How to make the most of the year by bike, with Freedom Treks

The popularity of cycling holidays has exploded in the last couple of years, but this increase has been mostly limited to the spring and summer months; the cold and wet winter weather of the UK (and parts of Europe) can often damper interest in exploring the great outdoors on two wheels.

Keen to dispel this myth, Freedom Treks, specialising in self-guided and guided bike tours for all cycling levels in Europe and Asia, has looked at a number of factors (weather, number of tourists and what’s popular) and compiled a selection of cycling tours perfect for every month of the year.

From the pink salt lakes in Mallorca and the terracotta roofs of Croatia, to the perfumed cherry blossoms in Japan and the ancient wonders of Southeast Asia, there are plenty of spectacular sites and wonders to be discovered world-wide.

January: Lanzarote, Land of the Volcanoes – save £50 pp
Often referred to as the island of 1,000 volcanoes, six years of eruptions between 1730 and 1736 have created a unique, lunar landscape covered in craters, canyons and cones. Lanzarote’s temperatures soar most of the year; even in January, guests can enjoy more than 20°C on most days and very little rain. Beginning in Costa Teguise, explore most of the rugged island by bike, learning about the history, culture and gastronomy en route. Visit the volcanic cave of La Cueva de los Verdes, admire the beautiful beach of Famara with the impressive backdrop of volcanic cliffs and explore the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, where Lanzarote’s volcanic nature is at its most impressive. Towards the end of the tour, cycle into the dramatic hills of Femés before heading to the wine country of La Geria, where many fine and unique wines are produced in the unusual countryside.
Level: Moderate
A seven night Lanzarote – Land of the Volcanoes Hotel & Bike tour, departing in January 2019, costs from £841 pp (was £891 pp, saving £50 pp) for two people sharing a twin or double room. Price includes staying at three, four and five-star hotels and B&Bs, breakfast every day, luggage transportation and maps, GPS Tracks and route information. Return flights, bike hire and cycle helmets extra.
Freedom Treks (01273 224 066, www.freedomtreks.co.uk)

February: Mallorca, Hotel & Bike
Set off on a bike tour to Mallorca in February 2019 and marvel at the gorgeous display of almond blossoms in flower. Native to Egypt, the almond tree was introduced to Mallorca by the Romans in 123 BC and, over centuries, it has spread; nowadays, there are more than seven million almond trees and it is one of the most beautiful, natural spectacles on the island. There are plenty more remarkable sights to discover, including UNESCO-listed mountains, glistening beaches, pink salt lakes, orange groves and the beautiful Dragon Caves. Alongside these natural wonders, guests can visit prehistoric ruins, vibrant markets, and Palma, the capital, is home to spectacular medieval walls. Customers can also enjoy the traditional Spanish cuisine, including paella, made by locals in a mountain village. Visitors to Mallorca will find cycling around the island mostly undemanding, with an even mix of flat and hilly terrain, plus cyclists can board a bus when crossing the Tramuntana Mountains to save energy and cover greater distance.
Level: Easy to Moderate
A seven-night Mallorca Hotel & Bike tour, departing in February 2019,costs from £785 pp (two sharing) and includes half-board accommodation on six of the seven nights, luggage transportation, maps and route information, welcome briefing, special paella lunch, Majorcan lunch snack in Petra, transfer across the Tramuntana Mountains, a trip on the Red Thunderbolt train from Soller to Palma and a guided city tour in Palma Mallorca. Return flights, transfers and bike hire extra.
Freedom Treks (01273 224 066, www.freedomtreks.co.uk)

March: NEW: Kyushu Coast to Coast, Japan  
Every spring, the cherry blossom – or ‘sakura’ – in Japan turns the whole nation a pretty shade of pink. It usually begins in the subtropical islands of Okinawa around January, passing through the middle of Japan in March and April, before finishing in Hokkaido in May. Marvel at the beautiful, fragrant blooms in the lesser known destination of Kyushu, Japan’s southern-most main island, on the new Coast to Coast tour. Starting in the bustling city of Fukuoka, cycle an average of 35 miles a day along quiet roads and trails, combining culture, cuisine and nature before reaching Beppu, one of Japan’s best-known hot-spring resorts. Take a break from the saddle and admire Komzoyen-ji temple, famous for its Zen stone garden, visit Usa Shrine, dating back 1,200 years and dedicated to the Hachiman warrior god and stop at Tendai Temple beneath Mount Futago, it’s the oldest wooden structure in Kyushu having been built in the 11thcentury. Plus, look out for the picturesque Kurehashi Bridge with its amazing thatched roof. On arrival in Beppu, explore the ‘Hells of Beppu’ steaming sulphuric ponds and bubbling mud pools, before soaking in a well-deserved onsen bath. Stay at a range of hotels and unique ‘ryokan’ inns, many of which have their own hot springs; ideal for relaxing and recharging those leg muscles.
Level: Moderate
A five-night Kyushu Coast to Coast tour, departing 18 March 2019, costs from £1,717 (two sharing) and includes full-board accommodation in three-and-four-star hotels and inns, bike hire (choice of hybrid or road bike), a local English-speaking guide, support vehicle for assistance, airport drop off at the end of the tour, transfers during the tour, luggage transportation and snacks and drinks when riding. Return flights, airport transfer on arrival, visas, helmets and drinks extra.
Freedom Treks (01273 224 066, www.freedomtreks.co.uk)

April: Tulip Tour, Holland
Boat and bike through Holland’s main bulb growing region on the Tulip Tour, marvelling at the multi-coloured tulips, pink hyacinths and yellow daffodils that are in their prime during April. Beginning and ending in Amsterdam, sail to the historic village of Spaarndam, made famous by the 1865 American novel, ‘Hans Brinker’, before pedalling to the famous flower garden of Keukenhof and continuing on to Leiden. Holland’s oldest town, Leiden, is the birthplace of Rembrandt, who is considered to be one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art. Do not leave without sampling the delicious cheese at Kudelstaart and visiting Aalsmeer, the largest flower auction in the world. Here, flowers from as far as Ecuador and Ethiopia are traded and more than 20 million blooms are sold each day.
Level: Easy
A three-night Tulip Tour by Boat & Bike, departing in April 2019, costs from £452 pp (two sharing a twin cabin) and includes full-board accommodation on a barge, English-speaking guide, entrance to Keukenhof flower park, visit to the Aalsmeer flower auction, excursion to the Kudelstaart, several city walks and bike hire. Return flights, transfers and helmet hire extra.
Freedom Treks (01273 224 066, www.freedomtreks.co.uk)

May: NEW: Dubrovnik to Split – Deluxe, Croatia
Indulge in some of the Dalmatian coast’s most beautiful attractions by bike and boat on the new Dubrovnik to Split Deluxe tour. Visitors in May can expect 14 hours of sunlight during the day and an average temperature of 16°C; wonderful weather for an active cycling holiday.Starting with a guided tour of Dubrovnik, the terracotta-roofed stage for the filming of Game of Thrones, guests will then set sail for Šipan, the largest of the Elaphiti Islands home to verdant forests and sub-tropical parks. Continue to Lastovo Island, one of the smallest inhabited islands in the Adriatic Sea with just 1,000 inhabitants. It may be small, but Lastovo is famous for its vineyards that produce the versatile Marastina grape, used to make dry, sweet and sparkling wines. Cross to the nearby forested island of Korčula, the birth place of Marco Polo and cruise to Hvar Town, home to a magnificent Renaissance Square and Spanish Fortress. Journey to the island of Brač, which is famous for its shining white marble used for building the White House. The tour finishes with a delicious farewell dinner in Split, with the other members of the group, guides and crew. After each day of cycling and exploring, board the Harmonia, a deluxe-class motor yacht comprising 16 luxuriously-furnished and air-conditioned en-suite cabins.
Level: Moderate to Challenging
A seven-night Dubrovnik to Split Deluxe Boat & Bike tour, departing on 12 or 26 May 2019, costs from £1,335 pp (two people sharing a twin cabin below deck). Price includes full board for four days and half board on the other three days as well as guided tours of Dubrovnik, Korčula and Split plus a welcome meeting. Return flights and bike hire extra.
Freedom Treks (01273 224 066, www.freedomtreks.co.uk)

June: Danube cycling holidays
Drift away on glistening blue waters of the Danube River each evening after spending the days exploring Germany, Austria and Slovakia. The Danube River Cycle Path was Europe’s first long-distance cycle path and takes in a wealth of natural beauty and historic monuments, from wild forests and pristine islands to impressive castles and palaces. Beginning and ending in Passau, Germany, follow the former Iron Curtain towards the Baroque Palace of Hof in Austria, admire the imperial St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna and visit the gorgeous Baroque monastery of the Benedictine brethren of Melk. Foodies will love trying some of the special cordials at the Trappist monastery at Engelszell, sampling freshly-grilled mackerel in Untermühl and sipping a vast selection of wines at the many cosy taverns. Although guests can expect some summer showers, June also offers travellers a high amount of sunshine (with temperatures settling at about 20°C) that soon drives the rain away.
Level: Easy
seven-night Danube River – MS Theodor Körner tour, departing in June 2019, costs from £811 pp (for two sharing a twin cabin on the main deck) and includes full-board accommodation on MS Theodor Körner, an English-speaking tour guide on board, with daily briefings of the bike tours, maps and route information, welcome meeting with cocktails, daily cabin cleaning, towels and bedlinen, harbour fees, daily live music and a farewell gala dinner with cocktail. Return flights, transfers, excursions to Austria’s oldest theatre in Grein, city tour of Vienna, bike and helmet hire extra.
Freedom Treks (01273 224 066, www.freedomtreks.co.uk)

July: Archipelago, Sweden
With daylight lasting more than 18 hours each day and temperatures reaching an average of 23°C, Sweden is an ideal place to visit in the summer. Explore the incredible city of Stockholm, built on 14 islands and connected by 57 bridges at the start and end of this cycle tour. From Stockholm, pedal down through the countryside towards Utö pausing at Tyresta National Park, home to sparkling lakes and wild-roaming deer, and Tyresö Palace, an imposing 17thcentury palace with impressive waterside English gardens. Plus, marvel at the southern part of Stockholm’s archipelago, which was formed during the last Ice Age. On arrival at Fjärdlång, jump on a boat back to Stockholm, enjoying the spectacular views along the way.
Level: Easy
A five-night Archipelago Island Cycle tour, departing in July 2019, costs from £746 pp (two sharing) and includes B&B accommodation in three-and-four-star hotels and inns, one lunch, mountain bike hire, cycle helmet, luggage transportation, maps and route information, travel pack and welcome message, full-trip briefing, some private transfers and boat transfers on day three and day five. Return flights, transfers and other meals extra.
Freedom Treks (01273 224 066, www.freedomtreks.co.uk 

August: Family tour around Ijssel Lake in Holland
Spend a week during the summer holidays discovering Holland’s coastal lakes, villages and nature reserves on this exciting boat and bike tour that’s been created with children aged 7-11 in mind. The cycle rides do not exceed 20 miles and can easily incorporate multiple ice-cream breaks along the way. Starting and ending in the elegant city of Amsterdam, cruise and cycle around sparkling lakes, old-fortified towns, past spinning windmills and through deep-green woodlands. Kids will love the Walibi World theme park in Harderwijk and a chance to build sandcastles on Lake Veluwemeer beach. They can also see the exhibits of local Zuiderzee fishermen and famous Dutch hydraulic engineers at Zuiderzee open-air museum and having a go at steering an electric motorboat through the canals around Giethoorn. Stay on a basic-class barge, which offers 16 cabins with shared facilities and a spacious saloon where you can get to know the other families on board. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is located 20 km from the city centre, with transfer times taking circa 30 minutes.
Level: Easy
seven-night Family Special – Ijssel Lake tour, departing in August 2019, costs from £494 pp (for two adults and two children) and includes full-board accommodation, an English-speaking tour guide on board and on bike, maps and route information, welcome meeting, visit to the open-air museum at Zuiderzee, canoe trip in National Park Weerribben and a city walk.
Freedom Treks (01273 224 066, www.freedomtreks.co.uk 

September: Puglia, Hotel & Bike
From its glistening grottos and sparkling seas to its sandy beaches, Puglia offers cyclists a region rich in culture, history and gastronomy. Sun worshippers flock to the heel of south-east Italy during the summer holidays but come September, it is significantly quieter. As autumn begins, the average temperature is 17°C; ideal conditions for cycling and sightseeing. Beginning in Matera, which has been selected as the 2019 European Capital of Culture and is home to the intricate maze of caves known as ‘Sassi’, ride on and discover the ancient silver olive groves, characterful hilltop towns and unique coastal villages in Puglia. Pedal to the town of Alberobello, which dates back to the 16thcentury and is famous for its cluster of UNESCO-listed ‘Trulli’ (traditional Apulian dry stone huts with conical roofs). Take the train to the charming Baroque town of Lecce and bike along the south coast towards the impressive Habsburger Castle and its spectacular cathedral. After each active day in the saddle, stay at a mixture of three- and four-star hotels and even spend a few nights at a traditional ‘trullo’ hotel.
Level: Easy to Moderate
A seven night Puglia Hotel & Bike tour, departing in September 2019, costs from £770 pp (for two people sharing a twin room). Price includes accommodation, breakfast every day, luggage transportation, maps, GPS Tracks and route information and the train from Ostuni-Lecce. Return flights, transfers, bike hire and cycle helmets extra.
Freedom Treks (01273 224 066, www.freedomtreks.co.uk)

October: Istrian Coast, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia
With more than 11 hours of sunlight each day and temperatures reaching a comfortable 22°C, the Istrian Coast is an ideal place to explore in October.Travel through three countries along the Istrian Peninsula, past lush vineyards, sandy beaches and historic towns. Starting in Muggia, a coastal settlement just outside Trieste, ride south across the Slovenian border, alongside the impressive coastline and through medieval settlements, before reaching Croatia. Pause at the shimmering salt flats in Sečovlje, sample local oysters and mussels in Poreč (plus visit its UNESCO-listed Euphrasian Basilica) and make the most of Pula on Istria’s southwest tip. The magnificent Pula Arena is the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have four side towers and with all three Roman architectural orders entirely preserved.
Level: Easy to Moderate
The seven-night Istrian Coast – Trieste to Pula tour, departing in October 2019, costs from £850 pp (two sharing) and includes B&B accommodation in three-and-four-star hotels, luggage transportation, maps and route information and welcome meeting. Return flights, transfers, bike and helmet hire extra.
Freedom Treks (01273 224 066, www.freedomtreks.co.uk)

November: Vietnam, Bike & Boat
Dry and pleasant weather can be found in both the North and the South of Vietnam in November; it is an ideal time to discover the wonders of the country by bike. Beginning in Hanoi, the capital, explore the incredible sites in this enchanting old town and enjoy authentic Vietnamese cuisine. From here, guests will cycle past lush rice paddies and majestic pagodas on a journey visiting Hoa Lu, the former capital in the 10th and 11th centuries, and Tam Coc. Spend a night on a traditional junk boat on the mystical waters of Halong Bay, then kayak past floating villages to Cat Ba Island. The next stop is Hoi An, a UNESCO-listed town that was once a major trading port. Nowadays, its streets are strung with multi-coloured lanterns that create the perfect Instagram opportunity. Continue this relaxed cycle trip with an exploration of Vietnam’s bustling southern cities, from the ancient imperial city of Hue to the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City, and marvel at the divine river settings of the Mekong Delta. With gentle cycling terrain and the longest ride being 31 miles, this trip is suitable for all levels.
Level: Easy to Moderate
A 14-night Vietnam by Bike & Boat tour, departing in November 2019, is priced from £2,720 pp (two sharing) and includes full-board accommodation (apart from four days’ half-board), stays on comfortable boats in air-conditioned double cabins and 10 nights’ at three-star plus hotels, domestic flights, guided tours (cycling, walking and kayaking), all city tours and entrance charges to National Parks, English-speaking guides, bike hire and airport transfers on arrival and departure day. International flights, drinks, tips, visa, cycle helmets and Angkor Wat extension extra.
Freedom Treks (01273 224 066, www.freedomtreks.co.uk)

December: NEW: Ho Chi Minh, Siem Reap and Bangkok
December is one of the best months to explore Southeast Asia due to minimal rainfall, warm (but not too hot) days and a pleasant breeze. This brand-new two-week tour winds through the beautiful countries of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand with countless sights and numerous excursions along the way. Beginning in Ho Chi Minh City, pedal through the Mekong Delta past banana and sugarcane plantations then cross into Cambodia to the gilded palace in Phnom Penh. Cycle onto Siem Reap and the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat, then relax on the sweeping white sands in Thailand before transferring to Bangkok. Dine on delicious, traditional food throughout the tour, hike through the wild jungles in Cambodia, drift (on a boat) along the famous Mekong River in Vietnam and swim in the sparkling sea at Laem Mae Phim in Thailand. The cycle rides vary from 16 to 59 miles each day, with a generous number of rest days so everyone can make the most of their time in the extraordinary countries. Stay at a selection of three-and-four-star hotels along the way, each maintaining a lovely local charm.
Level: Moderate
A 13-night Ho Chi Minh to Siem Reap to Bangkok tour, departing on 15 or 29 December 2019, costs from £2,243 pp (two sharing) and includes full-board accommodation, the service of a local English-speaking guide in each country, a support vehicle available for assistance, transfers during the tour, luggage transportation, water, fruit and soft drinks when cycling. International flights, transfers, visas, drinks, bike hire and cycle helmets extra.
Freedom Treks (01273 224 066, www.freedomtreks.co.uk)

To find out more about any of these tours visit www.freedomtreks.co.uk, call 01273 224 066 or follow Freedom Treks on Facebook (Freedom Treks).

 

Share Heaven:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookGoogle+Share on LinkedInPin on Pinterest