Over the past few years, the travel industry has seen a dramatic rise in interest for cycling tours. Many active travelers have discovered that there are few better ways to explore an exotic destination than from the seat of a bike, which provides not only cultural immersion but a chance to take in some fantastic scenery as well.
But some places are better suited for bike travel than others, offering not only a great place to ride but plenty of sights to see along the way too. With that in mind, here are five of the very best travel destinations for cyclists.
It should come as no surprise that the country responsible for bringing us the Tour de France would make our list. There are a lot of great places to ride in France, but it really is tough to top the Burgundy region. Not only is this part of the country dotted with numerous vineyards, its rolling hills and shaded groves are a beautiful backdrop for the more than 500 miles of cycling routes found there. One of those routes is the famed “Road of the Great Wines,” which provides not only amazing riding but wonderful food and drink too. In cycling-mad France, this is a ride that tops all rides.
If there is another country that can match France in terms of passion for cycling, it is Italy. The Italian countryside has plenty of great options for cyclists as well, but it’s the route that winds past the lakes of Lombardy in the northern part of the country that is the most striking. Once again, this route offers great food to go along with the breathtaking scenery, and visitors can easily spend a week pedaling their way through this idyllic part of the world. The mountain roads provide a good challenge, but the rewards are well worth it.
If riding along scenic oceanfront is what you’re looking for, you might want to head down under. Australia’s Great Ocean Road runs for 150 miles through the state of Victoria, where rolling hills, rocky cliff tops, and sandy beaches are just part of the landscapes. Riders will discover sweeping views of the Southern Ocean as they pedal their way through quaint lovely seaside towns where the legendary Aussie hospitality is waiting to welcome them.
San Juan Islands, USA
Located just off the coast of the state of Washington, the San Juan Islands are one of the best places to ride in the entire United States. Visitors will discover lush forests, rocky shorelines, and hilly terrain, along with plenty of quiet roads to ride. Hop the ferry over from Seattle and spend three days exploring Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan, the largest of the islands, each of which has its own personality and unique topography. Keep your eyes peeled for some of the islands’ wilder inhabitants—deer, seals, otters, and even whales can often be spotted along the way.
Otago Peninsula, New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries on Earth, and the Otago Peninsula offers riders a good cross section of what the place has to offer. The Otago Central Rail Trail is 90+ miles of breathtaking scenery punctuated with snowcapped peaks, flowing rivers, and emerald fields. To truly enjoy the ride, don’t rush through to the end. Instead spend the better part of a week soaking up the local culture in the charming villages you’ll find along the way.
These are just a few of the great cycling destinations found in some wonderful places around the world. Any one of them will open your eyes to the possibilities of where your bike can take you. All you have to do is get on and ride.