Five of the best cycling tours for wine and gourmet lovers
Now featuring over 200 cycling tours across Europe, Freedom Treks has continued to respond to the increased demand for holidays, allowing travellers to discover la Dolce Vita at their own pace. Recognising that for many customers, the opportunity to enjoy world renowned food and wine is an important aspect of their cycling holiday, Freedom Treks has labelled certain tours within its programme as Gastro/Wine Cycling Holidays. These holidays are in regions recognised for the quality of the locally produced wine and/or cuisine and are perfect for disciples of the growing slow food movement. Freedom Treks offers 32 Gastro/Wine tours in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain. Here are the top five of the best wine and food cycling tours in Europe this summer.
Umbrian Gastronomic Tour
If being surrounded by fabulous food and wine is simply not enough then this hands-on Umbrian Gastronomic tour is the finest way to satisfy your appetite. Offering guests the chance to learn to cook and discover some secrets of authentic Umbrian cookery, whilst taking in the stunning countryside by bike compliments this unique experience. The tour starts in the medieval town of Spello, before cycling 28 miles to Spoleto for the first cookery lesson creating antipasti, pasta and risotto. Once in the town of Bevagna, the cooking focus turns to a mix of ‘Grandmother’s secrets’ and a take on modern cuisine. Aside from the food the cycling tour makes a stop in the small town of Torgiano, famous for its excellent wines, where a dinner of Umbrian specialities is prepared with a special wine tasting evening.
How much? This 7-night, 118-mile guided tour starts from £994 per person in 3* hotels on B&B, including 4 dinners, 3 cookery lessons and 2 wine tasting sessions, as well as luggage transport. Departs any day between 1st April – 31st October, excluding 28th June – 15th July. Grade: Easy-Moderate. Flights to Perugia (S.Egidio airport) from Stansted with Ryanair start from £28 one-way, or fly to Rome or Florence and trains are available from the airport to Spello.
Perhaps not the first country to spring to mind when thinking of good wine and gastronomy but Slovenia is often overlooked, despite taking much of its culinary influence from Viennese and Italian styles. This cycling tour starts in Maribor, just 15km from the Austrian border, along the banks of the River Drava before stopping at the oldest town in Slovenia, Ptuj. Here, you will get to taste the Traminec white wine from the nearby Haloze Hills. Following a lunch stop at Ormož, bordering Croatia, the cycle route continues along the famous Ormož to Ljutomer wine road, one of the smallest yet most well-known wine growing areas. Balancing a stay in an authentic country inn with its own wine cellar is the opportunity to experience the thermal spas in a 4* overnight stay in Moravske Toplice. The tour continues on to Lenart before completing its circular route back on Maribor.
How much? This 7-night, 124-mile self-guided tour starts from £641 per person in 2/3* hotels on B&B, including 2 dinners, luggage transport, maps and route information. Departs any Saturday between 6th April to 5th October. Grade: Moderate. Flights to Ljubljana start from £32 one-way with easyJet from London Stansted and train travel is available to Maribor. Alternatively fly to Graz.
Parma to Lucca by E-bike
The two cities marking the beginning and end of this cycling tour need little introduction as undisputed stars in the culinary world. Start out from Parma and explore the wonderful Emilia Romana region known for its famous ham and parmesan cheese, before following the Via Francigena, the old pilgrimage route to Rome, and discovering the changed landscape of Tuscany with its castles, farms and vineyards. This tour benefits from the use of e-bikes, leaving yourself with more energy to explore the area and maximise your enjoyment, as you are helped along by an electric engine. It means the challenging terrain becomes manageable and you can attempt longer routes and steeper ascents.
How much? This 7-night, 172-mile self-guided tour starts from £641 per person in 2/3* hotels on B&B, including 2 dinners, luggage transport, maps and route information. Departs any Saturday between 6th April to 5th October. Grade: Moderate. Flights to Parma start from £22 one-way with Ryanair from London Stansted, other options include flights to Bologna or Milan and flying home from Pisa. Train travel is available from Milan or Bologna airport to Parma.
This aptly named Best of Burgundy cycling tour, delves into the heart of the region famed for its excellent wine. Against a backdrop of colourful rolling countryside, the tour starts in Dijon and passes countless vineyards and trundles through picturesque villages. Discover some fine cru in the wine cellars of Beaune, known as the capital of Burgundy wine, before visiting the vineyard of Montrachet, one of the most famous white wine vineyards in the world. Owing to its favourable landscape and gentle nature this tour lends itself to families with young children too, with a full range of child friendly cycling accessories available including, trailers, tagalongs and small bikes.
How much? This 7-night, 115-mile self-guided tour starts from £642 per person on B&B, including luggage transport, maps and route information. Departs any day between March-October. Grade: Easy-Moderate. Flights to Paris start from £33 one-way with easyJet from Luton. Alternatively fly to Lyon or travel by Eurostar to Paris.
A cycling tour along Germany’s Mosel Valley explores one of the most varied and beautiful river valleys of Europe, starting in Trier and meandering through to Koblenz. Owing to its favourable climate, this area became famous for its excellent wine producing, notably Riesling and Müller-Thurgau and is a good choice for wine lovers with local wine cellars dotted along the way. The gentle riding, along mostly flat terrain, is ideal for anyone looking to appreciate the beautiful scenery along the way.
How much? This 6-night, 126-mile self-guided tour starts from £426 per person on B&B, including luggage transport, maps and route information. Departs any day between 16th April to 19th October. Grade: Easy-Moderate. Flights to Frankfurt International or Frankfurt Hahn start from £16.99 one-way with Ryanair from London Stansted and train or bus travel is available from the airport to Trier.
For more information call Freedom Treks on 01273 224066 or visit www.freedomtreks.co.uk
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Notes to Editors:
Freedom Treks became part of Ski Safari Ltd. in October 2011 and started life as 2 Wheel Treks in 2003, specialising in cycling holidays throughout Europe. What’s included? Luggage transfers. maps and route information as well as local emergency assistance. Bike hire not included unless shown. Flights not included. Prices include accommodation based on 2 sharing
*Level 1: Gentle riding, mainly flat terrain, minimal effort required, suitable for most people whether a cyclist or not.
**Level 2: Some days flat, others with some hills. Suitable for most ages and degrees of fitness. Preferable to have a little cycling experience.
***Level 3:For regular cyclists the bike routes require a moderate degree of fitness, which you should have acquired by occasional or daily cycling.