5 biking breaks to take in 2018

Jeanine Barone
Alamy Stock Photo

Cycling is arguably one of the best ways to travel whether it's awakening the adventure tourist in you by mountain biking or leisurely cycling through small towns and villages and stopping for various beverage breaks along the way.

With many new specialised biking holidays available and new tracks and companies enabling you to cycle in even the remotest places, there's never been a better time to book the ultimate trip.

Below, Jeanine Barone gives the lowdown on five destinations made for cycling breaks from South Africa to South Korea...

Madagascar

(Alamy Stock Photo)

Here, on the world’s fourth- largest island, you’ll spy chameleons, baobab trees and lemurs as you bike on roads weaving through a variety of eco-systems, from savannah to rainforest. Bike shops are scarce — MBike Madagascar, in the capital, Antananarivo, rents mountain bikes for £15 a day — and the tarmac can be potholed and gravel-strewn at times. But the country’s rough-around-the-edges quality presents precious opportunities for cyclists.

One of the most atmospheric rides is on a sun-dappled road dripping with foliage through the Ranomafana National Park, a majestic rainforest. For a 13-day guided bike trip in Madagascar, including this national park, sign up with Exodus Travels.

South Korea

With more than 1,500 miles of dedicated paved paths — many paralleling waterfronts — cycling through South Korea will take you past vistas including Unesco World Heritage sites and Buddhist temples. On the mainland the route along the Yeongsangang river passes through Damyang’s hot mineral springs and a Redwood forest where you can lock up your bike and walk barefoot on the leaf-lined path.

Further along you’ll spy fishermen huddled under colourful umbrellas and savour a short stretch shaded by tall bamboo. For a long-distance, guided trek of South Korea, sign up with Cycle Classic Tours, or DIY it beyond Seoul by renting a hybrid from We Cycle Korea (£99 per week).

Western Cape, South Africa

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Cycling the Western Cape takes you through diverse landscapes from wine estates to sandy beaches where cliffs plunge into the ocean. African Bikers provides guided tours of the popular Garden Route along the coastline. A lighter- trafficked course runs through the more interior, semi-arid Little Karoo, a rugged valley of charming finds: wild ostrich wander beside the road, and the dusty town of De Rust is home to folksy cafés.

One of the most striking biking options is along the Meiringspoort, a paved road hemmed in by zigzagging sandstone walls, which crosses the Groot River 25 times.

South Dalmatian Islands, Croatia

Year-round good weather makes cycling an ideal activity on the South Dalmatian Islands, where well-paved roads skirt dramatic coastlines and hidden coves.

In the pine forest-filled national park on Mljet island you’ll pass a 12th-century monastery on an islet in a saltwater lake. Another meditative cycling experience is on Vis, home to vineyards and quiet fishing villages.

Join an island-hopping bike tour with Pedal and Sea Adventures. Or rent a bicycle in any of the large cities on the mainland, including at Meridien Ten in Split, which delivers to many islands.

The Azores

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Biking this archipelago of nine volcanic islands is an atmospheric way to view the evidence of their turbulent geological past: steaming geysers, thermal pools, lush calderas and the occasional whiff of sulphur. The smallest, Santa Maria, is a cyclist’s paradise. Rent an all-terrain bike at Paraiso Radical for £12 a day, then cruise along roads that take in many of Santa Maria’s charming features: the scarlet-hued Red Desert; Vila do Porto, a 15th-century village; and Praia Formosa, a beach backed by soaring cliffs, and maybe the best in the Azores.

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