The 6 best leisurely cycling destinations
We have cherry-picked our favourite leisurely cycling holidays across France and Italy for you, with plenty of wine and food stops.Read more
Back when Cycling for Softies was founded in 1981, anyone brave enough to go on a cycling holiday through France generally set off with a heavy canvas tent and sleeping bag precariously perched over their panniers. If it rained, all your clothes would just get soaked. So, by offering self-guided tours staying in hotels, we're definitely providing the softer option.
The name 'soft' doesn't necessarily mean the cycling is easier, but you can pick gentler routes like traffic-free Mayenne. This French route meanders along riverside cycle paths and empty roads, passing medieval churches and market towns. Another gentle French route is Venise Verte, featuring shade-dappled canals where you can wave to boaters as you cycle past. If you're looking for more of a challenge, cycle up the hills of Burgundy and Beaujolais, where you can plan your route to drop in on some of the region's famous vineyards.
Cycling for Softies holidays are known for their gourmet credentials, pleasing even the most discerning of palates. A particularly popular tour for foodies is Michelin-starred nights in the Alsace. This seven-night holiday offers four-star accommodation and suppers in Michelin-starred restaurants. One restaurant even has a glass floor, so you can see the wine being produced on site as you dine. On our Five starry nights in Provence tour you'll also be treated to Michelin-starred meals, which combine cutting-edge presentation with fresh ingredients, often with a nod to Provençal gastronomic traditions – from salty olive tapenade to peppery puy lentils.
Our experts are always on hand to help, which takes the stress out of organising your holiday. Between them, they have decades of experience planning and executing perfect holidays. They keep the bikes in tip-top condition for you, making those up and downhill stretches a blast, and are a goldmine of local information, from which views budding photographers must visit to the best local cafés and restaurants. Our holiday planners are more than happy to help and all speak English, so don't be shy about asking!
Each holiday is up to you, and you can have as much or little input on planning as you wish. Pick an easier cycle route that will incorporate a spectacular romantic castle, or choose a trail into the Forest to really challenge yourself. At some destinations, you can also extend your stay to make the trip last just a little longer. And if you're looking for a truly unique holiday, we can tailor-make the trip by adapting an existing itinerary or designing your own from scratch, so you'll be starting your exceptional journey in no time.
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