About bike tours

  • How do I know to the start/end location of a tour?

    On the tour page, you can find the start and end locations of the tour noted on the Program tab in the 'Daily Program' section. General information on how to get to your start/end city is found in the 'How To Get There' section.

  • Is the seasonal surcharge per person?

    Yes, the season surcharge (if applicable) is per person.

  • What are the tour costs?

    Please review the 'Prices' information on the Dates and Prices tab on the tour page.

    Some programs offer guided and self-guided tours, please note which one is selected for accurate pricing.

  • Where can I find reviews? Do you have any feedback on this tour?

    Please visit the Reviews tab on each tour page.

    Tours that don't have reviews are often new, so don't be afraid to take a tour without reviews!

  • How can I determine a tour's rider level?

    Look for the blue meter icon indicating the rider level. The meter is filled to the appropriate level and the gauge also points to the level.

    Rider level icons are found on the search results and on tour pages.

    Rider Level (1) Leisure

    Rider Level (2) Recreational

    Rider Level (3) Active

    Rider Level (4) Enthusiast

  • The tour starts and ends in different locations. What do I do?

    When a tour starts and ends in different locations, you're responsible for the logistics in between.

    Most travelers fly in and out of the same city and take public transportation from the end city back to the start or vise versa. Trains, buses, and even ferries are all options to consider.

    More about getting around in Europe.

  • How do you determine when a seasonal surcharge applies?

    For tours with seasonal surcharges, dates are denoted for each season. The seasonal surcharge is determined by the date of the first day of the tour.

    This means a particular surcharge applies even if only the first day of the tour falls in that season (and the remaining days of the tour fall into another season).

  • How do I navigate on a self-guided tour?

    Tour operators provide the tour route, a detailed route description, and maps. You navigate using these items.

    Some operators have GPS files upon request (to be used on your personal GPS device) and a few offer devices with pre-loaded files for an additional fee. Please check the 'Included services' and 'Prices' details on the Dates & Prices tab of the individual tour page for this information.

    You may wish to supplement the above items with your smart phone's navigation. Be sure to take care of any data needs before your trip to avoid additional fees.

  • How safe are the routes? Will I have to ride with traffic?

    Most tours will encounter car traffic at some point. Generally, this occurs when entering or leaving towns at the beginning or end of each day.

    It's important to note, though, that tour operators pick routes not only for historical significance, scenery, and proximity to attractions but also for safe and enjoyable cycling. If the tour ride on roads, they are often back-country or low traffic roads.

    For further details, be sure to review the 'Surface and Terrain' information on the Program tab for individual tours.

    Still concerned? Consider a tour that's primarily on bike paths!

  • How will I be able to find restaurants for lunch and/or dinner on self-guided tours?

    Such detailed information is provided in the tour documents, which you will receive upon arrival at your first hotel.

    The documents generally indicate where there is a town (or towns) along the route in which you can find a place to eat lunch. Some tour documents will even suggest specific restaurants. Alternatively, you can stop at a local grocer and pick up some goodies for a picnic lunch.

    For dinner, you can expect to be in an accommodation/location with at least one option, if not many. We suggest asking the hotel staff for a recommendation on where to find delicious local fare!

  • How many hours per day will I be cycling?

    This will vary greatly based on the tour, but here are some valuable details to keep in mind:

    • The average person, at a very leisurely pace, cycles 8-10 mph.
    • This means that a 35-mile day will have approximately 4.5 hours of cycling or less. This leaves plenty of time for exploring and sightseeing!

    A majority of our tours are leisure (level 1) and recreational (2) tours. These tours have small to gradual or gentle elevation gains and often have average daily distances of 35 miles or less.

    Be sure to review the tour page for the exact details.

  • Can I take an alternative route on my tour?

    There are a couple of different answers to this question. Be sure to review them all.

    For self-guided tours, you will have maps and daily directions. You can use these at your discretion, meaning you are free to leave the route or travel another way if you desire. Your only constraint is to arrive at your destination's hotel each night.

    For guided tours, you should stay with the group. This is especially true for bike and boat tours in which the boat has a schedule and it's possible it could leave without you. There are some bike and boat tours in which you can choose to do guided or self-guided - on those tours you do have an option.

  • How do I train for my bike tour?

    Put simply - ride a bike. While we can't tell you exactly what to do, we are happy to provide some training tips!

  • What is the average traveler age?

    While the majority of our clients are over the age of 50, we see more and more younger people and families touring each year. All of the tours are great fun regardless of age differences because everyone shares an appreciation of cycling and travel.

    If you're considering traveling with friends or family of diverse ages, especially children, consider some of the points of our article on family-friendly bike touring.

  • Do I need to be an experienced cyclist to go on a bike tour?

    No, anyone in reasonable shape with a good attitude is able to enjoy a bike tour.

    Many of our tours cover about 20-40 miles per day and are designed for travelers who enjoy a leisurely pace. When you read the tour descriptions, pay close attention to the 'Surface and terrain' details as well as the daily distances. We've also included rider levels for each tour to help guide you.

    If you're concerned or it's your first tour, consider doing a tour rated Leisure (level 1) or Recreational (2). Other options for consideration include booking a guided tour with a support vehicle, renting an e-bike, or selecting a bike and boat tour (where you can relax on the boat and skips a day's ride).

    Tours rated Active (3) or Enthusiast (4) are much more enjoyable if you're an experienced cyclist or spend regular time in the saddle.

  • What's the difference between self-guided and guided?

    Both tour types will include accommodations, bikes (whether they're included or rentable) and luggage transfer.

    On self-guided bike tours, you're provided with maps and directions, but you're free to cycle and schedule each day as you wish. They cost less than guided bicycle tours but still maintain a level of basic support and convenience.

    On a guided group bike tour, you'll travel with a group and a guide for the duration of the tour. The guide provides local insight and a structured daily schedule.

    It's important to consider your comfort level navigating a different culture and a foreign language, reading maps and signs, ordering food, and dealing with flats or other minor emergencies. Some travelers don't enjoy doing these experiences, but others find them the best part of an adventure.

    See guided vs. self-guided.

  • What is bicycle touring?

    Bicycle touring is the act of traveling via bicycle for a period of time through a location.

    We believe there is no better way to see a new country or place than by bicycle. Here are a few reasons why we think touring is fantastic. And, in this article, previous company president Jim Johnson explains why he feels bicycle tours are the best way to experience a region or country and its people.

    More about a typical day on a bike tour.

  • Can you depart any day of the week on a self-guided tour?

    It varies from tour to tour. Please review the departures on each tour page under the Dates & Prices tab.

  • What meals are included?

    Please check the 'Included Services' on the Dates and Prices tab to see which meals are included for an individual tour.

    • Self-guided tours typically include a breakfast buffet at your accommodation.
    • Guided tours typically include breakfast and dinner and sometimes picnic lunches.
    • On bike and boat tours, in addition to breakfast and dinner, lunches are often provided either onboard or packed for the ride.
  • Is there a restriction on amount of luggage?

    Typically, if you can take or check it on a plane, you can take it on a bike tour. So, generally, one bag under 50 pounds plus one carry-on bag per person.

    It can vary from tour to tour, so check the 'Included services' on the Dates & Prices tab of the individual tour for any restrictions.

    For bike and boat tours, there is limited space onboard. Smaller, collapsible luggage is recommended.

  • Some daily distances seem a bit short. Is it possible to combine days in order to lengthen daily riding?

    It's generally possible! Self-guided tours are generally the most flexible, while guided and bike and boat tours generally cannot adjust their daily programs or overnight stops. You can also consider taking one our many day tours to supplement your itinerary.

    Contact us and let us know how many nights you'd like for your tour, which tour you are interested in, and your preferred average daily distance, and we'd be delighted to get back to you with some options.

  • Some of the daily distances seem a bit long. Is it possible to stay overnight in additional locations in order to shorten the rides?

    It's possible to adjust mileage on many tours. Self-guided tours are generally the most flexible, while guided and bike and boat tours generally cannot adjust their daily programs or overnight stops.

    Contact us and let us know how many nights you'd like for your tour, which tour you are interested in, and your preferred average daily distance, and we'd be delighted to get back to you with some options.

  • Is it possible to book extra nights in the towns along the way to lengthen my trip?

    It's possible to book extra nights in any overnight location along the route for most tours.

    Self-guided tours are generally the most flexible, while guided and bike and boat tours generally cannot adjust their daily programs or overnight stops.

    Contact us and let us know how many nights you'd like for your tour and which tour you are interested in. We'd be delighted to get back to you with some options. You can also consider taking one of our many day tours to supplement your itinerary.

  • Do the tours include luggage transfer (from hotel to hotel each day), or is that an additional cost?

    Luggage transfers are included in the cost of nearly every tour package.

    In the rare cases where this service is not included, it's clearly noted in the Dates & Prices tab of the tour page.

  • Can I book extra nights before or after my tour through you?

    It's almost always possible to add an extra night in the start or end location of your tour.

    Check the 'Price' section on the Dates & Prices tab of the tour page to see if extra nights are an option. If so, simply include the extra night(s) in your booking request.

    To add an extra night that's not on the tour route, we encourage you to book through Hotels.com. Or, if the idea of staying as a guest in a private home appeals to you, try Homestay.com.

  • What is included with a tour?

    This varies from tour to tour. Please check under 'Included services' on the Dates & Prices tab on each tour page.

    All the tours we represent include nightly accommodation along with breakfast the next morning. With very few exceptions, luggage transportation from hotel to hotel is also included in the price.

  • What amenities are available on tour?

    This varies from tour to tour. Please check under 'Included services' on the Dates & Prices tab on each tour page.

    Further details are often provided with the documents we email you prior to departure.

  • What if I don't speak the language?

    For some people, that's part of the joy of travel: making yourself understood in a foreign country using a combination of gestures, print or online dictionaries, or applications.

    That said, English is widely spoken in many destinations, especially in Western Europe, though less widely in rural locations and parts of Eastern Europe.

    Either way, don't let not speaking the language keep you from visiting a country. Try to learn a few basic expressions ('Hello', 'Thank you', 'Goodbye', 'Excuse me') and perhaps an advanced sentence or two ('Where is the bathroom?').

    Download a language app. We really like Google Translate, which you can even use to scan a menu or sign and get an instant translation. You can speak to it in English and play a foreign translation to your new friend.

    If this is still a big concern, consider a guided tour (the guide will speak English) or a bike and boat tour (where most boat staff will speak English).

  • What is 'half-pension' or 'half-board'?

    This generally means breakfast and dinner. It's just another way of saying 'two meals a day'.

  • Do you recommend booking the dinner package?

    We tend to recommend not booking optional dinner packages (often known as half-board or half-pension) since it often limits what you can order and when you can eat. You may also find an absolutely wonderful restaurant you want to try out as you explore the town.

    However, you may wish to select the dinner plan if one or more of the following are true:

    • You're with a large party that wants to eat together
    • You prefer to have as much planned in advance as possible
    • The price is too good to pass up
    • You prefer to prepay as much as possible rather than pay as you go

    Please note that dinners are already included on most guided tours and bike and boat programs.

  • What is a typical day like?

    We've created a typical day page on our site - split into guided tours and self-guided tours, that will help you visualize your big adventure on the bike. The tour you book might differ in the details, but this will give you a general idea of what to expect.

  • What are the hotels like?

    You can review a list of sample hotels on each tour page in the 'Hotels' section of the Program tab.

    Tour operators tend to favor smaller, family-owned inns with more character and personal attention and stay away from chain hotels and larger lodging when possible. Many hotels cater specifically to bicyclists. You will stay in two-, three-, or four-star hotels or inns, and private bathrooms are a given.

    Please be aware that many hotels are historic buildings and modern air conditioning is non-existent or limited.

  • Can I book hotels in more than one category or upgrade hotels?

    The answer is generally 'yes'. If the tour offers multiple hotel categories, then it's possible (dependent on availability). Please note that not all tours offer different hotel category options.

    It's also generally possible to upgrade hotels. This may not be an option for very busy times (no availability) or more rural or remote areas (when there is only one or very few options).

    And lastly, this will affect the tour cost. There is no rule of thumb here and costs vary. Please inquire with a Tour Advisor for further details and be sure to let us know which tour you are interested in!

  • What are the meals like?

    Breakfasts are generally buffets that take your active program into consideration. Self-guided tours often only include breakfast.

    Lunch is generally on your own, although some guided group tours decide to pool funds on some days and others enjoy picnics en route. Bike and boat tours often pack lunches in the morning for the day's ride.

    Dinners are usually included with guided tours and bike and boat tours and dinner packages are sometimes an option on self-guided tours. Expect either a fixed menu or a few choices, often with multiple courses.

    If you have any allergies, restrictions, or other dietary requests, please let us know at the time of booking.

  • What are the differences between hotel categories?

    Some tours offer a choice of hotel categories, as noted in their prices.

    • Category A is generally 3- and 4-star hotels located in a town center.
    • Category B is generally 2- and 3-star hotels that may lie outside of town.

    Tour pages list sample hotels or describe the categories to give you an idea of the type of hotels you'll be booked in on the Program tab under 'Hotels'.

  • Do you offer just luggage transfer?

    Unfortunately, we are not able to assist with luggage transfer services. We represent local overseas bike tour operators, and they make this service available only as part of tour packages.

  • What if I'm an individual (solo, single) traveler? Can you find me a roommate?

    We can put in a request* to the local tour operator for guided tours, but it's not that often that they can match you with another traveler. And if they can't, you would be responsible for paying the single supplement.

    *Please let us know which tour and date you would like to join as we're not able to seek out other solo travelers.

    Match-ups are generally not possible for self-guided tours.

  • When does my tour end?

    At the end of the tour, there's usually a final night's lodging included. You arrive by bike that day, enjoy a relaxed evening, and depart the next morning. Your package typically ends with breakfast on the last day. Generally, the bikes are left at the last hotel. It's often possible to stay extra nights to enjoy the area even more. In exceptional cases, tours include rides on the last day, and this would be noted in the Program tab.

  • What if I can't make it to the next town one day or if the weather is really bad?

    Guided tours almost always include a support van to help you all or part of the way. Be sure to check the 'Included services' on the Dates & Prices tab for exact inclusions.

    On self-guided tours, it's your responsibility to get from the start to end hotel each day, but you can get help. Make sure to keep the tour company's service number in case you need advice along the way. In many cases, trains, buses, or even ships may be an option on days when you don't feel like riding. Occasionally, and with enough notice, you may be able to hitch a ride in the luggage van.

    More on guided and self-guided tours.

  • When will my suitcase get to the next hotel?

    Typically, luggage is picked up after breakfast and delivered by 4 p.m. This varies from tour to tour and depends on the number of travelers cycling on the route on a given day. Of course, road and traffic conditions may cause delays beyond the local tour company's control.

  • Do the hotels have Wi-Fi?

    Yes, the hotels generally have Wi-Fi (with the exception of more remote areas). However, don't expect the signal to be as strong or reliable as the one you have at home.

  • Can you accommodate a gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, or other diet or food allergy?

    The answer, for the most part, is yes.

    For most self-guided tours, the only meal included is breakfast. It's usually a buffet, meaning you can pick and choose what you would like to eat.

    For guided tours and bike and boat tours, oftentimes meals are included. Please be sure to let us know when you book of any dietary requests so that we can be sure to inform the tour operator.

    Please note the tour operator may charge an additional fee.

  • What are the routes like?

    You usually travel along paved bicycle paths or lightly traveled back roads through the countryside or from village to village. Routes are selected for their charm and beauty as well as for their cultural and historical importance.

    Especially in southern European countries, tours often switch to meadow and forest paths or side roads. During some stretches and entering and leaving cities, distances on roads with traffic are unavoidable.

  • When does my tour start?

    Most programs start in the afternoon or evening of Day 1 upon arrival at your first hotel (or the boat). You don't usually ride that day; it's just a time to arrive and relax. Cycling often begins the next morning.

    If you're on a guided tour, there's usually a group dinner the first night followed by an orientation. If you've opted for a dinner package, dinner the first evening is generally included.

    Depending on when your overseas flight arrives, you may want to arrive in the start city a day earlier. You'll be more relaxed, and you'll have the chance to explore the city on your own.

    In exceptional cases, tours include rides on the first day, but these are noted in the Program tab.

  • I run marathons. Do I still need to train for my bicycle tour?

    Nothing prepares you for a bike tour like 'time in the saddle'. Even if you excel at other sports and consider yourself a strong athlete, you owe it to yourself to get a lot of riding in before your tour - you use a lot of different muscles riding a bike. Also, when we're out on tours, we hear more people groaning about sore bums than sore muscles! Bottom line (sorry): ride more, and your butt will thank you later!

    Here are some training tips.

  • How does luggage transport work?

    Each day, you leave your luggage in a secure area that the hotel designates. While you're off riding, the tour company will pick up your luggage and transport it to your next overnight hotel.

  • What do the different rider levels mean?

    We have 4 riders level to assist you in picking the best tour:

    1. Leisure - You are relatively active and want to cycle on your vacation. You like a slow pace and prefer flat terrain.
    2. Recreational - You incorporate cycling into your routine. You can navigate longer distance and occasional rolling hills.
    3. Active - You're often on your bike for fitness or pleasure. You’re comfortable with longer distances, a quicker pace, and rolling hills.
    4. Enthusiast - You're a voracious cyclist. You love to challenge yourself with long rides, hilly terrain, or extensive climbs.

    More details.

  • Are helmets included?

    Sometimes. Check the 'Bike Rentals' section on the Dates & Prices tab of each tour page. If a helmet isn't included, you may be able to rent one or purchase one.

    Please note many companies don't provide helmets because of concerns over hygiene, safe fit, and hidden damage to helmets that can render them useless. We strongly recommend you bring your own helmet for those reasons as well.

  • Will the hotels have air conditioning?

    Generally, no. Air conditioning is not standard in Europe. Hotels in large, modern cities may have A/C. Beyond that, it's not very likely. The good news is that buildings are constructed differently in Europe and have a tendency to be cooler than American construction.

  • What's the weather going to be like during my tour?

    We can't tell you exactly, of course, but Weatherspark provides information on average and record temperatures for destinations around the globe.

    Just type a location in the search box and hit enter to read about seasonal weather patterns. You can click on each of the charts for more detailed information.

    Be sure to review the forecasts for your destination as your tour approaches so that you can be prepared for the weather during your tour.

    More information is available on our Weather page!

  • Do you offer GPS?

    Please check on the Dates & Prices tab under 'Included Services' to see if GPS tracks (files) are available. For the tracks, you will need to provide your own device.

    A few tours offer GPS devices for rent, please check the Dates & Prices tab under 'Included Services' and/or 'Prices' to see if this is an option.

  • Is there a group on a self-guided tour?

    No, there is not a group. Self-guided tours often have many departures available, it's not possible to confirm if there are others cycling on the same schedule or to and from the same hotels.

    Self-guided bike and boat tours are the exception, while the daily rides are self-guided you may choose to ride with your shipmates.

    More on self-guided tours.