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Top cycling holidays accessible by train

Top cycling holidays accessible by train

If you enjoy the slow travel aspect of a cycling holiday, watching landscapes gradually unfold around you, and taking in the view as you traverse new terrain, then you will love travelling by train. We appreciate that it’s not always practical for all our natural adventurers and not always the cheapest way to travel either – although we do give good guidance on how to book cheap train tickets in this blog. By taking on one of our cycling holidays accessible by train, not only will your carbon footprint be substantially lighter, but you also get your adventure off to a gentle start by sitting back and watching the world go by. Travelling by train allows you to immerse yourself in landscapes or cityscapes from the minute you start your journey. So, if you can swap contrails for loco-rails, you’ll be all the more chilled for it. 

Cycling holidays in France by train

Toast the famous French TGV (train à grande vitesse) services by taking on a viticultural vacay, with our cellar full of cycling tours to suit everyone’s palette. These include cycling along Provence’s wine route, which starts and ends in the city of Avignon or our Provence and Camargue bike and boat holiday. Similarly, you’ll have many stops to pop a bottle in your pannier while Cycling through the heart of Burgundy, reachable by train to Dijon. There are plenty of vineyards and wineries on our Cycling tour of the Loire Châteaux, with the station of Blois at the heart of them all. It’s an easy train journey from Paris to Strasbourg to start our Alsace Wine Route tour or toast the start of a stunning journey, cycling along the Canal de Garonne, with a glass of Bordeaux in the capital of this famous wine region.

For other cycling holidays in France that have less focus on viticulture and more on vélo culture, the Loire Valley Cycling Trail is easily accessible by train. You can cycle the whole route in 15 days, or choose a week-long section between Nevers and Orleans, Orleans and Saumur or Saumur to the Atlantic. For another long-distance challenge, but with more climbs than the Loire, the Grand Crossing of the French Alps takes you from Mont Blanc to the Med at Menton, both with stations. Check out all our cycling holidays in France by train

Cycling along the Alsace Wine Route in France, easily reachable by rail to Strasbourg, just five hours from London by train.

Cycling holidays in Switzerland by train

Switzerland is like the supermodel of train travel. It has striking scenery on just about all of its rail networks, trains are punctual and timetabling is smart. And timekeeping is important to a lot of cyclists, as we know. Be prepared to let your time targets go for a while, though and just enjoy Switzerland’s timelessness. It has a chocolate box menu of delights on offer. Indeed, one cycling holiday even has you wheeling through ‘chocalatiering’ lands, so there is no issue with topping up the carbs on that one. Road cyclists who want to push themselves up passes and soar down Alpine valleys have the perfect ‘breakaway’ on our Valais cycling holiday

Cycling around Lake Constance has fewer peaks and troughs but more countries, as this vast lake, in the Alpine foothills, with shoreline meadows, vineyards and beaches, leads you into not only Switzerland but also Germany and Austria. Fed by the Rhine, you can also add a visit to the spectacular 150m Rhine Falls onto your Lake Constance cycling route. Check out all our cycling holidays in Switzerland by train.

Cycling holidays in Germany by train

There are many ways to book cheap tickets to and around Germany by train. For example, in summer 2023, Germany launched a digital Deutschlandticket, at €49 for travel on all services, except on the speedy intercity ones. In addition, young people up to the age of 14 travel free with the national rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, when travelling with adults. Once you get there, you have many cycling holiday options in Germany that are reachable by rail. One of our most popular is along the Rhine Cycle Path between Strasbourg, France and Mainz in Germany. Also known as the EuroVelo 15 route, this section follows UNESCO-protected riverside paths, where majestic medieval castles cling to cliffs and vineyards ripen royally. 

As with the Swiss cycling tours, you can easily start and finish our Lake Constance cycling holiday by train. For a very different waterscape, however, and one of our family-friendly ones, explore the northern Baltic coast by train and bike. With sandy beaches, pine forests and Hanseatic (and railway) towns of Lübeck and Stralsund topping and tailing this trail, the Baltic is breezy and beautiful. 

The Altmühltal Cycle Path, in Bavaria, is another perfect family adventure, following a very chilled-out itinerary with plenty of time to go lake swimming, picnicking and boating. Make the most of free travel for under 14 year olds on this one, starting and ending in ​​Gunzenhausen, which is an hour by train from Nuremberg. For more Bavarian beauty that is easy by train, our Bavarian Lakes cycling holiday ticks many boxes. Check out all our cycling holidays in Germany by train.

Solo cycling in Bavaria’s Allgäu Mountains, with an option to rent an e-bike.

Cycling holidays in Italy by train

Italy has some fantastically great value train fares, as offered by Trenitalia, the national rail company and Italo, a privately-run company that competes on intercity routes. Train travel is not the first thing you think about in Italy, but you’ll be surprised at just how many places are served by train. One of our most spectacular cycling journeys through the Alps, crossing Germany, Austria and Italy, starts in Munich with a finale in Venice, and both these cities are accessible by train. Another Venice cycling holiday that you can start and finish by train is between Venice and Mantua, staying on a riverboat which follows the waterways and cycling trails along the River Po. 

Puglia is also accessible by train, with a train line that takes you from Bari to Lecce, stopping at Brindisi, all for the same price as an Aperol Spritz. This Puglia cycling holiday starts and finishes in Lecce, and our longer Puglia tour starts in Monopoli and ends in Lecce, both with train stations. Another adventurous artery, accessible by rail, is the final section of the Alpe-Adria Trail. The starting point is Villach, where the borders of Austria, Italy and Slovenia meet, as do their trains, after which you follow the ridges of the Carnic Alps in Austria and Italy down to the Adriatic in Trieste. Where the Med and a train home await. For another long-distance trail, Italy’s Via Francigena is a magical combination if you love nature, cycling and train travel. All three sections of this ancient pilgrimage route are accessible by train. Amen to that. 

Pedalling your way through Puglia is even more chilled when you start and end your adventure by train.

Cycling holidays in England by train

Given that train travel was invented in England, it’s no surprise that nearly all of our cycling holidays are reachable by rail. For example, if you opt to cycle the famous Hadrian’s Cycleway along the C2C (or Sea to Sea) cycling route, you can start at the station in Whitehaven in the west and then collapse onto the train in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the east when you’re done. 

Cycling the Cotswolds is as smooth as one of their ciders if you take the train, which you can do easily as this holiday starts and finishes in the market town of Cheltenham. And there are plenty of trains if you want to explore Yorkshire by bike, whether you’re taking on the vast swathes of moorland in the Yorkshire Dales National Park or the slightly gentler Yorkshire Wolds

Cycling on the Isle of Wight deserves a special mention here, as you can get a special package that includes both your train and the ferry crossing to this island just off the south coast. Our five day holiday around the island’s 55km cycle trail starts and ends in Ryde, taking you on a spectacular circuit around its cliffs, chalky downs and coves. Ryde has a train station, so you can buy a through or combined ticket to Ryde from anywhere on the mainland, and you can even use a discount railcard. Book through National Rail or South Western Railway or at any UK train station and put in Ryde as your destination. 

Ribblehead Viaduct in North Yorkshire is one of the most famous spots along the Settle to Carlisle Railway.

Cycling holidays in the Netherlands by train

Our Netherlands cycling holidays are easy cheesy by train, with Amsterdam now accessible directly on Eurostar from the UK, taking just under four hours from London. Eurostar also runs services from London to Brussels, and Thalys operates high-speed trains between Amsterdam to Paris. You could easily take a train at the start and finish of our Amsterdam to Paris cycling tour or our cycling from Amsterdam to Bruges holiday. 

Another fantastic option for travelling to the Netherlands without flying is to book a Sail and Rail ticket, which is a combined ferry and train ticket at a very reasonable price. The best source of information on this is train guru, The Man in Seat 61, or you can just book it directly with StenaLinePlease note: If you are planning on travelling to Amsterdam from London by Eurostar, this direct service is suspended for six months between June 2024 and January 2025. There will still be an option to take a train from London to Brussels and then change trains there to Amsterdam, but Eurostar will not be operating their usual direct, cross-Channel service during this period, due to renovations taking place at the Dutch capital’s main railway station.

Can I bring my own bike on the train? 

Bikes and trains are a tricky subject mainly because every train company has a different policy on this. We do, of course, offer bike rental on all our cycling holidays, so you don’t have to worry about this. But we know that understandably, keen cyclists often want to travel with their own bikes. On Eurostar, for example, there are limited services where you can bring your bike and, at time of writing, they only transport fully assembled bikes between London and Brussels. Your best bet is to reserve a place on the train for your bike, and then you know that you are guaranteed a place. This is possible in the UK on certain routes, and Trainline has an excellent guide to these, and you can also book your bike place through them. 

In Europe, you can feel more love for cycling when it comes to trains but, again, it depends on the country. International train booking company, Rail Europe, has a good breakdown of train company policies, but it’s also worth cross-referencing this information with the actual train companies, as policies can change. Click on the links for bike carrying policies at Deutsche Bahn in Germany, SNCF in France, Trenitalia in Italy, NS in the Netherlands and SBB in Switzerland. 

Get in train-ing for the Bavarian Alps, Germany.

We have plenty more cycling holidays that are reachable by train, and for those who are committed to holidays without flying or who might like to try it out, we have made it a lot easier for you. Not only have we listed all our holidays that are reachable by train, but we have also put together a series of blogs on train travel. For some armchair train travel, check out the following: Best train journeys in Switzerland, How to book cheap train tickets, French holidays by train, German holidays by train, and Top walking holidays accessible by train.