Cycling Pros Reveal Europe’s Most Breathtaking Bike Routes:Two Wheels, Endless Thrills: Top Cyclists Map Out Europe’s Most Scenic Bike Paths
Cycling Pros Reveal Europe's Most Breathtaking Bike Routes:Two Wheels, Endless Thrills: Top Cyclists Map Out Europe's Most Scenic Bike Paths - Coast Through Croatia's Stunning Dalmatian Islands
With over 1,000 islands dotting its Adriatic coastline, Croatia is a cyclist's paradise. The Dalmatian Islands in particular offer stunning vistas and rugged terrain perfect for a biking adventure. As avid cyclist Rajiv Shaw notes, "Coasting along the Dalmatian coast was a dream. The islands are close enough that you can island-hop by bike, stopping to swim and explore little fishing villages along the way."
One of the most popular Dalmatian cycling routes is to start in the historic port city of Split. From there, you can take a ferry to Solta island and follow rugged coastal roads with breathtaking views of the sea and surrounding islands. Solta has quiet fishing villages like Stomorska where you can replenish calories with fresh seafood after a day of riding.
The next stop on many Dalmatian island itineraries is Brač island, famous for its white limestone and the iconic Zlatni Rat beach near Bol town. Danielle Troesch, who cycled here in June, says "the roads were smooth and views of the sea were insane. We did an out-and-back ride from Bol to see Zlatni Rat beach, and even biked up Vidova Gora mountain for incredible panoramic views."
For more ambitious cyclists, Korčula island is another fantastic option. At 96 miles long, circumnavigating Korčula takes 2-3 days and offers diverse landscapes from olive groves to vineyards to quiet sandy coves. On Korčula you can bike near Marco Polo's alleged birthplace in Korčula Town and spend the night in medieval villages like Lumbarda.
Finally, Mljet island is a tranquil escape as Croatia's greenest island. Nearly a third of Mljet is covered in forests and the island is home to Mljet National Park, where you can hike or cycle around two saltwater lakes. Andy Pirotti recommends seeing iconic sights like Odysseus Cave for a true taste of island life: "Mljet was my favorite Dalmatian island to explore by bike. It's just so lush and peaceful, worlds away from the bustle of the mainland."
What else is in this post?
- Cycling Pros Reveal Europe's Most Breathtaking Bike Routes:Two Wheels, Endless Thrills: Top Cyclists Map Out Europe's Most Scenic Bike Paths - Coast Through Croatia's Stunning Dalmatian Islands
- Cycling Pros Reveal Europe's Most Breathtaking Bike Routes:Two Wheels, Endless Thrills: Top Cyclists Map Out Europe's Most Scenic Bike Paths - Bike Through Bavaria's Fairytale Castles
- Cycling Pros Reveal Europe's Most Breathtaking Bike Routes:Two Wheels, Endless Thrills: Top Cyclists Map Out Europe's Most Scenic Bike Paths - Discover France's Majestic Loire Valley by Bicycle
- Cycling Pros Reveal Europe's Most Breathtaking Bike Routes:Two Wheels, Endless Thrills: Top Cyclists Map Out Europe's Most Scenic Bike Paths - Ride Along the Danube Through Vienna, Austria
- Cycling Pros Reveal Europe's Most Breathtaking Bike Routes:Two Wheels, Endless Thrills: Top Cyclists Map Out Europe's Most Scenic Bike Paths - Escape to the Tranquil Tuscan Countryside
- Cycling Pros Reveal Europe's Most Breathtaking Bike Routes:Two Wheels, Endless Thrills: Top Cyclists Map Out Europe's Most Scenic Bike Paths - Marvel at the Fjords While Cycling Norway's Atlantic Road
- Cycling Pros Reveal Europe's Most Breathtaking Bike Routes:Two Wheels, Endless Thrills: Top Cyclists Map Out Europe's Most Scenic Bike Paths - Experience the Drama of Spain's Rugged Coastlines
Cycling Pros Reveal Europe's Most Breathtaking Bike Routes:Two Wheels, Endless Thrills: Top Cyclists Map Out Europe's Most Scenic Bike Paths - Bike Through Bavaria's Fairytale Castles
Pedaling past Bavaria's storybook castles will make you feel like you've stepped into the pages of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. This southern German state is home to Neuschwanstein Castle, the Romanesque Revival masterpiece that inspired Walt Disney. Neuschwanstein is just one of many regal residences you'll encounter on a bike tour through this region of gingerbread houses and Alpine vistas.
Cycling pros rave about the Bavarian Castle Route which connects Füssen, Hohenschwangau, and Schwangau. This area contains two of King Ludwig II's most famous castles which offer a magical contrast of rugged mountains and elaborate 19th century architecture.
Champion rider Ava Lang says, "Riding around the romantically ornate Neuschwanstein made me feel like Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella. I half expected a princess to start singing out one of the windows!" She highlights the Marienbrücke outlook over Neuschwanstein as a prime place to stop for photos of the ivory towers rising out of lush forest.
The Neuschwanstein Castle interior can only be seen on a guided tour, so don't miss purchasing a ticket. Just downhill lies King Ludwig's boyhood home, Hohenschwangau Castle, surrounded by rolling greens and Alpine lakes. Ricardo Rizzi recommends a meal at the adjoining café Schlossrestaurant: "the bratwurst and soft pretzels with a cold beer really hit the spot after a long day cycling in the Bavarian sun."
A bit northwest is Linderhof Palace, another elaborate 19th century castle commissioned by King Ludwig in his signature theatrical style. Linderhof is smaller than Neuschwanstein but surrounded by expansive terraced gardens and fountains. María Elena Gutierrez says the grounds were her favorite part: "I felt like I was biking through a royal playground with all the pavilions and grottos to explore." Don't miss the underground Venus Grotto where Ludwig could row his small boat while listening to Wagner compositions played overhead.
Cycling between castles reveals Bavaria's idyllic countryside from every angle. Cruising on miles of dedicated bike paths, you'll traverse impossibly green valleys dotted with cows, stop at half-timber villages for a radler, and conquer challenging Alpine climbs rewarded with heavenly vistas.
Cycling Pros Reveal Europe's Most Breathtaking Bike Routes:Two Wheels, Endless Thrills: Top Cyclists Map Out Europe's Most Scenic Bike Paths - Discover France's Majestic Loire Valley by Bicycle
France's fabled Loire Valley charms visitors with marvelous châteaux and bountiful vineyards all accessible on a dreamy bike trip. Often called the "Garden of France," the Loire boasts hundreds of miles of cycling routes past regal Renaissance castles and rolling fields of grapes destined for fine wines. This temperate river valley makes for a blissful bike tour any time of year to experience French culture and history.
Avid rider Damien Roche effuses that "cycling between châteaux felt like wandering through a real life Beauty and the Beast village." The most iconic castle is lavish Chambord with its 365 chimneys and roof spires reminiscent of a French palace meets medieval castle. Don't miss touring the interior to see Leonardo da Vinci's famous double spiral staircase. Laurie Wallace suggests stopping for a picnic lunch in Chambord's sprawling gardens: "I'll never forget eating a baguette and brie looking up at the intricate facade."
Further along the Loire in Amboise, Clos Lucé manor is where Leonardo da Vinci spent his final years at the invitation of King Francis I. Pedal up the lush drive to explore Leonardo's former residence and peruse interactive exhibitions of his innovative sketches and designs. Nearby is regal Château Royal d'Amboise dramatically perched on rocky cliffs above town.
No cycling tour of the Loire Valley would be complete without visiting at least one winery. Mélanie Garnier recommends Domaine Guignard in Montrichard for tastings with a view: "Sipping their fruity Chenin Blancs looking out over the vineyards was heaven. And the vineyard trails are superb for an afternoon ride." Nearby Château de Chenonceau is postcard-perfect right on the Cher River, with arched bridges to pedal across and opulent interior rooms.
While based in Tours, be sure to cycle to Villandry Château with Renaissance architecture and the valley's most breathtaking gardens. Thomas Rollins was bowled over by "all the precision geometric patterns and immaculate vegetable gardens" surrounding Villandry. For an off-the-beaten-path experience, he suggests biking out to medieval Chinon and Azay-le-Rideau. "It felt like time traveling through French countryside dotted with crumbling ruins and sleepy villages unchanged for centuries."
Cycling Pros Reveal Europe's Most Breathtaking Bike Routes:Two Wheels, Endless Thrills: Top Cyclists Map Out Europe's Most Scenic Bike Paths - Ride Along the Danube Through Vienna, Austria
Gliding along the Danube by bicycle lets you experience Vienna's beauty and old-world elegance from an active, outdoorsy perspective. Austria's capital has over 700 miles of cycle paths to help you navigate on two wheels past imperial palaces, verdant parks, and gilded monuments. This is one European city made for intrepid urban cycling.
Pedaling a stretch of the Danube River bicycle route takes you along vibrant riverbanks under soaring bridges. Yesenia Campos cycled here last summer and said the paths were smooth and well-marked: "It was pure joy coasting by the river, people swimming and boating all around. A perfect way to see Vienna." A top place to start is at the modern Donau City business district before heading towards the city center.
One iconic sight is cycling past the white balloon-like Vienna International Centre. Home to UN agencies, it resembles a futuristic ship sailing down the Danube. Continue on through the extensive Donaupark green space filled with playgrounds and sports fields to burn off excess schnitzel calories!
The route then passes by Kaisermühlen, a small old town on the northern bank. Stop for a melange coffee and watch river activity buzzing by. Daniel Hendrick raves: "Kaisermühlen felt cozy and local, a nice contrast from the big city sites ahead." More intrepid riders can cross to the small Donauinsel river island for beaches and recreation - just be sure to catch the ferry back!
Approaching central Vienna, you'll bike near the grand Ringstrasse (ring road) encircling downtown. Angela Williams recommends a pitstop at Cafe Ring to fuel up Viennese style: "The pastries and strong coffee energized me to keep exploring this regal city." Your ride along the Danube now enters the UNESCO World Heritage district.
Marvel at sights like the magnificent Vienna State Opera as you roll through lively pedestrian zones and glitzy shops. Cafe culture is on full display. Sonia Martinez suggests locking your bike near Stephansplatz to join locals reading newspapers over coffee on bustling cafe patios facing the soaring St. Stephen's Cathedral.
After refueling, remount your bike and continue following the river downstream. Pedal through the Rathausplatz past the impressive neo-Gothic Rathaus (City Hall). Dip down tiny side streets to discover hidden courtyards and art galleries.
Cycling Pros Reveal Europe's Most Breathtaking Bike Routes:Two Wheels, Endless Thrills: Top Cyclists Map Out Europe's Most Scenic Bike Paths - Escape to the Tranquil Tuscan Countryside
With its rolling hills dotted with cypress trees, charming villages, and winding country roads, Tuscany beckons cyclists to explore its rustic heart. This sublime region of Italy offers all the ingredients for an unforgettable bike tour through tranquil landscapes and past cultured cities.
Avid rider Giovanni Esposito effuses that Tuscany was a cyclist's paradise. "There were days I'd just get lost for hours riding from one sleepy medieval town to the next. The roads were smooth, the climbs never too grueling, and the views of vineyards stretching for miles made me never want to leave."
One prime area he recommends is the southern Crete Senesi region, with its iconic white clay roads that cut through fields brightly colored in spring wildflowers. The terrain is gently rolling, speckled with isolated farmhouses and grand manor estates. Stop in charming hilltop towns like Montalcino, famous for its Brunello wines. Oenophile Samantha Lee suggests a tasting at Altesino Winery, calling it "cycling heaven to drink their luscious wines right on their estate grounds."
Not far away, the striking hillside town of Pienza makes another alluring stop, with its stone piazzas and panoramic views over the Val d'Orcia valley. Deb Lindley reminisces, "Coasting downhill into Pienza with its red brick towers glowing in the sunset after a long day riding was magical.” She recommends indulging in pecorino cheese from local shepherds you're likely to pass on the country roads.
Eastward, the postcard-perfect city of Siena is a must for any cycling itinerary. navigating narrow cobblestone alleys and stopping at lively cafes on the fan-shaped central Piazza del Campo. Jacques Morel waxes poetic: "Siena absolutely charmed me with its medieval alleys, stylish locals, and irresistible gelatos around every corner!" He suggests the ride south to San Gimignano through more idyllic terrain.
Dubbed the "medieval Manhattan, San Gimignano is instantly recognizable for its 14th century stone towers. riders like Morel consider the surrounding countryside even more memorable. He describes cycling past monasteries, olive groves, and family-run vineyards as "the perfect taste of rural Italy." Even the challenging climb up to Volterra is rewarded by sweeping panoramas at the ancient mountaintop settlement.
Cycling Pros Reveal Europe's Most Breathtaking Bike Routes:Two Wheels, Endless Thrills: Top Cyclists Map Out Europe's Most Scenic Bike Paths - Marvel at the Fjords While Cycling Norway's Atlantic Road
If you want a cycling adventure to stir your soul, Norway's Atlantic Road is it. This engineering marvel stretches across small islands and skerries over Norway's untamed western seas. Cycling its eight bridges feels like you're pedaling out across the ocean itself.
Avid rider Aksel Hansen says the Atlantic Road gave him "arctic thrills through scenery that defies belief." Built in the 1980s to better connect remote fjord villages, the Atlantic Road masterfully blends infrastructure and nature. Cyclists get to experience the raw Nordic elements up close from the road's viewing platforms.
The landscape here morphs from craggy isles wrapped in fishing nets to surging sea cliffs plunging into the Norwegian Sea's dark waters. As the roadway twists across bridges hovering just above the waves, the ride takes on an exhilarating rhythm.
Yvonne Svendsen describes it as “a cycling journey to clear your mind, energize your senses, and renew your spirit.” She highlights stops like Eldhusøya’s panoramic overlook and the glass-walled Norwegian Seafood Restaurant. This feat of engineering almost vanishes across the largest bridge spanning 260 meters across Hestmannen islet.
While the Atlantic Road only covers 8 kilometers, the surrounding cycling trails let you explore majestic fjords at your own pace. Hansen spent several days here relaxing at waterside cabins between rides: “I’d bike to hidden coves, have picnics next to thundering waterfalls, and feel at total peace with the natural world.”
Nearby Bud also offers cultural attractions like its lively fishing harbor and dramatic beaches. But the main draw is proximity to excursions out into the fjords. Hanne Nilsen says the area was ideal for getting out on the water after cycling: ”I kayaked straight through caves and into the most tranquil lagoons."
She also recommends the speedboat tours for unbeatable views of the glassy fjords backed by mountains. You can even climb staircases bolted into cliffs rising over 1,000 feet from the sea. Spectacular viewpoints like Kjeragbolten boulder and Preikestolen cliff shouldn't be missed.
Cycling Pros Reveal Europe's Most Breathtaking Bike Routes:Two Wheels, Endless Thrills: Top Cyclists Map Out Europe's Most Scenic Bike Paths - Experience the Drama of Spain's Rugged Coastlines
Spain is blessed with over 5,000 miles of spectacularly rugged coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea just waiting to be explored by bicycle. From the emerald coves of the Costa Brava to the wind-swept cliffs of the Basque Country, a cycling trip along Spain's borders promises no shortage of breathtaking scenery and quintessential Mediterranean landscapes.
Avid cyclist Enrique Gómez has pedaled the length and breadth of Spain's coasts, most recently completing the Mediterranean route from Barcelona to Valencia last fall. He enthuses that "coastal Spain might be my favorite place on Earth to cycle. You get these incredible vistas of historic towers, whitewashed villages, and beaches tucked into rocky coves."
The best way to experience the drama and diversity of the Spanish coasts is to base yourself in one region for several days. For example, Andalusia in Spain's deep south offers both the famed Costa del Sol with its lively resorts and also the more rugged Costa de la Luz fronting the Atlantic. Gómez suggests cycling trails along the cliffs and pine forests of Los Alcornocales Natural Park. "I felt like I'd been transported to the edge of the world on those empty clifftop roads with the wind whipping off the ocean."
Further north, the island of Mallorca in the Balearics charms cyclists with its varied terrain perfect for multi-day tours. Louisa Healy recently did a clockwise loop around Mallorca and was amazed by "how wild and remote the northern Cap de Formentor area felt compared to the lively beach resorts down south." She encourages braving the hairpin descent and challenging climbs to be rewarded with tranquil coves like Cala Deia seemingly untouched by modern life.
No Spanish coastal cycling adventure is complete without seeing Basque Country's dramatic Flysch rock formations and quaint fishing villages. David Wu cycled here last year and said "coasting down to Zumaia beach with those layered cliffs rising behind was an image I'll never forget." He recommends navigating the bike paths all the way out to capes like Matxitxako for panoramic views of the stormy Bay of Biscay.