The Best Last-Minute Cycling Escapes

By Joshua Donaldson

Fed up with the prospect of riding during the long nights and cold weather? We hear you, the European winter, depending on where you are, can feel never-ending and the arduous chore of putting on layers and layers of kit might deter even the boldest of riders.

We Love Cycling is here for you, though. So, below are the best trips to make to find some winter sun that can be affordable on most budgets.

The Canary Islands

A mecca for the professionals for the last 10 years, the Canary Islands have become a great base for those wanting to leave the cold weather behind and enjoy some longer days in the saddle. The Spanish islands, namely Tenerife, are not only for the pros, too. With flights to the islands running from pretty much all of Europe at reasonable prices, it’s one of the best destinations for some warm-weather training.

Chris Froome
Chris Froome with Geraint Thomas out on team and individual high altitude training with the INEOS team (now Team Sky) at Tenerife. © Profimedia

For the best routes, look no further than Mount Teide. A famous haunt for the former Team Sky outfit, now Ineos Grenadiers, during their dominant years, these roads are both quiet and challenging for riders of any ability.

With such a great place for cyclists, bike hiring should be incredibly easy through sites like this, giving you a stress-free journey to the Canary Islands. It is a great place to go throughout the year but during the winter, the temperature rarely drops below 15°C and with the sun shining pretty much every day with little inclement weather, this could be the perfect destination for you.


Another great training venue for the pros. Mark Cavendish is known to spend a lot of his winters in the Italian heartland, and it is easy to see why.

Full of incredible roads, climbs, and being the land of Strade Bianche, it is a great playground for those wanting to explore a multitude of terrains without too much travel. The weather may not be as warm as the Canary Islands but it offers less rain than other parts of Europe during the winter months. If you want to change up your training, skiing is also an option in the higher parts of the region – although you are here to ride, so which places are the best for that?

Visit San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that is sure to be the highlight of your trip, with its medieval look built in the 13th century, offering unrivalled views of Tuscany. The roads across the region are normally quiet, giving you the best time to hone your form and enjoy the scenery.

Flights to Florence and Pisa are very reasonable, and they are both great cities to base yourselves as you explore one of the prettiest regions in the world.


The playground of the pros, Girona has one of the largest populations of cyclists per capita (probably). The Catalan city has quiet roads, undulating terrain, and superb views that make it a great place to relax and escape over the winter – you may even see some of the professionals doing the same.

The city of Girona, before you even set off on your cycling adventures, is always abuzz with coffee shops full of cyclists, getting you in the right frame of mind to set off on your journeys. Getting there is just as easy, with Girona having its own airport and one that is cheap to get to from across Europe.

When you’re out on the bike, head to Rocacorba, the famous climb popular with the city’s professionals. But there are plenty of other great roads to find on your trip.


Cycle path in Ayia Napa
Cycle path in Ayia Napa, Cyprus. © Profimedia

Warm winter weather – look no further than the island of Cyprus. Fast becoming one of Europe’s hotspots for cyclists, it has almost perfect cycling weather throughout the winter due to its position in the Mediterranean, which, rather surprisingly, rarely sees you battle a headwind – win-win!

EuroVelo has even set up a route around the island, seeing you take in the sights of Paphos and the capital Nicosia if you want a multi-day exploration of the island. Like the rest of the destinations, bike hire is available at reasonable prices for all terrains. Like the bike hire, flights to the island are also priced for a frugal budget and you can head there from around Europe.

The Algarve

Another region known for its cycling, the Tour of Algarve, and warm weather, this part of Portugal is well renowned for quiet roads and great weather for you to enjoy. Flights to Faro are always relatively cheap from many European destinations and hiring bikes is also easy from plenty of different outlets.

Algarve cycling
Cycling alongside the Ria Formosa lagoon at Quinta do Lago in the Algarve region. © Profimedia

With 300 days of sunshine, you are guaranteed great conditions for your adventures. Alongside this, you have different terrains to enjoy from mountains to sea, plenty on offer for all levels of cyclists.

During these uncertain times, please check with your airline provider to see what requirements you will need to travel with many destinations requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test to fly. Also, it is worth adding insurance to your booking, so you don’t lose money and get your bikes covered if you are taking them with you.

Which of these would be your preferred winter destination? Let us know on social media and send us your favourite spots from around the world.