Europea Bicycle Touring
A non-commercial website.

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by David May

 

Recommended Bicycle Tours in France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Austria and England: Trip descriptions with photos, plus advice on bicycle choices, budgets, maps and guidebooks, and transporting your bike.

A non-commercial site.



This non-commercial site presents much of what I have learned in twenty years of bicycle touring in Europe.

You will find here cycling descriptions and photos for many of Europe's premiere cycling destinations.. You can use these to find a bicycle tour meeting your needs—whether a commercial group tour or a self organized trip. If you are organizing the trip it yourself, for each destination I suggest routes to chose from, and provide practical details.

You will also find here as well my opinions and research on general topics such as budgets for European bike touring (self-organized bike tours are much cheaper), , bicycle choices, and so on.

Sister site: www.grfive.com, for a month of hiking across the grain of the Alps from Lake Geneva to the Meditteranean.

Email: dmay@europebicycletouring.com
For my background, see this page.

 

Almost any bicycle tour I would label "Good". The tours here are better than "Good". The boxes below in this column, and lower down in the next column, link to bicycle tours that I recommend and highly recommend. The ones labeled "Superlative" I have ridden more than once, or if time and energy were available, I would ride again. The tours labeled "Excellent" have some features other than the cycling -- architecture or art or neolithic caves, etc. -- that grreatly impressed me. "Very Good" means better than some other bicycle tours I have ridden.

The boxes immediately below link to pages covering general topics.

provence field of yellow flowers
Cycling Provence, France
Superlative

Rape-Seed, Poppies, Lavender, Roman Coliseum, Theaters, Monuments Bath, and Aqueduct, Fortified Cliffs,Wild Horses,
Charming Hill and Valley Towns, Papal Palace, etc.

Early May or Late September, Self-Guided or Commercial, Flat in west, some high hills in east, minor roads, some highways, excellent food.


Bikers pose along the Danube Bicycle Path with castle in background

Cycling the Danube River, Austria
Excellent

River Views, charming citics and towns, outstanding Baroque Architecture, vineyards, castles, monestaries.

May-September, Self Guided or Commercial, Easy Cycling, good for families, bike paths and small lanes, flat unless one leaves the valley; part 4 of Eurovélo 6 (see box below).

 

 

Castle of Chambord

Cycling among the Chateaux of the Loire Valley, France
Very Good, Excellent if you enjoy visiting Castles.

Many historic Castles, Gardens, river views, art; extesions add beaches, hill townsm monestary, gorges, romanesque catheral

Easy to medium, June - September best, Self Guided or Commercial, flat in valley, flat to rolling if leave valley; bike paths and minor roads, good food

Sign for beginning or end of Eurovelo 6-La Loire a Velo

Eurovelo 6: La Loire à Vélo and across eastern France, Switzerland, Germany and Austria
Very Good, Excellent sections, Epic Journey

Cycling along rivers and canals from the Atlantic to Burgundy (partly in the Castle area of the Loire (see box above) with links to continuations to Switzerland and the Rhine in Part 2, the German Danube in Part 3, and the Austrian Danube in Part 4 (see box above)

Easy cycling on signposted route but guide books are recommended, almost always follows rivers or canals, and therefore flat, usually on minor roads or bike paths. Changing scenery and culture across France and Europe; partly in Loire Chateau area described above; self guided; luggage transportation available in part. Entire route takes several months.

Zeeland beach with kites

Cycling France, Flanders, Zeeland
and Holland along the North Sea

Excellent

3 countries, farmland, canals, dunes ocean, mechanical dikes, V2 launching site, Flemish renaissance architecture, Bruges, Amsterdam

Easy to medium cycling on minor roads and cycle paths, rolling then mainly flat, self guided, July and August best

Sheep near Dordogne River

Cycling the Dordogne River Valley
Excellent

Bucolic Scenery, Picturesque Towns, Neolithic Cave Paintings, religious sites and art, picturesque towns

Easy to medium cycling on minor highways or lanes, Flat in river valleys, rolling to very hilly between them, excellent food, best May or September, self-guided or commercial tours

Line of Cyclists in a Ijsselmeer Polder

Cycling around the Ijsselmeer, Netherlands
Very Good
Boats, Lake Views, Farmland with Dikes, villages, Dutch way of ife, side trip to excellent art museum, Amsterdam

Easy cycling, very economical, commercial boat tour, sleeping on boat or self-guided, July or August.

Town in North of Alentejo, Portugal

Cycling Alentejo, Portugal
Excellent
White Hill-Towns, Vineyards, Cork Trees, long views

Medium difficulity, flat in south except for hilll towns, rolling to hilly in north; riding is on minor highways, March or April or October best, commercial tour (economical for a commercial tour).

Road with Alps View, Austria

Cycling Western Austria and Bavaria
Very Good
Scenic Lakes, Forests, Mountain Views, Resort Villages,
Salzburg, Munich, Mad King Ludwig's Castles

Easy cycling with a few hills, occasionally rolling, mainl on bike paths or back roads, but a contiuiation requires some riding in moderate highway traffic, best May-September, self-guided.

Lindau on Lake Constance

Cycling Around Lake Constance (the Bodensee) and down the Rhine, Austria, Germany, Switzerland
Very Good
Lake and River Views, Farms, Gardens, Woods,
Resort Towns, charmig architecture, European Niagara Falls

Easy cycling, good for families, flat with a few small hills, bike paths and lanes with a occasional minor roads, best June-September, self-guided or commercial tours around Lake Constance (called the Bodensee in German.) Eurovelo 6 (box above) traveses the Rhine and the western part if this route.

Cycling from Hamburg, Germany to Copenhagen, Denmark
Excellent
Along the dikes of the Elbe River the North Sea in Schleswig Holstein, across central Jutland, and around northern Zealand. Hamburg, North Sea views, dikes with sheep, villages, wind turbines, farmland, forest, ancient towns, Danish life, lake district resorts, art colonies, Hamlet castle, Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen.

 


Why Bicycle in Europe?

What kind of budget for a European bicycle tour?

Commercial Bicycle Tour
or Self-Guided Bicycle Tour?

Buy a Bicycle in Europe
or Rent a Bicycle in Europe
or Bring Your Own Bicycle
?

When to go?

Which Bicycle for Touring?
Which Components for Touring?
It Depends!

Transporting Your Bicycle by Train, Bus, Air or Car in Europe

Maps and Guidebooks

Clothing for Bicycle Tours
Choosing Panniers
Packing Panniers

Security and Safety on a European Bike Tour

How Far Will You Ride?

Selecting among the European Tours on this Site.

Maps showing other Long-Distance Bike Tours in France, Germany, and the Netherlands

Pilgrims walking to Estaing

Cycling the Saint James Pilgrimage Route, France and Spain – Le Puy-en-Velay to Roncevalle, Spain.
Superlative, Epic Journey
Feeling of being part of a 1,200 year history, a classic pilgrimage, beautiful scenery, charming old villages and towns, historic cathedrals and churches, religious art, forests and farmland, hills and mountains. Possibililty of continuation in Spain to Compostella. Often a life-altering experience.

Mainly hard cycling with many hills, some steep, some very long assents and descents, a few flat days, minor roads and highways with little traffic, best May - September, self-guided tour with some small sections covered by commercial tour.

Cathedral of Orvietto, Italy

Cycling Tuscany and Umbria, Italy
Medieval Hill Towns and Cities, Vineyards, Olive Groves
Renaissance Masterworks

Excellent
Medieval cities and hill tows,vinyards, olive trees, Renaissance masterpieces of art and architecture, excellent food and wine.

Medium to hard cycling in Tuscany, easy to medium in Umbria, mainly hilly to very hilly with climbs to hill towns, roads with little traffic except near and in cities, best early May to June or mid-September to late October, self-guided, or commercial tour for northern parts of the itinerary.

Alsace Town and Haut Koenigsburg

Cycling the Alsace Wine Route, France
Excellent but must be comfortable riding with some traffic

Charming Old Wine Villages and Historic Cities,half-timbered houses, Cathedrals, Vineyards, nearby Vosges Mountains
with castles, prehistoric wall and monastery, excellent food.

Medium cycling with difficult options, rolling, mountain options by bike or on foot, light to moderate traffic on roads and highways, best July or August, self-guided tour or partial coverage with commercial tour.


Bike trail through heather in Pennines

Cycling the "C2C" — Sea to Sea, across Northern England
Excellent
Whitehaven on the Irish Sea, quaint towns and villages,Lake District, Pennine mountains heather, Newcastle architecture, North Sea, possible extension to Scotland

Moderate to Difficult cycling crossing several high hill ranges, flat, then rolling, then mountainous, then a long sloping descent, on bike paths or minor roads, well waymmarked, excellent guidebook, only 2 to 4 days without return loop or extension, June-September, self-guided.


Burgundy Canal Bike Path

Cycling in Burgundy, France
Very Good initially, excellent along Burgandy Canal
Dijon, Beaune, vineyards, wine-tasting villages, fields, Morvan hills and forests, historic chateau and forges, Vézelay Basilica, Burgundy Canal

Easy cycling among the vineyards and along the Burgandy Canal, medium in the Morvan Hills, very little traffic on roads, bike path along Burgandy Canal, self-guided tour or commercial tour limited to the vinyards and nearby or canal near Dijon.


bicycles and sailboats

Cycling the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur):
Some sections excellent, some very good, some worth skipping by taking the train, must be comfortable riding in traffic
Along the Mediterranean from Marseille through Cassis, Hyères and Giens, Saint Tropez, Cannes, Antibes, and Nice to Menton: Art cities, resort towns, endless beaches and coves, iron-red cliffs and hills plunging into azure water, then along the alps above the Mediterranean.

Easy to moderate cycling, some hard sections, about one-half on bike paths near roads or bike lanes, the rest on major streets or highways. Despite traffic, some of these are highly frequented by road bikers, especially on weekends, May-June or September to early October, not July and August due to traffic, self-guided.