| 6°C Belfast

Romantic trips abroad on bicycle built for two

Rather than getting caught up in the gimmicks of Valentine's Day, organising some quality time together can be a great alternative present, reports Judith Cole

Close

tandem

tandem

Catalonia

Catalonia

Puglia

Puglia

Cotes du Ventoux

Cotes du Ventoux

tandem

What can be more perfect than jumping on a tandem together and rolling through French vineyards or along the coastal cliffs of Portugal with your other half?

Riding a tandem allows cyclists - no matter what their abilities - to stick together and enjoy the surroundings rather than one person constantly playing catch-up. They are ideal for couples who otherwise may be separated by a stretch of tarmac rather than appreciating the views together. Having two people on the bike also means that tackling tricky hills is easier than pedalling alone.

Here, we highlight a number of romantic tandem cycling tours to enjoy with a loved one. All the tours are operated by specialist company Headwater. Their tandem bikes are also fitted with panniers and the majority have 'Ride With GPS' technology - which has turn by turn audio instructions - so whoever is in the back seat won't need any map reading skills.

Cotes du Ventoux, France

Cotes du Ventoux

There are few things more romantic than a tandem cycle with your significant other around the vineyards and olive groves of southern France and this trip allows just that. This cycling paradise cascades through colourful medieval towns and villages, all against the stunning backdrop of Mount Ventoux. Highlights of this self-guided cycling tour include 12th-century Vacqueyras, Beaumes-de-Venise and the town of Mazan. The trip ends in Pernes-les-Fontaines, which has a delightful old town complete with more than 40 ancient stone fountains to marvel at.

Try the seven-day/six-night, self-guided Cotes du Ventoux Cycling holiday starting from £1,295 per person. The price includes accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, four evening meals, high-quality tandem bikes and airport transfers.

Puglia, Italy

Puglia

Puglia is firmly tucked away on the heel of Italy's boot, offering extraordinary beauty and dramatic, rugged coast which is perfect to explore by bicycle. The self-guided cycling tour begins in Conversano and ends in the historic town of Monopoli.

Cyclists will stop off in Alberobello, a Unesco World Heritage Site, and visit the postcard-pretty village of Ostuni. One of the over-night stays includes accommodation in a restored 17th-century masseria - a fortified farmhouse - surrounded by 200 hectares of ancient palms and olive trees, perfect for a romantic stroll after a sunny day on a tandem.

Try the eight-day/seven-night, self-guided Cycling in Puglia holiday starting from £1,315 per person, including accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, two evening meals, high-quality tandem bikes and airport transfers.

Catalonia, Spain

Catalonia

The rocky coastline of Catalonia offers a gentle cycling route, occasionally meandering off-road through olive groves, peach orchards and pine forests. Couples biking through the region will pass through medieval fishing villages, calling at Peratallada and Begur. All the carefully selected hotels along the route have swimming pools, so a cool dip can be enjoyed after a day exploring the countryside.

Try the seven day/six night, self-guided Contrasts of Catalonia Cycling holiday starting from £1,195 per person, including accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, four evening meals, high-quality tandem bikes and airport transfers.

Passau to Vienna

The route from Passau, on Germany's eastern border, to Vienna is one of the most popular cycle paths in Europe. This stretch of the Danube has an abundance of historical landmarks to enjoy; 60 dramatic castles and palaces lie along the river and the landscape is dotted with fertile plains, narrow gorges, forests and picturesque vines.

Highlights on the self-guided route include the bustling medieval centre of Linz, the 11th century Baroque abbey at Melk, and the Unesco-celebrated Krems.

Try the 11-day/10-night, self-guided Passau to Vienna Cycling holiday starting from £1,595 per person, including flights (from London), accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, high-quality tandem bikes and airport transfers.

Porto, Portugal

This relaxing route down Porto's coastline is almost completely flat, so it's perfect for first-time cyclists. The trail passes world-famous wine cellars and includes plenty of beach and bay hopping. There is also a visit to the Aveiro Lagoon, which is home to pink flamingo and other colourful birdlife.

Try the eight-day/seven-night Porto Coastal Cycling self-guided holiday starting from £1,525 per person, including accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, four evening meals, high-quality tandem bikes and airport transfers.

Belfast Telegraph