From the rolling countryside of the French Alps and the coastal views of the Mediterranean, to the rock formations of Iceland and the fjords of Norway, Europe really is home to some of the most beautiful scenery the world has to offer.
One of the best ways to enjoy Europe’s beauty is by choosing to travel by bike rather than the traditional options such as flying or driving. Cycling Europe allows you to gain an experience of seeing the continent like no other, giving you a genuine connection to the culture and countryside in each country you pass through.
While certain countries and cycling routes may get more attention than others (think Holland), there are plenty of other stunning places to see by bike throughout Europe.
Often overlooked as a potential travel destination by its neighbor, Spain, cycling through Portugal offers hidden sights throughout Europe. Whether you embark on a coastal route of an Azores island, a city sightseeing tour of Lisbon, or the ‘Top to Bottom’ route from Valencia to Faro, Portugal offers an abundance of beautiful scenery, natural coastlines, and stunning architecture.
It’s also super easy to get the Faro airport, which is particularly known for accommodating cycling travelers.
One of the most popular cycling routes in Europe, the Danube Cycle Path winds all the way along the Danube River through ten different European countries. Stretching 1,800 miles from the Black Forest in Germany to the Black Sea in Ukraine, the route takes you through various cities including Passau, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Belgrade–just to name a few.
However, most cyclists tend to do a much shorter and easier version of the route: the 223 miles between Germany and Austria, or the 260 miles between Germany and Slovakia. Said to be the perfect introduction to bicycle touring, the route can be completed by people of all ages and athletic ability and is one of the best ways to see the contrast between European countries in one trip.
There’s a reason why the Tour de France is one of the world’s biggest cycling races – the country is one of the best places to cycle through. From the 500-mile ‘Loire a Velo’ bike route to the Bordeaux-Biarritz area, France offers a ton of things to do when you are off your bike and sights to see when you’re on it.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could even go slightly farther and visit the French region of Corsica – a mountainous, Mediterranean island with some truly unique scenery.
Home to beautiful sights, history, and some of the best food in the world, Italy is a must-visit when looking to cycle throughout Europe. If you’re a regular cyclist, Tuscany in particular is one of the best regions to head to, which is why it is known as the ‘spiritual home of cycling.’
The Dolomites in northern Italy are well worth pedaling through, as well. This mountain range is usually attempted by more experienced cyclists, and the routes are notorious for being steep. They are ruggedly beautiful, with the peaks offering a stunning backdrop for your trip through Italy’s wildest area.
Prepared to be wowed by pretty much wherever you visit in Spain. Whether you choose to spend your time cycling through Girona, Tenerife, Mallorca, Majorca, or Lanzarote, you will soon understand why so many cyclists (and tourists) decide to flock to Spain each year.
Incredible scenery? Check. History? Double check. Optimal cycling conditions? Triple check. There is something for every level of cyclist. Whether you are looking for UNESCO World Heritage sites to some of the best eateries in the world between rides, Spain offers the perfect environment for you to keep on pedaling.
Read more about why Spain’s tourism scene is booming here.
Header photo by David Marcu.