When we get the opportunity we love to explore at a slower place. That doesn’t mean we like to stay in the same place for too long though. Touring by bike is a great way to slow the pace of travel while still seeing a lot. The EuroVelo routes across Europe as well as many city bike tours makes touring Europe by bike a great option. Here’s 10 reasons to book a cycling tour through Europe for your next holiday.
1. Get off the beaten path
Our first reason to book a cycling tour through Europe is to get off the beaten path. You may think that you have been off the beaten path when self driving a road trip. However cycling brings getting off the beaten path to a whole other level. You can cycle routes where cars aren’t allowed and that are generally out of typical walking distances for hikers.
Cycling gives you a greater opportunity to interact with the locals in towns and villages you will pass through. Where it may be difficult to pull over in a car becomes easy when on a bike. They are also generally easier to park.
Smaller towns and villages you will stop off at will generally be appreciative of your business. They might not get many tourists and they will be able to give you tips on other off the beaten path locations to visit on route.
2. Meet new people
Our second reason to book a cycling tour through Europe is to meet new people. Cycling is a great way to meet new people. Cyclists typically support other cyclists, like their own community. Clearly you all have similar interests (cycling!) so will definitely have something to talk about.
Whether you are cycling from place to place or taking a city bike tour you are sure to meet other travellers like yourself. They can be a great resource for tips on other places to see or visit.
If you are taking a city tour make sure you ask your guide where the best places to eat and visit are during your stay. They will know the city extremely well. If they are not native to that city they usually will have been staying there for a long time.
3. EuroVelo Routes are easy to navigate
The EuroVelo routes criss-cross all over Europe and are mostly well signposted. Our third reason to book a cycling tour through Europe is because the EuroVelo Routes are so easy to navigate. We cycled the EuroVelo 6 from Vienna to Budapest and only a couple of short sections weren’t sign posted. However in these circumstances the guide books that are available for each route will keep you on track.
Check out more details on the EuroVelo routes on the EuroVelo Website.
4. Open borders
Reason 4 to book a cycling tour through Europe is that unlike many continents European countries mostly have open borders with their neighbours.
The picture here is the border crossing from Austria to Hungary. The only sign that you have crossed into Hungary is a very small flag.
5. Cover more ground than walking
Cycling is a great middle ground option between touring on foot and using a vehicle.
Travelling at a slower pace allows you to see and experience more, especially between destinations A and B. The travel between two places is often the bit you miss by taking a high speed bypass or even a flight between.
The ultimate slow travel method is walking or hiking, however it’s also a bit slow. Get on your bike and cover more than three times as much ground as you would have on foot. It’s the best of both worlds, see whats in between two destinations without it taking up your entire holiday.
6. Travel at your own pace
Travelling by bike allows you to travel at your own pace. If you see something off the side of the road you can stop, if you see a side road and you’re not sure where it leads to you can find out.
For those that aren’t avid cyclists (that’s me! Richard is the cyclist in our family) you can take your time and stop as often as you need to. If you need a bit more help you can usually find e-bikes for hire too which are fantastic for anyone who isn’t a regular cyclist.
7. Eat whatever you want
It goes without saying that you will burn more calories cycling somewhere than you would have driving so treat yourself!
If you want that huge pizza have it. If you want cake have that as well! You’re on holiday after all with the added bonus that a cycling holiday burns way more calories than that fly and flop resort holiday.
8. Ride through sites you couldn’t take a car
A lot of cities within Europe have been pedestrianised, which is great for tourists and local non-drivers. It’s also great if you’re on a bike. Often bikes are allowed in these areas as well.
We find that city cycling tours are a great way of orienting yourself in a new city. They will take you around the main sites in way less time than a walking tour would or if you were exploring on your own with a map or guide book.
9. Quiet roads
If you’re worried about traffic in Europe when considering a cycling tour we have found it’s really not an issue. There are plenty of back roads like this one to take keeping you off major roads between cities. Much better for cyclists.
However when we did need to use main roads for short stretches we found drivers gave plenty of space.
I really hate riding a bike on the road and it did concern me when we booked our cycling tour from Vienna to Budapest but actually it was fine. Between the cycle paths and the quiet roads like this one we were only on busy roads very occasionally, with very respectful drivers.
10. It’s a new challenge
Like I said I’m not a cyclist, that’s Richard. If you’re thinking you’re not a cyclist either I’m telling you – you can do this.
It’s a great new challenge and I was very proud after completing our longest cycling tour from Vienna to Budapest – 6 full days on a bike! I’d never done 1 full day on a bike before that.
Getting an e-bike is the key for long journey’s like that with limited practice, what a great invention they are. Richard cycles regularly and loves it and me as a non-cyclist really managed to keep up with him with the help of an e-bike.
A note on the e-bike, they just assist – you still need to pedal. I can guaranty it will get you to the top of pretty much any hill though without much more effort than you’d be doing pedalling on a flat surface.
So what are you waiting for? If you’re ready to get cycling we’d really recommend booking with Freewheel Holidays or Wheel 2 Wheel Holidays if you’re from the UK. There is sure to be a great itinerary waiting for you with one of these tour organisers. Once you have chosen your itinerary they will book all of your hotels, your bike hire and even get your luggage transported between overnight stops so you only need to carry what you need that day on the bike!