If you love cycling then you’re certainly going to want to head out on your two wheels this summer. Can you really resist hitting the road for a cycle tour? The good news is, cycling routes all across Europe have become considerably easier to navigate in the last 20 years or so, and they continue to improve. So rather than cycling on a country by country basis, you could consider conquering some of these routes:
The North Sea Cycle Route
This mammoth route goes through eight countries that all have coastlines touching the North Sea. Fortunately, some of the most scenic and accessible areas along the route are within the UK. The stretch in Scotland lasts around 750 miles, and goes as far as Shetland. Unfortunately, the direct connection with the next stage in Norway has been discontinued. But if you travel south to the other end in Harwich, England, then you’ll be able to get on a boat to continue the route through Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. This route is numbered EV12.
The Atlantic Coast Route
Numbered EV1, this route is 5,087 miles long, and you simply won’t be able to complete it in one go, so consider tackling certain sections at a time. This cycle route only goes through countries which have a coastline with the Atlantic Ocean, but doesn’t stick to the coast for its entire length. If you’re hooked on cycling, you’ll certainly want to conquer the route that starts in the Arctic Circle in Norway, and finishes up somewhere certainly a lot warmer in the south of Portugal.
The Pilgrims Route
Also starting in Norway, this route goes through seven countries and roughly follows a famous route used by Christian worshippers in the middle ages. Particularly in Spain, the main hiking trail known as ‘El Camino de Santiago’ (or The Way of St. James) has seen resurgence in popularity in recent years, ending in Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain, which is the same place the cycling route finishes. The route is 3,183 miles long and is numbered EV3.
The Iron Curtain Trail
Currently the longest of the long-distance cycle routes in Europe, the Iron Curtain Trail, or ICT, is a mega 6,500 miles. There are twenty nations that are part of the ICT project, and it was designed to mark where east met west during the Cold War. It starts in Norway, and finishes in Bulgaria at the Black Sea. Unfortunately, the entire route is not yet complete, but plans are being made to finish the links.
The Capitals Route
This route is a west-east link between Galway in Ireland and ending in Moscow. At just 3,400, the distance is shorter than you might think, and could easily be tackled in stages as it passes through some major cities with good air connections to all over Europe – Dublin, London, Berlin, and Moscow. This is numbered EV2.
EuroVelo is a network of long-distance cycle routes all over Europe. Some of them join existing bike routes, such as the National Cycle Network in Britain, so you can be guaranteed with good surface roads for cycle touring. The network is scheduled to be completed in 2020, by which time there will be nearly 45,000 miles of track. There are currently 14 existing routes, so what is stopping you from getting on your bike to give one a go?