Touring - Suggestions for route needed, where are the best spots in Europe including the Alps?
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05-17-11, 10:20 AM
Hey folks im starting my tour in Amsterdam going south to Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Austria, northern Italy, Switzerland back to France an then going overland doing the Santiago de Compostela in Spain. I like the rough route I have as there is a lot of country's per miles.
The main consideration in my route is fitting in as much as possible. Im not too fussed about being in city's, the only town so far that is a must see for me is Freiburg, Germany.
I want great views along the way! The only things iv got picked out is the Selvio Pass an a few other roads iv nicked form watching Top Gear. I want a lot of different types of landscape.
Where else is worth going?? Im fairly flexible with my route. Any good story's good routes, good regions would be brilliant for my planning, an get my even more psyched up an excited to leave.
05-17-11, 12:21 PM
Slovenia (http://www.slovenia.info/?kolesarjenje=0) is a neat little country tucked in between Austria and Italy. The Virsc pass and Soca valley are worth riding. There are plenty of other rides including a guided ride through a disused mine system.
A lot of Italians cross the border for day rides and there are plenty of good places to stay, esp the tourist farms.
There are some good rides out of Grenoble (http://www.grenoblecycling.com/the-Alps-Cols2.htm), basically between three different mountain ranges (Les Deuz Aples, Vercors, Chartreuse) with very different scenery. You can ride the classic Alp d'Huez or a big loop with col du lautaret, galibier, col de telegraph.
If you want to ride the Camino and stay at the pilgrim hostels you MUST have credentials (http://www.americanpilgrims.com/camino/credential_req.html). Without it, you can't stay.
05-17-11, 12:26 PM
My favorite regions are the Lot & Dordogne valleys in SW France, Corsica, and parts of the Alps. I've crossed quite a few passes but not the Stelvio, which I've wanted to do. There's a relatively small pass in central Switzerland called the Grosse Scheidegg which has fantastic scenery. The pass connects Grindelwald with Meiringen. The eastern canton of Graubunden and the Italian Dolomites are very, very nice for cycling, too.
The Auvergne region in central France is little-visited but is wonderful for touring. The roads have little traffic and the scenery is nice. The Pyrenees are great, and I would suggest crossing into Spain through the Pyrenees rather than the Atlantic coast.
Since you're going to Freiburg, both Alsace and the Black Forest are nice. La Route du Vin in Alsace connects a bunch of gorgeous villages, but traffic can be bad.
The Picos de Europa region in northern Spain was very nice. Northern Spain is not flat anywhere!
Places to avoid: the Riviera (due to awful traffic), especially in Italy, although there is may be a bike trail there now. Northern France between Paris and Belgium is dull. I couldn't get excited about the Po valley in Italy, either. The Italian lakes along the border with Switzerland are very pretty, but traffic is bad along most of the lakes.
05-17-11, 09:09 PM
If you are going to Freiburg then you are only a short distance from the start of the Danube at Donaueschingen. There is a riverside path to Vienna in Austria and it is well worth the ride. But beware of the Hollental, the road up out of Freiburg into the Black Forest, it's a nightmare.
The river Rhine has some cycle paths and could take you from Holland to Freiburg.
To do the Camino properly; head for Puy-en- Velay in France after you come out of Italy. Pick-up a passport [credentials] and get stamps at the hostels all the way to Santiago. Best off-road cycle tour in the world bar none. Enjoy!
05-18-11, 03:08 AM
Sounds very similar to our tour in 2008. See
for some ideas.
here's an idea:
you start in Amsterdam so you HAVE to see a bit of coast first (afterwards it will be more difficult)
head from Amsterdam to Rotterdam (both nice cities, EXCELLENT cycle infrastructure, the Dutch don't kid around)
from Rotterdam head to Vlissingen following the coastline, see the Delta works (the barriers that keep the Dutch from drowning, the Netherlands are below sea level)
from Vlissingen cross over to Belgium (boats to Breskens every half hour), take a quick stop at Brugge (Bruge), head South to the Ardens (if you're a cycling fanatic there are tons of famous hills in between)
then enter Luxembourg, then Germany, head South to Switzerland; oh man Switzerland is amazing, lots of glaciers and passes!
from Switzerland cross over aiming for Geneve, visit Chamonix (France, home of the Mont Blanc)
from Chamonix ride South again passing Alpe D'Huez, Les Deux Alpes, etc. you could cross over to the Italian Alps
from there aim for the Pyrenees (Lourdes is a crazy/weird place, also don't miss the cirque de Gavarnie along the way!), enter Spain, visit Pamplona
i'm not sure when you are leaving, but it could be worth trying to see some of the craziness of the Tour de France along the way
05-18-11, 04:23 PM
This is my first tour this info helps a lot!
My idea for planning so far is..........I have a big map of western Europe 17km to 1cm, which I know wont cut it if I want to find the small roads. I was thinking of using it to highlight all the cool roads, regions, towns ect........ Highlighting far more then I could actually do.
An I was hoping that some of the information centers in some towns along the way (plus people I meet) would give me the added advice or maps I need to find the best spots. An also the best onward route. This way I could change the route to take factors such as fatigue, being behind/ahead of schedule, an the weather an such.
Would this idea actually work?? I wasnt planning on Solivina I thought it was too far east, but you have sold it to me!! Gonna add the suggestions to the big map I have an fit it in, if iv time/energy!!
Some great suggestions couple of questions how long does the Camino de Santiago take on average from the French boarder??
La Route du Vin in Alsace, is this in or near the Rhein Valley?? Think I may follow the river up from around worms after coming out of Luxembourg.
"But beware of the Hollental, the road up out of Freiburg into the Black Forest, it's a nightmare." What makes it a nightmare?? An what would you suggest if I want to see the black forest??
Really like the the idea of the Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Vilissingen, Bruge route that is where im starting for sure!
Keep the ideas coming please!
05-18-11, 04:49 PM
The Camino from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago should take about 11 days as you will be pretty fit after cycling the rest of Europe. You'll be so fit that you will probably carry on through to Finsterra on the Atlantic coast.
The Hollental [hell's valley] is all up hill and very busy, very scenic ;which means that drivers are looking up at the cliffs and not where they are going. But getting up into the Black Forest is well worth the effort.
Lake Konstanz [The Bodensee] is a good shoreline ride, either in Germany or on the Swiss side. There is even a ferry that cuts it neatly in two.
In France, as your heading for the Pyrenees, you might want to consider following a bit of the Canal du Midi; it goes from Cap d'Agde to Beaudeaux and passes through Carcassonne, Castelnaudrey and Toulouse. A nice level ride on the tow path in the shade of the poplar trees.
But half the fun is finding some good bits all by yourself.
how much time can you spend? what are your interests? its a big place
if you like WW2 stuff you could make a detour and see the beaches of Normandy;
when you're heading South exiting French alps, see 'Les Calanques' (the cliffs) above Marseille
if you're into culture, you shouldn't miss Barcelona or Venice
05-19-11, 11:40 AM
Im thinking around 6 to 8 weeks. But im fairly flexible with it. As long as my bike and my legs an wallet can handle it I don't have a problem extending it. My main interest is travel. I want to stay out of towns and city's for the most part, because iv been to a lot in Europe already and it should help to keep the cost down too. I just want lots of variety, everything from harsh hill climbs to easy flat rids such as the Canal du Midi. (which looks cool, thanks Lou Skannon)
I want to wild camp a fair bit where I can get away with it. Both to keep the cost down and because I think it would add to the whole experience. An couch surf too maybe.....
you can stay at our place just outside Brussels/Belgium anytime, lots of room!
05-20-11, 12:11 PM
Im traveling from Ireland on the 18th of July going over to Scotland on a ferry, then heading to Newcastle to get the ferry to Amsterdam. So I would be about a week into my trip when I cross into Belguim.
If it would be ok for me and my cousin to stay a night that would be class!! It would be great to pick your brain for ideas for the onward route!
05-22-11, 01:36 PM
The Alps... well, it's hard to go wrong if it's scenery you are after. I cycled south from Zurich and went over the Gotthard pass. Not an easy crossing on a loaded touring bike, but do-able if you take your time and are in good condition. On the way down, the road is cobblestone, there are about 100 hairpin turns, and there are few guard-rails!
Others have mentioned Alsace, and I agree it's a brilliant place to cycle. When I toured there, I mostly avoid heavy traffic by taking side roads. I remember the Vosges mountains as being extraordinarily steep in places. If memory serves me correctly, I cycled two or three hours uphill to get to St. Odile.
06-20-12, 03:11 PM
Help with Belgium ___________
Fiancee and I heading to Belgium next week for a bike ride. Thinking about Bruge based rides. This is a rent a fat tire 5 day deal and her luggage would fill 15 panniers. Although we have 25 marathons between us, and a couple ironmans, we are getting older. We have biked the Danau and loved it.
Any suggestions on routes, who can move bags.... or just stay based in Bruge?
Appreciate any ideas.
06-20-12, 08:44 PM
As you head south through Austria, i'd also recommend Slovenia. There is a small town called Bled with a lovely lake by it as well as if you bike further west from Bled there is an awesome mountain lake called Bohinj near a village named Ribcev Laz. It's a fantastic place and i've seen touring cyclists there throughout the summer.
We lived in SE Europe and just moved back to the States and Bohinj Lake was a favorite vacation spot for us.
For Switzerland, much good info here: http://map.veloland.ch/?lang=en&p&route=all
Been to Freiburg whilst touring on the Rhine and Neckar a few years ago. Excellent place. Loved it. If you're following the Rhine towards Lake Constance, stop in Bad Sackingen along the way - also a wonderful town. Avoid Weil, though, not so great.
If you could work it (though not sure if it's exactly in your scheme, I'd definitely go to Dresden. It's wonderful (cycled there from Berlin). You can get into Czech republic down the Elbe, and from there to Prague.
Trying to pick up maps along the way doesn't work well. Try to stay on major long distance bike routes, such as the Danube RivePath, or the RhineRiver Path, or theElba. The river valleys are gorgeous, car free routes.
07-06-12, 09:37 AM
Look at the Eurovelo site,www.eurovelo.org .
07-06-12, 09:41 AM
Trying to pick up maps along the way doesn't work well.
I had no trouble , most book shops had maps for sale.
even got a basic Map of Poland, Underway on the Ferry from Copenhagen,
from a fellow traveller.
The problem is always having to locate a book shop or a tourism office when you don't necessarily want to ride through every town. Not to mention they are often closed when you need them.
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