There is no experience quite like visiting a region or town from the thrilling spot on top of a pedal and two wheels, cycling past and drinking in all these beautifully breathtaking places have to offer, feeling on top of the world. Whether you prefer to rent a bike when you get there, or take your very own beloved bicycle from home aboard your Renfe-SNCF en Coopération train, these are some exquisite routes you will most certainly not want to miss out on for all the cycling enthusiasts out there.
Church ihe middle of a volcano in Olot
The Greenways cycle route is made of about 57 kilometers of pure beauty. The route starts in Olot, a small city in the region Garrotxa in the heart of Catalonia. It is famous for its stunning natural landscapes and surrounding mountain regions, which include 4 volcanoes, the most famous being Montsacopa. The cycling route then continues cutting across Catalonia, passing through and by 3 different regions and 12 towns, one of them being Girona itself. Whether you do the full route or just a part of it, you will find yourself speechless with the breathtaking sceneries, winding streets and quaint cafés and bars along the way. It is fairly straightforward and mostly flat, which is why it is ranked as an easy route, making it perfect for cycling enthusiasts of all fitness and experience levels. The route comes to a magical end down at the Sant Feliu de Guixols beach, providing a perfect contrast to the green and majestic mountains where it started.
Collserola - Barcelona, Spain
View of Collserola from central Barcelona
Just outside the center of the beautifully busy Barcelona, we can find the beautifully peaceful Serra de Collserola. Collserola is a mountain range that can be seen standing majestically from pretty much any location in Barcelona. It is famous not only for its highest peak, Tibidabo, where a small amusement park, a funicular and a breathtaking lookout point over the city, but also for the park that was built in in in 1987 - the Parc de Collserola. This park is actually considered a metropolitan park, and is by far the largest in the world - 22 times bigger than Central Park in New York.
The park and mountain range is a favorite spot for many a Barcelonian and tourist alike, and fills with hiking, cycling and birdwatching aficionado, among many others. There are several cycling routes to be found, which are on average 9 to 10 km long, with numerous ups and downs. These routes can either be done solo (although we recommend taking a GPS and/or map just in case) or in small group tours that will organize any of those details out for you. In any case, the routes are quite beloved by cyclers, so you aren’t likely to be alone for too long at a time.
Toledo - Madrid, Spain
Toledo by bike
Located just half an hour outside of Madrid city center, Toledo is a place you absolutely have to see if you are staying in Madrid for more than a couple of days. Whether its nature, history or architecture that gets you buzzing, Toledo will stun you in other ways. Included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list, its awe and beauty is something that has lasted through the ages, and only became more and more special as the years fly by.
It also happens to be an exceptional location for cyclists, with countless routes ranging anything from 6 or 7 kilometers up to around 100, straight or winding, flat or steep, easy or challenging. Again, there are several guided tours you can join, with even all-inclusive packs that include a bus from central Madrid to Toledo, the equipment rental, a mapped-out route and a guide to explain some of the city’s exquisite stories as you go (some may also include lunch and snacks). Do not be afraid to do the trip on your own however, renting a bike either in Madrid or in Toledo itself and mapping out your own route to visit your favorite sites and locations on the way, tailored just to your tastes and level of expertise. The tremendously brave may even cycle all the way from Madrid to Toledo!
Versailles - Paris, France
Somewhat lower key in terms of cycling - but in no way any less brilliant, Versailles in another amazing place to take your bike to and get pedaling. Stretching out over almost 2.000 acres of land, by bicycle is pretty much the only way you will be making even a dent in viewing the dazzling Gardens of the Versaille palace. So, while perhaps not the perfect place for professional mountain bikers to practise their impressive skills and train, it is the absolutely perfect place for riding at a leisurely pace past hundreds of thousands of trees, beautiful flowers, awesome fountains and the Grand Canal. Most organized bike tours through the royal palace’s grounds will relaxingly take you 16 km through tree-lined trails and a zigzag of paths, past and around the Versailles Palace itself, Marie Antoinette’s former home and the Petit and Grand Trianons. Although you can also easily ride these tracks on your own, it is worth looking into a package deal if you are interested visiting the inside of these monuments as well - many of the tours will offer packs including the transport to Versailles from Paris, the equipment rental, and tickets to visit the interiors, as well as a place to leave your bike while roaming the palace corridors.
Burgundy - Lyon, France
For a slightly more natural, ‘out in the open’ and peaceful route, try cycling one of the many Burgundy bicycle routes while visiting Lyon. There are in total around 800 kilometers of cycling routes, or Véloroutes in French, that stretch across the region, which can be mixed and matched to create your own personalized treck through the area, with just the perfect, length, duration, and difficulty for you. The French region of Burgundy is world famous for its exquisite wines and vast, stretching vineyards, so expect to see plenty of them stretching out for what seems like forever, as well as beautiful blue rivers and quaint, charming little towns and villages which are perfect to stop for a rest, some food and refreshments. If your looking to be biking for more than just a day, there are plenty of stunning places to spend the night to rest before getting back on your bike the next morning such as Beaune, for example.
Canal du Midi - Carcassonne, France
Canal du Midi
Located in the region of Languedoc in Southern France, close to the Spanish border and even closer to France’s beloved Carcassonne, the Canal du Midi is one the most famous cycle routes of the area. The total trekk stretches out for 240 km on beautiful dirt tracks that are straight, flat and simple, and directly beside the Canal’s soothing waters and surrounded entirely by refreshing greenery. You will even be accompanied by ducks, birds and the occasional boat floating down the river beside you. If you decide to stick with the full stretch (stopping or not for the night in one of the bed and breakfasts or hotels in the picture-perfect towns along the way) you will pass through several towns and cities, amongst them the world-famous, UNESCO-cherished fortified Cité of Carcassonne, which holds the Cathar Castle, among other breathtaking and simply fascinating sights that you can simple not miss out on.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your helmet and your biking gear, climb aboard a Renfe-SNCF en Coopération high speed train which take you zooming through the mountains and right to the start of your thrilling bike trail in a matter of hours. Book your tickets today!