Top 10 European Cycling Destinations

On a rainy bike ride home, it’s hard for the mind not to wonder towards dreamier climates. My mind always wonders back to my cycling holiday along the Rhine in Germany and inevitably to the many pints consumed along the way.

Cycling Holidays are great fun and a great way to socialise, and we really are spoilt for choice with loads of great cycling destinations around Europe, and there are routes to suit all abilities depending on the style of riding you are after. If you’re fit and agile, there are some great mountain and woodland trails that will really push you to the limit. However there are also some flatter, less intense trails that are perfect for Families, over 50s still wanting an active holiday or just regular groups that prefer a more relaxed break.

In whichever form you like your cycling holidays, we wanted to sum up some of the top options available in Europe so you can start planning ahead for the summer months.

Amsterdam, Holland

With more than 500km of bicycle paths and bridges dedicated to bikes, Amsterdam is one of the most bike-friendly cities in all of Europe. Check out the Apollolaan area and Vondelpark, with picturesque views. Enjoy all the city has to offer or take a half-day bike ride into the suburbs for a quieter but equally lovely view.

Andalucía, Spain

Take a break from traditional winter weather and head to Spain to enjoy training camps, tours or self-guided rides through national parks, mountain terrain or bike off the holiday fest with a bit of leisure rides complete with photo stops.

Bruges, Belgium

If you’re looking for a family cycle holiday with a view, look no further than Belgium. The 29km route around the city of Bruges is the perfect route for a family with older children thanks to the flat route with signs located all around.

Dolomites, Italy

The Maratona dles Dolomites – Enel is a road race that offers three different routes to match your skill and comfort level as a cyclist. The Maratona course is 138km, the middle course 106km and the Sellaronda course is just 55km, so it is an event that suits all riders aged 15 and older.

Vienna, Austria

Bicycling along the River Danube in Austria provides a beautiful backdrop for cyclists willing to endure the 225km Danube Cycle Path. Hop on two wheels and prepare to go from Linz to Vienna through bucolic rural Austria, stopping at historic villages and vineyards along the way.

Salzburg, Germany (to Lake Garda, Italy)

Ambitious cyclists will want to enjoy the Trans-Alp cycle race that traverses 400 off-road miles through the Bavarian Alps on to Lake Garda. Make no mistake this is a climbing race—about 19,00m total—but most cyclists aim to simply finish the route rather than place. Find your way to the start of this event and everything else will be taken care of for you.

Bornholm, Denmark

Sure more people know about one of the most cycle-friendly cities in Europe—Copenhagen—but cyclists in the know head for the Baltic Island of Bornholm for scenic recreational cycling. With a craggy coastline and rock formations and sandy beaches, you can loop the entire coast in about 105km.

Venetia, Italy

Enjoy a leisurely holiday through the Venetian countryside that offers a combination of short cycle routes and day-long excursions on the valley floor. Stay at an agriturismo or book into one of the nearby vineyards. This is the perfect cycle destination for family with a 5km route along Lake Fimon perfect for young children.

Mecklenburg Lakes, Germany

Germany is one of the most bicycle friendly countries in Europe with more than 70,000km of trails and 200 different long distance routes. Combine beautiful scenery with a challenging ride along the 640km length off Mecklenburg Lakes, starting in Lüneburg. Hop off the bike long enough to enjoy various water activities, picnics or photo ops.

Graubünden, Switzerland

Every summer the ski resort of Flims transforms into a paradise for cyclists. With 330km of marked mountain trails, forest treks, cross-country routes and freerides taking cyclists from Laax Staderas through Conn and Lake Cauma. Stay at one of the many bike hotels for added convenience.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

20 Responses to Top 10 European Cycling Destinations

  1. Gpunto 25/02/2015 at 2:54 pm #

    There are nice cycling routes in central Italy, where local people are more friendly, the food and wine is better, and a holiday would be cheaper (than in the north of Italy). And with a lot of villages, nature and parks to see.

    I am originally from Abruzzo (central Italy, Adriatic coast) where in a matter of 70-80km you can cycle from sea level to the highest peaks of the Apennine range. This can be done either on road bikes (on public roads) or on mountain bikes (on marked trails).

    If you prefer cycling on a flat route I know that a 110km long route is being built along the Adriatic coastline on the disused mainline rail track. This aims to be the longest protected cycle route in Europe.

    The only negative comment I would make is that “Italians” are famous to be bad drivers and I personally don’t feel very safe when I cycle on public roads when I am there.

  2. Mik 26/02/2015 at 9:52 am #

    I’m a bit surprised you’ve suggested Amsterdam. It’s a fantastic city and we cycle to get around when we are there, but I wouldn’t go there specifically to cycle. Even compared to London the atmosphere when cycling is kind of manic, I’m constantly stunned I don’t see many more accidents.

    Bike theft is endemic, we bring our least desirable bikes with us and even then seem to be on the upper scale of ‘nice’ when in the city. Dutch friends when they heard we were coming over with our own bikes told us to bring plenty of big locks and everyone warned us about bike theft. Anything unusual (i.e. not a battered town bike with buckled wheels) is a potential target.

    Renting bikes isn’t cheap, if you are going there in a way that you can take a bike it’s not a bad thing to do, but consider what to take. As I say, when we are going in to the city we have a £40 Raleigh Wisp (mixte frame, bought from a charity guy who rescues unwanted bikes and gives them a quick once over before selling them on) and what I guess is some random mid 80’s Raleigh road bike that a mate was about to put in a skip. Perfect bikes for the ‘dam.

    It’s that classic thing that if we weren’t going in to the city, we wouldn’t have those bikes, but we also probably wouldn’t go to that bit of Holland…

    • Andreas 26/02/2015 at 10:06 am #

      True Mik – I found myself feeling rather hassled pedalling around there at first, but then you get used to it. It’s a nice short hop from UK and an interesting cycling culture to discover, that’s why it made it on the list 🙂

    • Vincent 27/02/2015 at 12:02 am #

      +1. By Dutch standards, downtown Amsterdam isn’t actually a very nice place to ride bikes. The best of the best is Groningen, up North: www

      I suspect the reason Amsterdamers ride crappy bikes is the same reason why Copenhageners ride crappy bikes: There are so many of them, that people can’t lock them down to a fixed point, so they ride cheap, beat-up bikes they don’t care about.

      Alternative: Bring/rent folding bikes.

  3. Françoise 26/02/2015 at 12:18 pm #

    “Salzburg, Germany” Are you sure?

  4. Nick 26/02/2015 at 2:34 pm #

    Isn’t Salzbury in Austria, not Germany?

    • Vincent 26/02/2015 at 11:58 pm #

      Yes, Salzburg is in Austria.

      Birthplace of Wolfie, a composer.

    • Stan 08/04/2015 at 6:15 pm #

      Salzburg here. It’s definitely still belonging to Austria 😉

      Cycling here (Salzburg) is okay but still very car-centric and there’s not a real cycling critical mass yet, so most car drivers don’t look out for cyclists. (Had to learn that the hard way)

      I loved Amsterdam though. Awesome bike culture and sometimes I almost felt sorry for the drivers, stuck in an intersection with all the cyclists swooshing by.

  5. Graeme Sandell 27/02/2015 at 10:33 am #

    Hi

    First the pedantic point which is that I suspect Austrians living in Salzburg will be surprised to find that they are now German! That said, the whole region is full of really good MTB tracks to suit most fitness/ambition levels. South by half an hour around Wolfgangzee is brilliant if you aren’t up for a really challenging ride across the Alps and there’s loads of reasonably priced accomodation.

  6. Jon 27/02/2015 at 1:51 pm #

    While I agree some of the roads in Amsterdam can be busy and you do need your wits about you the cycling infrastructure is excellent and it’s really easy to cycle from the centre to the countryside, ie along the Amstel River or along the dykes to the north. And at places like frederic.nl you can get cheap old boneshakers which are good enough for the job and fit in nicely. I paid €10 a day 18 months ago.

  7. Ricky 28/02/2015 at 6:28 pm #

    Cycling from Amsterdam along the North Sea coast on the LF1 cycle route all the way down to Calais via Bruges then hop on ferry and Dover to London was the best cycle trip ever last summer. Three of us cost £350 each incl hotels and ferry over 5 days. 300 miles. Can’t wait to do it again.

    • Kristian 05/03/2015 at 12:32 pm #

      Exactly what I was about to do last summer. Went to France instead. But this summer .. hmmm 🙂
      Ricky, I would love to have a chat with you, pls message me and brag as much as you want about that trip 🙂

  8. Samuel 01/03/2015 at 1:46 am #

    no france? weird…

  9. Patrick 03/03/2015 at 4:22 pm #

    Can we count Iceland in this list? Absolute dream, quiet roads and stunning scenery.

  10. Phil 05/03/2015 at 8:36 am #

    I used to love cycling in North West Germany, around the edge of the Teutoburger Wald- miles of firebreak roads, few people, never saw motor vehicles, beautiful area.

  11. toallero 15/03/2015 at 12:15 pm #

    Atention: Trampas Salvajes contra Ciclistas: http://youtu.be/g-rsBMT9_dU

  12. Ben 17/03/2015 at 9:10 pm #

    Great list and I second Patrick with Iceland 🙂

    We offer many different cycling experiences from classic toughies Mont Ventoux to an easy & tasty Beercycling ride around Belgium and The Netherlands! Check them out here – http://www.everthoughtoftrying.com/cycling

  13. Jean-Paul, van Doren 10/05/2015 at 12:16 pm #

    One of the most magnificent cycle ride in Europe iscalong the Vallee de la Loire, combining a truly majestic , still natural river with wildlife, great gastronomy , amazing history and well organised cycle route.
    As far as cities goes Antwerpen is a great destination with an amazing cycle infrastructure.
    Other great cycle adventures are to be had on the Camino de Santiago and on the Isle of Man

  14. David 11/10/2015 at 12:13 am #

    Amazing mountain biking and cycling roads in Karkonosze National Park in Poland. Cycling roads in some parts can go over the top of the mountains. You’ll need some stamina to get there though 🙂

    http://www.mtbtreks.com/mountain-biking-pictures-sudety-karkonosze-national-park-poland/

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