The thing about secrets, especially in the internet age we find ourselves in, is that everyone seems to know about them. But when the melancholy over your normal routes sets in and you start looking for new and exciting routes to explore, the questions remains, where do you turn?
We have gone the distance for you and compiled a short list on some of the best ‘secret’ routes and destinations to explore when cycling Europe — or perhaps those that you may not have thought of before. There are routes for mountain bike enthusiasts and for those that prefer to stick to tar. If you are up for an adventure and eager to get out of the UK, these five cycling routes may be just what you need.
County Fermanagh, Ireland
County Fermanagh in Northern Ireand with its North West Cycle Trail, according to Ireland.com’s article, is one of the “best kept secrets” in the area. If cycling through the postcard-perfect scenery of Ireland alone is not enough to tempt you, then picture a trail that will transport you back in time as you meander through awe-inspiring scenery, lakelands and medieval castles. No matter which routes you decide to take on the approximately 320 km loop, you are bound to have a memorable experience. “Winding country roads, tiny villages and bustling towns and cities make up many of Ireland’s cycle routes. Not to mention the surrounding scenery of mountains, lakes and coastlines” — why wouldn't you want to experience it? For additional trail options, please read the above article, as they give ample choice for some more lesser known cycling routes in Ireland.
Greece gets it’s fair share of attention: from it’s interesting past, it’s astonishing ancient architecture and its Mediterranean cuisine, to its idyllic islands — but less so as a cycling destination. But what better way to get a taste of what Greece has to offer from the comfort of your saddle? Peddle your way through Peloponnese and savour the scenery of a city that is quite literally what legends are made of. Not to mention the birthplace of the Olympic games. While many of the roads are not in the greatest condition and challenging, once you indulge in a post-cycle meal and sip on a glass of their finest local wine, you will realise that it is well worth going the distance.
Fjord offers some incredible options for those who enjoy a bit of a challenge while taking in exquisite scenery. It offers everything you could possibly want in terms of cycling. From road cycling to mountain biking through pine forests, incredible countryside and along mountain passes, Fjord is what cyclists’ dreams are made of. With an abundance of wildlife, scenic views and beautiful architecture, cycling through Fjord is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Enlisting the help of a guide is recommended as some of the routes are unmarked and the cycling industry is still very much in its infancy. Cycle from village to village, take in the views, traverse the forests, taste the local cuisine, enjoy post-cycle water sports or even enjoy some of the festivals that Norway has to offer, and you will find it not only a wonderful place to cycle, but one that is difficult to leave.
Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
Again, probably not your first go-to destination when contemplating where to venture to next when cycling Europe. However, it would be a big mistake not to consider it. This incredible country has so much diversity in terms of terrain and level of difficulty to suit any cyclist, and the Dalmatian coast is no exception. Take in the sight of the beaches, the azure waters of the Mediterranean, olive groves and picturesque towns as you enjoy a cycle along the 250 km of coastal road. For something a little different, combine cycling with island hopping, discovering each island by bike and returning to your yacht for some down time. Options for off-bike experiences are manifold and many of the cycling tours begin in Dubrovnik — now considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Costa Blanca, Spain
While Spain is perhaps one of the best known destinations on the list, no cycling Europe list would be complete without this absolute gem of a cycling spot. Cycling along the Costa Blanca is something special. Calpe provides ample choice when it comes to routes with varying levels of difficulty for both road bikers and mountain bikers, be sure to choose one that is inline with your level of expertise as some of the routes can be very challenging. Combine the choice for routes with the perfect climate (the Mediterranean climate makes for the perfect place for winter training) and delicious food — think paella and tasty tapas — and you have the perfect cycle destination. Take a dip in the ocean post-cycle, discover the different towns of Alicante, explore the Parc Penyal d'Ifac or take a trip out to sea on a yacht when you feel like a break from your bike. Between the climate, the diversity of routes on offer in Calpe and the ample offerings of the area, Costa Blanca has something for everyone and is an absolute must for any bike enthusiast cycling Europe.
If the mediterranean climate, incredible food, ease of access and ample choice of routes and activities appeals to you then look no further than the Costa Blanca. Bars and restaurants in abundance as well as an array of outdoor activities and some of the best beaches make it pure paradise. Contact us for our range of some of the best hotels in Costa Blanca and expert local advice to make your dream cycling trip absolutely perfect.