Cycling the Loire Valley really is one of the most exquisite and immersive ways to experience the French countryside and way of life. Follow the 800km Loire à Vélo cycle route, heading west from Nevers in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, all the way to the Atlantic coast at Saint-Brévin-les-Pins, near Nantes, with an array of cathedrals, châteaux and classic French architecture en route. This is a two week cycling holiday, staying at small guesthouses and hotels along the way, with your luggage transferred for you. We can also supply e-bikes on this holiday.
- Église Notre-Dame
- Le Pont Canal de Briare
- Château du Clos Lucé
- Château d’Ussé
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Day 1: Arrive in Nevers
Arrive in Nevers and check in at your hotel. Explore the charming town centre of Nevers.
- Accommodation: Côté Parc Côté Jardin or similar in Nevers
Day 2: Nevers to La Charité-sur-Loire | 45km
Leave Nevers and head towards the village of Cuffy, where the Loire and the Allier meet. This is the official starting point of the Loire à Véló route, 800km in total broken up into 13 stages, coming to a close on the shores of the Atlantic. Cycle to the monastery town of Charité-sur-Loire , with its UNESCO Notre Dame church and 16th century bridge across the Loire.
- Cycling for the day: 45km ↑210m ↓238m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Mille et une Feuilles or similar in La Charité-sur-Loire
Day 3: La Charité-sur-Loire to Sancerre | 26.9km
Cycle through some of the Loire Valley’s finest natural heritage, alongside vast, undulating vineyards, taking time out to admire the church bell tower in Pouilly-sur-Loire. Cycle on through woods and fields to the famous Sancerre Wine region. Take a break along the way to taste a local wine grower’s Sauvignon Blanc which should, of course, be accompanied by Chavignol goat’s cheese. Enjoy magnificent views of the Loire Valley from Sancerre’s elevated location.
- Cycling for the day: 26.9km ↑215m ↓72m
- Accommodation: Hótel le Panoramic or similar in Sancerre
Day 4: Sancerre to Briare | 53.9km
Leave Sancerre via the tow path along the Canal Latéral and cycle via Bannay to the flower town Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire, perfectly located right on the riverbank. Continue on through Belleville-sur-Loire to your last stop of the day in Briare. The metal canal bridge is worth a visit, a monumental piece of 19th-century hydraulic engineering. It bridges the Loire by a giant step and connects the two adjacent canals.
- Cycling for the day: 53.9km ↑117m ↓266m
- Accommodation: Hôtel du Cerf or similar in Briare
Day 5: Briare to Sully-sur-Loire | 41.7km
Cross the Loire via Pont Canal de Briare canal bridge, and cycle to St-Brisson-sur-Loire with its medieval castle specialising in catapults and cannons. This is followed by the busy town of Gien which also boasts superb views, a handsome 16th-century castle that was home to Anne de Beaujeu, and an impressive 18th-century bridge. Your final destination is Sully-sur-Loire with yet another medieval castle and great views of the Loire, as well as other local canals.
- Cycling for the day: 41.7km ↑331m ↓347m
- Accommodation: Hôtel la Closeraie or similar in Sully-sur-Loire
Day 6: Sully-sur-Loire to Orléans | 51.1km
Today you set off in the direction of Orléans. Enjoy a great view on the way to Saint-Benoit, a must stop for its 11th to 13th-century abbey. Continue on to Châteauneuf-sur-Loire, one of the important ports of the Loire in the 18th century. As you cycle on, the historic city of Orléans comes into view, also known as the town of ‘art and history’, famous for having been liberated from English rule by Jeanne d’Arc. Be sure to take a walk through the beautiful, historic centre.
- Cycling for the day: 51.1km ↑359m ↓371m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Oceania Orléans or similar in Orléans
Day 7: Orléans to Blois | 62.7km
After leaving Orléans, you soon come to the confluence of the Loiret and the Loire. For a large part of the day, follow the Loire’s elevated banks with beautiful views of rolling hills on either side. Don’t miss the historic towns of Meung-sur-Loire and Beaugency. A perfectly flat track leads you, at a leisurely pace, into the unique landscape known as the ‘Pays des Châteaux’.
- Cycling for the day: 62.7km ↑389m ↓419m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Anne de Bretagne or similar in Blois
Day 8: Blois to Amboise | 42.2km
From Blois, follow the southern bank of the Loire. Between rolling hills with vineyards, cycle to Cande-sur-Beuvron, then back along the Beuvron to the Loire. Located high on the river banks is Chaumont-sur-Loire Castle, with its gorgeous gardens, just one of many cultural highlights of the Touraine region. Visit a wine producer to sample the local Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Château Amboise and Clos-Lucé where Leonardo da Vinci once stayed. There are some short climbs on the way.
- Cycling for the day: 42.2km ↑341m ↓345m
- Accommodation: Hôtel le Chaptal or similar in Amboise
Day 9: Amboise to Villandry | 49.7km
Cycle into the Montlouis wine region, with a perfect microclimate close to where the Loire and Cher meet, and you can sample the region’s produce yourself on a visit to a wine cellar. A cycle track takes you to Tours, the capital of what is called The Garden of France region, but you continue along the south bank of the Cher to Villandry Castle with its spectacular gardens.
- Cycling for the day: 49.7km ↑421m ↓446m
- Accommodation: Hôtel le Cheval Rouge or similar in Villandry
Day 10: Villandry to Saumur | 63.6km
Cycle to Château d’Ussé where, on the elevated riverbank you get beautiful views of the river and its bird-filled. The landscape is unspoiled where the Indre flows out in the Loire. Enjoying the magnificent panoramas, cycle on to Candes-St-Martin where the Vienne and Loire meet. This is Anjou, known for its wines and troglodytes. Choose the track close to the Loire or follow the higher, more exciting but also more strenuous track across the vineyards. Both end at Saumur Castle.
- Cycling for the day: 63.6km ↑554m ↓557m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Ibis Centre Gare or similar in Saumur
Day 11: Saumur to Angers | 58.5km
Today you cycle along the southern bank of the river. Look out for architecture made from the local white tuff stone, such as the church in Cunault and St-Maur Abbey. Once you get to St-Mathurin-sur-Loire, follow the northern bank of the Loire through a former swamp that was drained in the Middle Ages. Further down the trail you can see the old slate quarries of Trélazé. Then, taking a small ferry, cross the Authion, with distant view of your final stop for today in Angers, on the Maine river.
- Cycling for the day: 58.5km ↑613m ↓598m
- Accommodation: Hôtel le Progrès or similar in Angers
Day 12: Angers to Ingrandes | 50.7km
Leave the busy town of Angers via its main park, and cycle along the Maine as far as Bouchemaine, with lovely restaurants and picnic spots. Here the Maine flows out in the Loire. You will catch sight of the Savennières and Coteaux du Layon vineyards further west, then cycle close to the river and cross the island of Chalonnes. Continue along quiet tracks up to Montjean-sur-Loire with some splendid views, bringing this wonderful day of cycling to a close in Ingrandes.
- Cycling for the day: 50.7km ↑393m ↓405m
- Accommodation: Tour de la Gabelle or similar in Ingrandes
Day 13: Ingrandes to Nantes | 55.8km
Start the day up on Mont Glonne with a great view of the Loire. Continue on to the fortress town of Champtoceaux via quiet roads and tracks, with more views over the Loire-Atlantique region, meaning that the Atlantic is finally near. Check out the Muscadet vineyards en route and, after Mauves-sur-Loire, you get a glimpse of one of the Loire’s most famous cities, Nantes.
- Cycling for the day: 55.8km ↑406m ↓411m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Amiral or similar in Nantes
Day 14: Nantes to Saint-Brévin-les-Pins | 58.5km
Look out for art installations at the start of today’s cycle along the mouth of the Loire. After Le Pellerin, follow the Martinière Canal cycling along small, quiet roads that cling to the region’s wetlands. From Paimboeuf, follow part of the Velodyssey coastal route and watch the Loire take on the stronger tidal influences of the sea. The end is in sight: Saint-Brévin-les-Pins, a lively seaside resort on the Atlantic.
- Cycling for the day: 58.5km ↑336m ↓334m
- Accommodation: Hôtel le petit Trianon or similar in Saint-Brévin les Pins
Day 15: Departure
The tour ends after breakfast.
What to expect
On this cycling holiday, you stay at comfortable 2-star, 3-star hotels and guesthouses. Some accommodations have swimming pools. They have been carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including their location, warm hospitality, fine local food or commitment to responsible tourism. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms.
Click to view default hotels
- Côté Parc Côté Jardin (Nevers)
- Hótel Mille et une Feuille (La Charité-sur-Loire)
- Hótel le Panoramic (Sancerre)
- Hôtel du Cerf (Briare)
- Hôtel la Closeraie (Sully-sur-Loire)
- Hôtel Oceania Orléans (Orléans)
- Hôtel Anne de Bretagne (Blois)
- Hôtel le Chaptal (Amboise)
- Hôtel le Cheval Rouge (Villandry)
- Hôtel Ibis Centre Gare (Saumur)
- Hôtel le Progrès (Angers)
- Tour de la Gabelle (Ingrandes)
- Hôtel Amiral (Nantes)
- Hôtel le petit Trianon (Saint-Brévin-les-Pins)
*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a property of equal standard. We will provide full accommodation details upon booking confirmation.
Accommodation is on a B&B basis. Products for picnics can be purchased in the villages where you’ll be staying, or you can have your lunch in a restaurant along the way. You can have dinner at your hotel or nearby restaurants.
Difficulty and terrain
The daily distances are 25-65km and follow the Loire à Vélo route. This holiday is appropriate for moderately experienced cyclists and requires a basic level of fitness (read more about difficulty grades). You can also rent an e-bike which makes the trip accessible to everybody (experience with handling an e-bike is a must). We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to go
This trip is available from the beginning of April until the end of October. The best time for cycling is between May and September when the weather is generally good, and the average daily temperatures are 22-24C and up to 23C in July and August. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.
Click to view travel options
Our recommended airport for this tour is Paris.
By train or bus
- Arrival in Paris: From Paris, you can get to Nevers by a direct train running often from Paris-Bercy station (approx. 2h).
- Departure from Saint-Brévin-les-Pins: From Saint-Brévin-les-Pins, use local transport to get to one of the following three nearby stations: Gare de Penhoët (5km away), St- Nazaire, La Croix-de-Mean (6km away) and Montoir-de-Bretagne (8km away). From these stations, there are trains running frequently to Paris via Nantes (approx. 4h).
- 14 overnights with breakfast as detailed in the itinerary
- Luggage transfer on the cycling days (one piece per person, max 20kg)
- Detailed digital holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps (Please note, that the information pack for this tour is digital only and will be emailed to you prior to departure. Physical documents are NOT able to be mailed or provided on-site)
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Bike rental
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a single room.
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Extra nights before the tour, along the way and at the end of the tour can be booked on request
- Bike rental: hybrid bikes and e-bikes available
If you would like to rent a bike from us, we can offer you good quality hybrid or e-bikes in excellent condition with appropriate gears and equipment for the trip. All bicycles (whatever the model) are equipped with a bike lock, a helmet, a puncture repair kit, and a pump. Sample pictures attached below, note that the exact models might be different depending on the availability, but the standard will be the same.