Best Bike Rides In The World

By Tim Kroeger May 25, 2019 Adventure, Cycling, Lifestyle, UTCC News

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This list of the best bike rides in the world is perfect for travellers wanting a two-wheeled adventure they won’t soon forget.

We know there’s nothing quite like a day of cycling out on the road—that’s why we’ve created this short list of the best single day bike rides in the world.

We chose these routes because we’re convinced they offer some of the best adventure, notoriety, and thrills you can get on two wheels.

From the Andes to Ireland and Australia, these bicycle rides will take you to every corner of the globe.

They feature sweeping downhill trails, incredible natural beauty, Mayan ruins, and even volcanos.

So what are you waiting for?

Check out these recommendations and get a head start on planning for your next cycling trip!

1. Mountain Bike ride from Moray to Maras, Peru

The ride from Moray to Maras offers the chance to experience the fabulous surroundings of the sacred valley near Ollantaytambo in Peru.

With the spectacular views of the Urubamba glacier range and the acres of farmland its a great place to explore.

The track is downhill for much of the way; however, the course is steep and narrow in places and not suitable for beginners.

Read also: Best things to do in Peru

Off-road skills are required, and handling experience of bikes down steep rocky descents is beneficial. For adrenalin seekers this ride is highly recommended.

The course begins near the site of Moray, an Inca ceremonial crop site, which is built from circular terraces. Just off the main road, the single nine-kilometre track begins.

The first section is fast paced on a steep downhill descent. There are a few hills along the way, most are not too challenging, but it’s advisable to carry plenty of water if cycling in summer.

At the end of this stretch is the small town of Maras which is an excellent place to take a rest. The architecture in the town is worth taking a detour around.

The stone above most of the doorways is engraved, and many are over 500 years old. On leaving Maras, the route becomes more challenging as there’s a further downhill path that leads to the Salt Mines.

This path is quite treacherous in parts with rocks to negotiate and steep trails which are barely a foot wide in parts. There’s a significant drop to the side in places, and some may prefer to walk the last section to the mines.

The salt pans of Maras were built before the Inca’s, and the local families farm them today. As the pans descend the water naturally evaporates from the stream leaving behind the salt.

The final section of this bike ride follows another single track which brings you to the Urubamba river, where transportation can be arranged to collect the mountain bikes.

Recommended by Fiona from Passport and Piano

2. Death Road Bolivia

death road south america
Death Road Bolivia

Death Road, Bolivia, or officially, Yungas Road, Bolivia has been a frequent source of international attention since it was named one of the most dangerous roads in the world in 1995.

Deep within the Andes, Death Road winds its way along narrow cliff faces and harrowing blind curves.

To one side of the narrow pass, sheer rock and mountain climb hundreds of meters into the air. To the other, there’s nothing but empty air and a kilometer drop no one can survive.

Click here for my story about Cycling the Death Road in Bolivia.

3. Grand Ridge Rail Trail, Australia

This may be the shortest ride featured in this amazing article. Nestled in the hills of South Gippsland Australia is Mirboo North.

Mirboo North is home to the start or finish of the Grand Ridge Rail Trail depending on which way you want to ride. At the other end is Boolara. The rail trail opened in the late 1990s. but closed for some time following the Grand Ridge bushfires of February 2009.

Its has since re-opened better than ever. Generally speaking the Grand Ridge rail trail starts just behind the Grand Ridge Brewery in Mirboo North.

The trail follows the old branch line from Mirboo North to Morwell which but has long since ceased. The trail is only a short 13.6 kilometers long from Mirboo to Boolara, many people do the return trip maiking it 27.2 kilometers.

What makes it unique is that its 95% downhill all the way from Mirboo North to Boolara. It falls only at a slight gradient of around 5 percent.

The trail only drops 150 meters in height from start to finish. You travel through thick forest, over bridges and even past some floral reserves.

At the mid point is a shelter with tables and chairs at what used to be the Darlimurla station site. You will find maps and information about the region here.

The ride finishes at the Boolara railway park where you will find bbq’s, picnic tables, kids play equipment and a general store. This is a great family friendly ride that is not extreme in distance or effort. It’s a great way to spend a day.

Recommended by Marc from Travels in Gippsland

4. Inishmore Island, Ireland

The best way to explore Inishmore, one of Ireland’s Aran Islands, is by bike. In just one day, visitors can see the island’s main historic sites and natural attractions, all while enjoying the freedom of two wheels.

Bikes can conveniently be rented at the pier in Kilronan, where ferries arrive from Galway and Doolin. There’s no set route to follow, so cyclists can choose to head west along Cottage Road, or follow the northern coast to Kilmurvey Beach, passing a seal colony along the way.

From Kilmurvey Beach, nearly everyone heads southwest to Dún Aengus fort, the most impressive (and popular) ancient site on Inishmore. This prehistoric fortress stands at the edge of a 100 metre high cliff, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and providing views of almost the entire island.

Cyclists who continue biking northwest from Dún Aengus fort will come across the Seven Churches, a collection of ruined monastic houses, churches, and tombstones.

Heading back east towards Kilronan, cyclists can choose to ride along a hilly southern road lined by stone walls, perhaps even stopping to search out the Worm Hole, a rectangular pool naturally cut from the limestone.

Cyclists who arrive back in Kilronan with time to spare before the ferry departs can do some souvenir shopping or enjoy a bite to eat at one of the local pubs.

Recommended by Rhonda from Travel? Yes Please!

5. Biking to Cerro de Sao Miguel, Portugal

The top of Cerro de Sao Miguel lies about 18 km outside Faro, the biggest city on the south coast of Portugal.

Algarve is famous for its sandy beaches and ocean cliffs, but lesser known Sao Miguel Mountain certainly has one of the most amazing views in the area.

The mountain top is 411 meters above the ocean, and on a clear day, you can see all the way to the Spanish border from there! The bike route is along less frequented paved roads.

It is slightly uphill from Faro and passes through small towns the size of small neighborhoods. There are fields filled with oranges, pomegranates, and other fruits and vegetables.

The bike ride’s most challenging part starts from the foot of Cerro de Sao Miguel. From there awaits a distance of 3,5 km of biking uphill.

Despite the uphill part of the route, it’s a good biking route, even for less experienced bikers. You always have the option to stop, have a break and enjoy the view before continuing.

The reward is the amazing view as well as a thrilling ride downhill back to Faro!

Faro has various bike rentals around town and the price of renting a decent bike starts at 8 euros per day. The bike ride to Sao Miguel can be done independently.

Finding the way is fairly easy as there are signs along the way. In addition, it’s recommendable to write down the name of the towns you will pass and also download an offline map of the area.

However, if you don’t feel like going by yourself, you can always ask for a guide in one of the bike rentals, just make sure to do it a day in advance.

Recommended by Julie from Why not Ju

6. Viking Coastal Trail, UK

The Viking Coastal Trail is a great cycle path on the Isle of Thanet in Kent. The 32-mile circular route is perfect for families as well as it is mostly traffic free.

The majority of the journey goes along the seaside so you will have gorgeous views along the way. This part of the UK has some beautiful sandy beaches and on hot days you can even go for a swim.

You can complete the cycle path in a day, but if you want to truly immerse yourself in each section, then you can make it into a multi-day trip as well.

There are two campsites along the Viking Coastal Trail and several hotels, apartments and bed and breakfasts.

Some of the highlights of the trail are Reculver Towers and Roman Fort, Margate, Botany Bay, Viking Bay and Ramsgate.

But it is not only the cute seaside towns and gorgeous beaches with chalk cliffs that will take your breath away on this bike journey. Once you head inland you will cycle through the British countryside.

Enjoy looking at the windmills and cute little villages with churches. If you like nature you can take a little detour to Monkton Nature Reserve to really soak in the peace and quiet. 

Recommended by Eniko from Travel Hacker Girl

7. Cycle in the Andes, Ecuador

One of the best bike rides in the world is cycling down the Andes in Ecuador from Banos to Puyo.

Banos is high in the Andes on the edge of a gorge at the foot of a towering active volcano. It is famous for the banos (baths) of natural mineral hot springs that give it its name.

Read also: 2-Day itinerary Baños

It’s also a great place to try cuy (guinea pig), melcocha (taffy that is handmade in shops throughout the town) and sugar cane that is squeezed for fresh sweet juice.

But the best thing about Banos is renting a bicycle and cycling out of town and down the Andes. The route is called the Route of the Waterfalls because of all the waterfalls along the way.

The bike ride passes falls cascading down the cliffs and even across the road at times. The most impressive ones are the Devil’s Cauldron – massive falls thundering over a large cliff that are reached by a series of wooden walkways and stairs.

Further along the route, the scenery changes from cloud forest to tropical rainforest and there is a great view of the Amazon Rainforest spread out below before arriving in Puyo.

It’s unnecessary to cycle back up. There are buses and trucks heading back to Banos throughout the day that will take bicycles.

It’s possible to turn back at Devil’s Cauldron or continue on to Puyo. The perfect end to this day hike is a soak in one of the hot springs.

Recommended by James from Travel Collecting

8. Koster Islands, Sweden

There’s no reason most people outside of Scandinavia would ever have heard of Sweden’s Koster Islands, much less have the area listed on their world travel bucket list alongside more exotic islands, such as Tahiti or the Seychelles.

But if you’re exploring the region and looking for a few days of R&R in the most peaceful, pastoral place you can imagine, Koster is as quaint and charming it can be. 

Located on the country’s west coast about 200 kilometers north of Gothenburg near the border with Norway, the volcanic archipelago is most popular as a vacation destination for Swedes and Norwegians. 

Accessible via ferries from the mainland, the two largest islands are North Koster (4 square km) and South Koster (8 square km), which are divided by a narrow sound. 

The best way to explore South Koster (known locally as Sydkoster) is via a cycling tour of the island with Koster Cykeln. In fact, since there are no cars allowed on the islands, cycling is the ONLY way to see them.

Start with a hike to the top of Valfjäll, the island’s highest peak, for a stunning overview of quaint, orange-roofed villages and a historic church built in 1939.

You can also see spectacular views of the island’s rocky coastlines, and the Koster Fjord, which are part of the Kosterhavet National Park marine sanctuary. It’s great place for snorkeling when the weather is warm. 

As you ride deeper into South Koster’s countryside, you’ll pass impossibly green pastures speckled with wildflowers, perhaps seeing grazing deer and lots of farms with cows, sheep, and horses along the way. 

One of our favorite stops along the tour was a tiny fishing village, where a line of boathouses stood out against a foreboding sky.

Fishing boats, crab traps, and an ingenious wooden”lobster hotel” served as a reminder that these people live in harmony with both land and sea, as their ancestors have for hundreds of years.

Whatever you do, don’t miss Kilesand Beach, the longest on South Koster.

It’s easy to be absorbed in the stunning scenery, but take a minute to look at the tiny colorful shell fragments in the sand. They’re beautiful, but easy to overlook… much like this tranquil gem in West Sweden. 

Recommended by Bret & Mary from Green Global Travel 

9. Bike along the Seine in Paris

Paris might not be the most obvious destination to take a bike trip, but the city is becoming more and more bicycle friendly.

Not only are various bike sharing services available, there are also more and more bike lanes being created all around town. One of the nicest way to ride your bike through Paris is conveniently also a massive sight seeing trip.

Summed up, you can basically cross Paris by bike along the river Seine and pass by the most important sights. The starting point of this bike trip is the east of Paris, anywhere near the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand.

Passing along Seine through the new section of the 13th arrondissement, this itinerary leads to the Jardin de Plantes, the cathedral of Notre-Dame, the Louvre, along St. Michel, Pont Neuf, the Eiffel Tower and ends finally at the big ballon in Parc André Citroen.

This itinerary is 14km long and can be easily done in 1-2h, longer if you stop for sightseeing and visits of course. Just know that not all parts of this trip are on bicycle lanes, some are just along the street.

Recommended by Lena from Salut from Paris

10. Bike along the Tulip Fields in the Netherlands

One of the best places to bike ride in the world has to be the Netherlands.  The flat landscape (besides Limburg!) and numerous bike paths in the Netherlands make it a bike lovers’ paradise.

Many cyclists choose to do scenic bike rides along the polders (often with windmills), however once a a year, bicyclists will want to cycle in the tulip fields near Amsterdam

From mid-April to early May, amateur cyclists (as well as passionate cyclists) can take a short day trip on bike from Keukenhof or Leiden to explore the tulip bulb region where you’ll go past thousands of blooming tulips.   

The well established public transit biking network makes it possible to rent a bike for the day, hop off the train, and cycle until you see the magnificent colors in the field in front of you.

Note: Visitors cannot enter the fields as this is destructive to the farmers’ livelihood.

The cycling is often fairly easy (gears aren’t needed!) although cyclists should be aware that roads in this region that run past the fields are often quite narrow, so it’s important to be aware of trucks and cars that will pass on the left hand side.  

Recommended by Karen from Wanderlustingk

Best Multi-Day Bike Rides In The World

1. Cycling in the Himalayas from Leh to Srinagar highway

There’s nothing quite like cycling in the Himalayas. You get to slow down, experience an otherworldly terrain, seek contentment with the varied landscapes and see remote towns in the Himalayan range.

Perched high in the Himalayas, also known as a terrain that resembles Mars or the moon, Ladakh in Northern India is the land of the high passes that extends from the Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram range to the main Great Himalayas to the south.

The people in Ladakh are usually of Tibetan and Indo-Aryan descent. A bike ride on a Royal Enfield is increasingly popular in this side of the world, but for an experience that demands an adventure there’s no better way to see the remote ranges through a self-supported multi-day cycling tour on the Leh to Srinagar highway.

You can easily reserve your Giant bikes from the Summer Leh mountain shop in Leh town and embark on a two-day or three-day visiting the Gurdwara Pathar Sahib, pass by Army camps and see these people serve their country, stop at the Magnetic Hill which is suppose to defy gravity and also visit the Lamayuru Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries dating back to the 10th century.

August to September remains is the best time to be out on the road in Ladakh, India in an otherwise harsh region during the other seasons of the year.

You will get a kick from carrying whatever little belongings you have, leaving away the luxury of your 21st-century life to seek the contentment of nature and thrill of riding on a bicycle.

By Pashmina from The Gone Goat

2. The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail 

If you are looking to get some great exercise and see scenic sights, consider a bike trip along the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail in Ontario, Canada.

Located around much of the southern parts of Ontario, this trail system is technically over 3000 kilometers (over 1,800 miles) long!

As the name states, the waterfront trail is a mix of waterfront paths and roadways that snake along the shores of 3 of the 5 Great Lakes – mainly Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron. I

t would take weeks, but you could bike between major sights like Niagara Falls, Bruce Peninsula National Park, and up into Northern Ontario, into Quebec – or even parts of the United States!

One of the most frequently travelled portions of the system is the route that hugs Lake Ontario. Stretching from Niagara Falls all the way to Quebec, you can cycle along the lake for days through bigger cities, small towns, and lakeside provincial parks and conservation areas.

A popular ride on this portion of the massive trail system is the ride from Toronto heading east towards the historic Kingston.

The start of the trail goes through the famous Scarborough Bluffs (just outside of Toronto) and into beautiful green countryside.

You pass through the wine region of Prince Edward County and into Kingston where Lake Ontario meets the St. Lawrence River. From there, you can loop back towards Toronto or choose to head east towards the Quebec border – the choice is yours!

This ride would take a few days at a leisurely pace but it’s well marked with camping sites available along the way. If you ever needed to cool off, a lake jump is almost never more than a stone’s throw away!

Recommended by Eric from Ontario Away

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