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Tips and Advice / June 5, 2024

Best Bike Tours for First-Timers in 2024

At BikeTours.com, we believe bike tours represent the ultimate travel experience.

Why? It's simple: cycling immerses you in the environment around you, opening up a world of sights, sounds, and smells that you'd likely miss when traveling by faster modes of transport.

Many of our clients tell us that their bike tour experiences are some of their most memorable and cherished travel memories. And while we love to see seasoned cyclists embrace the challenge of a long-distance tour, we also have a special place in our hearts for first-timers looking to dip their toes into the world of bike touring.

Your ideal first bike tour introduces you to the joy of bicycle touring without overwhelming you with distance or difficulty. Whether you're an avid cyclist accustomed to long rides or an occasional rider, there's a bike tour out there for you.

To help you get started, we've put together our pick of the best bike tours for first-timers in 2024.

So let's ride!

Top 2024 Bike Tours for First Timers

Lake Constance Bicycle Path

The Lake Constance Bicycle Path is perfect for beginners wanting to try multi-country bike tours. On this self-guided, 6-night tour, you'll explore Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, experiencing the stunning diversity of the Lake Constance area. The route offers a mix of breathtaking natural scenery and cultural sites, cycling around the lake, visiting three countries, and exploring four islands - Reichenau, Mainau, Lindau, and Werd.

With its Alpine views and manageable daily distances, this tour provides a relaxing yet engaging experience. Highlights include the medieval charm of towns like Konstanz, Stein am Rhein, Meersburg, and Lindau, plus the lively atmosphere of Bregenz with its festivals. Don't miss Reichenau Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Überlingen's Gothic-style cathedral, the Baroque Birnau church, the Zeppelin Museum, and Lindau's scenic beauty.

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Danube Family Tour

Ride Europe's best-known and most-loved bike route as you cycle past a wide variety of landscapes and cultural landmarks. Perfect for first-timers, this family adventure tour blends leisurely rides with charming overnight stays, from farmhouses where the kids can meet farm life up close to luxurious hotels nestled in the Wachau Valley.

Glide past castles and vineyards, enjoying the ease of almost traffic-free routes. Highlights include a magical Ferris wheel ride in Vienna (promising smiles all around) and a relaxing rest day in Durnstein with a pool and spa. Experience the warm hospitality and delicious cuisine of Austria and Germany with your family while creating unforgettable memories.

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Amsterdam – Gouda – Bruges by Bike and Boat

Set sail on a bike-and-boat journey that offers a unique blend of culture and beauty. Glide past the historic windmills of Kinderdijk, admire the engineering marvel of Delta Works, and soak in the charm of Gouda, Ghent, and Bruges.

From the bustling streets of Amsterdam to the serene pastures of Zeeland, this guided adventure promises an unforgettable experience, complete with UNESCO sites and the timeless beauty of the Flemish countryside. This tour is a perfect introduction for those new to bike touring, progressing at a comfortable daily pace. Accommodation aboard the boat is cozy and inviting, adding to the charming atmosphere of this tour.

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Rhine Bike Path: Mainz to Cologne

This Rhine Bike Path tour through Germany's heartland is ideally suited to first-timers. From Mainz to Cologne, pedal through a landscape steeped in history, where ancient Romans once relaxed in hot springs. Today, the route is adorned with lush vineyards and quaint towns, offering a serene backdrop for your tour. Reach Cologne and be greeted by its iconic cathedral spires, a city where history meshes with a lively cultural art scene.

Highlights include a boat trip on the Rhine, a visit to the Roman-Germanic Central Museum in Mainz, and a cable car ride to "Vierseenblick." Ideal for those looking to soak in Germany's beauty at their own pace.

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Bicycle Paths of the Dolomites

This self-guided journey through Italy's gorgeous Dolomites might just be the perfect introduction to the joys of bike tours. Glide through valleys and quaint towns, all while the majestic peaks watch over you. With routes like the Toblach/Dobbiaco - Lienz and the Drava/Drau Bicycle Path, steep hills won't trouble you, leaving you free to soak in the views of Lake Toblach and the iconic Drei Zinnen.

Staying in one cozy hotel in Hochpustertal, each day brings a new adventure. Pedal along the historic Dolomites railway track, explore the charm of Cortina d'Ampezzo, and take in the culture (and Italian cuisine!) of the Gsies and Sexten Valleys. Ideal for those looking for a taste of adventure paired with comfort and convenience.

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Southern Fyn: A Tour Around Denmark's Fairytale Island

Explore the enchanting landscapes of Southern Fyn on a bicycle tour that transports you into the heart of Denmark's famed fairytale island. This idyllic escape, highlighted by rides along the archipelago's picturesque islands, connected seamlessly by ferries, offers a fusion of natural beauty and serene adventure.

Highlights of this tour include a visit to Odense, the vibrant capital of Funen and the birthplace of the illustrious author Hans Christian Andersen; the enchanting island of Ærø; Ærøskøbing, known for its historic houses and cobblestoned streets; Svendborg, the nautical heart of Funen; and the majestic Nyborg Castle, embodying centuries of Danish history.

Spend your evenings in comfortable accommodations, indulging in traditional Danish cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients. Along the way, stop to explore cozy cafes, sample delicious pastries, and take in breathtaking views of the Baltic Sea.

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What to Look for in a First-Time Bike Tour

When selecting your first bike tour, several key factors come into play to ensure your experience is enjoyable, manageable, and perfectly suited to your abilities and preferences. Here's what to consider:

Level of Difficulty

The level of difficulty is often the most crucial aspect to consider. Look for tours with a rider level of 'Leisure,' these tours typically involve flat or slightly rolling terrains with daily distances that are manageable for someone not used to spending multiple hours in the saddle.

You can't assume good fitness means an easy cycling experience. Many strong athletes think they'll excel in cycling tours, but cycling engages different muscles. Even fit athletes may find themselves tiring sooner than expected.

Type of Terrain

The type of terrain can greatly affect your enjoyment and comfort on the tour. Beginners may prefer paved paths or quiet country roads with minimal traffic.

Many cycling tours in Europe, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, follow dedicated bike paths that are well-marked and free of traffic. This means you can ride confidently without worrying about sharing the road with cars.

Distance and Duration

Consider how far and how long you're prepared to ride. Shorter distances with plenty of rest stops allow you to enjoy the scenery and attractions along the way without becoming too fatigued. You'll find yourself stopping regularly for a rest, a pastry, or to take a picture. You're on vacation, after all!

Most people would consider 20-30 miles a comfortable distance per day, but this will depend on the terrain and your fitness level.

Self-guided or Guided

Decide if you prefer the autonomy and flexibility of a self-guided tour or the support and structure of a guided tour. Self-guided tours provide maps and directions but leave you to ride at your own pace. Conversely, guided tours offer the support of a knowledgeable guide and the camaraderie of a group, often including additional support like vehicle assistance for those who need a break.

Identifying your preferences in these areas will help narrow down the options and find the perfect first-time bike tour that promises an enjoyable and memorable adventure.

Fancy an E-Bike?

Electric bikes, or e-bikes, are a popular option for bike tours. They provide an extra boost of power when needed, making it easier to tackle hills and longer distances. E-bikes can be a great option for people who lack confidence in their physical abilities or want a less strenuous ride. You'll still be getting a workout but with a little extra help from the e-bike's motor. However, be sure to check with the tour company beforehand if they offer e-bike options and any additional fees that may apply.

Time of Year

The time of year you choose to go on a bike tour can greatly impact your overall experience. Summer months may offer warmer weather and longer daylight hours, but they also tend to be more crowded and expensive.

Spring and fall can provide cooler temperatures, beautiful foliage, and smaller crowds, but you may need to pack extra layers for potentially chilly mornings or evenings. Winter may offer lower prices and smaller crowds, but it may also mean limited availability for certain tours or destinations.

Feeling Inspired?

The world is full of beautiful destinations waiting to be explored, and what better way to do so than on a bicycle tour? Whether you're an experienced cyclist or a beginner, there's a tour out there for everyone. Book your first bike tour today and create memories that will last a lifetime. Happy cycling!

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