Winter doesn’t have to suck. It can also blow your mind, especially if you embark on one of our winter sun cycling holidays. In Spain, navigating the valleys and vineyards of Valencia will give you a seasonal shot of endorphins. And cycling from the Alhambra to Córdoba will turn winter frowns upside down. Sea temperatures are still around mid teens in Puglia if you fancy a dip after your trip. And popular beauty spots such as Provence or Puglia are no longer a sea of tourists, where temperatures are still just about in double figures, but you will only see a handful of other cyclists throughout your holiday. Pack a pannier and pep up your winter on some of our most popular winter sun cycling holidays, listed below.
Cycling the Camino Mozárabe
The Camino Mozárabe was a pilgrimage route for Christians heading to Santiago de Compostela from southern Spain. The pilgrimage was undertaken by the Mozarabs who were living in the Muslim territory of Al-Andalus. Although it’s ancient, it’s new to our collection of winter sun cycling holidays and we’re very excited about it because we have chosen one of its most heavenly sections, cycling between Granada and Córdoba. Covering 145km over seven days, you not only get to explore these two iconic Spanish cities, but also the Alhambra de Granada, Mosque of Córdoba and La Mota fortress in Alcalá. If you’re not feeling winter fit or you just want to cycle at leisure, there is also an option to do this tour on an e-bike. This trip is available all year round, although Easter week and December dates are available on request only.
Cycling in Lanzarote
This Canary is both blue and green, with the only sign of yellow being the sun’s rays beaming down on its volcanic lagoons, bright white traditional houses and prettiest of playas. Our eight day Lanzarote cycling holiday takes you on a moderate-level ‘velodyssey’ of this rugged, wild island which has developed a reputation for package tours but which actually proffer perfect pannier tours if you know where to go. Which we do, such as the fishing coves and villages of the north coast, the wild surfing beach of Famara on the west coast, or the turquoise shell-shaped beach at Papagayo. With volcanoes, vineyards and traditional villages in between. And, with average highs of 24C in November, 21C in December, we just love Lanzarote.
Cycling in Puglia
We recommend Puglia as a perfect pre-Christmas or festive cycling holiday in Italy. Think of it as a panettone stuffed with the most sumptuous cultural and natural ingredients, such as the two UNESCO towns of Matera and Alberobello, with their respective ancient rock churches and trulli stone houses, or the rolling plains of Alta Murgia National Park, famous for its karst cave systems. Add a splash or two of the regional Salentino and Primitivo wines at the end of the day, and you will be jingling your bicycle bell on our cycling holiday, or swapping bleak for beautiful mid-winter on our wonderful Puglia and Basilicata cycling holiday. You can travel on the former as late as mid-December and the latter throughout December into early January, with a break then until March.
Cycling in Madeira
Madeira has long been a winter wanderlust favourite for hikers, but one of our most recent holidays also opens it up to keen cyclists. Follow a coastal circuit of the main island of the Portuguese archipelago over eight days, exploring traditional fishing villages, Paúl da Serra high plateau and historic cultural spots like the town of Estreito da Calheta. Temperatures range from 12-18C in winter months, and the sea is still 18-20C in December, so you can make the most of swimming in the island’s famous natural pools and volcanic beaches.
Cycling in the Algarve
There are plenty of golden beaches to be found while cycling in the Algarve albeit with a little less sun than during peak summer season, but with the most refreshing rides. Such as between Barril and Isla Cristina, just two beauty spots that you cycle to on this holiday and Ria Formosa Natural Park, the Rivers Gilão and Guadiana being two others, the latter crossing over into Andalucía. This is categorised as an easy cycling holiday and even easier if you opt for an e-bike. You can also go for hybrid or e-bikes on our cycling holiday that takes you through both the Algarve and Alentejo regions, heading from Odeceixe to Cabo São Vicente, the most south-western point of Portugal over seven days. Either way, these are electrifying trips that will power up your sleepy season.
Cycling to València
We have several cycling holiday options in València during winter months, all of which start in one region and end up in a Mediterranean city that boasts contemporary and historic cultural greatness. For example, you can start in the inland region of Alicante in Biar, in the foothills of the Sierra de Mariola, and explore medieval marvels of València such as the castle-topped towns of Cullera and Xàtiva before arriving into the region’s magnificent capital city. Or go coastal the whole way, starting in the town of Alicante on the Costa Blanca.
Cycling in Provence
We have two winter options for cycling in Provence, one that is a six day journey and the other a cheeky little five day break of pure bliss. They both start in Avignon, which is also accessible by rail, and take you alongside vineyards and traditional villages, to châteaux and chapels. One of the highlights of both trips is the ancient town and Roman ruins at Arles, and each has its own unique natural heritage treat too. The six day trip takes you through the winter wetland wonders of Camargue Regional Natural Park and the five day trip includes a visit to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, which is built on a series of canals with Venice-like houses on the waterfront, and ancient cobblestone streets. This is also an antique enthusiasts’ haven, with an area dedicated to classy bric a brac known as L’Ile aux Brocantes.
Cycling in Northern Vietnam
You can also head east for a magical winter sun cycling holiday in Northern Vietnam. Although Vietnam gets busy at this time of year (and we recommend booking your flights as soon as possible), this trip takes you off the beaten track. If you’re allergic to the buildup to Christmas, you will soon forget any notions of seasonal over-consumerism, cycling through the Hmong hill tribe villages, where homestay hosts welcome you into their daily lives. In the winter months you are also escaping the rainy season which is from May until early November. It’s hot and dry, but these elevated landscapes are cooler than on the busier coast. And, if you like to treat yourself to good food at this time of year, this holiday is one moveable feast.
For all our winter sun cycling holidays, see here, and don’t hesitate to contact us for more details. You may also enjoy our blog on Winter sun walking holidays. If you are getting in training for a cycling holiday, you may want to think about going there by train too. More and more of our customers are opting to travel without flying now, which is why we have a blog on Cycling holidays accessible by train and How to book cheap train tickets. And for more cycling holidays that cover a few countries, check out our blog on Multi-country cycling holidays. They are more for the other seasons, but of course you can treat your winter escape as a warm up.