4 of the Top Cycling Destinations in Europe
Thinking of renting or taking your own bike on your next travel adventure? Cycling is one of the best ways to explore a new location, especially if you want to get off the beaten path. Europe is full of incredible cycling destinations; from picturesque views in the Loire Valley to insight into local traditions in Tuscany, the possibilities are endless.
With a wide range of cycling tours available almost everywhere in Europe, you can fully enjoy cycling whilst everything is taken care of for you including the planning of routes and all safety measures. We’ve put together four of our favorite places in Europe to go cycling to help you plan your next expedition on two wheels.
Tuscany is home to some of the most amazing landscapes in the whole of the country. This region is also often referred to as the “Land of Cyclists”, with many cycling legends originating from Tuscany like Bartali, Cipollini, and Bettini.
Cycling in Tuscany means riding on a mixture of asphalt, cobblestone, and dirt roads where you can make use of mountain bikes, racing bikes, or hybrid bikes. Popular cycling routes include Via Francigena, Via Francigena which begins in Siena, and tackling the steep climbs of Lucca.
Cycling on the ancient Via Flaminia will see you passing through the local vineyards of Chianti, as well as through charming stone villages and olive groves. There’s also the beautiful Lake Trasimeno, a lesser-known pleasant place populated by remarkable wildlife.
The highlight of Tuscany is the variety of food and wine. You must try some of the local cuisine which includes fresh salads drizzled with olive oil, cured meats and dishes seasoned with Norcia black truffles, and possibly even some biscotti from some of Italy’s oldest bakeries. The medium-to-full-bodied red Chianti wine here has been produced using traditional methods for more than 2,000 years and still tastes extraordinary to this day.
A cycle journey through Northern Tuscany can see you experiencing many iconic landmarks and places along the way such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Leonardo da Vinci’s birthplace, and the splendid Renaissance art of Florence where the House of Medici once ruled.
If you’re planning on doing some sightseeing and historical exploration during your cycling holiday, Normandy in France has a great list of landmarks. During your cycle ride, you can travel along the beaches of Normandy, the site of D-Day and the Normandy Landings.
Honfleur is a delightful town that is popular amongst the cycling community. The old port has a great selection of restaurants if you’re looking for fresh fish, seafood, and local cider.
Once voted the best European Cycle Route, the 600km Vélo Francette is a multi-day cycling adventure that passes a range of lovely French villages and historical sites, while allowing you to really embrace the countryside.
Experience Normandy’s coastal landscapes by riding the Vélomaritime cycle route or tackle the Veloscenic cycle route which runs between Mont-Saint-Michel and Note Dame in Paris. Some cycling routes even follow old railway tracks.
Donned the Beverly Hills of the cycling community due to many big racing names residing here, Girona is a magical old town. The surrounding area is full of accessible cycling routes for all skill levels.
There’s a great mix of terrains and the roads are relatively traffic-free, meaning little hassle in reaching the hills. Additionally, Girona is well-geared up for cyclists, with cycling-friendly areas and training facilities in the vicinity. It is for this reason that many professional cyclists train in Girona.
This region of Northern Catalonia not far from Barcelona offers great cycling weather year-round. Girona has its own airport with affordable summer flights from several European cities. Popular places to ride include along the cliffs of Costa Brava and the western mountain switchbacks. Many cyclists also take on the famous challenging Rocacorba climb.
Even some of Girona’s popular cafes are owned by professional cyclists, with the region really becoming a top cycling destination within the past 5 years or so. Cyclists love that they rarely have to share the road with vehicles outside of town.
Don’t miss seeing the Girona Cathedral which was used as a filming location for Game of Thrones and if visiting during spring you may be able to ride past the incredible beauty of blooming golden canola fields.
The Algarve region of Southern Portugal has risen in popularity as a cycling destination in recent years due to its variety of open roads. Not only are there plenty of rolling hills to be undertaken but there are also lots of challenging climbs to test your skills.
Whilst the terrain is relatively similar to that of Spain, The Algarve is less mainstream and much quieter. Algarve is a popular training ground for French cyclist Julian Alaphilippe.
You’ll find a nice mixture of shorter leisure rides, long-distance bicycle tracks, and mountain bike trails. Popular cycling routes include Via Algarviana that runs through the interior of Algarve, as well as the nature-rich Grande Rota do Guadiana which runs along the Guadiana River.
Central Algarve’s Salgados offers a combination of flat coastal roads and hills just inland. Meanwhile, Tavira allows riders to take in the beautiful beaches and sea views. Enjoy relatively car-free roads in Serra de Tavira.
Popular cycle climbs include the region’s highest point which is Serra de Monchique Foia, and the Malhão, climb offers sections with gradients of 20% for a real challenge. When you’re done for the day, the region has plenty of restaurants serving local food and bars serving regional wine.