Looking for the perfect October holidays for cyclists? These destinations have fine weather, inspirational views, and rides to suit every ability

1. Mallorca, Spain

Best for… sunny climbs

Challenge level: medium

It’s not for nothing that the Balearic island is regarded as a cyclists’ paradise, and autumn is when the conditions are ripe for tackling iconic climb after iconic climb.

During October holidays the sun remains ever-present but is much less hostile than in the summer, while rain tends to stay away (300 days of sun, don’t you know). So you’ll have the opportunity to spend all day namechecking the likes of the Sa Calobra, a hairpin encyclopedia, Puig Major, the island’s highest climb, and the cool, pine-fresh Col de sa Batalla. Watch out for the dust of training pro teams.

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2. Tuscany, Italy

Best for… retro rolling

Challenge level: easy

The rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside provide a beautiful canvas for October holidays no matter your passion, but this month also sees the arrival of the seminal bike race, L’Eroica, where riders must compete on a bike built no more recently than 1987 and period dress is expected.

Best October holidays

Cycling through Tuscany, Italy (Alamy)

Though the race itself takes place on October 1 – offering five routes, including the 209km Long Route – the organisers encourage cyclists to take to the white roads of the region at any time and follow L’Eroica’s “permanent route”, a journey which begins in the vineyards of Chianti and takes in the bucolic lands of Siena and charming mountain-top village of Montalcino.

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3. Utah, USA

Best for… desert riding

Challenge level: medium

One would be forgiven for thinking Utah’s gnarly, knotted landscape only played host to mountain biking, but in actuality the Beehive State hosts some of the US’s best road cycling, hence the growing success of the UCI-sanctioned Tour of Utah, nicknamed America’s Toughest Stage Race.

Best october holidays

Utah isn’t just for mountain bikers (Alamy)

There are a number of routes to sample, many of which follow in the Tour’s footsteps and might require a healthy scheduling for awe stops. The climb leaving Salt Lake City to Emigration Canyon is particularly popular and provides surprisingly green vistas, while an exploration of Cedar Breaks National Park serves up some altitude and dramatic red canyon walls.

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4. The Alps, France

Best for… gambling with the weather

Challenge level: hard

October usually marks the end of the cycling season in the Alps as the mercury begins to fall. But if you feel you’re tough enough to brave the temperatures, you might find some of the world’s most famous climbs deserted.

Make sure you’re prepared for the weather, then prepare your legs for the likes of the Col de la Croix de Fer, 31km of winding, ever-changing roads, Tour favourite the Col du Galibier or the 18-hairpinned Les Lacets de Montvernier. Hard climbs in tough conditions, but a trip you are unlikely to forget.

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5. Provence, France

Best for… autumn colours

Challenge level: easy

Provence is often held up without much debate as France’s most beautiful region. Sure, the summer holds all the rights to shots of lavender fields laid out before rustic abbeys, but what of the autumn?

Best october holidays

Provence: France’s most beautiful region? (Alamy)

During October holidays, the purples make way for crimsons and golds while the scorching sun of the South of France wilts and the tourists disappear, leaving the rolling back roads free for stretching the legs. The sights worth riding up, to and round include the glorious medieval village of Les Baux-de-Provence, perched atop a rocky plateau, and architectural marvel of the Pont Du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct that cross the Gardon River.

There’s also the small matter of Mont Ventoux, Provence’s mythical 1,912m mountain, offering 21km of 7.6 per cent up to its famous summit.

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6. Isle of Wight, UK

Best for… cycling on your doorstep

Challenge level: easy

Why look beyond our own shores for October holidays? Ok, so the Isle of Wight technically has shores of its own, but it is a hop, skip and a jump from the south coast and provides fertile stomping ground for any cyclist looking to roam amid England’s changing autumnal colours.

Best October holidays

Cycle the Isle of Wight’s entire coastline this October (Alamy)

There’s also something very satisfying about circumnavigating an entire island in a day’s ride, which is exactly what the Isle of Wight offers in a 100km or so circuit of its quiet roads.

The scenery and vistas are worth a leisurely pace, though there is some 1,500 metres of elevation to be had, while the island’s own microclimate means the chances of a sunny, dry October day are higher than on the mainland. What’s more is you can do it all on your own trusty steed – just pop your bike on the ferry.

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7. Sardinia, Italy

Best for… rugged peace and quiet

Challenge level: medium

Eschew the traditional cycling destinations of Mallorca and the Alps – and the Isle of Wight – and make tracks for Sardinia. All the perks of a Mediterranean climate come as standard, while the island’s somewhat quieter role in European tourism means unspoilt coastlines, minimal traffic and traditional village atmospheres.

Best october holidays

Crowd-free cycling in Sardinia (Alamy)

Skirt the Italian island’s wild shores, past white sand beaches, ancient ruins and abandoned mines, while using the climbs from sea level into Barbagia, Sardinia’s mountainous heart, for more rigorous riding. The area’s SS125 road, used in the Giro d’Italia this year, is renowned in the area for its rugged scenery, hairpin bends spectacular views.

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8. California, US

Best for… a longer trip

Challenge level: medium

You’d be forgiven for assuming California is only for people who enjoy sun, sand and Arnold Schwarzenegger – and wine. But the Golden State (which, by the way, is massive and not just a Pacific-hugging slither) boasts some of the world’s most enjoyable cycling.

Best October holidays

The California’s Pacific Coast Highway (Alamy)

As an option for October holidays it poses myriad considerations. North or south? King Ridge in Sonoma or the redwood roads of Humboldt County? The quality of California’s weather, cuisine and welcome are well documented but its road cycling is as highly rated. For a real challenge, head to the mile-long, 22 per cent ramp in Cape Mendocino known as The Wall.

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Words by Hugh Morris