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Winter Escape

inkyfingersinkyfingers Posts: 4,400
edited September 2007 in Tour & expedition
Hi all. I'm a regular reader of the forum but am yet to post.

I am leaving my job in November and after a very stressful period am looking to dissapear to somewhere in Southern Europe for a week or so to get away from it and get my head straight before I start looking for another job. I'm looking for some reccomendations of what areas to head for for 4 or 5 days of cycling. I don't want to camp, just stay in hotels or hostels and carry a very small rucksack on my back (for a change of clothes and a toothbrush)!

For information, i'm a roadie who regularly cycles 60+ miles a day.
"I have a lovely photo of a Camargue horse but will not post it now" (Frenchfighter - July 2013)

Posts

  • Southern spain - cheap flight to malaga then head inland - white villages, empty roads, masses of sky, room in nearly every village. AS close to heaven as I ever want to be at my age :)
    (take a taxi out of malaga tho'- the motorway is scary (and illegal :o )
  • Mallorca is a nice place to tour out of season, and plenty to see away from the main South and East coastal resorts. The weather that time of year can't be guaranteed, but I went in mid February a few years ago and was riding in shorts all the time.
    Doing 100k a day you would be able to do a tour of the island. Some hotels\b&b's close over the winter, but enough should be open so that finding somewhere shouldn't be a problem.
  • Have a look at Cycle Touring in Spain (Cicerone Press). It has a couple of inland multiday rides (one 246 & the other 383km) from Mallaga airport along with details of accommodation & route profiles. They do the White Villages. I've really enjoyed cycling there.
  • ASC1951ASC1951 Posts: 992
    (take a taxi out of malaga tho'- the motorway is scary (and illegal :o )
    The motorway from Malaga to the airport is legal, as are the motorways on the Canaries. The autoroute carrying on down the coast is not legal.

    I found the cycling east of Malaga much better than west. Most of the coast all the way round to Murcia is excellent, although you do need to get inland of the main coast road. The 75 miles west of Malaga has many fewer roads leading inland and they are consequently busier; also much steeper.

    Mallorca is an absolutely top destination for cycling, too.
  • I really appreciate your suggestions...will have a good net surf for accomodation/flights on Monday.

    Got to go and fettle my bike for my London-Canterbury tomorrow!
    "I have a lovely photo of a Camargue horse but will not post it now" (Frenchfighter - July 2013)
  • I.B.I.B. Posts: 188
    I wouldn't recommend Sicily - went there in November last year and it rained almost all the time. Was nice the few hours it didn't rain though...

    We did have an amazing touring holiday in the Pelopponese and Crete in May last year - would imagine the climate in November would be very nice. Sadly the Pelopponnese is where most of the terrible fires have been this summer - it's an absolutely lovely, untouristy part of Greece though with a good mix of mountains & flat bits, amazing ancient ruins (like Olympia) and lovely nature & beaches too. Crete is almost suffocated by tourists but I suspect it would be OK in November. It is staggeringly beautiful however, and I really recommend it if you like mountains. Every day you'll pass through constantly changing vistas, most of the time with dramatic views of the sea. It's an intensely satisfying landscape to cycle through, and given it's so touristy, you shouldn't have problems finding hotels. We tried to get as far from the beaten track as possible (while remaining on tarmacked road with our touring frames) and it's possible to get away from the morons when you're up in the mountain villages.

    The other great thing about Greece is the taverna culture - even the tiniest village has one - and you can always be sure to get delicious food, even if it's very simply prepared 'peasant food', like a bowl of olives, hunks of tasty bread and a bean stew. One of my favourite dishes was called Briam, which consists of potatoes, courgette, tomatoe and garlic all cooked very slowly together and absolutely yum.

    I think a week's touring in the South sounds like just the ticket to get a stressful job-leaving experience out of your system.

    Good luck with your planning!
  • I.B.I.B. Posts: 188
    Oh, can I say one more thing? I really wouldn't recommend touring with a rucksack - even a really lightweight skimpily packed one. Perhaps you already have a lot of experience of rucksack touring but personally I can't think of anything more unpleasant when the going gets tough which it inevitably will at some point! Have you looked at those Carradice camper longflap saddle bags? They're excellent for lightweight touring. You can get them with a rack-like device which clamps onto the rails of your saddle. Very simple and extremely popular on this year's Paris Brest Paris.
  • xiliosxilios Posts: 170
    I second a tour of Crete, and in November it would be perfect weather for the climbs. Rooms would be plentyfull and cheap, but I would bring a small tent in case of a warm evening to sleep on a beach. Having cycled in Italy and Greece, I've found everything to be a hell of a lot cheaper in Greece than Italy, by half in most cases. Also cycling in Greece is beter because every tiny village has a bakery, minimarket, coffee shop and most gas stations have a small shop in them, which is very conviniant.
    We went to Paleochora, on the SW corner, for summer holidays (a few years ago) and it was great.
    The western part of the island is more green, while the eastern part is more desert like.
    We plan to tour the island in the future.
  • Thanks for the new suggestions, I have decided to go to Malloca because it turns out a friend of mine was there last year and he's going to recommend me a hotel and some good routes.

    As for the rucksack issue, I know it's not ideal but i've done quite a bit of touring with a rucksack so i'm pretty used to it. In fact I'm off to Cornwall tonight (on the sleeper) for a leisurely cycle from Penzance to Bristol in 6 days...carrying a very light rucksack, containing the absolute bare minimum! Havinf seen the weather forecast i'm going to push the boat out and take a raincoat!

    In Mallorca i'm going to base myself at a hotel and just go out on day routes so i'll just use my little saddlebag, if any routes don't suit this then i'll just use public transport of hire a car to get to or from the hotel.
    "I have a lovely photo of a Camargue horse but will not post it now" (Frenchfighter - July 2013)
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