10 great bike tours in lesser known locations
Image by lakemeadnra from Pixabay
A large majority of the bike tours listed on cycletoursglobal.com are in well known countries and locations - and for good reason. They are generally very accessible and have good cycling and general infrastructure with travel logistics being relatively straightforward.
However there are tours in most corners of the world - and it is often in some of the less popular and less visited locations that the best experiences can be had. The reasons may be the exact opposite to those of popular areas, and may include being:
- Not overrun with tourists
- A local experience with more authentic interactions
- Remote or off the beaten track
- Supportive of opportunity or resource-poor communities
- More environmentally and economically sustainable
- A unique experience
- Bragging rights!
That being said, there are many hidden and not-so-hidden pockets in much loved regions of Europe, North America and Asia in which you can have peaceful, local and unique experience too! Or check out the map and browse a country you may not have considered before.
That's the beauty of cycling and using a bike to explore the world - there is something for everyone, everywhere!
Bike Palestine Jenin to Jerusalem
8 days (Bike: 6 days)
115 mi (~19mi per day)
Tour Operator Bike Palestine
We cycle from Jenin in the north to Hebron in the south; then onward to the golden city of Jerusalem
Come and join us. We welcome people of all religions and political persuasions; Christian, Jew, Muslim and atheist. From teens to 70 year old veterans. We are a truly mixed bag of cyclists. We ride to experience and educate ourselves in this little understood region.
Bike Palestine will offer the chance to experience the cultural and religious diversity of this fascinating country. Secure and easy cycling in an enchanted landscape rich in history. We will collect you from Jerusalem, a short bus ride from Tel Aviv airport, and take you to your hotel in Jenin.
The hospitality, laid on by my colleagues at the Siraj Center, is second to none. 3 enticing meals a day of outstanding Middle-Eastern fare- and you’ll get to stay in the very best hotels. Your bike, helmet and high-visibility jacket will be provided- although you can bring any of these items with you if you wish. There is always a support vehicle ready to take you on board should you flag- and a plentiful supply of bottled water.
This is an adventure holiday in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. You’ll enjoy the cycling, the food, the guided tours, the hospitality of the people and the warm Palestinian Sun.
In the evenings you’ll have a chance to chill-out in your hotel or at a nearby coffee shop or bar. You’ll get a chance to shop in one the many souks- picking up local fabrics or exotic Palestinian spices. Each day there will be guided tour of the historic city-centres we visit and a lecture from one of the local historians.
- Nabi Musa and Jericho
- The Jerusalem Wilderness
- Monastery of Mar Saba
The tour brings in a little money for cash-strapped Palestine; not just the cost of the tour but what the riders spend in shops and cafes. The guides, the hotels, the restaurants all benefit.
Bicycle Tour in Dubai
United Arab Emirates
8 days (Bike: 5 days)
350 km (~70km per day)
Cycle paths/trails, On-road
Tour Operator Ital Cycling Bike Tours
Dubai is the city of the future, luxurious and well organized, its skyline will amaze you
Dubai also hosts many top sporting events and offers attractions for passionate athletes. The United Emirates is an excellent destination for cycling, with everything from 200 km hilly routes to very long and challenging climbs. Here you can ride safely on wide cycle paths designed for road cycling training. Local cycling community organizes weekly races as well as Gran Fondos. Cycling in the Arab Emirates will surprise and delight you, and the beautiful beaches of this area are the perfect the place to relax after training. And after that? You will be in Dubai, a city that offers many entertainments! So this winter let's train in the warm United Emirates!
- Ride among dunes and antelopes in Al Qudra
- Climb for more than 40 km to reach the 1.600 meter asl in Jebel Al Jais
- Ride your bicycle in the Yas Marina Abu Dhabi Formula 1 circuit
Montevideo to the East
2 days (Bike: 1 days)
52 km (~52km per day)
Tour Operator Bike Tours Uruguay
Montevideo is a city that faces the widest River in the world, at 240 km wide.
To ride along Canelones coast, makes it pleasant and enjoyable.
Departing from Montevideo up to El Pinar, you ride along a wide walking pane and cycle path. This way makes your journey accessible and safe to the beaches that are found along the coast.
Montevideo to the East is a proposal of easy access and with multiple benefits. Gorgeous landscapes, enjoyable stops with a combination of historical places and the opportunity to take plenty of snapshots that you will keep as memorable moments.
Petra, Wadi Rum & the Dead Sea
8 days (Bike: 4 days)
103 mi (~26mi per day)
Mixed on/off-road, Quiet roads
Tour Operator Saddle Skedaddle
An incredible cycling journey through Jordan that takes you from Amman to Wadi Rum via the Dead Sea and Petra
During your time in this mesmerizing country you’ll marvel at its iconic Crusader Castles, be taken back to biblical times with tales of the ‘Promised Land’, spend time learning about Bedouin culture and their traditional hospitality and enjoy some of the tastiest food on the planet.
We have invested significant time in identifying a local team that shares our desire to deliver a high quality, sustainable and spectacular holiday experience. Our guides' passion for the highlights of Jordan is contagious and ensures that your time there will be incredibly rewarding.
The accommodation includes characterful forest lodges, perfectly placed small hotels (close to the major sites) and Bedouin camps where you’ll be able to star gaze to your hearts content. During your time on the bike you’ll enjoy a variety of terrain (none of which is too daunting) from well-packed 4x4 tracks and dirt roads to smooth asphalt. All these have been woven together to provide fun days in the saddle that are interspersed with historic sites and breathtaking views.
After time in the Jordanian capital of Amman, with its stunning ancient Citadel and Roman Amphitheatre, colonnaded streets and temples, our cycling starts at Aljoun. Here amongst its peaceful surroundings we enjoy an afternoon exploring the woodland trails of the Forest Reserve.
From the spiritual site of Mount Nebo with its views across to the ‘Promised Land' our cycling continues across the Madaba Plateau to a superb viewpoint overlooking the Dead Sea before a fun road descent to the earth’s lowest point. Our day ends with time floating in its salty waters where we can also cover ourselves in rejuvenating mud for a do-it-yourself spa treatment. From Karak with its imposing Crusader Castle, the next day is an undulating off-road route via Tanour Dam that ends at Wadi Hasa affording superb views of its impressive castle.
From Shobak our cycling route is one to really savour as we follow the King’s Highway - an ancient route linking Madaba with Petra to Siq Al Barid (Little Petra). Thought to have served as a re-supply post for camel caravans visiting Petra, it’s a great place to wander around at the end the day.
Set amongst huge red rock formations our accommodation is a few pedal strokes away at a Bedouin Camp where in the evening we’ll be treated to a real Bedouin feast cooked the traditional way. Next day we have a fully guided day at one of Modern Seven Wonders of the World - the Red Rose City of Petra. As well as the Treasury and other popular sites we also have time to take in some hidden treasures, such as the monastery which is reached by way of around 800 steps.
- Exploring Petra – The Rose Red City
- Cycling Jordan’s forests, deserts & dramatic canyons
- Desert star gazing in the dramatic Wadi Rum
- Dead Sea dipping and your very own DIY spa treatment
- Bedouin hospitality and feasting on delicious local food
- Crusader Castles & the historic cities of Amman & Jersah
The majority of cycling on this trip is on 4×4 width dirt roads or tarmac roads (with little traffic).
Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico & Nicaragua
44 days (Bike: 33 days)
3110 km (~94km per day)
Tour Operator TDA Global Cycling
Cycling the mountain backroads of Central America in search of Mayan History
This incredible cycling adventure will take riders across Central America, from Costa Rica through Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and on into Mexico. They will marvel at the remarkable Mayan ruins in Copan Ruinas, Tikal, Lamanai and Tulum, pedal through small rural villages, wander through colourful local markets and spin past verdant rainforests and roaring waterfalls. Cyclists will gaze up in wonder at the region’s towering volcanoes and laze away on sun-drenched beaches. Central America’s Spanish history is evident in the beautiful colonial architecture of Granada, Nicaragua while the area’s biodiversity is spectacular and the riders can even try their luck at spotting the most beautiful of birds, the Quetzal, Guatemala’s national symbol.
The hilly terrain of Central America means that the cycling will be very challenging with many gorgeous climbs and, thankfully, an equal number of stunning descents. The 3200 km expedition features 32 cycling days broken up by 8 well-allocated rest days, ensuring that the adventurers make the most of their cycling trip. The overall ride is actually downhill as the cyclists drop over 1000m from beginning to end. There is, however, the small matter of the terrain in-between. Over 32 riding days the cyclists will climb over 45,000 m, an average of 1500m per riding day. The route almost completely avoids major highways. Instead cyclists will spend their days pedaling along quiet rural roads, many of them unpaved, passing by isolated settlements and deserted mining towns.
- Colonial cities
- Ancient Mayan cities
- Volcanoes and jungles
- Off the beaten path Central America
Kilimanjaro 360 Cycling Tour
7 days (Bike: 6 days)
370 km (~62km per day)
Tour Operator Oclaa Adventures & Safaris
Cycle around the base of Africa’s tallest mountain and highest volcano. This is a bike trip like no other!
This adventure takes us through solitary rainforests, fertile fields of crop and through wild, dry acacia rich savannah, which is the home of the Maasai. The tracks around the cloud shrouded, snow-capped roof of Africa are mainly dusty, sometimes rocky, with a few asphalt roads. We spend a night in a Maasai cultural village to get to know their customs, songs and dishes.
- Amazing scenery,
- Maasai culture,
- wildlife can be seen
Total Distance: 370km. Path: Off road & paved road
14 days (Bike: 9 days)
486 km (~54km per day)
Tour Operator Grasshopper Adventures
Get off the beaten path. It's a cliche, isn't it? Well, come to Uzbekistan and beat a new path with us. Immerse yourself in the rich history of the silk route and the ancient empires, then explore the relics of the Soviet era, while venturing into the naturally beautiful, remote corners of this fascinating country and connecting with communities who rarely see foreign visitors.
Uzbekistan was until quite recently, thought of in roughly the same mental space as pariah states where only the most intrepid might venture. Now, the country has flung open its doors, not only to economic development but also to international visitors. This tour is your chance to get off the path that is in the process of being beaten and experience the true essence of Uzbekistan, not for what we wish it was, but for what it is.
The magnificent mosques and madrassas with their towering minarets are worthy of your time and the rich history of cities like Samarkand and Bukhara will be revealed to you during your journey, but you will go beyond these recognized highlights and venture into the more remote areas of natural beauty where small subsistence communities rarely see international visitors.
You will visit places as obscure as an abandoned Soviet-era space research center, a popular local ski resort and a radio telescope that has been under construction for 40 years and has only just become operational. This will be contrasted by a visit to a winery (yes, Uzbek wine is quite drinkable) and memorable nights in yurts with camels roaming the desert plains outside.
Uzbekistan will surprise you, delight you and puzzle you, all at the same time. It's an experience like no other and there is no better way to see it than from handlebar height.
- Explore the rich history of Samarkand and Bukhara, visiting the stunning blue topped mosques and madrasas and hearing the stories of conquests and great trading empires past.
- Explore the bazaars of Bukhara where artisans and craftspeople pedal their wares.
- Visit the Chervak area where wine is grown and where an abandoned space research center decays.
- Challenge yourself on a ride up to the ski resort of Beldersoy and enjoy the thrilling descent.
- Trek the remote Zaamin National Park and visit the nearby, recently opened, radio telescope.
- Explore the rustic landscape near the Ortacheku Rocks and stay overnight in a yurt camp.
- Visit the 3000-year-old Petroglyphs of Sarmysh
Uganda Mountain Bike Safari
12 days (Bike: 5 days)
260 km (~52km per day)
Tour Operator Cycle Tours Uganda
There is nothing quite as extraordinary as exploring the PEARL-OF-AFRICA on two wheels
It might be a small country but it’s full of surprises, and the landscapes are spectacular. The irresistibly cool climate, nature, and hospitality make everything even brighter. The 12-day western loop is an interesting one for those that love to combine watching wildlife with beautiful mountain landscapes. Explore Fort Portal and the crater lakes, Queen Elizabeth National Park and the tree-climbing lions in the Ishasha sector, Lake Mburo National Park, and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – home to half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas.
- Ride with the zebras
- Ride through the villages
- Interact with the local people
- Visit the Equator
- Boat safaris in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Game safaris in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Wildlife encounter while riding
- Chimp trekking
- Gorilla trekking
- Tree climbing lions game safari
Balkans by Bike: Dubrovnik to Istanbul
Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, North Macedonia & Turkey
20 days (Bike: 17 days)
1581 km (~93km per day)
Join for either 6 or 11 days of cycling
Tour Operator Wild Atlantic Cycling
From Dubrovnik (Croatia) to Istanbul (Turkey) in 17 Cycling Days, plus one rest day to allow for 2 tours within a tour!
Starting in the Jewel of the Balkan Crown’ City of Dubrovnik we head south to the world famous Kotor Bay in Montenegro and onwards to Shkoder, known as the ‘Cycle City’ in Northern Albania. When you arrive you’ll know why! The bells ring here like the bicycles in Beijing! You have a day off and we miss cycling through the bustle of Tirana although you can opt to stop here for a few hours to explore the sights of Albania’s capital city. We stay over in Elbasan and you cycle across the border to the breath-taking beauty of Ohrid in North Macedonia. TWe head east through Bitola and Veles where you spend the night. In the morning it’s a short bus ride to Kochani to cycle over the mountain across the border at Delchevo into Bulgaria. From the University city of Blagoevgrad we then take you to the ski resort of Bansko at the foot of the Pirin Mountains. We breathe out here then head south freewheeling to the beach in Greece with a worthwhile detour to a ‘tour within a tour’ trip round the island of Thassos … from whence we make our last ride east across the Nestos Delta via Komotini and Alexandroupoli into Turkey and down the western side of the Dardanelles Strait ferrying to Cannakale then heading east to Can before taking a bus to bandirma to cross the Sea of Marmara by ferry to Istanbul, the historical bustling ‘gateway to the east’.
It is an exciting journey in this enthralling part of the world. Much of which is emerging slowly enough as tourist destinations so as to continue to retain much of the natural beauty, uniqueness and charm of the countryside and villages.
- Kotor Bay and The Serpentine Climb in Montenegro
- Views from hotel in Shkoder and the hills in the north of Albania
- The beautiful Lake Ohrid in North Macedonia
- The Ciflik Winery in Bitola
- The Climb from Delchevo to the Bulgarian Border crossing
- The mountain town of Bansko in Bulgaria
- The freewheel down the River Mesta towards the Greek Border and into Gotse Delchev
- Thassos Island
- The ride through the Nestos Delta in Thrace national Park in Northeastern Greece
- Crossing the Turkish Border
- The Ancient City of Troy in Canakkale
- Crossing from ;The East' to 'The West' then 'West' to 'East' by ferry on our final day in Gelibolu (Gallipoli)
- Our hotel with its terrace overlooking Topkapi Palace in Istanbul
The first 6 days are the toughest from Dubrovnik to Ohrid with an average of 90 km and 1,652 metres of climbing per day.
The 11 days from Ohrid to Istanbul (Bus and ferry transfer to Istanbul from Gelibolu) average 95 km and 962 metres of climbing per day