With the 105th Tour de France just around the corner and every cycling enthusiast getting ready to watch the professionals take to the hills between 7 and 29 July, peak cycling season has officially arrived.
The teams will cover a total distance of around 2,069 miles throughout the tour as they tackle hills and mountains and the odd flat terrain here and there, to prove to the world they are the best of the best.
But don’t just watch the professionals peddle away, how about trying something different to lounging at the poolside and go on a cycling holiday instead? You can cover a lot of ground and see some pretty incredible scenery on your way, and the whole family can join in with the fun - all you need is a bike and a lot of energy! You never know, you could even be the next Bradley Wiggins!
There are so many incredible cycling routes around the world, but I've picked some of my favourites to give you some holiday planning inspiration for booking your next active holiday.
The Cabot Trail, Canada
Canada is a cyclists' dream with so many incredible routes to choose from, but the Cabot Trail gets my vote. This 186-mile route is considered one of the world’s most beautiful coastal landscapes in the world, for good reason too - the scenery is unrivalled.
The most popular route loops from the town of Baddeck on Cape Breton Island, but the biggest decision cyclists have here is whether to ride clockwise or counter clockwise. There are pros and cons to each, so it's down to personal preference.
The usual route is a three-day ride, but we recommend doing it over five or more and getting some side trips in too. If you’re lucky, you might end up riding alongside a pod of whales diving in and out of the sea. It will make it all worth it.
So if you fancy a break from your bike, activities to stop off and enjoy on the way include boat tours out to see some of the incredible marine life and plenty of watersports. It is an area rich in wildlife, so is a haven for nature lovers. If you prefer land to sea, you can lace up your walking boots and go hiking.
RCI has 111 affiliated resorts in Canada.
Keukenhof Tulip Fields, Netherlands
Cycling holiday recommendations wouldn’t be complete without the Netherlands making the list as there are likely more bikes than cars taking to the roads. There are so many different routes to take, but one of the prettiest has to be alongside the tulip fields in Keukenhof. Tulips grow all over the Netherlands, but this area is the most popular with cyclists, though there's only a short time of the year when you can see them.
Early April to early May is your best chance to catch a glimpse of the beautiful flowers, so if you're holiday planning, take this into consideration and book nice and early. This route will only take a few hours, so it gives you the opportunity to go further afield and see what the surrounding countryside has to offer, or park your bike and explore the pretty town on foot. The opportunities are endless!
RCI has 12 affiliated resorts in the Netherlands.
Alpe d'Huez, France
As the Tour de France will be taking place in France and you'll be seeing plenty of the beautiful French countryside on the TV, it would be silly to leave the host country out of this list, especially one of the most impressive - and toughest routes.
One of the most famous stages of the Tour de France, the Alpe d'Huez is definitely a route for experienced cyclists who don't mind some hairpin turns - 21 of them to be exact - up a mountain. The average gradient here is around 8 per cent, but it does rise to 11 per cent in places, so probably not a route you want to attempt with the children!
The views are spectacular, so while you're pushing yourself to the limit to make it to the next turn, make sure you try and appreciate the dramatic mountainous landscapes when you stop for a breath.
RCI has 69 affiliated resorts in France.
Salzach Valley, Austria
Salzach Valley encompasses a large area that boasts several fantastic cycle routes, but the Tauern route is one of the best, and suitable for all the family. Starting at the pretty town of Krimml and finishing at Passau on the Austria/Germany border, you will ride past some of the most magical landscapes.
Before you get into cycle mode, make sure you visit Europe's largest waterfalls - Krimml Waterfalls - though make sure you leave at least half a day to explore and take some incredible photographs - you won't regret it. Back on your bicycle, keep up pace alongside the rivers overlooked by the stunning snow-topped Alps. It really is a beautiful, scenic route.
However, don't forget to do a bit of exploring on foot as you might miss some incredible sights. One of these you have to see is the giant ice caves in Werfen. Accessible by guided tours only, the caves are open from May to October, so make sure you plan your cycle holiday around those times, as you really don't want to miss out on the incredible phenomenon. Oh, and don't forget to bring some gloves!
RCI has 20 affiliated resorts in Austria.
Big Sur, America
There are so many incredible cycling routes in America, but you'd struggle to find one as epic as the Big Sur in California. I say epic, not because of the time it will take, but because it shows off some of California's most stunning coastline, with dramatic cliffs and gorgeous beaches lining the route all the way.
You can easily stretch this route out for as long as you want, thanks to the sun-drenched coastline and plenty of beach time on offer. It would be a waste not to make the most of it while you are here.
You can't possibly cycle this route without visiting the main beaches of Big Sur, Moonstone Bay, and Pismo Beach, even if just to dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean.
It is quite a hefty ride of 390 miles though, so it would be advisable that the more experienced riders give this one a go, or choose a shorter route along the coast.
There are 148 RCI-affiliated resorts in California.
One island destination that the professionals flock to train is Mallorca. Beautiful weather, gorgeous landscapes, and the opportunity to ride high altitude or flat terrain, makes it a popular choice for cyclists.
The towns of Sóller and Pollença are fantastic for easy access to the mountain ranges, but most of the roads are perfectly made for cyclists, so there are plenty of opportunities all over the island to ride.
The Canary Islands are fantastic for an all-round brilliant holiday, but if it is a cycling holiday you're after, there's no better destination than Tenerife. It also happens to be one of the places the professional cyclists use to train, thanks to the impressive Mount Teide. So, if you think you can hack the altitude, give a cycle here a go.
It's easy to hire a bike and all the equipment needed while you're there, so it's relatively stress-free! If you still want to relax while you're on holiday, alternate a cycling day with one relaxing on one of Tenerife's excellent beaches and get the best of both worlds.
Of course, this list has only scratched the surface when it comes to the world’s best cycling routes, as there are so many out there to peddle along. If you have a bike, a helmet and an incredible view, you can have an amazing holiday almost anywhere on two wheels.
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