Europe Bike Tours – The Needed Information To Get Your Biking Adventure Started In Europe!
People have a sense of adventure and love the idea of getting on their bicycles and touring Europe. Yes you can purchase yourself a chance to experience one of the best organized tours in the world from a travel company.
However, planning your own bicycle touring is easy if you follow these tips:
The Bicycle Routes Of Europe
Where to start your Europe bike tours? Austria, Germany or Switzerland each offer long distance cycling paths which are well signed and easy to follow, even for people with a poor sense of direction. Here are the top 27 Europe bike tours by country for you:
Europe Bike Tours – France
Any one who has watched the Tour de France quickly recognizes the French are passionate about cycling. When considering Europe bike tours France should be near the top of your list.
The top 6 regions for bicycle touring in France:
Located in southern France a bicycle tour along the River Dordogne provides plenty to see along the way. In Montignac visit prehistoric caves; the fortress at Beynac; Castelnaud, the English castle from the 100 years war is across the river and Rocamadour built on the side of a huge ravine. You will have some steep climbs but the views from the quaint towns at the top are worth it. The food is superb in an area known for its foie gras, walnuts and fine wines.
Also known for its fine wines with vineyards surrounding medieval villages such as Colmar. Located near the German border when bicycle touring you will also find some hilly terrain the further you travel from the Rhine River.
Located just south of Paris this route offers the gentlest route when bicycle touring of the regions listed here. Many cyclists on their first visit to France visit a few of the 300 magnificent chateaux such as the Chateau de Chenonceau built along the Loire River.
Brittany & Normandy
Located in the region north of Paris. A highlight is to cycle the causeway to historic abbey at Mont-Saint-Michel. Also along this route you will pass a rugged coastline and some white sandy beaches. Inland your bicycle touring takes you past apple orchards, cows on rich pastures and picturesque medieval towns.
Offers some of the best wines in the world and is also known for its great bicycle touring. There will be some steep climbs, pretty medieval towns with cobblestone streets to keep you alert. Cycling between Dijon and Nuits-St Georges you will have the opportunity to enjoy some the prestigious wines and cuisine which has made Burgundy so famous.
Offers a contrast when bicycle touring. The Rhone delta area is quite flat while the Luberon is hilly and finally some villages filled with artists perched on top of hills requiring a steep climb. You will also want to see some of the historic sights such as the Pont du Gard built by the Romans.
The best time to go for Europe bike tours that include France is in late May, June or September. Avoid the heat and crowds you will find in the summer. Any of these bicycling adventures in France will provide you with a great 2 to 3 week vacation.
Europe Bike Tours – Austria
Bicycle paths cover Austria like a blanket. The top tour cycling routes of Austria listed here are for foreign visitors who want to see the country while on a bicycle tour of Europe.
Route 1 – Danube Bike Trail
The Danube Bike Trail starts in the Black Forest of Germany and after passing through Budapest ends at the Black Sea. The most popular and best section is in Austria. Actually it begins in Passau, Germany right on the border and continues for 326 km (202 miles) to Vienna. The route itself is paved and well signed the entire distance on a bicycle trail or quiet roads over flat or gently rolling terrain. Bicycle rentals are available from the train station in Passau.
Hotels and campgrounds are used to cyclists. There are ferries across the Danube just for those bicycle touring and many restaurants also cater especially to cyclists.
Highlights include the slender river boats on the blue Danube; the cathedral in Passau with the largest organ in the world; Melk Benedictine Abbey; the Wachau wine region; and Vienna with Schonbrunn Palace and more.
Route 2 – Tauern Bicycle Trail
This route is as well known in North America, but you have seen it if you have ever watched a movie titled, “The Sound of Music”. Those who are bicycle touring can start in either Krimml with the highest waterfalls in central Europe or Bad Reichenhall in Germany. The Tauern Bicycle Route then follows the Salzach River Valley surrounded by the majestic Alps into Salzburg, before continuing to Passau on the Danube.
Highlights include the waterfalls at Krimml; one of the largest caves in the world at Werfen; the historic fortresses and old town area of Salzburg. A gentleman named Mozart lived here once and you can also visit his home.
Route 3 – Salzkammergut Bicycle route
The Salzkammergut is the Austrian lake district with several different gently rolling bicycle routes around the various lakes. The lakeside village of Hallstatt is a world heritage site; St. Wolfgang is very picturesque with the mountains in the background. The bicycle ride down a gradual hill into Salzburg at the end is one of the greatest cycles in the world.
Route 4 – Inn Bicycle route
This route actually starts near St. Moritz in Switzerland and continues through famous Innsbruck. The bicycle route goes into Germany and passes through the resort area of Rosenheim until it reaches the Danube at Passau.
Highlights include the alps in Switzerland; Olympic city of Innsbruck; and Lake Cheimsee in Germany. Easy bicycle touring route along the River Inn Valley.
The best time to go for Europe bike tours that include Austria is in late May, June or September. Avoid the heat and crowds you will find in the summer, particularly during the Salzburg music festival. Any of these Austrian cycling adventures will provide you with bicycle touring vacation.
Europe Bike Tours – Switzerland
When you consider a bicycle tour destination in Europe, Switzerland most likely does not come top of mind. Yet you may be amazed to learn the Swiss are great cyclists. The country is crossed by a network of 8,300 km (5,157 miles) of bicycle paths on 9 national and 55 regional routes. Does it not have mountains? Well yes, but there are also valleys where many of the bicycle paths are located.
The top 5 routes for cycling in Switzerland:
Rhone Route – this is the most popular of the Swiss cycling routes. Starting in Geneva with a combination of bicycle paths and dedicated lanes along the roads you cycle along the north shore of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman). Along the way you pass through Lausanne and the Olympic Museum and numerous vineyards before reaching Montreux.
Montreux is home to the lakeside Castle de Chillon, the number one historical attraction in Switzerland. Take the excellent tour (in English) and find out why Lord Bryon and others found it so fascinating. The bicycle path continues the banks of the Rhone River passing the International Cycling Association velodrome and wine center of Sion before ending in Andermatt. This route is gently rolling and can be handled by any level of cyclist.
Rhine Route – this route starts near Andermatt and heads over to the Austrian border before turning north to the Bodensee (Lake Constance) and Basel. You may decide to continue along the Rhine through Germany and the Netherlands if you wish. The Swiss cycling is over gently rolling terrain.
Lakes Route – if you are looking for a hilly and scenic Swiss cycling experience across the entire country this is the route for you. Starting in Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman) you have a very steep climb at first taking you into the cheese making town of Guyere. The route continues over hilly terrain passing through scenic Lucerne.
Mittelland Route – This route also starts on the shores of Lake Geneva and heads across northern Switzerland and along the shores of Lake Neuchatel, the watch making town of Biel and eastward into the Zurich area and finally Lake Constance. A few hills at the start although most of the route would be considered gently rolling terrain.
Bodensee (Lake Constance) Route – offers an easy cycling experience around the lake with the benefit of visiting three countries – Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
The best time to go for Europe bike tours including Switzerland is in late May, June or September. Avoid the heat and crowds you will find in the summer. Any of these Swiss cycling adventures will provide you with a great 2 – 3 week vacation.
Europe Bike Tours – Italy
One of the most visited European destinations for bicycle touring is Italy. You will not be alone as many local cyclists also fill the bicycle paths and country roads. Surprisingly, Italians are very gentle when passing cyclists so do not let their reputation for fast driving deter you.
The top 5 bicycle touring regions of Italy:
Tuscany – this region is on the must do list of everyone who bicycle tours. Although there are no signed bicycle routes in the region there are many quiet and scenic roads between the major towns which are well signed. You can expect some major climbs as you bicycle tour through the hills covered with either sunflowers or bright red poppies, depending on the season.
In the southern Tuscany your cycling is in the area between Cortona, Montepolciano and Montalcino. In central Tuscany you will be bicycle touring it is the area between Siena and Florence including San Gimignano and the wine region of Chianti. And in the north the best cycling is found in the area around Lucca. Either base yourself in a villa for daily trips or easily join the three regions in one longer journey.
Umbria – the next door neighbor to Tuscany which often combined to create a longer bicycle touring journey including both regions. Cyclists will want to head for Perugia, well known for its chocolates, the hilltop town Todi and the religious center of Assisi. Umbria, like Tuscany is a hilly region so expect many nice climbs.
Puglia – a little to the northeast of Umbria is Puglia with bicycle touring along the rugged Adriatic coastline. So you can expect excellent Italian seafood cuisine along your way.
The countryside also features olive grove plantations surrounding charming white walled villages.
Veneto – Just because the terrain of this area is mostly flat you may be surprised by the fabulous scenery and historic towns. Unlike some of the other regions there are a number of bicycle paths for the cyclist. In Bassano del Grappa taste the famous liqueur made here; in Asolo you have elegant homes and great red wines; Stra is known for its many villa which are really palaces. In Padua there are some ancient museums and one of the world’s oldest universities. Of course, there is Venice, to both visit and cycle along the islands of the Lido area.
Piemonte – not as well known this northern bicycle touring region offers rolling terrain along quiet roads. The region is best known for its medieval towns surrounded by vineyards with the Alps in the background. Along your journey enjoy fine truffles, cheeses and the excellent chocolate.
The best time to go bicycle touring in any of these regions is from May to June or September to October.
So for you next Europe bike tours journey go to the land you have always dreamed about, Italy. It is everything you always imaged.
Europe Bike Tours – Germany
Germany as the country offers over 200 bike routes which receive lots of bicycle traffic from local citizens and visitors alike.
The top 7 routes for bicycle touring in Germany:
Romantic Road Bike Route The Romantic Road bike route is not well known by North American cyclists, this is easily my favourite. The route starts in Wurzburg near Frankfurt and winding along quiet farm lanes and bike paths to the Austrian border at Fussen. Along the way you pass by three walled medieval cities, the fairy tale castles of King Ludwig II, vineyards and much more. The terrain is rolling with a few big climbs along the 420 km (261 mile) route.
Rhine Cycle Route – This is the route everyone has heard about. The Rhine Cycle Route starts in the Netherlands and ends in Switzerland but the most scenic section lays in Germany. The main German section is 330 km (205 miles) long although doing the whole route will more than double that distance. The route is fairly flat along well maintained paved as you pass interesting castles and the river traffic.
Moselle River Trail – A two country route, the Moselle River Trail starts in Germany at the Rhine River and ends in France at the Metz River. Along the way this 304 km (189 mile) route follows the river valley passing through vineyards and historic towns
Bodensee Bike Route – North American’s know the Bodensee Bike route as Lake Constance. Take this route to visit three countries on one tour, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The route itself is quite gentle with interesting towns as you circle the lake.
Danube Bike Trail – This is the premier bicycle touring route in Europe, the best there is for beginners. The German section starts at Donaugschingen in the Black Forest region and takes you 525 km (326 miles) to Passau on the Austrian border. Do continue to Vienna, Budapest and the Black Sea. Your bicycle touring through Bavaria takes you through picturesque town, medieval cities such as Regenburg.
Mozart Bike Route – The Mozart Bike Route visits the southeastern corner of Germany around Berchtsgaden, before crossing into Austria and looping around the Austrian lakes district and Salzburg. Although mostly cycling over rolling terrain expect a few major climbs. Highlights include the Salzburg fortresses, the palace at Chimsee and Austria Lakes District.
German Border Bike Route This route is also not as well known to North American’s. It starts in eastern Germany at the Czech border and where the German Border Bike Route meanders for 1,400 km (870 miles) before reaching the Baltic Seas.
When considering a Europe bike tours consider these seven cycling routes in Germany.
Europe Bike Tours Recommendations
Purchase a detailed bicycle touring map and guidebook
Once you have picked your destination get detailed bicycle touring maps, decide how far you plan to cycle each day look for the closest towns. Also use a guidebook to outline sights along the way; this may change your stopover locations slightly. It is a good idea to sometimes spend more than one night in a town to explore the local area. Also remember as you are cycling with a loaded bicycle you will not be able to travel as far as you would at home.
You can either take your own bicycle in a bike box on board the flight or rent. For example, In Switzerland touring bicycles with luggage (pannier) racks and locks can be rented and dropped off at over 200 railway stations around the country. In Austria there are rental locations along the Danube and other major routes. In Germany bicycle rentals locations vary from city to city. Most trains in these countries have bicycle cars for storage which require a small additional payment if taking a train to your starting location.
Book your flight with travel insurance
See your local travel agent or book your flight online. There will be a charge if you are taking your bicycle. Also check on how to pack your bicycle for the journey. Travel insurance is essential when travelling to a foreign country.
You can either camp or stay in small hotels. Look up the tourist office for the towns you will be visiting online and there is usually a list of local accommodation. Some chains such as Logis Hotels and Tiscover Hotels represent small inns, guesthouses and farms on their English websites. You should at least book your first and last nights accommodation as those days you need a place close to the airport.
There you have it. With this article you are ready for some adventurous Europe bike tours. The great beer gardens, castles, museums, churches, shops and more await you! Have a wonderful time.
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