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Best Cycle Routes in Europe

Written by Bethany McAtee on 5th September, 2019

Did you know that the best cycle routes in Europe are just on your doorstep? Whether you want epic climbs, culture or a place to relax and ride, Europe has it all. What’s more, the cycle routes in Mallorca and the Canary Islands are basked in sunshine even in winter! Discover your next cycling destination from what we at Love Velo think are the best cycle routes in Europe…

Mallorca – Tramuntana Mountains

Hailed the mecca of cycling, British cyclists flock to Mallorca in droves. It is the perfect place to escape the UK’s rainy days and pot-holed roads. The most famous area to cycle in Mallorca is the Tramuntana Mountains, which is home to the iconic Sa Colabra climb. Pristine roads twist you past coastal views peeping through the surrounding beige, jagged peaks. Other notable climbs such as Puig Major and Coll de Soller offer a similar experience, however each with their own character.Mallorca mountain cyclingThe route to Sa Colabra is without a doubt, one of the best cycle routes in Europe. What goes down must go up is certainly the case with this climb. You first climb 685m to the top of Sa Colabra (no, you’re not finished yet!), then downhill to the coast. The actual Sa Colabra climb begins here, and takes you 9.5km at a hardy 7% average gradient back to the Sa Colabra peak. As the gateway to the Tramuntana Mountains, we recommend that you base yourself in Port Pollenca. After all, the famous Cap Formentor climb is only 20km away from here too…

Italy – Passo Stelvio

Tucked into the North East of Italy, bordering Switzerland, is the Passo Stelvio. Also known as, hairpin heaven. What used to be on the frontline of World War I fighting, is now a road offering a grueling yet beautiful cycle route. The 70 hairpins snaking up 48km of road has been used in the Giro d’Italia, as has its neighbouring climbs, Gavia and Mortirolo. From the summit looking down, the mountainous landscape hugs the winding road, providing a spectacular landscape of the climb you’ve just accomplished. Passo Stelvio cycleTo reach the summit, there are 3 ways of approaching, however in our opinion, the best cycle route is from Bormio. Reaching Stelvio from Bormio involves 22km of ascent at an average gradient of 7%. Hard is an understatement. Which is why we suggest doing the ascent twice in one day! After descending Stelvio from Bormio, say hello to Switzerland before making a U-turn to Prato for your second ascent of Stelvio. Trust us, the scenery is definitely worth the effort.

France – Loire Valley

Behold, an 800km flat, traffic-free cycle path extending from Nevers in Central France, to Mindin on the Western Coast. The cycle paths follow the Loire River, making for scenic, peaceful cycling through traditional French villages and towns. Absolutely perfect for families or less experienced cyclists. Our favourite route along the Loire Valley is from Beaugency to Amboise over 4 nights, however due to the vast length there are no restrictions!loire valley chateau chambordThe Loire Valley is Chateaux country, and a highlight of this route is the Chateau Chambord. A grand Renaissance architectural masterpiece, the Chateau Chambord has been favoured by royalty since 1519 when it was built. For those who like fun trivia, it took 15 years to be built, and 3.5 million was spent on the gardens alone! Make sure to visit the Chateau Chambord on your way from Beaugency to Blois and discover why we think the Loire Valley is one of the best cycle routes in Europe. 

Tenerife – Mount Teide

If you’ve missed out on a sunny cycling holiday this summer, do not fret. Tenerife is just a 4.5 hour flight away from London (fairly cheap flights mind you), and is 21 degrees celcius in December! Amongst the barren, volcanic landscape you’ll find serious cyclists dotted about on the smooth roads. Because Tenerife, like all of the Canary Islands, is basically a volcano, the routes here are naturally primed for altitude training. cycling mount teideMount Teide, a 2100m volcano, towers over the island tempting any cyclist wanting a challenge to hit the saddle. Depending on where you stay on the island, the route up to Mount Teide can change slightly. Although, wherever you stay, whether it is Costa Adeje or Los Cristianos, you’ll be sure to ascend at least 2500m for 50km. In addition to the glorious climb, we love Mount Teide simply because the roads are just divine. There’s a reason pro teams such as Ineos and BMC have chosen Tenerife for training camps!

Holland – All over!

Intricately woven into Holland’s lifestyle is a 32,000km network of traffic free cycle paths. Unlike many countries, cyclists can ride their bikes without worrying for their safety in cities, the countryside and national parks. Perfect for families and less experienced cyclists! Because in Holland cycling is more popular than driving, and the cycle paths are so interconnected, you are free to cycle anywhere. holland cyclingTo explore Hollands culture, we’d recommend looping from Amsterdam down to Harleem, Leiden and Delft. There are an abundance of museums in Amsterdam, and you’ll experience the tulips and iconic windmills as you cycle into the countryside. Alternatively, base yourself at the beaches where your routes will lead you on an adventure past sand dunes and delta works. If you’d like to learn more about Holland’s diverse cycle routes, check out our blog here. 

Decided where you want to cycle? These are just some of the best cycle routes in Europe, and there are many more! Why not give our cycling specialists a call to see where your next cycling holiday will be?