Cycling as a form of holidaymaking is a great way to encourage a healthy lifestyle. And creating an infrastructure of scenic, low traffic routes makes bicycle tourism far more accessible to casual riders and experienced cyclists alike.

 

Views out to the Baring Sea, along EuroVelo Route 11.

It’s with this in mind that the European Cyclists’ Federation  has set up EuroVelo, the European Cycle Network, consolidating national routes into a Europe-wide structure. As well as making the nuts and bolts of planning multi-day journeys far easier, it’s hoped that developing these routes under the umbrella of the European Cycling Federation will provide a good opportunity to share best practices between national cycling bodies. Furthermore, assigning this network an international status is useful within the political area in fundraising for their continued expansion. According to a study in 2012, there are as many as 22 million multi-day bike trips across Europe each year, providing an important, growing source of income for local economies.

The Iron Curtain Trail, EuroVelo 13.

The project saw its beginnings in 1995, when 12 long distance routes were mapped out across Europe. This has now expanded to 14, with a rolling completion date aimed for 2020. Each journey is over 1000km long; such as the Atlantic Coast Route (8,186km), the Iron Curtain Trail (10,400km), the Sun Route (North Cape to Malta) and the Mediterranean Route (5,888km) from Cádiz to Athens and Cyprus.

The Latvian coast

Currently, there are 45,000km of internationally-linked bike routes on tap, across Austria, France, Germany, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland and the UK, with plans to expand this to 70,000km and lace in other European countries over the next few years.

A main website outlines the routes and the countries involved, linking to national sites detailing each segment of the journey – so you can bite off as much as you can handle or have time for. Encouraging everything from overnight trips to multi-month-epics, it’s a portal for both information and inspiration – from Norway’s dramatic Fjord Coast to the mellow grades of the Danube, from the sun-blessed Algarve to the historical intrigue of Eastern Europe.

Cycling in Romania on EuroVelo 6, the Atlantic to the Black Seat.