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The beauty of cycling is that you can reach places that are harder to get to by other modes of transport. You can cover more ground than walking, squeeze through smaller places than driving, and live and breathe the destination unlike when you’re flying. The feeling of taking to the saddle and feeling the wind in your face as you press on up that hill, down that slope, or along that road, is totally unmatched.

It’s even better when you’re in some of the world’s most spectacular places. Taking a moment to look up and see your surroundings is thrilling, whether you’re riding down a winding coast road, down a rocky path between two temples, or over dusty sand dunes by the sea.

No matter how many hours you spend in spin class, you can’t replicate a real adventure in the great outdoors. Here are five cycling adventures where nothing beats the real thing:

5 Rides Through a World of History

1. Pedal the wild interior of Sri Lanka

When it comes to packing a world of adventures onto one island, nothing beats the history and culture of Sri Lanka. You won’t believe its small size (the United Kingdom is three times bigger) when you’re exploring its richly diverse landscapes, so let’s take to Sri Lanka on two wheels and discover its incredible interior.

As you pedal through immense and lush rainforests, you’ll get a sense of the immeasurable effect that the wonders of nature have on this island. Crawling beasts including shy spiders, long lizards, and flamboyant frogs claim the forest floor, while mischievous monkeys swing from branches high above. It’s a tapestry of all things natural.

This epic sea of green parts for the rock fortress of Sigiriya, where remnants of an ancient civilisation show how people have always explored the island’s interior. Jutting out into the blue like a centuries-old skyscraper, this column of granite of one of Sri Lanka’s most beloved icons. Towards the coast, there’s the chance to spot elusive leopards at Yala National Park. These beautiful big cats roam the area with elephants and over 200 species of birds. See these epic sights for yourself on our Cycle the Back Roads of Sri Lanka, an incredible 14-day adventure through the heart of one of the world’s most diverse islands.

5 Rides Through a World of History

2. Ride the sand dunes of Namibia

Namibia truly is one of the vastest nations on the planet. Sure, it’s nowhere near as big as the world’s biggest countries, but with a population of less than three million, it’s one of the sparsest. That makes it a real-life adventure playground for the most avid explorers, as well as its hugely diverse flora and fauna.

With wide open spaces and endless skies waiting, Namibia is the ultimate cycling destination. A coastline of endless sand dunes turns into picturesque granite hills, leading to wild plains where elephants, giraffes and lions roam.

The most surreal and spectacular of all rides in Namibia is the famous fat bike tour through the dunes around Swakopmund. These cycles have thick wheels that let you ride on the sands, so you can explore parts of the country that mere mountain bikes can’t reach. With a sea breeze keeping you cool, and views that stretch as far as the eye can see, this one to put on your bucket list. Join us on Cycle Namibia and get to know a destination that’s unlike anywhere you’ve cycled before.

5 Rides Through a World of History

3. Absorb culture in three Baltic capitals

What’s better than getting to know three different capital cities on one epic bike ride? Crossing Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on two wheels is the most exciting way to embrace the wonders of the Baltic states. If you associate the world Baltic with being cold, it’s time to think again…

With perfectly paved paths linking Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius (along with the occasional offroad section), we think this is a strong contender for our ultimate ride! There are picturesque castles nestled on hilltops high above old towns, beautiful pine forests that stretch all the way to the horizon, and medieval properties that have stood for centuries on this unique route. The feeling you get as you arrive in a capital city We bet you didn’t know there are sand dunes that reach heights of 197ft/60m in Lithuania; there’s more than meets the eye with these nations.

All three countries are similar, but no two are the same; they’re all one when it comes to showcasing a warm and friendly welcome to cyclists exploring the towns between cities.

Book your place on our Cycle the Baltics trip and tick off three extraordinary nations.

5 Rides Through a World of History

4. See otherworldly sights at Wadi Rum

You’ll feel like a Martian as you make your way through the otherworldly Wadi Rum, where thousands of stars in the clearest of skies ignite a desire to see more of our universe. The red rock floor feels like another planet, while the whirling and swirling sand and space age camps help you realise that you’re away from civilization, lost in a world of endless discovery. With two wheels you’re never really too far from the next incredible sight in the Kingdom of Jordan though.

Wadi Rum is the place where you can bond with your travel companions. Whether lying on the desert floor, gazing into a clear blue sky, or keeping warm next to the flickering flames of an evening fire, you’ll get plenty of time to make friends for life here.

Hop on the saddle for our Petra & Wadi Rum by Bike adventure and see for yourself. You’ll also get to explore the souks and streets of Amman and set your sights on the Treasury at the Red Rose City of Petra.

5 Rides Through a World of History

5. Ride by ancient temples in Cambodia

If cycling to awe-inspiring ancient monuments in three countries is your kind of ride, this is definitely the trip for you. Making your way from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok to the modern history-filled Ho Chi Minh City (some say Saigon) by bike takes you on a journey like no other.

With Cambodia nestled between Thailand and Vietnam, the temples of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, the Bayon, and Banteay Srei are all stops on the way. There’s no better way to absorb culture than by experiencing it for yourself, and Cambodia has a rich history that’s filled with hope, triumph, and tragedy.

We hope to see you on our Cycle Indochina & Angkor soon, especially as we have special departures for this trip.

Our Citizen Science Departures offer you the opportunity to be involved in the collection of freshwater samples during the trip. The environmental DNA information derived from this sample will contribute directly to the eBioAtlas; the world’s largest repository of flora and fauna species data, contributing to the conservation and restoration of biodiversity both locally and globally.