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European Cycling

The Beauty of Cycling in Ireland - Ireland Cycle Tour - Eat Sleep Cycle

The Beauty of Cycling in Ireland

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In this post Eat Sleep Cycle Partner Brian waxes lyrical about cycling in his homeland of Ireland.

Scanning the Eat Sleep Cycle cycling tours you’ll quickly realise we have a penchant for sun-spoilt cycling pockets all over Europe. Yep we’ve the big ones covered in Majorca, Gran Canaria, the Costa Brava, Girona and the Pyrenees, and then we have Ireland, our newest offering.

Ireland, you say? That bucks the trend and doesn’t really follow the ESC ‘trend’, right? Wrong.

The Emerald Isle, so called because of the green countryside, is where we’re headed next and if a cycling tour with rolling hills, sleepy villages, wonderfully remote countryside and world-famous sites are what you seek, then it’s a tour for you! Read on to learn more!

The Beauty of Cycling in Ireland - West Coast of Ireland Cycling Tour

Cycling Tour of Ireland’s West Coast

Those searching for epic days, ascending col after col, can move along because in a country where the highest paved road is less than 800 metres – and we go nowhere near it – this one isn’t for the mountain goats or hardened road riders.

No, this one is for those who prefer to experience a country’s unique culture, its rich heritage and traditions, and learn just why almost 80 million people worldwide claim Irish heritage (almost half of them American).

This tour, titled the Tour of Ireland’s West Coast, is one I feel very strongly about and gives you, the guest, the very best insight into what exactly makes Ireland so appealing to so many people.

Mention of the word Ireland automatically conjures up images of green fields, pints of Guinness, trad music, dramatic coastline and country roads and on this tour you´ll have more than your share of all of the above.

I feel very blessed to have lived in one of the cities we´ll travel through on this tour, and when guests visit Galway on days 3 and 4, I know they’ll feel the very same sense of belonging and excitement I felt when I moved there to study in 2008.

Cycling Tour of Ireland's West Coast - Cliffs of Moher - Eat Sleep Cycle

Galway and The Wild Atlantic Coastline

Though I only spent one year in Galway, it was the perfect base for which to explore the Wild Atlantic coastline north, west and south. To the south are the jaw-droppingly beautiful Cliffs of Moher which we’ll visit on day two after an opening warm-up ride up Spancill Hill to check those gears are running smoothly. If you’re lucky, you’ll hear ‘Spancill Hill’ belted out from one of the many bars in Ennis, Galway or Westport as it’s a very famous ballad composed by Michael Considine who was born there but migrated to the US to chase a better life. The song bemoans the plight of the Irish emigrants who longed for home from their new lives in America.

Galway is home to less than 80,000 people but the energy of the place in summer makes it feel there´s 800,000 around, and sitting in Eyre Square in the heart of the city on a warm summer’s day is a memory I cherish from my college days there.

Connemara Cycling Tour of Ireland - Eat Sleep Cycle

Finding The ‘Real’ Ireland

West of Galway is where you’ll discover the ´real´ Ireland and if the country’s capital on the east coast, Dublin, is where you´ll find sprawling housing estates, global tech companies, social media giants and endless columns of fast-moving trains and buses, Connemara is where life moves at a very different clip.

The longest ride of the trip is the road to Clifden where you hug the coast as it meanders its way west. When I lived here, I told myself there is nothing as beautiful as a tailwind on the smooth blacktop roads out around Roundstone with the Aran Islands visible in the distance and the 12 Bens Mountains providing an idyllic backdrop.

Interestingly, the first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight was 100 years ago this year but it was a rather ill-fated adventure because the plane flown by two British aviators crash-landed not far from Clifden. Miraculously, neither of them died as it was a soft landing into a bog, but locals helped themselves to the remains of the plane to display as souvenirs.

West Coast of Ireland Cycling Tour - Westport - Eat Sleep Cycle

Feel At Home in Westport

I´m often asked if I´ll ever return to Ireland from Girona and I always usually the same; only if I end up in Westport!

Simply put, the place has it all, from historical attractions, to outdoor adventures, to fine dining and a great community spirit. It’s easy to feel at home in Westport and I guarantee you´ll feel the same way on our last night here.

With no need for luck at all we’ll happen upon a live music session in Matt Molloy´s (because they have it seven nights a week), owned by a member of the legendary traditional Irish band The Chieftains. It´ll be the perfect way to relax, unwind and reflect on the trip of a lifetime.

More Than Just European Cycling Trips

At Eat Sleep Cycle were determined to bringing you on more than just cycling trips in Europe, it’s our mission to showcase the very best of what each destination has to offer. We want to show you more than just roads, we want to show you a country’s identity, which is why we always try to use local guides.

So join us on this trip by calling us on +34 972 754 301 or contact us online, and allow me show you the ‘real’ Ireland!

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Top European Autumn Cycling Destinations - Eat Sleep Cycle Girona

Top European Autumn Cycling Destinations

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Autumn is a beautiful time of year to ride bikes in Europe, the busy summer cycling destinations have come to a close but the weather is still warm and the sun is still shining. The high summer season of July and August is over and the tourists have largely gone home, leaving roads open for business for two-wheeled adventures. Here is our pick of the top destinations for an Autumnal European cycling vacation.

Girona Autumn Cycling – Home of the Pros

We may be biased towards our hometown but the fact that it is the chosen base of some 150 professional cyclists speaks for itself. We think that Autumn is the best time of year to visit Girona with the summer tourists gone and the temperatures hovering around the cycling sweet spot of the mid-twenties. With plenty of time to explore the mountains before winter creeps in and plenty of space to wander through the Old Town for a post-ride stroll, Girona is a great place to be in the Autumn months.

Highlights include the classic climbs of the area such as Rocacorba and Els Angels, the picturesque Banyoles lake and the Old Town of Girona itself.

Girona Cycling Tours

  • Girona Classic Climbs: tick off all the Girona favorites in one week! 8th- 14th September & 6th-12th October 2019
  • Pyrenees Mini Break: discover the hidden beauty of the pre-Pyrenees. 27th – 29th September 2019 & 25th – 27th October 2019

Girona Autumn European Cycling Tour

The Costa Brava – Coastal & Mountain Tour

For similar reasons to Girona, the Costa Brava is an ideal spot for an Autumn cycling vacation, with the beautiful, coastal towns becoming much quieter but staying equally as charming in the Autumn sunshine. At this time of year the winding coast roads are practically free of cars and the beaches are still habitable for a post-ride dip in the Med.

Highlights include the gorgeous coastal town of Cadaques, Girona and fresh seafood in Tossa de Mar.

Costa Brava Cycle Tours

  • Tour of the Costa Brava: Ride Point-To-Point And Explore The Best Of The Costa Brava Region. 9th-13th November 2019

Top European Autumn Cycling Destinations - Costa Brava

Andalucia Autumn Cycling – Sunshine and Smooth Roads

To ensure the need for less winter cycling kit Andalucia is the place to go in the colder months. Andalucía enjoys more than 320 days of sunshine a year and only 40 days of rain on average. While other parts of Spain are still much warmer than their Northern European counterparts during the Autumn, the South is warmer still. This is a great time of year to soak up the rich culture that the region has to offer alongside the fantastic riding on smooth roads.

Highlights include the Caminito del Rey, the Alhambra Palace, and the historical and picturesque cities of Antequera and Ronda.

Andalucia Cycling Tours

  • Trans Andalucia: Ride Point-To-Point From Andalucia To Seville. 29th September – 6th October
  • Andalucia Experience: Discover Granada, Antequera & Ronda. 22nd – 28th September

Top European Autumn Cycling Destinations - Costa Brava

Costa del Sol – The Clue’s in the Name!

The region with Europe’s mildest ‘winter’ climate naturally boasts stunning Autumn conditions too. Much like neighbouring Andalucia, sunshine and smooth tarmac characterise the Costa del Sol and it’s for this reason that cyclists flock here during the autumn and winter. The Costa del Sol is the perfect place to go to extend a summer of riding or begin those early preparations for the following year.

Highlights include the Puerto del Leon climb, and the towns of Almuñécar and Orgiva.

Costa del Sol Cycling Tours:

Top European Autumn Cycling Destinations - Costa Del Sol

Calpe – Training Heaven

The Calpe/Alicante area is known in summer as a haven for those seeking sun-soaked partying but in the autumn and winter it attracts a very different kind of clientele who mix with the stalwart mahogany ex-pats. Cyclists flock to the region in search of sun and smooth tarmac, which they receive in abundance. As with the rest of Spain the draw is not only the fantastic riding but also the laid-back lifestyle and delicious food and drink on offer, re-fuelling with some delicious tapas and a cerveza is a must!

Highlights include the Col de Rates climb, the Cumbre del Sol and Confrides.

Calpe Cycling Tours

  • Calpe Ride Camp: Join The Pros And Head South To Smooth Roads & Sun! 17th – 23rd November 2019
  • Top European Autumn Cycling Destinations - Calpe

    Mallorca – The Old Favourite

    The classic favourite amongst all kinds of cyclists as an Autumn/Winter cycling destination for a reason, Mallorca is a cyclist’s paradise. Ride to the Cap de Fortmentor lighthouse – the most northern point of the island, for nothing else if not a photo opportunity. An ascent of the sinewy climb of Sa Colabra, by far the most famous climb on the island and one of the most well-known in the world is also essential. Off the bike there is plenty to see and do including visiting the capital, Palma. For more check out our guide to cycling in Majorca!

    Highlights include the Sa Colabra Climb, Cap de Fortmentor lighhouse, Col de Soller

    Mallorca Cycling Tours

    Top European Autumn Cycling Destinations - Mallorca

    Inspired To Ride Some European Autumn Cycling Destinations?

    If one of these top European autumn cycling destinations has inspired you to ride then contact us online or via [email protected] for more information on any of our tours!

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Summer European Cycling Tours - Top Destinations from Eat Sleep Cycle

Summer European Cycling Tours: Our Top Picks

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Summer in the cycling world is the season of high mountains and epic adventures. The snow has melted and heading up high is in order, plus longer days mean longer rides and warm weather makes kitting up and heading out both easier and far more appealing (although these winter cycling destinations break that mould – always something to look forward to!). We would spend the whole season riding our bikes from one European mountain range to the next if we could, but there’s work to be done so we’ll leave the cycling to you… And to help you decide where you want to go this summer, here’s our pick of the best European cycling tours to ride this year.

Trans Pyrenees – Classic Trans Challenge

We’ve mentioned it before but Trans Pyrenees is the original Eat Sleep Cycle tour and one that we think everyone should ride. From Girona to San Sebastian with plenty of Cols to tackle in between it promises to be an unforgettable adventure filled with culinary and cultural discoveries too.

Trans Pyrenees Tour Dates:

  • 30th June – 7th July 2019

Summer European Cycling Tour - Trans Pyrenees - Eat Sleep Cycle

Trans Dolomites – Classic Trans Challenge

The classic climbs of the Giro are the target on the Trans Dolomites Challenge point-to-point from the Zoncolan to the Mortirolo with the mighty Stelvio in between. In total a whopping 611 km with 17,100 m of climbing of course all supplemented by delicious Italian food!

Trans Dolomites Tour Dates:

  • 16th – 23rd June 2019

Summer European Cycling Tours - Trans Dolomites

A Gravel European Summer Cycling Tour

Are you looking for a different type of European summer cycling tour or something that is off the beaten track? Then this trans alps gravel tour is for you! Maybe you’ve already completed Trans Dolomites or Trans Pyrenees, maybe you’ve done all there is to do on the road and you’re wondering what’s next? Introducing: the Trans Alps Gravel Bike tour. Take things off road this summer and cycle to Munich To Verona Via Germany, Austria & Italy on gravel whilst taking in the stunning scenery along the way.

Trans Alps Gravel Bike Tour Dates:

  • 30th June – 6th July 2019

Classic Climbs of the Alps – Summer Cycling Tour

Immortalised by the epic battles of the Tour de France, the classic cols of the French Alps are a must-ride for any cyclist and an experience to be ticked off the bucket list. Take on the likes of Alpe d’Huez, col du Telegraphe, and the Galibier over a week in one of the most stunning places you can possibly ride a bike.

Classic Climbs of the Alps Tour Dates:

  • 7th – 13th July 2019

Summer European Cycling Tour - Climb of Alps - Eat Sleep Cycle

Tour de France Summer Cycling Tour

If you want to watch the world’s greatest bike race at its most dramatic you need to head to the Pyrenees. This tour is all about soaking up the atmosphere of the Tour de France and following the pro’s pedal strokes on the iconic Cols of the Tourmalet, Peyresourde and Aspin. The tour is based out of the perfectly located and charming French town of Bagnères de Luchon where such climbs are right on your doorstep! (psst, going to watch the Tour this year? Find out what the pros think about the 2019 Tour de France route!)

Tour de France Tour Dates:

  • 16th – 21st July 2019

Summer European Cycling Tour - Tour de France

La Purito Summer Cycling Tour

If you prefer to be in on the action rather than just watching it then entering an event like a sportive is the way to go, and they don’t come much harder than La Purito! Taking place in Andorra, an undiscovered theme park for cyclists, La Purito is the legacy of retired Spanish pro Joaquim Rodriguez and comprises an epic course over 145 km and 5,200 m!

Tour Dates:

  • 3rd – 5th August 2019

Ready to Book Your European Summer Cycling Tour?

If you’re inspired to ride then contact us online of via [email protected] for more information on any of our tours!

Don’t See What You’re Looking For?

Looking for something different to these summer cycling tours? Browse our tours and find the perfect European cycling holiday for you! If you have any questions about which tour will suit you best – then give us a call now on +34 972 754 301 or contact us online for more info!

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