Does this sound familiar?

You and your other half are talking about booking a long weekend away.

You’re wondering if you might be able to squeeze in some cycling and make it a long cycling weekend away…

You’re looking for an attractive town/city with some good restaurants and bars, a nice hotel, and some top riding on the doorstep.

But where should you go?!

Never fear!

Whether both of you love to ride or just one of you, we have the answers: here’s our pick of the best road cycling destinations in Europe for a romantic cycling weekend.

Our Top 5 (Romantic) Cycling Weeekends, Europe

Girona, Spain

Girona is a gem. We’ve got a massive soft spot for this medieval Catalan town about 1.5 hours north of Barcelona.

Bike and view back to Tossa del Mar, Costa Brava
Cathedral in Girona

Romantic credentials

Girona’s maze of narrow, winding cobbled streets are perfect for romantic strolls. Stone arches lead up flights of ancient, shallow steps. A twisting alley suddenly brings you out on a beautiful square. The town’s skyline is dominated by the impressive cathedral (famous for many things including when Jaime Lannister rides his horse up the steps in series 6 of Game of Thrones!) and the Onyar river winds its way past the old town, bordered on either side by brightly coloured buildings.

Girona is also a haven for foodies: loads of superb restaurants including the very famous, three Michelin star El Celler de Can Roca.

Cycling weekend credentials

Girona is one of the most popular bases for the pro peloton. It would be surprising if you didn’t see pros out training when you’re out on the roads. It takes a few minutes to get out of Girona town, but it’s not a huge place and soon you’re onto quiet roads and varied terrain, from savage climbs, such as the well-known Rocacorba, to lesser-known loops through beautiful, undulating countryside. It’s a fantastic cycling holiday destination in Europe for couples.

Practical information

Fly to Girona or Barcelona

Flight time from London: 2 hours

We stayed at Hotel du Nord.

Check out the Epic Road Rides guide to cycling Girona

Bonnieux (Provence), France

We’re pretty restless. We love to check out new destinations, that’s what we’re all about. Yet the Luberon in Provence is one of the few places we’ve returned to time and again. There’s just something very special about it.

Cyclists at summit of Ventoux in fog
Abbey de Senanque, Luberon with lavender fields

Romantic credentials

Despite being one of the most famous and photographed regions of France, Provence somehow manages to retain its sense of identity and authenticity. Medieval towns perch atop hills surveying the valleys around. Restaurants serve mouth-watering delicacies such as tapenade, nougat and bouillabaisse fish stew. The Southern Rhône red wines are to die for. And because Provence is no undiscovered gem, there are some superb hotels and villas around with pools, spas and every luxury you could want.

Cycling weekend credentials

The quietly rolling roads of Provence are an absolute joy to ride – many say the Gorge de la Nesque is one of the best rides in Europe. But say Provence to any cyclist and their mind immediately turns to the Giant of Provence: Mont Ventoux. It’s a mythical beast whose 21 kilometres take you up 1,500+ metres of vertical ascent. The Tour de France has been up 16 times and it’s one of those mountains you just need to have ridden.

Time to test yourself?

Practical information

Fly to Marseille

Flight time from London: 2 hours

We stay in a pool villa (details in our guide) but, if you’re after a hotel, we love the look of Coquillade Village in Gargas.

Check out the Epic Road Rides guide to cycling Provence

Sóller (Mallorca), Spain

Mallorca is such a perfect cycling destination, it’s strange if you love to ride and haven’t been there. Its superb roads, dramatic scenery and excellent cycling facilities, make it the first port of call for many looking for a long weekend bike trip. Yet its physical beauty and luxury hotels also make it a great for a romantic weekend.

Cyclist on the Sa Calobra road, Mallorca

Romantic credentials

Mallorca’s a funny place. It’s got a reputation for sun and sea package holidays in the Palma Bay area, and has a huge following amongst cyclists that head into the mountains.

So where do luxury and romance fit in?! We say head to Sóller, Déia or Valldemossa and you’ll find it in spades. These small towns in the Serra Tramuntana mountains are just stunning: close to rocky coves, these pretty places have excellent restaurants and some wonderful hotels that can easily double as a cycling base and romantic getaway. Come in February for the almond blossom and you’ll wonder why you ever went anywhere else.

Cycling weekend credentials

One word: Serra Tramuntana. These famous mountains offer some of the best cycling in Europe and are criss-crossed with exceptional riding. From the huge Andratx to Port de Pollensa ride to Cap de Formentor, Sa Calobra and Port de Valldemossa, you’re spoiled for choice.

There’s easy riding too; just head down from the Serra Tramuntana and you’ll find quiet, flatter routes on the lanes (or camis) of the island.

Practical information

Fly to Palma de Mallorca

Flight time from London: 2.5 hours

We stayed at Hotel Illa d’Or on Port de Pollenca.

Check out the Epic Road Rides guide to cycling Mallorca

Bormio, Italy

Say Bormio and you’ll immediately think “Stelvio”. Yet there’s much more than meets the eye to this little mountain town in the Italian Alps; it’s one of the best places to cycle in Europe.

Switchbacks of the Stelvio
View to Bormio and Stelvio Pass

Romantic credentials

When you stay in the high mountains, it’s rare to come across a town that’s a lovely place to visit in and of itself.

There are far too many soulless ski resorts in the Alps for our liking.

But Bormio is different. Since Roman times, people have visited the town to enjoy the thermal baths set amidst the high mountains, and this sense of history lingers. It isn’t a big place but it’s very attractive. The town is centred around the beautiful Piazza Cavour and Via Roma which is full of shops, cafes and restaurants. The Adda river gushes through the town’s centre with hotels dotted around it. Our stay at the chic Hotel La Genzianella was a real highlight of our visit to northern Italy.

Cycling weekend credentials

The Stelvio is the big ticket ride if you’re doing a Bormio weekend cycling trip. It’s the main reason cyclists visit – but there’s some other top draw riding too. Dare we say it, but we found our route up the Mortirolo and Gavia perhaps even more memorable. There’s some easier valley riding too – but to be honest, cycling here is all about tackling the legends of the Giro d’Italia.

Practical information

Fly to Milan

Flight time from London: 2 hours

We stayed at Hotel La Genzianella in Bormio.

Check out the Epic Road Rides guide to cycling around Bormio

Nice, France

If we had to choose just one destination for a weekend cycling break in Europe, we’d choose Nice. It combines Belle Epoque architecture with a vibrant nightlife and the ever-present lapping waves of the Mediterranean sea. Plus the all-year-around riding is out of this world and you can get an Uber to town from the airport that’s just nine kilometres away!

Cyclist with Col de Braus hairpins in background
Belle Epoch architecture in Nice

Romantic credentials

Nice sits on the French Riviera in the south of France. It’s a city of grand,  pastel-coloured buildings, intricately woven ironwork and azure blue sea. The Vieille Ville old town holds a host of meandering lanes with colourful markets, impressive churches, chic bars and cosy restaurants.  It’s easy to get lost, but you’ll enjoy it!

The famous Promenade des Anglais is always wonderful, but stroll along this wide walkway by the sea on a sunny Sunday and you’ll probably come across jazz musicians playing wistful melodies to locals and tourists, couples and families. Take a seat in a nearby bar, have a glass of cold white wine and relax. Ah, Nice.

Cycling weekend credentials

The Cote d’Azure is home to many pro cyclists and for good reason: the climate is favourable all year around; even in winter you can ride up to around 1,000 metres. You can choose between keeping things easy and heading along the stunning corniche roads between Nice and Monaco.

Or head for the hills made famous by the Tour de France, Paris to Nice “Race to the Sun” and Nice Ironman: Col de Vence, Col de la Madone, Col de Braus and Col de Turini should keep you busy for a bit!

Practical information

Fly to Nice

Flight time from London: 2 hours

We stayed in an apartment, but Nice has a huge number of hotels to choose from.

Check out the Epic Road Rides guide to cycling Nice

Where will you go next?

  • We’d love to hear from you – comment below!
  • Don’t fancy any of these places? Find all our destination guides here. We bet there’ll be somewhere you love just waiting for you there!

Our pick of Europe’s best cycling destinations might also be useful for you.

 

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Clare Dewey

Clare Dewey is a road cyclist with a passion for travel. She set up epicroadrides.com to help make it easy for road cyclists to explore new places by bike.

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