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Our little black book of enchanting places


Saddle up for summer by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in DESTINATIONS By Maggie O' Sullivan

A cycling holiday can be a great way to get to know a new destination, make new friends and even drop a few pounds: did you know that cycling at a moderate pace burns 600 calories an hour? You certainly don’t have to be super-fit – all but the most hard-core tours factor in plenty of time to explore the sights and try out local restaurants. Here are five of the latest cycle tours to catch our eye.

North Yorkshire 

Rockliffe Hall, a five-star resort hotel on the banks of the River Tees, has recently introduced a three-night/two-day cycling break in the North Yorkshire Moors and Dales, taking in taking in key stages from the Tour de Yorkshire, including Grinton Moor and Buttertubs Pass. Routes and pitstops are worked out with your Cycling Concierge and the package also includes two massages in the hotel spa. You’ll have to provide your own yellow jersey. £1,595 per couple.Alentijo, Spain

Echelon Luxury Cycling Tours are a small family-run business specialising in bespoke cycling trips to Spain and have just introduced tours for the first time. Cyclists need to be reasonably fit (rides are typically up to 25 miles a day), though groups are of mixed ability and tend to separate out during the course of the day. You generally spend half a day cycling to the next hotel, after which you can cycle some more, go sight-seeing or just chill out. Seven nights from around £3,092 per person; next available trip September 14-20, 2015.Provence, France

Ride & Seek has this summer introduced a seven-day, gentle/medium tour of Provence in association with an organisation called Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. Accommodation is in small, family-run establishments and there’s plenty of time off to explore beautiful villages such as St-Rémy-de-Provence, Ansouis, Les Alpilles and the ruins of Glanum. And so that you don’t have to spend the whole time checking route notes rather than looking at the scenery, you will be given a Garmin GPS unit to assist with navigating. Seven nights from £2,155. Istrian Peninsula, Croatia

Ciclismo Classico’s eight-day intermediate tour takes in the historic hilltop villages and pretty seaside towns of this peninsula, with time to explore the coastal towns of Rovinj, Umag and Pula and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Porec, Cyclists will also have the opportunity to learn about Croatia’s wine industry and sample some of the latest vintages (careful how you go). Average daily distance covered is 37 miles on mostly rolling terrain. Seven nights from around £2,924. Vietnam

What better way to explore this beautiful country than by bicycle? Abercrombie and Kent has a fantastic 13-day cycle tour that allows you to visit many of the sights on two wheels  – treats include cycling round Hanoi's historic Old Quarter; along the Duong River to But Thap village; to Tiger Arena, Tu Duc Tomb and Vong Canh Hill for panoramic views of the Perfume River; and an exhilarating downhill cycle to Thuan Phuoc Bridge in Danang. 13 days from £3,225 per person.

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