How to choose

how-to-choose-hero How to choose

Touring by bike is the best way to truly experience the landscape and culture of a region — the unique features of the terrain, the smell of flowers or ripening grapes, the sounds of wildlife, or the people and hidden treasures of small towns. That’s why we’ve partnered with some of the top local tour operators across Europe to offer you superb selection of some of the best-quality — and most reasonably-priced — tours available.

How do you choose the tour that’s best for you?

Four ways to find the bike tour of your dreams

1. Start browsing using our Tour Search, which lets you choose tours based on a variety of preferences.

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2. Click on these shortcuts to some of our most popular tours in various categories:

3. Click on any country name to learn why it appeals to bicycle tourists and see a list of that country’s tours.

4. Contact our team of supportive tour advisors, who will help you find the bike tour of your dreams!

 


Some tips to help you choose

1. Decide whether you prefer guided or self-guided tours.

Self-guided bike tours, which include most of what guided tours do minus the ride-along guide and accompanying support van, offer flexibility and independence but still maintain a level of support and convenience that allows you to explore on your own schedule without sweating the logistics.

If you enjoy traveling with a group, meeting new people, and having a guide and structured daily schedule, then a guided bike tour is probably the better fit for you. The guides point out places of interest, organize excursions and activities and are there in case of breakdowns (mechanical or human).
More on the differences

2. Determine which level of difficulty is best for you.

Most bicycle tours cover about 20–40 miles per day and are designed for travelers who enjoy a leisurely pace, but more challenging bike tours are available. Here’s how we rate the tours:

  1. Mostly flat
  2. Flat with some gentle slopes
  3. Rolling, hilly terrain
  4. Some long and/or steep climbs
  5. Extensive climbing

More on levels of difficulty

3. Choose the right destination.

With any kind of travel, it’s important to research destinations.

  • What are your interests? Castles, medieval history, family-friendly activities, wine, regional cuisine?
  • What kind of scenery do you like? Mountains, coasts, rivers, rolling vineyards, farm villages?
  • How comfortable are you with cultural differences? Do you want a “familiar” setting or a more exotic (and even challenging) one?

When you’re traveling by bike, though, the destination can often be an even more important choice.

Choosing the right terrain—flat, rolling, hilly, or mountainous—can make or break your tour (or you).

Do you prefer countries where in English is widely spoken? Or excited by the challenge of translation dictionaries and hand gestures?

Of course, climate is a key factor. Pay attention to averages highs and lows and precipitation.

 


Some more considerations

Do I want to ride every day?

Most bicycle tourists enjoy traveling each day — cycling from Point A to Point B and sleeping in a new location each night. The scenery changes and the experiences are gratifying. Still, there’s something to be said for staying overnight in one town and doing day trips — you don’t have to pack each morning, you can settle in, and you can really get to know a location. Decide if you want rest days built into the itinerary. If so, tours based in one hotel (“hub-and-spoke tours”) are a great choice.

Bike and boat tours are also often a good option, as you can alternate between cycling and enjoying your tour from the boat deck.

How far do I want to ride each day?

Remember you are on vacation and there will be a lot to see along the way — and you’ll be riding for several days, usually back to back. So don’t use your weekly Sunday ride as a guide. We almost never hear feedback that daily distances were too short! Average daily distances are shown in each tour listing, and are a searchable feature in our Tour Search.

What kind of route and riding surface do I prefer?

You should think about how comfortable you’d be occasionally riding in light to moderate road traffic, or if you’d prefer a bike tour that primarily follows a bike path. Terrain and riding surfaces (packed dirt, gravel, asphalt) should also be considered. There’s usually information on the tour pages on our site — if not, just ask!

Am I worried about traffic?

Choose a tour with dedicated bike paths or quiet back roads. This information is listed under “Program” on every tour page.

Am I worried that I can’t keep up or can’t make it?

You’ll probably surprise yourself! But to be sure, you may wish to consider a tour that offers electric-assist bicycles. “E-bikes” help put the joys of cycle touring within easier reach for people of varying fitness and experience levels. They provide power on demand to cyclists for a helping push to get up hills, to help keep up with faster friends, and to make longer distances feel achievable.

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