Sometimes the very best way to get a real feel for a country is to take to two wheels and get around under your own steam.
You’re not insulated like in a car, and you aren’t restricted to someone else’s agenda as with public transport. And, as any cyclist will tell you, a biking holiday will get you talking to the locals like nothing else.
Here are our current favourites.
An Alpine cycling adventure without the pain. Head for the Salzburger lakeland, where you’ll get the fresh air and the scenery but little of the uphill agony.
The routes tend to trace gentle loops around shorelines of Fuschlsee and Wolfgangsee.
Attractions include the cog railway up Schafberg, the Mozart museum in St Gilgen and the church in Mondsee, which played a starring role in The Sound of Music. A good base is the Salzburger Dolomitenhof Hotel which is offering three day tours from $159.
ADRIATIC ISLANDS CYCLE
With 1,185 offshore islands scattered in clear blue water along a complicated 1,104-mile coastline, a boat and bike combo is a fascinating and thrilling way to explore the region.
Try the one-week, 15-stop Island Hopping by Bicycle in Central and Southern Dalmatia tour at adriatica.net
TURQUOISE COAST CYCLE
There are few better ways to experience the beauty of the Gökova Region and get closer to Aegean culture than on two wheels. Try the Akyaka Weekly Bike Tour, a fairly easy cycle suitable for a family holiday. Riders set out from Akyaka before cycling into many traditional villages and bazaars and enjoying breathtaking views over Sedir Island and the Gökova Gulf.
Cost: $195 (accommodation extra) with Turkish Turquoise Coast Guide at turkuaz-guide.net.