The best cycling holidays: top locations to consider from around the world

From Europe to East Asia, Rouleur looks at the best places to go cycling on holiday

Cycling trips which allow you to explore the world on two wheels are thrilling adventures that offer unforgettable experiences. You get to immerse yourself in new landscapes, uncover little-known towns and villages, taste local delicacies, and meet friendly locals away from the tourist hubs. And in today's world, going on a cycling holiday has never been easier, with brilliant transport links and even well-kept bike paths connecting countries together. The biggest trouble you'll face is deciding where to go, with so many enticing destinations waiting to be explored.

Whether you crave the majestic mountains and want to visit places such as the Alps in France or the Dolomites in Italy; would rather have the sea breeze on your face in areas such as the glamorous Cote d'Azur or Spain's Costa Brava, or you'd like to go off the beaten track and cycle through the Balkans along the Trans Dinarica cycle route. There is a path – smooth or bumpy – for everyone.

So, if you are looking for inspiration for your next cycling holiday, we've narrowed down some of the best cycling holiday destinations in Europe, the USA, Asia and beyond.


The country home to the Tour de France, the Alps, the Pyrenees, over 25,000km of cycling paths and greenways, and of course, excellent pastries – it is no surprise that France is a hotspot for cyclists. Steeped in cycling history and heritage, it has something for everyone, whether you enjoy high mountain passes, coastal roads, rolling countryside, or rough gravel tracks. There are 13 regions in metropolitan France, each with its own distinct characteristics. The Alps are the most famous region of France for cyclists, boasting climbs such as Col du Galibier, Col de la Madeleine, Col de l’Iseran, and Alpe d’Huez. Other regions famous for cycling holidays include; Provence, where Mont Ventoux is located; the Pyrenees, for the Col du Tourmalet, Col d'Aubisque, and Col d’Aspin; and Nice for the glamorous Côte d’Azur coastline. 

In addition to the scenic beauty and historical significance, France’s well-developed cycling infrastructure enhances its appeal. Many regions boast dedicated cycling paths, well-marked routes, and cyclist-friendly accommodation, making it easier and safer to explore the country by bike. The French government have invested in promoting cycling tourism, resulting in extensive networks of Véloroutes and Voies Vertes that cater to cyclists of all levels. The best time of year to visit France is between late April and early October when temperatures are at their warmest. However, temperatures are cooler in the mountains, especially near the summits, and will be warmer along the Mediterranean coast.

Col du Tourmalet

Col du Tourmalet (Image by David Hughes)


Riding in Italy offers an unparalleled experience that combines breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and a profound connection to the sport of cycling. One of the most compelling reasons to cycle in Italy is the diverse and stunning scenery. From the picturesque rolling hills of Tuscany, dotted with vineyards and mediaeval towns, to the dramatic climbs and descents of the Dolomites and Alps, cyclists are treated to some of the most beautiful and varied terrains in the world. Coastal routes, such as those along the Amalfi Coast, also offer spectacular sea views and the charm of historic coastal villages, making each ride not just a physical journey but a feast for the eyes.

Professional cycling also holds a place of high esteem in Italy with the Giro d’Italia being one of the sport’s most prestigious events. This three-week long race, held annually in May, showcases Italy’s diverse landscapes. Beyond the Giro, Italy hosts several other notable races, including Milan-Sanremo and Strade Bianche. So, for those looking to channel their inner pro riders, you can follow the tyretracks of cycling legends and see how gruelling these races really are. 

Lake Garda

The WorldTour peloton passing the shores of Lake Garda (Image by


Spain is a hotspot for cyclists thanks to the country’s unique landscapes, good weather conditions and deep-rooted cycling culture. There are a number of places in Spain that professional and amateur cyclists flock to throughout the year – Girona, Mallorca, Calpe, Lanzarote and Tenerife. They’re all renowned for their stunning scenery, challenging climbs, cyclist-friendly roads and laid-back atmosphere. But in Spain, there is also Andalusia, Costa Brava, the Basque Country, the Pyrenees, Valencia and all the picturesque Canary Islands to explore on two wheels. Each region provides its own challenges and terrain, but one thing that remains constant is the beautiful landscapes you get to ride through. 

Spain is also known for its significant role in professional cycling, hosting prestigious races like the Vuelta a España, one of the three Grand Tours alongside the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia. Cyclists visiting Spain can challenge themselves on segments of these routes, experiencing the same climbs and descents as their cycling heroes. The country’s passion for cycling is evident in the numerous local races, cycling clubs, and events that take place throughout the year, fostering a vibrant cycling community. So with temperatures warm all year round, it is easy to see why everyone, including the pros, head to Spain in search of dry roads and warm winters.

Cycling in Tenerife

Cycling on the Canary Island of Tenerife (Image by Apper Studios)


On a winter's day, cycling in the UK might not be the most appealing activity as the wind blows a gale and the rain pours. However, during the spring and summer months, when the sun is shining and the rolling countryside is an explosion of green, the UK is one of the most beautiful places to ride. The National Cycle Network, developed by the charity Sustrans, offers over 16,000 miles of cycleways that goes from Scotland and the Scottish Highlands, all the way south to Lands End in Cornwall, visiting Wales, the Lake District, the Cotswolds, London, and all the charming English towns and villages in between. The UK also offers plenty of options for varying terrain too, so if you prefer gravel or mountain biking, there are plenty of spots all over the country to go off the beaten track. 

The UK also boasts a number of famous sportives which see hundreds, sometimes thousands, of riders take part. RideLondon and London to Brighton are two of the country’s biggest events with 25,000 and 10,000 cyclists taking part, respectively. Away from the capital, there are sportives such as the Dragon Ride in the Brecon Beacons, Chase the Sun, Tour of the Peaks and the Fred Whitton Challenge. 

Cycling in the Peak District

Cycling in the Peak District (Image by Matt Tomlinson) 


Switzerland, a country in the middle of Europe, is a playground for outdoor adventurers. With lush verdant landscapes that are backed by towering white-capped mountains, every corner of this country is postcard-worthy. Glamorous cities and chocolate box villages provide much-needed rest stops and with the nation famous for its cheese and chocolate, the landscapes are not the only thing that’ll make cyclist’s fall in love with this country. 

The biggest allure beyond good food and beautiful views is the legendary mountain passes in the Swiss Alps and Jura Mountains. The Swiss Alps are home to some of the sport’s most famous climbs, most notably, the Furka Pass with the iconic Belvérdère hotel, which perches on one of the climb’s hairpin bends. While the hotel is closed and has been for many years, it remains a famous spot for photographers passing through this majestic mountains. Other mountain passes which people look to summit are the Nufenenpass, Albulapass, Croix du Coeur, Grimsel Pass and Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard. Race Across Switzerland, a sportive which includes three different length routes and takes in many of these passes, showcases the best Switzerland has to offer. 

Hotel Belvérdère on the Furka Pass (Image by


The Netherlands is the world’s most bike-friendly country, with reportedly 23.9 million bicycles owned in 2022 – that is more bikes than people. But it is no surprise as the country has incredible cycling infrastructure, not only in its cities but countryside, too. There is also a strong support system for cyclists with plenty of bike shops, repair stations and bike rental services available across the country. The landscape is very flat, so it is a good place to cycle if you are looking for a more relaxing cycling holiday or you are new to cycling. But if you are looking for a challenge, South Limburg has the Cauberg, Keutenberg and the Gulperberg, and while they may not be mountain passes, they are leg-sappingly steep. 

The Netherlands is also a great spot if you want to go on a bikepacking trip with some easy cycle paths through fields of tulips and windmills that connect each town and city. There are 1,100km of paths that connect 15 cycling-friendly hostels across the county for the ultimate bikepacking experience. All of the routes are well-marked and the country boasts some famous themed routes which showcase the best of the Dutch landscape and heritage.

Cycling in the Netherlands

Flat open landscapes are synonymous with the Netherlands (Image by


If you are a fan of bike racing, then you’ll know the prestige Belgium holds. With cycling culture and heritage at its very core, the country is often regarded as the heart of cycling, hosting some of the sport’s most iconic races, such as the Tour of Flanders, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. What makes these races so unique is the challenging punchy climbs and brutal cobblestones, which not only makes for exciting racing, but also for a unique riding experience as cyclists travelling to the country get to challenge themselves on famous ascents like the Muur van Geraardsbergen and Côte de La Redoute. Cycling through regions such as Ghent, Bruges, and the Ardennes offers a blend of scenic beauty and cultural heritage, with castles, churches and plenty of cobbles. 

As a country that loves cycling, the infrastructure is excellent and is well-marked with “knooppunten” or node points that makes navigating around the country easy for cyclists. Another element that makes cycling in Belgium so attractive is the food and drink – think Belgian waffles, chocolate, frites and beers. And, there are plenty of places to stop throughout to ensure you get a taste of what the country has to offer. 

Cycling up the Muur van Geraardsbergen

Muur Van Geraardsbergen climb (Image by Rouleur)


Moving away from Europe and heading east, Japan might not spring to mind when thinking of a cycling holiday destination, but the island nation offers a truly spectacular adventure. You are able to really experience the best of both worlds when you visit Japan with bustling city life and peaceful countryside both on offer to cyclists. In the cities, there are well-maintained roads and infrastructure that’ll help you navigate the densely populated areas. Then, out in the countryside, where deep green forests make up nearly 70% of the country, the smooth roads continue, cutting through the nation's beautiful landscapes. 

Mountains play an important part in Japan’s terrain, so there is plenty of climbing on offer – Mount Fuji Subaru Line is 24km with an average gradient of 5%; Norikura Skyline is Japan’s highest paved road and is a demanding 19km in length; Tsugaike Kogen is 25km and exceeds 10% in some parts; and Yanagisawa Pass is 26km and climbs 1,300 metres. The country also has other scenic routes around its lakes and across its prefectures, including the Pacific Cycling Road, which is a 1,400km-long route across the country. 

Cycling in Japan

Cycling in Japan on the world's busiest crossing (Image by Rouleur)


Road cycling in the United States offers an unparalleled experience due to its vast and diverse landscapes, which range from the rugged Rocky Mountains to the serene coastal roads of California and the charming countryside of New England. Cyclists can tackle iconic climbs like Mount Evans in Colorado or explore the breathtaking vistas of national parks such as Yellowstone and Yosemite. The well-developed cycling infrastructure in cities like Portland and Boulder, combined with a robust cycling culture, ensures a safe and enjoyable ride for enthusiasts of all levels. Whether participating in renowned events like the Tour of California, embarking on epic long-distance trails like the TransAmerica Trail, or simply enjoying a leisurely ride along the Pacific Coast Highway, road cycling in the USA promises adventure, challenge, and stunning natural beauty at every turn.

Cycling in California

Cycling in the Californian hills (Image by Derek Yarra)

*Cover image by David Powell 

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