A cycling break to Europe with your mates is one of the best trips you can go on - discovering new roads and climbs during the day with the sun on your backs and then carb loading on amazing local food and beverages in the evening, whats better than that? Here is our guide to the best destinations and top tips to planning the best group cycling break in Europe.
Best Destinations for Value for Money
Some of the best riding regions in Europe offer amazing routes & great hotels at a bargain. These tend to be popular spots in the high summer but quiet outside of that short high season. Our best value for money cycling destinations are:
Emilia Romagna | Italy: We can't enough of the riding here. This region is next to Tuscany with a long coastline on the Adriatic and some killer climbs in the quiet hill country. Italy's most popular sportive, the Nove Colli, is held here every May. Stay in either Riccione for a mix of coast & hill rides with some good bars & restaurants in the evening or base yourself in Bagno di Romagna in the hillcountry for a relaxing few days and soak in the natural hot springs after each ride. This is the food capital of Italy so you can mix riding with eating better than anywhere else in the world. Check out our 3 night Emilia Romagna Hills Break with two guided rides & airport transfers from £289.
Mallorca | Spain: One of the most popular places in Europe for cycling and with good reason. This island could have been designed for cyclists with a long mountain range covering one side of the island featuring a great variety of short. long, steep and gentle climbs and a flatter middle of the island populated with a couple of stand alone climbs. Stay in the beachside town of Port de Pollenca and enjoy the bars and restaurants for after ride relaxing. A must is riding the coast to coast ride from Andratx to Port de Pollenca following the shore all day. Check out our 4 night Mallorca Break with four guided rides & airport transfers from £379.
Best Destinations for Climbing
Italian Alps & Stelvio | Italy: The mighty Stelvio is one of the most famous climbs in cycling and a must for any rider. There are two ways up (plus a third in Switzerland via the Umbrail Pass) and both are stunning with hairpins all over the place - Alpe d'Huez famously has 21 of them, the Stelvio has 48! There is more to a riding holiday here than just one climb. Staying in Bormio, you can also ride the stunning Gavia & the very steep Mortirolo as well as heading to Switzerland to ride the Passo Bernina. Bormio is a lovely spa town making this a great four night group break. Top tip - most of your riding will be long climbs over 2,000m or long descents. Add a support vehicle to follow you with extra layers, food and mechanical support. For a group of 4+ this is great value and means you don't need to weigh yourself down with jackets and warmers. 4 night Stelvio Break with four guided rides & airport transfers from £569
Dolomites | Italy: Probably the most beautiful place in the world to ride. If you haven't been to the Dolomites, stop what you are doing and start planning your next trip. The main draw is the scenery, dramatic rock formations dotted into Sound of Music lush valleys and the riding is absolutely world class as well. A lot of the classic climbs are well over 2,000m so the season here is pretty short - mid June to mid September and there are some very tasty gradients to get over, the top section of the incredible Tre Cime di Lavaredo hits 12% and just gets harder from there. There are also lots of climbs for less experienced riders so this is a perfect spot for a mixed ability group. Check out our Four Night Dolomites Break from £569.
Pyrenees | France: Of all the popular mountain ranges in Europe for cycling, this can be the most remote with rides often stopped by huge flocks of sheep. There are less route options here than the Alps or Dolomites but the scenery and climbs are incredible. If you want to base yourself in one place to keep costs down and logistics easy. we highly recommend Luchon with climbs coming out from all sides. We have a shuttle service to other parts of the Pyrenees so you can get the shuttle out and ride back to cover a bigger area. Or, ride the Circle of Death over 2 days taking in the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin, Peyresourde & Superbagners. Check out our Three Night Pyrenees Circle of Death Break.
Best Destinations for Cycling Culture
Flanders | Belgium: The home of the spring classics. In this small region there are classic races including Gent Wevelgem and Het Nieuwsblad as well as the Tour of Flanders monument. There is so much history here and the Tour of Flanders museum catches a lot of this. The riding is great and makes for a great short break in the summer. From Oudenaarde, you can ride classic cobbled sections and steep bergs including the Koppenberg, Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg and Muur. Carb load with chips and sauce and a couple of local beers for a phenomenal short break. Check out our Three Night Flanders Break with three guided rides from £349
Lake Como | Italy: The home of the last monument of the year, the Race of the Falling Leaves, and the cycling church at the Ghisallo. The church is at the top of the most famous climb in the region, a stunning ride with amazing views of the lake below and next to the church is a new cycling museum with lots of old bikes, the history of various races and other memorabilia. A visit to the church and museum is a must for any cycling enthusiast. There are plenty of other amazing routes in the area with long climbs in the Alps foothills or lakeside roads. Check out our Four Night Lake Como Breakwith four guided rides from £459
Best Challenges for Groups
Club des Cingles du Mont Ventoux: A great challenge to do with a group of friends. Riding all three sides of Mont Ventoux in one day is a tough but just about manageable day out with over 4,000m of climbing. The day starts early in Bedoin and you reach the first summit before the heat kicks in. The second side up is just about as tough as the Bedoin side but the final climb from Sault is a bit easier. The final descent home is a lot of fun and all the better for the accomplishment of getting up this legendary climb from all three sides. Come for a minimum of three nights so you can go up the Ventoux on the best weather day and also ride the stunning Gorges de la Nesque ride as a warm up. Check out our Three Night Cingles Break including 2 guided rides, full support on the day with a support vehicle, all your registration and airport transfers from £399
Top Tips for a Group Cycling Break
- For any bike trip, getting your bike out to Europe is a major cost consideration. If you are flying with an airline that allows bikes on as standard luggage (most BA flights), bring your own bikes. If not, the cost of renting is often less than paying a low cost carrier for sports equipment if you are coming out for 3 to 5 days. Typically, if you are coming out for 6 days or more it is cheaper to bring your own bike. Another good service to look at is BagSolo who offer door to door bike transfers from £105. Bike rentals in most Euopean cycling destinations are of a very high quality now so even if you love your bike at home, think about renting for a short break.
- Plan your time off the bike. Wherever you are going, chat with us for some great extras like a private tour of the cycling museum at the Ghisallo, Michelin star taster menus with the chef in Emilia Romagna or brewery tours in Flanders. There is more to a cycling trip than just the cycling!
- Pick the right destination for your group's ability. If you are all seasoned climbers, get out to the Stelvio and smash some hills for a few days. If you are newer riders, try something a bit easier with some flatter days. This makes places like Mallorca, Lake Como & Emilia Romagna good destinations.
- Avoid the high tourist seasons - the roads will be busier, the prices higher and the weather will typically be uncomfortably hot. On the flip side, get your timing right and get the best of the weather for cycling on quiet roads. We love April to June and September to October for cycling breaks.
Get in touch with us to put together your perfect group trip. Happy riding!