16 Apr Scenic Cycling Routes in Europe
Faster than hiking and more liberating than motorized transportation, one of the best ways to see a country is to explore it by bike. Whether you prefer to explore independently or join a guided cycling tour, there are many cycling paths throughout Europe to choose from.
Here are some worth considering.
Elbe Cycle Route, Germany
This well-maintained path is the most popular biking trail in Germany. Starting in Bad Schandau and ending in the North Sea (or vice versa), the trail is 540 miles long and part of an internationally connected cycling route. The scenery along the Elbe River changes delightfully along the way and is often simply stunning. You will pass, and hopefully stop to visit, charming towns such as Wittenberg and Dessau and historic cities such as Dresden and Hamburg. There are cyclist-friendly restaurants and accommodations.
The route is clearly marked, mostly paved, and traffic free. Some of the trail is particularly manageable for children and beginning cyclists, such as the mostly downhill route from Dresden to its end in Cuxhaven. The trail can be easily broken down into short sections, and if you plan to cycle the full length, it will take about 14 days.
Adige Cycle Route, Italy
This bicycle trail is about 37 miles long, and a good way to tour Northern Italy. The cycling route is either downhill, or flat for most of the way. You can start from Trento, at the Adige River, and moving northwards along the eastern riverbank, you can enjoy the view of vineyards and apple orchards, with mountains in the background. At Foci dell’Avisio, the trail goes around meadows and approaches a Zambana, a village famous for its remarkably tender white asparagus. Tourists can then cross the Rotaliana plain and after a few miles reach the Chiusa di Salorno, the border between Trentino and South Tyrol. Going ahead, tourists will hit Bassa Atesina, and then Bolzano. From there, the trail simply follows the course of the River Adige.
Holland Junction Network, The Netherlands
There are several options to choose from if you want a cycling trail in The Netherlands. The Holland Junction Network is easy to follow because the country is full of paths that cyclists can take. You can choose to shorten or lengthen your ride according to your mood. Along these cycling routes, there many sights to take in, including Heathlands, the national park north of Arnhem. Tourists will have to remember that signposts in the countryside change from the traditional to a mushroom-like structure so they can follow the signposts accordingly. A recommendation is the Noordoostpolder, one of the loveliest trails in the Netherlands. Once you are there, there is a UNESCO World Heritage site to visit: Schokland, an abandoned island with archaeological evidence of human civilization going back 10,000 years.
Danube Cycle Route, Austria
Popular and suitable for families, the Danube Cycle Path is intersected by trails at several points. Most riders start their journey around Passau, Germany and cycle downstream along the river to end up in Vienna. The path can be completed in a week for active people, but taking 2 weeks allows you to take in more sights along the way. If you’d like to do a self-guided tour, then Danube Bike Trail 1 is a great book to have for the German part of the river. You will find contact numbers for accommodations available along the way and cultural information. Local tour operators offer group cycle tours at great value for your money. One tip for the Danube cycling path is to bring enough waterproof clothing, as it is bound to rain at least once during your week.
Planning a cycling trip in Europe?
If you’re considering exploring Europe by bike, the first thing you’ll want to decide is if you’d like to go independently, with a private tour guide, or with a guided tour group.
The biggest advantages of biking on your own are that you get to make the itinerary, go at your own pace, and make changes along the way. There are several guidebooks and online resources to help with the planning and mapping of your route.
Or you could hire a private guide. Guided tours offer the convenience of not having to plan your route, overnight stays, food stops, and how you will haul your luggage around. You will be matched with other cyclists of your skill level and have an experienced English-speaking tour guide lead the way.
If you’re looking for help in finding the perfect a guided tour, need travel advice, or assistance building a custom itinerary (see a sample), Montage Travel offers a variety of travel planning services designed to meet your personal needs to ensure a memorable experience.
Not sure where to start? Contact me for a free, no-obligation 20-minute consultation, and we’ll figure it out together!