Europe has so many amazing treasures. Embarking on a cruise through any region will fill your vacation with culinary delights, intriguing history, and lovely scenery. If you want to enhance your cruise experience, venture a bit farther inland by bicycle. Many European cruise lines provide bicycles for guests to use for touring or provide cycling-based activities. There are many reasons why a cycling cruise is the perfect way to see Europe.
Pair your interests and travel style with a themed cycling cruise. Do you want to taste France's finest wines? At the junction of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, you can visit Bordeaux's world-renown vineyards. Does European culture interest you? Towns along the Danube will transport you back in time as you experience genuine, cultural highlights.
Are you enchanted by castles? Cycle through Germany's storybook villages on a side-trip from the Main. Would you like to visit picturesque locations? Cycle along the intricate waterways in the Netherlands. Beginning at the end of March and continuing through early May, fields of tulips are in full bloom along Dutch canals.
Interested in island hopping? Cycle along Italy's Amalfi Coast and Gulf of Naples. Cycling cruises can appeal to any interest in various locations throughout Europe.
Your accommodations move with you. Enjoy the local nuances while cycling through the region. Meanwhile, your ship moves to the next port. At the end of a day of cycling, return to the cruise ship for a delectable meal. Retire to your comfortable cabin for a refreshing shower and a good night's rest. The crew will tend to your every need and provide the next day's itinerary. Experience worry-free European travel. All of the logistics of your venture are planned for you.
If you would like a break from cycling, there's plenty to see and do. Alternative activities and excursions are always an option. Go for a guided tour of a historical site. Europe has many UNESCO World Heritage Sites located along cruising routes. Stroll through an open European marketplace where you can sample fresh produce, handmade baked goods, and artisan products. Alternatively, consider attending evening cultural events and theatre shows through the cruise line.
Cycling-oriented cruises provide and maintain gear. There's no need for you to handle cumbersome equipment during your travels. Bikes will be available on the ship when you arrive. Crew members will stow bikes for you when you return from your ride. Inquire with your cruise line about the types of bikes available. Depending on the cycling routes along the cruise, bikes will vary in size and style. All-terrain bikes, road bikes, and youth bikes are commonly available as cruise lines aim to provide for a variety of ages and ability levels. Anyone can enjoy cycling in Europe.
Cruise lines prepare cycling itineraries to invite you out on the open road. Some itineraries include guided group tours, while others are self-guided. Regional maps detailing bike routes are provided. You may find yourself cycling along rural roads, canal paths, or cobblestone streets. Crew members can answer your questions about local bike routes so that you will know what to expect before you hit the road. If you experience a breakdown or get lost, crew members are on-call to come to your rescue.
Europe covers a vast cruising area. Depending on your travel interests, you can find a cruise nearly any time of the year. Europe is most frequently visited during summer, but the summer season varies from region to region. Summertime is rather short in the Baltic, where prime cruising occurs from May to September. In the Mediterranean, warmer temperatures extend the summer cruising season from March through December. For cycling, know that March and November can be rainy in the Mediterranean.
The best months for cruising Europe's inland waterways are from April to October. While the inland waterways can be enjoyably navigated during any season, summer and autumn have the most pleasurable weather. European towns are more active during summer and have occasional festivals.
While winter might not be the most inviting season for cycling, some cruise lines in Germany and Austria do offer winter cruises through November and December. Eastern Europe is a popular destination during the winter holiday season to enjoy festive Christmas Markets.
Whether you choose a coastal route or an inland river cruise, a European cruise promises outstanding scenery. Foreign cities are an eclectic mix of modern architecture and remnants of classical design. In the port of Lyon, France, you can admire the historic 5th district on the west bank of the Saone River. Cross the Saone to the east bank, and you will be instantly transported into the more modern districts of Lyon. In rural settings, cathedral spires tower above small villages and windmills rotate high above farmland. As your cruise ship sails, your scenery is continually changing.
Bike a few miles inland from your cruise's route, and you will find an entirely new scene to explore. Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Munich, Berlin, and many of Europe's bicycle-friendly cities encourage self-guided cycling with manicured bicycle lanes and bicycle-share schemes. Experience Europe's agricultural regions by cycling past vineyards, dairy pastures, wheat fields, and olive groves. Nature lovers might venture off the beaten path to explore the Ardennes Mountains in Belgium. From your bicycle seat, you can admire any scene at your own pace.
One of the highlights of any European cruise is the food. European cuisine boasts savory dishes prepared from the freshest ingredients. Leisurely multi-course meals and extended coffee breaks with desserts are plentiful. Odds are that when you are not sightseeing, you will be eating!
Cycling through Europe is a great way to stay fit during your cruise. Cycling is easy on your joints, maintains muscle tone, and promotes a healthy cardiovascular system. Before you reach for that next scone, burn some calories with a bike ride. The amount of calories you burn depends on your weight and cycling speed, but even a leisurely 20-minute ride can burn off approximately 90 calories.
At the end of a ride, you will have a well-deserved appetite and be ready for more of Europe's tasty eats.