For those with a spirit of adventure and a love for freedom, Europe offers some of the best bicycling tours you can find. These top 8 European cycling destinations range from the charming canals of Amsterdam to the lively streets of Barcelona, each providing their own unique and exciting experiences.
Take a scenic ride through the awe-inspiring Scottish Highlands or feel the romantic allure of Tuscany with every turn of your wheels. Each journey provides a new perspective, a fresh breath of air, and a moment to appreciate the beauty of the world around you.
So, get prepared to hit the open road and experience the joy of cycling through these stunning European landscapes.
Remember, ‘Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.’ – Albert Einstein.
Bicycling tours in Europe offer a unique way to connect with the culture and landscape. Among the multitude of destinations, Amsterdam, Netherlands holds a special allure for enthusiasts like me. The beauty and thrill of cycling in this city are extraordinary.
Amsterdam is designed with cyclists in mind, boasting expansive cycling infrastructure, such as dedicated lanes, specific traffic signals, and ample parking for bikes. The geography of the city is a cyclist’s dream, flat terrain makes for easy pedaling through quaint streets, along serene canals, and by memorable landmarks like the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum. Riding a bicycle in Amsterdam allows you to delve into the local lifestyle, engage with the hospitable locals, and truly comprehend the city at a leisurely pace.
If you desire a change of scene, you can easily ride out of the urban areas and into the stunning countryside, adorned with vibrant tulip fields and classical windmills. There’s a distinct sense of liberty and adventure offered by Amsterdam that’s unmatched.
However, Amsterdam is merely the start of Europe’s remarkable cycling adventures. We’re moving our journey to the next European city famous for its cycling culture – Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s another gem that’s waiting for your tire tracks.
Following the allure of Amsterdam’s cycling, Copenhagen, Denmark, presents a distinct appeal for those who, like me, enjoy nothing more than exploring a city on two wheels. As I pedal on, the city’s blend of contemporary design and centuries-old architecture is mesmerizing.
Here’s why Copenhagen is a must-visit for any cycling enthusiast:
- The infrastructure is built for bikes: Copenhagen boasts a comprehensive network of well-kept bike lanes, ensuring a safe and smooth ride. It’s a joy to glide by vivid buildings, stunning canals, and verdant parks, taking in the city’s spectrum of sights.
- Cycling is a way of life: In Denmark, bicycles are more than just a means of transport – they’re a part of the culture. No matter where you look, you’ll find locals of all ages cycling with ease, their hair fluttering in the breeze. The city’s relaxed and eco-conscious lifestyle makes it easy for visitors to feel at home.
- Stunning routes are everywhere: Whether it’s a ride along the waterfront or through enchanting neighborhoods, Copenhagen offers a visual feast at every turn. Iconic places like Nyhavn, with its vibrant houses and lively cafes, make for delightful routes. For a serene break, you can pedal out to the calming countryside.
As my time in Copenhagen comes to an end, my cycling journey continues to its next destination: Barcelona, Spain.
Journeying from the quaint lanes of Copenhagen, I find myself next in the midst of the lively ambiance of Barcelona, Spain on my European cycling tour. Barcelona, with its dynamic culture, awe-inspiring structures, and inviting beaches, is an ideal place for cyclists in search of liberty and thrill. Cyclists of all skill sets can find a route that suits them in this city.
You can take a relaxed ride along the scenic Barceloneta waterfront or accept the test of the steep ascents of Montjuïc. The city’s green heart, Parc de la Ciutadella, offers a serene spot for a slow ride or a break for a picnic. Pedalling through Barcelona, the city’s distinctive blend of Gothic and Modernist architecture is sure to impress, with iconic structures such as the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell exemplifying Antoni Gaudí’s brilliance.
Barcelona is a testament to the joy of liberty and the thrill of finding new paths, making it an indelible stop for any cyclist. As a famous quote says, ‘Cycling is as close as you can get to flying’. And in Barcelona, you truly experience that feeling.
During my cycling journey across Europe, I had the pleasure of spending time in Vienna, Austria, a city teeming with cycle-friendly pathways for all types of riders. Let me share three of my personal highlights from this fantastic city:
- Pedaling by the Danube River: The Danube Cycle Path is a flat, scenic route that stretches for miles. The stunning river views and surrounding landscapes make for an invigorating and visually stunning ride, ideal for those who appreciate a relaxed and scenic cycling journey.
- Pedaling through Vienna’s historical heart: Vienna’s breathtaking architecture and rich cultural heritage are something to behold. By cycling through the historic center, you can get a closer look at iconic structures like St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Hofburg Palace, and enjoy the flexibility to pause and take in the sights at your own leisure.
- Pedaling around the Vienna Woods: A stone’s throw away from the city, you’ll find the Vienna Woods, a haven of natural beauty with a variety of cycling trails. Whether you prefer a gentle ride through vineyards or a more challenging mountain bike track, this verdant hideaway is perfect for cyclists who love to be surrounded by nature.
Vienna certainly left an impression with its excellent cycling infrastructure, beautiful landscapes, and intriguing historical sites. It’s a city that invites you to experience and appreciate it from the unique perspective of a bicycle. As a seasoned cyclist, I can tell you that Vienna is a city that warmly welcomes those who love to explore on two wheels.
Cycling through Provence, France, the sheer beauty of the region held my gaze. The routes were a visual banquet of rolling hills, vineyards, and fields of lavender.
But Provence wasn’t just about the breathtaking bike paths. It was also home to a myriad of cultural gems such as quaint villages, historical landmarks, and mouth-watering local cuisine that added delightful experiences to my journey at every turn.
Scenic Cycling Routes
Cycling in the Picturesque Landscapes of Provence, France
The stunning landscapes of Provence, France, with its rolling hills and lush vineyards, present a perfect setting for memorable cycling journeys. Let’s take a tour of three particularly scenic cycling routes that offer both beauty and adventure:
The Gorge de la Nesque Journey – As you cycle through this deep canyon, you’re presented with a dramatic scenery of high cliffs and clear waters. The route provides views of small villages, nestled on hills, encircled by fields blooming with sunflowers and lavender.
The Luberon Valley Voyage – This journey transports you to a bygone era as you cycle through the delightful villages of the Luberon Valley. The path is lined with vineyards, ancient olive groves, and vibrant wildflower fields. Medieval castles dot the landscape, with panoramic views of hilly terrains and the quintessential Provençal landscapes.
The Mont Ventoux Circuit Challenge – This route is perfect for those who crave a test of their stamina. The Mont Ventoux Circuit, a renowned climb, offers awe-inspiring views as you tackle its steep roads. Upon reaching the peak, you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the countryside extending up to the Mediterranean Sea.
Provence, with its diverse landscapes and breathtaking scenery, is truly a haven for cyclists looking for a blend of freedom and adventure. As a famous cyclist once said, ‘Cycling isn’t a game, it’s a sport. Tough, hard and unpitying, and it requires great sacrifices.’ So, gear up and get ready for a journey of a lifetime.
Cultural Attractions Nearby
Let’s continue with our bicycle journey through the heart of Provence, France. This region, known for its vibrant culture and rich history, is a fantastic spot for those who love a good mix of adventure and learning. As you cycle through the quaint villages and over the undulating landscape, you’ll come across a variety of historical landmarks.
Make sure to stop by the ancient Roman city of Arles. Here, you can appreciate the well-maintained amphitheater and follow the Van Gogh trail.
Next, make your way to Avignon, also known as the City of Popes, and gaze in awe at the magnificent Palais des Papes.
No trip to Provence is complete without a visit to the stunning Abbey of Senanque, which is beautifully encircled by lavender fields.
Also, try to visit the bustling markets of Aix-en-Provence for a real taste of local life.
Provence, with its compelling past and wealth of cultural landmarks, provides an unforgettable journey for cyclists looking for a sense of freedom and a taste of adventure.
Cycling in the captivating region of Tuscany, Italy, is an experience that lingers in my memory. The region’s awe-inspiring natural vistas, historical gravitas, and culinary delights create an irresistible allure for bike enthusiasts.
Here’s why Tuscany should be on every cyclist’s bucket list:
- Vineyards and undulating terrains: Imagine cycling amidst endless vineyards, the warm sun kissing your skin, and the enticing aroma of ripe grapes wafting through the air. The Tuscan countryside is a patchwork of rolling hills, providing a stimulating and satisfying cycling experience.
- Time-honoured towns: As your journey continues, you’ll find yourself traversing through captivating medieval towns like Siena and San Gimignano. These timeless locales offer a visual treat with their intact architectural marvels, stone-paved streets, and lively squares.
- Epicurean excursions: Tuscany is a haven for food lovers. Envision taking a break at a local eatery to enjoy a serving of homemade pasta, complemented with a soothing glass of Chianti. Tuscany’s dedication to fresh, locally sourced produce ensures every meal is a celebration of flavors.
Tuscany invites cyclists to lose themselves in its mesmerizing landscapes, immerse in its rich historical tapestry, and relish the authentic Italian culinary traditions.
Scottish Highlands, United Kingdom
The Scottish Highlands is a paradise for bicycle enthusiasts, offering a dazzling array of scenic routes and landscapes. Cyclists are treated to a visual feast of rugged mountains and picturesque lochs, setting a stunning stage for their journey.
Besides the visual appeal, the Highlands also has a commendable cycling infrastructure and prioritizes rider safety, making it a great choice for cyclists, regardless of their proficiency levels.
The rich cultural nuances and intriguing history of the region add a touch of charm to the cycling experience.
As one local cyclist put it, ‘Every ride in the Highlands is a journey through a tapestry of history and natural beauty that leaves you longing for more.”
Scenic Routes and Landscapes
In the heart of the stunning Scottish Highlands, I found myself pedaling across diverse picturesque paths and terrains. The journey was truly remarkable and left me in awe.
Here are the three unforgettable views that highlighted my expedition:
- Exceptional lakes: Pedaling through curvy trails, I was welcomed by the gleaming waters of Loch Ness and Loch Lomond. Enclosed by sturdy mountains and sprinkled with quaint villages, these freshwater bodies provided a serene break and an ideal setting for my cycling exploration.
- Wavy hills: The Scottish Highlands are famous for their fluctuating landscapes, and as I pedaled up and down the wavy hills, I was treated with broad views of lush green pastures. The vision of sheep feeding quietly in the distance enriched the pastoral allure of the panorama.
- Historical castles: Pedaling through the Scottish Highlands was like a journey back in time, particularly when I came across the splendid castles scattered across the region. From the formidable fortress of Eilean Donan Castle to the romantic remnants of Urquhart Castle, these historical landmarks brought a dash of splendor to my cycling expedition.
Experiencing the picturesque paths and terrains of the Scottish Highlands filled me with a sense of liberation and adventure. As the Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott, once said, ‘The Highlands have a way of making you feel both insignificant and immortal at the same time.’ This sentiment perfectly encapsulates my cycling journey through this stunning region.
Cycling Infrastructure and Safety
During my bike tour across the Scottish Highlands, I experienced firsthand the region’s superb cycling infrastructure focused on user safety and comfort. The roads were in excellent condition, complete with dedicated bike lanes and informative signs for cyclists. I felt secure, knowing that local drivers are used to accommodating cyclists on the road and show respect towards us.
The breathtaking scenery of the Highlands unfolded with each pedal stroke, revealing mountains, lochs, and idyllic villages along the way. The journey was made even better with the presence of cyclist-friendly facilities like rest stops, repair centers, and bike rental outlets. This meticulously planned infrastructure ensured my ride through the Scottish Highlands was smooth and worry-free.
Next, we’ll touch on the region’s rich cultural heritage and historical significance.
Cultural Highlights and History
While biking through the scenic landscapes of the Scottish Highlands, I got the chance to soak in the region’s profound cultural heritage and learn about its intriguing past. Here are three culturally significant and historic sites that left a lasting impression on me:
- Eilean Donan Castle: This breathtaking castle, standing proud on a small island where three sea lochs converge, is indeed a sight to behold. Surrounded by majestic mountains and shimmering waters, it’s no surprise that this castle is among Scotland’s most photographed landmarks.
- Culloden Battlefield: Walking on the very grounds where the final Jacobite Rising met its unfortunate end in 1746 gave me chills. The visitor center provided a detailed, tangible recounting of the battle and its subsequent influence on Scottish history.
- Skara Brae: This ancient village on the Orkney Islands, which dates back to 3000 BC and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a window into our Neolithic past. Walking around the beautifully preserved stone homes offered a unique insight into the daily lives of our ancestors.
The experience of traversing the Scottish Highlands was enriched by these culturally significant sites and historic landmarks, making my biking tour a truly memorable and insightful journey. As the old Scottish saying goes, ‘We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.’
Rhine Valley, Germany
During my time in Germany, I found myself deeply moved by the scenic beauty of the Rhine Valley, especially while riding a bicycle. This area is a haven for cyclists, offering breathtaking views of quaint villages, lush vineyards, and storybook-like castles scattered all over. I rode along the Rhine River, completely taken in by the awe-inspiring visuals nature had to offer.
The cycling paths were well-laid and smooth, making it a breeze to move around. This allowed me to journey at a leisurely pace and truly savor my surroundings. I met several welcoming locals who were eager to share tales about the region’s historical significance and cultural traditions. Far from being just a cyclist’s retreat, the Rhine Valley is for anyone who values stunning landscapes and the thrill of new experiences.
As one local resident told me, ‘Here in the Rhine Valley, we live in the heart of nature and history. Every path you take, every village you visit, has a tale to tell. It’s not just about the journey, it’s about the stories you collect along the way.’ I couldn’t agree more.