It’s easy to understand why Chris Froome and Team Sky use the Baleriac island of Majorca as a winter training base. With a temperate climate, silky-smooth roads and varied terrain, it’s a cyclist’s paradise. The snaking descent of Sa Calobra is undoubtedly the highlight – but beware, the only way out is the same way you came in.
Need to know: Sun Velo offers training camps for cyclists from £79pn. sunvelo.com
Getting there: Easyjet flies from Gatwick to Palma from around £45 return. easyjet.com
The Catalan city of Girona combines cycling culture with cosmopolitan cool. Like Majorca, it’s a favourite training base for the pros, with the foothills of the Pyrenees to the north and the Costa Brava coastline to the south. The small airport is served by a number of low-cost airlines, or Barcelona is only an hour away.
Need to know: Bike Breaks Girona offers holidays and guided rides. gironacyclecentre.com
Getting there: Ryanair flies from Stansted to Gatwick from £28 return. ryanair.com
3. South Africa
While Northern Europe shivers, South Africa swelters through summer. Swap frozen fingers for sun-drenched coastal roads and vineyards as far the eye can see. Try the Western Cape’s Garden Route, where you can ride past beaches, over the Swartberg Mountains and through the forests of the Karoo.
Need to know: The next Cape Town Cycle Tour takes place on 11 March. capetowncycletour.com
Getting there: Thomas Cook flies from Gatwick to Cape Town from £280 one-way. thomascook.com
Scott Wilson/Alamy Stock Photo
Italy is home to some of Europe’s most beautiful riding and Tuscany is the jewel in its crown – lush rolling hills, traffic-free roads and picture-perfect hilltop towns. Oh, and some of the world’s finest food and wine for post-ride recovery. The area is also home to the iconic Strade Bianche, a network of white gravel roads that host the vintage L’Eroica event
Need to know: The next Strade Bianche takes place 3-4 March. strade-bianche.it
Getting there: BA flies from Gatwick to Pisa from £95 return. ba.com
Morocco is within striking distance of Europe but offers a stark contrast to any riding found on the continent. There’s something for everyone, from the High Atlas mountains to the coastal paradise of Taghazout, with access to the foothills. Sea-level temperatures rarely dip below the high-teens, so Morocco is primed for a winter escape.
Need to know: The 2018 Marrakech Atlas Etape takes place 22 April. marrakech-atlas-etape.com
Getting there: Royal Air Maroc flies from Gatwick to Casablanca from £268 return. royalairmaroc.com
For more articles by George Scott, head to our sister site, roadcyclinguk.com