Normandy – D-Day Cycling Break
Start / FinishBayeux / Bayeux
Distance63 miles/102 kms
A short, single-centre cycling break based in Bayeaux, taking in the D-Day landing beaches of Gold and Omaha around Arromanches and Coleville-sur-Mer. Scenic cycling through rolling green countryside to places whose names have become synonymous with the D-Day landings of 6th of June 1944.
If you haven’t got the time to do our full, 7 day, D-Day Beaches Cycling Holiday then this short cycling break is for you. You’ll spend three nights in the charming town of Bayeaux, which besides being a thoroughly charming little town is of course also home to the world-famous Bayeux Tapestry. From here you will enjoy two days of cycling out into the stunning Norman countryside, visiting some of the towns and beaches that became famous and infamous during the D-Day landings
The first ride will take you east along the coast to the bustling little town of Arromanches where the British forces came ashore on what was code named Gold Beach. On the town’s beautiful sandy beach you can still see the remains of Churchill’s ingenious Mulberry Harbours that allowed the ships to unload heavy equipment and troops more easily. The D-Day Museum in the town centre is also well worth a visit to learn more about the invasion.
The second ride heads west to Omaha Beach. Today it’s an idyllic, long, wide sandy beach but on the 6th of June 1944 it was hell on earth for the American troops struggling to come ashore and form a beachhead in the face of fierce, well dug-in German opposition. The American Cemetery just above the beach is a very serene and moving place that invariably leaves a lasting impression on its visitors. From here you can either head back to Bayeux through the charming Norman countryside or bolt on an additional 9 miles by cycling out to La Pointe du Hoc. This strategically important high point on the coast offers some great views as well as a story of incredible courage involving US Rangers.
The Normandy countryside is undulating so you will have regular climbs to contend with throughout both rides. That said, none are too long or steep but if you do have any concerns you might like to consider renting an e-bike rather than a regular hybrid bike – both are available on this holiday.
Itinerary & Map
Day 1: Arrive Bayeux
After arrival in Bayeux the rest of the day is yours to explore this delightful little place. Of course the Bayeux Tapestry is without doubt the biggest crowd puller in town and the museum does an excellent job of explaining the 68m embroidered account of the last successful invasion of England. Afterwards, take a wander through the narrow streets. admiring the tall stately townhouses and the imposing cathedral. You’ll also find a good choice of restaurants and bars in this pleasant little town.
Day 2: Arromanches and Gold Beach, 28 miles/45 kms
Today’s ride leads you out towards the coast along a scenic country lane. At Longues-sur-Mer you can see the impressive defensive battery which was part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall defenses. In 1944 these four, 152mm guns housed in thick concrete casements were a huge threat to the allied troop ships heading for the coast and despite heavy bombardment from air and sea they proved very difficult to subdue. Thankfully, the communications lines to the battery were severed which reduced the battery’s effectiveness considerably.
From here the route leads you eastwards along a pleasant winding lane, through some small Norman hamlets to the coastal town of Arromanches on Gold Beach. This is where the British forces landed on D-Day and just off shore and on the lovely sandy beach you can see the remains of the ingenious Mulberry Harbours. These hollow concrete breakwaters were towed across the channel and sunk in the shallows to create a makeshift harbour during the invasion. Arromanches is a pretty little town and well worth a stroll around, of particular note is the excellent D-Day Museum and the Arromanches 360 both of which do a great job of describing how D-Day unfolded. The route then leads you on a very pleasant ride through the pretty Normandy countryside back to Bayeux.
Day 3: Coleville-sur-Mer and Omaha Beach, 31 to 40 miles/ 50 to 65 kms
Today’s route leads you back out to the coast again but this time you will head west rather than east. After pedalling through the verdant rolling Norman countryside you arrive at Colleville-sur-Mer and Omaha Beach. This 5 mile, heavily defended stretch of beach was where 2000 American soldiers lost their lives coming ashore and securing a beachhead in June of 1944. The sea of white headstones stretching across the immaculate lawns of the American Cemetery, just above the beach is a sobering and thought provoking sight. If you have time, we also recommend sitting down in the adjacent museum and watching the documentary film that includes actual footage taken during D-Day and the subsequent battle for Normandy.
You then have a choice of either returning to Bayeux via a network of pleasant winding country lanes (making your total ride about 31 miles) or you can bolt on an additional 9 miles and continue along the coast. If you choose the latter, your route will lead you to La Pointe du Hoc, a bluff of land protruding out into the Channel. This high point, with clear views along the coast in both directions, was highly prized by both sides during the invasion and the ground here is still clearly marked with numerous bomb craters surrounding the remains of the German gun emplacements. From here the route leads you back inland, via some pretty Norman country lanes to Bayeux.
Day 4: Departure
After breakfast it’s time to head for home or your next adventure
Dates & Prices
|2020 Arrival Dates|
|Daily arrivals 01 April to 15 October|
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|Deposit per person||£198|
3 x Breakfast
Maps & route information
Bike hire (see supplements)
Entrance fees to monuments
Extra night Bayeux, single, comfort (£128)
Extra night Bayeux, double/twin, superior (£99)
Extra night Bayeux, single, superior (£182)
Extra night Bayeux, double/twin, deluxe (£261)
Extra night Bayeux, single, deluxe (£467)
Regular bike with lock & pannier. See practical information (£69)
Electric bike with pannier & lock (£123)
Regular bikes provided are modern alloy framed models with 24 speeds. The bikes come equipped with pannier, lock and a repair kit with pump.
Electric bikes are also available.
We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons. Alternatively, helmets are provided on arrival.
Below you will find examples of the types of accommodation typically used on this tour. Please note that the hotels we book for you may differ slightly from those described but they will certainly be of a similar standard.
Comfort: Comfortable, charming hotel.
Bayeux: Hotel Saint Patrice
Superior: Good quality hotel/restaurant.
Bayeux: Hotel Le Lion d’Or
Deluxe: First class boutique hotel.
Bayeux: Hotel La Villa Lara
Take the ferry from Portsmouth to Caen or Le Havre and then either drive or take a bus/train to Bayeux (15 mins from Caen/2hrs from Le Havre). Alternatively, fly or take the Eurostar to Paris and then take a train to Bayeux via Caen.