Top 10 Cycling Vacation Routes to Try in 2021

By Suhanah Khamis | 05, Jan, 2021
Top 10 Cycling Vacation Routes to Try in 2021

If you are looking to embark on a new adventure in 2021, how about planning a cycling vacation? What other best ways to explore a city than on two wheels?

We all dream of a relaxing and laid-back trip, away from all the stressful life. One could easily enjoy what life has to offer, cycling through the landscape, admiring them. There's nothing to worry about if you opt to cycle; no bus or train fares and even traffic on the roads. Not to forget, it is a sustainable way to travel around an area.

Worry about the destination you can explore on two wheels? Don't be because we are you to list it down for you. Here are the top 10 cycling routes that you should check out for your next adventure!

Disclaimers Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, travel restriction is being imposed on several countries. Do check in from time to time on travel updates and guidelines.


1. Newfoundland, Canada
Newfoundland Canada

Image Credit: Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Route: Viking Trail (Deer Lake > Gros Morne National Park > Tablelands > Western Brook Pond > L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site)

This most eastern province of Canada boasts stunning landscapes and gorgeous mountains. The Viking Trail will let you experience it all, including two of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

This 526km route brings you through big hills and long rides. Advanced cyclists would enjoy the challenging rides, but this doesn't mean beginners can't join this route. There's always a shorter option to go for.

Gros Morne National Park: One of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the trail. It's going to be a waste if you did not hike up. The 8-hours hike up will be worthwhile once you experience the spectacular views of the Ten-Mile Pond, the Long Range Mountains, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The Tablelands: In the area of Gros Morne National Park, you will be able to witness the Tablelands. Rocks from the Earth's mantle were forced out due to the Earth's plate tectonic activities, thus creating fascinating rock formation. Not only is the Tablelands picturesque, but visiting this area will give you an otherworldly experience.

Western Brook Pond: A gigantic-glacier fjord with steep rock walls of 2,000 feet high. Get on a boat tour to explore the fjord. Expect to see the wildlife around the area and the spectacular waterfall cascading 2,000 feet down.

L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site: Making your way to the Northernmost tip of the island, you will reach L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, an archaeological site, and another World Heritage Site. Discover the Viking settlement dated way back in the 11th century, thus giving the name to this trail.


2. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town South Africa

Image Credit: Tobias Fischer on Unsplash

Route: Jonkersdam > Redhill > Buffels Bay Beach > Antoniesgat Trail

Cape Town is known for its stunning nature and landscape, making it an ideal cycling vacation. It has several cycling routes that you can follow depending on your time and determination. No matter which cycling trails you pursue, you will still be able to witness what Cape Town has to offer.

There are so many things to do and see at Cape Point. This Southernmost nature reserve in Africa can be done as a one-day itinerary. Around 40km one-way, this trail can be self-completed or through a tour.

Starting point: Jonkerdam. You will pass by Lewis Gay Dam to reach Redhill MTB Trail.

Redhill: Ride up the escarpment through the Cape Peninsula. Enjoy the serene and peaceful ride and discover the fynbos vegetation, which can only be found in Western Cape and Eastern Cape.

Buffels Bay Beach: A great pit-stop after a long ride up the hill. Located in the area of the Cape Point Nature Reserve, enjoy the beach and the tidal pools. You can also enjoy the stunning view of False Bay from Buffels Bay Beach.

Antoniesgat Trail: Follow one of the nine trails within the Cape Point Nature Reserve to discover more. It is one of the tunnel formations from the continuous pounding of waves, which you can explore at your own time. As you hike higher and higher, enjoy the breathtaking view of False Bay and the Hottentots Holland Mountains just across the sea. You will be able to explore the old Cape Point Lighthouse once you reach the summit.


3. Jaipur, India
Jaipur India Hawa Mahal City Palace Nahargarh Jaigarh Fort Jal Mahal

Image Credit: Indre Velaviciute on Unsplash

Route: Hawa Mahal > City Palace Complex > Nahargarh > Jaigarh Fort > Jal Mahal

Known as the Pink City, Jaipur is rich with history and heritage. What better ways to explore every nook of this city on two wheels? If you are just having a layover and short of time, you can still explore the city within 2 hours bracket. For those who have more time to spare and craving for more adventure, how about engaging in this 17km route?

Hawa Mahal: Hawa Mahal means The Palace of Winds or The Palace of Breeze. It was built from red and pink colored sandstones, on par with other monuments to create an image of the Pink City.

Nahargarh: Ride through City Palace Complex to reach Nahargarh fort. This fort is built on top of Aravalli Hills for fortification. As the walls are extended for several kilometers, you can enjoy the stunning view with Aravalli Mountain as the backdrop.

Jaigarh Fort: As you ride towards the Aravalli Range and hike up, you will reach Jaigarh Fort. Overlooking Amer Fort and Maota Lake, it was built to protect the Amer Fort. From Jaigarh Fort, you can get an excellent view of Aravalli Hills and Amer Fort down below.

Jal Mahal: Enjoy a relaxing 5km descent from Aravalli Hills heading towards Man Sagar Lake, where you can witness Jal Mahal. This palace is located in the middle of the lake, thus earning its name as Water Palace. Unfortunately, it is not open for visitors, but you can still take in the view with a cup of coconut water in hand.


4. Muscat, Oman
Muscat Oman Al Hamra Bahla Jabreen Castle

Image Credit: Niklas Weiss on Unsplash

Route: Al Hamra > Bahla > Jabreen Castle

Traveling to Oman lets you escape the bustling city scene. You can visit the vibrant markets and indulge in fresh seafood. Plus, it is an ideal destination for adventure seekers. With rugged and hiking terrains, adventure lovers are in for a treat.

Whether you choose the easy or difficult trail, you can still enjoy what this country has to offer. Various cycling trails are available to explore, either a mountainous view or historic terrains. Most routes take less than 5 hours to be completed. So if you are up for it, you can always add more to your itinerary. The trail that I will be highlighting covers 37km, and it will take around 4 hours to complete.

Starting Point: Al-Hamra. Cycle at a steady pace towards Bahla as this journey covers about 27km.

Bahla: Manoeuvre through the narrow roads to reach Bahla Fort. It is one of the historical fortresses and the country's only UNESCO-listed fort. Don't forget to stop by Bahla potteries too!

Jabreen Castle: Your final destination is Jabreen Castle, one of the best-preserved and whimsical castles. Marvel on the fantastic architecture and explore rooms after rooms while learning one or two things about the castle.


5. Hong Kong
Hong Kong Shek O

Image Credit: Chromatograph on Unsplash

Route: The Peak to Shek O Route (The Peak > Wong Nai Chung Gap Road > Repulse Bay > Shek O)

We all know how accessible it is to get around Hong Kong. But this doesn't stop you from exploring the city on two wheels. Hong Kong owns some popular cycling routes that you can engage in.

This 25km route will bring you to Shek O will take you away from the city center, leading you to Victoria Peak, pass by Repulse Bay, and up the Dragon's Back trail.

The Peak: The Peak needs no introduction as it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hong Kong. Take the route via Stubbs Road as it is less steep than the other road.

Wong Nai Chung Gap Road: Cycle down the road via Wong Nai Chung Gap Road. This gap branched out to five other roads- one of which leading to Repulse Bay Road.

Repulse Bay: A great pitstop before continuing your journey. Either you are planning to chill at a cafe or enjoy the beach, it will still be worthwhile.

Dragon's Back: Notable as one of Hong Kong's best hiking trails, Dragon's Back boasts stunning views of nature. Witness the spectacular views of the Southern Hong Kong Island and its shorelines from the sightseeing platforms. Continue your hike down, and you will be awed by the pristine Big Wave Bay.


6. Seoul, South Korea
Hangang River Trail Seoul South Korea

Image Credit: Oleksii Khodakivskiy on Unsplash

Route: Hangang River Trail

You need not leave Seoul to experience a relaxing ride. While most popular cycling routes are out of Seoul, there is one which you can complete within 5 hours. This 80km (two-ways) trails start from Yeouido Park and is suitable even for amateur cyclists. If you are up to more challenges, you can cycle through a distance of 240km, as this is the actual distance from the starting point to the end.

Along the trail, you will pass by numerous bridges like Mapodaegyo and Banpodaegyo. You will also be able to see the Seoul Marina and the National Assembly. Don't forget to make a trip down Yeouido Park and Saetgang Eco Park too!


7. Reykjavík, Iceland
Reykjavik Iceland Ring Road Borganes Blonduos Akureyri Egilsstadir Hofn Selfoss

Image Credit: Square Lab on Unsplash

Route: Iceland's Ring Road (Reykjavik > Borganes > Blönduós > Akureyri > Egilsstaðir > Höfn > Selfoss)

Being one of the world's top ten destinations, Iceland would not leave our list either. Nature here is remarkable, from volcanic mountainside to glacier-fed waterfalls. Iceland's Ring Road is about 1,332km, and it is recommended for a two-week trip the least. If you are planning to embark on this journey, proper plannings need to be done. It can be taxing as the weather is unpredictable, and the distance from one point to another can be far.

Cyclists can follow Route 1 and divert to an alternate bike-friendly route when necessary. Witness massive glaciers and geothermal area at Vatnajökull National Park, or the drifted glistening iceberg at the famed Diamond Beach.


8. Puglia Region, Italy
Puglia Region Italy Matera Alberobello Ostuni Manduria Gallipoli Santa Maria Di Leuca Otranto Lecce

Image Credit: Giulia Gasperini on Unsplash

Route: Matera > Alberobello > Ostuni > Manduria > Gallipoli > Santa Maria Di Leuca > Otranto > Lecce

This small whitewashed town is located at Italy's boot, rich in culture, heritage, and beautiful architecture. Various cycling routes are available with different difficulty, depending on your timing availability. Get inspired and enjoy a relaxing ride around the town. Like what we have mentioned, there's no better way to explore a city if it's not on two wheels. This chosen route is about 340km and allows you to explore the major cities in Puglia Region.

Starting point: Matera. Not only is Matera in the Sassi District part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also declared as the European Capital of Culture in 2019. Walk around the town, and you will be able to see restaurants, hotels, and even churches built in caves.

Alberobello: Known to be the capital of the Trulli, a dry-stone building with a conical roof.

Ostuni: As you cycle over Itria Valley, you can enjoy the greeneries of olive trees. Continue your way to Ostuni and get lost in the labyrinth of alleyways of the whitewashed city.

Manduria: Cycle through towns like San Vito Dei Normanni, Mesagne, and Oria to reach Manduria.

Gallipoli: A small fishing village, so expect to see fresh seafood served everywhere in this town! Walk down the narrow labyrinth, which will bring you to a sea-front promenade.

Santa Maria Di Leuca: For a scenic view, cycle along the Ionian Coast and let the sea breeze unwind you. As you continue to cycle down, you will reach the Southernmost point of Salento. Leuca is also the meeting point of the Ionian Sea and the Adriatic Sea.

Otranto: Riding along the beautiful coastlines of the Adriatic Sea, you will reach Otranto. Enjoy a walk in this historical center or even a stroll down the pristine coast.

Lecce: Cycle along Alimini Lake and a seaside village, Torre dell Orso, to reach Lecce. This city is known for its baroque architecture and is worth spending a full day.


9. Marrakech (Morocco)
Marrakech Morocco Gueliz Hivernage

Image Credit: Chronis Yan on Unsplash

Route: Gueliz and Hivernage area

If we have Jaipur as the Pink City, then we have Marrakech, which is famed for its medieval red city walls. Enjoy a ride in this imperial city, going from historical monuments to vibrant markets. Either you opt for a 3 hours ride or longer, you will enjoy the experience around this city.

Along the route, you will discover the ancient imperial city blending into the modern city. Visit the major mosques like Kutubiyyah Mosque and Kasbah Mosque. You can also cycle down to the Menara Garden, where you can walk down the pavilion surrounded by orchard and olive trees. The backdrop of the Atlas Mountains makes the Menara Garden even picturesque.


10. Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Samarkand Uzbekistan Tashkent Samarkand Bukhara

Image Credit: ways alfan on Unsplash

Route: The Silk Road (Tashkent > Samarkand > Bukhara)

This 486km ride is not for the faint-hearted. The journey down the Silk Road can get pretty challenging.

Both Samarkand and Bukhara are cities rich with history. They are also the two important cities of the Silk Road. Visit the famed blue-topped mosques and madrasahs. You can also find Islamic artifacts and monuments. On your way from Samarkand to Bukhara, you might have the chance to overnight in a Yurt Camp near Ortacheku Rocks. When else can we obtain such a unique experience?

Suhanah is always traveling to find inspiration and tranquility. She works on shift based, writes during her free time and loves art.

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