Finding the best cycling routes in Europe can be tricky. There are so many to choose from that it can be quite overwhelming.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of what are, in our opinion, the best long distance cycling routes Europe has to offer.

We hope it will help you narrow down where you might want to travel next on your bike if you want to cycle across Europe. All the routes we’ve selected are:

  • in Europe, excluding the UK
  • long-distance, which means they will take multiple days to ride
  • possible on a road or gravel bike (you may prefer a gravel bike for comfort/flexibility and the option to fit panniers)

So read on and decide where your bike will take you next.

Read these article for info on preparing for long rides and training for long rides.

This article includes details of products and/or services that we have used ourselves or which we would consider using. Some are paid features or include affiliate links where if you click on a link and make a booking or buy something, we may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please read our disclosure policy for further information.

All metrics in this article are approximate.

In the interests of complete transparency, we haven’t (yet!) cycled all of the routes/events in this article. If you have ridden any of these, let us know in the comments below!

France cycling routes

London to Paris cycle route

  • Distance: London, England and Paris, France
  • Start/finish: 470 kilometres
  • Surface: Road and greenways

The London to Paris bike ride is an iconic ride – one of the true epic bike rides of Europe. There are many different ways to ride this route, but one of the best-known is the Avenue Verte. Beginning in London, it takes in the sights as you head south towards the coast, where a ferry shuttles you across the Channel. From there, you ride through quiet towns into the bustling capital of France, Paris.

Although you can use a road bike on this route, we’d recommend fitting some wide tyres to deal with the greenways, as you may encounter some gravel.  You can also do this route in reverse, for the Paris to London bike ride. While not the longest, it’s still one of the best cycle touring routes Europe can offer.

Best European cycle routes - bridge over River Seine on London to Paris cycle routeRiver Seine near the Avenue Verte
Cycling London to Paris is one of the best cycling routes in EuropePart of the London to Paris Avenue Verte

More info

Published 12 March 2018.

272 pages.

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Published 3 April 2017.

521 pages.

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Veloscenic cycle route

  • Distance: 450 kilometres
  • Start/finish: Paris, France and Mont St-Michel, France
  • Surface: Road and greenways

The Veloscenic cycle route is one of the best cycling routes in France, with its easy riding and long stretches of greenways.

It’s perfect for those looking to see the sights often missed on other French cycling routes, including the Eiffel Tower and the Bay of the Mont St-Michel.

The route is ideal for laid-back family cycling holidays in Europe.  It’s well signposted and has plenty of accommodation along the route called Accueil Vélo. In English, this means ‘cyclists welcome’. If you’re keen on finding good cycling routes in France for all abilities, then the Veloscenic route is certainly one to read up on. If you want the best flat cycle routes in Europe, this is one to consider – it’s not completely flat, but it’s very gentle.

More info

Published 26 February 2018.

128 pages.

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Route des Grandes Alpes

  • Distance: 710 kilometers
  • Start/finish: Geneva, Switzerland to Nice, France
  • Surface: Road

The Route des Grandes Alpes is a really tough route and certainly earns its position on our list of the best cycle routes in Europe.

Beginning in Geneva, before heading south to Nice, riders take in the panoramic views of some of the most famous cycling routes (and climbs) in the world.

Over 18 mountain passes and a leg-straining 17,000 metres of climbing, this is not a route for the faint-hearted.

There are tour companies who specialise in taking the hassle out of these trips so you can focus on riding the best long distance bicycle routes and soaking in the glorious alpine views.

It’s a brilliant chance to tick off some of those bucket list cols you might not otherwise get the chance to ride, and really put your climbing legs to the test. But don’t forget to bring some extra gearing! You can’t tackle the best bicycle routes in Europe without being properly prepared, after all.

More info

Read out in-depth guide to the Route des Grandes Alpes for more information.

Descent Galibier, Alps, FranceDescent of the Galibier on the Route des Grandes Alpes (credit: Velorizons)
Col de l'IseranCol de l’Iseran on the Route des Grandes Alpes (credit: Velorizons)

Published 24 April 2017.

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Trans Pyrenees

  • Distance: 1,100 kilometres
  • Start/finish: Llançà, Spain and San Sebastian, Spain
  • Surface: Road

The Trans Pyrenees is one of the most well-known and best cycling routes Europe has to offer. If you want epic bike rides in Europe, look no further!

Most people create a route from the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean coast and ride it as a supported or self-supported ride. The statistics above are based on the route described in our article on the Trans Pyrenees (here).

Lost Dot, the same company that runs the Transcontinental race, also runs an event in the region. Riders are given checkpoints and parcours to ride rather than a set route. This gives riders the freedom to test their navigation and route plotting skills on top of the already massive challenge in front of them.

These great long distance cycling routes in Europe are fantastic challenges for hardcore cyclists who want to experience bikepacking and being self-sufficient on the bike across some of the prettiest (and most challenging) landscapes on the continent.

More info

Find out more about the Trans Pyrenees here.


Print of Trans PyreneesExample map of your Trans Pyrenees ride

If you want something to remind you of your Trans Pyrenees, check out these maps.

  • Upload a GPX file or connect to Strava
  • Use the map builder to create the print – you can alter the size, colour and text
  • Check a preview before it’s printed and sent to you.

More info here. Prices start at £35.

Belgium and Netherlands cycling routes

Flanders cycle loop, Belgium

  • Distance: 952 kilometres
  • Start/finish: Nieuwpoort, Belgium (circular)
  • Surface: Road

Belgium is steeped in cycling history and provides some of the best cycling Europe has to offer. The country is home to professional heroes such as Eddy Merckx and Lotte Kopecky, and also some of the toughest cobbled climbs and harshest terrain there is.

The Flanders cycle loop takes in a long loop of Belgium, exploring each corner of Flanders. It’s 952 kilometres long and has 5,155 metres of climbing on offer. The key thing about this route is enjoying your surroundings.

Belgium offers some of the best bike rides in Europe, and this route demonstrates why – taking in some of the picturesque towns and cities and undulating routes around the Flanders region. The country is also great for flatter Europe bike routes, but this route shows there are still plenty of climbing challenges available, too.

More info

Our article on planning a cycling holiday in Belgium and our guide to cycling Flanders should be useful.

Zuider Zee route, Netherlands

  • Distance: 440 kilometres
  • Start/finish: Enkhuizen, Netherlands (circular)
  • Surface: Road and cycle paths

One of the most popular Europe cycling routes is the Zuiderzee (otherwise known as the Ijsselmeer Tour) in the Netherlands. It traverses around the Ijsselmeer lake, which was created after the closing of the south sea (Zuiderzee) by a dam. The dam is part of the route and is 37 kilometres long!

The Netherlands is well known for its bike-friendly culture. The Zuiderzee route combines their official cycle routes, LF21, LF22 and LF23 to create one of the best long-distance cycle routes Europe has to offer. It is quite flat and is great for beginners if you don’t want to ride the full route.

Spain and Portugal cycling routes

Camino de Santiago cycle route, Spain

  • Distance: 930 kilometres (based on the most popular route, known as the ‘French Way’)
  • Start/finish: Orreaga-Roncesvalles, Spain and Santiago de Compostela
  • Surface: Road and gravel

Cycling the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of Saint James as it’s also known, is a less traditional way of approaching this pilgrimage. Typically, hikers adorn the trails, but we think cycling is a much more time-efficient and enjoyable way to do it.

There are five recognised Camino de Santiago cycling routes to choose from, all varying in starting place and thus length. But, whichever one you choose, you’ll be riding one of the most historic cycle routes Europe has to offer.

To get your Compostela, or your accreditation to certify you have completed the Camino de Santiago by bike, you need to ride at least 200km of this long distance cycle route.

Given that the terrain is split between gravel and road, the best bike for the Camino de Santiago is either a wide tyre gravel/touring bike or a lightweight mountain bike. With proper preparation and choosing the right time of year, this is easily one of the best cycle trips in Europe.

More info

Published 8 March 2019.

264 pages.

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N2 road, Portugal

  • Distance: 739 kilometres
  • Start/finish: Chaves, Portugal and Faro, Portugal
  • Surface: Road

The N2 road in Portugal isn’t just one of the most well known known Portugal cycling routes, it’s also becoming one of the best European cycle routes full stop.

Beginning in Chaves in the North, riders travel 739-kilometres south over undulating terrain and through stunning scenery to reach Faro.

While many people immediately look further east when planning their Europe bicycle routes, don’t overlook Portugal, which is home to some of the best bike trails in Europe overall.

More info

If you’d like to know more about these bike tour routes, read our new article about the N2 road here and discover one of the best European cycling routes. Our guide on cycling the Algarve might also be useful.

Italy and Slovenia cycling routes

Via Francigena cycle route, Italy

  • Distance: 1,030 kilometres
  • Start/finish: Great Saint Bernardo Pass, Switzerland and Roma, Italy
  • Surface: Road and unpaved

The Via Francigena bike route is steeped in history and is one of the best known long distance cycling routes in Italy.

It begins on the Swiss-Italian border and travels south towards Rome, taking in both asphalt and off-road terrain. Following the route is relatively simple, with the places to cycle carefully mapped throughout Italy with blue and white signs.

There are a few ways to tackle this route, including one of the EuroVelo routes. It’s recognised under the EuroVelo route 5 banner and begins in Canterbury, England, before heading across Europe to Rome. It is based on a historic 3,000-kilometre journey taken by Sigeric the Serious to meet the Pope in 990AD and has resulted in one of the best long distance cycle routes Europe offers.

Tour of Slovenia’s Julian Alps

  • Distance: 324 kilometres
  • Start/finish: Neblo, Slovenia and Bohinjska Bistrica
  • Surface: Road

The Julian Alps are some of Slovenia’s best-kept secrets. On this loop, you’ll ride 324 kilometres of challenging terrain and beautiful scenery.

The Tour of the Julian Alps is one of many Slovenia cycling routes that provide jaw-dropping views. It may not be the longest distance, but the rewarding landscapes make it one of the best bike routes Europe has tucked away – a true hidden gem.

More info

For GPX files and more in-depth detail, read our guide to cycling in Slovenia here.

Wildflower meadows while cycling in SloveniaWildflower meadows in Slovenia’s Julian Alps
Two cyclists admiring Lake Bled in SloveniaAdmiring Lake Bled

Multi-country European cycling routes

EuroVelo cycling routes are an indispensable resource for finding biking routes in Europe; they have worked over many years to create a dense network of routes for cycling across Europe.

One of the great things about the EuroVelo cycling routes is that they are well signposted and easily followed to help ensure you have a successful trip cycling through Europe.

Atlantic-Black Sea cycle route

  • Distance: 4,450 kilometres
  • Start/finish: Nantes, France and Constanța, Romania
  • Surface: Road

The Atlantic-Black Sea cycle route, EuroVelo 6, is among the most scenic cycling routes Europe has.

It travels from western France all the way across Europe to the city of Constanța in Romania. It takes in beautiful countryside like the Loire Valley in France and historic cities like Vienna and Budapest, making it one of the most popular EuroVelo routes there is.

It’s not for the faint-hearted as it’s 4,450 kilometres in length, but the reward is knowing you’ve cycled one of the best cycle routes Europe has to offer – and a contender for best EuroVelo route too.

Rhine cycle route

  • Distance: 1,500 kilometres
  • Start/finish: Andermatt, Switzerland and Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Surface: Road

The Rhine cycle route is part of EuroVelo route 15.

Beginning in Andermatt, Switzerland, riders get to see the Rhine from ‘source to sea’ firsthand.

From Lake Toma in Switzerland, the route takes you north, along the Rhine River, through France, past Lake Constance in Germany and all the way to the Rhine Delta at the North Sea in the Netherlands.

While it’s not quite as popular a bike route as some of the others listed here, cycling the Rhine is special as you get to travel with the water. It’s suitable for road bikes and covers a distance of 1,500 kilometres. All the while, riders take in plenty of culture and picturesque surroundings.  As with other EuroVelo road biking routes, it’s well signposted and easy to follow.

More info

Published 10 May 2018.

312 pages.

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Danube cycle path

  • Distance: 1,200 kilometres
  • Start/finish: Donaueschingen, Germany and Budapest, Hungary
  • Surface: Road and cycle path

The Danube cycle path is a very popular route, with scenic riverside views and leisurely towpath riding.

Beginning in Donaueschingen, riders follow the Danube river, passing through Germany and Austria before eventually reaching the capital of Hungary, Budapest.

If you’re into your adventure cycling routes, it’s good to know that this cycle path is well-maintained and allows riders to create their own itineraries by visiting towns and places just off the route. Places where riders can stop and rent pergolas, for example, are just part of the charm.

The river continues all the way to Romania, where it becomes part of the Black Sea, but the paths past the Budapest point are not as well developed for cycling. Up to that point though, it’s one of the best bike rides Europe offers alongside one of its longest rivers.

More info

Published 27 January 2015.

224 pages (Volume 1).

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Published 4 February 2016.

288 pages (Volume 2).

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Moselle cycle route

  • Distance: 512 kilometres
  • Start/finish: Bussang, France and Koblenz, Germany
  • Surface: Off-road but mainly well-paved cycle tracks

One of many bicycle routes in Europe that follows a river is the Moselle cycle route. It’s 512 kilometres in length and begins in the Vosges mountains in France before heading north through Germany.

The route is entirely on cycle paths which are, for the most part, well-paved. This means a hybrid or road bike with wide tyres will be more than sufficient for this trip.

The infrastructure improves significantly once you reach Metz, the industrial capital of northeastern France. There is plenty to see and do along this route, and it’s quite easy going so you won’t be too tired to head out sightseeing after your ride.

More info

Published 15 August 2014.

208 pages.

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Baltic Sea Cycle/Iron Curtain Trail

  • Distance: 9,214 kilometres (Baltic Sea Route) and 10,000 kilometres (Iron Curtain Trail)
  • Start/finish: Turku, Finland and Kirkenes, Norway (Baltic Sea Route)/Rezovo, Bulgaria (Iron Curtain Trail)
  • Surface: Cycle path and road

The Baltic Sea Cycle and Iron Curtain Trails are part of the renowned EuroVelo cycling routes, which incorporate some of the best long distance bike rides across Europe. The EuroVelo routes connect Europe by bike through a network of long distance routes and are perfect for testing the legs over multiple days.

The Baltic Sea Cycle route is referenced as EuroVelo 10, and the Iron Curtain Trail is known as EuroVelo 13. The southern section of the Baltic Sea Cycle follows the same waypoints as the Iron Curtain Trail. They both travel through Estonia, Latvia and more, following the coast of the Baltic Sea, until the routes reach Germany. From there, the Iron Curtain Trail heads south, and the Baltic Sea Cycle heads north to continue following the Baltic Sea shoreline.

Partially drawn up to remember the history of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, the European Union has supported the growth and development of these bike tour routes not only to raise awareness but to support less popular regions with tourists.

Both the Baltic Sea Cycle and the Iron Curtain Trail can be ridden either as single long distance cycle rides or as smaller chunks to cater to more abilities and time frames. They’re ideal for those who enjoy a variety of landscapes and cultural exploration on their bicycles.

More info

Published 6 October 2016.

352 pages.

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Which long distance cycling routes in Europe have you tackled?

We’d love to hear your experiences and opinions on where to find the best cycling in Europe – share them in the comments below!

Likewise, let us know which are the best bike routes in Europe that you think we’ve missed from our list. We love to hear your thoughts!

Looking for more inspiration? Head to our multi-day route hub page. Alternatively, for our pick of the best cycling routes in the World, read this, and for our pick of the best cycling routes in the UK, read this. Or head to our destinations page where you’ll find guides to cycling destinations around the world.

Want to check travel advice before you go? If you live in the UK, the best place to start is the government’s travel website.

Want a personalised map to commemorate your long distance ride?

These cycling map prints are just the ticket.

  • You upload a GPX file or connect to Strava and find your ride (you can add multiple day rides to one map).
  • You use the map builder to create the print as you want it (you can alter the size, colour and text).
  • You submit all the details and are then sent a preview to check before it’s printed and sent to you.

More info here. Prices start at £35.

Books that will help continue your research

For more inspiration on the world’s greatest cycling rides, check out some of our favourite books that cover cycling Europe routes (you can find even more in this article!):

Published 1 September 2016.

328 pages

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Published 27 August 2020.

320 pages

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Published 9 August 2019.

320 pages

View on Amazon

Published 1 April 2021.

256 pages

View on Amazon

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Clare Dewey

Clare Dewey is a cyclist with a passion for travel. She set up in 2018 to help make it easy for cyclists to explore the world by bike. Today her mission is still inspiring cyclists to discover new places on two wheels – and doing what she can to make sure they have the best possible time while they’re there. Clare has visited 50+ destinations around the world, many of them by bike.

Last Reviewed: 01 December 2023

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6 Responses to “16 of the best European cycling routes”

  1. good morning ,
    i present myself an avid cyclist georges boueiz from Beirut Lebanon .
    we are a group of 7 avid cyclists ,that likes to have a private tour for 7 or 8 days with 6 days on the saddle .
    the profile that we are looking for is to climb every day between 1200 to 2000 meters of ascent with a soft day in the middle of those 6 days .
    we already had private tours in France , Italy , Slovenia , Croatia, Greece , Corsica , etc… .we are looking this year to ride in Spain in particular in the Spain mountains !
    we consider to land in Madrid around the 20th of May 2023 .we will go more into details later on .
    i will appreciate your feedback in this regard
    thank you

  2. Hello! My husband and I live in Alaska and would like to do a cycling trip in Europe. We have spent a few weeks in Switzerland years ago and loved it. We are also interested in Italy – Dolomites and Tuscany rolling hills/wine country. We are currently experiencing research and decision fatigue and not sure if we should have a base hotel/bnb and shuttle to the different areas or pay the large amount for an organized tour. We aren’t sure which tour companies are reputable. We would probably prefer a self guided, with some support, type of trip. That would give us flexibility. We were looking into this October but then realized that some tours are already sold out. We do not do well in heat so Sept. would probably not work for us. Thank you so much for any direction you can give us! K

    • Hi there, have just dropped you an email! (Do check your spam folder if it hasn’t arrived in your inbox already…)

  3. Hi,

    Just wanted to recommend the N2 route in Portugal, which 11 of us self supported riders completed 7 days ago. Chapeau for featuring the N2 here 👏

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