If you love taking a cycling holiday while exploring somewhere new, you’ll want to make sure you’re heading to the best cycling destinations in the world.
We’ve handpicked five of the top places on the planet for cycling holidays. You’ll see we’ve purposely avoided geographical Europe (get our picks for the best destinations in Europe here). We think that every single one of them is truly epic!
When you’re trying to decide where to head for your next cycle holiday, and you’ve got long haul in mind, you should definitely consider the options below. They all offer the kind of bike holiday you’ll never forget.
We’ve covered here what each destination is great for, plus when is the best time to go. There’s something here for everyone, whether you prefer contemporary cities, landscapes that seem lost in time, challenging climbs, discovering local history, or stunning sea views.
Let’s take a look at the best places to cycle on the planet. Where will you be taking your next road cycling holiday?!
This is our article on the best European cycling holidays destinations.
Best worldwide cycling destinations
Great for cycling culture
Japan is a must on many a cyclist’s list. Head here to explore on two wheels and so much awaits. It’s a country quite unlike any other, with cutting-edge cities, traditional villages, unique architecture and a wealth of natural wonders. If your idea of the best cycling holidays is discovering something completely new, then this could be your ideal destination.
In Japan you can sample some of the yummiest food in the world. You can also soak in natural hot springs, wind your way through the forests and tackle mountainous terrain. In fact Japan’s mountains are breathtaking in every sense of the word, and around 80% of the country is uninhabited.
But that’s not all. Japan’s polite, careful drivers help to make this one of the safer cycling destinations in the world. Add to that smooth roads in the centre of the country offering challenging climbs, paths through the river valleys and a cycling culture, and you pretty much have the perfect place.
Where to go
The best places for a biking holiday in Japan are the sunny Kinto Kanto region around Tokyo, the peak-spotted Nagano Highlands area and the Setouchi inland sea. At the latter you’ll find hot springs, the Shimanami Kaido bikeway and fabulous seafood.
As well as Tokyo, the Kinto Kanto area is also home to the Japanese cities of Ashikaga, Kiryu, and Nikko. This area is also ideally set up for the best cycling trips. The climate also makes this a top choice, as the region is known as Japan’s sunbelt.
Highlights here include Nikko National Park, Kiryu’s historic silk mills, fresh local produce, a couple of Japan’s biggest rivers and a pair of stratovolcanoes.
If what you want from cycling holidays abroad is challenging ascents and thrilling descents, then head for the area often known as the Japanese Alps. The Mount Norikura climb here is epic and the last eight miles (or 13 kilometres) is car-free.
This is just one of the Nagano region’s climbs: other options include the Venus Line or the Utsukushigahara Highlands.
Setouchi inland sea
The Shimanami Kaido cycling route has placed the Setouchi area among those offering the best cycling vacations in Japan. Shimmering turquoise waters and steaming hot springs await those who love the water as much as they enjoy exploring by bike.
This is one of the best places in Japan to see the cherry blossom, or the colourful leaves in autumn. Matsuyama City castle and the seafood restaurants of this area are also impressive.
When to go
Where you decide to take your road bike holiday determines when’s best to visit.
- Tokyo and the Kinto Kanto region are at their finest between March and the middle of June, or from September to the first part of December.
- The Nagano Highlands are at their least humid in September and October.
- Setouchi inland sea is good in March, April and May, or between November and mid-December later in the year.
Find out much more about the best cycling tours Japan has to offer by reading our guide.
Great for a subtropical climate
The year of cycling tourism in Taiwan in 2021 put this part of Asia into the spotlight. It’s been one of the best countries to bike tour for far longer than that, though. Not everyone knows a lot about Taiwan – but if you’d like to find out more, then continue reading!
Lapped by both the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Taiwan offers an incredible coastline. It’s also a mountainous island, and thus one of the best places to bike in the world when you have a head for heights.
Slick cities, cloud forests and a wide variety of terrain mean this island east of mainland China is not one to miss. If you needed another reason to go there right now, how does a semi-tropical climate sound?
Where to go
As you might expect, central Taiwan is the most mountainous part of the island, and is ideal for those seeking a challenging climb or two. In the east, expect interesting history and fresh ocean air, while in the south you can explore a National Park or follow a gently undulating route through the valley.
Towns like Nantou in the interior are ideal for those who love steep ascents, and the routes to be found here can rival those of the Pyrenees or Alps. You can also take multi-day tours in this area, such as among Yilan county’s mountains in the northeast or heading towards Sun Moon Lake in the south.
More remote parts of central Taiwan also offer visitors the chance to get up close to local life, meeting people and exploring areas that are relatively untouched by tourism.
Southern Taiwan’s cycling scene is dominated by Kenting National Park. This area provides some of the best road cycling destinations for those who prefer relatively flat terrain. Kenting on the Hengchun Peninsula also offers a tropical climate, beaches and coral reefs.
Jewels in the crown of south Taiwan include traditional fishing villages and farmland, coastal roads with spectacular views, and a landscape dotted with rice paddies. It’s also worth riding to Ruisui to be rewarded with a soak in the hot springs.
Rolling hills, compact liveable cities and a variety of interesting towns can all be discovered in eastern Taiwan. Here you can visit former gold mining areas, or explore old Japanese settlements. The popular Huadong or East Rift Valley can also be found here, sandwiched between the Central and Coastal Mountain ranges.
This can be among the best cycling trips in the world for those who love to feel a fresh ocean breeze while skimming over a coastal plain. Plus, of course, sea views. Dulan on the east coast is also a popular hangout and holiday destination, but do avoid the hectic Suhua Highway at all costs.
Sometimes the best cycling vacations in the world involve a more lengthy challenge. Another option in Taiwan is Route 1, which spans over 950 kilometres and generally takes ten days or so to complete. Though the official start is at Taipei Songshan Station, you can join it wherever you like for a loop around the island.
When to go
As Taiwan has a subtropical climate, expect hot summers. The island has minimal rain, and to avoid extreme heat spring, autumn and winter are a good bet. There can be snowy or icy roads in the mountains during winter.
Read all about cycling in Taiwan in our comprehensive guide.
Great for a budget break
If you want to take shorter (or cheaper!) cycling holidays and aren’t keen on a long-haul flight, Cyprus could be a sound option. Though culturally and politically part of Europe, geographically Cyprus in fact lies within Asia. So it’s ideal if you’re tight on time or money.
This island in the Med offers great cycling holidays for both mountain bikers and those who prefer tarmac. You can expect good weather in spring and autumn here, plus the Troodos Mountains has peaks that are almost 2,000 metres high.
Coastal routes, soaring mountains, olive and citrus groves and pine forests await cyclists who venture to the so-called island of love.
Where to go
The top cycling destinations in Cyprus can be found close to Paphos on the southwest coast, or in the Limassol area of southern Cyprus. You might also like to head to the Mediterranean island for a specific cycling event.
We’ve stayed in Paphos ourselves when in search of the best countries for cycling holidays (tough job, but someone has to do it). Two routes we recommend are the ascent to the peak of Mount Olympus or the Paphos Forest loop, both in the Troodos Mountains. A third is the route via the Rock of Aphrodite to the village of Pissouri Bay.
There are several great routes we recommend in the Limassol area. So much so that we’ve written separate guide to cover them, in fact! These are between 59 and 117 kilometres long. All are paved, and suitable for road bikes.
Take a look at our guide to cycling in the Limassol area here.
Cyprus cycling events
Key cycling events in Cyprus include the Cyprus Sunshine Epic, a four day mountain bike contest. There’s also the Cyprus Gran Fondo in March or L’Etape Cyprus in November.
When to go
Due to dry and warm – but not hot – weather, the best months for these cycling holiday destinations in Cyprus are March, April, May, October and November. Winter can also be good, but do expect more rain at that time.
For more on cycling in Cyprus, check out this complete guide.
Great for bucket list riding
Boulder barely needs any introduction – it’s long belonged on every keen road cyclist’s hit list. There’s no doubt about it – this part of Colorado offers some of the best cycling holidays in the world. A rich pro racing past and a strong amateur scene has seen to that.
Boulder, Colorado is seen by many as the number one destination for road bike cycling holidays in the entire US. The cycle paths criss-crossing the city and the heady climbs outside it are in the sights of so many cyclists. Capping them all is Mount Evans, a peak that’s well over four kilometres above sea level.
Cycling fans also recommend exploring Boulder itself via the many bike paths. This way you can see the most cycle-friendly city in the US from the ground up. If you want to hire a bike, the 50 hire kiosks around town make life super simple.
Where to go
As well as within the city of Boulder and the epic Mount Evans, recommended routes include the Peak to Peak Highway.
Peak to Peak Highway
You can access the Peak to Peak Highway by car or bike, so it’s good for cyclists of all levels. Ascend for over 1,500 metres by bike, or access the peaks and charming mountain towns by combining driving with cycling.
Boulder cycling events
In such a cyclist-friendly part of the world, there are some great events to be part of. Take the Triple Bypass or Ride the Rockies for challenging climbs. You could also try Elephant Rock, the Copper Triangle, the Denver Century, or even the Boulder Ironman 70.3.
When to go
This part of Colorado is good for the vast majority of the year. The ski resorts are of course snow-capped in winter, however. For flatter roads, this is a good year-round destination. Summer here is lovely, but it can get very hot at times.
Check out our complete Boulder cycling guide here.
Cape Town and the Western Cape, South Africa
Great for stunning scenery
Head to the city of Cape Town and the wider area of the Western Cape for an unforgettable cycling experience. Here you can expect a warm welcome, the legendary landscapes South Africa is famous for and routes that take in tarmac, gravel and forest trails.
Use Cape Town as your base and you can take on one or a number of jaw-dropping routes. Follow the Misty Cliffs or Chapman’s Peak loops for spectacular views over Noordhoek Beach, climb up to the Llandudno viewpoint or tackle the Kloof Nek loop.
As an alternative, combine cycling with more of life’s pleasures by following the glorious Constantia Wine Route through the valley. As a destination, South Africa also offers great value for money – and of course Cape Town has one of the most breathtakingly beautiful settings on the planet.
Where to go
Locally known as ‘Chappies’, Chapman’s Peak is a favourite among cyclists who live in or are visiting Cape Town. Stunning mountain and spectacular ocean views plus some steep ascents are what to expect on this gently winding route.
The Misty Cliffs route will take you through small coastal villages, and past lighthouses and some of the best surfing beaches in South Africa. It’s one for photographers and surfers as well as cyclists, and the panoramas ensure it’s one ride you’ll never forget.
If it’s a challenging climb you seek, head from Camps Bay to Kloof Nek. You can also continue onto the lower slopes of Table Mountain if that’s not enough of a test for your legs and lungs.
Constantia Wine Route
If you like the idea of cycling through a fertile valley in one of the world’s finest wine-producing areas, then tackle the Constantia Wine Route. Cellar doors, tours, tastings and restaurants await when you visit the collection of boutique wineries close to Cape Town.
Western Cape cycling events
The world’s biggest timed bike race is the Cape Town Cycle Tour, so don’t miss that if you like to focus on speed.
When to go
Cape Town is generally warm to hot throughout the year. The months with the coldest temperatures (highs of around 20°C) and the most rainfall are June, July and August, when there’s ten days on average per month. January to March sees the driest and warmest weather.
Best European cycling destinations
Europe is home to some of the top cycling destinations worldwide. On our destinations page, you’ll find in-depth region guides and inspiration articles sharing the best cycling holidays in Europe and introducing you to all the places you need to know about.
Discover the best cycling places in Europe with our destination guides or our popular article, best cycling destinations in Europe.
Or should we say, where next?
We hope this guide has given you some inspiration regarding the best road cycling holidays on earth. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please do let us know in the comments below!
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