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We Cycle in Some of the Healthiest Places on Earth

Posted by Carol Sicbaldi

Bloomberg recently published the Bloomberg Global Health Index of 163 countries, and that's right: Our beloved Italy tops the list. It's the healthiest place on earth! Take a look at eight of our gorgeous top cycling destinations that were included in Bloomberg's top 50.Eight of the world's healthiest places are places we ride, so here's your chance for a healthy double-whammy: by visiting these places, by default you'll be exposed to all that make them that way: the food, lifestyle, culture, diet and more. Throw in some daily bike rides and there you have it, exercises that enrich the body and mind for a double health benefit. Here are those eight top cycling destinations that made Bloomberg's Index: 

 

1. ITALY

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For me this is a no-brainer and a valuable validation! It's no news to us that the lifestyle, lower stress levels, family ties and cultural norms of Italian society make for an overall healthier place to live. But most importantly, the diet in Italy plays a huge and very important role in the health of its people. Food is, in fact, a good obsession for most Italians—the day can often focus around getting to the market to get the freshest ingredients available to prepare the meals for that day. Simple, fresh (i.e., freshly picked and brought to the table, "0 km"), balanced, and small portions. These simple principles practiced over centuries keep Italy at the top of the list of our favorite cycling and foodie destinations. While Italys life expectancy stats are high, its island of Sardinia tops the charts.


2. SPAIN

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Similar to its Italian neighbor, Spain also boasts a clean, healthy Mediterranean diet essentially based on fruit, vegetables, legumes, dried fruit and nuts. These ingredients are full of vitamins and fiber, and Spain stands out because of the quality of its produce. Some of the most outstanding fertile, agricultural regions are in Navarre, Andalusia, Murcia, Balearic Islands and the region of Valencia. The latter is well known for its citrus fruits. Other essential fruits include bananas from the Canary Islands, strawberries from Huelva and Aranjuez (Madrid), Vinalopó grapes, and peaches from Calanda (Aragon), amongst others. Our Italian guides are suprised over and over again at the quality and level of food served up on our most popular Costa Brava and Gran Canaria trips.

3. AUSTRIA

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As Italy’s northern neighbor, Austria offers idyllic cycling through a fairytale landscape that draws you in and captures your heart on quiet bike paths along the Danube River. Zigzagging through tiny villages, lakes, forests and farmlands, Austria’s network of meticulously maintained bike paths offers an intimate glimpse into one of the world’s most naturally beautiful countries. One of our favorite moments of the day in Austria is breakfast! If you haven't been inside an Austrian bakery, it's suffice to say you haven't seen a true bakery. 

Austrians like having breakfast, but they're not very demanding. Especially on work days, their breakfast is rather small. One thing that mustn’t be missing is schwarzbrot, a black bread made of rye and wheat flour. But other bread rolls, like kornspitz or semmel, are popular too, especially on weekends. Sometimes we also love to eat the famous Austrian mehlspeise


 4. ENGLAND

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In 2016, an important study was published that revealed the following information: “A third of adults in the U.K. believe that they are healthier now than they were a year ago, reflecting the UK’s booming interest in healthy living. 

We're absolutely thrilled about nature in England and the changing lifestyles and diet there. It's no longer just about pub food and fish and chips. Check out our gorgeous Top Guide tour Bike Across England with Enrico Pizzorni this summer and get a taste of the 'new and other' side of England. 


5. SWITZERLAND

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The Swiss have a very strong cultural philosphy around human-powered travel, and we totally agree! We love to sustain this idea and celebrate the astounding nature of this small, but enchanting, country. Join us on our August Bike Across Switzerland trip and you'll see why it's near the top of Bloomberg's list.


6. FRANCE

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Only des mots doux ("sweet words") for this healthy place full of poetry, elegance and absolutely divine food. We are huge Francophiles at heart and can't say enough about Tuscany's cousin in France: Divine Provence. Amazing landscapes, history and art abound—Provence hits everyone's must-see list and once visited, calls you back again and again. The lifestyle in Provence certainly exudes a magic and certain secrets to life we all have much to learn about. 

7. BELGIUM

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Men's Health magazine published an entertaining article on scientifically proven reasons to enjoy a good brew, and we don't shy away from great beers on our Bike Across Belgium tour. On this tour, we waste no time on taking advantage of all the great beers Belgium has to offer, and enjoy as much of the the culture as we possibly can! 


8.PORTUGAL

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Healthy living in Portugal is one of the many reasons people are now flocking to this destination. The Portuguese are the biggest fish eaters per capita in Europe, and fresh fish of great variety is available in all the daily markets. In addition, the abundance of sunshine in this part of the world means that an abundance of fresh produce is also available in the local markets. We have a special affinity for the lesser-known parts of Northern Portugal. Don't miss out on this top healthy cycling destination.

Written by Carol Sicbaldi

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