2024 is set to be one of those mega cycling years. On top of the usual three professional Grand Tours – in France, Spain and Italy – and the World Championships in Switzerland, the summer Olympics (also in France) will be thrown in, for extra sprinkles of fairy dust.
The future of the Tour of Britain still hangs in the balance, but across Europe and the world, professional and amateur cyclists are preparing for another 12 months of hairpin corners and steep climbs.
If you haven’t already caught the cycling bug, 2024 may be the year it ends. From Wales to the Arctic, we’ve picked ten of the best cycling holidays to whet your appetite, including serious cycles for the Mamils and Mawils, and sweet pootles for the easy riders too.
Cycle the Cotswolds
New for 2024, this guided cycle tour from Oxford to Bath starts in the dreamy city of spires and ends with curved rows of honey-stone Georgian buildings.
Along the way you will pass by villages such as Bibury, described by William Morris as the most beautiful in England, and Bampton, where scenes from Downton Abbey were filmed. Famous for its rolling hills and centuries-old pubs, the route passes through Bourton-on-the-Water, the Venice of the Cotswolds.
A new six-day trip at Exodus Adventure Travels’ (020 8772 3743) starts at £2,099 per person, including bed and breakfast accommodation and tour leader throughout.
Trout Mushrooms and beyond
If you like to carry your own gear and travel under your own steam, then Roam Bikepacking offers something different. It will provide you with a bike, saddlebags, tent and sleeping bag, allowing you to get completely off the road and into the wild.
Guests will embark on a new tour for 2024 which will tackle the Gospel Pass, the highest road in Wales, and the Devil’s Staircase – one of Britain’s toughest climbs, reaching a maximum gradient of 20 per cent. They will also tell you about the best places to camp and swim.
Roam Bikepacking (07967 870654) can organize this four-day trip for £425 per person (camping) or £550 (B&B).
One for the road in France
2024 will be a vintage year for cycling in France. It will not only host the annual Tour but also the summer Olympics. But while the benefits will be powered by sports drinks and protein shakes, how about a leisurely walk around Champagne and Burgundy – two of Europe’s great wine-growing regions.
Highlights of this new tour include a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral in Reims, and a tasting at the Côte des Blancs wine estate. The laid-back route also takes in historic Dijon, the charming capital of Burgundy.
Exodus Adventure Travels (020 8772 3743) offers a seven-day trip from £4,399 per person, including flights, half-board accommodation, bike hire and tour leader. Events on 23 June, 14 July and 15 September 2024.
Midnight sun on Norway’s Lofoten Islands
This new self-guided cycling holiday explores one of northern Europe’s most spectacular and remote regions, the Lofoten Archipelago. The route takes deserted beaches and small fishing villages. If you’re lucky, you might see a white-tailed eagle.
Head north between late May and mid-July and the sun won’t set at all. Your bright nights will be spent in seaside lodges and red fishermen’s cabins. As for fuel: booze certainly won’t be cheap, but there will be plenty of cheese dumplings and local stockfish.
Headwater (01606 720199) is offering this new self-guided tour between June and August for £3,419 per person, including flights, accommodation, bike hire, and meals.
Discover the rural patchwork in Poland
Poland, you say? It’s not a country many would associate with a cycling holiday, but then again, few operators share the vision of The Slow Cyclist, known for its off-the-beaten-track adventures.
This new tour will start in May and will take you into the Lower Silesia region of Poland, on the border with Germany and the north of the Czech Republic. During the day, you will pass castles, forests and extinct volcanoes, but at night there is enough time for Polish wine – the country is home to 400 vineyards – and hearty nutritious local food. Silesia is best known for its poppyseed cakes.
An Rothaí Mall (020 7060 4487) is offering a new four-night tour from £2,290 per person, based on traveling as a group of 12, including airport transfers, support vehicle, and English speaking guides.
Train like a pro in the French Alps
Aimed at serious cyclists, this week-long training camp based out of Morzine – host of the Tour de France more than 20 times – is probably as close to professional riding as you can get.
This “day off” includes a private chef, daily massage, and a support vehicle. You will also receive a pre-camp training plan and an all-inclusive drinks package for the night. But don’t overdo it – the cycling will be tough. You will climb over 40,000 feet per week. One of the climbs, the Col de la Pierre Carrée, is considered one of the most difficult in the world.
This seven-night holiday is being run by Sa Calobra Cycling Club (0033 688 699 160) between 28 June and 5 July 2024 and costs £2,208 per person.
A long weekend in the Italian Dolomites
This is a convenient cycling holiday for people who don’t fancy spending a whole week in the saddle. Instead of moving every night, you will be based in a four-star lakeside hotel, in the village of Alleghe.
There are three options for each day trip, offering great climbs for experienced col baggers, or more relaxed bits for beginners. Epic scenery is guaranteed for all, though. The fourth day tackles Marmolada, the highest mountain in the Dolomites.
Marmot Tours (01373 830409) offer four-night tours for £1,350 per person in July and August. Airport transfers and half-board accommodation are included, plus wine with dinner.
Explore the south coast of Ireland
Cycle from Kerry to Cork on this new eight-day self-guided tour, which explores the green and hilly back roads of Ireland’s glorious south. Highlights include the forests and coastlines around Clochnacoillte, and the Drombeg Stone Circle: 17 galleons dating back 2,000 years.
An afternoon spent in the coastal town of Kinsale gives riders the option of visiting Dun James, the ruins of a 17th century fortress. The final day’s ride passes the Royal Cork Yacht Club, said to be the oldest in the world.
This new tour will be run by Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110) between April and October and costs from £1,445 per person, including bed and breakfast accommodation, luggage transfers and digital route notes.
An e-bike tour of southern Japan
Explore the mountainous splendor of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s main islands, on a Yamaha e-bike tour, covering 240 miles per week. Following parts of the car-free Shimanami Kaido cycle path, you’ll hop between small islands in the Seto Inland Sea via five suspension bridges.
After touring Shikoku’s temple pilgrimage route – which has 88 sacred sites – your evening will include tastings and soaks in onsens (hot springs). Additional trips to Hiroshima and Kyoto can be arranged at the beginning and end of the tour.
Freedom Treks (01273 977968) offers this holiday in March, April and May. Prices start from £3,757 and include accommodation, meals and a local guide.
Travel across America
The Big Daddy of cycling holidays, this 67-night tour will cross one of the world’s largest nations, taking in the Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone National Park and the Great Plains.
On this 4,000 mile journey between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans you will average 67 miles per day, with a rest day every 10. The comfort, company and security of the group will make it extra special. 2024 is a US Presidential Election year, so expect plenty of talk.
Bike Adventures (01273 413489) is running a TransAm tour between July 14 and September 18, including tour leader, support vehicle and accommodation, costing £10,395 per person.