If you love cycling than this is your bucket list of European bike trips. There are some easy ones for when you want to combine biking with relaxation and good wine. Then there are more challenging ones that will take you to iconic places from cycling’s history. And, of course, there are some hard but rewarding climbs to test your legs. And you can rate them on our interactive map after.
Alpe d’Huez, France
You won’t find a more iconic cycling route than the climb to the Alpe d’Huez. The climb itself is only about 15 km (9,3 mi) long, but with more than 1100 m of ascent and the average of 7,9% gradient, it’s a challenge for anyone. It offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys below; but those 21 bends are what makes it a unique sight that’s almost synonymous with the Tour de France. Each day during the summer, an average of 1000 riders climb this mythical ascent and you should be one of them, it’s an unforgettable experience.
Elbe cycling route, Czechia
The Elbe Cycle Route is a part of an international network of cycling routes all over Europe. It runs for about 980 km from Mělník until it ends in Cuxhaven at the North Sea. It follows the river Elbe through a beautiful part of Czechia and Germany and is one of the most popular cycling routes for people from both countries. Our favourite part is 48,2 km (30 mi) long, going from Litoměřice to Děčín. It’s a relatively easy ride so you should not shy away from the ascent to the Střekov Castle at Ústí nad Labem, which offers a wonderful view over the Elbe valley and Bohemian highlands. The English Garden of Velké Březno Palace and the Baroque Garden of Děčín Castle are remarkable and also worth a visit. It’s a great bike trip to experience the heart of Europe.
Glencoe – Ben Nevis, UK
This 83,3 km (51,7 mi) long route with more than 2100 m of ascent goes through one of the most impressive and history-packed areas in the north of the UK. You start in Glencoe, a place that might remind you of an Alpine pass even though it’s only 300 m above sea level and surrounded by 1000 m peaks. It’s the height difference that’s outstanding and leaves an impression. From there you pedal towards the dark shape of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, rearing up 1,343 metres behind Loch Linnhe. The return journey takes you along the historic ‘Road to the Isles’, where you will see some of the most spectacular scenery in the world from sandy beaches to dramatic hills, green woodlands, and heather moors. It’s just too good to miss.
Loire Valley, France
Loire Valley is in located in western-central France. It is nicknamed “le Jardin de la France“, or the Garden of France, and it is characterised by beautiful landscapes and lots of good wine. The route we selected starts at Tours and continues for 107,8 km (67 mi) on a slight downhill along the Loira river to Angers. You will have plenty of opportunities to go for local wine tastings in quaint small towns and visit historical châteaux along the way. If you love to relax, bike, and drink good wine, it’s a must.
Passo dello Stelvio, Italy
Passo dello Stelvio is a mountain pass in Dolomites, the Italian part of Alps and it’s known as one of the toughest climbs in Europe. There are several routes, all hard and all with one goal, to get to the summit. Our favourite route starts in a small Swiss town of Santa Maria Val Müstair and goes for 16,5 km (10,2 mi), climbing over 1400 m with an average gradient of 11 % to get you to the highest point at 2,758 m above sea level. There, you’ll stand in awe of such sights as the majestic snow-clad Ortler mountain and the distant Zillertal Alps. After you fully soak in the astonishing view, get ready for a challenging descent. If you like a challenge then this climb will give you that and more.
Via Verde de la Sierra, Spain
This stunning 37 km (22 mi) route is perhaps the best route for cycling in Spain, offering plenty of variety and places of interest even for a family ride. The route goes through some of Andalucía’s most beautiful and untouched countryside. You’ll cycle through more than 30 tunnels, across bridges and viaducts, through lush valleys, along river banks, through meadows and fields, and past some of Andalucía’s most carefully protected natural monuments. Most people start the trip in the village of Olvera and cycle to Puerto Serrano which is a gradual downhill descending a total of 1000 m. If you want to make it a round trip, it’s better to start Puerto Serrano, so you’re fresh for the gradual ascent.
Liège – Bastogne – Liège, Belgium
Liège–Bastogne–Liège, often called “The Old Lady”, is one of the oldest one-day classic cycling races in Belgium. The distance of this traditional race is usually around 250 km (155 mi). The race starts in the centre of Liège, and then goes a straightforward 95 km (59 mi) southwards to Bastogne, and returns via a winding 163 km (101 mi) route back to Liège. It’s a long and tough route with many climbs on par with the hardest at the Tour de France, but well worth it. The Province of Liège is famed for its sheer energy; it’s a region where you never get bored. Apart from its natural beauty, with its typical Mosan valley and green landscapes, Liège is worth visiting on a bike and off it too.