of year:
Year-round
Places to eat/drink:
Cafe du Cycliste
The Service Course
Highlights:
Cycles Camellini bike shop in Beaulieu sur Mer
Col de la Madone
Col d’Èze
Col de Turini
Best cycling holidays The Col du Tourmalet is just one of the many stunning climbs you can enjoy in the Pyrenees Mountains | © Kramon
Pyrenees Mountains

Much like the French Alps, the Pyrenees is home to world-famous mountain passes. Notably quieter than the Alps, the Pyrenees runs along the border of France and Spain attracting riders from these regions and beyond.

Arguably the most well-known mountain in the Pyrenees is the Col du Tourmalet, which has featured in the Tour de France no fewer than 87 times since the race began (more than any other mountain pass). It’s for good reason. Within spitting distance of this mighty mountain, you’ll also find stalwarts of the Pyrenees like Luz Ardinen, Hautacam, Col d’Aspin and Col d’Aubisque.

Unlike a few of the other spots we’ve mentioned in this article, you need to bring your best climbing legs for riding in the Pyrenees - there’s very little in the way of flat cycling!

Pyrenees Cycling Holidays

How to get there:
Fly into Toulouse and hire a car
Best type of riding:
Road
Best time of year:
June to September
Highlights:
Luz Ardinen
Hautacam
Col d’Aspin
Col d’Aubisque
Best cycling holidays If you want fantastic food, stunning cycling and warm weather, Italy’s your friend

Italy Cycling Holidays

What’s not to love about Italy? Great climate, great food and great cycling throughout the entire country. From mountains, to the coast, to the islands, there’s something for all abilities.

Best cycling holidays Magnificent limestone peaks line the roads in the Dolomites
Dolomites

Where do we even start? If you have a solid level of fitness and love climbing, the Dolomites can’t be missed. Towering limestone peaks rise up underneath and around you while you ride leaving you awe-inspired as you crest the many summits.

The Corvara/Sella Ronda region offers a glut of cycling’s most famous climbs, many of which are featured in the Giro d’Italia every year. Ride the Passo Gardena, Passo Sella, Passo Pordoi and Passo Campolongo in just 53 km during the Sella Ronda Bike Day, a couple of days each year when the passes are only open to people on bikes.

In addition to our favourite Italian mountain bike trails, we also recommend Villa Bassa and the Lago di Braies for unspoilt views for the chance to explore a section of the South Tyrol trails. The region is host to the Dolomiti Superbike event every year, which is one of the biggest MTB Marathon events in the world.

Dolomites Cycling Holidays

How to get there:
Fly to Venice or Trieste then rent a car
Trains from Bolzano
Best type of riding:
Road/MTB
Best time of year:
June to September for road cycling
Mid-spring to late-autumn for mountain biking
Places to eat/drink:
Pizzeria Fornella near Bolzano
Hotel Adler in the South Tyrol region
Mountain huts/Refugios at the top of passes
Highlights:
Passo Gardena, Passo Sella, Passo Pordoi and Passo Campolongo during the Sella Ronda Bike Day
Lago di Braies
Dolomiti Superbike
Best cycling holidays Tuscany is the home of Strade Bianche and L’Eroica cycling events
Tuscany

The Strade Bianche (white roads) await riders who love meandering around one of Italy’s most historic cycling regions, which lies just south of Florence. Tuscany is a gravel rider’s dream and high on the list of Italy’s best gravel riding. The almost traffic-free roads around the sun-soaked Tuscan terrain are unparalleled.

If you love wine and the most authentic and tastiest Italian food you’ll ever taste, this is the region for your next holiday. Bring your gravel bike to recreate the Strade Bianche race route or the vintage L’Eroica route to capture the best of Tuscany. Whatever you do, don’t forget to wash it all down with a glass of chianti red wine!

Tuscany Cycling Holidays

How to get there:
Fly into Florence
Trains to towns between Florence and Siena
Best type of riding:
Road/Gravel
Best time of year:
April to May
September to October
Places to eat/drink:
Just ask for a “Fiorentina” or “Ribollita”, “Pappa al Pomodoro” or “Pici” for a veggie option and you won’t go wrong wherever you are
Highlights:
L’Eroica route
Strade Bianche event
Massa Marittima for enduro riding
Best cycling holidays Experience Portugal’s beautiful cycling scene from the mainland and Madeira

Cycling holidays in Portugal

Portugal is perhaps one of the lesser frequented European destinations included in this list. Battling with fierce competition from its Iberian neighbour Spain, Portugal appears to be off many people’s radars. Well, no more!

Whether you ride road or mountain bike, Portugal is a wonderful place to enjoy quiet roads, beautiful scenery and a warm climate. You’d be hard pressed to find somewhere in Portugal that isn’t great for riding, but you must add the Algarve and Madeira to your bucket list.

Best cycling holidays Year-round sun and mild temperatures make the Algarve ideal for late-season trips
Algarve

The southern coast of Portugal where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea boasts year-round sunshine, which makes it a great place to explore in the later months of the year. Though still hilly, the lower altitudes and quiet roads mean the Algarve is particularly attractive whether you want to enjoy a slower pace of life or push your performance. Touring bikes and E-Bikes are ideal for taking in the sights and attractions throughout the region.

Browse Komoot’s collection of rides in the Algarve here.

Algarve Cycling Holidays

How to get there:
Fly into Faro and hire a car
Best type of riding:
Road/Touring
Best time of year:
Year-round
Places to eat/drink:
Germano biciArte Café in Alte
Velochique in Monchique
Highlights:
Fóia (high summit in the Algarve at 902 m)
Best cycling holidays If there’s one place you ride your MTB before you die, make it Madeira!
Madeira

A mountain biker’s paradise awaits on the Portuguese island of Madeira. Whether it’s cross-country, trail or enduro mountain biking, Madeira is the place to go. It’s easy enough to create your own mountain biking holiday, but there are many events throughout the year that you could also include into your schedule such as Transmadeira.

The island is full of sweet downhill trails that you can explore on your own or with friends. However, if you’re pushed for time or want to go straight to the best trails, the team at Freeride Madeira offers uplifts, advice and tips for riding them to the best of your ability.

Madeira Cycling Holidays

How to get there:
Fly to Funchal airport
Ferry from Portimão
Best type of riding:
Mountain Bike
Best time of year:
Year-round
Places to eat/drink:
Greenhouse Coffee
Legs Eleven
Highlights:
Transmadeira
Use Freeride Madeira to discover the best trails for your ability
Best cycling holidays Canada is a vast country designed for those who love to explore in the wilderness

Canada’s best cycling spots

We’ve already spoken very favourably about Canada’s best cycling cities, however for a specific cycling holiday, we would recommend making your way to the west. It’s vast, it’s mountainous and it’s perfect for thrill-seekers.

Best cycling holidays Whistler Bike Park is a Mecca for thrill-seeking mountain bikers
Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia

Beginning your adventure in Vancouver is a great introduction to Canada. There’s plenty of great city riding to explore the area and discover the best attractions in the city. Once you’re ready for something a little more daring, make your way an hour and a half up the road to Whistler.

In the winter, Whistler is a world-famous ski resort and in summer it turns into a bike park for mountain bikers. With trails for all kinds of mountain biking and abilities, nobody should be left behind. The bike park itself is suitable for E-MTBs or you can use the ski lifts with your bike to get to the top of the trails.

Vancouver and Whistler Cycling Holidays

How to get there:
Fly to Vancouver airport
Best type of riding:
Mountain Bike
Best time of year:
June to October
Places to eat/drink:
Garbanzo Bike and Bean
Highlights:
Whistler Bike Park
Alta Lake
Green Lake
Best cycling holidays When the Northern Hemisphere is cold, you can rely on South Africa to warm you up again

South Africa

It might not be the first place you think of for a cycling holiday, but South Africa should be on your list if you’re looking for somewhere warm during the Northern Hemisphere winter. The buzzing mountain bike scene gets bigger every year with Cape Epic one of the biggest events in the region. Road cycling is also growing thanks in part to the success of the country’s best riders.

South Africa is a huge country, so we’ve focused on just one area for the purposes of this article. If you’re looking to explore a little further and want to try something different, we recommend fat-biking in the Transkei region just south-west of Durban.

Best cycling holidays Stellenbosch is perfect for gravel riding and mountain bike marathon events
Stellenbosch

Tourists flock to Cape Town year on year due to its picture-perfect coastline and spectacular mountains. However, if you head a little further east of the city, you’ll find Stellenbosch, a wine region with some of the best road cycling, gravel cycling and mountain biking South Africa offers.

The dusty gravel roads through the vineyards are perfect for gravel bike adventures. Gravel and cross-country MTBs make the perfect tools for the famous Cross Cape Route, which starts in Stellenbosch. At 750 km, you’ll need to pack a solid amount of endurance with you, but splitting the route over a week or more is a great way to see the back country landscapes of South Africa.

Stellenbosch Cycling Holidays

How to get there:
Fly to Cape Town
Best type of riding:
Road/Gravel/Mountain Bike
Best time of year:
November to February
Places to eat/drink:
Ride In
Highlights:
Cape Epic
Cross Cape Route
Stellenbosch wine region