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Best EuroVelo Route?

Old 02-10-24, 08:50 PM
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Best EuroVelo Route?

After touring a LOT in the USA, I am exploring going on a 4-8 week tour this summer in Europe and thought I would try one of the EuroVelo Routes as I enjoyed riding parts of EuroVelo Route 3 in Spain when my wife walked the Camino de Santiago a couple of years ago. My preferred criteria is low to medium traffic (under 5000k cars per day), scenic, camping preferable but not required, probably eating out mostly, a climbing index of less than 60 overall (can be hilly in places, just don't want an "all mountain" route, average about 75km - 100km per day. Looking to go sometime between June thru mid-October, daytime highs of 22*C to 30*C for the daytime highs. Prefer a signed route if possible and to a avoid major metro areas (Paris, Rome, etc.) due to traffic but not a deal breaker. I have toured in Netherlands, France, Spain, Germany and enjoyed them all. I am pathetic at foreign languages (even though I try) but excel in Google Translate . Oh yeah, the wife says "safe" and I need to avoid the greater, greater Paris area due to the Olympics this year.

Any suggestions and why?

Tailwinds, John

Last edited by John N; 02-10-24 at 09:08 PM. Reason: Added content
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Old 02-10-24, 09:37 PM
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Might bump into you! My wife and I are planning Amsterdam to Budapest In Sept/Oct this year, following mainly EV15 and EV6. Looks like a nice route, planning about 80km per day spread over 28 riding days, plus rest days and sighseeing. We want to stay away from the European school summer holidays, as things can get very busy. Later in Oct will be cool, but apprantly very pleasant riding conditions. No camping, will pack light, 2 panniers each with about 6kg of gear, stay hotels/pensions/B&B. Keep me posted
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Old 02-11-24, 03:21 AM
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Just some thoughts.

Southern Europe, (France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece) may very well get very hot in july and august. These are the months with most tourists everywhere too. I’ll happily ride in 30-35 C, but I find over 37 C to be brutal. June and september are my favourite months down there.
October can be cold and wet unless you’re further south (Spain, Portugal).

The mediterranean coast is over exploited, has heavy traffic, and campsites are very expensive.

Many (most) campsites close towards the end of September.

Typical wind patterns favour riding West to East.

The football (soccer) European Cup will be played in Germany, June 15 - July 15. Riding and camping in a host country during the European cup or World cup can be great fun, as there is a very positive atmosphere over the whole country (hooliganism on match days is typically only close to the stadium, and nothing to worry about otherwise).
Do wear your home team shirt off-bike (even if it’s USA) 😊

Personally, I like riding by the sea or a river, and in southern europe, so my favourite EV routes would be in France: the EV 1 Atlantic coast (north to south) and EV 6 Loire valley (west to east), as well as the Via Rhona.

Following an EV route has the advantage of having more bike paths, thus less traffic, but they can also avoid scenic roads going through pretty villages for example, which can be more charming.
I have reverted to paper maps to find scenic routes. I find Google maps et al often lead me on to stony donkey paths… or the shortest route with more traffic, but miss the less trafficked winding roads through villages.

Following canals can be beautiful riding too, but can get a bit ”samey” after a couple of days. There is often a parallel road connecting towns and villages. The ”old” main road replaced by an A road or motorway is often great riding too.

I prefer poring over a paper map rather than zooming in and out for planning.

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Old 02-11-24, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by imi
I have reverted to paper maps to find scenic routes.
I am a map guy but don't have time this year to do extensive map planning. Are the Michelin Maps still the prefer maps? If I do a "look at a map and go" tour, how difficult is it to find campsites, inexpensive pensions/hostels/hotels/etc.,? I was thinking about the Med coast but you are talking me out of it as I am not a fan of heavy traffic and crowds. I enjoy scenic quiet towns.

Tailwinds, John
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Old 02-11-24, 07:46 AM
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Yes, Michelin maps are the way to go. I find the 1:1000 000 like map 725 for Southern France good enough, though 1:500 000 is probably optimal (e.g map 706 North-West France).
The local maps e.g map 340 Bouches-du-Rhone 1:150 000 show cycle paths and nature trails.

For campsites I just use Google maps ”camping near wherever“. I only stay at campsites or sleep under the stars, so can’t advise on hotels etc.
Campsites need no planning, just search when you know about where you’ll be getting to that day. No booking needed.

I have been travelling around the Mediterranean since 1978, hitch-hiking, then bike from the middle of the 80’s but sadly the development makes me avoid it nowadays.

The EV routes are a great general route, but don’t feel you have to follow them slavishly. I think some people may feel a certain sense of security by doing so, and that’s fine as well

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Old 02-11-24, 11:15 AM
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I'm a fan of the German river routes and European river/canal routes overall. Especially the Elbe is pretty great. The cities alongside aren't that huge and can be ridden through relatively quickly (except Prague). Germany especially is one of my favorite cycle touring countries. Definitely one of the safest.
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Old 02-12-24, 01:58 AM
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I biked extensively on the EuroVelo routes last year. Through France, Italy, Scotland, etc. If I would need to pick one of the ones I biked, I would pick the EV4 from Roscoff to Calais. The landscape is absolutely stunning, specially in the first part. It is hilly, but not to the extend that it would be super hard. I'm personally not a big fan of biking on canals and I was glad to arrive on the coast after my time at the Vélodysée. There are not so many dedicated bike roads, but the streets are small and the french drivers are very courteous.

I took the ferry to Dover from Calais, but I believe the following stretches into Belgium and the Netherlands are quite enjoyable as well.

If you're interested, I wrote a little summary of my time at the EuroVelo 4, with accommodations and the routes I've taken: staunchy.com/routes/eurovelo-4 (sorry, not allowed to link)
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Old 02-12-24, 02:40 AM
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Try the app Archies Camping to find campgrounds. Google maps misses so many that appear on the app or you have to zoom in so much before some camps appear on Google Maps that don't come up in the search.
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Old 02-12-24, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve0000
Try the app Archies Camping to find campgrounds
Thanks Steve. I just downloaded the app (small fee about $4). Looks good 👍

edit: I had a quick look around, and there are major campsites missing, for example in Sitges and Castelldelfels near Barcelona.

Now, I’ve looked around a bit more, and quite a few of my favourite campsites are not shown. OTOH, the app does show lots of other campsites, so I think it will be useful in combination with Google maps

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Old 02-12-24, 04:57 AM
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Originally Posted by John N
I am a map guy but don't have time this year to do extensive map planning. Are the Michelin Maps still the prefer maps? If I do a "look at a map and go" tour, how difficult is it to find campsites, inexpensive pensions/hostels/hotels/etc.,? I was thinking about the Med coast but you are talking me out of it as I am not a fan of heavy traffic and crowds. I enjoy scenic quiet towns.
For a quick glance down the road for camping options the 1/200,000 Michelin maps show a tent shaped icon (^) by a town name with a campground listed in their guide. In France just follow the infinite tangle of white and yellow D routes to make your own unique "Eurovelo" route!

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Old 02-12-24, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by BobG
In France just follow the infinite tangle of white and yellow D routes to make your own unique "Eurovelo"
Yes, and the roads shaded green alongside of them are especially ”scenic”
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Old 02-12-24, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by kbirkenbach
I biked extensively on the EuroVelo routes last year. Through France, Italy, Scotland, etc. If I would need to pick one of the ones I biked, I would pick the EV4 from Roscoff to Calais. The landscape is absolutely stunning, specially in the first part. It is hilly, but not to the extend that it would be super hard. I'm personally not a big fan of biking on canals and I was glad to arrive on the coast after my time at the Vélodysée. There are not so many dedicated bike roads, but the streets are small and the french drivers are very courteous.

I took the ferry to Dover from Calais, but I believe the following stretches into Belgium and the Netherlands are quite enjoyable as well.

If you're interested, I wrote a little summary of my time at the EuroVelo 4, with accommodations and the routes I've taken: staunchy.com/routes/eurovelo-4 (sorry, not allowed to link)
Thanks for the info. Nice journal!
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Old 02-12-24, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by BobG
For a quick glance down the road for camping options the 1/200,000 Michelin maps show a tent shaped icon (^) by a town name with a campground listed in their guide. In France just follow the infinite tangle of white and yellow D routes to make your own unique "Eurovelo" route!

Thank you. That is good to know.
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Old 02-12-24, 07:54 AM
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it s been a bunch of years since my wife did part of the Eurovelo 6 from near Nantes to Basel, but I did want to add that re campgrounds and accomodations, using wifi at campgrounds, we were able to plot ahead a few days at a time.
We had intended to get a French sim card, but had tech issues with our phones not working with French systems (our specific phones) so ended up only having internet access at campgrounds.
That said, there still were camping and b+b info/lists available in tourist offices and whatnot, although we do speak French, so had the advantage of just asking people in campground offices etc for info further down our route.
Speaking French also helped with sorting out details for the times we took trains to save some riding days.

There also must be specific Eurovelo route booklets available, and they must have fairly up to date accomodation info.
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Old 02-12-24, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by John N
I am a map guy but don't have time this year to do extensive map planning. Are the Michelin Maps still the prefer maps? If I do a "look at a map and go" tour, how difficult is it to find campsites, inexpensive pensions/hostels/hotels/etc.,? I was thinking about the Med coast but you are talking me out of it as I am not a fan of heavy traffic and crowds. I enjoy scenic quiet towns.

Tailwinds, John
In France , I find that IGN 1/100,000 maps are even better than Michelin maps. But if you're sticking to eurovelo routes, you probably don't need the extra detail.
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