Cycling vacations have to be one of the best approaches to explore Spain and France. The liberty you get while cycling around the European countryside gives you a different view on the country you’re in, allowing you to explore the local culture and history across the entire region. This article looks at the selection of tours in two European nations, Spain and France, to give you an impression of what’s on offer.
Cycling and holidays are more than harmonious in Spain. Cycling is a mode of transport in Spain. Around 18% of the people list the bicycle as their mode of transport, though some Spanish cities like Valencia, Vitoria, and Zaragoza well exceed that with 45%. The great Spanish weather makes it more peaceful to go cycling almost all year round. There are many routes and trails through the countryside for all levels in Spain. The inspiring scenery you will confront on the roads is worth seeing. Spain is the country with the largest Biosphere Reserves, not to mention its 15 National Parks and some of the most attractive and best-signposted routes in Europe. Various courses run through ends of broad cultural and gastronomic interest. Spain abounds in lovely, calm villages to visit by bike. Accommodation wise, you have a vast range from campsites, hotels, hostels country house lodges, etc.
EuroVelo Routes. A lot of ranges along the Mediterranean coast of Spain are ideally equipped for cycling. One of the main reasons is EuroVelo 8, the Mediterranean Route from Cadiz to Athens, that is over 5000 km long.
Vías Verdes: These are almost 2,000 km of traditional railways lines converted into cycle touring routes. More than 120 courses are accessible, with ranges greatly differing in length (from 1 to 100 km).
Nature Trails: There is around 10,200 km of these tracks throughout Spain. Among them, you will see cattle routes, canals, old railway lines, etc.
In extension to all of these trails, you will find other routes, rustic pathways, etc. along the way.
Cycling in France has been widespread for more than a century. The vélocipède was used in France as early as early 18th century, the very word bicycle was coined in France in 1860, and Paris was the first major city to offer free cycles (Velib’) to its citizens. For tourists who love cycling, France is an ideal destination. From mysterious canyons and cloud-shrouded hill peaks to tranquil canals and soothing greenways, the French panorama can present a classic backdrop for any tour. France offers a multitude of attractions – do you desire azure skies and the Sahara’s hot wind? Try the Mediterranean. Or rocky meadows and white peaks? Head for the Alps. Extinct Volcanoes, Grand Cathedrals, Hilltop Villages – yes, you are cycling in heaven.
THE HAUTES CÔTES: Old World wine areas offer some of the best cycling experiences on the planet; vines tend to grow in a panoramic and rough (but not mountainous) countryside. Wine towns tend to be tiny, un-industrial (no heavy truck traffic), and knowledgeable. Where there is good wine, there is food. The best time to ride is from June to September.
Bordeaux: Start from Saint-Emilion and begin on a day-long journey to the Bergerac region. Make a quick stop in Castillon-la-Bataille, the final Battle of the Hundred Years War settling in the defeat and the ultimate expulsion of the British from Aquitaine. After the brief history break, press on and follow the Dordogne River’s rambling banks.
Loire Valley: The scenic Loire’s castle-lined trials have long been the yard of royal majesties, and the tiny country roads are ideal for biking. Cross through natural Touraine landscapes and clutch along the Indre River towards the village of Azay-le-Rideau. Give your bikes a break and tour the many châteaux, exploring the Renaissance architecture.
PETIT LUBÉRON: Start in the middle of the Petit Lubéron. The journey will be like the sea on an intense Mistral day. Pass through the magnificent village of Bonnieux before proceeding downhill and opposite a 2,000-year-old Roman bridge. After this old bridge, bike up to the climactic but hidden community of Goult, in which the main square is packed with tempting cafés and shops teeming with artistic goods. Finish the route.