Cycling Holidays in Cooler Climes


Last year Europe saw its hottest summer with temperatures reaching record highs throughout June, July and August. Six weeks of sweltering temperatures and 50 days without rain were not enjoyed by everyone, however. Those looking for active adventures had some challenging conditions to contend with. In 2019, temperatures are expected to climb once again.

With Sweden, Norway and Finland ranking in the top five of nations with most bicycles per capita, it is fair to say that cycling is part of the Nordic lifestyle. Elaborate cycle networks, quiet roads, and bike-friendly cities support the idea of slow cycling. During summer mild temperatures, ranging between 7-17 C allow for a laid-back approach to active holiday-making. With nature never too far away, cyclists are treated to forest shade or a refreshing coastal breeze to help them on their way.

As cyclists look for cooler climes to tour, Magnetic North Travel highlights its new line of coastal-themed ‘slow cycling’ routes in the Nordic countries bookable this summer.

Take the slow boat (and bike) in the Lofoten Islands

Launching: June

Suits who: Easy-going cyclists, first-time cruisers

2018 temperatures:  Average 9°C in June, Highs 16 °C Lows 3°C

This summer cyclists can take to the sea as they sail into the iconic, quaint harbour towns of the Lofoten Islands. Aboard the MV Stronstad up to 15 cyclists can enjoy a rewarding onboard sauna session and hearty, local cuisine. On land, a guided cycling tour takes slow adventurers to iconic landmarks including Uttakleiv, Northern Norway’s most photographed white sand beach. Pedaling alongside rolling hills and winding roads, it is worth keeping an eye out for the white-headed sea eagle. A guided mountain hike and a rewarding on-board sauna round-off the experience.

From £2415 per person, based on two people sharing a double cabin on a full board basis. Includes:

  • Boat trip between locations
  • Guided cycle and hiking tours in Lofoten
  • Accommodation on MS Strønstad
  • Three meals a day
  • Snacks for trips/between meals plus coffee/tea/biscuits on-board.

Self-guided: The Turku archipelago trail

When: May-September

Suits who: Active families, first-time cycle tourers, off the beaten track explorers

2018 temperatures: Average 16°C in June ’18, Highs 25 °C Lows 0°C

Finland’s archipelago is home to 20,000 craggy islands making it the most island-rich archipelago in the world. With islands and sunshine galore, it’s time to embrace a slower pace of life and cycle the Archipelago Trail. The 150km path meanders through fishing villages alongside rugged, but calm shores. Occasionally, cyclists will hop on a small ferry. In between manageable days of cycling, there is enough time for lunch al fresco and the Finnish sauna ritual. At the end of the trip, a stay in Turku, Finland’s oldest town, offers medieval architecture and mouth-watering Nordic cuisine. Benefit from direct flights to the archipelago launching 2nd July.

From £860 per person, based on two people sharing. Includes:

  • 6 night’s accommodation
  • 4 breakfasts
  • Cycle hire with service kit and side bags
  • Helmet
  • Roadside assistance (if required)

Nuuksio National Park Escape

When: Late spring-autumn

Suits who: Active families, first-time cycle tourers

2018 temperatures in Espoo: Average 16°C in June, Highs 26 °C Lows 3°C

In Helsinki, one of the greenest capitals in the world, nature is only ever a 15-minute walk, cycle or train journey away. Starting a Southern Finnish cycling adventure from the coastal capital is not only a practical solution, but it also offers an insight into the Finnish desire to embrace nature, even in the most populated part of the country. The cycling loop sees e-bikers swap cobbled city streets for pine-carpeted forest and coastal trails. Balmy forests, old ironwork villages and lakes glittering in the evening light transport cyclists into a world of calm.

Experience it:

From £699 per person, based on 2 persons sharing. Includes:

  • eBike and cycle bags
  • GPS Navigation aid
  • 4 nights B&B accommodation
  • 24/7 support
  • Luggage storage (if required)

Senja Explorer

When: Late spring-autumn

Suits who: Off the beaten track explorers

2018 temperatures in Senja: Average 7 °C in June, Highs 15 °C Lows 1°C

Setting off from Tromso, cyclists head south to Senja, the lesser known sister of the Lofoten

Islands. The journey takes cyclists across spectacular bridges into small villages home to 300 inhabitants. Meandering alongside dramatic coastlines, picturesque villages, small islands with anecdotic names like Sommaroy (Summer Island), Kvaloya (Whale Island) travellers have the chance to chat with locals, dip their toes into the sea or perhaps go for a wild swim feeling brave.

£1295 per person based on two sharing

  • 6-day self-guided cycle tour round trip from Tromso to Senja
  • Luggage transfers for the cycle tour where required
  • Hybrid cycle rental including helmets and equipment
  • Map and one set of directions
  • 7 night’s accommodation including 5 dinners and 7 breakfasts

Read more

Lagom Cycling in Stockholm’s archipelago

Temperatures in Stockholm: Average 17 °C in June, Highs 29 °C Lows 3°C

Suits who: Nordic lifestyle aficionados, first-time cyclists, active families

2018 temperatures in Stockholm: Average 16°C in June, Highs 26 °C Lows 3°C

Stockholm, the capital of Nordic cool, is the perfect base for cyclists looking for a culture and nature fix. Inspired by the concept of balanced living, Magnetic North Travel has designed a 7-day adventure with plenty of time for al fresco Fikas – a catch up over coffee and cake. Explore Stockholm’s charming alleys before embarking on an island-hopping tour with stunning views across the archipelago.

From £1085 per person based on two people travelling

  • 6 night’s accommodation in guesthouses or 3 star hotels
  • Breakfasts x 6
  • Lunch x 1
  • Cycle hire
  • 2 transfers
  • 4 luggage transfers
  • Information pack, map and directions

All Magnetic North Travel holidays include a 24/7 emergency line, concierge service and personalised travel documents via our app. To book, call 01664 400 103 or see

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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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