Feeling like your morning cycle commute isn’t quite doing it for you? Want to change up your scenery, swap the road for the dirt path, really put your skills and fitness to the test? You might, then, consider hitting up a cycling spot in Europe..
But there’s so many places to choose from!
We hear you – Europe offers an incredibly diverse range of trails and spots for the adventurous cyclist, and choosing the right one can be a little daunting. So, we’ve collated a few locations below that we think you should consider – remember, though, to always shoot for a trail that you think you could realistically tackle.
Ambition and aspiration are all well and good, but they won’t help you much when you’re stranded in the middle-of-nowhere in a foreign country, exhausted, chaffed, and sunburnt. With that said, let’s take a look at some beautiful cycling spots:
Belgium – Flanders
Self-styled as a “paradise for cyclists”, Flanders offers routes and trails for all kinds of abilities, ages and levels of expertise.
If you’re looking for a more scenic, sight-seeing cycle trip, you’ll be happy to know that Flanders offers Belgium’s best of wholesome towns, medieval architecture, museums, quaint villages and even castles.
Nature-lovers can cycle on through the lovely countryside, down the picturesque canals and rivers, through woodland trails, and out into expansive national parks.
For the more serious cyclists, there are a variety of sport-level routes which will truly test your endurance. There’s also the Cycle Museum and the Tour of Flanders Museum where you can brush up on your cycling history.
Italy – Dolomites
Do you like to sweat? Do you like calf-crushing inclines that seemingly never end? Then the Dolomites might just be your perfect cycling spot.
With scenic views made up of towering mountains and sprawling green lands, Italy is home to some of the most popular cycling routes in Europe. And for good reason!
Whilst you might question yourself several times as to why you chose to take on the intense climbs, when you finally reach the peak of your route – you’ll know exactly why.
They say the views from the top of the Dolomite trails make the whole, adrenaline-filled journey completely worth it. We tend to agree.
Spain – Andalucia
Here’s where you mountain bikers should start to get excited. Andalucia is world-famous within the cycling community for housing the very best, year-round trails.
Catering to all levels of mountain biking, this Spanish location is rife with off-road experiences, free riding expanses, cross-country trails and single-track trails. And the best part? You’ll truly be out there, in the heart of wild country, where true mountain biking should take place.
France – Alpe d’Huez
Perhaps one of the most famous climbs due to its significance in the Tour De France, Alpe d’Huez is, as you might expect, a pretty exhausting and gruelling trial for cyclists.
Whilst you don’t necessarily need to be a world-class athlete to complete it, you should be in pretty decent shape before you give this one a go.
You should also be aware that the descents can get pretty fierce – so whilst you’ll want to take in those gorgeous views, make sure you keep your eyes where they should be when you take on those hills.
If you’re planning a cycling holiday during the winter time, Greece has you covered. Crete offers warm and comfortable temperatures during the time when most other places will have you shivering in your seat, and is very rich in ancient historic sites – from ruins to old cemeteries.
Crete is a great spot for cyclists. It’s a small island, so you’re never too far from a scenic beach, but it also boasts a surprising amount of wildlands, devoid of people for the most part and completely ready for the adventurous rider to take on.
Plus, the trails and roads offer incredible opportunities to really pick up some speed – the kind you just can’t get on a city road packed with cars.
This list should keep you busy for a while, and the variety of challenges posed in each spot will really push your limits and ensure that you return home a better, fitter cyclist with more than a few crazy stories to tell.
Remember, though – it’s not all about gruelling challenges and heroic cycling feats! Be sure to take time to enjoy your chosen spot. Take in the culture, meet the local people, try to appreciate the land for its uniqueness.
And relax! It’s a holiday, after all – and if you push yourself too much, you might end up with an injury which will cut your trip short. I recommend investing in a camping hammock, which you can deploy on a whim at any time. When you stop off at that golden beach or at the peak of that huge mountain, you’ll definitely wish you brought your hammock.
Author Bio: Hi, I’m Mike and I’m currently cycling around SE Asia. When I’m not weaving my way through traffic I’m running my bike blog – Pinch-Flat. Check it out!
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