10 Great cycling destinations for 2021

The one thing we really love doing is to take out our world map and dream about our next cycling adventure. Smooth roads, rolling hills, yummy wines and food are always high on our list. But with a whole wide world out there waiting to be discovered and a busy work schedule, finding the right location to maximize your short break becomes essential!

Of course, there is no such thing as one unambiguous “best destination” and it’s all dependent on what sort of adventures and cycling style you are after, along with your level of fitness. But there is always space for dreaming! So, here’s a list of what we think are some great destinations that are ideal for a short and sweet escape.

We cycled most of these ourselves, while some others are on our very own bucket list. Enjoy and don’t forget to tell us which one appeals to you the most in the comments below!

1.Northern Thailand (550 km)

Ride from the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, through the mountains, to the Golden Triangle, where the Mekong River marks the borders of Thailand, Burma, and Laos. Enjoy the spectacular limestone mountains of Chiang Dao and the scenic village of Mae Salak straddling the Mae Kok River. Top up your experience with fantastic Thai food markets and a perfect balance of culinary indulgence,  epic scenery, and cultural insights.

Image by Lonely Planet

2.Costa Rica – Coast To Coast (600km)

Ride Costa Rica coast-to-coast over 10 days. This is enough time to travel from one end of the country to the other and enjoy all the highlights in between. You can start the itinerary on the Pacific coast and then cycle through the central highlands until you reach the Caribbean beaches. On the way there, take in the beauty of the Arenal Volcano region, where you can embark on waterfall hikes and soak in natural hot springs. The best time of the year for visiting Costa Rica is during the dry season, from the end of October to March.

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

3.Bosnia Erzegovina and Serbia (600km)

Although Bosnia Herzegovina and Serbia of the Netherlands, Germany, and France, they are becoming really popular as gateways to the other Balkan countries to the East. Cycle through unspoiled countryside, impressive canyons and timeless villages. Not to mention the incredible hospitality of the locals!

Mostar, Bosnia Erzegovina

4.Taiwan (800km)

The island nation of Taiwan is a small, crowded, and filled with friendly people, good food, affordable accommodations, and some of the best cycling infrastructure in the entire world. Taiwan is truly a land built for bicycle travel! The best time to go cycling in Taiwan (unless you’re one of those people who like extremely hot weather) is in winter time, during the months of October through February, when temperatures range 15-25 Celsius.

One of Taiwan’s incredible cycleways

5.Kyrgyzstan (700km)

Cycle all the way from Osh to Bishkek, via Lake Toktogul and the beautiful high roads crossing the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. What’s there for you? Lush meadows, breathtaking snowy mountains, and high altitude plains before dropping out of the mountains for the descent of a lifetime into Bishkek, the capital.

Kyrgyzstan – Photo by cyclingtips.com

6.Japan’s Kyushu (750km)

Kyushu is probably the best-kept secret cycling destination in Japan. The forested slopes of the Kunisaki peninsula of Kyushu have samurai castles, Buddhist temples, and rugged volcanic nature to reveal. Many overlook this remote corner of Kyushu, but those who make the effort will discover some of the most undisturbed pawā spotto (spiritual places) in all of Japan. Apart from being a cycling paradise, Kyushu is also a genuine hot spring (onsen) paradise!

7.Madagascar (700-800km)

Called the “Eighth Continent” because of its size and natural peculiarity, Madagascar is a destination that defies comparison. With a wide array of ecosystems, from plains to rainforest, and an incredible evolutionary history, the island’s natural wonders are unparalleled. Madagascar is the destination for the true explorer, the nature lover, and the traveler who feels like they’ve seen it all.

Scenic Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar

8.Italy’s Abruzzo & Umbria (400km)

Ride through some of Italy’s wildest highlands, from the hills of the Sagrantino vineyards through the nationals parks of the Sibillini Mountains, Gran Sasso, and Majella, all the way to the Adriatic Sea. The Central Apennines – the ‘wild heart of Italy’ – may not have the same cycling history as the Alps, the Pyrenees, or the Dolomites, but that’s part of its allure.

cycling-abruzzo
Lago di Barrea near Scanno – photo by Ezequiel Gomez Davel

9.Danube: GermanyAustriaSlovakia and Hungary (600km)

Follow Europe’s second-longest river on EuroVelo 4. The entire length from the source, in Germany, to the delta, Bulgaria, is over 2000km. The section between Passau and Budapest is the most resplendent, with great infrastructures and breathtaking views, especially at the Schlögener Loop and Danube Bend. Starting in Bavarian Passau, the pancake-flat path continues via lively Linz, the grand cafés of Vienna, and funky Bratislava’s old town. At a speed of around 50km a day, you’ll be soothing your limbs in a Budapest thermal bath within two weeks.

10. The Four Rivers cycle way in South Korea

Without a doubt, South Korea has developed one of the world’s most impressive cycle path systems ever seen. The 4 Rivers cycle network comprises over 600km of waterway following trails across the country, with modern and clean facilities, including toilets, water, free campgrounds, and WiFi stops at regular intervals. Cyclists can even collect stamps for their “cycling passports” at designated check-points en route. Ride from Seoul to Busan, via bird flocked wetlands, rice fields, small villages, hydroelectric dams, and enthusiastic locals cyclists blasting out K-pop.

4 rivers cycling route in South Korea. Photo credit: Brakes and Cakes

Have you been somewhere that you think should definitely make this list? Comment below. Or simply share this if you know of someone who is in need of some travel inspiration!

Happy Rolling!

What do you reckon?

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