I’m loving living here in Boise, Idaho, but a gal can dream, eh? I’ve often thought that I’d like to cycle Europe, but have never quite made it there. I’ve cycled plenty of other continents, but Europe has remained the elusive one.
So when Hostelbookers wanted to write a post for my site, I asked them if they could come up with a route in southern Europe to… well, to further enable my dreaming. And that’s exactly what they did. And yes, I’m dreaming…
Want to cycle from Spain to Italy?
Follow the EuroVelo Mediterranean cycle route from Cadiz to Venice via the French Riviera. This beautiful trail takes you through whitewashed Andalucian villages, Gaudi’s Barcelona, the French Pyrenees, billionaires’ playground Monaco and the Italian Alps, and there’s no better way to experience it all than on two wheels. Bring camping gear with you so you can stop and sleep close to your trail, and treat yourself to overnight hotel stays when you pass through cities.
Below, we follow the route stage-by-stage, including ideas for some of the best sights to see.
Cycling through Andalucía is a beautiful experience. Setting off from Cadiz, en route to Malaga you’ll encounter rolling olive groves, white-washed villages tucked into valleys between hills and miles upon miles of sparkling coastline. There are four stunning national parks to explore in the area around Ronda (which falls between Cadiz and Malaga), and passing through Malaga on to Granada, you’ll be able to see the Moorish influence on the city in the form of the spectacular Alhambra. This red-stone fortress is one of the region’s most outstanding examples of Moorish architecture, and sees visitors a year.
Moving on from Granada, cruise through the Sierra Nevada national park en route to Murcia. The snowy peaks of Mulhacen make this one of the most southerly points of Europe where you can go skiing. Continuing pedaling east, the next major point on your trip is the seaside city Valencia. If you visit in April, you’re likely to catch the Las Fallas carnival celebrations that engulf this city throughout the month. In August, you can detour from Valencia to join in la Tomatina festival in.
On from Valencia, your next major stop is Barcelona. It’s worth taking a few days in Barcelona to see the beaches, Gaudi architecture and Picasso museums, and for a large urban area it’s extremely easy to cycle in. The ‘green ring’ within the city offers over 100kms of bike lanes, and there’s a huge underground bike park called the ‘Biceberg’. This is an extremely secure place to lock your bike up and wander around on foot.
Figueres is your last stop before crossing the border into France. It’s the birthplace of Salvador Dali, and has a large Dali museum designed by the great man himself.
Passing the Pyrenees through Col de Banyuls (357 m), you begin your adventures in French region Languedoc-Roussillon. The route sticks quite closely to the coastline, and once you reach Montpellier you can enjoy checking out the medieval architecture at the cathedral and University of Montpellier, one of the oldest in the world (Nostradamus also studied there in the 16th century).
From Montpellier, the cycle route forks away from the coastal roads as these are frequently congested with cars. Instead, you’ll skip the Riviera drama of Marseille, Toulon and Cannes in favour of rolling Provencal countryside. The route only reunites with the coast again at Nice, and from there you cruise east to glide through bling-bling Monaco en route to the Italian Alps. If you decide to stop in Monaco, be sure to go people-watching at the Monte Carlo Casino.
You cross the southern part of the Alps (Albenga – Cuneo) to enter Italy, and from there it’s a pleasant cycling journey to Venice across the flat northern half of Italy. Following the River Po from Saluzzo, you can sail through some beautiful towns on the way to Venice: Piacenza, Mantova and Ferrara all make for lovely stops. Before these, you will pass through Piedmont capital Turin, which has attractions including the 17th-century Royal Palace and the Shroud of Turin (allegedly depicting Christ’s face) at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in the city centre.
Venice is reached after a lovely cycle along the Venetian Laguna. Lock up your bike at Venice Mestre and travel to the main city by vaporetto for a well-earned cycling rest: no biking is allowed on the main island! Here, you can check out Renaissance art, medieval architecture and of course, a gondola ride or two.
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EuroVelo Mediterranean cycle route from Cadiz to Venice is a post from: Family on Bikes. Sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive your free e-book: Bicycle Touring with Children; A Guide to Getting Started.