This is a review from Sue, 50+ and Lou 20+ and our week with Steve at Greek Cycle Holidays on the island of Evia, just one hour away from Athens (via mini bus and ferry).

We had joined Ladies week on 1st July and due to a last minute cancellation of a party ended up being two women, a couple of decades apart who had never met…

 

Louisa, How did you find GCH?

I was looking for a cycling holiday where I didn’t have to think about my routes or bike hire and one where the price wasn’t extortionate.  A Google search brought up GCH and I liked what they had on offer.

Sue, How did you find GCH?

I had been before with a group of friends in October 2016 and liked the idea of the Ladies Leisure Week.  I couldn’t make the October 2018 dates so opted for July.

Louisa, first impressions of GCH villa?

Great setting, views of the hills and the coast. The villa is comfortable and homely and I found it easy to settle in. There is lots of space inside and outside and then of course the hot tub.

Sue, first impressions of GCH villa?

The villa was a family home and it has that homely feel to it.  Bedrooms are well laid out with comfortable beds and air conditioning.  We had a shared bathroom. There is lot of outside space that offers shade throughout the day.

 

Ok and how about the cycling?

It’s great that it can be customised to your needs and is totally flexible. I did about 260km over 5 rides, including some challenging climbs and descents.  I hired my bike from GCH and brought my clip in pedals that Steve fitted.

The weather was very hot and we decided to start early each morning to beat the midday sun, which actually gave us lots of time for other activities!

Ok and how about the cycling?

Steve came with us on day one to assess our levels and get to know what we wanted from the holiday.  Lou was definitely a cyclist whereas I am someone who enjoys cycling.  We were able to tailor the rides to meet both of our needs and often Lou would do an extended version of the ride and we would meet somewhere for coffee.  Overall I did 200km over the 5 rides and I was pleased with that.

Your favourite ride of the holiday?

The ride on day 2 from the villa along the riverbed and then a long climb with a spectacular descent.  The climb and descent both tested me – the climb because of the sheer heat and the descent because of the speed.  The ride was 50km long.

 

 

Your favourite ride of the holiday?

I enjoyed the ride from Chalkida to the lake and a small village. It’s undulating and very scenic.  I also loved the coastal loop that we did, the road was a bit busier but the views were fabulous and there were some lovely places to stop, eat, drink and explore.

 

How has the food been?

Excellent, the sort of food you want to eat after a bike ride.  Breakfast is buffet style “ride food” and you can take food with you for the journey.  Evening meals were authentic and home cooked.  We had two courses every night – my favourite was the souvlaki with salad and potato wedges followed by lemon meringue. What’s not to like?? Oh and the wine and beer is included in the deal to!

 

 

How has the food been?

We have had a good variety of home cooked food and more than enough to eat.  My favourite dish was the sweet and sour pork with salad and rice followed by Banoffee pie.  Breakfast and evening meal times were completely flexible.  After dinner a relaxing dip in the hot tub before bed was a great way to end the day.

 

 

What other things have you been up to?

I’ve been to the beach that is about a 20-minute walk from the villa.  The town has some great shops and cafes/bars for lunch or an afternoon drink.  On the rest day I had a massage in the villa and hiked the hills just outside (great views from the top!).

On reflection I have done a lot and it has been much more than just a cycling holiday for me.  A relaxing week with lots of activity

 

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What other things have you been up to?

There is a fabulous hotel about a 10-minute bike ride from the villa called Avantis – for 5 euros (which includes your first drink) you can use their pool and beachfront chairs. The other bars also have sun beds and the sea is warm and great for swimming in.

I had a massage and have done lots of walking and sightseeing in the local area and reading my books.  It has been more than just a cycle holiday.

 

So would you recommend it to others?

Yes, it’s a completely flexible break – the hardcore cyclists would find lots to challenge and stretch them. Those looking for a more relaxing mixed activity break would be well catered for.

I would be happy to come on my own on one of the leisure weeks or come with a group and hire the whole villa (it has four rooms and sleeps 8).

The booking process was easy and communication was good.  I got my flight from Stansted direct to Athens and then it is abut an hour transfer to the island.

So would you recommend it to others?

If you want a chilled out holiday or a challenging cycle break then GCH can offer both.  They can also provide lots of other activities – hill walking with Evia Tours, wine tasting at the local vineyard, a day trip to Athens that I did last visit and would highly recommended.

I got a flight from Manchester to Athens with Easy jet.

Steve works hard to make sure you are looked after and I wish GCH every success for many years to come.