For some, Europe serves as the epicentre of exceptional food and wine. Sure, you can get unlucky and be drawn in by the typical tourist trap destinations where the food and drinks are downright overpriced and underwhelming.
But the trick, of course, is to be in the know, which is where we come in. We have compiled a short list of some of the top places to travel to or stop off at for some incredible gastronomic experiences. So while you are cycling Europe, fuel up in some of these exceptional destinations:
Germany has some incredible cycling routes for those that enjoy both the off-road trails and on-road routes and as we all know, cycling is a great way to fully experience any country (for some information on routes click here). Perhaps not quite what you had in mind when you dreamed about cycling Europe, our suggested experience is a little different. When stopping off in one of the bigger cities (such as Munich or Berlin) give your pride and joy a bit of a break and instead hop on a ‘beer bike’ with the rest of your cycling buddies. It’s a great way to see the city, bond with your mates and… well, drink some good German beer. And because you are not solely in control and it doesn’t go very fast, it’s a pretty safe way to go about it. If you are worried about a training regime, convince yourself to enjoy it anyway because technically, you are still pedalling.
If that doesn’t appeal, enjoy some authentic wiener schnitzel or indulge in some satisfying currywurst during pit stops to keep your energy up, and end off a day of cycling with a refreshing, ice cold beer. Alternatively, if you find yourself cycling Europe around Christmas (for the extremists out there who enjoy the cold), and are looking for something to warm you up a little post-cycle, then head to the nearest Christmas market for a glorious mug of Gluhwein — mulled wine — and a fresh pretzel.
For the Tour de France fans out there, it’s a no-brainer that while cycling Europe, a little trip to France would be a wonderful experience, and a great excuse to sample some of their finest food and wine along the way. And because France is one the biggest producers of wine in the whole world, we think the best routes to take would be those meandering through gorgeous meadows, fields of lavender and vineyards (for more information on routes click here) in the south of the country. Pair delectable wines with phenomenal food for the perfect break between long stretches of breathtaking countryside. Try a light rosé on a glorious summer’s day along with a picnic of the finest french cheeses, enjoy healthy crudités dipped into fresh patés, indulge in cold hams and fresh baguettes and visit one of the wineries to learn how the French make their wine, sampling some as you go. For a hearty dinner at the end of a successful day cycling and sightseeing, opt for an incredible bowl of Marseilles bouillabaisse.
When cycling Europe it’s nice to take a break from the normal routes and to try to do something unusual. The good news for those who enjoy unique cycling experiences the Netherlands has a little something for everyone — probably not too much of a surprise. Over and above the exceptional routes in the Netherlands (you can plan your own route here), there are some unusual offerings. One such offering being the ‘Limo bike’ — the only one of its kind in the whole world. Book it with your cycling friends and enjoy one of the many themes that this ‘party bike’ offers. For the foodies we recommend the ‘BBQ bike’— eating and cooking amazing barbequed food while having a drink and pedalling, what more would you want?
Alternatively, make the most of the cycling culture in the Netherlands and the fact that cycling is the primary means of transport in the bustling and beautiful city of Amsterdam. Take a break occasionally to indulge in some bitterballen (delicious savoury bites of meaty goodness), poffertjes (fluffy, mini pancakes dusted with icing sugar) or stroopwafels (two biscuit-like ‘waffles’ with caramel between them), and, of course, there is nothing like a refreshing Heineken after a long day of cycling!
There are no two ways about it: Spain has everything you could ever want as a cyclist, and in some parts of Spain, like along the Costa Blanca where they enjoy over 300 days of sunshine a year, it’s a cyclist paradise all year round. When cycling Europe, we highly recommend putting the Costa Blanca, and specifically Calpe, high up on your list of priorities. From beautiful roads overlooking the Mediterranean to incredible climbs, perfect off-road trails and scenic passes, the area provides and abundance of choice. For more information on some of the area’s best routes click here.
Then there’s the incredible fresh (and healthy) cuisine that is typical of the region and phenomenal accommodation that cater for cyclists — it’s an absolute dream. Enjoy a jug of sangria (red wine and orange juice with pieces of fresh fruit) with friends on a summer’s day after a day out on the road, indulge in a mouthwatering seafood paella (this is the region that paella comes from originally), opt for some light tapas on little rest stops, savour the incredible flavour of red prawns from Denia, try the incredible Spanish artichokes and for a little dose of energy try the nougat-esque (but a lot harder in consistency) Turron and the amazing doughnut-type treat Bunyols. Imagine ending off a satisfying day of cycling by sipping on a refreshing cocktail overlooking the cerulean Mediterranean sea with the perfect views of the Ifach rock — you just don’t get better than that.
If a cycling trip to Calpe sounds like the ideal getaway while cycling Europe, then contact us to book at stay at one of our prestigious hotels in Calpe that both cater for and welcome cyclists. Our friendly and helpful staff will be happy to go above and beyond to help you with any of your cycling needs.