There is something relaxing and entrancing about travelling Europe by bike. The sounds of the wheels turning quietly as you glide down the hill with the warm spring sun on your back and a fresh breeze blowing against your face as you watch the lush green fields and woods pass you by. Out in the fresh air you can experience the countryside without being cocooned in a metal monstrosity where the sound of the engine overwhelms the soft chirps of birds and the rustle of leaves in the breeze.

inntravel cycling holiday

It is the mixture of light exercise, beautiful scenery and picturesque villages that makes cycling holidays so popular with holidaymakers looking for an active escape in beautiful surroundings. Yet without an intimate knowledge of a region it can be hard to know where to start and what are the best and most picturesque routes to take (after all, cycling down a busy A-road with lorries flying past you is the kind of holiday experience you want to avoid).

inntravel france

This is where companies like Inntravel fit in. They offer personalised tours, that cater to every holidaymakers unique demands – which is how they won the best Short Break Operator at the 2013 Guardian and Travel Awards – and ensure that you miss none of the local highlights. So what does this actually mean in practice, because ‘personalised’ is a term that travel companies like to throw around, but often without good reason.

inntravel loire

Castles, caves and vineyards in the Loire valley is one example of the kinds of personalised trips the company offers. One of the Inntravel cycling holidays immediately caught my eye. This cycling holiday is planned as a week long escape, but could easily be broken down into a weekend break or a four day leisurely cycle. The highlights for lovers of fine food and history are almost endless and it’s not too much of a stretch of the imagination to see yourself spending an hour sampling the fine wines of a local vineyard and following it up with a short stroll around a fairytale castle.

cycling holidays

Having operated in the tourism industry for twenty-nine years – two years short of the amount of time I’ve been on this planet – Inntravel has developed close working relationships with the best local boutique hotels in the regions that they operate in. This ensures that you get the best service and you won’t find any nasty surprises. A twenty-four hour emergency helpline is available though just in case you have any problems on your holiday.

slow holiday

Oh. One last thing. If the idea of cycling for five days sounds a bit too tiring, you have the option of choosing an electric bike. It’s a great way of getting up those steep hills without muscle ache.