Travelling is a joy and a privilege, 2020 has only strengthened our belief in this. At Skedaddle we have always recognised our responsibility to the people and places we visit. Exploring ‘slower’ at the speed of the bike, not only enables us to see more remote and rural places but also means we can support and enjoy small, local businesses along the way too. Whilst we know the impact of COVID-19 will likely still be felt heading into the new year, we are hopeful that there will be more opportunity to explore safely again in 2021.
This guide aims to highlight some of the incredible experiences we can’t wait to share with you when the time is right. Consider this our secrets from the specialists! Your chance to marvel at the authentic experiences that that make these places so special. After all, our team’s local knowledge and passion give you an unrivalled opportunity to discover more about the people of a country and their culture – to really meet a place you’ll never want to forget.
Spring in the Northern Hemisphere means more daylight hours, sunshine and warmer temperatures, making it a lovely time to explore at the speed of the bike. With it brings an explosion of new life. The weather can be changeable, but don’t let this put you off! Making sure you are suitably dressed goes a long way. There are also some great benefits of travelling at this time – you can expect fewer tourists, crowds and queues (though Easter on the continent can be quite busy thanks to lots of religious celebrations). Further afield, there are also some special experiences to be savoured too! What better way to get motivated for the summer season ahead?
Chile | Trip: Wine Country
March to April heralds the harvest season in Chile, and this is marked by a series of celebrations known locally as vendimia. As part of the festivities, a number of lively activities take place at vineyards, including grape treading, music and dancing. It’s a great time of celebrating! In addition to wine harvests, this time of year Chile is also harvesting its honey, which comes from the native trees, Ulmo. In our local team’s opinion, it is the best-flavoured honey you can get, with a creamy taste. For those keen to sample this delicious local ware, or remind yourself of the incredible flavour, you can purchase online here.
Tuscany, Italy | Trips: Classic Tuscany, Giro della Toscana, Via Francigena (Tuscany to Rome), Pisa to Florence
Spring is a great time to explore Tuscany, the temperatures are pleasantly warm, but not too hot and the scenery is lush and not parched after a summer of heat. You can also expect the landscapes to be popping with colour as many wildflowers are in bloom at this time of year. Fields of poppies are a common sight as you cycle through the countryside, alongside Tuscany’s iconic cypress-lined trees, of course.
The Outer Hebrides, Scotland | Trip: Hebridean Explorer
Year-round sea life is abundant on the Western Isles of Scotland and you can usually catch a glimpse of seals, otters and even dolphins. From May onwards though, the waters also attract Basking Sharks, the second largest fish in the world, which can grow up to a whopping 11 metres in length! On Day 5 of our Hebrides adventure, we take an unforgettable boat ride giving you a good opportunity to responsibly get up close to the incredible marine mammals that inhabit the seas surrounding the islands.
Wadi Rum, Jordan | Trip: Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea
Desert scenery is usually parched and barren, but spring brings an unusual visitor to this seemingly infertile sandy space. Travellers joining us in April on our holiday in Jordan can expect to see some floral displays brightening up the vast, beige expanses as winter rain brings forth a temporary flash of colourful life.
Southern Spain | Trips: Sierras Explorer, Los Pueblos Blancos
Pick oranges fresh from the trees when you join us here in early summer. Our featured tours stay at the lovely Casa Rural Ahora guesthouse, based in the stunning Alcornocales Natural Park. The accommodation benefits from a gorgeous garden and an orangery – from May to June the oranges are ripe and ready to eat, a special local variety known as Berna. If you ask us, they make the perfect refreshing post-ride snack!
For many, this is the time of year we all eagerly await! The northern countries of Europe, the UK included, enjoy some of the best weather of the year, as long summer days and sustained spells of warmer weather set the tone. All in all, it’s a great time to get out on the bikes and explore! In contrast, further south the temperatures soar and sizzle, making it difficult to safely ride in the midday heat. That’s why choose to focus our holidays further north during the summer months.
East Yorkshire | Trip: Yorkshire Wolds
Day 5 of our leisurely tour of the Wolds takes you to the rugged white cliffs of Flamborough. Here you’ll find Bempton cliffs, home to the UK’s largest seabird colony! Breeding season is in full swing during the summer months with nearly half a million birds flocking to this natural, seabird paradise. This alone is a true spectacle to behold, but from May to mid-July Puffins also join in the fun and so you’re likely to catch a glimpse of these magnificent and distinctive seabirds.
Provence, France | Trip: St Malo to Nice
Undoubtedly our popular road cycling odyssey through France has many highlights, but the iconic lavender fields of Provence are usually one to remember! For the best time to see them, these beautiful plants flower in late June and throughout July. They’re primarily found at the foot of the infamous Mount Ventoux. Purples, greens and blues form the colour palette of the riding and the air is rich with the scents of lavender and pine.
Basque Country, Spain | Trip: Bilbao to San Sebastian
Those who have visited the autonomous region of Spain know that the Basque country is an area steeped in its own unique identity, home to many cultural traditions. There is no better time to see the Basque culture come to life than during Semana Granda (known locally by the Basques as Aste Nagusia, in English this means ‘great week’). In short, it’s a city-wide street party, unlike any other you will have experienced. Festivities kick off in Bilbao on the 22nd of August and last until the end of the month. During each day, a huge array of events take place, with everything from traditional music and dancing, to rural Basque sports, including wood chopping and stone carrying. If that wasn’t enough, each evening is followed by an incredible firework display. Similar celebrations also take place in the region’s other big cultural hub, San Sebastian. If you’re keen to experience this unique event, given its popularity you’re advised to book early. The celebrations also mean you might not have the most restful of nights sleep in the city (so best to pack your earplugs!) Whenever you visit, the Basque country’s distinctive culture is sure to inspire, but this time of year is particularly special.
Slovenia | Trips: Capital to Coast, Highlights of Lake Bled
June is the perfect time to explore Slovenia, with pleasant weather and fewer tourists! With over half of the country covered in forest, it’s a green paradise in the summer months. June also sees delicious cherries ripe and ready to eat fresh from the trees, or purchased at a local food market. Anyone joining us on our place-to-place adventure, Capital to Coast, is advised to check out Open Kitchen (known locally as Odprta kuhna) if they can, found every Friday in the capital, Ljubljana during the summer months – it’s bursting with both locally sourced, fresh produce and international options too. For those eager to base themselves at the popular Lake Bled, the start of June also coincides with the International Wild Flower Festival, held at Lake Bohinj in celebration of the stunning Alpine flowers in bloom. We visit Lake Bohinj on Day 6 of our tours in the area.
The Scottish Highlands | Trips: Highlands Coast to Coast, Lochs and Glens
The Scottish heather blooms a dazzling purple in the late summer sun. Our adventurous MTB journey takes you well off the beaten track, through the heart of this country’s dramatic wilderness. This means you’ll often find yourself biking alongside vast stretches of this hardy flowering plant which helps enhance the beauty of landscape even more. For those seeking a more manageable adventure, our Lochs and Glens journeys for leisure enthusiasts and families will also offer you plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse of this heather in bloom. Just don’t forget to pack your midge repellant as these little guys will also be out at this time too, the good news is the average cyclist can usually out pedal this irritating Scottish inhabitant!
A late-season escape is perfect for those eager to escape the crowds of the busier summer months! Across Europe, early-autumn makes for an ideal time to enjoy a getaway as temperatures have dropped to a more pleasant level and the locals are back to work, leaving the beaches we visit much quieter. Further-afield natural spectacles later in the season are guaranteed to fill you full of awe and wonder.
Northumberland, UK | Trips: Hadrian’s Cycleway, C2C, Coast and Castles, Sandstone Way, Alnmouth
England’s least populated county has become increasingly popular in recent years, as tourists venture north in search of the county’s vast, unspoilt beaches and iconic historic treasures. Whilst you’re still sure to find plenty of space to roam in the summer months, early autumn is even quieter, so great for those looking to avoid busy tourist attractions and eager to enjoy quieter cycle paths. The notoriously nippy North Sea is also at its ‘warmest’ so a good time for anyone hoping for a post-ride dip after one of our popular challenge tours, like the C2C.
Sardinia, Italy | Trip: Coastal Explorer, Island Flavours
Our local team are always the envy of the UK office as they enjoy some of the best weather of the year during early autumn. The island’s white sandy beaches and turquoise waters make it a true gem of the Mediterranean and as its off-season, you’ll likely get many of them all to yourself too! For those joining us on our road cycling tour Coastal Explorer we’ll stay at the beautiful Albergo diffuso Antica Dimora del Gruccione guesthouse. The owners pride themselves on cooking seasonal food, grown locally, in a modern way. The menu here is sure to impress even the most seasoned of foodies and always goes down a treat after a day in the saddle.
Japan | Trip: Fuji to Kyoto
The spring blossoms of Japan usually get all the attention, however, Autumn here is equally as impressive. Vibrant foliage is often accompanied by clear skies, making it a great time to explore on the bikes. The mornings and evenings do tend to be a little chillier, but nothing a dip in one of the country’s many onsens (hot springs) can’t help!
Borneo | Trip: Secret Sarawak
For the best chance to see orangutans! During our adventure here on Day 6 we visit Semenggoh Nature reserve, home to a colony of a semi-wild orangutan. Records from the reserve show that fewer orangutans come in to feed during the fruiting season, which takes place from November to March. This means that from April to October (coincidentally when all of our Borneo departures take place) you will have a much greater chance of spotting orangutans as they head into the reserve to grab a snack!
With much of the Northern Hemisphere plunged into winter, this time is typically when we cast our net further afield – in search of warmer climes and lashings of sunshine! Getting out on your bike in one of our more exotic destinations makes for a great adventure and is the perfect way to help fight off those dreaded winter blues…
Colombia | Trip: Emerald Mountains
Every Sunday an incredible event takes place in cities across South America, known as ciclovia. For those less familiar it’s a city-wide, car-free day and it brings out all walks of life. As we head out of Medellin on Day 9 of our tour here we encounter people from all different backgrounds, rich and poor, young and old, fancy bikes and old bangers, Lycra-clad or not – there’s a really nice peaceful vibe. No noise. No fumes. The vibe extends throughout the day as Sunday is typically always a massive day for road cycling in Colombia. Beyond the closed cities streets and into the hills surrounding Bogotá and Medellin, the roads are buzzing with more serious cyclists. It creates a great atmosphere and is a great cultural experience for our cyclists – the locals are usually very curious and want to know where we are from!
Sri Lanka | Trip: Backroads and Beaches
The stunning island of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean offers a tropical paradise for adventure-enthusiasts! Our tour of the island takes in the central interior and south-western shores which enjoys the best weather from January to April. Alongside making this a much better time to explore by bike, the sea is also much calmer at this time of year. This means more opportunity to encounter extraordinary sea life, including wild green turtles.