What could be better then traveling entirely at your own pace? Hopping on and off your bike as you meander through a country or area (or continent!) is a great way to travel. It’s got next to no impact on the environment, it’s free and gives you the chance to fully immerse yourself in the local culture.
Most countries are beginning to realize that bikes are a fantastic resource, and are making huge improvements to roads, and creating gorgeous routes to be enjoyed by cyclists. So all you need to do is saddle up and ride off into the distance.
Below is a small selection of cycling hostels that allow backpackers access to some of the most scenic, interesting – and even dangerous! – routes in the world.
Bicycle Hotel, Amsterdam, NetherlandsThe Netherlands loves its bicycles. In fact, it’s practically bike heaven, cycling here is a way of life, rather than just a way of getting around. There are special roads, signs, traffic lights and roundabouts for the cyclist. Add its easy terrain and vibrant towns and cities, and Holland becomes a truly great place for cycling.
Naturally, the hostels in Holland reflect this bike-friendly culture. A great place to stay is the Bicycle Hotel in Amsterdam. This central Amsterdam hostel provides bicycle parking and a bike hire service for around 5 euros a day. A complementary breakfast is provided to get you through a morning’s cycling.
Babelfish Hostel, Wuerzburg, Germany
Germany has a wealth of activities on offer for the cyclist. From the stunning northern coastline, to the Black Forest in the south, and the buzzing cities, Disney-esque castles and sweeping rivers in between, there’s a huge variety of landscapes that practically beg to be cycled.
The ‘Romantic Road’, though, is one of the most popular cycling routes in Germany, passing medieval castles and quaint villages. Wuerzburg is the gateway to this picturesque area, and Babelfish Hostel is the place to put your bike away secure in their bike storage and rest those weary legs for the night.
HI-San Francisco-Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, USA
HI – San Francisco – Fisherman’s Wharf image 6California, with its excellent year-round weather, varied landscapes (like the wine growing Napa Valley) and challenging roads, is packed with great cycling routes.
And San Francisco’s various distinctive hilly neighborhoods are great for exploring by bike. HI-San Francisco-Fisherman’s Wharf offers fantastic bike-friendly accommodation with discounted bike rental, free bike storage and, most importantly, handy cycling tips aplenty!
Youth Hostel Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
With mountains above, and glacial lakes below, Switzerland is a country dominated by the great outdoors. One of the best cycling routes is the Alpine Panorama Route: St. Margrethen to Aigle. It’s not easy, but, as the name suggests, the very best of the Swiss Alps unfolds as you ride along.
After a hard day’s riding, the Fribourg Youth Hostel is a godsend: a cycling hostel through and through. The building – a converted hospital – is interesting; it has a mixture of dorm rooms, private and even family rooms available, and they also offer plenty of bike storage in the basement.
The Adventure Brew image 4If ever a placed earned its reputation, it’s the road running between La Paz and Coroico, or “the most dangerous road in the world”. The drop – should you go over the edge – is 3,600m, and there’s nothing to stop you taking the plunge, except perhaps your own survival instincts!
Along with a garden, its own brewery and a wood-fired Jacuzzi, the Adventure Brew Hostel in La Paz is an official booker for the Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking trips. This is undoubtedly the best way to do the ‘Road of Death’: in the hands of the professionals!
Have you stayed in any cycling hostels or bike-friendly hotels? Let us know.