A report released at this week's World Travel Market announced that cycling holidays are set to become much more of a trend in 2015. The suggestion is that many middle-aged men who have previously soaked up the sun on the golf course are switching their interest to something slightly more active.
Europe has some great destinations that are just perfect for cycling. Whether you travel from one location to another or simply explore all the areas around one particular place; a holiday on two wheels can be very rewarding.
Here are some great ideas to get you thinking:
Bavaria is home to more than one hundred lakes in total but there is a great route just outside Munich that will take you on a tour of some of the most beautiful scenery in a country that is underrated for its nature. You can choose to travel the full circuit, which starts and finishes in Munich and goes as far south as Mittenwald on the Austrian border, or simply base yourself in Germany's third largest city and explore the northern parts of the trail over the course of a few days.
Highlights along the way could include stops in Garmisch-Partenkirchen which famously held the winter Olympics, the chance to ride a cable car to the top of Zugspitze (Germany's highest peak) and witnessing the crystal clear waters and stunning valleys of the Isar River.
Göta Canal, Sweden
About two hours outside of Stockholm you'll find the Göta Canal, one of Sweden's most impressive feats of human engineering. The purpose of this man-made waterway is to link a variety of rivers and lakes to enable the transportation of goods between Stockholm and Gothenburg, where they can then be exported further afield. However, the canal itself just travels from Mem to Sjötorp; creating an area filled with natural beauty.
The scenic stretch has helped the canal to become a tourist attraction in its own right. It is unlikely that you will travel the entirety of this region (although it is possible) but cycling along any part of it will provide many highlights. Along the way, there are 58 different locks, including 7 at Berg which raise boats to a height of 52 metres after navigating Lake Roxen, and the impressive Vadstena Castle on the edges of Lake Vättern.
Amsterdam is well known for being flat and therefore very conducive for cycling. It seems that everyone gets around on two wheels in this city, with cycle lanes cutting through the built up areas just as much as the roads do. There's a choice to stage your own explorations or join up with other sightseers on a guided tour that takes in the most popular attractions.
As you glide along beside the maze of canals, you will learn a lot about a city that is often overlooked as simply a place where people go to indulge their rebellious side. And you will soon realise that this is definitely the best way to get around here. Your Amsterdam city break could even be extended further by choosing to exit the city limits and head along the Amstel River, taking in windmills, cheese factories and artisan workers producing their crafts.
Liège to the Ardennes
Belgium is a country that is mad about its cycling and so there are a number of great routes which allow you to see the beauty of the country as well as learning all about Flemish history. The 60-mile route from Liège into the heart of the Ardennes involves gentle climbs and exhilarating descents through the rolling landscape. Forge your own route which takes you through quaint towns such as Chaudfontaine, Somme-Leuze and Marche-en-Famenne.
If you are looking for a more challenging ride then perhaps you are best to start in Bruges. The trek into the Ardennes from here is best done over five or six days and is likely to involve climbs to around 3,500 feet.
The Lofoten Islands are part of a small archipelago off the coast of Norway which is home to some of the most stunning natural landscapes in Europe. Whirlpools, fjords and craggy coastlines are all present during a journey that will take you on a pleasant ride and bring you closer to nature than ever before.
Cyclists often travel between the rustic fishing villages, stopping intermittently to refuel on some hardy Scandinavian food and spend the night in traditional hut-like accommodation. The wildlife that litters this area is sure to become your friend too, as you make your way through the natural habitat of seals and sea birds. And if you get tired of travelling on two wheels, there are plenty of kayaking opportunities in the area too.
If you are interested in exploring Europe by bike or embarking on any other type of active holiday, Fred.\ Holidays can help tailor-make the trip to your personal requirements. Call today and speak to our passionate team for more details.