Cycle Travel Guides
Accommodation for cyclists - with a twist!
Accommodation for cyclists - with a twist!
 
After a long day on the saddle you will need a place to rest your bones and get a good night’s sleep, and most of us manage to find a well-known hotel in the town centre, or stumble on a quaint B&B on the outskirts of a village. However, for the more adventurous and creative there are some unique and quirky offerings around – if you look hard enough. So, If the thought of interesting and unusual accommodation makes your travel juices start flowing then we have put together a selection of some of Europe’s most intriguing places to stay, from donkey sheds to tree houses, and they all welcome cyclists!
 
Huts and tree houses
 
Millstream Camp, Shropshire, England: The Millstream Camp is a quirky off-grid site offering Shepherd’s Hut accommodation for two on the borders of north Herefordshire and south Shropshire where England greats Wales.  As its name suggests, the camp sits beside an ancient millstream which is recorded in the 11th Century Domesday Book and the surrounding settlements date from Roman times. The babbling brook that meanders through the site provides shady spots for chilling out and the fenced off grassy site has south-westerly views across the horse paddocks. There are riverside walks to village pubs and of course quiet lanes to explore by bike. In-camp hut facilities consist five-foot wide double-bed with luxury linen and wood-burning stove, an outside fire-pit warms those sleepy nights and a wood-fired bath soothes those tired muscles. A compost loo provides…well you know what. Safe bicycle storage available. (www.lowerbuckton.co.uk)
 
 
Outlandish Holidays, Cornwall, England: The aptly named “Jack Sparrow” and “Treehouse”, are certainly unique. Appearing as if part of a set from a fantasy film, the charismatic properties are surrounded by wide-open hillsides, lush forests, and the sea. There are footpaths in every direction, birds constantly chirping, and stars bright enough to easily point out constellations. With the curved, teardrop-shaped structures, the cottages look almost animated in a fantastical way, yet they still manage to fit everything you need for a 21st century stay inside their unusual walls. Both houses have two levels, with a kitchen, couch, and toilet on the bottom level and a bed on the top. The treehouse was built around the tree, so not only was the tree not damaged in the process, it is incorporated into the structure of the house, with branches running through the interior. (www.outlandishholidays.co.uk)
 
 
Hill View Farm, Oxfordshire, England: Hill View Farm is, as the name would suggest, situated on a hill with spectacular views.  Although not particularly high, the surrounding area is nearly all lower hence the panoramic views across the Aylesbury Vale.  It is thought that Poundon Hill is where the Anglian glacier came to a halt around 400 thousand years ago and the views from the shepherd hut would have been across a huge lake.  However, the huts have not been left in the past and have many modern conveniences such as solar power, king-size beds, eco loo’s and an outside shower.  A welcome hamper awaits cyclists from the nearby route 51 ensuring that they can settle in without having to make a dash to the shops straight away.  Eggs and bacon are supplied for either a simple supper or breakfast together with essentials such as bread, butter, milk, tea and coffee. Wood and kindling are provided so guests can light the little wood burner and ensure they are warm and cosy for the night. (www.hvfarm.co.uk)
 
Interesting conversions
 
La Rectoria de Sant Miquel de Pineda, Cataloinia, Spain: 500m above sea level on the 100km 'Via Verda del carrilet' cycle route, this stunningly renovated 7 bedroom guest house is a former rectory dating from the 12th century. The rectory sits adjacent to the 11th century chapel of Sant Miquel de Pineda and has stunning views down the Val d'Hostoles in the county of La Garrotxa. Substantially modernized with en suite bathrooms and 2 comfortable sitting rooms, the old wooden floors and beams, terracotta ceiling tiles and wood burning kitchen stove have been retained, blending rustic charm with modern finishes.  A terrace between the rectory and chapel provides space to relax and to take in the view, whilst the large garden has a swimming pool and secure storage for bicycles. Located in the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park, the area offers the opportunity to enjoy either recreational/touring cycling along the Via Verda and other routes in La Garrotxa or some challenging road cycling in the more mountainous areas of the county. (www.larectoriadesantmiquel.com)
 
 
Sandytoes, Algarve, Portugal: Ever thought of spending the night in a donkey shed made of mud? Didn’t think so. Well, maybe time to think again, as two comfortable self-catering properties in the picturesque Algarve were previously "donkey sheds" belonging to local farmers and constructed of rammed earth (taipa in Portuguese). Their locations are also unique - one being in the Historic area of Aljezur and the other in a village widely regarded as one of the last remaining authentic Algarve villages. Both are up and coming tourist destinations and welcome many cyclists each year, attracted to the surrounding trails. Incidentally, Taipa is an interesting medium for construction...cool in the summer and warm in the winter and is making a comeback in the region even for new hotels…. you heard it here first! (www.sandytoes-algarve.com)
 
The Old Bakery, Brittany, France: 100 years ago, The Old Bakery was the hub of the small Breton town of Chateauneuf du Faou, serving the locals fresh bread from its wood fired oven. It is also likely that the famous impressionist painter Paul Serusier (good friend of Gauguin), who lived just a few doors away, would have picked up the odd baguette or two. Although the old oven remains, the fires have long stopped burning, and the smell of fresh bread has been replaced with that of fresh linen in this welcoming and rustic bed and breakfast. Being a short stroll from the Nantes to Brest Canal, the accommodation makes the perfect stopover on this increasingly popular cycling route. Cycle storage provided. (www.theoldbakery.org) 
 
Velo Vercors, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France: Velo Vercors is the setting of a historical 'moulin' (saw mill) set on the edge of St.Jean-en-Royans at the Gateway to the Spectacular Vercors National Park. Built in the 19th Century this mill was powered by a water turbine producing electricity supplied by the fast-flowing water from the Vercors. The accommodation features an 'outside lounge' which originally housed the machinery to cut the wood but now lends itself as the perfect place for guests to relax, eat and socialise after an awe-inspiring bike ride on some of France's most impressive roads. The soaring limestone gorges, vertiginous roads, rivers and grassy plateau’s offer spectacular scenery at every turn. Low level traffic, superb road surfaces and the historical importance of the Vercors for the Resistance during WWII makes this region a hidden gem for those wanting an unforgettable cycling experience. Their one stop specialist cycling holiday base offers B&B, self-catering gites, guided rides, transfers, bike hire, seasonal, home cooked evening meals and a personal, warm welcome for all levels of cyclists. (www.velovercors.com)
 
Eco friendly and off grid
 
Hotel Raggio di Luce, Lombardy, Italy: Located in a quiet location with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains this 4-star family run eco-resort is based on a strong commitment to the environment, sustainability and wellbeing. Built according to Feng shui rules in 2008 the structure respects the natural and cultural environment utilising local architectural elements, such as wood and stone. Eco-friendly materials have been used whenever possible, such as non-toxic paints, chemical-free furniture, under floor heating, low-flow showers, glass topped convection cookers in the kitchenettes, and low energy consumption appliances. At night, guests sleep in the bedrooms without electrical fields ensuring a completely natural and relaxing rest, much needed after a day on the saddle. And of course, breakfast is based, whenever possible, on organic, sustainable, and seasonal produce with homemade pastries and marmalade. (www.hotelraggiodiluce.it)
 
The Original Hut Company, East Sussex, England: If ultra-modern eco living does not appeal, how about something a little more rustic? If your cycling through the East Sussex countryside then a night in a Hand built Shepherd’s Hut situated in a magically secluded woodland provides the perfect setting for a unique, refreshing and sustainable stay. Each Hut is lovingly handmade on site, crafted from reclaimed, recycled and locally sourced materials. Each Hut is off grid and houses a solar panel for lighting and a log burner for heat. You’ll find a wealth of clever features inside including a dining table that transforms into a double bed. The sites friendly family owners are always willing to share their extensive experience in sustainability and rural life and offer some tips on cycling in the area. There is also an electric bike hire base and many local cycle routes. (www.original-huts.co.uk)
 
 
History and heritage
 
Corte Stellata, Emilia Romagna, Italy: Corte Stellata is located in the historical village of Stellata, which rises against the right bank of the river Po and is renowned for its star-shaped fortress. Dating back to the 18th and 19th century, the building was once owned by the noble Pepoli Family and the house still displays an original terracotta panel engraved with the family acronym DDP (Domus Dominus Pepolus). In the 19th century, land surveyors from Ferrara, who described in their writings the various estates of this noble family, named the farmhouse and its land as “Possessione il Boscone” it recognition of its historical importance. The house’s barn has been renovated and turned into three apartments, transforming it into a haven for travellers seeking peace, nature and history in a traditional setting, providing visitors with an authentic experience. The area is ideally suited to cycling, and if you head out of the village along the river bank you can follow the “Destra Po” Cycle Path to the tranquil and magical village of Malcantone. (www.cortestellata.it)
 
Maison de Orb, Languedoc-Roussillon, France: As a cyclist, you will be familiar with the Canal du Midi… but how about the guy that designed and built it, Paul Riquet. Well you can go one step further and stay in his former residence, the magnificent Maison De L’Orb in Beziers. With bags of character and echoes of an old France gone by, owners Mark and Ben have captured the flavour of what a bed and breakfast should be. Beamed ceilings, original stone walls, tiled flooring, books and original art. Sympathetic to its proud heritage, the welcoming interior combines clean lines with a neutral palette. Oh and of course it’s on one of France’s most popular cycle routes. (www.maisondelorb.com)
 
 
Sa Bispal, Majorca, Spain: A former regal residence, Hotel Sa Bisbal occupies a building of significant architectural interest. It was constructed in the XVII century in the most privileged area of Selva, and nestles at the top of the town next to the gothic church of Sant Llorenç which itself dates from 1301. For a long time the building was the residence of noble families of Mallorca, but now welcomes noble cyclists. The owner has restored the building giving back all its character and original splendour. Some of the most notable architectural elements include the portal fora constructed with perfectly fitted stone blocks, the original cub de vi, which was used to ferment grapes in the production of wine, and the cellar, excavated in the rock to provide the perfect conditions to store the wine barrels. Sa Bisbal has six rooms and each is unique in both its design and decoration. The hotel also works closely with “the bike garage” which offers local bike rental and maintenance and provide overnight bike storage (www.hotelsabisbal.com)