An international specialist in self-guided bicycle vacations suggests that island escapes – on two wheels – can be the perfect antidote to the stresses of daily life.
Freewheel Holidays (www.freewheelholidays.com) maintains an extensive portfolio of self-guided tours of European islands. These adventures include, among others, inn and/or bed and breakfast accommodations, bike rental (often with electric bike options), luggage transfers, detailed route maps and notes, and the expert services of tour host.
An 8-day Menorca Cycling Holiday introduces guests to one of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, renowned for its beautiful beaches and calas or turquoise bays, ancient megalithic monuments and pine-fringed coastline. Quieter than its neighboring islands of Majorca and Ibiza, Menorca is relaxed and low-key. The underline here is rural, including the accommodations, after riding through a spectacular coastal landscape dotted with lighthouses and imposing cliffs, relaxing beaches, visiting fortresses, caves and ancient settlements and imbibing the scents of the pine forests and lush farmland.
Guests are encouraged to linger in Ciutadella, a veritable jewel built of limestone whose stately palaces resonate in creamy golden hues. Limestone paves the narrow streets with their lovely arched porches built in medieval times. The gargoyles on the cathedral were carved from it. Ciutadella’s walls tell a story of feudal lords, medieval traditions and invading Turkish pirates. But the city has moved on within these historic surroundings, and filled the streets and little squares with charming outdoor cafes and designer shops. The sheltered harbour lies under the ramparts and has plenty of delightful restaurants to choose from. The per person double rate (changes by season) starts at £689. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/menorca-7-nights-self-guided.
Madeira (think wine) is called the flower island of the Atlantic. An 8-day Madeira Flowers and Coast vacation brings guests onto panoramic roads and cycle routes, with stops at parks, gardens, bays and cliff-top overlooks. This island boasts summer year-round, with departures also year-round and seasonally priced rates from £799 per person double. Fishing villages, basket weavers and thatched farmhouses hint at this island’s charm infused with Portuguese hospitality. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/madeira-flowers-and-coast-cycling-holiday.
Sardinia Short Break is a 5-day cycle around this Italian island’s southwest corner through some of its most spectacular scenery, including a ride along the renowned Costa del Sud. The island was immortalized decades ago by English writer D.H. Lawrence in his book, Sea and Sardinia. He traveled by bus around the island. This tour focuses on cycling along stretches of white sand and dipping into hidden coves, plus time out for a sprinkling of historical must-sees, including an important Phoenician site from 3,000 years ago and Bronze Age stone ruins shaped like beehives. Guests may also arrange for lunch or dinner (in addition to breakfast) for an extra fee at their host hotels. The per person double rate is £419. The tour is available from now through late June 2018. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/sardinia-4-nights. An 11-day experience is also available. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/sardinia-classic-cycling-holiday.
Great for families, Denmark offers an 8-day Funen Fairytale Island Tour at £979 per person double from now through end August. Rates for singles and children are available. Often referred to as the garden of Denmark, Funen is the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen and home to the 16th century Castle Egeskov, hosting a world-class garden plus a fine collection of old cars, airplanes and bicycles. The island’s population hub is Odense, Denmark’s third largest city where humans have lived for over 4,000 years and that was a medieval commercial center. This tour embraces small villages with cobblestone streets, centuries-old churches and dwellings that look as if they came right from a fairy tale. At a maritime center, Svenborg Harbour, visitors can wonder at a fine collection of old wooden ships and imagine sagas on the open seas. For details see http://www.freewheelholidays.co.uk/tour/fairytale-island-family-tour-7-nights.
From Ireland to Croatia, other island-specific tours include:
– Ireland – Galway and Connemara
– Holland – Frisian Sea Island Hopping (Boat & Bike)
– Sweden – Stockholm Archipelago Adventure
– Spain – Majorca Coast to Coast
– Spain – Loop of Majorca
– Spain – Majorca Finca to Finca
– Croatia – South Dalmatian Coast (Boat & Bike)
To check trip availability, make reservations, or to find out more about Freewheel Holidays’ leisure cycling tours call +44 (0) 161 703 5823, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.freewheelholidays.com.