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Romantic Breaks on Two Wheels

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than booking an active holiday break to one of the most romantic cities in Europe? We’ve picked our favourite Freewheel Holiday cycling destinations for you and your loved one:

  1. Venice Lands

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Visit one of the most romantic cities in the world and soak up the atmosphere with a gondola boat ride on this seven-night self-guided cycling tour. Cycle around the Venice Lagoon and explore the wonderful sights and architecture in Vicenza and Padua.

  1. Bruges and Belgian Coast

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Cycle through dunes along the picturesque Belgian coast and along pretty canal-side paths on this 7-day self-guided tour. Make sure you indulge in the famous Belgian chocolates and local ales.

  1. Amsterdam to Paris

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Experience a dream bike ride through Europe, from the canals of Amsterdam to the city of love – Paris, with the chance to enjoy the Eiffel Tower and other famous landmarks throughout this 12-day trip.

  1. Pisa to Florence

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From The Leaning Tower to the Ponte Vecchio through the marvellous Tuscan countryside, discover fascinating culture on this seven-night self-guided cycling tour

 

boat and bike

Sail and cycle around Europe with Freewheel Holidays

Combine the benefits of a cycling holiday with a river cruise along some of Europe’s famous waterways, with Freewheel Holidays. The leisure holiday company has selected its favourite Boat and Bike tours for 2018…

Island hop along the South Dalmatian coast in Croatia with a seven-night self-guided tour, which starts and finishes at Trogir, just four miles from Split airport.  The tour takes in vineyards, quaint towns and villages and lavender fields, stopping at five islands as well as giving you the chance to explore the city of Dubrovnik. Guests stay on board a boat and the tour is priced from £559 per person, which includes five nights half board and two nights full board.  There is also a 50% discount for children up to 14 years who share a triple cabin with two adults.  The tour is available on selected dates from 28 April – 27 October. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/south-dalmatian-coast-island-hoppingcroatia 2

 

Explore Dutch landscapes, windmills, waterways, old ports and sand dunes on a Boat and Bike tour of North Amsterdam. You will spend seven nights on a converted Dutch barge, exploring the old ports of Volendam, Hoorn and Enkhuizen. You have the option to cycle with a group or on your own and rejoin the boat for parts the route. Prices start from £949 per person and the tour runs from 19th May – 6 October.
http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/north-of-amsterdam-boat-and-bike-cycling-holidayboat and bike

 

Freewheel Holidays offer a number of scenic boat and bike tours along Europe’s famous River Danube, including Passau to Budapest. This exciting tour features four countries – Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary – and the chance to explore the fascinating cities of Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. Discover beautiful countryside and cycle along the river banks by day, before settling aboard your ‘floating hotel’ for relaxed evenings on the water. Prices start from £719 and this tour is available from 29 April – 13 October. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tours/date_price_cabin/danube-passau-to-budapest-7-nights-boat-amp-bike-ms-my-storyPassau to Budapest

 

If you’re looking for something a little different, the seven night Venice to Mantova tour offers a unique opportunity to experience North Italy by bike, along the famous River Po. You’ll spend time in the stunning city of Venice and cycle along the Venetian Lagoon, visiting the bustling fish market of Chioggia. Highlights include the Po Delta – a unique wetland park, home to several colonies of flamingos – and the enchanting Renaissance town of Mantua, considered Italy’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Prices start from £1429 and the tour is available from 7 April – 20 October.
http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/venice-to-mantova-7-nights-boat-amp-bike-ave-mariaVenice to Mantova

Steven Rittey, Product Manager for Freewheel Holidays, commented: “Boat and Bike active holidays have grown in popularity in the last couple of years. Our cabins sell out quickly especially on famous routes along the River Danube and Dutch canals.

“One of the main benefits of this type of cycling holiday is that you don’t have to unpack each day as you travel from place to place. Boat and Bike cycling holidays give you the option to stay on board and soak up the waterside surroundings from the comfort of the boat. Ideal if you prefer not to cycle every day whilst your partner or family are out on the bikes. Average cycling distances tend to be less than 50km.

 

denmark in christmas

Christmas Traditions in Denmark

  1. The festivities start from as early as the 1st November! There is lots of baking involved with people making biscuits, gingerbread cookies and vanilla cookies!
  2. Children in Denmark believe that their presents are brought by ‘Julemanden’ (Christmas Man) He looks like Santa Claus and travels with reindeer and a sleigh. He can be found in Greenland and is helped out by ‘nisser’ who is similar to an elf, and likes to eat rice pudding!
  3. The Christmas meal is eaten between 6pm and 8pm. The table is beautifully decorated. Foods are eaten on Christmas day usually include roast duck, pork, or goose. These are usually served with sweet and boiled potatoes, cabbage, beetroot and cranberry sauce. Yummy!
  4. Did you know that for Advent in Denmark, there is a television series with 24 episodes known as Julekalender. The theme of the series tends to follow a similar storyline, with one character trying to ruin Christmas and the other character saving it!
  5. Another old tradition is to give animals a treat on Christmas Eve. Some people may go for walks on Christmas Eve to feed the animals and birds.
  6. There is a very special sweet treat known as ‘ris á la mande’ which is a special kind of rice pudding, made of milk, almonds, rice, whipped cream and vanilla. Everything is chopped up but one almond. The one who finds the whole almond first gets a Mandelgave (almond present) This little present is a marzipan pig, or sweets or a little toy.
  7. There are lots of different types of Advent calendars and candles that are popular in Denmark. One of these is known as a Pakkekalender, which includes 24 gifts for children to open each day.
  8. Once the Christmas meal has finished the lights on the Christmas tree are lit. Lots of carols are sung and people dance around the tree. This time is also time for people to open presents.
  9. On Christmas day people meet with their family and have a big lunch together with Danish open-faced sandwiches on rye bread.
  10. Some people in Denmark give and receive extra Advent presents on the four Sundays of Advent.
  11. St. Lucia’s Day (or St. Lucy’s Day) is also celebrated on December 13th, although it’s more famous for being celebrated in Denmark’s neighbour, Sweden.
  12. In Danish Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Glædelig Jul’. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages.

Source: https://www.whychristmas.com/

 

 

 

christmas in poland

Poland – 12 Days of Christmas

  1. On Christmas Eve (also known as Wigilia) the household I cleaned from top to bottom and everyone wears their best clothes. It is also a tradition of people to each their Christmas meal on Christmas Eve, this is known as “Kolacja wigilijna”. It is also a tradition that no food is eaten until the very first star is seen in the sky!
  2. Carp is often the main dish for the Christmas meal. But did you know that the fish itself is usually purchased a few days before and swims in the bath until it is killed by the lady of the house! It is, however, more commonly known for people to buy a fillet of carp instead. The scales are a sign of good luck and many are known to keep them through the whole year as good luck!
  3. At the Christmas meal, a place at the table is saved for an unexpected guest. Polish people believe that no one should be alone or hungry, so if someone was to knock on the door, they would be welcomed in. Others leave this seat for a member of the family who may have passed away, or who may not have been able to make it on the day.
  4. The Christmas tree is bought and decorated on Christmas Eve. Like us here in the UK, the tree is usually decorated with a star at the top, which represents the Star of Bethlehem. The tree is then covered with handmade baubles and glass ornaments. Some houses even break the glass baubles to scare the evil out of the house for the following year.
  5. During the Christmas Eve supper, presents are not allowed to be opened until the meal has been finished. Carols are sung, sometimes to tease the children who want to open their presents as soon as they can!
  6. One of the most popular desserts is a poppy seed roll made of sweet yeast bread, mixed dried fruits and nuts with wheat seeds and moist cake make with honey. Yummy!
  7. You may find a straw on the floor of the room, under a tablecloth. This is to remind people that Jesus was born in a stable.
  8. Another firm favourite for us here in the UK and around the world, one the most popular films to watch over Christmas is Home Alone. In Poland it’s called ‘Kevin Sam w Domu’ which means ‘Kevin Alone in the House’. In 2010 it wasn’t going to be shown, but so many people complained that it was put back on TV!
  9. “barszcz” (beetroot soup) is one of the most important dishes in Poland and it is obligatory that it is eaten. If you don’t like it, you must eat mushroom soup instead! The beetroot soup can be eaten with little dumplings and mushrooms, or pancakes with mushrooms and cabbage fried in breadcrumbs.
  10. If you visit Poland during the festive period, you smell tangerines, this is a sign that Christmas time is about to start!
  11. For the Christmas meal, there are traditionally 12 dishes which are said to give you good luck for the next 12 months. As to remember the animals who took baby Jesus in to the manager, the meal is traditionally meat-free. Everyone is expected to try each of the 12 dishes.
  12. In Polish Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Wesołych Świąt’.

SOURCE: https://www.whychristmas.com/

 

Wine Lovers - 120 x 600

12 German Christmas Traditions

  1. Did you know, in Germany the saying Happy Christmas is ‘Frohe Weihnachten’?
  2. There are lots of different kinds of advent calendars used in households across Germany. Like us here in the UK they have chocolate boxes, filled with treats for each day in December leading up to Christmas. They also have ones made out of wreath with 24 decorated boxes or bags hanging from and each one has a little present inside too. They also use a ring of branches with candles in it similar to that of those used in Churches.
  3. It is not Christmas day that presents are usually exchanged; this is done on Christmas Eve with family and friends.
  4. Germany would not be complete during the festive period without a Christmas Market! With plenty of foods to tempt you (and wine), it is no surprise that millions come to visit these wonderful markets to get a taste of Germany at Christmas. At the markets, you will also find plenty of handmade gifts, decorations and treats!
  5. At some school parties and in the workplace people often swap secret prizes, ( a little like our secret Santa here in the UK) It is said to be bad luck to find out who sent each present.
  6. The mother of the family dresses and decorates the Christmas tree as a surprise for the Children. In some parts of Germany, many read the Bible around the tree and sing Christmas songs, included in the well known Stille Nacht (Silent Night)
  7. Food at Christmas is different around the world. Did you know in Germany Carp or Goose is a firm favourite for a Christmas meal? All topped off with the popular dessert, Stollen.
  8. You may well spot singers going from house to house, singing songs and collecting money for charity. Known as Sternsinger (star singers) four children dress up as the three wise men and one carries a symbol for the Star of Bethlehem. Once the children have finished signing they write in chalk on the door of the house indicating the date and year. Residents are sure not to run of this mark as this is considered as bad luck.
  9. As we do here in the UK, in some parts of Germany, children write to ‘das Christkind/Christkindl’ asking for presents. To give the letters that extra bit of sparkle, children decorate them with sugar glued to the envelope. They don’t post them to Santa, they leave them at the window for Christkind.
  10. Children hope that ‘der Nikolaus’ will bring them treats on St Nicholas Day *6th December) He has been known to put the presents into the shoes of children, who would have placed the night before in preparation for his visit!
  11. In some regions of Germany, there is a character known as “Krampus” who accompanies Nikolaus (St. Nicholas) on the 6th of December. He is big horned monster clothed in rags and carries chains. He is mean to punish the children who have been bad!
  12. Sometimes wooden frames, covered with coloured plastic sheets, with electric candles inside, are put in windows to make the house look pretty from the outside during the festive period!
Lake Constance

Cycle through a James Bond film location on a tour of Lake Constance

Cycle through stunning scenery and explore a famous James Bond film location on a Lake Constance and Rhine Falls tour with Freewheel Holidays.

During the eight-day tour visit the festival town of Bregenz, home to the strikingly modern Opera House featured in the 2008 film Quantum of Solace. This is where members of the nefarious Quantum organisation met up during a performance of Puccini’s Tosca. The Opera House, the largest floating stage in the world, also hosts the Bregenz Festival each summer.

The tour circles the entire lake and takes you through Germany, Austria and Switzerland, where you can soak up beautiful lake scenery and mountain backdrops. You will also visit the Rhine Falls, Switzerland’s largest mountains.

Prices start from £649 per person and the tour runs from 24 March to 24 October 2018 with daily departures.http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/lake-constance-rhine-falls

Steven Rittey, Product Manager for Freewheel Holidays, commented: “This tour is the perfect way to explore the beautiful scenery Lake Constance has to offer and the picturesque lakeside towns that surround it, including Constance, Stein am Rhein, Meersburg and Lindau. 

“If you’re a James Bond fan, follow in Daniel Craig’s footsteps and visit the impressive Opera in Bregenz where part of the film was made.”

Lanzarote cycling

Lanzarote cycling break

With its all year round sunshine and impressive volcanic landscapes, an eight-day cycling trip to Lanzarote with Freewheel Holidays could be the perfect winter escape.

During the trip, you will explore beautiful coastline and stunning beaches, and the famous Timanfaya National Park, where you’ll witness the island’s volcanic nature at its best. Soak up culture and visit the former home of Cesar Manrique, the renowned architect and artist who helped shape modern Lanzarote.

Cycling in Lanzarote

Prices start from £879 per person with departures every Saturday. Flights are not included. Accommodation is in country villas and up to 5-star hotels, with breakfast included each day. This tour is available as a guided or self-guided holiday.

For more information visit http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/lanzarote-7-nights-self-guided

Steven Rittey, Product Manager for Freewheel Holidays, commented:
“Lanzarote is a great destination for a cycling break as it combines beautiful beaches and picturesque villages with fascinating views of volcanoes and immense lava flow. Shorter routes are an option on some of the days making it easier for less experienced riders.”

To check availability and find out more about Freewheel Holidays leisure cycling tours call 0800 755 5385 or visit www.freewheelholidays.co.uk.

 

Cycle through the land of beer (and wine) with Freewheel Holidays

Cycling along River Isar

Oktoberfest is coming soon! On 16th September the world’s largest beer festival will open its doors to more than 6 million people, travelling from all over the world to sample such delicacies as Knödel (dumplings) Schweinshaxe (grilled ham hock) and Weißwurst (a white sausage), not to mention over 7 million litres of beer!

If all that has got your taste buds going then why not discover more of what this stunning region has to offer?

Freewheel Holidays, specialists in European leisure cycling holidays, has selected its top three self-guided tours for beer, wine and food lovers.

The Bavarian Lakes are surrounded by impressive mountain ranges and colourful, baroque old towns that pop along the cycling path of this self-guided tour. And with its famed local sausages, beers and the Franconia wine region, Bavaria is a foodie’s dream.

Back on the cycle paths, you will be able to admire the turquoise water of the River Isar, where all the Münchners sunbathe when the weather gets warmer. If you want to discover the hidden lakes of Bavaria, this seven night tour is priced from £699. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/bavarian-lakes-7-nights

Freewheel’s cycling tour to Lake Constance is perfect for families with short daily distances and flat terrain. The lake is situated in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria near the Alps. Highlights include the historic towns of Constance, Stein am Rhein, Rhein, Meersburg and Lindau and the festival town of Bregenz. The tour also includes the entrance to Constance Sea Life Centre, boat trips and museum entrances. And for food lovers, there’s a wealth of lakeside eateries offering the best of local produce, often accompanied by a stunning view! This six night self-guided tour is priced from £519. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/lake-constance-family-cycling-tour

The Rhine Valley situated in the Southwest of Germany is the country’s second largest wine producing territory. This area around the Rhine and Neckar Rivers is perfect for those who want to enjoy wine tasting as well as a mild, Mediterranean climate. This tour starts and finishes in the old town of Neustadt an der Weinstraße, you will wind your way through rows of vineyards along the Rhine Valley, visiting historic towns and a host of attractions from sea life centres and swimming pools to zoos and museums. Also included is a trip to the medieval Cathedral town of Speyer. This seven night self-guided cycling tour is priced from £599. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/explore-the-rhine-valley

Bikes are provided, and on touring holidays luggage is moved on to the next stop. Each night there’s time for relaxing at one of the charming hotels.

To check availability and find out more about Freewheel Holidays’ leisure cycling tours call 0800 7555385 or visit www.freewheelholidays.co.uk.

Discover the secrets of Spain with Freewheel Holidays

Menorca_Cala Mitjana

Summer is here and many are fleeing the country chasing the sun and finding a nice spot to relax on the beaches of Spain. Escape the crowded touristy areas and discover a country that is much more than cerveza, paella and jamón.

Freewheel Holidays, specialists in European leisure cycling holidays, has selected its top three non-touristy Spanish holidays, all available to book now for autumn/winter 2017/2018.

Catalonia, or Cataluña in Spanish, is a distinct, autonomous region of North-eastern Spain, known for the beach resorts of Costa Brava and the Pyrenees Mountains. On this tour, you will cycle around Empordà, a cradle for many artistic movements, such as surrealism, artists such as Salvador Dalí. You will visit the world famous Dalí museum in the characteristic town of Figueres and ride along the path of the final stretch of the River Ter to Fonollera Beach, where the river forms into a lagoon and enters the sea in front of the Medes islands. This six night escape, ideal for families, is priced from £539 for adults and £369 for children under 13. Daily departures are available all year round, until 31st December 2017. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/costa-brava-family-cycling-holiday

The Canary Islands, is a great choice for a relaxing cycling holiday.  Volcanoes and solidified lava flows will surround you as you cycle around Lanzarote. The itinerary also allows you to enjoy the coastlines and beaches and the stunning interior, including the famous Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, where you’ll find the island’s volcanic nature. Lanzarote was also the home of César Manrique, the enigmatic architect, artist and ecologist and on this tour; you will visit his eclectic former residence. This seven night self-guided tour is priced at £809. Daily departures are available all year round. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/lanzarote-7-nights-self-guided

Unspoilt Menorca is the best kept secret of the Balearic Islands. You can find everything from pine forests to coves and rocky cliffs; a truly untouched landscape. This self-guided tour begins in Mahon, Menorca’s capital city where you have time to discover its famous harbour, beachside towns and architecture that includes lighthouses, fortresses and Bronze-Age caves.  The trip finishes in the medieval town of Ciutadella where the well know traditional summer fiesta of the ‘Festes de Sant Joan’ is held annually from 23–25 June. This seven night tour is priced from £689 for adults and is a superb introduction to this stunning island. Departures available from September to November 2017. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/menorca-7-nights-self-guided

Steven Rittey, Product Manager of Freewheel Holidays said: “Spain is a country that has much more to offer other than the traditional holiday resorts. Our tours are designed for our customers to discover the hidden gems and the tranquil paths and also to learn the most about this country’s local culture.”

Bikes are provided, and on touring holidays luggage is moved on to the next stop. Each night there’s time for relaxing at one of the charming hotels.

To check availability and find out more about Freewheel Holidays’ leisure cycling tours call 0800 7555385 or visit www.freewheelholidays.co.uk.

Sail and cycle through culture with Freewheel Holidays

croatia holidays

Boat and bike trips are probably the best way to enjoy the sea and the calm rivers of Europe, stopping to explore at each port.

These trips are perfect for families, groups of friends or even solo travellers looking for a relaxing yet active holiday. Besides enjoying the breeze and the sun you can also enjoy a cycling tour at every stop but that’s up to you; if what you want is just relax and sunbathe, you can stay on board while the rest of the group is out on their bikes.

Freewheel Holidays has selected its top three boat and bike holidays, all available to book now for spring/summer 2018.

It seems like everyone is going to Croatia now, right and this south Dalmatian island hopping tour takes you to vineyards, quaint towns, and villages and lavender fields, stopping at five islands as well as giving guests the chance to explore the city of Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The seven-night self-guided tour which starts and finishes at Trogir, just four miles from Split airport, is from £559 per person and includes five nights’ half board and two nights’ full board.  There is also a 50% discount for children up to 14 years who share a triple cabin with two adults. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/south-dalmatian-island-hopping

Have you ever thought of sailing around The Netherlands? On this holiday you will sail from Amsterdam and visit the many harbour cities around Lake IJsselmeer. You could even have the opportunity to help the crew with sailing and navigating. If the weather and wind conditions are good, you will be able to experience the thrill of travelling under full sail as you return to Amsterdam where you will have time to explore the beautiful and exciting capital of The Netherlands. This tour is priced for seven nights in a twin room at £799.     http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/lakeijsselmeer-sail-and-bike-7-nights

They say that the best way to visit the North of Italy is by sailing the river Po, the longest Italian river. On this tour you will be able to explore more than just the city of Venice – you will explore the Venice lagoon and the fish market of Chioggia. Some of the cultural highlights of this tour are the town of Adria, which gave name to the Adriatic Sea and Ferrara; known as the ‘town of cyclists’ and the Renaissance town of Mantua considered Italy’s ‘sleeping beauty’. This seven night tour is priced from £969. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/venice-to-mantova-7-nights-boat-amp-bike-ave-maria

Steven Rittey, product manager for Freewheel Holidays said: “Our boat and bike tours are always the most popular as this combination is ideal if someone from the group wants to chill out on board while the rest of the family or friends are out exploring.”

Bikes are provided, and on touring holidays luggage is moved on to the next stop. Each night there’s time for relaxing at one of the charming hotels.

To check availability and find out more about Freewheel Holidays’ leisure cycling tours call 0800 7555385 or visit www.freewheelholidays.co.uk.