There’s nothing like the first blush of spring to showcase the European countryside in its most vibrant colors. Here are the perfect springtime cycling adventures to satisfy body and soul.
Nine Reasons to Love Europe in the Springtime
Posted on Friday, September 22nd, 2023
Story by: Molly Waldstein | Travel Writer
There’s nothing like the first blush of spring to showcase the European countryside in its most vibrant colors. As the chill of winter gives way to warm, sunny days, it’s a joy to pedal past fields of young clover, fresh wildflowers, and blooming Mediterranean macchia. Springtime temperatures are perfect for cycling—before the heat and humidity settle in for high summer (not to mention crowds of tourists). Pedaling on peaceful paths and low-traffic roads through Europe’s springtime meadows, you’re sure to encounter cheerful locals—happy to be free of winter’s grasp and looking forward to the promise of great weather, healthy sunlight, and fresh growth that signifies the new season. Here are the perfect springtime cycling adventures to satisfy body and soul:
April Springs Eternal
Croatia: The Dalmatian Islands Guided Tour: April is the ideal time to explore the lovely Dalmatian Islands before the summertime crowds descend. Cycle past fields of wildflowers—creating a colorful backdrop against the stunning turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea. Local vineyards are bursting with fresh green shoots, and olive groves celebrate the season by putting forth clusters of delicate, white blossoms.
Italy: Tuscany, Chianti & Marina di Castagneto Guided Tour: Spring in Chianti is a riot of color—with lush green hillsides hung with orderly vines dressed in the fresh verdure of the season. Here, you’ll find kitchen gardens and flower beds tumbling over with wild purple iris and red poppies. The simple honeybee gets much of the credit for pollinating this colorful display—and you’ll have a chance to meet a local beekeeper and learn about their bees during a visit to the hives at Castello Di Meleto.
Greece: Sparta, Monemvasia & the Peloponnesian Peninsula Guided Tour: Cycle past vibrant fields of scarlet poppies and dark grape hyacinth beneath the imposing monolith of Monemvasia. Discover the fortified city of Mystras, once the cultural center of the Byzantine Empire—and learn about unique Byzantine culinary traditions during a special dinner. During the month of April, you’ll find comfortable cycling temperatures, farms and villages bustling with local activity, and fewer tourists than the busy summer months.
The Darling Buds of May
Slovenia, Austria & Italy: Alpine Valleys Guided Tour: Experience the joys of springtime in three countries on this unique alpine adventure. May is the perfect month to cycle these splendid mountain valleys—with warm, sunny days and cooler evenings. Green alpine meadows are strewn with colorful wildflowers, the lakes are crystal blue and lush with winter snow melt, and quiet roads make for ideal cycling conditions.
France: The Burgundy Wine Region & Dijon Guided Tour: Experience the joy of spring in the vineyards of France! In the Burgundy wine region, you’ll cycle past fields of tender young grape vines as you pedal the famous Route Des Grands Crus. Sample exquisite vintages in the lively villages of Viré and Clessé, stroll the medieval streets of Beaune, and join a local family for a picnic lunch and a game of pétanque at their idyllic seasonal home.
Spain: Girona & Costa Brava Guided Tour: The famous hills of Catalonia are bursting with life in May—with blooming apple orchards, rolling green fields, and restaurant terraces just starting to open for the season. Here, you might try a dish of calçots—a uniquely Catalan springtime delicacy. These tender onion-like shoots are traditionally roasted over an open flame—then dipped in sauce and eaten whole.
June Blooms with Color
Scandinavia: Denmark & Sweden Guided Tour: With their northerly latitude, Sweden and Denmark are the perfect spots to experience June’s “midnight sun” during the long days near the summer solstice. Here, the colorful spring flowers, comfortable temperatures, and good spirits of locals create a delightful festival atmosphere. As you explore the local parks and gardens near midsummer’s eve, you may even stumble upon townspeople celebrating the season with a maypole dance.
England: Bath & the Cotswolds Guided Tour: The English rose is in high bloom in June. If you’ve been dreaming of pedaling past quaint English villages of thatched-roof cottages strewn with climbing roses, June is the perfect month to catch them at their peak. This is the ideal season to discover carefully manicured English gardens and charming parks complete with rushing streams, ancient stone bridges, and rafts of paddling ducks.
Ireland: Galway & Connemara Coast Guided Tour: The Emerald Isle bursts into full color during the long days of June. Temperatures are perfect for cycling, and the unique biosphere of County Clare’s Burren is teeming with a cornucopia of wildflowers—including yellow primrose and cowslip, purple dog-violets and bog thistle, and cream-colored Irish orchids and wood anemone.