Delights of Austria

 

Paige from the Freewheel Holidays team sampled the delights of Austria on a Freewheel Holidays cycling trip.

Austria from start to finish was an experience I’ll never forget. A real-life fairytale! I went with my partner Ashley and it was our first time cycling on holiday. From tasting traditional Austrian cuisine to witnessing stunning mountainous landscapes, Austria was truly a delight to explore by bike.

 

Throughout the trip, the route paths were smooth and flat with a few hilly banks along the way. The majority of our time cycling was through fields, forest paths, and quiet side roads.

 

We were taken aback by the amount of greenery Austria has to offer – miles and miles of freshly cut grass surrounded by tall trees, placed perfectly in front of mountainous landscapes. Alpine houses towered the long, winding roads – each one beautifully rendered in pale colours with high balconies covered in colourful flowers. The sights throughout the trip were spectacular!

 

There were so many highlights, but to name a few;

 

  • Visiting Hallstatt, a tiny village in the Salzkammergut Region famous for its history of salt mines and sitting neatly between the surrounding mountains and lake.

 

  • Cycling through the old imperial town of Bad Ischl where we sampled the local delicacies including iced pastries and chocolate-covered doughnuts. We tried the traditional Frankfurt sausages too!

 

  • Exploring St Wolfgang which is famous for its pilgrim church, religious history and White Horse Inn hotel. It had many small shops selling household items and traditional Austrian clothing.

 

  • A boat trip across Lake Wolfgangsee. The water was glistening and clear enough to almost see the bottom. The Lake was covered by high mountains – it was a picture-perfect setting.

 

  • The Sound of Music During the trip, we almost felt like we were in the film so we were very excited to visit a few of the movie’s locations including the Mirabell Palace & Gardens, the Pegasus Fountain and Musical Steps (I must admit it was hard refraining from breaking out into song).

 

 

The holiday was a real eye-opener and an amazing experience – we never would have thought a cycling holiday could be so easy and enjoyable!

 

You don’t realise the amount of exercise you are doing (which is a bonus!) whilst riding, as you find yourself too busy taking in the surroundings. Cycling holidays give you a real sense of adventure and the opportunity to discover new places.

 

Paige visited Austria on a condensed trip of Free wheel’s Ten Lakes & Sound of Music. Prices start from £1,350pp. To find out more about this holiday visit the website.

From the iconic architecture to the vibrant cultural scene, why not make Berlin your next bucket list destination?

 

 

In June 2022, a couple of friends and I visited Berlin, which was the first time for two of us. We were excited to learn about the Berlin Wall as we had in history lessons, and we’d also been told about the summer cafés and beer gardens.

As foodies, the first thing to note must be the food. I knew the German stereotype of sausage, but here I found a melting pot of world food and much more than “Wurst”. We of course tried the typical “Currywurst” and “Döner”, neither disappointed. I honestly couldn’t get enough kebabs; they were miles better than we can get in the UK. Currywurst is essentially sausage in curry sauce, surprisingly great with chips and a dollop of mayonnaise; both can be found on most street corners. We stayed in the area of Neukölln; here and Kreuzberg there are streets with hundreds of multicultural eateries from many countries. With a large Turkish and Arabic population, you can try some incredible, authentic baklava. Of course, beer in Germany is a given and the neighbourhoods are littered with cosy bars (amazingly most offer table service). Around the centre / tourist attractions restaurants were a little more expensive, but you’re of course paying for location. Don’t miss the “Spätis”, these off licenses sell beer for as cheap as €1.00 and as its legal to drink on the street, they will open or “aufmachen” the bottles for you to take out.

One thing that can’t be missed in Berlin is the history, which is truly unique here. We all know the story, for over 20 years Berlin was divided into two East and West with conflicting political systems. You can feel this around the city, for example you always know whether you’re in the East or the West by the shape of the man on the traffic lights, as well as a line across the city showing where the wall was. This is amazing by bike; you can see the change in building style. To learn a bit more in depth we visited the Check Point Charlie Museum, DDR Museum, and cycled along the famous East Side Gallery.

As a capital city with over 3 million people, Berlin is of course very multicultural and has people of all walks of life. The overwhelming feeling for us was freedom, in Berlin anything goes from wild 72-hour parties, to relaxed walks by the canal, all whilst with people from all nationalities. We also loved seeing people sitting out in street bars and cafes enjoying relaxed drinks with friends.

How was our experience of cycling Berlin? The city itself is very prepared for cyclists. There are numerous cycle lanes (make sure you stick to these) and places to lock up your bike. One of our favourite routes was from Friedrichstraße to Alexanderplatz, here you are going between two iconic places via river where the beautiful cathedral sits. We took a stop in Hackescher Markt, sitting on the grass watching ships go by.

For me, Berlin had a unique atmosphere and feeling, a fusion of cultures, history, open mindedness. In embracing Berlin culture you are embracing many of the world’s cultures.  You can enjoy the history and visit numerous museums, but you can also buy a cheap beer and sit on one of the city’s numerous green spaces.

 

Cycling in Scandinavia

20/02/2023

 

Denmark. Norway. Sweden. Three beautiful countries that have helped shape the history of Europe as a whole over centuries. But while not a lot of people may consider these Scandinavian countries as “hot spots” when it comes to choosing a holiday, the same can’t be said for cycling holidays in Scandinavia.

Scandinavia is home to some truly spectacular cycling routes. But there are more reasons than this to consider cycling holidays in Scandinavia.

Here are just a few reasons why you should make Scandinavia your next cycling getaway with Freewheel Holidays:

Cycling-centric countries

In comparison to the UK, and a lot of other countries in Europe, Scandinavian countries could be considered a lot more cycling-friendly. Many towns, cities and roads are signposted for cyclists, with many roads built with both motorists and cyclists in mind. Meaning if you love traveling by two wheels – we know you do! – you should feel right at home on a cycling holiday in Scandinavia.

But why are things this way? Why are these countries much easier for cyclists to explore unhindered? It’s because cycling is much more common and engrained in Scandinavian culture than it is in many other countries. You’ll often find people traveling by bike, when they could just as easily travel by car.

Spectacular cycling routes

No wonder so many people enjoy cycling in Scandinavia when there’s this much spectacular scenery to take in.

We already discussed how many of the roads are virtually tailor-made for cyclists. But with views like this, it’s no wonder cyclists flock to these breathtaking countries every year.

There’s a little bit of everything: Traditional gothic architecture in towns and cities, backed by roaming fjords, lakes and mountains in the more countrified regions. All with their own options and available routes for budding cyclists and explorers to discover.

We like to think our incredible Stockholm to Copenhagen tour will give you the best of both worlds. See for yourself.

Now, speaking of Stockholm and Copenhagen

Unmissable cities

The open landscapes of the region might be the most appealing feature for those seeking a cycling holiday in Scandinavia, but one must not forget all the stunning cities that are on offer to tourists, too.

The above-mentioned cities are the obvious choices, but that doesn’t make them any less beautiful. For example, did you know Stockholm in Sweden is actually scattered across numerous islands? That’s because the archipelago as a whole is made up of approximately 24,000 islands – No, that’s not a typo! Twenty-four thousand separate pieces of land, with many connected by bridges, make the city of Stockholm and the wider area the perfect escape for true cycling explorers.

Then, of course, Copenhagen is one of the most historic cities in all of Europe, dating back to the 10th Century, when the Vikings settled there.

Since then, the city has become the epicenter of Danish culture, economics and construction. Home to hundreds of examples of classic architecture, as well as everything that makes 21st Century Denmark such a marvel, it’s definitely one of the places you need to ride before you hang up your helmet!

Local people

In a lot of cases, tourists are worried about interacting with locals, fearing that cultural differences might make conversation awkward. Well, you won’t have to worry about this when you’re cycling in Scandinavia…

According to the World Happiness Report, which attempts to record the happiness levels of the world’s many countries and ranks them, Denmark has been named the ‘World’s Happiest Country’ multiple times, with our other two Scandinavian countries consistently ranking in the top ten!

If these studies are any indication, your cycling holiday in Scandinavia will be even more of a pleasure, thanks to the abundance of friendly locals you’ll run into on your travels.

Local cuisines

There was a time when, if you mentioned ‘Scandinavian Food’ to someone, they’d instantly think of fish dishes. And that’s totally understandable! Given the historical significance to countries hold in the fishing trade, with countless ports still netting thousands upon thousands of fresh fish each and every day.

But the local cuisine has evolved beyond this in recent years, and now takes its influence from the surrounding European counties, too.

Nowadays in Scandinavia, you’ll find a little bit of everything! From delectable cured meats and cheeses to fresh pastries and desserts galore, you’ll quite literally never run out of options of things to try.

Oh, and for the beer aficionados amongst you, the region is also home to some of the most unique and sought-after beers in the world. But you probably already knew that!

There’s no end to the things you can see, do and discover on your cycling holiday in Scandinavia. But what there is an end to is our availability to take you there soon!

If you want to book your dream cycling holiday in Scandinavia, now is the time to do it! Denmark, Norway, and Sweden cycling holidays are all available for you to check out right now!

Or give us a call on 0161 703 8161 and we’ll be happy to assist you.

See you soon!

 

Spanish Cycling Holidays!

17/02/2023

 

stunning rural and countrified routes – the perfect backdrop for a cycling holiday!

With this in mind, and with an eye towards the future, here are just a few of Freewheel Holidays’ favourite Spanish cycling holiday getaways:

CYCLING IN CATALONIA

Situated in the northern region of Girona, this Spanish cycling holiday always proves to be a hit with Freewheel customers!

Our Catalonia Greenways tour lets you sample the sensational volcanic area of La Garrotxa – home to four actual volcanoes for you to view on your travels.

As well as wide-open Spanish views, Garrotxa is also home to some dense woodland for a more nature-focused Spanish cycling holiday experience.

Eventually, cyclists will reach the picturesque sandy beaches of the Mediterranean and end their trip with a spectacular two-night stay in the iconic Costa Brava.

MAJORCA PLUS

Majorca might be well-known as being a beach getaway for countless sunbathers, but there’s so much more the island has to offer… especially for cyclists!

Freewheel’s Majorca Plus cycling holiday allows holiday-goers to soak up all the sights, sounds and experiences Majorca has to offer, as you ride full-circle around much of the island’s glorious coastline.

Home to countless traditional Spanish towns and villages, the island is much more of a cultural experience than many realise, offering a real taste of classic Spanish life.

Whether you’re after a tranquil countryside, seaside views, or exploring the local nightlife, the Majorca Plus has it all.

Best of La Rioja

Any Spanish cycling holiday is bound to be a life-changing escape, but this one adds a real touch of luxury to the experience…

The Best of La Rioja sees eager cyclists enjoy their stay in 4-star hotels, dining in Michelin star restaurants, and enjoying some of the very best wine the country has to offer – as you can tell from the title!

You’ll spend two nights in La Rijoca’s capital, enjoying everything from the delicious food to the exceptional classic architecture.

Then, you’ll move on to cycling the surrounding areas, which include rides past the unmistakable Yuso and Suso monasteries – reportedly the birthplace of the Spanish language!

You’ll also get to experience the hillside town of Laguardia, with its awe-inspiring views of the surrounding hills and towns.

All of the above and more are what make Spanish cycling holidays some of the very best trips you’ll ever experience on two wheels!

Want to see more of what Freewheel has to offer? Take a look at our full collection of Spanish cycling holidays here.

Or call 0161 703 8161 and let’s see what we can do for you!

Valentine’s Day: Fall in Love with Cycling Again!

08/02/2023

 

Valentine’s Day is upon us!

Anybody who cycles with their partner knows that cycling as a pair can be a much more enriching, fulfilling experience. You get to share the scenery, the journey, the highs and the lows together.

But as you’ll no-doubt be aware, it can be easy for those who cycle on a regular basis to lose touch with what made them fall in love with cycling in the first place, as they begin to slowly stop cycling regularly.

If this sounds like you, and you’re ready to get “back in the saddle”here are a few reasons why a cycling holiday will make you fall in love with cycling again:

Cycling Holidays in Europe

If you’re a cycling enthusiast and you’ve already been on a cycling holiday, you’ll be well-aware of what an invigorating experience it is. So there’s no surprise that cycling holidays in Europe come at the top of our list to help you fall back in love with cycling again.

Planning a getaway this year? Why not kill two birds with one stone and use your holiday to rekindle your passion for the sport you love?

At Freewheel Holidays we have many incredible cycling holidays in Europe ready and waiting for you to book. All you need to do is find the one that suits you best and… click!

Fall back in love with cycling by taking the cycling holiday you deserve.

New Sights & Sounds

Whether you’re a cycling holiday novice or a well-travelled veteran, it’s unlikely there is a country you haven’t explored yet. Well… now is your chance!

Whether it’s the open air of Austria’s lakes and mountains or the sandy paths of sunny portugal, there’s plenty to be explored that you haven’t seen yet. So make sure you make your next journey of discovery a cycling holiday with Freewheel Holidays!

Travel Companions

Well, it is Valentine’s Day after all! Taking cycling holidays in Europe by yourself is still a great idea – it gives you the chance to escape for a while for some much-needed ‘me time’ – but for couples who love to cycle together, nothing beats a couples cycling holiday.

Getting to share your adventures together will not only bring you closer together as a couple, but will help shape the most precious memories that will last a lifetime.

Besides, some of the locations you can visit together on cycling holidays in Europe are some of the most romantic places you’ll ever see. We’re talking about places like the vast and tranquil Lake Geneva  the ‘City of Love’ Paris. All discoverable at your own pace, on the freedom of two wheels. What more could you want for a romantic getaway?

Test Yourself

If you haven’t cycled in a good while and you’re just starting to get back in the swing of things, cycling holidays could be the perfect way to get you cycle legs back and find your love for the sport again.

Test yourself along some cycle-friendly routes, before moving onto the more difficult paths that might require some more effort and patience. But the good news is, whether you have an easy cycle or a long, hard day’s work, the entire experience is always beneficial for your body and your mind.

Environmentally Friendly

People often forget that, for all their benefits, cycling holidays are much more beneficial for the environment than traditional holidays.

On traditional holidays, you’ll probably be based in a single hotel location and use public transport to make your way around the surrounding area. You might not realise it, but this isn’t helping the environmental crisis one bit.

Whereas, on a cycling holiday, it’s your own leg and core strength that propels you from one location to the next, without a single drop of pollutants in sight. So if you’re one for taking care of the environment and you love cycling, you should undoubtedly be considering a cycling holiday.

Show your love for cycling and the planet!

Denmark’s Island Zealand-Circuit Tour

25/01/2023

Here are a few things you might want to know:

A Danish History Delight

The Danish island of Zealand represents all the best parts of Denmark’s history and culture.

Still home to some of the world’s most stunning castles, Denmark’s lineage of Danish royalty really is a must-see for history buffs.

You’ll get to cycle past castles like Kronborg Castle, famed for its depiction in William Shakespeare’s seminal play Hamlet.

Or Frederiksborg Castle, surrounded by sparkling blue waters and backed by miles of beautiful green foliage, much of which has been sculpted into the most sensational garden displays.

Danish Cuisine and Hospitality

If you opt for our Denmark’s Island Zealand Circuit Tour, you’ll be treated to some superior rooms in divine hotels, giving you the chance to experience true Danish hospitality.

Recognised by many as “the happiest country in the world” you may even learn a thing or two on how to boost your mood during your stay!

But one thing everybody must try before they leave Denmark is some traditional Danish cooking.

For example, Smørrebrød – arguably the most famous of all Danish dishes – is a simple yet elegant dish comprising of rye bread topped with a whole host of different Danish bites. Including, but not limited to, pickled herring, roast beef, locally-sourced shrimps, and more.

For those of you with a real sweet tooth, you can’t afford to miss out on some freshly-baked Danish pastries from a traditional bakery. Some of the finest desserts in the world.

But this is barely scratching the surface. The only way to see all the delicious bites available in Denmark is to visit for yourself!

Copenhagen – The Bike Capital of the World

If you’ve ever seen any video footage of Copenhagen on the news, or if you’ve been lucky enough to visit the iconic city already, you’ll know just how much of a cycling-centric location it truly is.

In fact, during the morning rush hour, around 3 in 5 workers commute via cycling, rather than driving or using public transportation.

This is a great move on the part of combating climate change. But it’s also more of a logistical move, too.

Much of the ground within Copenhagen is relatively flat, making for easy riding. Add to this the fact that the government has helped turn the city into arguably the most cycling-friendly location on the planet and there’s little argument that you won’t feel right at home on two wheels in Copenhagen.

Want to find out more about this once-in-a-lifetime cycling holiday? Click here for more info, or call 0161 703 8161 and let’s get you ready for the cycling holiday of your dreams!

Russel’s Freewheel Holiday

06/01/2023

WE SPOKE TO RUSSEL TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HIS FIRST EVER CYCLING TRIP.

 

We’ve heard you have recently been on a trip to the glorious Danube River. Can you tell us your favourite moment from the trip?

It’s hard to choose which one is my favourite as there were so many! Budapest was a real highlight – I enjoyed a fantastic meal with the cycling group I was with. Cycling the Visegrad route was very memorable too. The scenery was out of this world, like nothing I’d ever seen before.

Tell us a little more about the places you cycled through.

A few that stood out for me were Esztergom, Visegrad and Budapest.

We cycled from Komarom (the Hungarian name for Komarno) through the riverbank and stopped to take a picture with an old tank situated near the river. We then saw the Basilica of Esztergom (the largest church and the tallest building in Hungary) up close and personal. The view of the Basilica was incredible.

Then, whilst cycling through Visegrad, we had stunning views of the Danube River and the beautiful palaces that make up this town. Along the trail, we also saw some local wine-brewing holes which were really interesting!

Budapest was amazing and I would definitely visit again. It’s very cyclist-friendly and everything was accessible, even the crowded tourist spots.

In your opinion, what makes the Danube river so incredible?

The diverse landscapes that the Danube River touches, from nature to urban. It has everything.

This was your first cycling trip, would you travel by bike again?

Yes! I took on this challenge and it was one of the best holidays I’ve ever been on! I’ve told all my friends about it and we’re already planning where to go. There is so much to see and do by bike, you witness and uncover so many hidden gems, try new foods and meet great people. You would have to experience a cycling trip to understand just how amazing it is!

How did you prepare for your cycling trip?

I’d never been on a cycling holiday before so I wanted to make sure I was confident on the bike. I had a few cycling trips out and about prior to going which really helped me prepare for the trip.

What advice would you give to anyone on a cycling trip for the first time?

Enjoy the ride…literally! I travelled with a group which really helped me understand the way in which a cycling holiday works. I would be keen to try a solo trip next time, and use route maps to navigate my way around a city. Being prepared every day, from wearing appropriate clothing to making sure you have enough water. Go at your own pace – the beauty of travelling by bike is that you can stop and take in all the surroundings along the way.

Where would you go on your next cycling adventure?

I’m thinking of somewhere exotic like Cuba or Vietnam. I think it would be a real treat to discover these destinations by bike.

If you are thinking of booking your next cycling getaway, Freewheel Holidays now have new holidays and more choices than ever before!

 

Cycling Holidays – Discover the Best of the Algarve

29/07/2022

 

Best of the Algarve

 

There are few locations in all of Europe that are more popular with holidaymakers than sunny Portugal.

 

One of the oldest nation-states in the world, Portugal is responsible for influencing both Spanish and European culture as a whole over the centuries. But while Portugal is super-popular with those seeking a sun, sea, and sand type of holiday, did you know it’s also an incredible location for a cycling holiday, too?

 

What nicer way to travel along the interesting coastline and through the picturesque Portuguese countryside than on two wheels? Take our Best of the Algarve cycling holiday, which showcases the diverse landscapes and allows you to experience all the highlights of this region.

 

You’ll begin in the fascinating town of Vila Real de Santo António on the shores of the Guadiana River. Steeped in history, this laid-back town is the perfect place to begin your adventure as you enjoy the local delicacies and perhaps a glass of wine from one of the many cafes in the gorgeous central square.

 

Several unique coastal towns dot your route, such as Mote Gordo with its large promenade and huge sandy beach, the small white village of Caçela Velha which provides stunning views of the Lagoon, Manta Rota with its untouched beach and the fishing village of Cabanas.

 

Head through the Idyllic countryside through hills, farm land and villages where you’ll discover historic churches such as the São Lourenço Church, which boasts detailed-painted tiles. Look out for the quaint, narrow cobbled streets filled with shops and restaurants in the lively old market town of Loulé before making your way over the hills to Alte.

 

The Algarve is a region rich in history, not least in Silves on the banks of the Rio Arade. Pause your journey here and enjoy a bit to eat as you soak up the culture of this city that was once the Moorish capital before continuing through beautiful landscapes along the Rio Arade.

 

Stunning landscapes full of wildflowers, jagged cliffs and beautiful countryside provide awe-inspiring views as you travel along the, sometimes, hilly terrain and with a total cycling distance of around 220km this isn’t an easy ride but is so worth the effort you’ll put in.

 

Freewheel Holidays is proud to be able to show you some of the hidden gems the Algarve has to offer. Quality hotels await you in places such as the coastal resort of Praia da Rocha, Olhão which is close to the regional capital of Faro, Sagres with its breath-taking fortress. From Sagres you can even head to Cape St Vincent, the southernmost point of Portugal, if you’re feeling up to the 12km round trip.

 

The contrasting views of countryside and coast are what makes this trip so interesting and diverse. Your final destination is Monchique in the Serra de Monchique where you can climb up to the highest peak in the Algarve or opt to rest with a spa treatment in the thermal baths you’ll find here.

 

There is so much to see and do in this popular destination, you won’t want to leave!

Book now and get ready for the Algarve cycling holiday of a lifetime!