In 2016 I am hoping to do more mountain biking, and also lots more travel!! We’ve been thinking for a while now, how cool it would be to combine the two; so I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading into cycling holidays, particularly mountain biking holidays and looking at the various destinations available. There are some amazing places out there, waiting for you to adventure to, to conquer their slopes and take in their views!
If you follow me on facebook, you’ll have seen that we’ve just got ourselves sorted for our summer holiday and yes, this year we are heading on our first mountain biking holiday! I cannot wait to try some downhill mountain biking!
So, why, as road cyclists, have mountain biking holidays tempted us?
Well, Mr OCG took part in the Pass’portes du Soleil last summer and had an absolute blast completing the downhill cycling challenge (that reminds me, I really should get him to post a write up of his experience). Not surprisingly, mountain biking holidays are becoming really popular all over the world, and justifiably so! Which cycling enthusiast doesn’t fancy an amazing cycling adventure through beautiful scenery, over fun-packed steep slopes, over adrenaline loaded peaks and amongst some of the finest views you can feast your eyes on? It sounds pretty cool right? There’ll be plenty of you reading this who cycle because you love to be outdoors and closer to nature; mountain biking gets you amongst it and just that little bit closer to nature than road cycling does. Plus, it’s a great reason to learn some new skills and to get in better physical condition ready to tackle a new challenge!
The things Mr OCG and I look for most in cycling holiday destinations:
- wonderful scenery,
- excellent accommodation options,
- great cycling, so in this case, a good mountain biking infrastructure and
- delicious food and wine!
A bit of sunshine also helps but obviously, you can’t always plan for that!
So, I’ve spent a fair bit of time looking at the various destinations on offer! Here’s five of the top European destinations I’ve found offering unforgettable mountain biking holidays. I’ll tell you at the end which one we’ve chosen for our summer mountain biking holiday experience!
Morzine, French Alps: starting with the basics
For mountain biking holidays in Europe, Morzine is probably the destination top of every mountain biker’s must-visit list. It offers some spectacular scenery! With a valley hidden among the slopes of the French Alps, Morzine forms the centre of an extensive labyrinth of biking tracks and trails, coupled with numerous streams and thick Alpine forests.
Resting on a height of slightly more than 1.000 m., Morzine offers mountain bikers the exceptional, French Alps tourist infrastructure, including hotels and chalets spreading all across the valley’s gorge. Not only will the trails excite your legs, the French restaurants locally will tantalise the taste buds too!
Les Gets, French Alps: featuring everything you could possibly need
A stone’s throw from Morzine is another leading destination for mountain biking holidays. At the western edge of the famous Portes du Soleil ski terrains, Les Gets is a charming French Alps resort, renowned for its flowery slopes, vibrant streams and stunning views. Offering an abundance of accommodation options to suit most budgets, Les Gets won’t let down any mountain biking enthusiast craving huge descents, adventurous single-tracks and some serious zigzagging.
Boasting one of the largest and most well–organised mountain biking infrastructures, Les Gets also possesses an exceptional lift network that gives bikers the opportunity to explore and bike through unique and breathtaking alpine terrain. Needless to say, all of your eating and drinking options are covered – after all, it is France we’re talking about!
Tignes, French Alps… again
Down in south eastern France, Tignes dominates the prominent slopes of the Tarentaise Valley. Well known, mostly to skiers, due to its excellent slopes and bewildering scenery, Tignes combines several appealing characteristics: impeccable hotels and restaurants (always a bonus, having somewhere comfortable and luxurious to stay), a large variety of nature focused activities all surrounding a dominant alpine lake, and of course a labyrinth of mountain biking tracks, designed for both rookies and hardened biking veterans. If you’re looking for additional outdoors activities alongside mountain biking, Tignes is the place for you.
Val D’Isere – you guessed it right – French Alps
Who hasn’t heard of Val d’Isere? Skiers will be well aware it’s a premier ski resort, one of the finest in the world in fact. Situated close to Italy, Val d’isere has hosted innumerable professional skiing events, and features an excellent tourist infrastructure with impeccable French and Italian cuisine, and to top it all off, it has one of the most well-maintained lift and funicular networks in the world, where you can hook up your mountain bike, sit back, relax and enjoy the surrounding alpine scenery. Then enjoy a fabulous ride down to the bottom again! And the lift network, which operates between June and September is free during the summer period, which is pretty great!
Nautica Bay Beach Club… away from the French Alps!
If you fancy somewhere away from the Alps, Porto Heli is a vibrant town in south Greece, mostly known as a wonderful summer holiday resort. It’s name is growing in mountain biking circles though and it’s gaining a reputation as the ideal location for mountain biking holidays. With rocky terrain that experienced mountain bikers will enjoy and smooth dusty tracks for those that prefer a more quiet cycle in the woods, there’s something for everyone here and the sea is also waiting!
So…where did we choose?
Well, this summer, we chose Les Gets and no doubt we’ll pay a little visit to Morzine too, so watch this space! Excited already? Not half!
Where would you include in your top five mountain biking holiday destinations? Europe or further afield?
*This is a collaborative post with Alpine Elements