Thomson Tales

The Best Cycling Destinations for Culture

Discover our favourite trip destinations for immersive cultural experiences.

The Best Cycling Destinations for Culture

From the sun-kissed plains of Andalusia to the misty peaks of Scotland, the love for the ride intertwines seamlessly with a thirst for cultural exploration.

The world of cycling has always been synonymous with exploring the unexplored, but for many, it’s not just about conquering roads. The opportunity to embrace the essence of the routes traversed, absorbing the flavours, customs, and traditions that define them is just as much an appeal. From the sun-kissed plains of Andalusia to the misty peaks of Scotland, the love for the ride intertwines seamlessly with a thirst for cultural exploration.

In this guide, we’ve compiled a small selection of our favourite trips that immerse you into cycling culture. Delve into vibrant landscapes and through history as we indulge in local flavours and unlock the wonder of each captivating destination.

Discover our pick of the Best Destinations for Culture.

Departures in November 2023, March 2024 and November 2024

Gravel Morocco

Morocc’s rugged yet enchanting terrain, with its sprawling deserts, majestic Atlas Mountains, and ancient kasbahs, offers a transformative journey through a landscape steeped in history and mystique. The raw, untamed beauty of Morocco's gravel trails unveils a tapestry of Berber traditions, bustling medinas, and vibrant souks, providing an immersive glimpse into a culture that remains intricately woven with age-old customs and rituals.

The trip starts in the most mesmerising of Maghreb cities, Marrakech, continues in the Atlas Mountains near Dades, before crossing the Saghro mountain plateau and reaching the Saharan desert plains in Arfoud. Sleep under the desert stars in a luxury bivouac before heading north along the Kasbah route. Expect a truly epic trip, designed for riders with experience in riding technical gravel trails and who welcome both a challenge and adventure.

Departures in April and October 2024

Trans and Epic Trans Andalusia

Nestled in the heart of Spain, Andalusia epitomises the quintessential essence of the country, renowned for its flamenco rhythms, exuberant fiestas, bullfighting history, and the picturesque charm of its "pueblos blancos" (white villages). Yet, beyond its cultural extravagance, Andalusia stands as a mecca for road cyclists, boasting some of the most breathtaking and demanding rides in all of Europe.

Undulating roads dance through a captivating tapestry of sun-drenched olive groves, rolling vineyards, and historic Moorish landmarks, offering a captivating blend of challenging ascents and thrilling descents. Experience the essence of Southern Spain on this challenging and stunningly beautiful ride from the Sierra Nevada to the Mediterranean Coast in Estepona.

Departure in August 2024

Epic Trans Cantabria

Embark on an exhilarating journey across the formidable Cordillera Cantabrica in Spain, home to some of the most daunting and legendary climbs that have tested the mettle of cycling champions in the famed Vuelta a España. Set against a dramatic backdrop of rugged peaks and verdant valleys, this extraordinary week of cycling unveils a test of your physical limits but also and opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Spanish culture. Traverse through charming villages, indulge in delectable local cuisines, and bask in the warm hospitality that is emblematic of this vibrant region.

This ultimate cycling odyssey through the Cordillera Cantabrica promises an unforgettable fusion of physical endurance and cultural exploration, leaving an indelible mark on every rider who dares to conquer its legendary peaks.

Departures in June and September 2024

Gravel Girona

Embark on an unforgettable gravel cycling adventure from the charming streets of Girona, adorned with its cool cafes and bustling shops, to the alluring shores of the Mediterranean. This thrilling route leads eastward, tracing a path of discovery towards the captivating town of Cadaqués, where the enigmatic spirit of Salvador Dalí continues to weave its magic.

As the route winds through the captivating Garrotxa National Park, bask in the magic of its extinct volcanoes and the serene beauty of the Fageda d’en Jorda forest. A scenic ride along the cliffs above the Sau River valley unveils a breathtaking vista, leading to a night of cultural immersion in Girona's historic old town. This trip is a seamless blend of natural wonders and cultural escapades, offering an unforgettable exploration of Girona's rich heritage and the captivating allure of the Mediterranean coast.

Departures in April and September 2024

Gravel Bali

Immerse yourself in the island's traditional dances, intricately woven crafts, and mouthwatering culinary delights, each embodying the essence of Bali's unique cultural identity. As the gravel trails traverse the island's diverse terrain, be enchanted by the warm hospitality of the Balinese people, adding an enriching layer to this exploration of cultural treasures. From the vibrant pulse of local markets to the tranquility of ancient temples nestled amidst lush landscapes, every ride offers an immersive experience into Bali's vibrant traditions and spiritual heritage.

Departures in May 2024

Epic Trans and Gravel Scotland

Scotland offers a captivating blend of history, majestic landscapes, whisky traditions, and abundant wildlife on both road and gravel. From the rugged allure of the Isle of Mull to the regal charm of Royal Deeside and Speyside, every road on both tarmac and trail reveals a narrative steeped in the rich tapestry of Scotland's storied past.

From the romantic isolation of Rannoch Moor to the towering peaks of the Central Highlands, Scotland provide a breathtaking backdrop for the exploration of wild and untamed beauty. Indulge in the country's whisky heritage as you discover historic tales, woven into the fabric of the landscape. Every moment of these cycling journeys in Scotland promises a captivating blend of cultural heritage and natural splendor.