If you’re looking for a different kind of vacation, you should really consider embarking on a biking tour.
It sounds challenging, but imagine this: the wind in your face, the feeling of accomplishment as you push your limits, the thrill of exploring new landscapes, and the unexpected joy of discovering a hidden trail or an isolated village that you wouldn’t find on a typical tourist route.
Doesn’t that sound like an incredible adventure?
The world is full of fantastic biking trails for everyone, from the casual cyclist to the adrenaline junkie. And there are so many different routes to choose from! From the urban charms of Amsterdam to the rugged landscape of New Zealand’s South Island, there’s so much to see and do, and the experience is sure to be absolutely unforgettable.
Here are a few recommendations for the very best cycling tours around the world—whether you’re interested in a self-guided tour or a competitive one, there’s something here for everyone.
14 Top Biking Tours Worldwide
1. The Great Divide, USA & Canada
This is a cross-continental mountain bike route spanning over 2,700 miles, making it the longest off-pavement cycling path in the world. The trail, which takes you from the stunning mountainous terrains of Banff, Alberta in Canada all the way to the US-Mexico border, offers riders a chance to witness diverse landscapes, wildlife, and varying climate zones, making it an ultimate adventure for the seasoned cyclist.
2. Route des Grandes Alpes, France
This iconic 700km route traverses the French Alps from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea. Cyclists are taken on a journey through dramatic mountain landscapes, picturesque Alpine villages, and over some of the most famous Tour de France mountain passes like Col de l’Iseran and Col du Galibier. The trip involves significant elevation gain, making it a challenging but rewarding experience for any keen road cyclist.
3. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam—often dubbed the bicycle capital of the world—offers a unique blend of rich history, artistic legacy, intricate canal systems, and a vibrant biking culture. The city’s flat terrain and extensive network of cycling paths make it an easy and enjoyable experience for cyclists of all levels. Beyond the city, you can bike through beautiful Dutch countryside routes lined with windmills and tulip fields.
4. Munda Biddi Trail, Australia
The Munda Biddi Trail, meaning “path through the forest” in the Aboriginal Noongar language, is a world-class, nature-based, off-road cycling experience. The 1,000km trail winds through the unspoiled, peaceful, backcountry landscapes of Western Australia, from Mundaring to Albany. Cyclists can enjoy diverse wildlife, pristine rivers, and quaint small towns along the route.
5. Otago Central Rail Trail, New Zealand
Once a railway line, the Otago Central Rail Trail is a 150km trail that offers an immersive journey into New Zealand’s South Island’s history and breathtaking landscape. It leads you through rocky landscapes, green pastures, stunning river gorges, and old railway tunnels. This trail is particularly appreciated for its slow pace, giving riders ample time to enjoy the scenery and the welcoming local hospitality in the towns along the route.
6. Cape Town Cycle Tour, South Africa
The Cape Town Cycle Tour is not just a race, but a spectacle and a challenge with the stunning backdrop of Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula. The 109km route takes cyclists around a peninsula that offers dramatic scenery, including the iconic Table Mountain, breathtaking coastal roads, and a challenging climb up Chapman’s Peak. The fact that it’s the world’s largest individually timed cycle race adds to the exhilaration and the sense of achievement.
7. La Route Verte, Canada
Covering over 5,000km, La Route Verte or “The Green Route” is an expansive network of bike paths in Quebec. The route, which crosses urban areas as well as the most rural and scenic landscapes, offers something for every cyclist—from the cobblestone streets of Old Quebec City to the panoramic views of the St. Lawrence River and the breathtaking vistas of the Gaspé Peninsula.
8. Shimanami Kaido, Japan
This unique 60km route is an experience in itself. Shimanami Kaido connects Japan’s main island of Honshu to the island of Shikoku, passing over six small islands in the Seto Inland Sea. Cyclists can enjoy the tranquil beauty of the islands, the strikingly blue sea, hilltop views, and citrus groves along the way. The journey also provides a chance to explore local Japanese culture, history, and cuisine on each of the islands.
9. Carretera Austral, Chile
Known as the Southern Route, Ruta Austral is a 1,240km path running through the remote and incredibly beautiful region of Patagonia. The trail presents the toughest of conditions—unpaved roads, harsh weather, and isolated stretches—but rewards with some of the most stunning views of untouched forests, towering mountains, turquoise waters, and hanging glaciers. It’s a journey for the brave and adventurous, bringing you face-to-face with raw, natural beauty at its best.
10. Danube River Path, Germany to Hungary
A tour along the Danube Cycle Path is one of the most well-known and well-loved cycling routes in Europe. The path meanders alongside the Danube River, passing through picturesque villages, medieval towns, and lush vineyards. Covering four countries, it offers a unique blend of beautiful scenery, historical landmarks, cultural exploration, and varied landscapes. This relatively flat route is suitable for cyclists of all levels and is especially popular for family biking vacations.
11. Sun Route, Italy
The Sun Route, or EuroVelo 7, is an incredible cycling journey that runs north to south through Europe—from Norway to Malta. If you take just the Italian route, you can traverse the snowy peaks of the Italian Alps down to the sunny, warm beaches of Sicily in the Mediterranean. Along the way, cyclists pass through lush vineyards, medieval towns, breathtaking landscapes, and famous cities like Rome and Naples. This route gives a comprehensive taste of Italy’s diverse culture, rich history, and world-famous cuisine.
12. The Rhine Route, Switzerland
The Rhine Route, or EuroVelo 15, is a 1,320km journey that traces the Rhine River from its source in the Swiss Alps all the way to its outlet in the North Sea in the Netherlands. The route winds through vineyards, charming medieval towns, and the heart of Europe’s industrial and political centers. Highlights include the majestic Swiss landscapes, the stunning Upper Middle Rhine Valley, and the culturally rich cities of Strasbourg, Basel, and Rotterdam.
13. The Friendship Highway, Tibet to Nepal
This epic, high-altitude route is a dream for adventurous cyclists. The Friendship Highway stretches from Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, to the Nepal border, with an optional extension to Kathmandu. Along the route, cyclists traverse several passes over 5,000 meters, visit Everest Base Camp, and experience breathtaking panoramas of the Himalayas.
14. The Death Road, Bolivia
Officially called North Yungas Road, this route gained its ominous nickname due to its reputation as one of the world’s most dangerous roads. The Death Road is a draw for thrill-seekers, offering an adrenaline-pumping journey down steep, narrow, and often muddy paths with sheer drops. Despite its reputation, cyclists are rewarded with magnificent views of the lush Bolivian rainforest and an unforgettable experience. Safety precautions are a must when tackling this route.
Remember to always check local biking rules, stay safe, and have fun!
Have you had the chance to embark on one of these cycling adventures? Share your stories and advice with the Frayed Passport community!
Featured imag by Coen van de Broek on Unsplash