5 self-guided cycling holidays & tours

SAM | 25th July 2019

Inspired by Tour de France? These self-guided cycling holidays and tours offer everything for two-wheeled enthusiasts.


This weekend will see the closing stages of the Tour de France.  As the world’s biggest cycling event comes to an end and the summer holidays begin, there is no doubt that many have been inspired to dust off the bike and get back on the road.


Back in 2007, the Tour de France was brought to London with the aim to bring more awareness to cycling in the country and Britain has since gone on to have incredible successes on the saddle, with the first British Tour de France winner and countless Olympic wins too.


This has led to an incredible explosion of public interest in cycling and as a direct result, cycling holidays. For those who love the great outdoors, a self-guided cycling holiday provides the flexibility and freedom to explore the local surroundings at your own pace and is a great unique way to get to the hidden treasures that are found by quiet lanes and cycle paths that motorists can’t access.


With a variety of routes and entry levels, this round-up of cycling holidays will have something for everyone, from the casual cyclists, aspiring Geraint Thomas’, and former riders looking to re-discover their mojo.


Cycle the Olympic Capital and along Lake Geneva via Route 46


4 self-guided cycling holidays and tours


The Olympic Capital of Lausanne has an intrinsic connection to the sporting sector and as the home of the International Olympic Committee and The Olympic Museum, it is a sporting and active traveller’s playground.


Cycling enthusiasts can do a self-guided cycling trip around Lake Geneva where they will be rewarded for their efforts with the stunningly beautiful landscapes that they will encounter on their way.


Lake Geneva is a great cycling conquest and is the largest natural lake in the Alps, where the vast expanse of water reflects the snowy mountains and offers incredible panoramas by its shores. Route 46 is a signed bike route that comprises of nearly 200 km of quiet roads with fantastic views over the lake and the landscapes beyond. The route is relatively flat and offers fantastic views of not only the lake but also the Alps and Jura mountains.


The route is suitable for most cyclists and families following quiet country roads with only gentle inclines. With Switzerland’s excellent rail network and availability of lake boats, it is also easy to adapt and break up the ride into different stages.


Visitors can book the five-day 46 Tour du Leman package which includes an individual bicycle tour with luggage transport, four overnight stays with breakfast, detailed travel document and a service hotline for any guidance. Prices from CHF 825 (approx. £670) per person.


This includes individual bicycle tour with luggage transport, four overnight stays with breakfast, detailed travel document and a service hotline for any guidance.


Lake Constance – one lake, spread across four countries with 17 bike routes


4 self-guided cycling holidays and tours


The picturesque lake in the heart of is surrounded by Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein, bringing together 17 multi-ability bike routes around the four-country region.


The 17 tours are made up of two easy and 14 intermediate routes with one more challenging route.


Each of the 17 routes is clearly labelled on a new digital map with distance, cycling duration, altitude, signage guidance and difficulty level to allow for stress-free planning.


The digital map has been specially designed with ease in mind; a scannable QR code enables cyclists to access information from their mobile phones whilst in the saddle.


Moving between each of the countries on two wheels is seamless, with no heavy borders. The majority of marked routes are entirely removed from main roads, which means cyclists barely notice as they pedal into a totally new country.


The longest of the cycle routes is the ‘Lake Constance Bike Route’, known locally as the ‘Bodensee-Radweg’ – a 170-mile path traditionally cycled clockwise, that guides cyclists around the entire lake, cycling through three of the four countries on a broad, flat, car-less roads. Cycle hire starts from around 15 EUR per day here.


Tour the hills and fairy tale palaces of Sintra


Once a sleepy fishing village now a picturesque marina town just 30 minutes from Lisbon, Cascais reflects truly authentic Portugal, offering a wealth of wellness-boosting experience to transcendent travellers with the desire for transformation in 2019.


A must-do whilst staying in Cascais at any time of year, WolfRides hosts a guided bike tour called ‘Sintra Magic’ that takes travellers along the coast and through the stunning landscape of Sintra. Just up the road from Cascais, Sintra is a historical gem featuring palaces and castles, lush vegetation and unrivalled views.


Active travellers can embrace a therapeutic adventure, journeying across the coast’s most picturesque landmarks, including the historic village of Sintra, National Palace, the Sintra mountains, Adraga beach, Sanctuary of Peninha (former monk’s monastery) and Castle of the Moors. WolfRides provides visitors with all equipment needed to experience the region by bike in one day with a personal guide.


Prices start from as little as 35€ (£32) per person. This includes insurance, 24/7 assistance by phone, electric bicycle, safety jacket, helmet, water and guide.


Hamburg is a city designed with bikes in mind


4 self-guided cycling holidays and tours


The Hanseatic city of Hamburg has a diverse landscape, from the bustling harbour with the iconic landmarks that grace the city skyline including the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, to the calm waters of the Alster Lake.


Nature lovers will enjoy exploring biking through Hamburg’s green soul and its many parks and cycling along the river Elbe, whereas city dwellers can join one of Hamburg’s many guided tours through the heart of the city to tick off all of the main attractions.


Bike rentals in the city are affordable and easily located, with StadtRAD Hamburg bicycle rentals spread throughout the city. Visitors get the first half hour of each city bike ride free, which is usually more than enough time to reach all of the main sights. Those looking to do a longer cycle in the surrounding areas can rent the StadtRAD bikes at €15 for the whole day.


‘Hamburg City Cycles’ are a series of guided bike tours around the city and visitors will be able to take in the main attractions including the city centre which overlooks the lake, the UNESO listed Speicherstadt and the trendy St. Pauli district, where The Beatles found their sound, and even their famous haircuts.


For experienced cyclists, there are several routes in Hamburg’s surroundings which offer longer cycle paths, from the 125km long Heideradweg to the slightly longer route connecting Hamburg and Bremen to the Elberadweg, which runs right through the republic and already covers over 300km on the Lower Saxony route. There is everything from one-day routes to the multi-day trip by bike options. Guided cycling tours start from 25€ (£22) per person.


Special family bike-rides in Martinhal Cascais


4 self-guided cycling holidays and tours


Martinhal Cascais is a family resort located just 30-minutes from Lisbon. It offers a family-focused holiday, with excellent facilities and award-winning kids clubs, without compromising on the luxurious design parents crave. With so many options available, families can chill-out by the pool or head out to explore the picturesque coastal area.


The resort’s very own on-site bike station, located right by reception, offers guests the opportunity to rent quality bikes to head out and explore alone, or on a guided expedition. With a range of city and mountain bikes in adult and all children’s sizes, families can explore the pretty town of Cascais or the rugged country bike trails along the beautiful coastline. On a tour, an experienced guide will introduce guests to the fantastic scenery and major points of interest in the Cascais region.


Rental prices start from €15 (2-hour Mountain Bike Rental). Helmets and locks are included. E-Bikes and E-Scooters are also available. Child seats and trailers are available for a small rental fee.