Road Cycling

12 Unforgettable Vacations That Are Best Done by Bike — Even for Beginner Cyclists – Travel+Leisure

There’s no better way to see the world than on two wheels.

You don’t have to be a Tour de France winner in order to enjoy a long, scenic bike ride. Everywhere in the world — from the United States to France to Japan — you’ll find excellent bike tours that cater to beginner cyclists.

Cycling has been a favorite pastime for people around the globe since the 19th century. According to Brown University’s website, the bicycle was invented by Karl von Drais in Germany and it was a rather cumbersome “running machine” that didn’t involve pedals, steering, or brakes. When the “modern” safety bicycle was invented by John Kemp Starley in England, it allowed for a free, stable ride — and just like that, cycling started to become a well-liked hobby.

Today, along with hiking, mountain climbing, and camping, cycling is one of the most popular outdoor activities. And of course, this means there are tons of excellent biking destinations that are perfect for cyclists young and old, experienced and inexperienced.

You can take a ride through the mountains in Switzerland or breeze through vineyards in France, Italy, or Chile. You can even hop from island to island in the Philippines, Japan, and Croatia with your bike in tow. And it doesn’t matter what continent you’re on, because you can find a trail in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania, too.

Take a look at some of these beautifully scenic biking destinations that are sure to please cyclists at any level.

1. Puglia, Italy

In Puglia there are a great number of bike tours and cycling vacations where you can set your own activity level based on your experience and trip type. There’s truly something for everyone — from beginners to advanced cyclists. Plus, you can’t beat the view from these stunning coastal trails, which are mostly uncongested by tourists.

2. Burgundy and Champagne, France

Sign us up for a trip that involves some easy-going cycling that’s rewarded with delicious wine. This region of France is famous for its grapes, as well as its cuisine, but it’s also a wonderful place to take in the fresh air and cycle your way through the countryside. And, if you want to stop at a few vineyards and sample some wines along the way, it’s highly encouraged.

3. Connemara, Ireland

You can see the best of the Emerald Isle by taking one of the many guided or self-guided bike tours in this western region of Ireland. The Connemara Lazy Days tour is particularly popular for beginner cyclists who want a good ride without too much effort. The tour involves traveling short distances by bike while enjoying the region’s many cultural attractions.

4. Land’s End, United Kingdom

Cycling from Land’s End in Cornwall, England to John o’ Groats in Scotland is a classic ride that’s probably for a slightly more experienced rider, but makes for an excellent trip nonetheless. This scenic, 1,000 mile trip typically takes between two and three weeks and you’ll see some of the very best United Kingdom vistas along the way.

5. Lake Constance, Austria

You can actually start a bicycle tour around Lake Constance from either Austria, Germany or Switzerland, depending on your preference. This massive lake isn’t just beautiful, it also makes for a highly customizable ride. You can break up the trip into challenging long rides or several short days with stops in the many beautiful and adorable nearby towns. This route is also surprisingly flat, especially considering its proximity to the Alps.

6. Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

If you’re not into cycling for long distances, try an island-hopping cycling tour where you cycle across the land and then hop on a boat to the next isle to do it all again.

There are also lots of tours that take you from Dubrovnik to Hvar to Split by bike. Croatia also has a 100-mile trail that connects the country and nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina, if you’re a little more advanced.

7. Amsterdam, Netherlands

If you’re looking for a cyclist’s paradise, look no further than Amsterdam. The bike-friendly city has always been welcoming to car-free living, so even the most inexperienced of cyclists can get around easily on two wheels. Of course, since many locals commute by bike, be sure to stay out of the way if you’re in the mood for a slow, scenic ride. Or, better yet, take a guided tour.

8. Colchagua Valley, Chile

Cycling and wine tasting isn’t just for the French. This beautiful region of Chile is also famous for its wines and is an excellent spot for cyclists to take a leisurely, scenic ride with stops for vino along the way. Depending on your goal for your vacation, you can opt for a more active bike ride or plan for a few short stints that allow for extra wine tasting.

9. Palisade, Colorado, United States

If you haven’t been to the Fruit and Wine Byway, now’s your chance to start planning a trip. This beautiful, 25-mile trail through Colorado’s not-so-well-known wine country and peach groves might be the best late-summer excursion any cyclist could plan. Travel through scenic (and fragrant) orchards and lavender fields and breeze along the Colorado River with regular stops at local wine vineyards.

10. Traveler’s Rest, South Carolina, United States

Traveler’s Rest is becoming a go-to place for cycling enthusiasts to live and visit. The Blue Ridge Mountains offer the perfect challenge for advanced bike lovers, but there are also some short and relatively flat trails that are simple enough for even the least experienced rider to enjoy. And not only are the trails exquisitely scenic, there are also nearby vineyards, boutique hotels, quaint towns, and lots of cultural points of interest.

11. Onomichi, Japan

Starting in Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture, you can take the path of the Shimanami Kaidō (also known as the Nishiseto Expressway), which connects the city with Imabari in Ehime Prefecture. This 40-mile road goes through the Geiyo Islands and was built with cyclists in mind. It has segregated cycling and pedestrian lanes, so anyone can enjoy this gorgeous and relatively short route.

12. Visayas Islands, The Philippines

The islands of Cebu, Bohol, Negros, Guimaraes, and Panay are all easy places to grab some two-wheeled transportation and see some incredible sights. Bike tours along the coastlines are one of the area’s most popular excursions, especially since the roads are paved and fairly flat, making them enjoyable for cyclists of every level. Island hopping by bike is another option.