Eight Lesser-traveled European Bike Tour Destinations

Everyone has the wonderful cities of Paris, Amsterdam, and London on their travel bucket list, followed by regions like Catalonia, Provence, and Tuscany.

While these destinations are worthy of a visit, some travelers may delight in cycling lesser-traveled (read: fewer crowds!) destinations, like the ones we’ve highlighted below.

Beautiful Bulgaria by Bike

Bulgaria has a bit of it all, without the overwhelming throngs of people. You can find a mix of beautiful villages, ancient ruins, and urban nightlife in a stunning country that offers vibrant beaches, forested hills, and steep mountains. Uncover rich culture and history at every stop.

Pedal through Bulgaria’s heavily forested countryside with scenic, navigable bike routes. Many cyclists love its mountain range and find the steep climbs worth the journey with views of waterfalls, glacial valleys, and rolling meadows.

Bike Bulgaria

Traverse Transylvania

Photo by Jacalyn Carfagno

Medieval villages and beautiful landscapes await you in captivating Transylvania. Find unexpected ecological diversity on your journey—swamps, prairies, lagoons, and lakes are home to various wildlife and provide varied scenery. Your rides contact notable cliffs, fortified churches, and castles. Transylvania is also one of the most historic and romantic areas of the country.

Enchanting Transylvania

Spectacular Slovenia

Slovenia has abundant beauty, from lakes and mountains to caves. Touring Slovenia’s many castles is one way to navigate the country, but some tourists use the numerous white wine vineyards as a guide. You’ll love the varied and beautiful landscapes—from the picturesque alpine villages to the spectacular Mediterranean coastline and mountains.

Slovenia is perfect for cyclists of all levels and abilities—there are plenty of bike routes for families who enjoy relaxing, less strenuous rides through the countryside. For the more advanced cyclist, there are mountain passes galore.

See Slovenia

Cycle in wild Connemara, Ireland

Castle ruins by the sea in Connemara, Ireland

Situated on the west coast of Ireland, Connemara is best discovered by foot, boat, and bicycle, of course! The region is wild and windswept. Bordering the Atlantic, its rugged coast is peppered with islands, coves, small beaches, and cliffs. Inland, amongst the bogs and loughs (lakes), you’ll find moorlands still divided by the Neolithic field systems. The Twelve Bens mountains loom in the distance. Each town and small fishing village, while being distinctly Irish, has its own unique character and culture. You may even hear a conversation in Irish Gaelic at the local pub, as it’s one of the few regions where the language is still actively spoken.

Do a bike tour in Connemara, Ireland

Adventure through Apulia

Stunning beauty without the crowds can be found throughout Apulia, or “Puglia” in Italian. Located in southeastern Italy and bordered by The Adriatic and Ionian Seas, the region has a rich cultural history dating back to ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine eras. Tall cliffs plunge into the blue ocean, and sandy beaches offer great swimming stops.

Cyclists enjoy the easy riding in Apulia, in part due to the lack of traffic. The landscape is unspoiled by development and there are great beaches, castles, and vineyards to visit along the way. The Mediterranean cuisine will be a highlight of each day – copious amounts of vegetables, pasta, and seafood grown or made locally! The best time for cycling is April and May, with perfect temps and the entire region is in full bloom, or September through early October, during the grape harvest.

 

Apulia– a must-see

Pedal an ancient route to Poland

A colorful hillside town along the bike tour route

Travel through Austria and the Czech Republic or Hungary and Slovakia to Poland on the Amber Road. This ancient-world trade route served to transport amber (fossilized tree resin, sometimes containing animal or plant materials) from Northern Europe to the Mediterranian region. Baltic amber made it as far as Egypt, where it was found on Tutankhamun’s breastplate. Cycling this ancient route will transport you from the past to the present as you visit modern cities and towns with ancient histories.

Pedal to Poland >

Discover the Balkans

Cyclists on a lakeside path in the Balkans

While the exact definition of the Balkans is debatable, the region’s charm and beauty are clear. From the stunning coastline of the Adriatic Sea to the majestic Lake Ohrid, from the towering Dinaric Alps to the Carpathian mountain range, and from tiny, old-world towns to modern, yet still ancient, bustling cities you will discover something special while traveling in the region. When you experience genuine hospitality, delicious locally-sourced food, and homemade fruit brandy, known as Rakija, you’ll understand the magic of a bike tour in the Balkans. It’s a region still coming into its own, predominantly untouched by mass tourism, making for a unique adventure.

Try touring in the Balkans >

Umbria, Italy cycling

Vista including a grand building amongst a sea of colorful sunflowerss

If you’re thinking of cycling Tuscany, consider Umbria, or both! Umbria is known as the green heart of Italy. It’s the only landlocked region in the boot, full of medieval hilltop towns, wildflower meadows, vineyards, olive groves, and green plains. As with Tuscany, you’ll be delighted with the abounding history, cuisine, and art the region has to offer, minus the crowds.

Cycling in Umbria, Italy’s green heart >

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