Whether it’s cycling around Easter Island’s statues or manoeuvring the mountain roads of Southwest France, here’s a list of destinations to be on every cyclist’s travel bucket list
For some of us, vacations are all about perfecting the art of doing nothing – relaxing, unwinding, maybe reading a book poolside as we sip on a refreshing beverage. But for others, it’s about action, adventure, and challenging the mind and body.
Enter the cycling holiday. Whether you want to explore an unfamiliar landscape on two wheels or test your physical endurance like never before, vacations based around biking is every avid cyclist’s dream.
Sound like you? Well, from France to China, these are the routes to map into your travel bucket list.
When it comes to cycling, France is perhaps the first country that comes to mind. Considering the nation’s people have been fans of the sport for over two centuries, it comes as no surprise that its landscape offers some of the best cycling routes in the world.
One of the most popular routes is The Valley of the Lot (Conques & The Lot Valley) in the south-western region of France. Starting in Saint Cirq Lapopie, a quaint, medieval village elected favourite village of the French in 2012, embark on a 100-km journey to the village of Conques along quiet roads, steep climbs, and plenty of small villages that look like they were extracted right out of a fairytale.
Easter Island is a remote volcanic island in Polynesia famed for its archaeological sites. Some date back as far as the 13th century, including close to 900 Moai, the monumental human figures with oversized heads we recognize as the island’s symbols today.
Not so long ago, people dreamed of visiting this mysterious island. Now, however, the island’s cultural heritage can even be explored by bike. Though it requires some effort due to the rocky and muddy nature of most of its unpaved roads, the island is only about 11 km wide and 24 km long. Therefore, you can definitely schedule in a close look at each of its heritage sites.
Peru’s Great Divide
One of the cycling world’s best-kept secrets is the Great Divide route through the Peruvian Cordillera. Between giant glaciated peaks, grassy plateaus and turquoise waterfalls of the Cañete valley, the long-distance ride grants a chance to marvel at some of the most striking scenery. With a distance of nearly 350 km, backpacking is advised with stops in the small, traditional villages to stock up on supplies.
Sheltered coves, limestone mountains and jewel-coloured waters can all be a part of your cycling tour if you head to one of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. Ride through stone-built villages, citrus plantations, and Roman and Moorish remains on your 85 km journey across the island.
The Lake District, UK
Put your climbing ability to the test with this ride of steep ascents and speedy descents. The 145 km journey through Cumbria, north-western England’s national park, is known for its glacial ribbon lakes, rugged fell mountains and historic literary impressions. In between unforgettable scenery, plan for pit stops in the region’s many market towns, such as Kendal, Ambleside and Keswick, home to traditional inns and local art galleries.
China’s Friendship Highway
The 800 km scenic route unites the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, with the Chinese/Nepalese border at the Sino-Nepal Friendship Bridge between Zhangmu and Kodari. Savour extraordinary views of five of the world’s highest peaks, the upper valley of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, vast grasslands, and some of the country’s most treasured cultural monuments.
Temples of Bagan
What better way to explore the ruins of thousands of Buddhist and Hindu temples dating back to the 11th to 13th centuries all at once, than to cycle around them?
Uncover the scenic beauty and cultural highlights of Myanmar by riding through its idyllic rural countryside, softly rolling terrain, limestone caves, and through toddy forest towards Mount Popa, a volcano in the Pegu Range. When passing through the region’s towns, make sure to rehydrate with fresh coconut and fruit juice.
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