2017, the 200th anniversary year of the invention of the bicycle, also marks the 20th birthday of Explore’s cycling holiday programme. As anticipation for Tour de France 2017 builds, the adventure travel specialist is celebrating all things cycling.
Explore offers 73 cycling trips to 43 countries around the world – and the fastest-growing destinations are not perhaps what you’d expect. In the past three months cycling holidays to India are up 60%; South East Asia bookings up 25% and the Balkan States 24% up.
20 years ago, Explore organised its first ever cycling holiday to the Loire Valley, an area known as The Garden of France thanks to its vineyards, orchards and picturesque villages. And two decades later, the company’s eight-day Loire Valley Cycling trip continues to be popular.
Five other top-selling cycling holidays from Explore are:
The ‘easy’ graded nine-day Cycling the Baltic States trip takes a guided route through Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Cycle through national parks and medieval towns, pastal feudal castles and picturesque fishing villages. Highlights include exploring three Baltic capitals – Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn – the historic Trakai National Park and castle, UNESCO-listed Curonian Spit (a bird watcher’s paradise) and the inviting beach at Jurmala. From £1,169 per person including flights, eight nights’ hotel accommodation B&B, and the services of an Explore Tour Leader / cycle guide. The trip includes 240 km of cycling over seven days (average 34km a day) with an optional 22km extra. Rides are accompanied by a support vehicle where possible and luggage is transported throughout the trip. Hire of an eight-gear Kalkhoff Voyager hybrid bike is included.
Cycling the Dolomites, Lake Como and Venice rides down the magnificent glacial valleys of the South Tyrol, past the jagged backdrop of the Dolomites to Lake Garda. Swapping natural landscapes for grand architecture and cultural heritage, the trip continues on to Verona and Venice riding on traffic-free cycle paths, sampling the local wine and staying in charming alpine towns on the way. The eight-day, easy-graded trip costs from £1,385 per person including flights, B&B hotel accommodation, an Explore Tour Leader and Cycle Guide, and hire of a 21-gear custom-made hybrid bike.
The surge of US tourists has subsided with new clampdowns from the Trump administration so now is undoubtedly a good time to visit Cuba, and what better way to get under the skin of the island than by bike. Explore’s Cycle Cuba trip combines the colonial capital Havana and historic Trinidad with the striking limestone landscape of Viñales and the forests of Topes de Collantes Nature Reserve. The moderate-graded trip covers 377km in total and costs from £2,379 per person including flights, 14 nights’ accommodation, an Explore Tour Leader / Cycle Guide and bike hire.
Cycle through South Africa’s Western Cape Province on the 10-day ‘moderate’ graded Cycle the Cape trip, which follows the rugged coastline of Cape Point and through the forested shorelines of the ‘Garden Route’. Ride through the vineyards of Stellenbosch (with time to sample the locally produced wines) and explore Tsitsikamma National Park and the Redstone Hills. From £1,999 per person including flights, B&B accommodation in hotels and lodges, an Explore Tour Leader and Cycle Guide plus the hire of a 24-gear Schwinn Messa mountain bike.
Burma (Myanmar) reopened its doors to visitors in 2012 and is a fascinating and rewarding country to visit. Explore’s 14-day Cycle Burma trip includes the ancient capital of Mandalay, the temple-studded plains of ancient Bagan, colonial hill station of Kalaw and stilt villages of Inle Lake. There’s also a cruise on the mighty Irrawaddy River. The moderate-graded trip covers 388km in total and costs from £2,549 per person including flights, 13 nights’ hotel accommodation with breakfast and some additional meals, an Explore Tour Leader / Cycle Guide and bike hire.
For more information or to book, please visit www.explore.co.uk/cycling-tours