Best Cycling Routes across Europe

Find or design your best route to pedal across Europe:

Start with the UK

Avenue Verte UK

98 mi / 2-4 days

Your very own Tour de France starts at the London Eye. Launched in 2012 to celebrate the London Olympics, this capital-to-capital ride takes the familiar Sustrans recipe of quiet lanes, off-road routes and scenic detours and gives it a unique Gallic twist.

The ride from London to the ferry at Newhaven is enjoyable, and a few tweaks – detailed in this guide – make it even better. From Dieppe to Paris, though, this is a truly memorable route. The best rail trail you’ve ever cycled, the historic towns of France’s eerily quiet Vexin region, and peaceful rolling lanes together lead to a classic approach to Paris au bord de la Seine. All are ideal for novices and experienced rouleurs alike.

Dedicating a full week to this holiday will give you enough time to enjoy the French countryside and spend a while in Paris, too. The ferry crossing and return journey mean that this route requires a little more planning than most, but it’s worth it.

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How about France?

Lille to Paris. La Véloroute du Nord

380 km / 4-8 days

History, not hills. Cycling from Lille to Paris, through the battlefields of the First World War, you’re riding a route known as La Véloroute de la Mémoire – the Route of Remembrance.

The fields you ride through are the very ones fought over so bloodily in 1916. The Thiepval memorial to the 72,000 missing soldiers of the Battle of the Somme is directly on the route. 

This might sound like the cycle route that puts the Somme in “sombre”. Far from it. It’s a delightful way to discover Northern France, its sleepy village charm, its easy cycling, and some simply stunning sights that you’ve almost certainly never heard of. You’ll pass Arras and its colossal Grand Place city square; Amiens, historic capital of the Somme; and Beauvais with its stratospheric cathedral. The cycle route links them via a succession of canalside paths, railway trails and quiet country roads… with hardly a hill to trouble your legs.

The route is mostly open, but there are a few sections where signs haven’t yet been put up or improvements are still to be made. Our plotted route follows quiet lanes for easy navigation where there’s no official cycleway yet.

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River Rhine – Switzerland

430 km / 5-9 days

1,200km of downhill cycling awaits… and it all starts on a remote mountain pass in Switzerland. The Rhine Cycle Route is one of Europe’s greatest cycling adventures, from the Alps to the polderlands of Holland. There’s a lot to see on the way, but for scenic grandeur, this first leg to Basel is the clear winner.

This isn’t the Rhine of storybooks and river-cruise brochures, where every hillside is ornamented by a castle and every bend is shadowed by a high bluff. That comes further downstream. This is a mountain stream that becomes a torrent, that becomes a lake, that becomes a frontier, crisscrossed by medieval bridges and trading posts. You’ll spend long stretches on riverside trails and levee paths, yes, but you’ll also venture along mountain roads and vineyard lanes.

For simplicity, we’ve titled this guide as the Rhine in Switzerland. In reality, the river forms the boundary between Switzerland and Germany, with incursions into Austria and little Liechtenstein. As you venture downstream, you’ll find yourself crossing from bank to bank, country to country. We’ve chosen the most scenic alternative for each section, but you can mix and match left and right bank for your own Rhine tour.

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