Seeing Europe on two wheels is always a good idea, especially on a trip planned by experts. Here are four new bike rides for 2023 from some of the best tour operators in the business
Italy: La Via Francigena
Since 1989, Ciclismo Classico has been the go-to company for in-depth Italian bike tours steeped in the culture. Next year, they’re unveiling La Via Francigena, a route that follows pilgrims’ paths. This route was first documented in 990 by Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury, describing his journey as he returned to Canterbury. The roads that Sigeric followed became known as the Via Francigena (the road from France) or “Via Romea” (the road to Rome). For centuries, it was used by merchants, clergy, soldiers, and pilgrims. Ciclismo’s 10-day trip begins in the Tuscan city of Lucca and ends 301 miles later in Rome, with stops in such cities as San Gimignano and Sienna. The biking is on a mix of paved and unpaved gravel roads, much of it away from cars and trucks. Part of the ride is on the basalt of the ancient Via Cassia, a 2000-year-old Roman road. The trip is rated intermediate and is priced from $6,600 per person, based on double occupancy (as are all trips mentioned here).
Spain: Balearic Islands, Mallorca & Ses Salines
VBT has announced Spain: Balearic Islands, Mallorca and Ses Salines for 2023, a trip noteworthy for the scenic biking along the Mediterranean coastline of the largest island in the Balearics. The mountains of the Tramuntana range are backdrops of this trip, and highlights include lunch at the island’s oldest finca and a vineyard offering paella lessons to the group. Riders visit open-air markets, where local artisans sell their pottery, ceramics, and glass. This tour features easy-to-moderate terrain on quiet paved rural roads. This tour works well for beginners and experienced cyclists thanks to longer-ride options. Accommodations are in unique boutique hotels, and the daily mileage ranges from 10 to 40 miles. Rates start at $5,395 for a 10-day air package, $4,395 for a 7-day bike tour per person.
France: Brittany & Normandy Bike Tour
The Brittany & Normandy Bike Tour from Trek is perfect for anyone who has wanted to see the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mont-Saint-Michel and the historic beaches of the D-Day Landings. These Atlantic regions of northern France are havens of castles, monasteries, medieval towns, and white-chalked cliffs. On this trip, riders can visit the 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry and take a private guided tour with a local historian of the most essential D-Day World War II sites, including the American Cemetery and Omaha Beach. There’s a morning visit to the old walled town of Saint-Malo and lunch in Brittany’s oyster capital, Cancale. This trip is rated at level 2. Unusually for a bike tour, this departure welcomes non-riders as well. These non-riding travelers will have plenty of options on these trips with dining, recreation, and cultural activities. The six-day trip is $5,899 per person.
Italy: Puglia’s Salento to Matera Easygoing E-bike Tour
Coastlines, hill towns, and World Heritage Sites are the features of this Backroads trip. It’s an opportunity to ride an E-bike on the quiet roads of Puglia, a part of Italy that is constantly emerging but never quite fully discovered. Puglia is a place of whitewashed towns, the troglodyte settlement of Matera, and the distinctive trulli limestone dwellings found especially in Alberobello. Highlights include tasting the region’s wines and sampling classic Pugliese dishes. This trip is one of Backroads’ Dolce Tempo trips, meaning it’s slower-paced and easygoing. The effortless style of this trip means staying in luxurious hotels like the Sant’Angelo Resort in Matera and the 16th-century Palazzo Ducale Venturi. There are two to four hours of biking per day, with distances of 10 to 30 miles. Those distances are made easier on this trip, thanks to E-bikes. This six-day trip is $5,799 per person.