When it comes to riding bikes we all have our own reasons for doing it, be it the freedom of going out into the woods, to the adrenaline of descending steep and technical terrain or catching those air miles at the local bike park. One of the reasons that we can all agree on however, is because it is fun and no matter what mood you start your ride in, you’re almost guaranteed to finish with a smile on your face.
What’s better than combining time on two wheels with a holiday! Trouble is, with so much choice it’s hard to know where to start when looking for an MTB themed holiday. So, to help you out, we’ve teamed up with MTB Beds to put together a quick list of European mountain biking destinations you need to add to your wish list.
Morzine – France
Known by many as a seriously awesome ski resort, Morzine doesn’t go to sleep in the summer months. Situated in the French Alps just an hour from Geneva airport, Morzine is a buzzing mountain town that has become the hub of Europe’s biggest bike park, The Portes Du Soleil (PDS).The PDS is a combination of 5 bike parks; Morzine, Les Gets, Super Morzine/Avoriaz, Chatel and Champery-Morgins all connected by a chairlift network to allow maximum shredding on your holiday. With all these trails, and such a stunning landscape, it’s easy to see how it’s become a leading European mountain biking destination.
The areas stunning trails attract many of the fastest downhill and enduro racers as a base between races but don’t let this fool you, Morzine and the surrounding bike parks have a huge variety of trails for amateurs and professionals alike. There is an excellent trail grading system to ensure you can ride the trails that suit your ability and mark your progression throughout the week.
For many, riding chairlifts and shredding the bike parks in Morzine is enough. But for those with a flair for adventure and who don’t mind some pedalling, the scope for trails is massive. MTB Beds offer brilliant self catered and catered stays in the centre of town, with options for day trips across to Pila and La Thuile in the Aosta valley or Samoen at the bottom of the valley.
If the riding ever gets too much there is an abundance of outdoor activities to try your hand at, from rock climbing to white water rafting; so there is no danger of getting bored.
Finale Ligure – Italy
When people think of holidays they often picture a sandy beach with a beer in hand overlooking the sea. For a mountain biker the dream is of dusty trails and epic descents on their bike, but what if you could have both? Finale Ligure, a small town on the Italian Riviera, perfectly embodies all of these dreams to make it the perfect holiday destination for cyclists and sun seekers alike. On top of the great weather and proximity to the sea, Finale also plays home to the Enduro World Series and some of the best trails in the world, and so makes an amazing European mountain biking destination.
With warm weather in bountiful supply, the best time to visit is either Spring or Autumn. The heat is bearable and the sea is beautifully warm. Imagine staying in a fully catered chalet just 10 metres from the beach on the door step of world class trails? With an already booming trails network it would be easy for the guides and drivers to sit back and reap the rewards from these trails. However, their investment in not only maintaining and preserving the existing trails, but scoping out new areas and pushing the expansion, means Finale Ligure is a destination here to stay.
The iconic town square is an ideal place to end your days riding, and relax overlooking the beach and the mediterranean sea. Cafe San Pedro is a rider favourite,providing a great atmosphere but also a great snack selection to fill your stomach after a big day on the hills.
Finale Ligure has a stunning history dating back to the middle ages which you can experience visiting the beautiful Finalborgo town just behind Finale’s town centre. Some beautiful restaurants and shops fill the cobbled streets and offers the perfect way to spend a down day during your stay.
Madeira Island – Portugal
Madeira, a small Portuguese island situated just off the Northwest coast of Africa known for its “Madeiran” wine and cake. Madeira is an archipelago featuring 4 unique islands, each with vastly different terrain. A tropical climate and stunning views put Madeira on the map when it featured in the 2017 Enduro World Series and showed off not only a wide range of trails but also a huge variety of trail types and features. With the highest peak reaching 1862m it’s easy to see why mountain biking has flourished with many of the trails starting way above the clouds.
Madeira benefits from it’s warm climate and relatively consistent weather allowing riders to explore the trails all year round. Although there are not bike specific chairlifts in the area, there are plenty of uplift and guiding companies such as freeride Madeira and Bike Bus Madeira.
Although many of the trails in Madeira are exclusively pedal accessed, lending itself to the enduro rider, Downhill Pro’s and videographers have flocked to the island with Loic Bruni’s Gamble segment and Brendan Fairclough’s Deathgrip movie producing some of the best riding footage online at the moment.
You don’t have to leave the UK to get your fill of amazing trails. Scotland is an untapped goldmine of trails and adventures kept quiet by the hard working trail builders who leave an artist’s impression on the stunning valleys. Starting at the Borders, Ae Forest & Innerleithen have featured frequently in the National Downhill series and more recently the EWS Continental series. These forestry commissioned trails have a brilliant variety of trails to suit everything from your weekend warrior to a hardened racer. Wigwam holidays provide a unique holiday option from Glamping pods to Wigwam tents just a couple of minutes from the Innerleithen trails.
Jumping further north to the home of a certain Monster and we have Fort William. Needing little introduction, Fort Bill has been on the world cup scene since many of us started riding. Renowned for being one of the most physical races of the year, Fort William is one of the few places in the world where a downhill bike is still a clear favourite. Although there are not many official trails, if you are willing to adventure a bit there are some incredible trails to be found off the new black trail “Top Chief”. Fort William also benefits from a full gondola lift allowing you to smash out as many laps as your body will let you.
Just a short drive from Fort William is another stunning Forestry commission centre, Laggan Wolftrax. With over 20 Miles of bike specific trails, and about the same again in unofficial trails, Laggan has been home to the Scottish Enduro series toughest races. It isn’t always sunny in Scotland, but with trails like these, does it need to be?
The Aosta Valley
The Aosta valley begins on the Italian side of Mt Blanc with it’s capital Aosta situated at the based of the Valley. Founded in 25 bc the town’s history combined with a vibrant atmosphere makes this the perfect base for a week or riding.
Pila is possibly the best known side of the valley with its unique “moon dust” and Iconic switchbacks. Although mostly dubbed a downhillers paradise, if you are willing to swap travel for a dropper and gears Pila has an incredible ridge line trail that takes you to the bottom of the Valley in Pila through the Desarpa zone.
Another well known cluster of trails in the Aosta Valley is la Thuile, playing host to the EWS twice these trails mean business. Gaining a 5 star technicality rating from the EWS, these trails are not for the faint hearted. A swift chairlift allows you to maximise your descents without the pedalling.
Venturing slightly off the beaten track and high into the mountains behind the Aosta town you can find a mass of untouched single track descents lasting up to an hour top to bottom with a jaw dropping view the whole way down. Using a shuttle van to access these trails, and a bit of pedal assistance, you can find yourself completely alone overlooking the historic town ready to descend to the valley base. To find out more about this epic destination check out the MTB Beds holiday package.
Planning a mountain bike holiday? Don’t forget, our mountain bike holiday insurance will cover the costs of emergency medical care (including mountain rescue), and our mountain bike insurance will cover your equipment for damage and theft.