Summer Series: The top five European cycling holidays for beginners

By We Love Cycling

This time of year is synonymous with holiday time, but it can mean so much more if you’re a fan of the outdoors. As the days grow longer and the weather reaches its peak temperature, there is no better way to spend your holidays than exploring Europe’s diverse landscapes on two wheels.

We’ve handpicked some of the best European cycling destinations that are perfect for beginners. So, dust off your bike, pump your tyres, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable summer adventure!

The Danube Cycle Path, Central Europe

Let’s start with one of the most popular cycling routes in Europe – the Danube Cycle Path. Traversing through several countries in Central Europe, this route is known for its flat terrain and breathtaking scenery, making it ideal for beginners. You can cycle along the River Danube, through charming villages, and past historic sites like the Nibelungengau, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This path is also well-signposted, making it easy to navigate.

Most people choose to cycle the Vienna to Budapest section. There are frequent flights from Dublin Airport to Vienna. The Austrian capital is also a fantastic place to stay, with a wealth of accommodation options and things to do and see, including the world famous Wiener Staatsoper Opera House.

Loire à Vélo, France

Loire à Vélo, which translates as ‘Loire by bike’, is a well-marked, 900km long cycle route that follows the River Loire through the heart of France. Known as the Garden of France, this region offers lush vineyards, historic chateaux and delightful towns such as Orleans and Tours. It’s a flat and easy-to-navigate route, making it suitable for beginners.

To reach the Loire Valley, fly from Ireland to Paris and then take a train to the city of Tours. From there, you can start your cycling adventure. As a university town, Tours is steeped in history and is the home of a magnificent gothic cathedral.

La Vélodyssée, France

Another French gem, La Vélodyssée is a 1,200km bike route that starts in Roscoff and ends in Hendaye. It’s mostly off-road and runs along the Atlantic Coast, offering stunning views and a variety of landscapes from Brittany to the Basque Country. The route is flat and well signposted, with the route taking you through forests, marshes, and along beautiful beaches.

From Ireland, you can fly to Brest, which is about an hour away from Roscoff by car or train. Roscoff’s picturesque architecture makes it a stunning place to stay, with its beautiful coastal views.

The Algarve Coastal Cycle Route, Portugal

For those who adore cycling by the sea, the Algarve Coastal Cycle Route in Portugal is a perfect choice. Running parallel to the region’s famous beaches, the route provides cyclists with a stunning backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. Although some parts of the route are hilly, the majority is flat and easy to navigate. The route passes through numerous seaside towns where you can stop, rest and enjoy the local Portuguese cuisine.

From Ireland, there are lots of direct flights to Faro. From there the Algarve region is easily accessible, with it being one of the most popular summertime destinations for Irish holidaymakers.

The Rhine Cycle Route, Germany

Finally, the Rhine Cycle Route, also known as EuroVelo 15, offers cyclists a chance to explore the romantic landscapes of Germany along one of Europe’s most important waterways. The route is mostly flat, with fantastic facilities along the way. Some of the highlights include the UNESCO World Heritage site Upper Middle Rhine Valley and the beautiful city of Cologne.

To reach the Rhine Cycle Route from Ireland, fly to Frankfurt or Cologne Bonn and then take a train to your chosen starting point. Germany’s fantastic transport system makes it simple to navigate Germany’s most populous region.

Europe offers a myriad of cycling opportunities, each with its unique charm, culture and natural beauty. These routes are just the beginning – there’s a whole continent out there to explore on two wheels!


If you’re looking for a cycling adventure closer to home, then check out our staycation series where we look at cycling holidays in the beautiful region of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.