Best Cycling Routes Around The World
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Cycling is a great way to travel and it gives you time to admire your surroundings. You get to immerse yourself in the destination away from the tourist crowds . Here are some of the top world best cycling routes offering stunning views.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Contributed by Isabelle from Issysescapades
The Ring of Kerry forms part of the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s famous coastal route that is often listed as being one of the best coastal and road trip routes in the world. The Ring of Kerry takes in some of Ireland’s most spectacular mountain and coastal scenery, starting and ending in the characterful town of Killarney.
The best way of getting to Killarney (and of getting around the majority of Ireland), is to rent a car, as it allows for greater flexibility in visiting Ireland’s more under the radar gems, many of which are not really serviced by public transport.
To cycle the route in its totality in one day is not for the faint hearted, totalling 171km and about 7.5 hours of cycling. Doing it this way also means that you’d miss out on some of the Ring of Kerry’s must-see sights, so unless you are a totally avid cyclist, then it’s better to take a few days to complete the loop.
Starting in Killarney and working in an anti-clockwise manner, I’d recommend overnighting once you get to the port town of Portmagee. Here, you can take a day and take passage to the Skellig Islands, home to a thriving puffin population and incredible monastic ruins made famous as a shooting location in the Star Wars franchise.
Moving onwards from here, stop to take in the majestic Kerry Cliffs, before arriving at Derrynane House and beach. Derrynane beach is one of the most beautiful in Ireland, so ensure to stop off here to wet your toes in sea! The road will then take you towards the charming village of Sneem and little further on, the town of Kenmare. Again, I’d recommend overnighting at one of these places.
The final stage of your journey takes you through some of the most stunning scenery in the whole of Ireland – through Moll’s Gap and past Ladies’ View before you arrive through the National Park back at the town of Killarney – where I’d also schedule in at least another day to explore the Muckross Estate demesne, the Gap of Dunloe and the lakes of Killarney.
In terms of safety, cyclists should be aware that the often narrow, winding roads are shared with cars too and that traffic can build up along this popular route – so watch out for drivers of buses and cars. Also, try not to get too lost in the beautiful views!
Wachau Valley, Austria
Contributed by Meghan Emcee from Afternoon Tea Reads
The Wachau Valley is a wine region in Lower Austria with one of the best cycling routes in the world. The Wachau Valley is about an hour train ride from Vienna, so it’s an easy enough day trip to do from the city.
There’s a bike path that will take you along the Danube River through wineries, towns, and cities. A good route is to bike from Melk to Krems, which is about 40 km. Check out our recommended bug out bags to carry along your cycling trip.
On top of wanting to always stop to take photos along the way, you’ll also want to stop in Melk, Durnstein, and Krems. In Melk, you’ll want to visit the Melk Abbey, a Benedictine abbey that’s a UNESCO world cultural heritage site. Durnstein is home to the Durnstein Castle, which sits atop a hill offering outstanding views.
It’s a bit off the bike path, but it’s worth it! Finally, save some time to explore the city of Krems, the fifth largest city in Lower Austria. There’s also no shame in stopping at one of the many wineries along the way for a quick tasting!
There are two routes you can choose from to bike from Melk to Krems; one on either side of the Danube River. The North side has some portions next to the road, so it’s important to be cautious when riding there. It also has very little shade, so if you’re biking in the summer, don’t forget your sunscreen!
Visit Afternoon Tea Reads for a more detailed guide on a day trip from Vienna biking from Melk to Krems.
Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, New Zealand
Contributed by Susan Gan from Thrifty After 50
The most well known cycle trail in New Zealand, the Alps2 Ocean, takes you on a stunning 372km ride starting at Mt Cook in the centre of the South Island and then has you riding in a south-easterly direction towards the historic coastal town of Oamaru.
Your journey actually starts with a short helicopter ride across the Tasman River where you and your bike get treated to jaw-dropping views of New Zealand’s highest mountain. For those not wanting the expense of a helicopter flight, there is an alternate starting point for the Alps 2 Ocean from shores of Lake Tekapo.
The trail showcases some of New Zealand ’s most stunning scenery including the Southern Alps and the turquoise blue waters of Lake Tekapo. If you plan to ride the trail in November you will be rewarded with picturesque scenery with lupins dotted along the lakes and creek beds in all colours of the rainbow.
You may even recognise some of the trail from the popular movies you’ve watched. The tiny town of Twizel is located near where ‘Gondor’ from the Lord of the Rings was filmed, and you will also ride past the site of Aslan’s Camp from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
The Alps 2 Ocean is for those with a moderate level of fitness and cycling ability and is generally completed anywhere between 4 to 8 days. The most popular option is 6 days and stopping at bed and breakfasts style accommodation along the route.
There are numerous tour companies that can help you with planning a cycling holiday including hiring a bike or transporting your own bike for you, booking your accommodation and even carrying your luggage.
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Val d'Orcia, Italy
Contributed by Jürgen & Martina from PlacesofJuma
Tuscany offers a real paradise for cyclists and has probably one of the most beautiful cycling routes in the world: a tour through the Val d’Orcia. This region is located south of Florence and is best reached by car. Tourists from all over the world come here to ride over the hilly landscapes and to enjoy the most amazing Tuscany panoramas.
The starting point is the town of Pienza, a place worth visiting, often referred to as the cradle of the Renaissance. In the UNESCO World Heritage town, you should visit the picturesque main square. From there you continue on the provincial road, a beautiful panoramic road towards San Quirico d’Orcia. Here you will find some great opportunities to take amazing photos at the countless viewpoints. From there you continue to Monticcchielo, where you can visit the famous zigzag road.
After a break, continue to Montepulciano, a famous wine town where you can buy excellent delicacies and good wines. After a break the route goes back along the beautiful road SP146 to Pienza. Here, too, a magnificent Tuscan landscape awaits you.
The total distance is about 45 kilometers. If you like to take pictures and also want to see the villages, then definitely plan a full day. Especially in summer it gets really hot here, sun protection and enough to drink is a prerequisite. Check our coolers that you can carry along your ride. Also keep in mind that Tuscany is very hilly, so an e-bike may be a more comfortable choice.
Death Road , Bolivia
Contributed by Phil from Journication Travel Blog
Near La Paz in Bolivia a special adventure awaits you: The Camino a Los Yungas (Yungas Road), better known as Death Road.
The approximately 80 kilometer long stretch between La Paz and Caranavi further to the northeast was long considered the most dangerous road in the world until the construction of a bypass.
Particularly dangerous here are the steep slopes everywhere along the narrow road, rockfalls, landslides, poor visibility due to rain or fog, and road damage. Around 200 to 300 travelers die here every year. Since 2007, there is a bypass road and heavy traffic has largely come to a standstill here. Check out our recommended waterproof backpacks to carry on your cycling adventure to protect your stuff from the rain.
A special adventure is to explore the route by mountain bike. The tour of 65 kilometers runs exclusively downhill as a downhill route. Local tour operators will provide you with bicycles as well as the necessary helmets, protectors and protective suits and drive you far up into the Andes. From the La Cumbre Pass at 4,670 meters, the route descends to 1,200 meters. The route thus passes through several climatic zones at once.
La Paz is less impressive from a sightseeing point of view than other metropolises in South America, such as the Things to do in Lima or Santiago de Chile. Therefore, even with little time, it is recommended to choose a unique experience like Death Road over a city stroll.
The road is mostly gravel, so if you’re not careful, it can be dangerous even for mountain bikers if you fall into the abyss. Remember to prepare a set of survival gear on your trip, of which includes a first aid kit, just in case.
So, do you dare to go on Death Road?
Dutch Coastal Route, Netherlands
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to find a country that probably the most bicycle-friendly country in the world, that counts more bikes than people, that has special bicycle lanes and a bicycle roadmap everywhere, and that has no hills or mountains on a list of the best cycling routes around the world.
I’m talking about the Netherlands of course. Even for non-experienced cyclists, The Netherlands is perhaps one of the safest countries to cycle. As cyclists rule the road, every car is used to looking out for cyclers, and the special cycle lanes make sure you hardly have to worry about cars at all.
One of the coolest cycling route is the Dutch Coastal Route, which (surprise) takes you from the northeast coast (Nieuweschans) all the way along the coast to Sluis at the southwest coast. It’s a 610-kilometer route that’s clearly marked by signs saying “LF Kustroute”. You can start at either point and simply take your bike on the train or rent a bike as you get to the starting point.
The route is generally divided into eleven stages that take you past all sorts of Dutch landscapes. Some of the highlights include the Dutch Dunes (literally everywhere), the Dutch Delta Works, The Rotterdam Harbor, cute coast towns such as Bergen aan Zee, The Dutch Wadden Islands, and terp villages in the North.
Every stage has its own cool museums, restaurants, and must-sees, so the best way to prepare this trip is to check out the LF Kustroute website (also available in English).
What I love the most about this route is that it offers visitors a completely different view of the Netherlands way beyond the canals of Amsterdam.
Isle of Purbeck, UK
Contributed by Joanna from Theworldinmypocket
Cycling in the Isle of Purbeck is a wonderful way to explore the beautiful Dorset countryside. There are several trails that you can follow, most of them following small roads with very few car traffic. One of the most beautiful routes you can go on starts in Wareham and goes round the isle, passing by Corfe Castle, where you can stop for a break.
Wareham is a lovely market town on the side of the river Frome. It is the perfect place to start your day, with a good breakfast to give you energy for the ride to come. Near Wareham you will find the Arne Nature Reserve, which can be a nice detour if you want to see friendly deer in the wild.
The cycle route to Corfe Castle is fairly easy, with only a few mild climbs. From Corfe Castle you have two options: you can either go off road and enjoy a bumpy but extremely fun ride down the hill or climb to the top of the Isle of Purbeck, from where you will have amazing views over the entire area and the sea.
The climb is steep and difficult, but the views are worth the effort. If you choose the latter, the ride down will be full of adrenaline, as the road is as steep as it was during the climb.
You will also have the chance to stop at Studland, for a dip in the sea. If you choose the off-road path, you will emerge back on the asphalt close to the chain ferry, which will take you to Sandbanks, in Poole.
Outer Hebrides, Scotland
The Hebridean Way is a 297-kilometre-long cycle route through the islands of the Outer Hebrides in Northern Scotland. Many people start the route in the southernmost island of Varansay and finish at the northernmost point, the Butt of Lewis. However, the route can be travelled in either direction depending on what best suits your itinerary.
The way is well marked given it is part of the National Cycle Route network and the roads are generally quiet. It is recommended to use a minimum of 6 days for the route which includes 2 ferries and 6 causeways to hop between the islands.
Along the way you will cycle past amazing scenery and lots of white sandy beaches. Despite how many pretty beaches you think you have seen detours to Berneray and Luskentyre beach are worth it.
As a change from admiring the pretty scenery a tour of the gin distillery in Tarbert makes for an enjoyable afternoon. Tarbert is also a good place for a rest day with activities such as a boat trip to the Shiants islands where you can see seals and puffins.
Further north historic monuments such as the Callaigh standing stones await.
If you have less time it is possible to just cycle the prettiest stretches. One such stretch is along the western coast of the Isle of Harris and it features some of the most picturesque beaches in Scotland.
The Outer Hebrides is a group of islands so a domestic flight from Glasgow or Inverness or a ferry is required to get here. The ferry leaves from Ullapool, Mallaig and Oban to different ports within the Outer Hebrides.
Shimanami Kaido, Japan
Contributed by Anne Sutherland-Smith from Pretraveller
The Shimanami Kaido is the best known cycling route in Japan, and for good reason! The route is located between the townships of Imabari to Onomishi, with about 70km / 44 mi ride across six islands in the Seto Inland Sea near Hiroshima.
Both end points of the route are easy to access by train, and there is also a bus which connects the two. It is easy to hire a bike and helmet, and there are many depots along the way where you can drop off your bike and then catch the bus or ferry the rest of the way, so also a great option for less experienced cyclists!
The route is well sign posted in English and is totally separate from the road traffic so it is very easy for visitors to stay on track and to stay safe. Ensure you pre-book your hire bike as during busy times you may miss out. There are many different bike options, make sure you order a bike with gears as there are quite a few hills along the route.
Must see viewpoints along the route include the amazing Kurushima Bridge at the Imabari end of the route, and to take the time to explore the local villages and scenic sights along the way. You can go off the main route to explore each island more closely and there are many ryokan traditional Japanese inns to enjoy one or two nights along the route and also have a cultural experience.
Bollenstreek Cycle Route, Netherlands
One of the best cycling routes around the world is the Bollenstreek Cycle Route in the Netherlands. This is a cycle route that goes along many of the wonderful flower fields in the country!
You can find this cycling route near the town of Lisse close to Amsterdam, which is the center of the Dutch flower fields. You can get to the cycling route by driving there yourself, as there are many roads leading to it.
Alternatively, you can go by train or by bus. The cycling route is a circular path, so the start and endpoint are the same and it doesn’t matter where you start. Furthermore, the cycling route has a length of 35 kilometers, which is very doable. Along the way, you can see lots of flower fields in many colors. In fact, by taking this route you get to see more than 20 flower fields!
One of the best things to do along the way is visiting Keukenhof. Keukenhof is a beautiful and famous park, where you can find flowers arranged in all kinds of patterns. Besides that, there are many restaurants along the way!
One of the parts of the route that I like is the part that goes along the sea, which is another great thing about this cycling route! Keep in mind that some parts of this cycling route are on roads where there are also cars, so always look out for this!
We hope you have enjoyed reading our recommended cycling routes. Cycling is a great way to visit new places. These routes will change how you see the world. So, remember to wear your helmet, check that your front and rear backlights are working. Let’s start exploring the world!