Ten Great Places To Take A Bicycle Tour In Europe
Traveling by bicycle in Europe is a wonderful way to experience a country, in a way that you just can’t get from a car trip. Of course it’s also great for getting and staying into good shape, and at the same time burn a lot of calories as you travel your 50-100 kilometers every day. You will also appreciate the local food much more when you stop for a meal. Even a very simple meal tastes wonderful when you have been out in the fresh air and cycling hard for a few hours. Cycling is also a relatively inexpensive way to see a country – especially if you combine it with camping, rather than staying in hotels.
Your planning for the trip will ultimately determine, in large part, it’s success or failure. Europe has some wonderful and scenic roads which are not very crowded and ideal for bicycle travel. In fact, many European roads have special bicycle paths which run next to the main road, and are a much safer and more pleasant way to enjoy a bicycle tour. Here then are 10 wonderful European biking destinations.
In southern France, the department of Provence, is a well-loved part of Europe for going on a cycling tour. Not being overcrowded, and fairly flat, the countryside makes for non-strenuous cycling. In the early autumn, you may feel as if you could continue forever going through the Van Gogh’s golden fields of corn, which line the road on both sides. When the summer comes, you will see wildflowers everywhere in Provence.
If you are looking for some challenging mountain biking, then you might want to consider the Italian Dolomites. Every year when the Giro d’Italia takes place, professional cyclists travel through these arduous mountains. The French Alps are a European bicycle tour hot spot for a similar reason: the difficult terrain of the Alps forms the arena for the yearly Tour de France competition.
For those not quite ready for such challenging mountain climbs, the somewhat lesser challenging hills of Tuscany and Umbria can be a good starting point. It’s a picture postcard part of Italy, with vineyards, villas, as well as churches in Gothic style containing frescoes and paintings from the Renaissance period. The small villages that you pass through on your journey are also good places to get good wine at cheap prices.
If you prefer Spain to Italy, consider the option of a downhill mountain bike through the Picos de Europa. Of course, when you’re riding in the mountains, you’re going to be riding up as well as down. The Picos de Europa, located in northern Spain, are a challenge to bike, but the natural scenery (and absence of cars or even other cyclists) is certainly worth it.
A good historical bike route follows the Way of St. James of Compostela through France and Spain. This historic route for medieval pilgrimages was traveled by thousands of pilgrims, who were – in a sense – early tourists.
The Dordogne Valley and the Loire Valley are two more French biking hot spots. The former featuring cave paintings from pre-historic times, and the latter having many French castles along it’s route. For those who prefer less strenuous flat biking through beautiful and melancholic countryside, try the Netherlands – but watch out for the headwinds.