Discover Europe on a Bike: 10 Incredible Cycling Routes 12

Discover Europe on a Bike: 10 Incredible Cycling Routes

cycling europe

10 of The Best Cycling Routes in Europe that should be top of your list.

Europe is a continent that offers a spectacular landscape to explore with mountains, rivers, coastlines and rolling green hills.

There are many ways to get around but if you want to experience the best views up close and personal, there’s no better way to travel than by bike. 

Bikes are very popular in Europe and in many of the cities you’ll find cycle paths which are well used by commuters.

However, if you head away from the hustle and bustle, you’ll discover there are many cycling routes which wind their way through stunning vistas

You could fill an entire book with the fabulous cycle routes in Europe but here are 10 fantastic paths that should be top of your list. 

Before Heading Out

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cycling europe routes

You may be keen to slip the helmet on and slide your feet onto the pedals, but before you set off, you’ll need to be prepared. 

Cycling is a high-energy activity so even along the flattest routes you’ll need to have plenty to keep you going.

Cyclists typically pack light so they don’t have to carry around heavy bike bags. But there are some essentials that you’ll need such as snacks and fluids.

You might plan to eat en route but you should still be prepared just in case you can’t find somewhere, or you have a little mishap, such as a punctured tyre. 

The Aldi weekly flyer is the easy way to grab some food for your trip. Anything that won’t spoil easily is ideal so look for dried fruit and protein bars that you can pop in your backpack.

Don’t forget you’ll need fluids too so taking some bottles of water is recommended. 

The Best Routes

bicycle touring norway roads

Now that you’re stacked up with the essentials, here are 10 of the best cycling routes to follow:

#1: Danube Cycle Path

Slovakia danube river cycling path
Danube River cycling path

One of the first cycle routes ever created in Europe, the Danube Cycle Path is flat and easy enough to ride, even for beginners. This makes it very popular and you’ll regularly find families riding along it.

Beginning at the source of the River Danube in Germany, the path winds through a total of 2896km as it follows the river to the Black Sea in Romania.

This means you’ll also travel through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia past lots of quaint and picturesque villages. 

Read also: Danube Cycling Path, Slovakia to Austria

#2: Via Francigena

Discover Europe on a Bike: 10 Incredible Cycling Routes 13

This Italian cycle route is more than one thousand years old and is the longest signposted cycle trail in Italy.

Starting on the border with Switzerland at Great St Bernard Pass it travels all the way to St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Originally a pilgrimage route, you’ll enjoy glorious Tuscan landscapes and pretty medieval towns such as San Gimignano along the way. 

#3: Flanders Beer Routes

cycling routes europe
Flanders, Belgium

Located in Belgium, Flanders Beer Routes hook up a number of different cycle routes to create a longer path that pays homage to beer.

Each of the individual loops is 20-30 miles in length, and together they visit the traditional Belgian breweries and abbeys who produce beer in the Flanders region. 

Very flat and easy, this is another path that can be tackled by beginners and it’s perfect if you want a cycle route that’s got a purpose and theme. 

#4: The Iron Curtain Trail

iron curtain trail

From one extreme to another, The Iron Curtain Trail is a cycle path in Bulgaria that’s best left to experienced cyclists.

Starting in the Thracian Valley (where you’ll find several wineries) the path heads east towards the border with Greece, winding through beautiful spa towns such as Devin and Gotse Delchev.

The final leg climbs up into the Rhodope Mountains, a very remote region which is unspoilt and natural.

You’ll find fresh spring water and there are plenty of options for wild camping, but don’t expect to be bedding down in luxury hotels – because there’s nothing around. 

#5: Piva Canyon Road

piva canyon trail

If you’re a novice cyclist but want to experience the wilderness and quiet seclusion of remote regions, the Piva Canyon Road in Montenegro is for you.

Although there’s a steep climb at the start, the rest of the route is easy to navigate as you cycle by the sparkling waters of the Piva River. 

Unusually for a cycle route, you’ll pass through over 60 short tunnels before arriving at Lake Piva where you can enjoy a refreshing dip. 

#6: Ciclovia Alpe Adria Radweg

alpe adria

This is a lovely cycle path for intermediate ability, offering a mix of mountain scenery and vibrant local towns.

Running for a total of 259 miles, the Ciclovia Alpe Adria Radweg starts in Salzburg, Austria and takes cyclists on a tour of the Alps without subjecting them to arduous climbs or twisting roads. 

Once the path emerges from the mountains, it moves onto the Italian section where pretty rivers and small towns offer the chance to enjoy delicious pasta and wine. 

#7: Vasco-Navarro Railway

cycling routes europe
image Asier Iturralde Sarasola CC 4.0

You won’t be getting on a train but you will be following an old rail route on this flat 51-mile path which is an ideal introduction for beginners.

Relatively short compared to some others, it’s one of the longest routes in Spain and can be extended by deviating along the Camino de Santiago, a UNESCO network of pilgrimage routes which connect with the Vasco-Navarro Railway. 

The path begins in the capital of the Basque region, Vitoria-Gasteiz and passes through tranquil mountain areas, gorges and rivers plus a number of quiet villages and towns. 

#8: Rallarvegen

cycling Norway Bicycle Touring

Dramatic and spectacular, the Rallarvegen path in Norway is for cyclists with a little bit of experience without being too challenging.

Another route that was originally built for rails, Rallarvegen was intended to transport construction material for the Bergen-Oslo Railway.

At just 51 miles, you can complete the path between Haugastøl and Flåm in a single day but you’ll be cycling along dirt tracks and will cover mountains, glaciers, valleys and fjords in one of the most visually impressive tracks in Europe. 

Read also: Cycling Norway, the Ultimate Guide

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