Peddle power! Cycle to Europe with Beespoke Tours

Get on your bike this summer and hit the road on one of these special cycling tours of Europe…

We all know cycling has great benefits: you can get fit, de-stress, travel at your own pace and take in the fresh air. It’s also a great low-carbon, low-impact green form of transport. All perfect reasons to book yourself a cycling holiday this summer and hit the roads of Europe.

Beespoke Tours bikes on sand dunes in Holland
Beespoke Tours bikes on sand dunes in Holland

Specialist bike touring company Beespoke Tours has just announced its tours for 2015. With cycle routes available from London to Amsterdam, Paris and Bruges, the tours offer a stress-free experience enjoying the scenic outdoors. Depending on the selected route, the tours pass idyllic scenery including rivers, ancient woodlands, farmlands, sand dunes, tulip fields and windmills, before arriving at the final destination.

Each route will be led by company co-founders Simon Izod and Clarissa Carlyon so you know you’re in safe hands. With everything from accommodation and most meals catered for (plus a support vehicle following the cycle group with all of your luggage) all you need to worry about is making sure you can pedal 65 miles a day!

London to Amsterdam

This 3-day trip will pass quiet villages and provide plenty of beautiful outdoor scenery. There will be delicious pub meals, local cheeses and the chance to sample plenty of CAMRA real ales. Accommodation includes a cosy lodge tent with a wood-burning stove.

Tour dates: 7th to 9th May; 28th to 30th May; 30th July to 1st August 2015

Beespoke Tours in Amsterdam
Beespoke Tours in Amsterdam

London to Paris

On the London to Paris tour travellers cycle through historic Normandy and the Bois de Boulogne, as well as passing a transformed railway, lakes, and rolling countryside over four days. Accommodation will be varied and includes a night in a woodland bell tent, another at a converted station house and the final night at a boutique Parisian hotel.

Tour dates: 18th to 21st June; 1st to 4th October 2015

London to Bruges

The 4-day London to Bruges tour takes in the beautiful Essex countryside via Maldon, and across the sea to Hoek van Holland before heading south on unique coastal bicycle paths through Holland. Accommodation comes in the form of a tipi, with the last day spent cycling through Belgium before arriving at the stunning medieval city of Bruges.

Tour dates: 3rd to 6th September 2015

riding with Beespoke Tours
riding with Beespoke Tours

Recommended for… Those inspired by this year’s Tour de Yorkshire or fancy a break from their daily cycle commute.

Be aware that… Although suitable for beginners, a reasonable level of fitness is required and you should be able to cycle 65 miles a day.

Prices and booking: Tour prices range from £650 to £750. For more details and booking visit

New Welcome Rock cycling trail launched in New Zealand

Fans of cycling and hiking now have a new reason to visit New Zealand with the launch of a brand new mountain trail this season.

Welcome Rock trail, New Zealand (1)

The spectacular new Welcome Rock Trail – a 27km long, grade 3, single track mountain bike loop and hiking trail – has been hand built on one of New Zealand’s longest water races. Located on a high country sheep station, just outside Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island, the new trail officially opens to the public on 8 December 2014.

Tourists can find out more about taking the trail, plus booking accommodation in the Queenstown area, with specialists New Zealand In Depth (see below).

The trail takes its name from the prominent rock that dominates the skyline above the homestead, named by the early settlers who used the landmark as a meeting and trading point. The project was conceived in 2012 when a team led by Tom O’Brien imagined a trail system through Blackmore Station that followed the old gold miners’ water races.

Welcome Rock Trail, NZ

Jonathan Kennett of the Kennett Brothers, New Zealand’s leading publisher of cycling history and guide books, graded the trail and said; “Welcome Rock Trails is the finest water race trail in NZ. It has the potential to be a world-class trail that connects people with the real New Zealand – real history, real ecosystems, a real farming family and real enthusiasm.”

The historical, ecological and recreational value of the area is of local and national significance. Tom O’Brien is the fourth generation of the family who have owned Blackmore Station since 1911, on which the new trail sits.
hot tub on Welcome Rock, New Zealand
He explains: “When I was a young boy my mother and father had the wisdom to retire one thousand hectares (being half the farm) into a conservation covenant. Their vision was to preserve the high country allowing it to regenerate and share this with others. We wanted to be sympathetic to the landscape, sensitive to the historic and ecological features and mirror the techniques of the water race builders over a hundred years ago.”

To find out more about the new Welcome Rock Trail or any other hiking or cycling opportunities in New Zealand, contact New Zealand In Depth through, call +44 (0)1298 74040 or email

on Welcome Rock Trail, New Zealand

Competition time! Win a set of Wild Things books

Do you love taking a dip in Britain’s lakes and secret coves? Running the fells or cycling along hidden country lanes?

We love refreshing ways to enjoy the wild outdoors which is why we’ve teamed up with one of our favourite book people Wild Things Publishing – the people behind the best-seller Wild Swimming – to offer you the chance to win a full set of their brilliant series, worth almost £150!

5 wild books

Wild Things Publishing have created a series of inspirational books and apps to get people back in the wild, exploring the outdoors, experiencing nature and having amazing adventures. The authors write about and photograph their own experiences, spending their summers outside exploring new places to share and their winters writing it all up to produce beautiful books. Their inspiring and beautiful books are a celebration of the simple pleasures in life and will be just what you need to start your own special adventures!

One lucky winner will receive the entire set of nine Wild Things books:

  • Wild Swimming (UK guide) – by Daniel Start
  • Wild Swimming: France – by Daniel Start
  • Wild Swimming: Italy – by Michele Tameni
  • Wild Running – by Jen and Sim Benson
  • Wild Swimming: Hidden Beaches by Daniel Start
  • Wild Guide to the South West by Daniel Start, Joanna Tinsley, Tania Pascoe
  • Lost Lanes – by Jack Thurston (hidden bike rides off the beaten track)
  • France en Velo – by Hannah Reynolds and John Walsh (a journey across France by bike)
  • Only Planet – by Ed Gillespie (one man’s amazing global adventure by all kinds of transport except flying)


How to enter

To enter, simply sign-up to the brilliant e-newsletters from both Goodtrippers and Wild Things. Click here to enter the competition and subscribe on the Wild Things website before 5pm (BST) on 6 October 2014 to be eligible. All new email subscribers on the list by the closing date will be entered into the draw with one winner chosen at random. If you already subscribe to the Goodtrippers newsletter, you can still enter the competition by signing-up to the Wild Things newsletter on their website. (See full terms and conditions below)

Good luck!

Wild Things new books 2014

Terms & Conditions:

  • Eligibility requires subscription to both the Goodtrippers and Wild Things e-newsletter
  • All sign-ups must include a valid email address
  • One entry per person
  • The winner will receive the full series of printed books from Wild Things publishing
  • No cash alternative is available
  • This competition closes on 6th October 2014 and the winner will be notified by email within 10 days
  • If we do not hear back within a week we reserve the right to choose an alternative winner
  • Your email address will not be shared with any third parties unless express permission is given

GT + Wild Things logos

Sponsored video: How to enjoy the great outdoors in Austria

There’s more to Austria than skiing in the Alps. During spring and summer, the fresh air and natural open spaces make this country a great destination for nature lovers and fans of the great outdoors. It’s also a country that is well-ahead of the curve in terms of offering sustainable, eco-friendly options for tourists. Here are Goodtrippers’ tips on enjoying Austria the natural way this summer…

The great outdoors of Austria
The great outdoors of Austria

Go hiking – Think of Austria and thoughts of mountainous Alpine landscapes are never far away. But there’s more to enjoy than your own ‘Sound of Music’ moment (can you resist running up that grassy hillside?) – there are dozens of mountain trails to suit novices and experienced hikers. Visit the region of Bartholomäberg for beautiful flora and fauna, and stunning panoramic views.

Get on your bike – Austria is well-equipped for those on two wheels with a huge choice of clearly-marked routes for easy cycle rides to more challenging mountain bike outings. Many hotels and lodges welcome cyclists and even offer cycle sheds or full service repairs if you come unstuck. And if you’re not so confident in your fitness levels, try an E-Bike – available for hire across Austria these modified battery-powered bikes make light work of uphill rides!

Visit the National Parks – This is where you can really breathe in that unpolluted, fresh Austrian air! Kalkalpern National Park is home to Austria’s largest uninterrupted forest and is home to canyons, waterfalls and lakes. Hohe Tauern National Park contains over 100 peaks of over 3,000m high where you can hike and go gold panning. Gesäuse National Park is the natural habitat of 90 species of breeding birds, marmots, chamois and deer plus around 50 different types of wild orchid. National Park Thayatal offers meadows, cliffs and wooded hillsides that are home to rare animal and plant species including the eagle owl, black stork and coloured iris.

Explore the Danube – One of the world’s most famous rivers winds through Austria and is the scene of many relaxing day trips whether by boat, by bike or on foot. The history of central Europe was born on the banks of the Danube and so you’ll find a fascinating mix of monasteries, castles and palaces in the area. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wachau beside the Danube is a beautiful, pastoral site dotted with medieval villages. A cycling holiday along the Danube Cycle Path in upper Austria will take you from Linz to capital city Vienna.

If that has inspired you, take a look at some of the stunning scenery and outdoor pursuits to enjoy in Austria in this video…

For more information on holidays in Austria, visit

This post is sponsored by Werbung Österreich but all words are Goodtrippers’ own.

An eco-lovers’ guide to Gozo

(This post is sponsored by Air Malta) The Maltese island of Gozo has more than enough for those looking for an eco-friendly holiday…

Gozo, just under 70 square kilometers in size, is part of the Maltese archipelago consisting of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. Located in the centre of the Mediterranean, Gozo has embarked on an ambitious yet achievable vision to transform into an ecoisland by 2020.

[gdl_gallery title=”Gozo” width=”125″ height=”110″ ]

Supported by a keen and committed sustainable community the quality of life in Gozo is constantly improving through education, economic development and social progress. The Gozitan lifestyle, the island’s environment, resources, culture and identity are all being protected, and all play a significant part in attracting more visitors and investors to the island. Here are some eco-friendly ways to holiday on Gozo…

Residing in a farmhouse

Gozo is famous for its beautiful farmhouses available for rent all year round. Typically these farmhouses are surrounded with spectacular countryside and sea views, and all equipped to the highest of standards. A majority of these farmhouses keep their carbon footprint down to a minimum. Gozo is fortunate to be a sun soaked island almost all year round and many of the farmhouses available for rent make use of photovoltaic systems and solar water heaters. Using solar energy goes hand in hand with the vision of transforming Gozo into an eco-island

A tranquil lifestyle

You may easily encounter farmers working their land, and get to meet the authentic cottagetype entrepreneurs managing their shops on the main street or tucked away in the Lilliputian villages. Life on Gozo is tranquil and softpaced. The capital, Victoria, is slightly more upbeat with the amenities of a modern town centre.

Local harvest

Gozo, (and Malta) is known for its fresh produce, either caught from the surrounding sea or grown on land. Dolphin fish (known as ‘lampuki’ to the locals), tuna, octopus, prawns, mussels, grouper and sea dates are always available as is fresh Maltese bread, known as Ħobż biż-żejt. The bread is baked in a traditional way spanning back hundreds of years. It is then rubbed with local tomatoes while olive oil is spread onto it with the addition or mix of tuna, olives, onion and cheeselet known as ‘gbejna’.  The latter is a traditional small Maltese cheese made from goat’s and sheep’s milk, either served plain or coated in cracked black pepper. The very best ‘gbejna’ can be found in Gozo.

Landscape and activities

Gozo is quite rural and known for its scenic hills, which are also featured on its coats of arms. The landscape offers unique opportunities to experience a day out cycling with a difference. The landscape changes with every twist and turn, cycling through the gentle undulating slopes, often with country and sea views on either side. Cycling in the Maltese Islands as a leisurely or sporty activity is on the increase for people of all ages and shops catering for the needs of the cyclist can be found in most main towns, offering rentals and repair services, as well as organised tours for groups.

Gozo has some really excellent walking areas which present varying levels of difficulty. The best months for walking are April, May, early June, then later on in the year in October and November, weather permitting of course! You can obviously go in the hot summer months as well but do ensure you seek shade frequently and always carry enough drinking water (it’s best to head out early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the scorching midday sun).

Rock climbing on Gozo was first developed by The English Army with a number of climbers developing a small Cliffs, Gozo, Maltaguidebook with traditional routes in the 1970’s. Since then it has been forgotten as a climbing destination. Gozo is an undiscovered heaven for rock climbers. The limestone rock, washed out by millennia of rainfall, has steep walls and overhangs which provide excellent routes and invite climbers to go to their limits. Gozo is gaining in popularity amongst the climbing fraternity. It offers enough variety and challenges to fascinate even the most experienced climber.

If climbing, cycling or hiking is not for you then Gozo has several very nice beaches that are useful for recreation and they are all remarkably unique. Besides the physical differences in the beaches themselves, accessibility and services are also factors.

Gozo’s relative isolation means that the beaches don’t get as overcrowded as most of the better beaches on the larger island of Malta, but during the hot summer days many are full of tourists and locals. Ramla and Marsalforn are two of the most popular beaches on the island, mainly because of their location and close by facilities.

Other beaches are equally unique and beautiful, but may see fewer visitors due to their remote locations. Ghajn Barrani, for example, which is on the road that runs from Xaghra to Marsalforn, is a beautiful and quiet beach, but not very accessible.

Getting to Gozo is fairly simple as it is only a short 15 minute ferry ride away from Malta, the main island. Located in the centre of the Mediterranean, Malta is just a few hours’ flying time from Europe’s main cities and Air Malta, the airline of the Maltese Islands, operates flights to and from all the major airports in Europe.

This post is sponsored by Air Malta. Goodtrippers retains editorial control over all content and only selects sponsored posts that fit the Goodtrippers ethos.

Atlas Kasbah Ecolodge, Morocco

Atlas Kasbah Ecolodge

Tighanimine El Baz, BP 5323 QI, Agadir, Morocco

T: +212661488504

(Review by Amal Benaissa)

[gdl_gallery title=”Atlas” width=”122″ height=”115″ ]

Located a few kilometres outside Agadir, Atlas Kasbah Ecolodge appears from a distance perched high on a hill overlooking a beautiful green landscape. Nestled within the Argan Biosphere, it is the first eco lodge in this area of Morocco. The Argan Biosphere is a UNESCO World Heritage site bordered by the High Atlas and the Anti-Atlas Mountains, and open to the Atlantic in the West. Both the hospitality of owners Helene and Hassan and the commitment to sustainability make this place very special.

Accommodation: There are a total of eight rooms and three suites (55 m² in size) that mix Berber and European décor harmoniously. Spacious and clean, each room has an en-suite bathroom (note: there is no TV).

Restaurant: All delicious meals are served in the restaurant of the Atlas Kasbah Ecolodge; the terrace of the restaurant offers breath-taking views of the mountains and adjacent plains. Pre-selected menus offer a sample of Moroccan cuisine; you can also request a vegetarian option. Foodies can take lessons with the chef in the kitchen of the Kasbah. My favourite bit about the food was the traditional Berber bread, made in front you in the outdoor stone oven by a local Berber woman.

Facilities and activities: Guests can also enjoy the swimming pool, massage room and Hammam (Moroccan steam bath). There are many activities on offer upon request (and dependent on the number of participants) including an astronomy night to watch the stars with professors from Agadir, bird watching, native language classes, Moroccan pottery classes, yoga and meditation, hikes, donkey-rides, surf classes, mountain bike rental, day trips and more!

Recommended for… Those who love outdoor activities! While the ecolodge is great for rest and rejuvenation, the range of activities on offer which make the most of the incredible location, are second to none.

Be aware that… The remote location (it’s a 20 minute drive from the city) means there is little or no wifi and weak phone reception (but then isn’t that for the best…?!)

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Atlas Kasbah Ecolodge was granted the prestigious Responsible Tourism Award from the Ministry of Tourism of Morocco and the International Green Key Eco Label from King Mohamed VI Foundation for the Environment
  • Water conservation: the lodge uses mixer taps, double flush toilets, intelligent irrigation for the garden, and uses biodegradeable cleaning and bathroom products
  • Energy conservation: 80% of the electricity and all water heating comes from photovoltaic panels, they use low consumption light bulbs, and maximise the use of natural lighting and ventilation
  • Waste management: observe the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle), and leftover vegetables are used as animal feed
  • Organic fertiliser is used in the garden where local and endemic plants are grown
  • Emphasis on seasonal produce and local/non-pollutant products
  • The lodge showcases local, traditional architecture with interior and exterior walls made entirely of natural materials (mud brick walls and tradelakt)


About the author:

Amal Benaïssa

Amal Benaissa is a Doctoral Researcher at LSE with an international spirit and a love for discovery

Follow on Amal on Twitter: @EvolvingSun

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