Working a fitness activity into a holiday can be a significant part of a Wellness Vacation. It doesn’t matter if it’s hiking, kayaking, canoeing, snow-shoeing or cycling, all offer the participant an opportunity to give the body a work out and raise cardio levels while enjoying the benefits of being out in nature. Plus, what a great way to tour a destination!
Here, in alphabetical order, is our “short list” of 16 best North American – based tour companies offering multi-day guided and self-guided cycling vacations throughout the world:
Headquartered in Toronto, Adventure Center is a broker company working with a select group of tour operators offering cycling vacations to over 20 countries. One of the most popular is a cycling tour of South Africa’s wine regions. Their safari cycle trip through the Serengeti in Kenya sounds fascinating. Smaller group of 2 to 16 travelers are the specialty but they also offer independent ‘self-guided’ tours. There are also opportunities to combine cycling with other sports in a multi-activity holiday which may blend, for example, cycling with walking and sea kayaking in Turkey. Accommodations range from 3-star villas to haciendas to chateaux, boutique hotels to camping in Africa.
WHAT WE LIKE BEST: Adventure Center works with companies who maintain strict responsible travel standards on their cycling tours including the use of local guides and locally owned properties. More about Adventure Center
ARIZONA OUTBACK ADVENTURES
Arizona Outback Adventures, in Scottsdale, AZ, offers mountain bike cycling trips throughout the Southwestern U.S. including Bryce and Zion, Utah, Death Valley and Napa Valley, California. The most popular trip is a camping-based multi-day tour in the Sonoran Desert near Phoenix, AZ. Tours are offered year round, range from 3-7 days, are all-inclusive and fully guided by experienced Wilderness First Responder certified staff.
WHAT WE LIKE BEST: They focus on education as well as enjoyment. Guests are offered instruction on improving their cycling skills and their knowledge and understanding of the unique geology, history or biology of the cycling destinations. More about AOA Adventures
Arbutus Routes, in Whistler, BC, offers a range of multi-day cycling trips around the province including the popular Cycling and Wine Tasting tours through B.C.’s Okanagan wine country. Tours are offered May to October and accommodations range from camping, country inns to resorts and villas.
WHAT WE LIKE BEST: Since Arbutus Routes specialize in B.C. and their guides live in Whistler they know the area extremely well. More about Arbutusroutes
Operating cycling tours across the globe, Montana-based Austin Adventures has been specializing in bike tours for the last 38 years. Their lodge and inn-based programs include destinations such as Tuscany, Holland (at tulip time) Germany, France and Provence. The week long cycle tours are offered at popular times throughout the year.
WHAT WE LIKE BEST: We like their longevity, their passion and the little ‘extras’ such as the seeking out of those off-the-radar attractions that make each region distinctive. They also have the highest-end bicycles and technology. More about Austin Adventures
Backroads offers luxury biking, walking and hiking, multi-adventure and family vacations on six continents and in 58 countries around the globe, as well as active river & ocean cruising. Around for nearly four decades, Backroads trips are fully escorted by 3 – 4 trip leaders and 2 support vans while guests travel at their own pace, enjoying a perfect blend of exhilarating activities, cultural encounters, scenery, camaraderie and fun.
WHAT WE LIKE BEST: The company offers an innovative leader hiring and training program, and their flexible daily route options.
Seattle-based Bicycle Adventures offers year-round, cycling excursions of four to ten days in length. Programs are available for visiting Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Arizona, New Mexico, Hawaii’s Big Island, Canada and New Zealand. Guests stay at upscale accommodations unique to the area – for instance, small quaint lodges. Emphasis is on selecting restaurants that reflect each region’s particular local charm.
WHAT WE LIKE BEST: The Company emphasizes staying active and can custom design tours for specific interests. For example, a cycling tour with yoga in the morning and a cooking class at night. They tell us even early morning kayaking before heading to the airport is a possibility. More about Bicycle Adventures
BUTTERFIELD & ROBINSON
Offering both guided and self-guided biking trips in countries such as Europe, Canada, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Morocco, and New Zealand, Toronto-based Butterfield & Robinson, is certainly among the best known tour companies for bike enthusiasts. They provide accommodations on the upscale end including villas, hotels and resorts. Travelers can experience easygoing to moderate to challenging biking tours and can custom their own itineraries. Tours are offered year-round and range from 6 to 10 days.
WHAT WE LIKE BEST: The Butterfield & Robinson slogan – Slow Down To See the World – is in perfect harmony with the concept of wellness travel. Trip designers and travel advisors are known for their ability to combine luxury lodging and meals with exclusive experiences from private wine tastings to private cooking classes. More on Butterfield & Robinson
COLOMBIA BIKE TOURS
CycleGreece, a New York company, offers guided and self-guided cycling tours throughout Greece, including the Cyclades islands, the Peloponnese and Crete. Their Sacred Sites tour, named one of ‘6 Best Cycling Tours in Europe’ by Outside magazine, allows guests access to several legendary ruins. Another tour combos a cycling adventure with a sail on their own 82- foot traditional wooden yacht. All tours feature healthy Greek food and wine, pristine rural scenery and charming family-run accommodations.
WHAT WE LIKE BEST: The CycleGreece team of Americans and Greeks introduce you to an authentic Greece not found in travel books or even on your own. As ecotourism enthusiasts, they provide low impact small group tours enabling meaningful exchanges with Greece’s land and people. CycleGreece boasts that it created and possesses the most GPS tracks of Greek roads by any cycling tour operator anywhere. More on CycleGreece
Dreamride, in Moab, Utah, offers guided cycling vacations for small groups of one to four in and around Moab, Utah, on the Big Island of Hawaii and on Navajo Reservation in Arizona and New Mexico. Trips are offered year-round and lodgings are arranged per group.
WHAT WE LIKE BEST: The environmentally-conscious Dreamride team has been adopted into Navajo and Ojibwa families and is welcome to bring clients into traditional Native American environments to experience the culture first hand. Co-owner Miki Bridgers is an herbal healer and co-owner Lee Bridgers is a photographer and artist so we like the fact that they bring their special talents to each tour. More about Dream Ride
DuVine Adventures, of Somerville, MA, is an active adventure company operating trips in more than 16 different countries worldwide. They tell us that each tour – a combo of cycling, luxurious accommodations, good food and fine wines, are designed to maintain a sense of balance between adventure and luxury. Six-day cycling tours are offered year-round.
WHAT WE LIKE BEST: A well as being experienced guides, DuVine leaders are seasoned travelers fluent in the local language, customs, wine, cuisine, art, and history. More about Duvine
EASY RIDER TOURS
A small, family-owned bike touring company, Easy Rider Tours of Newburyport, MA, specializes in cycling tours in Portugal, Spain, Ireland, the Canadian Maritimes, and New England. They are best known for their six-day Autumn in the Berkshires tour. These guided cycling tours are six to 12 days long and emphasize local culture and cuisine. Accommodations include European manor houses, Iberian paradors, Portuguese pousadas, and historic country inns. Look for tours March to October.
WHAT WE LIKE BEST: With 25 plus years of experience, Easy Rider has become the ‘go to” company for biking tours in Ireland, Portugal, and Spain. More about Easy Rider Tours
FRESH TRACKS CANADA
Vancouver-based Fresh Tracks Canada offers two fully-guided, week-long, summer cycling trips: one in the Canadian Rockies and the other in rural Quebec. The Canadian Rockies is a guided tour with seven-night accommodation and meals, in a mix of hotels and bed & breakfasts properties. The eight-night Quebec cycling adventure offers stays in historic hotels, quaint inns and a lighthouse keeper’s residence.
WHAT WE LIKE BEST: The Fresh Tracks Canada team is proud Canada enthusiasts providing expert knowledge of the area’s they tour. More about Fresh Tracks Canada
Based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, ROW Adventures offers a tri-state bicycle adventure called the Bitterroot Bonanza that starts in Spokane, WA and bikes through eastern Washington for a day, then into Idaho and finally caps off in Montana. This is a 5-day tour and includes one night in a luxury resort and then simpler accommodations the other nights. The Bitterroot Bonanza trips are offered in July, August and early September.
WHAT WE LIKE BEST: ROW Adventures is the only company (we know of) that offers a tri-state trip. We also like the fact that the company has been in business for 32 years and the founder, Peter Grub, remains at the helm and an active guide. When nature of the universe throws them a curved ball, they probably know how to handle it. More on Row Adventures
SOJOURN BICYCLING & ACTIVE VACATIONS
Sojourn Bicycling & Active Vacations is a Vermont based boutique active travel company offering high-end biking and multi-sport travel in about two dozen destinations in the U.S. & Canada and is known for their dedication to highly personalized service, luxury accommodations, and hand-crafted routes. Their trips run year-round with options for all levels of riders.
WHAT WE LIKE BEST: Tours are intimate and personalized and include accommodations in luxury boutique properties, après-bike activities, most ‘foodie’ quality meals and top-rated equipment such as Cannondale Synapse carbon fiber bicycles – a model that won multiple Bike of the Year awards. More on Go Sojourn.
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, Trek Travel offers cycling tours for all levels to about 40 destinations. About two thirds of their tours are moderate to leisure others like the 40-day cross country trip from Santa Barbara to Charlston, South Caroline are for the avid cyclist. Typical tours are six days in length and they also offer three and four-day weekend jaunts. The majority of trips run spring to late fall with winter trips to Costa Rica and South Australia.
WHAT WE LIKE BEST: Trek Travel offers high-end, carbon fiber bikes (Trek Madone) on all their trips. More on Trek Travel