It’s been a while since you cheerily (admit it, no one enjoys the cold) waved goodbye to the slate of winter, and now nature is ripe for a new adventure.
This couldn’t be more apparent than it is in Europe, where the hills ring with a curious lure, tempting you onwards to reach their summits as far and fast your legs can carry you. That bit further and faster still for the cyclists among us! For the avid cyclist, the continent’s best treasures can only be uncovered with a closer view and one’s own pace. Speedy cars and trains are great at getting you quickly from A to B, but they kind of miss the point. Or rather, they miss the journey.
So a bike is the only way to go. It’s either that or taking a hike (calm your socks, we don’t mean it like that). But you don’t need to be a pro to enjoy the joys of cycling. You just need to ask yourself, where does my adventure begin? Here are some of the best bicycle routes for your European cycling trips. Get your map and trace these routes for a fresh challenge.
Best Bicycle Routes #1Costa Brava (Spain)
Costa Brava – Find your way in the middle of the quaint medieval villages and take a 37-kilometer jaunt following the Lower Emporda. The trail is perfect for beginners; the route is almost entirely flat, giving you less bumpy drives across the countryside. You can take your time in admiring the beautiful plazas before you finish the short trip to the coastal town of Palamos.
Best Bicycle Routes #2Frankfurt (Germany)
The Romantic Road is one of the highest-rated trails in Germany and spans from Würzburg to Füssen. Offering a picturesque landscape, you’ll get to see the Nördlinger Ries which is perched on a giant crater, and the quaint Lichfield plain just down the foothills of the Upper Bavarian Alps. End your 400-kilometer dash at King Ludwig’s Castle which looks like it has sprung up from a fairytale book. Get your bike on the train and head to Munich for your return home.
Best Bicycle Routes #3Annecy (Switzerland)
Colorful street markets become a deep contrast to the jewel-blue tone of the lake. Annecy is 35 kilometers away from Geneva and makes a lovely cycling trip for those who’d like to immerse themselves in nature. You can bike as much as you’d like; the region has its own bike pass that has none of the city traffic. Visit the beaches around Lake Annecy, or pass from Geneva from Seyssel, letting you get a glimpse of the Upper Savoy as you stay for the night. A more challenging bike ride gives you a view of the Bauges Mountain Range while the Lake Bourget reflects underneath. Rest at Aix-les-Bains and stop for a spa, as the Romans did before you.
Best Bicycle Routes #4Tuscany (Italy)
Home to the Renaissance, Tuscany is a favourite among cyclists. Here, you can ride between famous cities – Florence, Pisa and Sienna – along with quaint villages in between. You get to bask in the views of the countryside with smooth roads surrounded by fields and vineyards. Take a stop at one of the museums of the town squares and indulge in a glass of wine as you take a break for the night. Another highlight is the local fare, which stars Florentine steaks and rich local biscuits which will delight your palette. Make sure that you are fit enough to make it over the rolling hills; the ride is worth the effort!
Best Bicycle Routes #5Andalucia (Spain)
The southernmost region of Spain boasts of many treasures and adventures, including a stunning coastal town. The geography is diverse; it is laden with volcanic ranges, river valley, a dessert and the mountainous region of Sierra Nevada. There are four key points in this region, one of which Granada to Ronda, a 45-kilometer mileage on standard pace. In this trip, you’ll get to see Iberian villages and Moorish towns, natural parks, plus oldest Spain’s bull ring at the end of the tour!
Best Bicycle Routes #6Normandy (France)
Brimming with history, Normandy is one of the most famous cycling routes in France, where tours take place in various districts, such as Mont Saint-Michel, Bayeux to Rouen, Honfleur to Giverny, and many other mix and matches. The town of Bayeux is a perfect starting point – take time to explore this French town filled with stunning gothic buildings. Mont Saint-Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; so make sure to take pictures of this breath-taking district before you move on to your next destination. Honfleur is a fishing port that has inspired many artists, including Gustave Courbet and Claude Monet. This port connects many routes back and forth, letting you soak into the scent of the harbor before jumping into the next town.
Best Cycling Routes #7Madrid (Spain)
Perhaps the home of Matadors will tickle your curio, especially if you’re into more urban routes. From Madrid, you can choose a fair-weather trail or a more challenging terrain. Start off by biking through Palacio de Cristal, some magical architecture made out of glass. Head up to Casa Campo or choose the trail by River Manzanares, where you can refuel your energy by the street food stalls. Spend time at the Plaza de la Villa and take pictures of the adjoining Sabatini Gardens. You will find Debod Temple, a true-blue Egyptian place of worship still preserved as a national relic.
Best Bicycle Routes #8Veneto (Italy)
For those still reeling from the tragic romance of Romeo & Juliet, a trip to the region of Veneto is a must. A well-connected district bearing bodies of water – the Adriatic Sea and the Venetian Lagoon – you’ll get to bike with an easy-to-explore flat landscape and hidden paths. Enjoy the view of Verona and capture what Shakespeare described with your own camera. Take the chance to ride across the Dolomites as you’ll get to see Lake Garda at the end.
Best Bicycle Routes #9Hessen Railway (Germany)
The Hessen Railway – Start your trip at Hanau, where the Brothers Grimm were born, and bear in mind the fairytales they wrote as you enter the Wetterau district. You will pass by Vogelsberg nature reserve, the charming town of Lauterbach and a cluster of palaces in Ortenburg. Imagine how the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick I, first lived as you walk around in the ruins of Gelnhausen and relish the riverside meadows and Hessian Hills while going through Spessart. The entire ride is mostly smooth, with some ascent and descent, and will take 245 kilometers to finish.
These highly-rated cycling routes are among the most-loved in Europe. You, too, can enjoy the continent’s treasures as you bike your way along towns and offbeat paths. Don’t lose your way, and don’t forget a souvenir. Take a postcard-worthy picture of your favourite stops and keep them as a reminder of your adventures.
Discover more: If you want to find out a bit more about non-cycle related travel in Europe, take a look at these Top 10 Travel Destinations…