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Europe's Top 10 Tours

10 trips. 6,570km. 14 countries. 74 days of riding. 

We've searched high and low for fantastic European bike adventures and have found Europe's Top 10 Rides. 

With mountains, coastlines, challenging climbs and glorious descents, these rides offer something for everyone - whether a first time cycle tourer or a veteran. 

10. Ilfracombe to Plymouth 

Sweat rating: 2/5 Coast Hills

 

There’s something special about starting and ending a cycle at opposite coastlines, but the journey length needn’t be of biblical proportions to achieve this. Robin and Chloe put together this excellent route across Devon between Ilfracombe and Plymouth, taking in the best of the English countryside as they tandemed their way through farm and moorland.

 


  

9. London to Paris

Sweat rating: 4/5 Flat Classic

  

A true classique, this is the continent's archetypal cross-border ride and follows the newly constructed Avenue Verte between the lands of two friendly foes. Starting with a steady roll out of the British capital and into the Kentish hills, the ride picks up pace in the quiet country lanes that cut through vast swathes flat farmland across the Channel. Claudia Bates and her friends proved that it is possible to make it from Trafalgar Square to the Arc du Triomphe in less than 24 hours. 


  

8. Santander to Gijon 

Sweat rating: 2/5 Coast Hills Good first tour

The summer heat can easily turn what are supposed to be enjoyable cycle tours into real feats of endurance, but the coastal breeze along this route in northern Spain made this the perfect mid-summer adventure for Allan Kinley and his wife Laura. Cultural and culinary gems are in ample supply in a region that is home to Paleolithic cave drawings, Gaudí architecture and delicious Atlantic seafood. The roads are quiet, the drivers friendly, and the gentle hills of the route make it a perfect one for anyone getting their teeth into cycle touring. 


  

7. The Rhine Valley 

Sweat rating: 1/5 Flat Scenery Good first tour Culture

  

Another great tour for cycle touring newbies is Jon Zahedieh's route along the Rhine Valley. Following the river as it snakes through France, Germany and the Netherlands, the Eurovelo 15 route may be flat as a pancake, but the landscape it passes through isn't. One major highlight is the  UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley; home to steeply terraced vineyards, stunning gorges and hilltop castles. The riverside campsites are full of cyclists and the community camaraderie is strong; plenty of people to toast a good day in the saddle with. 


  

6. The Douro Valley

Sweat rating: 3/5 Culture Hills

 

This ride really is a tale of two halves. The first half, through Spanish 'cowboy' country, offers flat riding and plains that stretch as far as the eye can see; the second half whips out several arduous ascents as it heads across the Parque Natural de Arribes del Duero. Making it over the hills is rewarded with some (largely) downhill riding to meet the Douro river as it passes through gorgeous port vineyards on its way to Porto. Sweat it out to get to the valley and then treat yourself with some tastings at world famous port estates. 

 


  

5. London to Monaco

Sweat rating: 4/5  Hills Mountains Coast Flat

 

Something of a 'Tour de France', this route captures all that is great chez les français as it cuts a north-south line across the east of the country. Jimmy Carroll founded this charity ride a few years ago; it, and the cause it raises money for, sounded so fantastic that it had to make our top 10. Starting flat-ish, the ride starts to undulate as it enters the wine-making Rhône-Alps regions and then heads up into the mountains to incorporate the iconic Mont Ventoux ascent. Mountains conquered, it heads down to finish in the tiny Mediterranean country that is Monaco, and the group has twice had the honour of being welcomed across the finish line by Prince Albert himself. 

 


  

4. Languedoc and Provence

Sweat rating: 2/5  Hills Coast Good first tour Culture

 

The beautiful hills, medieval towns and crystal clear waters of the South of France have made it a perennial favourite for Europeans. But while many soak up the Sun from the region's beaches, Alejandro Jimenez and his wife Lucy found that, to really make the most of the spectacular landscapes and wildlife you had to hop into the saddle. Get the calves burning with some climbs up into the Alpilles mountains and cruise along the coast in the Camargue national park before stopping off at impressive Roman ruins in the towns of Nîmes and Orange. And don't forget the wine and the cheese - the French have a reputation for being reasonably adept at making both. 


  

3. Geneva to Pisa 

Sweat rating: 5/5 Mountains Coast Classic

 

While we can't recommend cycling 1,100km with 17,000m of elevation gain with little training, we do know that it can be done. Simon Schofield and his friend Jamie had only ever cycled 50 miles in a day when they set off on this trip and proved that you don't need to have all the gear to be King of the Mountains. The climbs were brutal but the scenery was spectacular and the cols iconic. 

 


  

2. Oslo to Bergen

Sweat rating: 4/5 Mountains Scenery 

Norway's reputation for persistent precipitation and extortionate prices may see it struck off of a few people's summer holiday lists each year, but Kyle and his buddy Jesse have convinced us that it is 100 percent worth a visit. The weather is...changeable...but the landscapes are beautiful, bike paths quiet, and cycle touring is an excellent opportunity to explore the rural Scandinavia on the cheap. This route gives you time to warm up on flat, well-paved roads before taking in Norway's most popular bike path - the 82km Rallarvegen - and some of the Scandinavian Mountains' toughest climbs. Make it through and you'll have a lovely, and largely, downhill ride to the gorgeous port city of Bergen from where you can strike out by boat in search of the famous fjords. 

 


  

1. Iceland

Sweat rating: 3/5 Mountains Coast

 

Game of Thrones fame has seen Iceland thrust into the international tourism limelight in recent years, and you only need to glimpse some of its other-worldly landscapes to see why. George Huxley and his mates spent two weeks following its famous N1 ring road, taking in the glacier lakes, volcanic valleys and outstanding natural beauty that make this remote island so special. The wind was relentless but they found light at the end of the (wind) tunnel in the shape of glorious soaks in Iceland's natural hot springs at the end of long days in the saddle.