Six lesser-known cycling destinations

Add these little-known destinations to your cycling bucket list today. You won’t regret it.

The classic climbs have their undeniable appeal and its little wonder they draw in crowds from all around the world each year. But if you are in need of something off the beaten track, look no further. Beat the crowds and check out these must-see spots for cycling heaven.

1. Sierra Nevada, Spain

While the crowds flock to Mallorca, Gran Canaria and Girona, some of the best roads in Spain - if not Europe - remain dreamily quiet. The Sierra Nevada region in the south of Spain offers a plethora of incredible climbs and spectacular scenery. ‘The Goats Path’ or ‘Carretera de la Cabra’ is one of the best, winding from the coast to Granada, covering 36 kilometres and climbing 1358 metres via an ancient mule track.

2. Valle de Bravo, Mexico

Nestled on the shores of Lago Avándaro, Valle de Bravo is fast becoming a outdoor lover’s hotspot. Demanding climbs, thrilling descents, and stunning scenery, matched with all the colour and culture of small-town Mexico, this area is a winner. The pièce de résistance for cyclists is the Nevado de Toluca volcano, climbing to 3,534 metres above sea level. Rest assured, there’s more than one very good reason Haute Route is going there this year.

3. San Luis Obispo, California

The endless rolling hills of San Luis Obispo are a cyclists dream. From the coast to the surrounding foothills and back country roads through wine country, this region brings together some of the best views that California has to offer with none of the crowds.

4. Florianópolis, Brazil

With pristine beaches, vibrant nightlife, and more importantly, some of the best cycling climbs in the world, there’s very good reason Florianópolis has earned the title as the outdoor sports capital of Brazil. The Serra do Rio do Rastro climb is the crown jewel of the Brazilian highlands, winding its way in spectacular fashion to the summit of the highest inhabited site in southern Brazil. Trust us, you won’t regret adding Florianópolis to your bucket list with Haute Route in 2021.

5. Hawaii, US

Both Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii are rising stars in the cycling destinations world. Big roads and famous scenery come together for some serious cycling challenges. In fact, the Hawaiian volcano of Mauna Kea is arguably one of the most extreme climbs in the world. Climbing 4200m from the tranquil beach at Hilo to the otherworldly summit of the “white mountain”, this climb is reserved for only the most hard-core riders.

6. Bergen, Norway

While Norway is growing in popularity as an all-time cycling destination, some parts of the country still remain very much off the map. North of where the Haute Route last visited Norway, the Bergen area brings together incredible roads with simply unforgettable scenery unlike anywhere else in the world. Think breathtaking fjords, dramatic mountains and wild weather to match.