Where to go mountain biking

Our mountain biking holidays can take you to one of the best downhill bike parks in Europe, Les Deux Alpes, or along the west coast of the Algarve following the 220km Rota Vicentina. On a trekking and mountain biking ride from the Sacred Valley to the Amazon in Peru you’ll be sharing tracks with hikers, and in the wild open spaces of the Cairngorms in Scotland and Snowdonia in North Wales you’ll have singletracks all to yourself. If you’re looking for extreme environments for mountain biking then try out-of-season ski trails in Slovenia’s Julian Alps, or even the Khangai Mountain foothills of Mongolia.

1. France

No sooner than the snow’s cleared, usually by mid-June, then attention in the alpine village of Les Deux Alpes (1,650m) turns from skiing to mountain biking. A small group holiday here allows you to access one of the best bike parks in Europe. From hardcore routes and technical tracks to chair lifts to steep high altitude downhills, there’s 91km of runs ranging from greens to blues, reds to blacks.

2. Peru

Get kitted out at the bike shop in Cuzco and you’re good to go. From here it’s a four-day ride to Atalaya on the edge of the Amazon. Average daily distances of 50km take you through the Sacred Valley where Andean ridges lead past mountain villages, like Paucartambo, and down through cloud forests en-route to Manu National Park and the start of an Amazon expedition by boat and on foot.

3. Portugal

There are some great singletracks that start in the east of the Algarve, close to the Spanish border, and lead west through the countryside and down to the coast. Alternatively, follow the rugged hiking and biking trails of the Rota Vicentina from Santiago de Cacem in the Alentejo through cork forests, river valleys and creeks until reaching Europe’s south-westerly point, Cabo de Sao Vicente.

4. Scotland

Self guided mountain bike tours of the Cairngorms have been designed by local experts like Andy, who also happens to be the host at a local lodge. Routes can be adapted according to the day’s weather and your own ambitions. Glenlivet Trail Centre and the Kinkardine Circuit through Abernethy Forest National Nature Reserve are just a couple of the local recommendations to get your tyres into.

5. Slovenia

The Julian Alps are just gorgeous for mountain biking, with the trails surrounding the alpine village of Kranjska Gora offering all manner of undulations including climbs into the Tamar Valley and rides to the top of Acomizza Mountain (1,681m) in Italy. Women only mountain biking holidays in Slovenia give you everything that you’d expect from a tough mountain biking trip but without the testosterone.

6. Wales

Mountain biking in North Wales can be as wild and untamed as the weather. Join a small group and head off into Snowdonia National Park in the company of a local guide who’s been pedalling in the area all their life. Alternatively, opt for one of the well-maintained singletrack mountain bike centres that have been created in some of the country’s largest abandoned slate quarries, like Llanberis.

Best time to go on a mountain biking holiday

Aim to avoid peak summer seasons as well as the wet months so you can go mountain biking without negatively impacting on the environment or local infrastructure.
Tailor made mountain biking trips can take place all year round but it’s very important to work out when areas will be at their wettest, as churning up the countryside is the last thing you want to do. Most mountain bike parks, on the other hand, will be suitable for all weathers, so it’s worth considering if you fancy visiting Snowdonia outside of summer. Winters in the alpine areas of Slovenia and France aren’t compatible with mountain biking due to snow, but visit from May to October once the thaw’s kicked in and you’ll find the best time to go on a mountain biking holiday as part of a small group.

Our top Mountain biking Holiday

Mountain biking holiday in Scotland

Mountain biking holiday in Scotland

Exciting mountain biking breaks in the Scottish Highlands

From £1795 7 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2022: 14 May, 30 Jul, 17 Sep
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Mountain biking or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
January and February aren’t the best months to go on a mountain biking holiday in Northern Europe or Peru (the Inca Trail will be closed) as conditions are just too cold, wet and treacherous. March and April are great months to go for a mountain biking tour in Portugal, with pink and white blossom on almond and cork trees turning inland Alentejo hills into works of art. Springtime in Scotland is not the best time to go wild mountain biking in the Cairngorms, as this is the ground nesting season for capercaillie and lapwings. Caution also needs to be shown during the summer when young chicks are being cared for by parents. Our Scottish mountain biking experts will always ensure you steer clear of any areas where wildlife will be at its most vulnerable. The thaw comes to the alpine areas of France and Slovenia around the end of April and into May, with wild spring flowers adorning either side of singletrack trails and high altitude mountain passes. Our small group mountain biking trips around the alpine areas of Slovenia, Italy, Croatia and Austria take place from the beginning of May to mid-October. Mountain biking and trekking holidays in Peru tend to take place from May to September, as it’s much clearer and drier in the highlands. This time of year also promises far fewer mosquitoes. June is a great time of year to go mountain biking in Northern Europe, as the weather’s warm and there aren’t as many tourists as you’ll find in July and August. You’ll also be supporting small local businesses, who will really benefit from your presence, especially during the week. June, July and August are also the best times of year to go mountain biking as part of a small group in Mongolia. Be aware that grouse shooting season in Scotland starts on 12 August and lasts until 10 December. Our Scottish mountain biking specialists will advise which estates to avoid at this time of year. September and October are ideal months to go mountain biking in the Algarve. The holiday hordes have departed but the sea’s still warm enough for a dip if you decide to head down to the coast.
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: dolomite-summits] [France : Goproo3] [Peru: Corey Spruit] [Portugal: Antonio Mendes] [Scotland: Eilis Garvey] [Slovenia: George Bakos] [Wales: Nighthawk Shoots] [Best time to go: Lucas Davies]