Top 5 cycling destinations for beginners

I often write about destinations that thrill me, full of opportunities for tough climbs and challenging rides. But what if you’re just starting out in the saddle, or perhaps simply enjoy more leisurely riding? I haven’t forgotten about you. Here are some locations around the world that I have found are best suited to the beginner cyclist. So strap that helmet on and let’s get pedaling. There are so many places to explore!

1. Holland

Especially for those who may be nervous about cycling on the open road or encountering traffic, Holland is the perfect destination for any beginner cyclist. This is a locale that truly appreciates and encourages bike riding. You’ll find the most respectful drivers for safe riding, and the country is full of car-free bike lanes. Riders can pedal amidst seas of flowers during tulip season. I suggest visiting late April-May, and making a stop in Keukenhof, the tulip capital of the world. Soar past windmills of all kinds and make some time for a Gouda tasting!

Holland

2. Brittany

Another fantastic beginner destination is Brittany, France. This destination is best suited for the rider who loves French cuisine and coastal towns. Ride with the ocean breeze on your face as you cycle alone the Atlantic coastline. A trip to the Gerande salt flats is recommended, and afterwards reward your palate with a hard cider and the freshest seafood including oysters, langoustines, crabs and more. As far as your accommodations are concerned, Brittany is brimming with gorgeous manors that were once vacation homes to Parisian nobility.

Brittany

3. Umbria

Umbria is plentiful with things to do and sights to see. Olive groves, medieval towns, vineyards, and tremendous architecture will complete the scenery around you as you cycle through this stunning Italian destination. And when you’re looking for some time off the bike seat, explore the artistic town of Assisi and watch master craftsmen at work on the potter’s wheel. Perhaps you can even take a Deruto ceramic home with you as a token of your trip. Plus, a trip to Italy is never complete without sampling some of Umbria’s incredible local wines like Rubesco Riserva and Sagrantino di Montefalco.

Umbria

4. Loire

Stepping (or pedaling) back into France, novice riders can certainly take some enjoyment from a trip to Loire Valley. The roads are quiet, the land is fertile, and châteaux dot the countryside as far as you can ride. This region is a magical one. Every time I visit I am still taken aback by the sheer feeling of being in a real-life fairytale. And the fare? Plenty of fresh produce, foie gras, and delectable Vouvray wines. Don’t miss an opportunity to visit the home of Leonardo da Vinci, Le Clos Lucé. The final years of his life were spent in this estate, where he was said to have arrived holding the Mona Lisa.

Loire Valley

5. Chile

But perhaps you are looking to hone your skills in a more unique destination? Or are you looking to expand your wine knowledge in untapped regions? Head to Chile and start your cycling journey pedaling through the Casablanca and Colchagua Valleys. I’ll be honest –some of the best red wines I have ever tasted come from this area, and it may be a locale you want to visit before everyone else catches on. You can even bottle your own in the Yacquil region.

Chile

These destinations are perfect starting locations for travelers who are looking to get on the bike but aren’t fully comfortable yet. And the best part is that the riding can be adapted to any riding level. I like a challenge, and still take great joy in visiting and revisiting the sites mentioned. My final piece of advice for beginners: it’s all about the journey. Don’t take it too seriously. See the world. Travel by bike. And enjoy yourself!

Is there another spot not listed? Let me know! I’m always encouraging friends to hop in the saddle, and your suggestion may just be the one that gets them there.

Andy Levine is the President/Founder of DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Comments (10)

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  1. There are countries famous for cycling destinations, good. But I feel every country the world should encourage cycling and provide incentives for those who cycle to their work.

  2. Hi Andy,

    Interesting post. I only cycle to get to here from there, because I enjoy it, but have never taken it to another level. However in the area of Spain that I live, cycling is a rather big thing – both for locals who do it as a sport and also for visitors.

    You can check the area out on the link that appears with this comment, but I am based just by the border of Catalonia and the Valencian Community, in Spain.

    Thanks
    Jackie

  3. Andy Levine says:

    Saravana– very good point! This list is really a suggestion for vacation destinations for people who aren’t huge cyclists but are looking for a new way to see the world. But I certainly agree that all countries worldwide should encourage cycling as a daily activity. I certainly do!

    Jackie– thanks for your comment. If you’re ever looking to meet some cyclists and ride in one of these destinations, check out DuVine!

  4. Having cycled fairly extensively around the world (over 50 countries), I thought I should mention Quebec Province in Canada.

    I have never visited an area with such comprehensive cycling infrastructure. There are thousands of kilometres of cycle paths making up ‘La Route Verte’ (the green route), almost all of which are well maintained. Even better, there are usually picnic-stops every 5km and rarely ever steep gradients. I even found a machine to pump up my tyres once! For over 600km I barely cycled on the road … instead I rode through beautiful forests.

    When I did have to cycle on the road, drivers were patient and accommodating. A culture of cycling seems engrained in the place, and attitudes are correspondingly friendly. Montreal is the ultimate representation of this – possibly the most advanced cycling city in the world.

    My only word of warning: sometimes bears enjoy using the cycle paths too. Beware :)

  5. Andy Levine says:

    Thanks William! I’ll pass this along to my product team to add to our list of potential future tour destinations.

  6. Some great suggestions but could I add one closer to home? Sustrans has been working hard on improving our cycle ways and last autumn, the final section of National Cycle Route 2 was opened, creating a great circular cycle route (nearly all off road) around the River Exe Estuary in Devon. This link, if you’ll permit (http://www.aholidayindevon.co.uk/news/exe-cycle-way-final-link-completed/), gives some more details and further links on how to enjoy a flat day’s family cycling through a great area, with some amazing places to eat and stay.

  7. Andy Levine says:

    Sounds great, David. Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to check it out next time I’m in the area. Always looking for new places to ride.

  8. Giovanna Tosetto says:

    What about riding a bike across the border? Now is possible from Slovenia to Friuli Venezia Giulia Italy on the Bimobis bike route: from Great War (Kobarid) to Cividale (UNESCO Longobard Site) through the sloping wine hills of Colli Orientali (white wine best production area).

  9. federico says:

    Hey Andy

    and what about lake of como where I live ?

    This is really a unique spot for both road and mountain cycling.

    I am a keen cyclist and take people around on guided tours either around the lake or, whn it is warmer, into Switzerland as well

    Really this is The Place for cycling. From flat to stiff climbs.

    thank you

    Federico

  10. Kristine says:

    We rented a bike for the first time on our last trip to Alicante and must say really enjoyed it. Although it was a bit challenging at times quite a few hills to conquer.
    Will have to look into your mentioned places a bit more as there might be cycling holiday ahead of us… :)

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