The best bike tours in Europe
Discover spectacular cycle routes to suit your vacation—no matter where in Europe you want to go.
7 min read
If you’re looking for an active vacation packed with culture, bike tours are a great option to consider. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cyclist, there’s a bike holiday for you.
Experiencing Europe on two wheels is a great way to explore new landscapes, take in local history, and indulge in good food. To get you started, here are our top recommendations for bike trips in Europe—plus some tips on planning yours.
The best destinations for a bike trip in Europe
When you’re planning your next two-wheeled adventure, it may be difficult to decide on the best place to explore. So we’ve put together our recommendations for the best countries and routes for your cycling holiday:
- Croatia: Split to Dubrovnik
- France: Champagne region
- Belgium: Bruges to Amsterdam
- Italy: Pisa to Rome
- Greece: Athens
Croatia: Split to Dubrovnik
- Duration: 7-8 days
- Difficulty: Medium
- Points of Interest: Hvar Island and Korcula Island
With its varied architecture, olive groves, and ancient towns, Croatia offers a laid-back, scenic biking experience. Have a swim in the Adriatic Sea, or take in the views from the rugged cliffs. The Dalmatian Coast is great for stopping off at vineyards, fishing villages, and medieval towns.
France: Champagne region
- Duration: 6 days
- Difficulty: Medium
- Points of Interest: Trails along the Marne River and the underground cellars of Moet and Chandon
It’s no surprise that France is high on the list of dream destinations for foodies and wine lovers. Cycle past lavender fields as you hop from vineyard to vineyard in the summer, stopping for lunch at picturesque cafés along the way.
If you’re looking for a more extreme bike trip, check out l’Etape du Tour. At this one-day event, amateur cyclists can attempt one of the mountain routes of the Tour de France.
Belgium: Bruges to Amsterdam
- Duration: 5-6 days
- Difficulty: Easy
- Points of Interest: Kinderdijk, a collection of 19 majestic windmills (1)
Belgian bicycling tours are often recommended for beginners or families with children—and with good reason. The landscape is largely flat, and the country’s infrastructure is generally very accommodating to cyclists.
You can cycle into the Netherlands to tick off another country from your bucket list. There you’ll find the Holland Junction Network, which consists of 32,000 kilometers of cycle routes (2)! Check out historic sites, old churches, and breweries while marveling at the Dutch coast.
Italy: Pisa to Rome
- Duration: 7-9 days
- Difficulty: Medium to difficult
- Points of Interest: Via Francigena and Tuscany’s highest mountain: Montalcino
If you’re thinking about bike touring Europe, make sure you consider Italy as an option. The landscapes vary greatly, so you can take your pick of beaches, lakes, mountains, or historic cities.
You call also cover part of Via Francigena—an old pilgrimage route that runs from the Swiss border all the way to Canterbury, England (3).
Greece: Athens and the Peloponnese region
- Duration: 7-8 days
- Difficulty: Medium
- Points of Interest: Poros Island and the Aegean Sea
Don’t let the summer heat put you off—Greece is an excellent destination for a bike tour. This bike holiday can allow you to explore the history of Ancient Greece, all while stopping off at sandy beaches for a refreshing swim.
Fly into Athens to spend a few days enjoying the capital before heading down to Peloponnese region, where the cycling routes meander past the ancient sites of Mycenae and Sparta.
How to plan a bike trip in Europe
When organizing your bike trip, it’s important to plan in advance and make sure you’re well-prepared. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:
Should you take a guided or self-guided bike tour?
First off, it’s a good idea to look into whether a guided or self-guided tour would work best for you.
Self-guided tours are great for setting your own pace and taking time to see the sights. This does typically mean less support and, well, guidance—so you’ll need to be comfortable with exploring new locations on your own.
Guided tours work well for those who want to be led by the locals and tour with a group. This type of tour offers less flexibility, but it can be a great way to get to know new people.
Should you take your own bike or rent one?
The decision of whether to bring your own bike or rent one at your destination really comes down to logistics, price, and personal preference. Many guided tours provide bikes as part of the tour package, so that’s something to consider as well.
If you’re flying to a destination and taking your bike with you, make sure you have a bike box or bag for transport. There are also some dedicated companies—BikeFlights is one example—that do all this work for you for a small fee.
If you want to hire your bike to make things a bit simpler in terms of packing, it might be worth checking out comparison sites for bike hire costs and availability.
What do you need to pack for a bike trip?
Next, think about the essential kit you’ll need to bring on your bike trip. Here’s a simple checklist for bike safety:
- Bike rack
- Handlebar bag
- Rain covers
- Bike lights
- Reflective safety vest
- Bike lock
- Bike repair kit
- Easily transportable luggage, with plenty of water bottles (4)
If you’ve chosen a guided tour, it’s common for companies to provide daily van support. This can be a bit of a relief, as there’s always someone to help if you get a flat tire!
In any case, be sure to double-check what’s included in any tour you sign up for before booking it. Check out backroads.com for a detailed cycling-tour checklist.
How to plan a family cycling holiday
Leave the screens at home and enjoy some fresh air and scenery! Getting the kids together for a cycling holiday can be the perfect way to spend more time outdoors as a family. An international trip is also a great way to introduce little ones to new languages, foods, and cultures.
If you’re planning your first bike tour with your family, it’s a good idea to prioritize easier terrain and shorter routes. Also be sure to factor in plenty of rest and fun stops along the way! If you want to challenge yourself without wearing out others, look into getting electric bikes for any family members who are less keen on cycling. This way, they’ll be able to join you for the more challenging parts.
It's also always a good idea to check out your travel insurance options. This way, you’ll make sure you’re covered, giving you and your family that extra peace of mind.
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How to plan a group cycling holiday
Group cycling holidays are a great way to vacation with friends—or to meet new, like-minded people. There are all sorts of tours to match your ability. Tours are offered throughout Europe, so you’ll have the chance to get to know your fellow travellers over local delicacies and wine.
If you’re looking for tours, there are lots of websites where you can enter your ideal dates and location to find a good fit. We recommend starting with a site like Explore.
Do I need bike insurance for a cycling holiday?
If you’re taking your own bike on your European cycling adventure, the right bike insurance is critical to making it the trip of a lifetime. So, it’s a good idea to explore options for insurance coverage for your bike. After all, if your bike gets stolen, lost, or damaged, it could put your whole trip at risk.
Speaking of insurance, did you know that with N26 Insurance, you can choose from a wide variety of coverage options to protect the items you love? Just head to your N26 app, and then tap ‘N26 Insurance’ under the ‘Explore’ tab, and choose the option that suits you best.
Money at N26
We understand that your bank account is more than just a place to keep your money. With N26, you’ll benefit from smart features like Statistics and MoneyBeam—and get access to on-demand coverage in seconds with N26 Insurance. Simply open your app and choose the policies that suit you best. Setting out on your next adventure? Stay protected with travel, pandemic, and mobile phone insurance with N26 Metal. Ready to experience next level banking? Compare plans today to find the account that suits you best.
How do I plan a bike tour overseas?
Choosing your destination is one of the most important parts of organizing a bike tour. Be sure to pick a trip that will match your/your group’s abilities. It’s also a good idea to choose somewhere that you’re keen to explore. Next, try and get in some cycling prep before you leave so you build up your stamina for the real deal. Finally, set a budget and savings goal, so you can pay for the trip you want without any stress.
How do I plan a day bike trip?
A day trip is a great way to squeeze in some cycling time, or to introduce the hobby to friends or members of your family. Try googling “cycle routes near me” for inspiration—and make sure the length and terrain of the route is suitable for everyone joining you. Don’t forget to plan stops for snacks, toilet breaks, and lookout spots to take in any views. Circular routes are convenient to minimize taxis or public transport. Finally, check the weather, as you’ll want to make sure you have suitable clothing.
How far should I cycle daily on a bike tour?
The right daily distance for your bike tour will depend on your fitness and how often you cycle. While you might want to take on a challenge, you don’t want to injure yourself and not be able to enjoy the vacation. It’s a smart idea to do several shorter days during your bike tour, rather than just a few longer days. The average cyclist should be able to take on about 60km a day. If you’re more experienced, you could try a bit further and build up from there.
How should I train for a cycling holiday?
To make sure you’re ready for the physical challenges of a bike tour, it’s best to start training early. Regular, manageable cycling sessions are best. If you can get into the great outdoors, that will help prepare you for the real thing. If that’s not an option, a stationary bike at home or at the gym is still helpful. Don’t forget to stretch and add rest days to give you time to recover. Make a note of the distances you cover and try to add a little more each week, until you reach your target.
How can N26 help me prepare for my bike tour?
N26 is the perfect bike tour companion. From top discounts on sports equipment and athletic gear to on-demand insurance, to saving features like Spaces sub-accounts—we’ve got you covered with everything you need for your next cycling tour. N26 You is our go-to recommendation for anyone who wants banking and coverage both every day and travel, while our N26 Metal account includes smartphone and pandemic insurance. Interested? Try our online comparison page to find the best account for you.
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