Cycling is one of the greatest ways to explore another country. But whilst popular routes tend to wind through the French countryside or Italian hills, there’s a host of other destinations out there that are just as worth exploring on two wheels.
So whether you’re a cycling enthusiast or just enjoy the occasional weekend ride, here’s our selection of alternative cycling holiday destinations.
Recommended Route: Buje to Pula
With most tourists flocking to Dubrovnik or island hopping along its vast coastline, Croatia is often overlooked as one of Europe’s cycling destinations. But head north, to the beautiful Istrian Peninsula, and you’ll find countryside that’s simply perfect for biking.
Passing through rolling hills and medieval settlements, routes take you along both quiet country roads and discontinued railway tracks. Often referred to as the ‘Croatian Tuscany’, this area offers plenty of wine cellars and vineyards where you can stop for a tipple. And with pretty coastal towns including Porec, Rovinj and Pula, you’ve got a variety of options for finding a night’s stay.
Recommended Route: Urgup to Guzeyurt
Consisting of thousands of conical shaped rocks, Cappadocia is a landscape like no other. And one of the best ways to discover this bizarre natural phenomenon is by bicycle. You’ll feel like you’re on another planet as you pedal through these geological oddities.
This spectacular region of central Turkey has no shortage of interesting stops. Known as the ‘Valley of the Sky’, the Ihlara Canyon is home to several beautiful rock-cut churches. Cappadocia also contains 36 underground cities, the deepest of which is Derinkuyu. This fascinating city is riddled with secret tunnels that people were using for centuries.
Recommended Route: Siem Reap to Kampot
Take a ride through rural Cambodia, and you’ll get a real insight into the lives of the locals. From the floating villages of Tonle Sap Lake to the lush paddy fields of the Kampong province, this is traditional Cambodia at its best.
Explore the sleepy villages along the mighty Mekong and venture into the jungle-clad Cardamom Mountains. As one of Southeast Asia’s most pristine expanses of wilderness, this region is abundant in wildlife and hidden trails. And when you’ve worked up enough of a sweat, you can take a swim in the crystal-clear waters of the O’Malu Waterfall.
Recommended Route: Kangra to Kalka
When thinking of India’s roads, the chaotic streets of Mumbai and Dehli are most likely the first images that spring to mind. But in the foothills of the towering, snow-capped Himalayas lies some of the country’s most spectacular cycling.
Carpeted with lush green forests and dotted with historic hill stations, the foothills offer panoramic vistas across the surrounding peaks. One of the most famous of the British hill stations is Shimla. Once the summer capital of the British Raj, Shimla is set along a crescent-shaped ridge and features colourful roofs strewn across the hillsides.
Thanks to the foothill’s undulating terrain, you can expect some long steady climbs alongside lengthy downhill blasts. However, the region’s spellbinding scenery is worth all the hard work.
Recommended Route: Stellenbosch to Cape Town
South Africa’s famous wineland region isn’t just for enjoying a glass of vino. With stunning natural surrounds, a wild coastline and peaceful roads, the Cape Winelands is also a great destination for exploring on two wheels.
Starting in the vine-covered landscape of Stellenbosch, you can sample some of the region’s most famous wines before you hit the road. Then soak up the scenery as you head towards the dramatic coast of the Cape Peninsula. The Whale Route is a particularly beautiful stretch of road, hugging the coastline with the ocean on one side and mountains on the other.
Cape Town also provides a stunning backdrop for the end of your cycling holiday. With the majestic Table Mountain, beautiful beaches and plenty of bars and restaurants, you’ll want at least a few days here to rest your legs.
Fancy an active getaway? Take a look at cycling holidays.