About the Tour
If you’re looking for a grueling cycling tour navigating steep mountain passes, rocky terrain or crowded city streets, then cycling in Scandinavia might not be for you.
If, however, you enjoy cruising along the coastal countryside past meandering moose, fields of poppy, ancient castles and Viking battle sites, then you’re in luck.
Just ask convert John Oliva. A life-long cyclist who started assisting his father with cycling tours at age of eight, John knew he had stumbled into cycling paradise when he explored Scandinavia in 2000.
What John Says-
“I was blown away by the culture and the landscape,” he says. “Everything about Scandinavia was perfect for cycling. I spent four summers exploring Scandinavia and have made an annual trip there ever since.”
Scandinavia provides a multitude of desirable options to a cycling. The climate is temperate, the scenery breathtaking, the history captivating, the people charming – and the roads flat and paved.
The last factor is critical. Anyone who has spent more than five minutes battling uphill on a bicycle can agree – cycling quickly loses its fun when your thighs are on fire and your heart is losing a battle with your rib cage.
Luckily in Sweden, no rider will ever experience such bodily warfare. Not only are the roads flat, each street, boulevard and back road is paved and marked with nearly obsessive organization.
Riders can navigate with ease and reroute their course at whim. Which is convenient given all of the fantastic scenery to catch along the way. Cycling in Scandinavia is designed to be easy on the eyes and enjoyable for the body.
John was so enthralled with cycling in Scandinavia he created all-inclusive, fully supported cycling tours ranging from six to ten days and covering 200-500 miles of cycling.
A cyclist who rides once or twice a week will be well-equipped to take on the challenge of a cycling tour, and overachievers can add daily mileage if they wish.
Tours begin in Copenhagen, where tour attendees are guided through the city’s best offerings before embarking on their cycling adventure.
The largest city in Scandinavia founded in 1167, Copenhagen attractions abound offering fairy tale castles, a must-see city waterfront tour, historic churches, the largest pedestrian mall in the world and an amusement park that moonlights as a nightlife hotspot.
The next day a train transports attendees into Sweden by way of the Øresund Bridge, the longest road and rail bridge in Europe serving as both a bride and tunnel across the Øresund strait. Cyclists then mount their bikes and begin cycling east along the coast, beginning in Skåne at the southern tip of Sweden.
While cycling, the sights and stops are infinite.
Lunch at a farm that originated in the 1600’s? Absolutely. Nosh on farm fresh food made with family time-tested recipes.
Pick wild berries? As you ride, fields of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries ripen in the sun and are sold street side, beckoning an invitation for sticky fingers. If berries aren’t your thing, pick fresh apples and pears from local orchards and farms instead.
Thirsty? Stop at a vineyard along the way.
The Beautiful Ocean View
Fancy ocean views? Not only will you see cresting waves crashing on silky white sand shores, flocks of pelicans and exotic birds perch along the coast.
If you watch closely, you may catch a glimpse of a dolphin fin peeking out from the water. Dolphins are plentiful in the Baltic Sea and are known to frequent Sweden’s oceanic waters.
When you’re not staring into the sea, lush green lawns and vibrant fields of lemon-colored rapeseed and orange poppies paint the landscape. Cyclists also share uncrowded bike paths with local Swedes and meandering moose, an animal as plentiful as deer in the U.S. (typically out for a stroll at sunrise or sunset).
As cyclists navigate sunny roads (summer weather is typically 70-75 degrees) they can also enjoy stops at medieval towns and view fortresses built in the 14th and 17th centuries. Black windmills dot your path, some of which double as restaurants.
The tour also offers stops at the Glimmingehus Castle, medieval town Simrishamn, Ales Stennar (known as Sweden’s Stonehenge), Viking monuments in Österlen and ancient churches in Rundkirke.
A daily tradition in Sweden is fika. In short, fika is similar to afternoon tea in England, minus the crumpets and Earl Grey. During fika, Swedes enjoy coffee and cinnamon rolls.
The cinnamon rolls in Sweden are unlike the frosted hub caps found in the states, but rather small rolls flavored with more cinnamon than sugar. Perfect for a snack with a cup of coffee, minus the sugar coma.
Cycling Tour in Scandinavia: A Typical Day
9 a.m. – Enjoy a breakfast of traditional Swedish fare including coffee, yogurt, locally-grown berries and fresh baked goods including Sweden’s popular cinnamon rolls or waffles. Cyclists then embark for a leisurely two hour ride.
11 a.m. – After a snack, cyclists ride for another half hour to hour then stop for lunch at a suggested farm café, picnic on the beach or visit the attraction of the day. Cycle for another half hour to two hours.
2 p.m. – Arrive at evening accommodations, typically a quaint bed and breakfast or town inn nestled in a small village.
6 p.m. – Dinner is served at a local restaurant or by the inn itself (think good home cookin’ by the kind folks of Sweden. Explore their seafood dishes, they are famous for them).
Afterwards you can walk around town, grab ice cream, and take in the scenic views. There are frequent summer festivals going on in July and August with live music, food, dancing, and medieval games displaying feats of strength.
If you appear particularly strapping, don’t be surprised if you are asked to join the competition. While sampling the native beer and vodka, John competed with local villages by throwing farmer’s boots, backing up a tractor with a trailer, hammering nails into a stump and joining tug of war.
All meal locations and activities are suggested, you can get away with your travel partner or explore alone if preferred.
Cyclists ride anywhere from 35-62 miles per day ranging from three to five hours of riding, depending on individual speed and route distance. Daily routes can be lengthened or shortened, and start earlier or later if you wish. Cyclists have the freedom to cycle as much or as little as they would like.
Cyclists carry nothing and enjoy the convenience of a fully-equipped support van providing food, water, bike tools, access to luggage and a place to rest. Tours are typically eight to twelve people.
Trip Preparation for the Cycling Tour
Tour attendees are encouraged to bring their own bike as rental options are limited and typically do not provide the breadth of bicycle features offered in the U.S. Flying a bicycle into Copenhagen will usually run $500 round trip depending on your airline.
Comfortable cycling clothing, cycling shoes, rain gear, handlebar/seat bag, small tool kit and hydration system are required, as is a helmet.
If You Go
To learn more about cycling tours in Scandinavia visit https://www.exploreadventures.com/. Cycling tours range from six to ten days and cost $2,695-$3,695 per person. To book a trip or inquire about tour details contact John Oliva at 303.929.8681 or [email protected]. John has been assisting or conducting cycling tours for over 30 years, and has guided tours in Scandinavia for the past 11 years.