For cycling enthusiasts and amateurs alike, Europe offers some of the most scenic biking routes in the world. You can cycle a 1000-year-old pilgrimage route in Italy, get distracted by Baroque palaces in Vienna, and admire dramatic Baltic seascapes. Here are seven of the most scenic biking routes in Europe.
1. Via Francigena, Italy
The longest signposted cycle route in Italy, the Via Francigena runs from the Great St Bernard Pass on the border with Switzerland to St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Once a pilgrimage route, it is over a thousand years old. The route takes riders through Tuscan landscapes and past medieval towns like San Gimignano. In fact, give yourself a couple of extra days just for photo stops, the occasional wine tasting, and to enjoy your grand entrance into Rome.
2. Danube Cycle Path
One of Europe’s first cycle paths, and still one of the most popular, the Danube Cycle Path winds along the Danube River from Germany all the way to the Black Sea. Riders can travel through 10 countries and are rewarded with many beautiful sights, from the Danube Loop, a natural wonder of Austria, to the Baroque palaces of Vienna. You could stop in Budapest and use its thermal water to ease aching limbs, though that shouldn’t be much of a problem as the route is relatively flat.
3. Cornish Coastal Way, England
Fresh sea air, small villages, and excellent seafood are all on offer along this route. There are various trails to choose from, ranging from 30 miles to 100 miles, passing popular seaside towns like St Ives and, for the romantic, along smugglers’ and wreckers’ paths. If the sun is shining, sandy coves and clear water will tempt a pit stop. You can finish the day off with well-earned fish and chips and an ice cream sandwich on the beach.
4. Camino Frances (Camino de Santiago)
The Camino Frances is the most popular part of the famous pilgrimage route Camino de Santiago. It’s 490-mile long and passes through major cities like Pamplona and León. It finishes, of course, in Santiago de Compostela, so you’ll find yourself traveling the route along with many pilgrims. Outside the cities, you’ll pass the mountainous landscapes of the Pyrenees, the vineyards of Rioja, and picturesque Spanish villages which make for good tapas stops.
5. Tauern Cycle Trail, Austria
This route starts at Gerlos Pass and ends in Salzburg, and because it covers several thousand feet in altitude, it’s not for the faint-hearted. However, spurring you along the 150-mile trail are views of Grossglockner Mountain, the Hohe Tauern National Park, Lake Zell reflecting the surrounding landscape, and the dramatic Krimml waterfall, one of the highest in Europe.
6. Baltic Sea Cycle
Nearly 5000 miles long, this route (also known as EuroVelo 10) passes through nine European countries following the coastline of the Baltic Sea. Through countries like Estonia, Finland, and Latvia you will be able to admire white sands and icy blue water from your saddle. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even ride over frozen lakes.
7. Adige Cycle Path, Italy
For mountainous scenery, Italy‘s northern region of Trentino Alto-Adige is hard to beat. And seeing as this route is downhill or flat almost all the way you can take your time to enjoy the view. It starts with the dramatic scenery of the Alps and the characteristic alpine city of Bolzano, goes down Lake Garda, and finishes in the romantic city of Verona.