I nicknamed this summer #summerofwinter2015 and while we’ve had some sunnier day recently, in general, it’s been a summer lacking in warmth and sunshine. Which means I am all the more likely to book a winter holiday that features blue skies and sunshine.
In the past five years I’ve discovered the joys of winter cycling trips. When it’s all wet, cold and dull skies back home, a week or two in the warmth of an early or late European holiday provides a great boost to morale, motivation and muscle power.
Our Scottish triathlon training and racing season starts properly in April and I find that if I have already taken a week of warmer weather cycling in Europe it is far easier to join group outings back home with the club.
A late summer or autumn cycling holiday in Europe is fantastic if you have some annual holiday allowance to use up – or simply for a boost after a #summerofwinter2015.
Tips for a cheaper trip
Go when others can’t: Many people are tied to school term times for holidays so if you can travel during these weeks your trip will be cheaper. Look for the weeks just before the Christmas, Easter of summer school holidays and book then.
Partner trade-off: If you are parents of children, why not agree that you each take a week each of holiday in term time? So, you can both enjoy a cycle trip away with friends but during cheaper periods and while the rest of the family stays at home.
Snap up a deal: Many holiday companies will offer sales and deals during the quieter seasons, such as Europe in autumn and winter. If there is a country you are keen to visit you could set up a Google alert for, for example, “Lanzarote holidays”.
Package deals: While you might imagine that booking flights, transfers and accommodation separately is a cheaper option I’ve found that out-of-season package holidays can offer great bargains. With flights, transfers, accommodation and even meals all booked at the same time you can sit back and look forward to a smoother journey and holiday.
Think differently: Try Menorca for a cycling trip instead of more popular Mallorca. Or go to places that have less of a developed cycling network, such as Corsica or Sardinia, for cheaper, out-of-season trips. Check out Corsica Cyclist for tips on where to go.
Take a chance: I’ve travelled as late as early November and as early as late February to destinations further south in Europe. I have been lucky enough to enjoy a full week of warm weather. You can never tell what the weather will bring but many parts of Europe enjoy far milder weather than we do in Scotland so there isn’t a lot to lose if the prices are right for flights and accommodation.
Top places for winter cycling in Europe:
- The Canary Islands, including Lanzarote and Fuerteventura
- The Balearic Islands, including Mallorca (Majorca) and Menorca
- Andalucía, south of Spain.