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5 of the world’s best cycling holidays

cycling holidays

You don't need a yellow jersey to have a great time on a cycling holiday.

Missing the Tour de France already? If you have been inspired by the gruelling feats of Chris Froome and the swarm of svelte cyclists behind him, it’s time to swap two feet for two wheels and see the world from your saddle. Here are five of our favourite cycling holidays - somewhat more leisurely than anything you’ll find on the Tour. Mostly.

A tongue-tingling tour of northern Italy

6 days

Italy is a foodie’s paradise. New flavours are revealed around every corner on this leisurely 6-day exploration of Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Veneto. You will dine at traditional restaurants serving authentic local favourites such as radicchio and taleggio risotto, pumpkin-stuffed ravioli and clams from the Venetian lagoon. Is your mouth watering yet?

As for the cycling, you will be guided on a 135-mile journey through World Heritage Sites, countryside orchards and pretty Italian villages - ending in the romantic city of Venice. Lofty prices reflect the fact that your overnight stays take in the best hotels in the region, perfect for well-deserved R&R. The package also includes bike hire, a cycling jersey, accommodation and food.

£2,575 | ciclismoclassico.com

Midnight sun beside beautiful fjords in Norway

8 days

The quiet stillness, invigorating icy air and stunning beauty of the Lofoten Islands is ideal for two-wheeled exploration. This narrow chain of islands is studded with imposing mountains - more per square mile than anywhere else in Norway - rising dramatically from glassy fjords. Get a scale for the epic beauty as you cycle gentle routes between traditional Nordic fishing villages.

Accommodation is a mix of hotels and traditional lodges beside the icy waters of the fjords. Jump in for an invigorating dip before thawing out in the sauna with a cockle-warming glass of akevitt. Luggage transfers are included in the price and you can choose between a guided tour or taking in the islands at your own pace with a map and directions. Either way, you won’t want to forget the camera.

£2,035 | skedaddle.co.uk  

Escape the chill of Blighty in Andalucia

8 days

From midnight sun in Norway to winter sun in Andalucia, where January temperatures regularly top 20oC. Saddle up and pedal along quiet countryside lanes, passing olive groves and vineyards, stopping for tapas in the definitive white villages of the Grazalema National Park.

After a day of pedalling, relax by the pool in your self-catering villa or farmhouse. Daily tours are fully supported, with guides who adapt their pace to suit your ability and preference. Bike hire is available too. If there’s a better way to see this beautiful part of Spain, we have yet to find it.

From £320 | andaluciancyclingexperience.com

Find your exotic side in Costa Rica

12 days

It doesn’t take a wild leap of imagination to conclude that they must have been talking about the abundance of beautiful scenery when they gave Costa Rica - the coast of riches - its name. Take in the volcanoes, lush forests and incredible biodiversity on this leisurely 12-day adventure through one of the world’s most vivid and varied countries.

The alluring scent of coffee plantations should be enough to spur you on as you cycle through wildlife-packed forests to spectacular golden-sanded beaches. The package includes accommodation in top hotels, one night’s camping and most meals, where you will tuck in to tasty local cuisine - mild, flavourful dishes focused on rice, beans, tropical fruits and vegetables.

£1,745 | skedaddle.co.uk

Become King - or Queen - of the Mountains

8 days

Something more challenging? Follow in the tyre treads of the Tour de France’s heroic riders with Le Domestique Tours. You will take on the most gruelling climbs in cycling, including the legendary Tourmalet, Mont Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez. The organisers call it an opportunity to challenge yourself against the Tour de France’s most infamous climbs. And who are we to argue?

The support you will receive is of a professional level and includes a support car carrying spares and extra clothing. You will also have your own resident chef, dishing up carefully balanced energy-rich food to make sure you are properly fuelled for those lung-busting ascents. Half-board accommodation and transfers are included. It’s the ride of a lifetime. But rather you than us.

From £1149 | ledomestiquetours.co.uk

Get bespoke (sorry) cover for your cycling holiday with World First’s failsafe sports travel insurance.

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