Europe packs a lot of treats for pedal-powered tourists. The Old Continent is home to some of the most beautiful cycling trails. From sapphire coasts to cloud-topped cols, here are Europe’s best destinations for cycling holidays.
About 62 miles from Barcelona lies one of the most beloved destinations of professional cyclists. Many world-famous riders have chosen to make it their permanent base.
With so many pro cyclists living there, you can rest assured the infrastructure in the region is perfect for your two wheels.
With guaranteed parking for your bike almost anywhere you go and smooth roads that lead to breathtaking sights and historic landmarks, Girona is a true biking paradise.
No matter your riding style, you’ll find the perfect trail for you in the Girona region. There are plenty of things to see and do in the surrounding area.
You can ride to the Banyoles and take a cool dip in the lake or you can head to Rocacorba mountain and enjoy a breathtaking view. Thanks to its diverse terrain, wonderful climate, and Mediterranean cuisine, Girona really allows you to enjoy all the many benefits of cycling.
Tuscans take cycling very seriously—it is a part of their DNA. Italian cycling legends such as Bartali and Coppi have a saint-like status in the region. It is the heartland of Italian cycling.
If you are a mountain biker, you can head to Isola d’Elba, a mountainous island with plenty of up and down slopes.
If you are up for a more vintage adventure, Eroica may be the perfect trail for you. It offers many stops where you can sample Tuscan specialties.
Exploring the Apuan Alps in Tuscany on your bike is a great way to experience both the beauty and history of the region. There, you can find a few scenic and exciting roads that lead through serene and picturesque villages.
Some places in Tuscany do not have proper signage but are still worth exploring. You can always bring a map, but hiring a local guide may even be a better idea, as they can lead you through Tuscany’s hidden roads that not so many tourists get to explore.
With a unique culture, agreeable climate, excellent food, hugely varied scenery, beautiful beaches, and quiet back roads, Corsica has everything a cyclist can wish for.
The coast is perfect for leisurely rides, while inland trails are ideal for those who want something more challenging. Most riders go to the island in May and July, but any time between early March and late October is great for cycling in Corsica.
Bastia, the capital of the Upper Corsica, is a great base for exploring the island. The old town offers a great view of the surrounding scenery and the Mediterranean sea. The old port is a great place to treat yourself to a nice dinner after a long day’s ride.
You can ride through the Desert Des Agriates and explore mountain villages, vineyards, and numerous olive groves. The sparsely populated northern peninsular, Cap Corse, is a great place to escape the crowds and enjoy a peaceful cruise on your two wheels.
Majorca is known as the Mecca of cycling. The people of this lovely Spanish island had understood the potential of cycling long before it became a popular sport.
There are riders queuing up everywhere on the island. It’s like a big ski resort, but for cyclists. However, if you prefer something quieter, you can choose the town of Sóller as your base.
There are options for every type of cyclist on the island. The east and south parts of Majorca are relatively flat, while the west and north parts of the island are mountainous.
Majorca is a great place for cycling out of season, thanks to its temperate Mediterranean climate. Along the best routes, there are many gorgeous beaches, world-famous eateries, and excellent hotels, so designing an itinerary will be a delight.
Inland, there are plenty of traffic-free farm roads and beautiful mountain lodges. Anywhere between the towns of Pollensa and Alcudia, you can start the classic loop of Pollenca & Sa Batalla, a personal favorite of many cyclists who come to the island.
If you are not up for a challenge, Palma to Arenal is a beautiful short and flat route that offers fantastic views of the old town of Palma.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
In fact, scratch that—the whole country of the Netherlands is one big cycling holiday destination. With more than 22,000 miles of bicycle paths, the country is the ultimate destination for cycling.
In Amsterdam alone, there are more than 800,000 bicycles. In fact, there are more bikes than cars in the city.
Granted, an urban, hectic setting of a European metropolis may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of a cycling holiday, but do know that, on the roads of this bicycle kingdom, cyclists are treated like royalty.
Without a doubt, Amsterdam is the most bike-friendly city in the world, and it’s a perfect base for exploring the rest of the country. It also has a slow paced cycling culture that is unique and sets itself apart from places like London, as covered by Craft Cadence, a cycling accessories startup. And, since Dutch trains are bike-friendly as well, you have countless itinerary options.
The country has a mild climate, wonderful infrastructure, flat landscape, and friendly locals who are always ready to help—you’ll never want to get off your bike.
Jordaan, one of Amsterdam’s most famous neighborhoods, offers many picturesque canal routes. You can also take the coastal route outside the city and ride past beautiful dunes, beaches, and seaside resorts.
Many cyclists choose to include the quaint cheese town of Edam or the cute fishing village of Volendam in their Amsterdam itineraries. You can also pedal to the medieval castle of Muiderslot or the world-famous windmills at Zaanse Schans.
If you want to explore the natural beauties of the country, you can take your bike to the Hoge Veluwe national park.
There, you can criss-cross through beautiful deciduous forests, large sand drifts, and fragrant pinewoods. If you are lucky, you may spot a mouflon, badger, fox or wild boar during your ride.
Cycling the Camino
Each of these cycling holidays destinations offers fantastic trails you can explore for days on end. Whether you like short leisurely rides or challenging tours, Europe has the perfect route for you, and each of these destinations can be the base that will lead you to it.
Check out the best beginner backpacking trails in California as well.
I’ve had the privilege of hiking the Camino de Santiago twice, walking up Ben Nevis, and spending three weeks hiking in the Candian Rockies. I love the peace that comes from getting out of the cities I have lived in to enjoy hikes of all lengths in various countries.