For three yearsin a row now, Inntravel has been endorsed as the only Which? Recommended Provider for self-guided tours – holidays on which you explore at your own pace, using our meticulously researched route notes, which are packed with cultural information and tips for the best picnic spots and worthwhile detours.
Suitable for almost anyone (opt for an electric bike if you think you’ll need some help), Inntravel’s self-guided cycling holidays aren’t about racking up the miles. In keeping with our Slow holiday philosophy, they’re about the scenery, the wildlife, local culture – cycling is an ideal means to experience all this. There’s no timetable but your own, so relax, knowing that we’ve covered every detail: meticulously researched routes described in easy-to-read notes (and supplemented with GPS navigation so you can also follow the route on your phone, if you wish), luggage transfers, and reservations at charming, hand-picked accommodation serving delicious regional cuisine.
To give you a good idea of how we can tailor our trips to your individual requirements, take a look at the section of the website specifically devoted to travellers from outside the UK.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer to get the low-down on Inntravel holidays from someone who has first-hand experience, you can email Phil Wise. Based in California, Phil has taken many trips with us over the years, and will be happy to give you general information about travelling to Europe and the overall Inntravel holiday experience from an American perspective.
How Inntravel cycling holidays work
Route notes you can trust
We pride ourselves on providing accurate, comprehensive route guides, which we update constantly so that you can have complete confidence in them. (We also provide GPS files if you'd like to follow the route on your phone.) While steering you from A to B, they’ll fill you in about places of interest and local culture, so that you enjoy the richest possible holiday experience – all at your own pace.
Freedom to choose
Holidaying independently, not in a group, means you can stay in small, intimate hotels with only a handful of rooms, and decide which places to visit each day (there's often more than one!). What’s more, there’s no set start date, no set duration (feel free to add extra nights), and no set travel arrangements – we’ll happily book a bespoke travel package for you, either by air, by rail or by ferry.
We’ve been offering holidays since 1984 and have built up a wealth of experience in that time. Whenever you contact us, you’ll deal with friendly experts who share a passion for European travel and who have cycled our routes and stayed in our featured hotels. They’ll be delighted to answer your queries and help you plan and book your perfect two-wheeled holiday.
Don’t worry if it’s been a while since you last rode a bike, as our wide selection of independent cycling holidays caters for all levels of ‘amateur’ cyclist, ranging upwards from gentle grade 1 holidays suitable for even very occasional cyclists. If you want a bit of extra help, or are unsure of your level, why not choose an electric bike? (Our grading system assumes you are using a ‘regular’ bike, so if you choose an e-bike, bear in mind that the cycling will be considerably easier.)
Easy cycling for all with shorter days mainly on the flat, but some gentle ascents.
Easy-to-moderate cycling featuring undulating routes with more frequent short ascents, and a mix of shorter and longer days.
Moderate cycling with some longer, steady uphill sections, and longer days.
Fairly strenuous cycling featuring longer days with some sustained climbs. (We don't currently have any holidays at this level.)
Cycling holidays in Europe’s most scenic corners
Our range of bike holidays is wide and varied. As experts in cycling holidays in Europe, we know the best regions – places with unspoiled scenery, dedicated cycle ways or quiet back roads, plenty of cultural interest, and a reassuringly bike-friendly culture. Whether you choose a cycling holiday along the Loire Valley, past vines and castles, or along Portugal’s north coast, you can rest assured that our routes have been thoroughly tried and tested.
If you’d like more information about a specific holiday, or advice on choosing the right grade or holiday for you, please get in touch – our friendly experts will be happy to help.
What’s a typical day like?
We try to vary each day’s route, but you’ll no doubt fall into a pattern, perhaps setting off at 9am after a leisurely breakfast. You might pause a couple of times for photos or to take a closer look at a monument, then break in the next village for a coffee before continuing to the restaurant suggested in the route notes. There’ll usually be somewhere – a museum, castle or gardens – to visit in the afternoon, then a final stretch will bring you to your next hotel in the late afternoon, with time for a dip in the pool and a beer on the terrace, before a dinner of regional cuisine.
Do we cycle on roads or cycle paths?
Our routes follow cycle paths where possible, otherwise quiet back roads. Inevitably there’ll be short sections on busier roads in/out of towns, across rivers or to connect scenic routes, so you need to be comfortable cycling in traffic. Some routes include unsurfaced tracks, but no technical skills are required.
How do we find our way? Do you provide GPS info?
We provide you with meticulously compiled route notes, which are checked regularly and written as easy-to-read bullet points, along with a map (usually 1:50,000). In addition, we’ll send you a link to the GPX tracks for your holiday which you can download onto a GPS device or a smartphone with the relevant app. This gives you added reassurance – all you have to do is follow the highlighted route! – but is by no means essential; if you prefer to stick to using our route notes and maps, that’s entirely up to you.
As well as guiding you from A to B, the route notes provide information about the places of interest you pass. If there’s a worthwhile detour, we point this out too, and even suggest eateries for lunch.
Do we have to follow a set route?
We usually include a choice of two or more routes each day, which have been designed to show you the best of the area while avoiding busy roads. However, there’s nothing to stop you from devising your own routes using your map.
Do we have to cycle every day?
Our holidays usually feature two nights at each hotel, giving you the chance to rest or sightsee every other day (although we usually suggest a circular route if you want more cycling).
What sort of bike do you provide?
Whether you choose a 'regular' bike (in which case you will usually be provided with a touring or hybrid/cross bike) or an e-bike, it will be no more than two years old and equipped with front and rear lights or reflectors, at least 18 gears (except on e-bikes), straight handlebars with a waterproof map case, a comfy saddle, a pump, a puncture repair kit (or spare tube and basic tools), a lock and ample pannier or saddlebag space (you leave your luggage in reception after breakfast so it can be transferred ahead, but you’ll need drinks, sun cream, snacks and waterproofs each day).
Read our the FAQs on our e-bike page to find out more about how electric bikes work.
Do I need a helmet or special clothing?
We strongly advise everyone to wear a cycling helmet. You can often rent one from the bike supplier (see the FAQs on each holiday page), or you could bring your own. Sometimes it is possible to buy a new one locally. Helmets are a legal requirement for cyclists of all ages on public roads in Spain; under 12s in France and Austria; under 15s in Slovenia; and under 16s in Croatia.
Clothing-wise, we suggest a fast-drying synthetic top that wicks away moisture, plus a thin fleece or sweatshirt and a lightweight, breathable, wind/waterproof jacket. Trainers work best for both cycling and visits. Please limit yourself to one piece of hand luggage (max 10kg) and one larger piece of luggage (max 15-20kg).
What happens if we have a problem with our bike?
The professional local suppliers with whom we work maintain their rental bikes to a high standard.
You should fix any punctures yourself (you’ll be supplied with the necessary equipment), but, in the unlikely event that you encounter a more serious problem, you can call the supplier for help. We also provide a 24-hour emergency line for added peace of mind.
Where should we lock up our bikes?
You are responsible for damage to or loss of the bicycle while it is hired to you. Whenever you leave your bicycle unattended, you should secure it carefully, preferably to an immovable object, using the lock provided, and remove all accessories.
Are Inntravel’s self-guided cycling holidays suitable for children?
None of our holidays cater for younger children, but if you are travelling with teenagers who can use adult bikes, then you may find that some of our holidays are suitable – you'll need to consider the distances involved each day. Please note that family rooms for more than 2 or 3 people are uncommon at many of the smaller hotels.