European cycling tours

When you take a European cycling tour, rather than a rail or coach-based itinerary, there is no barrier whatsoever between you and the destinations you’re passing through. You can pause whenever you want to take a breather or a photograph, and the fact you’re on two wheels, in a small group, means that you can reach many more out of the way places. Support vehicles often accompany the group, in case you need a rest but don’t want to fall behind, and luggage is transported between accommodations.
Do I need to be a regular cyclist?

Do I need to be a regular cyclist?

A typical European cycling tour will take around 11 days, covering distances of between 30 and 70km every day, but pedalling is at a relaxed pace. The terrain is usually moderate, ideal for those that enjoy pottering along but perhaps not so appealing for those in search of a challenge. Electric bikes can also be hired on some routes if preferred. As such these trips are very accessible, so long as you have a reasonable level of fitness.
Example routes include Prague to Budapest, or around the (conveniently flat) Baltic states. While other European tours sometimes incorporate a day or two of cycling, on a specifically labelled cycling tour you will spend majority of your time in the saddle, only occasionally making use of public transport or catching a lift in the support vehicle.
EUROPEAN TOURS ON TWO WHEELS
David Sear, cycling expert at our supplier Exodus, shares advice on cycling as part of a group, and what to pack:
“Group cycling holidays allow you to travel solo and meet likeminded people who all enjoy cycling and have a sense of adventure. You are guaranteed to make friends on a group tour and having a local guide to give you all the information means you don’t miss a thing. Take a small camera that will fit in a jersey pocket or saddle bag. You never know what you will see on a cycling trip, whether it’s an animal running alongside you or a view from a path only accessible by bike, it’s well worth having a camera to hand.”
How to pack

How to pack

European cycling tours require a lot of organisation. Groups are accompanied by a tour leader, there to smooth out any wrinkles and stick to the route but advising and assisting rather than serving as a guide. During some trips, local guides will be employed in key destinations. On the traveller’s part, methodical packing is essential due to the number of transfers involved – usually a different accommodation every night. Luggage is transferred by vehicle, but you will still want to pack no more than you need. All trips require you to bring your own helmet, and in some cases local bike hire is supplemental.
Family cycling tours in Europe

Family cycling tours in Europe

Ambitious families can get a lot from this kind of tour – the minimum age for travel can be as low as 16. European cycling holidays tend to run between spring and autumn with the majority organised in the summer, when the weather is most likely to be reliably good and kids are on holiday from school.
It’s worth noting that the focus of these trips is very much getting out on the road; time in each destination is limited. Some travellers therefore like to add on a night or two to bookend the trip and allow themselves more scope for exploring at their own pace.

Our top European tour Holiday

Prague to Budapest cycling holiday

Prague to Budapest cycling holiday

A wonderfully contrasting ride through the heart of Europe

From £2079 to £2249 11 days inc UK flights
Small group travel:
2019: 9 May, 23 May, 6 Jun, 20 Jun, 4 Jul, 18 Jul, 1 Aug, 15 Aug, 5 Sep, 19 Sep, 10 Oct
2020: 7 May, 21 May, 4 Jun, 18 Jun, 2 Jul, 16 Jul, 30 Jul, 13 Aug, 3 Sep, 17 Sep, 8 Oct
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Hello. If you'd like to chat about European tour or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

Some reflections from our holiday reviews

“(Loved) the excellence of our tour guide; the standard and quality of the hotels, and bikes. The overall organization of the whole trip was terrific. In our group of 16, 12 cyclists were returned guests using our tour operator. Build in time to see the city as a tourist. We were very organized regarding cycling. I regret not having enough time to enjoy Riga, Latvia as a tourist.” – Margaret Sheridan on a cycling tour of the Baltics

“Cycling along the beach near Riga, and then down the Curonian Spit on beautifully maintained cycle routes through trees were both wonderful. Averaging about 50km a day on mainly flat routes, the cycling is easy and should appeal to almost any cyclist who likes a potter, but might frustrate those looking for something more challenging. Easy countries to holiday in and things essentially worked really well. Do take mosquito repellent - most places are fine, but occasionally you really need it. A really enjoyable combination of scenery, cycling and cities.” – Edward Milford describes a cycling holiday in the Baltics

“It takes a lot to help shape a trip to 4 countries with 16 people - three staff and 13 participants. And that includes daily shifting from cycling to necessary hot showers to walking tours and explainers. And it was done terrifically: Interests in cycling and history and friendships were more than satisfied. It lays the groundwork and strong desire for more travel!“ – Peter Perlmutter on a cycling holiday from Prague to Budapest
Build in time to see the city as a tourist. We were very organized regarding cycling. I regret not having enough time to enjoy Riga, Latvia as a tourist.
– Margaret Sheridan on a cycling tour of the Baltics
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: zkbld] [Scenic view for bikers: francois schnell] [Group cycle tour: Dainis Matisons] [Vilinius - Lithuania: evelynweiser] [View from handlebars: Dainis Matisons] [Luggage on bike: Dainis Matisons] [Family cycling: Gloria] [Riga: Erop XypaBneB]
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