Travel: Get on your bike with Chapters

Off the beaten track cycling in the Algarve
Off the beaten track cycling in the Algarve
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The annual Bike Awareness Week, taking place this year from 10th to 18th June, is the biggest nationwide cycling event in the UK. As well as encouraging ‘every day cycling for everyone’, it demonstrates the fitness and environmental benefits of this increasingly popular hobby.

Cycling is, of course, also the perfect way to explore off the beaten track a little whilst on holiday. As part of their collection of experience-led holidays, Chapters Experience Holidays – 01707 246666, www.chaptersholidays.co.uk – offer a range of cycling holidays.

Flowers of different colours

Flowers of different colours

Small group and expert led, the holidays are perfect for keeping fit, meeting like minded travelling companions, and seeing a destination from a slightly different angle.

ALGARVE ON TWO WHEELS

With warming sunshine and gentle coastal breezes to whisk you along, Portugal’s Eastern Algarve is perfect for a cycling holiday. Lesser known, the region offers a tranquil retreat into Portuguese life with white-washed villages and colourful fishing ports giving way to valleys of olive and orange groves, and secluded stretches of beach.

Combining the exhilaration of cycling along open coastal paths with ventures inland to cobbled hillside towns, the holiday also covers a cycle into Spain for a tapas lunch and a boat trip to the azure lagoons of Ria Formosa Natural Park calling at fishing villages and the picturesque island of Tavira Island on the way.

Record crowds attend annual Dutch garden season

Record crowds attend annual Dutch garden season

With delicious Portuguese wine and food throughout, evenings are enjoyed at local restaurants savouring regional specialties accompanied with a Tavira red.

Chapters Experience Holidays, offers a seven night Algarve on Two Wheels’ holiday from £1,199pp including return flights, en suite B&B accommodation with dinners at restaurants, cycle hire with helmet, boat trip and local transport. Departures: 14 October 2017, 11 March 2018, 22 April 2018.

CYCLING ALONG THE ELBA (Energetic)

The Germans know a thing or two about cycling having designed some great cycle routes, of which the Elbe path is one.

Connecting the historic cities of Prague to Dresden with picturesque riverside paths running along Rivers Vltava and Elbe, the route initially journeys through rural areas of the Czech Republic, then stops at historical monuments, magnificent castles, palaces and wonderfully preserved old towns in Germany further into the holiday.

Mainly cycled on asphalted paths to a backdrop of changing scenery, highlights include the neat Elbe towns of Malik and Litomerice, the bizarre rocky landscapes of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and tours with a local guide around Prague and Dresden.

Chapters Experience Holidays offers a seven night Cycling along the Elbe holiday from £1,375pp, including flights & airport transfers, half board en-suite accommodation,(dinners taken in hotels or local restaurants), cycle hire, local cycle guide, baggage transfers and all local transport. Departure 29 July 2017.

CYCLING IN MAJORCA

Based in the attractive Puerto de Pollensa, this holiday explores some of Majorca’s more hidden away areas in the company of a cycling guide as well as a tour leader.

Taking a different route each day, trails through unspoilt traditional villages, lush green valleys and along the coast – where a dip in the sea is never far away – paint an enchanting picture of rural island life.

With highlights including the medieval town of Alcudia with its winding lanes and azure beaches, Campanet’s subterranean caves and the bird-watching wetland wonder of S’Albufera Nature Park, down time is relaxingly spent wandering around the market, heading for the beach and sampling the island’s delicious food.

Chapters Experience Holidays offers a seven night Cycling in Majorca holiday from £1375pp including flights and transfers, half board accommodation (breakfast at the hotel, dinners in local restaurants), bike hire and cycling guides. Departures on 21 April 2018.

Bookable through Chapters Experience Holidays, 01707 246666, www.chaptersholidays.co.uk

RECORD CROWDS AT KEUKENHOF

Keukenhof Gardens closed with a new record on Sunday, 21 May with visitors having given the flower exhibition 8.9 marks out of 10 while over 1.4 million people visited the park, an increase of 200,000 than in the preceding year.

The most beautiful spring park in the world is satisfied with the results. The wonderful, cool spring ensured eight weeks of full bloom. The average age of visitors was lower than in previous years. Younger visitors increasingly view Keukenhof as a trendy park for a fun day amongst the flowers.

Visitors originated from 100 different countries. The increase in visitor numbers was noticeable across all countries of origin as the Top 5 countries remained unchanged. 20% of visitors are from the Netherlands, 40% from the surrounding countries.

This year, Keukenhof welcomed 120,000 Americans and 90,000 Chinese. Visitor numbers from Eastern Europe, Russia and South America rose.

Keukenhof made a considerable investment in a new entry building and car parks and these functioned well. Traffic jams only developed on 4 days and those were the ones on which the park received over 45,000 visitors per day. This means improved visitor spread across the season has been achieved, something we have been trying to make a reality for a number of years now.

Next year's theme will be Romance and Keukenhof will open its gates again from 22 March to 13 May.