New routes, unique scenery, different cultures have a way of lifting you out of any cycling slump in no time. The obvious question, however, is: where? With the entire world to explore how do, you narrow it down to one place? Well, ask yourself what your priorities? If it’s adrenaline, hard graft and sore muscles that motivate you, perhaps take a look at this list of cycling routes.
But if it’s new horizons, exceptional food, awe-inspiring history, fascinating cultures that do it for you when you are cycling, then check out our top destinations for leisure cycling in Europe:
There are few places on earth that are as magnificent as Tuscany with its rolling hills and farmlands lined with poplars. Its beautiful scenery alone (and the incredible opportunity for rides through the romantic Tuscan landscapes) are enough for many cyclists dreaming of cycling in Europe to book their tickets. Even if you aren’t one for art, architecture and wine, the chances are that it will still win you over much like it did the many Renaissance artists it inspired. But more than beautiful scenery, art, wine and history Tuscany has an unrivalled and vivacious spirit that seems to have transcended time and space. There are no two ways about it; here you will have a unique experience of Italy one that is characterised by good food and warm, welcoming people who are incredibly proud of their heritage. Be prepared for a good few climbs as Tuscany is a hilly terrain best cycled in the shoulder seasons when the weather is mild.
The Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
Croatia isn’t widely known for its cycling culture but has some unbelievable cycling opportunities for those who are willing to stop here when cycling in Europe. A 250 km stretch of coastal road passes unparalleled beaches, towns of different origins (namely Byzantine, Ottoman and Slavic). Varying gradients and route choices make the Dalmatian Coast and Croatia in general, a fantastic destination for a cycling holiday ideal for cyclists of varying abilities. For those who value experiences off the bike as much as those on it, Croatia has everything from wonderful Adriatic Islands to the historical wonders that the UNESCO World Heritage Site and ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ Dubrovnik offers. This is a popular starting point for those cyclists looking to do a tour of Croatia where both bikes and boats are enjoyed. But there is ample opportunity for solo travel and self-curated travel.
A trip to the Mediterranean island of Corsica while cycling in Europe will have you thinking that you have been transported back in time. There are none of the marks of major cities: traffic, skyscrapers and Mcdonald's outlets – in fact, it has retained its old-world charm with well-preserved fishing towns, untouched landscapes and old fortresses. This makes it a great destination for those wanting to escape the manic nature of city living as well as those who enjoy a good dose of history, culture and gorgeous scenery on their cycling holidays. But this destination is not one for the unfit, with undulating hills and cliffsides, training for this type of landscape is highly recommended. A hard day of cycling will be well rewarded with beautiful views and flavoursome post-cycle meals.
For those with a penchant for Greek history when cycling Europe this is the destination you should focus on. Travel to the land of Jason and the Argonauts, King Leonidas and Agamemnon, where you and your trusty steed (bike) are able to explore Olympia, Mycenae and Sparta and marvel at the ancient ruins of bygone eras – built in honour of the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus. This is a mystical place where past and present collide and is sure to dazzle the history buffs among you as well as those who thrive on magical scenery. Take one of the guided tours or do it at your own pace, but like most other destinations, the best time to visit is during the shoulder months.
Eager to find out what other incredible options are out there when it comes to cycling in Europe? Then download our guide: 15 Top European Cycling Destinations
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