5 Guided Cycling Holidays for First Time Riders

03 January, 2020

Small Group Cycling Tours with Explore

Considering your first cycling holiday? It can be a daunting idea but there are plenty of options for first timers and you don’t need to be an expert cyclist. Cycling is a fantastic way to enjoy destinations old and new, allowing you to immerse into the landscapes and meet locals as you pedal your way off the beaten path. With a guide on hand, comfortable accommodation and a bus to traverse the most difficult terrain and carry your gear, there is every reason to adventure out of your comfort zone and take a cycling holiday.

Explore have chosen some of their best trips for novice cyclists, ideal for beginners because they cover the easier routes, pedalling along quieter roads and cycling paths at distances that won’t make you saddle sore and weary.

Cycling the Canal Du Midi

Cycle Canal du Midi

The serene tree-lined waterways of France’s historic Canal du Midi are perfect for a first time cycle trip. Explore medieval walled towns, Cathar Castles, local markets and refuel on delicious French cuisine en route as you pedal the quiet pathways that follow ancient Roman cities to the Mediterranean coast. You’ll ride on quiet paths through a patchwork landscape beside waterways, vineyards, farms and attractive villages. You will be surrounded by rich history, picture perfect scenery each day and indulging in delicious regional cuisine and excellent local wines. Pedalling a distance of 35 kilometres at most on any given day, with stops along the way this trip is perfect for new cyclists.

Cycling the Elbe Valley

Prague to Meissen by Bike

Explore the flat riverside paths by cycle as you pedal from Prague into Germany. Easy pathways take you through the renowned wine growing region, the ‘garden of Bohemia’, historic spa towns, picturesque Saxony and the riverside meadows. It’s a superb way to travel through the scenic Vitava and Elbe valleys that lead you to historic Dresden along quiet traffic-free paths. Pedalling around 45 kilometres daily through mostly flat terrain with some gentle undulations, makes this an ideal holiday for novice cyclists.

Pathways through the Dolomites

Cycle Dolomites, Lake Garda and Venice

Glacial valleys, the soaring Dolomites and beautiful Lake Garda offer a dramatic backdrop on a popular journey that has mostly flat and gentle pathways for cyclists. Nearly all of this route is along cycle paths away from the roads, making it ideal for your first cycling holiday. En route you will stay in charming and elegant alpine towns and sample local wine and regional fare. Head toward Venice via the beautiful city of Verona where you will spend two nights exploring this historic town and setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. A train ride into Venice means you avoid heavy traffic and can explore the canals by kayak if you so choose.

Cycling the Baltic States

Cycle the Baltic States

This eight-night cycle trip is a fantastic introduction to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, the jewels of the increasingly popular Baltic states. You’ll explore historic cities, cycle through national parks such as the Curonian Spit National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site), past feudal castles and peaceful coastlines, stopping at picturesque fishing villages on this easy-graded trip. This trip offers a combination of bus and ride, so you are never in the saddle all day as you explore this fascinating region. With your first ride being just 12 kilometres and the most you ride being around 40 kilometres in a day, punctuated with time on the bus between destinations, this is a perfect entrée into touring by cycle.

Meeting local children on the Mekong

Mekong Delta and Angkor

This evocative route through Cambodia and Vietnam is almost totally flat and the daily distances are relatively short - an excellent way to experience this fascinating part of the world on your first cycling trip. You will cycle past ancient temples interwoven with the jungle (including Angkor Wat), lush green rice paddies and across the mighty Mekong Delta where you will experience everyday life and visit traditional villages. Here you will swap bikes for traditional boats to cruise the Mekong and enjoy the welcoming hospitality of the locals. You will also explore the contrasting cities of Old Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and Phnom Penh, travelling by bus in high traffic areas.

Barb Durance
Barb Durance Global Journeys