Whether you are a professional cyclist in pursuit of a new challenge, or a cycling enthusiast still at a rookie level in a need of a family adventure, some of the most exciting cycling routes in Europe must have come up as top results in your search for the next vacation.
Its rich historical background combined with the wide variety of breathtaking landscapes, provide no shortage of memorable scenery that will help you breeze through even the longest of trails, in a breeze (pun intended). Within the list that follows, we have collected the top three cycling routes in Europe, which will bring an adrenaline rush to professional and amateur cyclists alike, as it consists of both the most thrilling, and most family-friendly paths.
Italy’s Very Best
When you think of Italy, the first thing that comes to your mind is not necessarily a cycling path, as delicious food and wine are undeniably at the forefront of the image we all have of this country. The good news is – Italy has it all. You can enjoy the world’s best pizza, pasta and wine, and burn those calories right away cycling through some of the most beautiful natural backdrops.
The best known, and most often recommended cycling route in Italy is the 180km-long path from the Dolomites to Lake Garda. Suitable for all cyclists, the route is mostly downhill or flat. An entire family of cycling devotees can enjoy the most magical scenery of the Dolomites’ forests, endless vineyards and glassy lakes. And don’t forget to take a break and visit a town or two to admire the impressive architecture or a work of art. As the region is renowned for its cycling, there are two annual events dedicated to it. The Sella Ronda Bike day and the Dolomites Bike Day welcome thousands of cyclists all over the world each year to enjoy the traffic-free routes and great company.
A Spiritual Delight in Spain
For those of you interested in a more holistic and spiritual approach to cycling and life in general, El Camino de Santiago in Spain is the route to take with your two-wheeler. Even though primarily considered as a pilgrimage path for spiritual growth, the route is also popular for cycling and hiking.
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However, you don’t necessarily need to be on the road of self-discovery in order to enjoy the path to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, located in a northwestern Spanish town, Galicia. The two most popular routes – the Camino Frances (790km) and the Camino Portugués (610 or 227km) promise fully-developed cycling paths along with breathtaking views. Add to it stops at charming medieval towns for an art history lesson, or a glass of some of the best wine in the world, and you will get an all-inclusive treat.
Central Europe’s Cycling Holiday
Exploring central Europe on a bike has become one of the most popular holiday options for families, groups or individual adventure seekers. Following the magnificent Danube River, Europe’s oldest long-distance cycling path provides a family friendly and safe cycling experience. However, more adept cyclists won’t be short of excitement and a challenge, as the route consists of 2896km of cycling paths that pass through ten countries and offer varying difficulty levels.
The 340km path from the German town Passau to Vienna is the most popular route that attracts thousands of cyclists each year from March to October. Apart from the relaxed cycling and diverse nature, spectacular historic sights add to the trail’s appeal. As for the more seasoned cyclist, the route includes the entire Danube route through Germany, as it offers less crowded paths with magnificent scenery.
Obviously, the trail doesn’t stop in Austria. If you follow the Danube downstream, it will lead you to the beautiful countries of Slovakia and Hungary, while further east, you can get a more diversified natural and cultural experience cycling through Croatia, Serbia and Romania.
Any of the routes you take will surely provide plenty of new experiences – so make sure your bike is safe, and head out for a ride!
Rebecca Brown is an avid traveler, blogging for Follow the Camino. She has recently made travel her preferred way of life – so even when not traveling for work, you will find here hiking somewhere she has never been before.