Cycling holiday operator Bspoke has revealed the trends they have seen in top European cycling holidays.
First of all, European cycling holidays continue to be on the up, and with the trend for eco-friendly travel expected to step up a gear in 2020, this is forecast to continue. What’s more, with hundreds of tours across mainland Europe and Ireland, there’s no need to fly. So you can make the journey part of the holiday and stay grounded with travel by rail, ferry and road.
The specialist product team at cycle holiday tour operator, BSpoke Tours, got in touch with its list of the top European cycling holiday destinations for 2020, with old-favourites such as Tuscany given a new lease of life thanks to eBikes, as well as new flight routes opening up options such as up and coming Montenegro. The Asturias eco-friendly tours amongst stunning scenery are also expected to top the wish list for 2020.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the burgeoning interest in e-bikes which are proving popular amongst all age groups. Harvey Downard from BSpoke says ‘Historically there was an element of stigma associated with e-bikes, but increasingly consumers are recognising the benefits and flexibility that choosing these bikes can offer especially on itineraries that feature longer days in the saddle and a few hills.’
£100 John Lewis Voucher
For those inspired by the destinations, BSpoke is offering a £100 John Lewis voucher per couple for each 2020 cycle holiday booked before 31st January of five nights or more.
Top European Cycling Holidays Nr 1: Provence, France – 9% up overall with a 41% increase in e-bike use
Why: Stunning scenery is tempting in British consumersImage: Sénanque Abbey, Provence ss_296156339
2019 saw a 9% increase in bookings to Provence, with holidaymakers attracted by quiet roads and an ever-increasing number of cycle paths winding through some of Europe’s most attractive scenery: think leafy vineyards, lavender fields and hilltop villages. The Côtes du Rhone wine region is particularly popular, offering both enjoyable cycling and culinary attractions. In response to increasing demand, BSpoke is offering five new itineraries for 2020, including an e-bike specific tour having identified a whopping 41% increase in e-bike usage for Provence holidays in 2019.
Seven night tours of Provence start from £1,115pp for Van Gogh’s Provence
Top European Cycling Holidays Nr 2: Loire, France – 30% increase overall, 80% increase in short breaks
Why: Best for beginners
Predominantly flat terrain makes the Loire a great destination for a first-time cycling holiday. This popularity is clearly demonstrated with a huge 80% increase in short break bookings to the region, and 37% increase in e-bike usage, making Loire tour bookings 30% up overall. The easy riding means that miles absolutely fly by, so lots can be seen and done on each ride – it also makes it the perfect area for multi-generational holidays. BSpoke Tours is offering two new tours in the Loire for 2020, including a new e-bike tour and a nine-night itinerary.
Seven night tours of the Loire start from £945pp for Single Centre – Château de Candes
Top European Cycling Holidays Nr 3: Bordeaux, France – up 29%
Why: Bordeaux is a real corker!
Voted the sixth most cycle-friendly city in the world and with over 400km of cycle paths, Bordeaux is a must for history and wine lovers in 2020. One of BSpoke Tours’ top three selling regions, last year saw an increase in bookings of nearly one third at 29% up year on year. Little wonder, as Bordeaux really does have the best of everything: a vibrant city, wonderful vineyards and even oysters on the beach.
Seven night tours of Bordeaux start from £1,325pp for Bordeaux Culture & Vineyards
Top European Cycling Holidays Nr 4: Tuscany & Umbria, Italy – largest riser up 136%
Why: Beautiful hill top views and food
92% of Tuscany’s terrain is rolling hills which means this destination is our most popular for eBikes – every single one of our 2019 customers used one.
The rising popularity of the eBike may also account for the dramatic increase in cycle tourists to the region – 2019 saw an increase of 136% year on year. The huge demand has led BSpoke to add three new eBike tours to the region for 2020, allowing cyclists to discover more of its beautiful, rustic charms – from medieval hilltop villages, to rolling vineyards and delicious cuisine.
Seven night tours of Tuscany and Umbria start from £1,475pp for Valleys of Tuscany
Top European Cycling Holidays Nr 5: Asturias, Spain – new
Why: Brand new with beaches
New to the BSpoke portfolio for 2020, Asturias is one of Spain’s best kept secrets. Over a third of this authentic corner of the country is environmentally protected, and with over 300km of pristine coastline and home to 220 sandy beaches it is one of our hottest new coastal cycle destinations. Its scenic landscapes also encompass the rugged terrain of the Picos de Europa, whose highest peak stands at 2,400m above sea level. A fantastic option for sustainable, eco-friendly holidaying with a challenge.
Seven night tours start from £1,095pp for Green Spain & the Picos de Europa
Top European Cycling Holidays Nr 6: Danube, Austria – anticipating high demand with 30% increase in bike & boat capacity
Why: The perfect blend of bike and boat and featuring ABTA’s one to watch
Passing through ten countries and with a total length of over 3,000km, the Danube cycle path is one of the most impressive pieces of bike-friendly infrastructure in the world. 63% of BSpoke Tours’ customers choose to discover the Danube region on a Bike and Boat tour and these tours sell out quickly. To meet demand, BSpoke Tours is launching a new Bike and Boat tour for 2020 which will increase capacity by 30%. The self-guided tour starts in Vienna (recently named one of ABTA’s top destinations to watch in 2020) and ends in Budapest.
Seven night Danube Boat & Bike tours start from £705pp
Top European Cycling Holidays Nr 7: Alentejo, Portugal – Over 1000km of cycle routes on the Rota Vicentina
Why: Up and coming
Spanning 40% of the length of Portugal, The Alentejo (literally translating to the province across the Tejo river) is a rustic, traditional and beautiful destination that is very much “on the up”. Covering over 265km of quiet rural roads and gently undulating terrain, the route winds through sleepy villages, vineyards and cork trees. Alentejo is an ideal year-round cycling destination – it enjoys mild winters with plenty of sunshine, and the breeze from the Atlantic coast ensures it never gets too hot in the summer either.
Seven night tours start from £1,180pp for the Alentejo Coast
Top European Cycling Holidays Nr 8: South Tyrol, Italy – 600km+ of cycle paths criss-cross the region
Why: 26 Michelin stars – tasty South Tyrol
You won’t go hungry on a tour of South Tyrol! With dramatic scenery and luscious green valleys surrounded by high Alpine peaks, not to mention a culinary tradition that has seen the region receive 26 Michelin stars for 19 restaurants, South Tyrol is high on the list of places to cycle in 2020. Each major valley in the region sees at least one cycle route running through it, with countless mountain passes branching off and up into the hills at regular intervals. The routes converge in the Adige Valley, where they join one of the world’s best-developed cycle paths, linking charming towns like Bolzano, Trento, Riva del Garda and Verona.
Seven night tours of South Tyrol start from £1,405pp
Top European Cycling Holidays Nr 9: Montenegro – find out for yourself why visitor numbers were up 30% in 2019
Why: new flight capacity
The buzz around Montenegro has been slowly building for several years now, and the highest number of tourists in the country’s history were recorded in 2019, with visitors up 30%**. With the addition of new direct flight routes from UK airports to both Tivat and Podgorica, this trend is expected to continue into 2020 and beyond. The country’s stunning coastline is a joy to cycle, with plenty of deserted beaches and secret coves in which to cool off.
Seven night tours of Montenegro start from £1,465pp
Top European Cycling Holidays Nr 10: Saxony, Germany – 80% of traffic-free cycle paths on BSpoke’s routes
Why: The most fun downhill routes
Germany is becoming increasingly popular as a holiday destination and is something of a spiritual home for cycle touring. The 1,300km Elbe river cycle path is the country’s most popular long-distance route and, for 2020, BSpoke Tours is launching a brand new tour along the river from Dresden to Dessau. BSpoke Tours’ routes travel south to north along 80% traffic-free asphalt paths, which – combined with the mostly downhill route and prevailing winds behind you – makes the Elbe and Saxony an ideal destination for first time cycle tourists and families with younger children.
Seven night tours of the Elbe from Dresden to Dessau start from £775pp