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The best of Southern Europe: Cycling Holidays

Posted 29 Nov 2017

With stunning coastal scenery, vineyards and pine forests, southern Europe has everything you could wish for. The warm climate, local wines, friendly locals and relaxed way of life make for a memorable holiday. From island hopping on the Dalmatian coast to exploring national parks by the Atlantic coast of Portugal, there's plenty on offer by way of entertainment in this fantastic region.

Grey cliffs Portugal

Wild Portugal

Escape the usual tourist traps in the largely undiscovered Alentejo Western Atlantic Coast of Portugal. With cork forests and golden beaches, it's a region full of vibrant colour. On your first night in a fishing town near Lisbon, sample the local bacalhau (cod) and a traditional custard tart. From here, your journey will continue along the striking limestone cliffs of the Arrabida National Park.

From the thriving port Setúbal, you'll enjoy lovely views across to the Troia Peninsula, and you might even spot dolphins in Sado Estuary Natural Reserve. You'll have the chance to relax in the evening with a glass of sweet desert wine, Setúbal Moscatel.

By day five, you'll have made your way to Zambujeira do Mar, a sleepy, terracotta-roofed town with family-run restaurants. Try the kiosk-turned-upmarket-restaurant, A Barca, for fish and mouthwatering shellfish. Costa Alentejana is another favourite: enjoy platters of seafood with a glass of Sagres beer as you watch a dramatic sunset.

Find out more here.

Barcelona

Colourful Catalonia

Catalonia is a feast for the senses, with its white and yellow houses facing out to sea, dramatic cliffs, smooth, sandy beaches and of course, tapas and wine. On this Discovery tour, you'll first stop at Figueres, home to the Dali Theatre Museum, which houses some of Dali's spectacular work such as Port Alguer and The First Days of Spring.

You can take a moment out on day three of the tour to explore the ruined network of walls, columns, streets and houses in Empúries. Mosaics, marble and paintings, as well as an amphitheatre and the Basilica make this the perfect base to absorb the history of this once prosperous Greek, then Roman, colony.

Discover our Catalonia tour here.

Dubrovnik

Intriguing Islands of Dalmatia

Croatian islands are known for their traditional villages, fishing harbours and pretty beaches. On the Dalmatian Islands tour, you’ll cycle through the delightful aroma of fields rich with lavender, rosemary, sage, marjoram and thyme. The lavender oil makes a great souvenir.

Korcula is one of Croatia’s lesser known beauties. It’s quieter than Hvar and densely packed with forest, with lush vineyards that produce some of Croatia’s finest wines. The Venetian Renaissance-inspired Korcula Town is postcard-worthy, with orange roofs and medieval ‘fishbone’ streets, ancient city walls and wonderful views from the Revelin tower.

In Split, you can while away hours exploring the historical old town, with its dramatic Palace of Diocletian, and impressive architecture in the Peristyle square. Spend an idyllic evening in a Dalmatian konoba (traditional restaurant) such as Lvxor, perched on the steps of the Peristyle, and sample Dalmatian cheeses, octopus salad or homemade green spaghetti.

Find out more about our Islands of Dalmatia Bike and Boat tour here.

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