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I’m not the kind of person whose dream vacation is to sit on the beach at an all-inclusive resort. My guess is that neither are you, since you’re reading this blog post.
Instead, my idea of an awesome getaway is something on two wheels whether that’s a cycling tour (see below) or a mountain bike trip to a hard-to-reach destination.
Truthfully, skinny tires aren’t my top choice (I like knobby tires and full squish), but I did work for Backroads for a season as a Trip Leader and I got quite used to nice hotels and good wine and I would gladly join a cycling tour given the opportunity.
In this post, I share my top choices for cycling vacations around the world that offer unparalleled experiences.
Butterfield & Robinson: Chile Wine Country
Butterfield & Robinson is the creme de la creme when it comes to cycling vacations and cycling tours. Their trips are high-end luxury filled with beautiful hotels, bespoke experiences, local guides, and full support on riding days (and yes, a large price tag).
The Chile Wine Country trip caught my eye because I enjoy good food and wine (especially on vacation!) and the Chilean landscapes look incredible. Pedal through vineyard-studded valleys, along coastal routes, and under the foothills of the Andes mountains.
Backroads: Sardinia Bike Tour
I actually worked for Backroads as a trip leader for a season and while the position didn’t quite suit me, I still LOVED the actual trips.
Backroads offers biking and hiking tours all over the world, but they’re particularly well-known for their Italy trips, including their Sardinia Bike Tour.
This tour explores the northeastern tip of the island on stunning roads that overlook the Mediterranean Sea and routes that pass under Sardinia’s Gennargentu mountain peaks.
And the food! Enjoy some of the freshest seafood and delicious wines you’ll ever taste.
Trek Travel: Ireland Bike Tour
Trek isn’t just about selling awesome bikes, they also have their Trek Travel company that takes cyclists all over the world on incredible vacations.
I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland, so their Ireland Bike Tour caught my eye. This tour is based around the Killinary area of southern Ireland and includes stunning rides around the famous Ring of Kerry, a scenic loop that passes through the rural and rugged landscapes of the Iveragh Peninsula.
Guests will also indulge in comforting food and stay at some of the best hotels southern Ireland has to offer.
Grasshopper Adventures: Bhutan By Bike
When I was in Thailand many years ago, I did a day bike tour in Bangkok with Grasshopper Adventures and it was one of my favorite travel experiences to date.
Grasshopper Adventures also does multi-day tours all over Asia for the more adventurous travelers including a 7-day tour through the mountain kingdom of Bhutan. The trip also includes a trek up to Tiger’s Nest Monastery perched on the side of a cliff 3,000 feet above the Valley floor.
Tourissimo: Emilia & Bologna Chef Bike Tour, Italy
Are good food and drink your love languages? Then you’ll love the Tourissimo Emilia & Bologna Chef Bike Tour that traverses through the “food valley of Italy”.
Riders will taste unrivaled cheeses, pastas, cured meats, olives, and so much more, all the while pedaling from town to town and relaxing in the soothing waters at several historic spa villages.
I’m not sure I would come back home if I did this trip.
Spice Roads: Kyushu Onsen to Onsen, Japan
Japan has been near the top of my bucket list for places to travel for a long time, and what better way to explore an island country than by bike?
The Spice Roads Kyushu Onsen to Onsen tour takes riders across the island of Kyushu, which is known for its active volcanos, beautiful beaches, and hot spring onsen.
Riders will also pass by ancient samurai castles and Buddhist temples, and, of course, enjoy delicious Japanese cuisine.
VBT: New Zealand, The South Island
I spent 6 months in New Zealand as an exchange student during high school and I’ve been dying to get back there as an adult (and cyclist).
The VBT New Zealand South Island bike tour is an easy/moderate trip that leaves plenty of time to enjoy New Zealand’s incredible landscapes, hospitality, and adventures off the bike.
This tour makes its way the length of the South Island from Christchurch to Queenstown and I highly recommend spending another week to explore the more pastoral beauty of the North Island.
Adventure Cycling: Selkirk Splendor
I can’t remember where I first heard about the Selkirk International Loop, but ever since I did, it’s been on my must-ride list.
This 380-mile scenic route spans the borders of Idaho, Washington, and British Columbia and passes through some of the most incredible landscapes of North America.
The route can easily be done by yourself or you can join a self-contained group ride with Adventure Cycling Association.
BikeTours.com: Highlights of the Balkans
BikeTours.com is a website that connects travelers with cycling tours across Europe. There are dozens of bike tours to browse through from Bike and Barge cruises to bike path tours to e-bike adventures.
I like to get off the beaten path, so the Highlights of the Balkans: Gems of Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania sounds right up my alley. This 7-day self-guided bike tour takes cyclists down quiet roads and through ancient villages from the medieval town of Trebinje to the Gulf city of Kotor.
Thomson Bike Tours: Canary Islands Cycling Camp
For the super avid cyclists looking for more of a bootcamp cycling vacation, Thomson Bike Tours delivers. Thomson’s is an official tour operator for the Tour de France, so you know they live and breathe cycling.
On their two-week Canary Island Cycling Camp, guests get to experience the best of riding on both Gran Canaria and Tenerife, two islands in the Canary achipelego in Spain.
Each day has big mileage and big climbs, so if you’re looking for an all-out cycling ‘vacation’, this could be it.
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Have you gone on any cycling tours or vacations? Which one(s) and what was your experience like? Leave a comment below!