With three decades in the travel business under our belt at Prestige Holidays, we are well aware of the growing trends in luxury travel. Something that I have been increasingly asked about in recent years by my clients is the chance to get active on their holiday – to walk, to sail, to cycle. Although I’m no Bradley Wiggins myself, there are some cycling destinations that I know I can reliably recommend to clients looking to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the Mediterranean on two wheels.
It’s no surprise that cycling has become such a popular holiday activity. It not only allows you to indulge in some much-needed fresh air and keeps you fit – which entitles you to eat more of the local cuisine, of course – but it also proves a faster mode of transport than your own two legs. You’d be surprised how much more you can see on your holiday when you take to the road on a bicycle.
Biking in Krk
One destination that I can highly recommend for cycling is the Croatian island of Krk. It boasts 60 kilometres of excellent trails in both the countryside and along the coast; the varied terrain ensures that an active holiday here caters to all fitness levels and abilities. You can soak up the incredible ocean views by exploring myriad coastal paths, or take to the road (divided from the traffic) along a new route from Punat to Malinska. This gives you the opportunity to stop along the way and explore the historic old town of Krk – although you might want to hop off your bike when you reach its cobbled streets!
I would particularly recommend a cycling holiday in Krk in the spring or autumn. The temperature will be much more enjoyable for a day’s outing on two wheels, and the island hosts a number of cycling events at these times that you might want to get involved in, such as ‘Spring on Wheels’ and ‘I Love the Autumn: Bodul Bike’. These recreational events offer guided cycling tours and entertainment for all participants – I have received rave reviews from past clients.
John’s Pick: Hotel Pinia
Hotel Pinia is ideally situated for exploring the nearby coastal trails, pine forests and olive groves by bicycle. It’s as easy as anything to hire your own set of wheels – just ask at the reception. When you return from your ride, make sure to soak your aching muscles in the hotel’s spa; four different saunas (Finnish, Turkish, Bio and Laconium) and counter-current swimming in the panoramic pool will leave you feeling relaxed and ready for the next day’s exertions in the Croatian sunshine.
Peddling around Puglia
I always love visiting Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot. It comes as no surprise to me that the region is popular with our cycle-centric guests; the landscape is a stunning mixture of theatrical coastline, rippling wheat fields and green vineyards. It’s largely flat, which means that anyone can take to the trails to enjoy the amazing views.
If you’re a seasoned cyclist, there is one particular route that I heard about from a past client: Monopoli to Matera. The terminus of this ride is Matera’s sassi, a World Heritage Site recognised by UNESCO. The cave dwellings that make up the neighbourhoods of this remarkable town, built into a towering ravine, are being restored and brought back into use – for a sense of its history, make sure that you visit La Casa Grotta.
John’s Pick: Canne Bianche Hotel & Spa
If our clients are interested in looking after themselves, we always recommend that they stay at the Canne Bianche. The hotel offers an exceptional host of wellness facilities, including massages, skin rituals and even osteopathic treatments to help you reduce stress and increase mobility. I know from personal experience that it’s a pleasure to return to the chic and welcoming interiors of the Canne Bianche after a long day of exploring the area – and I can only imagine how welcoming it must be after a long cycle ride.
Making Tracks in Mogán
I’ve always thought that Gran Canaria’s monochrome landscape of sun-scorched earth and jagged rock looks like something from another planet. The roads that wind smoothly through that landscape make it a cyclist’s (and a photographer’s) dream.
Puerto de Mogán, a beautiful resort on the south-east coast of the island, is a great place to explore by bike. You can cruise past the harbour, using the flat paths that hug the coastline, before testing your legs on the climb to the highest point of the island, Ayacata. The view from the peak will be well worth the ache in your thighs!
John’s Pick: Cordial Mogán Playa
The cycling facilities at the Cordial Mogán Playa are second to none. The hotel maintains a relationship with local company Freemotion, which offers racing, mountain and e-bike hire for guests, as well as guided tours or route recommendations from their expert team. The hotel is bursting with facilities – with a tennis court, a dive centre and an extensive Spa and Wellness centre, you certainly won’t find yourself at a loose end during your stay.