Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East
For a truly unique holiday experience, how about going pedal power? Great adventures remain to be discovered from the seat of your two-wheeled transport, whether you're close to home or on the other side of the world. Find out about the best in cycling experiences with our guide to biking vacations.
If you are looking for a holiday with a difference this year, then consider taking your vacation on two wheels. Bike holidays throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East all offer holidaymakers a chance to really engage with the scenery, the people and the culture of these places, in a way that coach trips and car journeys do not. By cycling round a country you will find you see so much more than you otherwise would have and will come home with memories to last a lifetime.
Cycling in Europe
Many companies can arrange cycling holidays in and around various areas of Europe and will often supply the bikes too, saving you the hassle of transporting your own. Many companies are able to organise activity holidays based upon your level of fitness and the types of routes you want to cycle.
Try to pick a starting country that offers what you need in terms of climate. If you can't bear the heat, then head to Scandinavia or the northern coast rather than the Mediterranean coastline. Similarly if you can't cope with riding up and down hills, stick to the Netherlands and nearby countries rather than heading anywhere near the Swiss borders.
One of the best things about cycling in Europe is the extensive high speed train network that links country to country almost seamlessly. Almost all trains have a carriage suitable for bikes and with the cheap prices and speedy timetables, you could be cycling in Holland in the morning and in Paris in time for tea.
Cycling in the Middle East
For the more adventurous holidaymaker, the Middle East offers some unique and exciting experiences. Unlike the impression you may get from the evening news, the Middle Eastern people are a warm and welcoming society, who will be particularly keen to meet the happy cyclist who is passing through their town or village. Be prepared for offers of cups of tea, evening meals and even a bed for the night as you get to know the other side of this wonderful part of the world.
Aside of the residents, the Middle East is bursting with discoveries that you will get so much out of on your cycling trip. From the ancient ruins of Turkey to the tiled mosques of Iran and even the luxury of the Red Sea in Egypt, there is enough to discover in this unique corner of the globe to keep anyone happy for weeks!
Cycling in Africa
Cycling tours of Africa are a unique and incredible way to explore this vast and impressive continent. From the expansive countryside of Rwanda to the lavish winelands of the Southern Cape, there is something in Africa for everyone. Many companies specialise in organising activity holidays for visitors to Africa and will be able to arrange the type of holiday you have always dreamed of.
Whether you want to mountain bike through Maasai country, see the big five on two wheels or meet some of the locals in the remote villages around the heartlands, going by bike will be an eye opener to Africa as you have never seen it before.
Jamie Johnson is a keen mountain biker who has travelled the globe in search of the world's best cycling holidays and bike trails. She now writes columns and blogs for some of the webs best known travel guides and cycling sites, although she still likes to hit the dirt when she can.