Take your time to explore the regal Loire valley, home to countless castles and vineyards. Every part of this charming part of the world exudes a sense of class and refinement, with charming little villages, grand castles and excellent local wine producers, each of which offer their own compelling reason to visit. This tour takes you through all of our favourite parts of the region, with the aim of encapsulating everything that we feel makes it so special and sharing this with you, all at your own pace.
Day 1 | Arrive in Chinon
Meet our local destination managers for a bike fitting and welcome meeting, where we will run through your cycling routes in detail. After this, the day is yours to explore this charming town. We recommend taking a short walk up to the fortress for some great views of the town and a chance to learn about Joan of Arcs links to Chinon.
Day 2 | Optional Round Trip: Chteau du Rivau
Your first day on the bike starts by crossing the Vienne river and picking up a brand-new traffic-free cycle path, following it to Chateau du Rivau, a picturesque, privately-owned castle just off the cycle path. Here you can learn of the sites rich history, stroll through the marvellous gardens and enjoy a delicious lunch. We love their fresh salads, made with vegetables harvested from the garden each day it doesnt get any fresher than that.
Day 3 | Chinon to Saumur
Its time to leave Chinon and head west along the Vienne river. The route for the first half of the day is pan flat and takes you twisting through farmers fields and small villages, up to the confluence of the Loire and Vienne rivers at the beautiful hamlet of Candes-St-Martin. Be sure to stop here for some memorable holiday photos. From here you reach Montsoreau in no time, before heading away from the river and into seemingly endless vineyards. Youll then pass through the troglodyte dwellings of Turquant and Parnay before a grand arrival in Saumur, passing the entrance to its imposing chteau.
Day 4 | Optional Round Trip: Chteau de Brz
On day 4 you have the option of taking it easy in Saumur, with its mix of great cafes, shops and a rich history. If youre looking to ride, then we propose a trip out to Chteau de Brz, a spectacular fortified castle with a vast network of underground caves and corridors that make it one of the more unusual of the Loire valleys castles. The route there takes you through small wine estates on quiet country roads.
Day 5 | Saumur to Villandry
The fourth day of cycling on the tour is also the flattest of all thanks to the route sticking close to the banks of the Loire for most of the day, meaning that whilst this is the longest day of the tour, it is actually one of the easiest. Highlights of the route include the Sleeping Beauty chteau at Rigny-Uss, the charming riverside town of Brhmont and the fortified chteau in Langeais, each of which are worth exploring. Your hotel sits just outside the village of Villandry and is a haven of peace in the French countryside.
Day 6 | Optional Round Trip: Tours
The castle gardens of Villandry are so vast and spectacular that you could easily spend a day exploring them if you wanted a day off the bike. But for those looking to cycle, the bustling city of Tours is not far away and is easily accessed by bike along the excellent Loire a Velo cycle route. We love riding into town along the grandiose Avenue de Grammont and stopping off near the Hotel de Ville for a metropolitan lunch and indulging in a spot of people watching.
Day 7 | Villandry to Azay-le-Rideau (Via Sach)
Todays ride takes you from one stunning castle to another, with an optional loop adding a third to the mix! The ride from Villandry to Azay-le-Rideau is only 12km long, with peaceful riding through a calm rural setting making for a relaxing ride. Upon arriving in Azay-le-Rideau, you may wish to call it a day and explore on foot, but for those looking for a few extra miles on the bike, there is a great loop out to Sach to ride. This gorgeous little hamlet was once home to the famed French writer Balzac and has a great museum in his honour that is worth a visit.
Day 8 | Rest Day
Today is yours to do as you please in Azay-le-Rideau. For those who didnt take on the extra loop the previous day, you could hop on your bikes for the short ride out to Sach, or you could spend the day tasting wine, visiting the chteau in Azay-le-Rideau or even doing a spot of canoeing on the Indre river.
Day 9 | Azay-le-Rideau to Maray
The last day of cycling takes you to your final hotel of the trip, the spectacular Chteau de Maray. The route takes you through the heart of the Chinon forest, via the village of Rivarennes and Cravant-les-Coteaux, before passing through picturesque riverside vineyards on the way back to Chinon. From here, its a short hop to the south, out of the valley and onwards to Maray in time for a dip in the pool and a gourmet dinner.
Day 10 | Departure
We say au revoir after breakfast. Trip extensions are available on request.
- Delightful 3 and 4-star hotels on a bed & breakfast basis
- 5 delicious evening meals
- Fully serviced bikes with panniers water bottle and repair kit
- Detailed route information through the Ride With GPS app
- Expert on the spot support
- Luggage transferred between your hotels
- 100% financial security through ABTA and ATOL