Tour de France and Tour de Femmes are over... the Vuelta is not until another month and nothing much is happening in the MTB and Gravel scene until the Gravel World Series at the end of August. Perfect opportunity to bridge this time with your own bike adventures. And if half the continent is already in summer vacation mode, then let's jump right on this train and directly onto the saddle for a vacation on the bike. Preferably on one of the EuroVelo routes... We have digitally grazed the 90,000 kilometer worth of routes (team marketing had neither time nor leg power to discover them in real life) and present you in this blogpost the first half (find the second one here) of our favorite route ideas for a summer tour on two wheels.
In 1990, the European Cyclists' Federation first envisioned a pan-European network of cycling routes that would encourage the public to switch to healthy and sustainable travel. Whether for a day trip or longer tours, the EuroVelo network should have something in stock for everyone and 30 years later it actually does. A full 17 bike routes (ten north-south, five west-east and two circular) traverse over 90,000 kilometers of the entire European continent, linking the diverse scenic, cultural and architectural attractions of 38 countries.
Regional, national and European organizations, governments and institutions are responsible for the development, implementation and communication of these routes in a very demanding yet very successful teamwork effort. More than 5.3 million cycling enthusiasts travel on these routes each year, and each year the number increases by about 20%.
Understandable, because the routes take you through the crème de la crème of our continent and there are suitable sections for every taste. Here are our buycycle favorites along the first eight of the 17 routes:
1. Atlantic Coast Route
Newport, Ireland - Limerick, Ireland: One of the more northerly sections of the first EuroVelo route takes you through the heart of Irish nature and along the Celtic Sea. Particularly impressive are the rugged Cliffs of Moher and the pyramid-like Cloagh Patrick mountain. This is not only an important pilgrimage site, but also offers climbing enthusiasts a welcome change from cycling.
Nantes, France - Pamplona, Spain: Here, the French Atlantic coast offers its most beautiful side: fairytale towns like La Rochelle or cosmopolitan beach hustle and bustle in Biarritz. As soon as you cross the Spanish border, you land in the middle of Navarre, where impressive cave landscapes line up with dense national parks. Then, in Pamplona, it's worth admiring a few of the Gothic churches.
Faro, Portugal - Vila Real de Santo António, Portugal: If you want to enjoy a real beach vacation, no other EuroVelo route section spoils you as much as the Algarve. Turquoise Mediterranean Sea, eternal sandy beaches and picturesque Portuguese fishing villages line up and offer perfect summer relaxation.
2: The Capital Route
Bristol, United Kingdom - London, United Kingdom: Even though no section of the second EuroVelo route is officially signposted so far and you therefore have to find your way around a bit more laboriously, it's still worth exploring the 220km from the hip port city of Bristol to London. The route leads through lush English countryside and London rewards with diverse culinary delights and numerous sights.
3: The pilgrim route
Namur, Belgium - Tergnier, France: The Via Mosana pilgrimage route takes you past some of the most impressive religious buildings in Europe. The baroque church in Namur wows you with ceiling frescoes and the bell tower of Thuin is even a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Belgian waffles and frites may not be officially, but they are still the tastiest power carbohydrates for cycling on.
4: Central Europe Route
Prague, Czech Republic- Nové Město na Moravě, Czech Republic: This section of the route takes you from the vibrant City of 1000 Spires through several nature reserves, past clear lakes and ornate church buildings in Kutná Hora to the small town of Nové Město na Moravě, whose colorful old town is completely protected as a historic monument.
5: Via Romea (Francigena)
Strasbourg, France - Mulhouse, France: This shorter route (113km) is ideal for a day trip through beautiful Alsace. Strengthen yourself with a proper tarte flambée in Strasbourg, cycle along the Rhine past endless fields and vineyards and admire the old town of Mulhouse. As a cyclist, you're almost not allowed to suggest this but.... there is also a pretty cool automobile museum full of vintage cars there.
Bellinzona, Switzerland - Como, Italy: Switzerland has a lot to offer in terms of scenery, but the southernmost tip of Ticino is truly breathtaking. Start at the beautiful Lake Maggiore, climb over the San Bernadino Pass, where the sky is reflected in crystal clear mountain lakes in front of snowy peaks and stroll after arrival once through the idyllic Como with its many small stores and cafes.
San Gimignano, Italy - Siena, Italy: San Gimigniano is not called the Manhattan of the Middle Ages for nothing. Centuries-old towers of light-colored brick stand out against the pine trees of Tuscany. Even though the route to Siena is not yet officially signposted as a EuroVelo route yet, the serpentine roads through Tuscany are worth the navigational effort. In Siena's old Piazza del Campo, where one of the toughest horse races in the world is held twice a year, you can then treat yourself to a pizza with a view of the rust-red Palazzo Communale.
6: Atlantic - Black Sea
Regensburg, Germany - Passau, Germany: From charming Bavarian Regensburg, the route follows the Danube to Passau. If you're traveling in October, it's best to make a stop in Straubing; after all, the second largest Bavarian folk festival takes place there.
Vienna, Austria - Budapest, Hungary: First of all, enjoy a Sacher cake and a schnitzel in Vienna for refreshment, culture enthusiasts are best to stroll through the old town again or even go to the famous Volkstheater, before they hop on their bikes and cycle east. On the way to Budapest, you can make a stop in Bratislava, and the neo-Gothic Boldogasszony Chapel with a huge, legendary oak tree in front of it is also a true oasis.
7: Sun route
Copenhagen, Denmark - Gedesby Strand, Denmark: Soak up design, art and smørrebod in Europe's most stylish capital, maybe even go for a swim in one of the canals in the north, before heading south on your bike along the summery Danish coast. Sea air, green fields and long dunes await you as far as Gedesby Strand.
Salzburg, Austria - Lienz, Austria: Start in the fairytale city of Mozart before climbing your way through the Tyrolean mountain ranges, crossing several national parks along the way.
8: Mediterranean route
Barcelona, Spain - Béziers, France: Barcelona is one of the most exciting cities to visit in the summer, sure. But the Catalan countryside also has a lot to offer. On the way to Béziers, you'll cycle through olive groves and maquis fields, and the Mediterranean coast offers great views behind jagged cliffs.
Béziers, France - Nice, France: Mediterranean coast again (surprise at the name of the route), but this time you are led through the Provence, past lavender fields and picturesque towns like Aix en Provence. It's not for nothing that the south of France is such a popular vacation destination. You can breathe in a little star and glamor on the pretty promenades in Cannes and Nice.
Well, feeling inspired inspired? Then you have until part 2 of our route suggestions next week to try out one of the routes. The buycycle team is looking forward to seeing pictures of your rides and wishes you a lot of fun. The ideal bike for your this summer and any other tour awaits you on buycycle.comand if you have any questions, our team is always there for you. But until then we wish you as always: Happy browsing, happy cycling through Europe!