2024 will be one of those mega years in cycling. In addition to the usual three professional Grand Tours – in France, Spain and Italy – and the World Championships in Switzerland, there will also be a Summer Olympics (also in France), for an extra touch of fairytale dust.
The future of the Tour of Britain still hangs in the balance, but across Europe and around the world professional and amateur cyclists are gearing up for another 12 months of hairpin bends and steep climbs.
If the cycling bug hasn’t bitten you yet, 2024 could be the year it finally hits. From Wales to the Arctic, we’ve selected ten of the best cycling holidays to whet your ravenous appetite, including serious cycling for the Mamils and Mawils, and also gentler cycling holidays for the easygoing cyclists.
Cycle through the Cotswolds
New for 2024, this guided cycle tour from Oxford to Bath starts in the city of dreamy spiers and ends with curving rows of honey-stone Georgian buildings.
Along the way you’ll pass 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 century-old pubs, the route also winds through Bourton-on-the-Water, the Venice of the Cotswolds.
The new six-day tour from Exodus Adventure Travels (020 8772 3743) starts from £2,099 per person, including bed and breakfast accommodation and a tour guide for the entire trip.
Brecon Beacons and beyond
If you like taking all your own gear and traveling under your own power, Roam Bikepacking offers something different. It will equip you with a bike, saddlebags, a tent and sleeping bag so you can go completely off-road and into the wilderness.
The new 2024 tour takes guests on the Gospel Pass, Wales’ highest road, and Devil’s Staircase – one of Britain’s toughest climbs, with a maximum gradient of 20 percent. They also tell you about the best places for wild camping and swimming.
Roam Bikepacking (07967 870654) can organize this four-day tour for £425 per person (camping) or £550 (B&B).
One for the road in France
2024 will be an excellent year for cycling in France. Not only will it host the annual Tour, but also the Summer Olympics. But while the pros are fueled by sports drinks and protein shakes, how about a leisurely stroll through Champagne and Burgundy – two of Europe’s largest 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 relaxing route also takes you to historic Dijon, the charming capital of Burgundy.
Exodus Adventure Travels (020 8772 3743) offers a seven-day tour from £4,399 per person, including flights, half board, bike hire and a tour guide. Departures on June 23, July 14 and September 15, 2024.
Midnight sun on the Lofoten Islands in Norway
This new self-guided cycling holiday explores one of Northern Europe’s most spectacular and isolated regions, the Lofoten Archipelago. The route passes deserted beaches and small fishing villages. If you’re really lucky, you might spot a white-tailed eagle.
If you go north between late May and mid-July, the sun doesn’t set at all. Your clear nights will be spent in seaside lodges and red fishermen’s huts. As for fuel, the drinks certainly won’t be cheap, but there will be plenty of local cheese and stockfish dumplings.
Headwater (01606 720199) is offering this new self-guided trip between June and August from £3,419 per person, including flights, accommodation, bike hire and meals.
Discover Poland’s rural patchwork
Poland, you say? It’s not a country that 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 starts in May and goes through the Polish region of Lower Silesia, bordering Germany and northern Czech Republic. During the day you’ll pass castles, forests and extinct volcanoes, but in the evening there’s plenty of time for Polish wine (the country is home to 400 vineyards) and nutritious, hearty local food. Silesia is best known for its poppy seed cakes.
The Slow Cyclist (020 7060 4487) is offering a new four-night trip from £2,290 per person, based on traveling as a group of 12, including airport transfers, a support vehicle and English-speaking guides.
Train like a pro in the French Alps
Located in Morzine – where the Tour de France has been held more than twenty times – this week-long training camp is aimed at serious cyclists and is probably as close to professional riding as you can get.
This ‘vacation’ includes a private chef, daily massages and a support vehicle. You will also receive a pre-camp training plan and an all-inclusive drinks package for the evenings. But don’t overdo it: the cycling will be tough. In a week you climb more than 12,000 meters. One of the climbs, the Col de la Pierre Carrée, is considered one of the toughest in the world.
Sa Calobra Cycling Club (0033 688 699 160) runs this seven-day holiday between 28 June and 5 July 2024 and costs from £2,208 per person.
A long weekend in the Italian Dolomites
This is a convenient cycling holiday for people who don’t feel like sitting in the saddle for a whole week. Instead of moving every night, you’ll stay in a four-star lakeside hotel in the village of Alleghe.
Each day ride comes in three options, with mighty climbs for experienced colbaggers, or more relaxed jaunts for beginners. However, epic landscapes are guaranteed for everyone. Day four covers Marmolada, the highest mountain in the Dolomites.
Marmot Tours (01373 830409) offers four-night tours in July and August for £1,350 per person. Airport transfers and half board are included, as is wine with dinner.
Explore the south coast of Ireland
Cycle from Kerry to Cork on this new self-guided eight-day tour, which explores the green and hilly country lanes of Ireland’s glorious south. Highlights include the woodlands and coasts around Clonakilty and the Drombeg Stone Circle: 17 standing stones dating back 2,000 years.
An evening spent in the coastal town of Kinsale gives riders the opportunity to visit James’s Fort, the ruins of a 17th-century fort. The last day we drive past the Royal Cork Yacht Club, said to be the oldest in the world.
Saddle Skedaddle (0191 265 1110) runs this new tour between April and October, priced from £1,445 per person, including bed and breakfast accommodation, luggage transfers and digital route notes.
An e-bike tour through southern Japan
Explore the mountainous splendor of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s main islands, on a Yamaha e-bike tour, covering 400 kilometers in a week. After parts of the car-free Shimanami Kaido Cycle Route, you’ll hop between the smaller islands of the Seto Inland Sea via five suspension bridges.
After visiting the Shikoku Temple Pilgrimage Route – which covers 88 sacred sites – your evenings include sake tastings and bathing in onsens (hot springs). Additional excursions 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.
Drive across America
The Big Daddy of cycling vacations, this 67-night expedition crosses one of the planet’s largest countries and takes in the Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone National Park and the Great Plains.
On this 6,700 kilometer journey between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, you will cover an average of 107 kilometers per day, with a rest day for every 10. The comfort, company and safety of a group make it extra special. 2024 is the year of the US presidential election, so expect plenty to talk about.
Bike Adventures (01273 413489) runs a TransAm tour, including tour guide, support vehicle and accommodation, between July 14 and September 18, costing £10,395 per person.