Cycling in Bolivia (Shutterstock)
List Words : Wanderlust Team | 06 May 2019

Best cycling trips: 14 amazing two-wheeled adventures from around the world

Cycling is a brilliant way to travel. Moving at a slower pace, you can engage more deeply with your destination. Whether you want a challenge or to mosey along the flat, here are our top cycling trips...

1. Cycle through watercolour landscapes in China

Cycling in Yangshuo, Guangxi (Shutterstock)

Cycling in Yangshuo, Guangxi (Shutterstock)

Cycle through the karst limestone landscapes that have inspired Chinese painters and poets for centuries on this hiking and biking adventure through China with World Expeditions.

After exploring the country’s most famous attractions, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the Terracotta soldier of Xian, you’ll hike the Tiger Leaping Gorge (one of the deepest and most dramatic gorges in the world) and visit the ancient World Heritage town of Lijang.

The best, however, is saved until last, when you cycle through the picture book landscape of Yangshuo, weaving your way through towers of limestone, as you ride from Guilin to the ancient town of Xingping.

Trip: Hike & Bike China

Who: World Expeditions

When: Departures Mar to Nov

How long: Nine days

How much: From 2,390 (exc. flights)

2. Pedal the Pan Am in Central America

Cyclists outside Las Terrazas (Intrepid)

Cyclists outside Las Terrazas (Intrepid)

See Central America's top spots with Intrepid on this exhilarating cycle tour, that will see you pedal along parts of the iconic Pan America Highway through Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. 

Cross Lake Nicaragua and journey through the lush countryside until you reach Costa Rica's highest volcano, Irazú, stopping at San Jose. You'll cycle past sugarcane plantations, and raft downriver through the land of the Cabecar indigenous tribe to the Caribbean islands. In Panama, snorkel the crystal clear waters, cycle the highland tracks and explore Panama City. 

Trip: Cycle Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama

Who: Intrepid

When: Departures Aug to Apr

How long: 16 days

How much: £2,165 (exc. flights)

3. Mountain bike the Himalaya in Nepal

Cycling in the Annapurna region (Shutterstock)

Cycling in the Annapurna region (Shutterstock)

Nepal is recognised to be one of the world's great mountain biking destinations and this superb cross-country bike ride with KE Adventure Travel is a great way to experience it. 

Starting in Pokhara, you’ll enjoy a couple of days biking the area's classic routes, including the Kali Horseshoe, with superb views of the Annapurna Massif, before riding eastwards, via the Marshyangdi River, to the ridge-top town of Gorkha. From here, a testing, mile-high, climb to the Kathmandu Valley rim awaits, before an entertaining downhill blast back to bustling Kathmandu.

Stunning scenery and great cycling across diverse terrain, together with the friendliness of the local people, makes this an unforgettable experience.

Trip: Pokhara to Kathmandu Mountain Biking

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: Oct to Jan & Apr

How long: 12 days

How much: From £1,295 (exc. flights)

4. Bike the Baltics: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

Cycling through the Lithuanian countryside (Shutterstock)

Cycling through the Lithuanian countryside (Shutterstock)

The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are perfect for biking, offering a beguiling mix of fairy tale towns and wild, untouched nature. This 11-day cycle tour with Intrepid will take you from the medieval spires of Tallinn and the funky bars of Riga to the endless dunes and stunning beaches of Lithuania's Curonian Spit National Park.

Along the way you’ll cycle through Tallinn’s quaint Old Town, and cycle the famous Route 10, which cuts quite literally across the Baltic Sea, surrounded on both sides by water. You’ll stay in a quaint farmhouse in the Estonian countryside, ride through bird-filled forests and past glittering lakes and explore the Latvian city of Jurmala’s 33-kilometre stretch of beautiful white sand beach.

Trip: Cycle the Baltics

Who: Intrepid

When: Departures May to Sept

How long: 11 days

How much: From £1,360 (exc. flights)

5. Cycle the Cape in South Africa

Stellenbosch in South Africa (Shutterstock)

Stellenbosch in South Africa (Shutterstock)

Following a section of Route 62, KE Adventure Travels' Cape Town and Winelands cycle tour starts in the Stellenbosch vineyards with wine tasting in some of South Africa’s best wineries. You’ll traverse the semi-arid Karoo desert and the orchards of the Koo Valley, and explore the Dutch village of Barrydale. 

You’re heading for the sea: to watch whales from Hermanus and to follow the coast to the Cape of Good Hope, dropping by to visit the famous Boulders penguin colony and following a part of the annual Cape Argus race route.

Trip: Cape Town and Winelands Cycle Tour

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: Departures Sept to Jan & Apr

How long: 12 days

How much: From £1,695 (exc. flights)

6. Ride through temple-dotted jungles in Burma

Cyclists outside the White Pagoda (Intrepid)

Cyclists outside the White Pagoda (Intrepid)

Get to know enigmatic Myanmar the two-wheeled way on this cycling tour from Yangon up to Mandalay and Inle Lake with Intrepid.

With its softly rolling terrain, quiet roads, abundance of outdoor attractions and idyllic rural countryside, Myanmar is the perfect place to get to know by bike. After a couple of days checking out Yangon's attractions, head north to the ancient city of Bagan – a landscape defined by thousands of ornate ochre-coloured temples.

Cycle through toddy tree forests to Mount Popa, the reputed home of the country's spirits, watch fishermen working their trade on Inle Lake and creep through limestone caves stocked with Buddha effigies. Exploring Myanmar and its provincial backroads by bike opens up the country's essence in myriad ways.

Trip: Cycle Myanmar (Burma)

Who: Intrepid

When: Departures Aug to Mar

How long: 13 days

How much: From £1,503 (exc. flights)

7. Cycle the south of New Zealand

Cycling the Otago Rail Trail (Intrepid)

Cycling the Otago Rail Trail (Intrepid)

Is there a better country to cycle through than New Zealand? This is a land known for its natural beauty, welcoming people and delicious wine, and this cycling trip through New Zealand’s beautiful South Island takes in the best of it. 

Kick things off in Queenstown, the adventure capital of the country, then cycle the famous Central Otago Rail Trail through small gold-mining towns like Alexandra, Omakau, Wedderburn and Hyde. Meander through the open plains with pristine rivers, enjoy some proper Southern hospitality at local taverns and rediscover the joy of pedalling through one of the most gorgeous areas in the entire country.

Trip: Cycle New Zealand South Island 

Who: Intrepid

When: Departures Nov to Apr

How long: 16 days

How much: From £1,602 (exc. flights)

8. Pedal the path less taken in Peru

Cyclists in the Peruvian mountains (Intrepid)

Cyclists in the Peruvian mountains (Intrepid)

Ride through classic Peru, hike the Inca Trail and visit South America's stunning ancient Inca sites on this cycling adventure along the Inca Trail with Intrepid.

Kick things off on the streets of Lima, pedalling through fishermen and artist hangouts, clocking beautiful views of the Pacific coastline. Fly to Cusco and hit the single-track to explore a veritable treasure trove of Inca archaeological sites. Ride a mountain bike across the lush countryside of the Sacred Valley, a world of colourful Andean communities and phenomenal landscapes shaped by lost civilisations. 

Finally, swap your cycling shoes for hiking boots and walk the legendary Inca Trail. Finish with a tour of mighty Machu Picchu, one of South America’s must-see draw cards.

Trip: Cycle Peru with Inca Trail

Who: Intrepid

When: Departures Jun, Sep & Oct

How long: 11 nights

How much: From £1,544 (exc. flights)

9. Get in the saddle on the Silk Road in Kazakhstan

Cycling near Tien Shan (Shutterstock)

Cycling near Tien Shan (Shutterstock)

Cycle the fabled Silk Road and discover the magic of Central Asia on this mountain biking holiday through the south-eastern corner of Kazakhstan with KE Adventure Travels.

Starting with a week in the northern foothills of the Tian Shan, you’ll cycle on a mix of surfaced and gravel roads that cut through the open grassland or ‘steppe’ of several picturesque valleys. There, you'll visit isolated farming villages and encounter camps of nomadic Kazakh shepherds, who come to these upland valleys in summer with their flocks of sheep and herds of horses.

After visiting the spectacular Charyn Canyon, you’ll follow a route that dates back to the Silk Road to the Kegen Plateau and Lake Tuzkol. Your journey ends in the desert landscapes of Altyn-Emel National Park, where you’ll cycle between outrageously colourful sandstone formations and hiking to the top of the 120m high ‘Singing Sand Dune’. 

Trip: Cycling in Kazakhstan

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: Departures Jun, Aug & Sep

How long: 11 days

How much: £1,645 (exc. flights)

10. Tackle tough trails in Vietnam & Laos

Cycling in Vietnam (KE Adventure Travel)

Cycling in Vietnam (KE Adventure Travel)

KE Adventure Travel’s Hanoi to Laos Mountain Bike Epic is what it says on the tin. This challenging backroad adventure leads from north-west Vietnam into Laos, traversing the Tram Ton Pass, the highest road pass in Vietnam.

Pedal among hill tribes in the Sapa region, along steeply-terraced valleys, and on trails that hardly see tourists – staying in traditional villages en route. Finish amid the French-colonial charm of Luang Prabang, frequently voted by Wanderlust readers as the World’s Top City.

Trip: Hanoi to Laos Mountain Bike Epic

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: Departures Oct to Mar

How long: 13 days

How much: From £2,395 (exc. flights)

11. Make a pedal pilgrimage through Spain

Cycling the Camino de Santiago (Shutterstock)

Cycling the Camino de Santiago (Shutterstock)

Complete a classic pilgrimage by bike with Intrepid’s Cycle the Camino de Santiago trip. This self-guided ride follows the UNESCO World Heritage trail for over 250km, condensing the highlights into a faster-paced tour, and staying at small rural hotels. 

Cross the Castilian plains, weave through El Bierzo’s ancient wine valley, admire lush countryside and tuck into tapas, before finishing at the iconic cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Trade stories, break bread and drink wine with people all over the world on a pilgrimage ride over mountains and through the gorgeous Galician countryside.

Trip: Cycle the Camino de Santiago 

Who: Intrepid

When: Departures Apr to Jun & Aug to Oct

How long: Eight days

How much: From £1,505 (exc. flights)

12. Lap lovely lakes in Central Europe

Reichenau Island on Lake Constance (Shutterstock)

Reichenau Island on Lake Constance (Shutterstock)

Hop on an e-bike to glide past postcard-pretty villages, fairy tale castles, cherry orchards and gothic cathedrals with ease.

B’Spoke Tours’ self-guided Lake Constance Cycling tour ticks off three countries – Austria, Switzerland, Germany – as well as some of Europe’s most breathtaking mountain scenery, observed from traffic-free, low-stress, lakeside cycle paths.

Trip: Constance: Three countries on three wheels

Who: B’Spoke Tours

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: Seven days

How much: From £715 (exc. flights)

13. Hit highlights and backroads in Cambodia

Cycling around Angkor Wat (Shutterstock)

Cycling around Angkor Wat (Shutterstock)

Combine slow travel through rural countryside with headline sights on KE Adventures’ well-paced Backroads of Cambodia tour, a cycling holiday that will take you from Angkor Wat to the Cardamom Mountains.

This trip is a chance to visit must-sees such as the sandy southern beaches, bustling Phnom Penh and spectacular Angkor Wat, as well as pedalling amid rice paddies, temple ruins, lush national parks and ornate palaces. A highlight is navigating the Angkor complex on two wheels – it’s the best way to explore the spread-out ruins and get away from the crowds.

Trip: Backroads of Cambodia (Bike)

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: Departures Feb to Mar & Oct to Dec

How long: 14 days

How much: From £1,375 (exc. flights)

14. Ride the Kasbah in Morocco

Cycling in Morocco (Shutterstock)

Cycling in Morocco (Shutterstock)

Ride from the snow-covered peaks of the High Atlas to the epic sand dunes of the Sahara on this classic adventure cycling holiday in Morocco's arid Jebel Sahro region with KE Adventure Travel.

The climate of the Jebel Sahro is the perfect for cycling outside the summer months. Starting in Todra Gorge, you’ll ascend on tarmac and hard-pack jeep roads to a remote mountain area with nomadic Berber shepherds and views of the Atlas peaks. You’ll cross the Tamtattouchte Pass (2615m), drop down into the beautiful Dades Valley, the so-called 'Valley of the 1000 Kasbahs’, and then on to Boumalne Dades and the oasis town of Zagora on the very edge of the Sahara.

This is a great biking adventure, perfect for anyone looking to make a winter escape to Morocco and the pink and ochre mountains of the Jebel Sahro.

Trip: Ride the Kasbah

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: Departures Feb to Mar & Oct to Dec

How long: Eight days

How much: From £775 (exc. flights)