Active travel allows you to combine beautiful back roads, exercise and a slower paced lifestyle which is why cycling is the perfect way to go. This Summer you won´t only be looking at life but living it. The best cities in Europe to cycle are Copenhagen and Berlin but we wanted to gear you towards the best routes so you can combine both urban landscapes and Europe´s best regions: Provence, Catalonia and Tuscany.
They say that the best way to see Provence is to immerse yourself in the sights, smells and sounds of the countryside on a bike. Sunflowers, architecture, lavender fields and excellent bike routes are to be found in this southern region of France where the saying is: “la vie est belle ici” (life is good here). Outdoor markets, chatting with locals, cosy cafés and relaxing strolls through the hilltop villages of le Luberón is a good start for the avid cyclist. Here, there is a complete circuit that is 236km long. But if you´re into a more relaxed way of getting about, pedal your way along the picturesque villages of the Venasque-Bedoin regions, full of vineyards, olive groves and cherry orchards. You can also explore the lost medieval villages of Roaix and Villedieu. Remember that cyclists here are treated with the utmost respect. Proof of this is that the French nickname for a bike is “la petite reine”: the queen of the road. Read what NY Times writer, Joe Nocera, wrote when he came back from his bike trip in Provence.
In this region of Spain´s northeast corner, you´ll discover why it served as inspiration to artists such as Picasso, Dali and Gaudi and was fought over by the Romans, Moors, Visigoths and the Spanish crown. Today, it´s considered the place where culinary revolutions have changed the way the world sees food.
From Barcelona to the peaks in the Pyrenees Mountains, you can enjoy pine filled valleys and romantic coves along the Mediterranean coastline. Catalonia offers diverse terrains including rolling plains, vineyards and beautiful, cobblestone villages full of history. Head on towards Figueres, where Salvador Dali was born, and take your time to indulge in world celebrated cuisine in the Costa Brava. Care for a sun-soaked village, south of Barcelona? Pedal you way around Sitges, located right above the sea. Read what David Lamb from the LA Times had to say about his 2-wheeled adventure in Catalonia.
For amateur cyclists and travellers seeking to pedal their way along the beauty of this region, Tuscany offers an adventure for all 2-wheeled enthusiasts of all levels. Although hilly, Tuscany does have flat plains and quiet rolling roads, especially along the rivers and coast. The best months for cycling through Tuscany on bike are from March to June and from September to October. You can also enjoy your bike during July and August but try limiting touring to early mornings, late afternoons or night riding.
Stop for a Chianti or enjoy the sumptuous Italian cuisine. Discover the mind-boggling Roman ruins in the town of Volterra. From Florence to Sienna (considered a World Heritage Site), there is no better way of getting there than on a bike. While in Tuscany, visit the medieval towns of San Donato and Castellina.
Bike Tuscany is a Florence-based company specializing in single and multi-day small group or private fully guided bike tours around Florence, Tuscany and beyond. Make sure to check out their website here. http://www.ibiketuscany.com
One last piece of advice: remember to bring bungee ropes, a helmet, toilet paper, plastic baggies and sunscreen. Safe travels!