Top 10 European cycling destinations (and the tours to take!) for 2021

There will always be the typical perennial tour favorites: travelers take Tuscany and the Danube River by storm every year.

But if you’re the kind of person who loves to travel by bike, you’re anything but typical. Keep Italy and the Danube on your bucket list, but add a few more special spots that have all the beauty, but don’t always get the glory.

Check out top ten picks for European cycling destinations in 2021 (and some tours to take for each!)

1. The Greek Islands

Greece is a colorful land, bursting with culture and beauty. Bordered by the Aegean, Ionian and Mediterranean seas, its uniquely rich history is etched in every corner, including archaeological remnants of ancient Greek civilization. Cyclists enjoy the sunny weather and low humidity for comfortable riding. An unspoiled landscape and centuries of Venetian influence characterize this still fairly unknown group of islands. The crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Sea glittering in all shades of blue, the mountainous landscape of Cephalonia and the bird-sanctuary island of Lefkas, the small island of Paxos densely covered in olive groves – all guarantee a wonderfully relaxing tour.

Recommended tours: 
The Ionian Islands and the Gulf of Corinth (Bike and Boat)
Ionian Islands Multi-sport Family Cruise

2. Czech Republic

The Czech Republic boasts more than 2,000 castles and chateaus, the largest concentration per square mile in Europe. Beyond its impressive history and architecture, you’ll find Czech Republic is known for its peaceful scenery and lively cities. With such diversity—from medieval architecture to modern cities—this country may be small, but encompasses it all. Cyclists will enjoy the well-marked and extensive network of cycling greenways (many converted from highways after the fall of Communism) that have minimal to often no traffic, allowing citizens and travelers alike to explore the country’s scenery by bike.

Recommended tours:
Prague to Vienna via Cesky Krumlov
Vienna to Krakow on the Amber Trail
Salzburg to Prague: Through the Heart of Europe
Best of South Bohemia: Czech Republic to Its Fullest

3. Croatia

Though technically eastern Europe, you’ll get a strong Mediterranean vibe when visiting Croatia. Miles of beaches and seafood make for the unbeatable combo to partner with the country’s diverse Roman and Byzantine history. As a whole, Croatia has enough going for it to be on this list, but when you add in the beauty of Istria, you’ll want to book today. This heart-shaped (yes– heart-shaped!) peninsula shared by Croatia, Italy, and Slovenia is known for its mix of beautiful blue coastlines (Blue Istria) and rural inlands (Green Istria). The villages of Istria are full of charming shops, wineries, and olive groves.

Recommended tour:
Croatian Vineyards and Villages of Undiscovered Istria
Cycling the West Balkan Triangle
Split to Dubrovnik: the Islands and Coastline of Croatia

4. Transylvania, Romania

Romania is known for its forested region of Transylvania, medieval towns and gorgeous natural landscapes. Rides through Transylvania come complete with views of notable cliffs, fortified churches, and castles. Transylvania is also one of the most historic and romantic areas of the country. Cycling in Romania is a constant adventure with its ever-changing scenery. Find unexpected ecological diversity on your journey—swamps, prairies, lagoons, and lakes are home to various wildlife and provide varied scenery.

Recommended tours:  
Danube River and Black Sea
Medieval Transylvania Heritage

5. Salzburg, Austria

The city of Mozart is a culturally-rich destination with seemingly-endless scenic highlights of varied landscapes, like the snow-covered mountains with a height of 3,000 meters and the largest waterfall in Europe. The region is known as a cycling paradise thanks to the extensive network of well-marked, well-maintained routes (some are rail-trails).

Recommended tours:  
Innsbruck to Salzburg: Through the Alps Along River Cycle Trails
Salzburg Lakes Tour: Around the Lakes in the Foothills of the Alps
Tauern Bike Path (Salzburg-Salzburg)

6. Umbria, Italy

Umbria is a land of beauty, full of stunning scenery and fantastic frescos. , where a single fresco can capture a thousand different facets and moods. You will encounter paths set between rolling hills rich with vineyards and olive groves; watercourses immersed in greenery and big lakes of an intense blue; medieval villages; necropolis and other Roman and Etruscan remains of incomparable value.

Recommended tours: 
Florence to Rome: Through the Heart of Italy (Guided)
Tuscany and Umbria: Cycling in the Heart of Italy

7. Scotland

Scotland is a magical place, full of vibrant greenery and deep valleys. Scotland’s lakes, known as “lochs” are popular sites, particularly the famous Loch Ness and its alleged sea monster. The rolling hills and dramatic moors of the countryside that make this country a top destination for cycling tours. Scotland’s small villages and rural landscapes are best seen by the seat of a bicycle. For experienced cyclists, rugged wilderness creates natural, challenging mountain biking tracks. For families, Scotland lends itself to themed tours that include guided rides through its castles, pagan monuments, churches and memorials.

Recommended tour:
Loch Lomond to Edinburgh: Lakes and Valleys of Scotland

8. Dolomites, Italy

One of the most impressive mountain ranges in the world, the Dolomites are made up of 2,700 square miles of rocky crags in northeastern Italy. The region is home to a mix of cultures and languages (including Italian and German) which can be seen in the architecture and the local cuisine. The German and Italian influences combine to make some of the best pasta and pastries in Europe. Medieval towns, historic castles, and churches dot the mountainsides, and the region is considered home to some of the grandest cycling in all of Italy, full of many dedicated, well-marked bicycle routes.

Recommended tours:
Dolomites to Trieste via Lake Bled at the Foot of the Julian Alps
Dolomites to Venice Along the Old Dolomites Railway Track
Dolomites to Lake Garda: Picturesque Cities and Stunning Scenery

9. Southern France

With its charming villages, sunny beaches, and mouthwatering cuisine, Southern France is a must for any cyclist. The region boasts a healthy mix of glamour and hotspots alongside more traditional and cultural sites.

Recommended tours:
Garonne Canal: From Bordeaux to Toulouse (or reverse) (A new tour for 2020!)
South of France: UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The Heart of Provence: Quiet Roads and Picturesque Villages (7 nights)
Provence’s History, Landscapes, and Luberon National Park

10. Albania

A visit to Albania can feel like traveling back in time. Albania’s diverse landscapes—from its snow-capped mountains to deep forests and inviting beaches—and the astounding culture entices cyclists from all over the world. With the country’s untouched, centuries-old traditions—Albania remains relatively undiscovered by mass tourism, setting it apart from other destinations.

Recommended tours:
Albania’s UNESCO Sites with Rivers, Valleys, and Gorges
Highlights of the Balkans: Gems of Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania

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