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.

Start planning your Christmas break with Freewheel Holidays

Panoramica_cidade_Tavira

Christmas is around the corner and we think it’s never too early to start planning a different way to enjoy the roast turkey.

Freewheel Holidays has selected its top three self-guided tours that make a perfect winter break for leisure cyclists.

If you are looking to escape a traditional Christmas at home this year, a leisure cycling holiday on the beautiful Italian island of Sardinia could be a perfect family getaway. During this seven night trip, you will explore vineyards and olive grows, follow a route along the stunning Costa del Sud, before visiting Chia and finishing the trip in Pula. This tour is priced from £549 for adults, with children travelling from £279 (price increases for over children over 13 years of age). Arrivals are on a Saturday although a non-Saturday arrival can be booked for a £49 supplement. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/sardinia-cycling-holiday

The Algarve in Portugal is also a great option if you want to avoid the freezing temperatures of some European cities. The Ecovia do Litoral is a popular cycling route in southern Portugal that goes from Vila Real de Santo António on the Spanish border with Cabo de São Vicente (Sagres) in the west. On this route, you will have the chance to explore nature protection areas with spectacular coastal views on traffic calmed or car-free routes. This seven night tour departs on any day and it’s priced from £779 for adults. Arrivals are available all year round.  http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/algarve-coast-to-coast-7-nights

Spain’s Costa Brava is not a summer-only holiday.  Our six night self-guided tour gives ample time to explore this amazing area. You will stay in the unspoiled Can Muni and spend your days with the family exploring the beaches, pine forests and the medieval, Greek and Roman architecture of the region. This escape is priced from £539 for adults and £369 for children below the age of 13. Daily departures are available all year round, from 1st January to 31st December 2017. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/costa-brava-family-cycling-holiday

 Steven Rittey, product manager for Freewheel Holidays said: “Here at Freewheel Holidays we want our customers to enjoy their breaks at any time of the year and, as Christmas is always a popular time to escape the British winter we’ve selected some warm adventures that make missing the mulled wine and mince pies worthwhile.”

Bikes are provided, and on touring holidays luggage is moved on to the next stop and 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.

Switzerland. get natural.
Electro bike tour around lake Silvaplana in the Upper Engadin, Canton Graubuenden. In the background the Piz da la Margna (3159 m). 

Schweiz. ganz natuerlich.
Eine Tour mit dem Elektrovelo rund um den Silvaplanersee im Oberengadin, Graubuenden. Im Hintergrund der Piz da la Margna (3159 m). 

Suisse. tout naturellement. 
Plaisir de velo electrique au bord du lac de Silvaplana, Haute-Engadine, les Grisons. Au fond, le Piz da la Margna (3159 m). 

Copyright by: Switzerland Tourism  
By-Line: swiss-image.ch / Christof Sonderegger

Put the power into pedalling with an e-bike cycling holiday

Despite cycling holidays becoming increasingly popular, some people are still put off by the pedalling and prefer to let the bike take the strain on the slopes. Freewheel Holidays, who specialise in leisure cycling holidays, offer e-bikes on 60 of their 90 European leisure cycling tours.

E-bikes are pedalled like a regular bike but when the going gets steep, the noiseless electric motor kicks in. These types of bikes make cycling accessible to everyone. You just have to charge the battery every night like a mobile phone and get going. Their range is approximately 50km so it’s enough for one day.

With this in mind, Freewheel Holidays has selected its top three self- guided holidays for those who want to try an e-bike.

You’ve probably heard or even visited the amazing Balearic Islands in Spain but you might not have thought of visiting one of its low-key islands, Menorca. On this island, you can find everything from pine forests to coves and rocky cliffs; a true unspoiled 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. This seven-night tour is priced from £689 for adults and is a superb introduction to this stunning island. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/menorca-7-nights-self-guided

This bicycle tour will take you around the fjords leading up to Oslo, the capital of Norway. You will discover the cute harbour villages along the fjords, while you cycle on low traffic roads. They say that if you don’t go to Oslo and don’t get out to the fjords, you should have your passport revoked so we make sure that you properly get out there and explore everything that Oslo and its fjords have to offer. This tour is flat with some rolling hills so the e-bike will be your good friend. If you want to properly explore the fjords, this six-night stay is priced from £839 for adults.http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/oslo-and-the-fjords-6-night

One of the UK’s best-loved cycle routes from Ilfracombe on the north coast to Plymouth on the south coast, this Devon coast to coast tour crosses the whole county. The route takes in three traffic-free sections including the Tarka Trail, the Granite Way and Drake’s Trail. This tour is priced at £599 per person based on two people sharing for five night’s bed and breakfast with bike hire, luggage transfer and route maps and notes. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/devon-coast-to-coast

Steven Rittey, Product Manager of Freewheel Holidays said: “E-bikes make cycling accessible to everyone and are perfect for those who would like an extra push on their first cycling holiday. Having an e-bike gives people peace of mind, helping them to get the most out of their break. We offer e-bikes on two-thirds of our tours”

E-bikes are an extra £89 per person for the duration of any tour. On touring holidays luggage is moved on to the next stop and each night there’s time for relaxing at one of the charming hotels.  All prices quoted exclude flights.

To check availability and find out more about Freewheel Holidays’ leisure cycling tours call 0800 755 5385

Joanna Rowsell Shand’s Dolomites and Lake Garda journal

I’ll be honest, I never expected a cycle touring holiday would be my thing. I’ve heard people brag about their cycling holidays before and how they fitted everything they needed for the week into a small panier. I have never been any good at travelling light at the best of times, and especially on holiday, I like to take my variety of outfits and any other items, just in case! So a good thing about Freewheel Holidays – I didn’t have to travel light!

Each day we just had to leave our bags downstairs in the hotel and the tour company would transfer the bags to the next destination. So here we were – on a cycle touring holiday with all the outfits I could possibly want.

Our holiday started with an evening in Bolzano which was beautiful. We were greeted with amazing weather so went for a swim in the hotel pool and then took a cable car up the mountain in the evening to enjoy the views. We were also presented with the maps and guide books for our trip, ready to get started the following morning.

Joanna Rowsell Shand Freewheel Holidays

Day 1 – Resia Pass to Silandro – 46km

On Sunday morning we met at 8am for our transfer up to the Resia Pass. We travelled in a mini bus which also carried our bikes up to an altitude of over 1500m where we would start our ride. This was a self-guided tour so we were completely free to go at our own pace and stop whenever we wanted to. I had already studied the guide book the night before and circled some areas on the map I fancied seeing.

After the heat last night in Bolzano it felt a little chilly up at this altitude but we soon descended back into the warmth. We followed the bike path alongside the reservoir as we quickly descended down and took a couple of detours away from the route to see some of the sights.

We stopped in Lasa which was a beautiful village famous for its marble and had lunch in a café just off the bike path. The bike path I found amazing in its self, a smooth completely traffic free dedicated cycling lane, something coming from the UK we rarely get the pleasure of!

Day 2 – Silandro to Merano – 38km

This was my favourite day of the holiday due to the breath-taking scenery. I took lots of photos but they still don’t do it justice! We stopped in Laces and locked our bikes up to take the cable car up to San Martino al Monte. I am a little scared of heights and cable cars terrify me so it is saying something about how spectacular the views were for me to say the cable car journey was so worth it!

The day finished with a descent into Merano where our hotel had a pool so that is where I spent most of the afternoon (I don’t do cycling tan lines).

Joanna Rowsell Shand Freewheel Holidays

Day 3 – Merano to Bolzano – 35km

For today’s ride we covered the distance fairly quickly as I was keen to spend more time in Bolzano. It is such a beautiful town with so many little streets to discover. This part of Italy still has a very strong Austrian influence so we ate out at a traditional Austrian style restaurant and enjoyed a selection of dumplings which were divine!

Day 4 – Bolzano to Trento – 75km

The first half of the holiday had been classified as easy and the second half was classified as moderate hence the increased distance today and also a bit of uphill! We began by taking the bike path out of Bolzano which is an incredible example of cycling infrastructure – a true cycling super highway to take us out of town but completely separate from the traffic, before heading for a climb. This was still all on the bike path and if we hadn’t fancied the climb we could have remained on the original bike path to head south along the river. We then descended to the beautiful Lake Caldaro before re-joining the bike path and heading south towards Trento.

I’d definitely worked up an appetite today and enjoyed the best meal of the holiday tonight in Trento. Dan and I shared a starter of Parma ham and melon, followed by a pasta course and then a pizza!Joanna Rowsell Shand Freewheel Holidays

Day 5 – Trento to Lake Garda – 50km

Today we headed south out of Trento on the bike path and down to Lake Garda. There was one more climb today before we descended down into Riva del Garda. We stopped here for lunch and got changed before our ferry ride down the full length of Lake Garda to our final destination of Peschiera del Garda. This was a long trip – but I was glad for a break from the bike and the opportunity to take lots of photos of the gorgeous towns along the shores of the lake.

Day 6 – Peschiera del Garda to Verona – 40km

The final day of our tour took us on a scenic route to Verona using a combination of bike paths and quiet roads. We took minimal stops on this ride as I was keen to maximise our time in Verona and I was so glad I did!

Verona was beautiful with a stunning amphitheatre in the centre built in 30 AD. If you do decide to take this trip, make sure you check if there are any events on here as the amphitheatre is still in use with regular performances. We also saw the famous Juliet balcony and many other spectacular buildings and enjoyed one last Italian meal out.

Joanna Rowsell Shand Freewheel Holidays

We had a fabulous trip and travelling by bike was such a good way to see so much more of the area than I ever would have seen by simply travelling to one hotel or resort. We ate some amazing food and met some lovely people. The hassle was totally taken out of the trip by booking through Freewheel Holidays and having the support there on the ground every day. Overall we rode just over 300km (including a few detours off the route to explore further) and it was a journey never to be forgotten!

I’m already planning where I fancy exploring next!

Joanna

Lake Garda Freewheel Holidays

Joanna Rowsell Shand does the Dolomites and Lake Garda trip

Our ambassador Joanna Rowsell Shand has taken on the adventure of cycling through the Dolomites and Lake Garda. This is a seven night stunning tour is taking her from the Austrian border down to Verona and it includes a boat trip on Lake Garda.

She has taken the time on her Day 4 to film a short video before she starts her way from Bolzano to Trento which is 70km.

If you fancy following Joanna’s tracks, you can book her Dolomites and Lake Garda tour at http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/dolomites-and-lake-garda . The tour is priced at £669 per person and includes seven nights in 3 or 4 star hotels.

Create your own ‘Tour de France’ on a leisure cycling holiday with Freewheel Holidays

It’s summer, the temperatures are rising and the Tour de France is finally here! From July 1st – 23rd the most famous cycling event in the world will take place on the roads of France. That thrilling moment when the riders of the Tour arrive on the Champs-Elysées in Paris creates an electric atmosphere like no other cycling race in the world.

With this in mind, Freewheel Holidays, the leisure holiday specialist, has selected its top three self-guided cycling tours that capture the beauty of France and those stunning open roads that have made the Tour de France the most famous cycle race in the world!

Freewheel Holidays

Have you ever thought of combining cycling with river cruising in France? On this tour through Provence, you will see many highlights such as the Pont du Gard, Arles, St. Remy, where Nostradamus was born, and Les Baux. You will have all your meals prepared by an on board chef and you will be able to cycle with a guide or explore on your own. You will cycle on low-traffic roads surrounded by vineyards, and in Châteauneuf- du-Pape enjoy a tasting of the famous Provençal wine. This tour is priced for seven nights in a twin room at £969. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/provence-aigues-mortes-avignon-boat-and-bike-cycling

This Loire Valley and Orleans tour starts in Orleans, homeland of Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans) where you can visit a reconstructed building where she stayed during a siege.  On this route, you will encounter more than 200 castles including the Villandry Castle, well known for its gardens and the spectacular Sleeping Beauty Castle in Usse. You can cycle the route to Saumur, considered the Pearl of Anjou, which covers approximately 50 km a day on cycle paths and paved roads with little traffic, encompassing part of the ‘Loire à Vélo’ long-distance cycle route. This seven night self-guided tour starts at £699 per person for a twin room. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/leisurely-loire-valley-orleans-saumur-cycling-holiday

You can also visit North Burgundy on a family trip. On this tour, you will be able to go canoeing through the Loire River, and stay in an authentic gypsy caravan or in a tree lodge. The kids will love this! Just imagine cycling through the quiet French countryside and forest roads whilst being able to admire medieval castles and gothic churches. This six night stay is priced at £749 for adults. Children aged 2-11 years, get a 50% child discount and children aged 12-16 years get a 10% discount. http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/north-burgundy-family-6-nights

“We want to share with everyone our passion for cycling especially during events like the Tour de France. Not all of these tours cycle through the Tour de France stages, but we want our customers to get the feel of rural France pedalling past beautiful fields, small medieval towns and impressive castles,” said Steven Rittey, product manager for Freewheel Holidays.

These tours are easy and moderate always with the emphasis on the fun experience rather than a challenging tour.

The price includes bike hire, maps, and route information. On touring holidays luggage is moved on to the next stop and each night there’s time for relaxing at one of the charming hotels.

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

-Ends-

For further information contact:

Maria Valero at Bird Consultancy on 0161 839 4846 or email mv@birdconsultancy.co.uk.

Notes to editors:

Freewheel Holidays is a specialist leisure cycling holiday provider founded in 1999 and was acquired by Sports Tours International in October 2015.

The company offers a range of 4 – 9 night breaks to 12 European countries including the UK, Austria, France, Holland, Czech Republic, Italy, Malta, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Sweden and Portugal.  The majority of the tours are self-guided with options for families, couples and single travellers of all ages.

Double gold Olympian Joanna Rowsell Shand joins Freewheel Holidays

Joanna Rowsell video

Following yesterday’s announcement that Joanna Rowsell Shand has called time on her illustrious Great Britain cycling career, Jo has confirmed today that she will become an ambassador for Freewheel Holidays.

Part of Manchester-based Sports Tours International, Freewheel Holidays is a leading supplier of leisure cycling holidays across Europe.

Commenting on the ambassador role Joanna Rowsell Shand said:
“Retiring from competitive cycling was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made, however, I am very excited about the opportunities that lie ahead with Freewheel Holidays.”

Sports Tours International CEO Chris Bird comments:
“Having worked with Jo for the last 2 years I am delighted that she has chosen to join our team as we continue to grow our brands across the globe. Jo is an exceptional athlete and shares our desire to promote cycling to the masses and to get more women into cycling.”

Lake Garda Freewheel Holidays

Dolomites and Lake Garda

As a keen cyclist, Italian enthusiast and a member of the Freewheel team I travelled out to Verona to spend a few days riding on the route of the Dolomites and Lake Garda tour. Having previously spent many fantastic holidays in Italy this was my first time cycling through this fascinating country.

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You can read my full story below….

Dolomites and Lake Garda

After the short flight from Manchester to Verona I hopped on the airport shuttle bus (approx. 8 euros) to catch a direct train from Verona Porta Nuovo station to Bolzano, the region’s capital. The train journey itself is both relaxing and spectacular, passing through vineyards, lush valleys, and mountain peaks. I felt excited to be back in Italy and was really looking forward to travelling through the region on my bike.

On arrival at Bolzano it was only a 5-10 mins walk from the station to the charming 4 star Hotel Scala which offers excellent rooms with some beautiful mountain views. I spent the afternoon in Bolzano Old Town exploring on foot, with its narrow streets, colourful buildings and busy main square (Piazza Walther) with its Cathedral, restaurants and street musicians.

Nearby the hotel there is the Ritten cable car where a short trip will take you to Oberbozen (to connect with the Renon train) for a stunning view of the Dolomites and countryside. Being close to the Austrian border Bolzano shares certain influences with its neighbour, such as the architecture and cuisine. I sampled a local Porcini Pasta dish with red wine before heading back to my hotel in the early evening for a welcome meeting where the bike fitting also took place.

I cycled in Italy for 3 days and Day 1 for me on a warm early summer morning was alongside the River Adige from Bolzano to the charming town of Trento where I found the locals very friendly. The route itself begins only a few mins ride from the Hotel Scala through the main square and onto the cycle path network which leads all the way to Trento. The cycle-ways were a joy to ride on, very well signed and I was left almost speechless by the incredible scenery throughout the whole route, which is largely flat and very easy to navigate, perfect for cyclists of all levels. Crossing the river on footbridges both old and modern I experienced beautiful valleys, peaks, vineyards and poppy fields as well as several interesting small towns which made for a good place to stop and take lunch. All this without climbing a single hill!

The university town of Trento has become a popular holiday destination in itself and it’s not hard to see why – with its castle, churches, Romanesque cathedral square, imposing Renaissance palazzi, restaurants, and modern cafes, all left me wanting to come back in the future. The grand hotel in Trento where I stayed was particularly special and memorable.

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Day 2 I cycled from Trento to Peschiera, on Lake Garda which meant more fantastic scenery along the River Adige cycle path, a succession of vineyards and orchards, with a feeling of being more in the countryside. Approximately half way through the ride is the lively little town of Rovereto which is an excellent place to stop for a spot of lunch. The town also boasts a hillside castle, an Italian history museum, churches and many other points of interest. Onwards along the old railway route, lined with olive trees, via the fishing village of Torbole, I eventually reached Riva del Garda where the panoramic view of Lake Garda is quite remarkable. This is where I enjoyed a superb descent to meet the lakeside cycle path, which eventually leads to the ferry port near Piazza Novembre. I would suggest spending an hour here to soak up the atmosphere. Then it was time to rest the legs, relax and admire the hillside villages as the boat zigzagged from north to south, stopping at many traditional lakeside towns along the way to Peschiera. Here there were plenty of lakeside restaurants and attractions for families and children to enjoy, including numerous theme parks.

Day 3 I cycled from Peschiera to the wonderful city of Verona. Having visited Verona once before (without a bike) I couldn’t wait to arrive there, but this time in the saddle. Another easy ride, albeit with some hills at the beginning which began along small country roads, paths, and vineyards, travelling through some tiny tranquil towns. Despite this day being slightly less scenic I arrived in Verona via the canal pathways on the outskirts of the city and felt slightly overwhelmed at the sight of Piazza Bra and its imposing arena.

Historic Verona is one of the most famous cities in Italy for many different things, such as Roman monuments, art, architecture, shopping, pretty Piazzas and obviously Romeo and Juliet. Having been twice myself I would definitely recommend it to anyone, especially by bike!

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Highlights

  • Stunning scenery
  • Verona and its open air Roman Arena
  • Easy cycling on excellent cycle paths and signposted guides
  • Numerous charming towns along the daily routes
  • Good value for money, staying in some high-quality hotels with an impressively varied breakfast on offer each morning.
  • The bikes and equipment were of a high quality, easy to ride and very well maintained
  • Plenty of attractions and things to do in towns along the route
  • Easy transfer connections from Verona airport

Simon Rutherford – Freewheel Holidays