The Ultimate Guide to the Best Bike Routes in the World

2023-08-01 00:05:35 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of Vytravels.com, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

Looking for the ultimate bike adventure? Look no further than these incredible bike routes that span across the globe. From the treacherous Death Road in Bolivia to the mesmerizing Garden Route in South Africa, these routes will take you on a journey of a lifetime. Whether you're seeking scenic coastal views, rugged mountainous terrains, or cultural immersion, there's something for every type of cyclist. Get your pedals ready as we take you on a thrilling ride through the best bike routes in the world.

 

The Death Road, Bolivia

 

Considered the most perilous road in the world, the Death Road spans 40 miles, connecting La Paz and Coroico. Known as the North Yungas Road or the "Death Road," this treacherous path runs alongside sheer 600-meter drops and twists through hairpin bends. Despite the mortal fear it induces, the Death Road offers awe-inspiring views of the Bolivian Amazon rainforest that make the journey truly worthwhile.

Cycling the Death Road, Bolivia © mezzotint/Shutterstock

 

Route des Grandes Alpes, France

 

The iconic Route des Grandes Alpes in France takes adventurers through some of the most scenic mountain passes in Europe. Stretching over 400 miles from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean, this tour encompasses challenging uphill climbs on France's highest roads. Notably, the route includes a formidable 30-mile ascent at Col de l'Iseran. It is important to note that the Route des Grandes Alpes is better suited for experienced cyclists rather than beginners or individuals with acrophobia.

Bicycle road trip along the spectacular Route des Grandes Alpes @ Flystock/Shutterstock

 

Tour de Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo

 

The Tour de Congo, inaugurated in 2013, offers a 600-mile route through the safer western regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although only a few individuals have completed the route, it is expected to attract more adventurous cyclists as the country's infrastructure improves and international attention grows. With its stunning mountain terrain and dense stretches of untouched jungle, the DRC promises a captivating and thrilling experience for cyclists in the years to come.

Elephant, Congo Basin, Congo @ Shutterstock

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Dead Sea to Red Sea, Jordan

 

Embark on a cross-country cycling journey of biblical proportions, starting from Mount Nebo in Jordan. From this vantage point, cyclists can enjoy panoramic views of the Promised Land before descending to the lowest point on Earth along the shores of the Dead Sea, which sits 418 meters below sea level. Along the way, cyclists will pass by prominent historic sites in Jordan, including Al Karak Castle and the ancient town of Petra.

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The Great Ocean Road, Australia

 

The Great Ocean Road, a renowned coastal road in Australia, is not only the largest war memorial in the world but also a remarkable feat built by returned servicemen after World War I. Spanning 150 miles, this route is a favorite among cyclists seeking a manageable long weekend adventure. Along the way, cyclists can bask in breathtaking views of cliff edges and the majestic Twelve Apostles rock stacks. For those with more time, there are multiple on- and off-road detours available to explore additional attractions.

Australia, Twelve Apostles @ Shutterstock

 

Highlands to the coast, Madagascar

 

For wildlife enthusiasts, the Highlands to the Coast route in Madagascar is a must-visit. This stunning and manageable route takes cyclists through the heart of this unique island nation. Starting in the capital city of Antananarivo and concluding in the peaceful coastal town of Mahavelona, the route passes through the Ranomafana National Park and Andringitra Massif. These areas provide excellent opportunities to spot rare tropical birds and the indigenous lemur species.

Andringitra National Park view, Madagascar © Robin Nichols/Shutterstock

 

Pacific Coast, Canada & USA

 

Embark on a 2000-mile journey hugging the Pacific coastal highway from Vancouver, Canada to the Mexican border. This epic route takes cyclists through the states of Washington, Oregon, and California, offering breathtaking views of misty mountain passes, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and the famous surfing beaches of California. To truly embrace the laidback west coast lifestyle, it's best to take this ride at a relaxed pace.

© Suzette Leg Anthony/Shutterstock

 

The west coast of Tasmania, Australia

 

While Tasmania's east coast is known for its friendly atmosphere and temperate climate, the west coast offers a completely different experience. With fewer signs of civilization, rugged contours, and challenging weather conditions, this route is recommended only for fit and ambitious cyclists seeking a serious challenge. Starting in the tranquil capital of Hobart, the route passes through ancient forests, the Montezuma Waterfall (the highest in Tasmania), and beneath the jagged peaks of Cradle Mountain.

Cradle Mountain - Nationa Park Lake St Clair, Tasmania, Australia © Shutterstock

 

Lake Titicaca to Machu Picchu, Peru

 

Embark on a challenging mountain bike journey that commences and concludes at two of Peru's most famous landmarks. Starting from the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world at an altitude of 3812 meters, cyclists will pass through vibrant colonial towns en route to the mystical lost city of Machu Picchu. The predominantly remote dirt tracks of the Altiplano offer stunning scenery and excellent opportunities to spot Peru's native llamas and alpacas along the way.

@ Shutterstock

 

The Pamir Highway, Tajikistan

 

For awe-inspiring views, cyclists can ascend to an altitude of 4500 meters on the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan. This epic bike ride offers breathtaking scenery as cyclists pedal past turquoise lakes and through muscular mountain valleys in Tajikistan's High Pamirs region. Cyclists should be prepared to carry their own supplies as this remote part of central Asia has few shops or towns. Along the way, locals are known to offer countless cups of home-brewed tea to weary travelers.

Beautiful view of Karakul lake in Pamir in Tajikistan © NOWAK LUKASZ/Shutterstock

 

The Friendship Highway, Tibet and Nepal

 

High-altitude cycling enthusiasts will find paradise on the 500-mile-long China-Nepal Highway, known as the Friendship Highway or the Roof of the World. Spanning the highest mountain range on the planet—the Himalayas—this route offers monumentally tough uphill climbs that challenge even the most experienced cyclists. However, the hard work is rewarded with exhilarating downhills and the opportunity to take a detour to Everest Base Camp.

Friendship Highway En Route to Mount Everest in Tibet and Nepal @ N K/Shutterstock

 

The Way of St James, Spain

 

The Camino de Santiago de Compostela, also known as the Way of St James, is a historic pilgrimage route that runs from the foothills of the Pyrenees to Spain's Atlantic coast. While traditionally a walking route for Christian pilgrims, it has gained popularity among cyclists seeking spiritual enlightenment or the chance to explore the rolling vineyards and medieval villages along the way. Covering 500 miles, this journey offers a unique blend of cultural immersion and physical challenge.

St. James cathedral Santiago de Compostela, Spain @ Shutterstock

 

La Route Verte, Canada

 

La Route Verte in Canada is not just a single route, but a vast network of over 3000 miles of excellently signposted biking trails. This network, located primarily in Quebec province, offers cyclists a variety of options. From the paved circuit around Lac Saint-Jean to lesser-known townships on the Véloroute des Cantons or the leisurely route along the abandoned railway known as Le P'tit Train du Nord cycleway, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

© lise Vanasse/Shutterstock

 

Across Patagonia, Argentina and Chile

 

Embarking on the adventure of a lifetime, cyclists can explore the remote and stunning landscapes of Patagonia by riding from Bariloche, Argentina to Ushuaia, Argentina. Ranging over 1800 miles, the route features long, desolate roads cutting through the arid Patagonian Steppe. The Argentine sections offer queues of mountain peaks and glaciers, while the Chilean portions are characterized by lush greenery. However, the Chilean sections are known to be more challenging due to fierce Pacific weather fronts that often bring wind and rain.

@ Shutterstock

 

The Atlas Traverse, Morocco

 

Just a short distance from Marrakesh lies the High Atlas mountain range, a dream destination for mountain biking enthusiasts. The untamed and dusty terrain of the Atlas Mountains provides a picturesque backdrop for adventurous rides. Highlights of this epic range include a passage through the dramatic Dades Valley, breathtaking views of the snow-dusted summit of Mount Toubkal (North Africa's highest peak), and a visit to the legendary town of Imilchil, a charming Berber settlement named after the two locally-revered lakes.

@ Shutterstock

 

Route 1, Iceland

 

The 850-mile road that encircles Iceland is a truly memorable experience, showcasing the best of the country's ecological and geological wonders. With its remote and well-paved route, cyclists can immerse themselves in the awe-inspiring landscapes of vast lava fields, towering waterfalls, fjords, geysers, icebergs, and active volcanoes. Iceland's nickname as "The Land of Ice and Fire" is truly justified along this route.

@ Shutterstock

 

Victoria Falls to Cape Town, southern Africa

 

Cycling through southern Africa promises unforgettable encounters with elephants and the thrill of freewheeling down desert sand dunes. Starting at Victoria Falls in Zambia, this route takes cyclists through the bright white Makgadikgadi Saltpans in Botswana and crosses the Tropic of Capricorn in Namibia's Namib Desert. The journey culminates in triumph as cyclists reach the vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Cape Town in South Africa.

Long-distance cycling at Spitzkoppe, Namibia © TravelNerd/Shutterstock

 

Colle de Finestre

 

Piemonte, Italy

Style: Road climbMiles: 11

The Dolomites in northern Italy are renowned for their incredible beauty, but the Piemonte region in the northwest is equally captivating and steeped in Italian cycling culture. Starting from the town of Susa in the Cottian Alps and heading towards Fenestrelle, cyclists can challenge themselves on the famed Colle de Finestre climb. This 11-mile ascent, with an average 9 percent grade and a gain of 5,558 feet, is a true test of endurance and strength.

(TRAILSOURCE.COM/Creative Commons )

 

403 to 401

 

Crested Butte, Colorado

Style: Cross-country singletrackMiles: 18

In Crested Butte, Colorado, two trails, 403 and 401, hold a special place in the hearts of mountain biking enthusiasts. These trails offer a perfect blend of aesthetic beauty and thrilling fun. Featuring natural flow without man-made berms, these singletrack trails wind through lush forests, featuring sportingly steep corners and invigorating high-altitude climbs. As you ride, wildflowers tower around you, creating a beautifully masochistic embrace.

(Rob Meendering Photography)

 

Mount Taranaki Circuit

 

New Plymouth/Taranaki, New Zealand

Style: RoadMiles: 77

While New Zealand has plenty to offer beyond road cycling, why not combine exercise with exploring one of the friendliest countries on Earth? The Mount Taranaki Circuit is a 77-mile ride around an active stratovolcano on the North Island. With 4,600 feet of elevation gain, this route can be completed solo during the southern summer. For a more immersive experience, participate in the Taranaki Cycle Challenge in January. This event allows you to soak up the local culture while pedaling through impressive mileage; some hardcore participants complete the loop twice.

(Marius Maasewerd/Swiss Epic)

 

Swiss Epic

 

Graubünden, Switzerland

Style: Cross-country singletrackMiles: 155

Switzerland has become a hot spot for mountain biking, and the Swiss Epic race showcases the country's incredible trails. The five-day, 155-mile stage race takes place in Graubünden, near the ski towns of St. Moritz and Davos. Known as one of the most challenging mountain-bike stage races, the Swiss Epic tests riders both technically and in terms of climbing. With over 10,000 miles of trails in Graubünden alone, riders can expect breathtaking scenery as they traverse pine forests, treeless high-Alpine ridges, and cold mountain streams. This race is recommended for serious cyclists, but the route can also serve as a guide for epic rides at your own pace.

(Pedro Szekely/Creative Commons)

 

Logan Mill to Sugarloaf to Magnolia

 

Boulder, Colorado

Style: Gravel and pavedMiles: 40

Boulder, Colorado, is famous for its paved road riding, but it also offers steep dirt routes for adventurous cyclists. One such route starts on the Boulder Creek Path and heads towards Four Mile Canyon, where cyclists can take a left onto Logan Mill. From there, signs will guide riders through the Escape Route, a forest-fire egress known for its challenging uphill portions. The route continues onto Sugarloaf Road, which features both paved and dirt surfaces, before joining the Peak to Peak Highway. A stop at Salto in Nederland for pecan sandies and a macchiato is a must before taking on the big push downhill along Magnolia Road to the Boulder Creek Path, thus completing the circuit. Boulder boasts numerous mixed-surface routes devoid of heavy traffic, offering breathtaking views of the Continental Divide.

(Louise Ireland/Creative Commons)

 

Tour of Flanders

 

Flanders, Belgium

Style: Cobbles and moreMiles: 162

The cobblestone paths and dirt trails of Belgium's farm country have become increasingly popular among cyclists, thanks to the rise of gravel biking. With a modern gravel bike equipped with 40-millimeter tires for better comfort and stability, these heritage routes are now more enjoyable. The Flemish Ardennes in East Flanders are particularly renowned for their challenging cobbled climbs, which test even professional cyclists during events like the Tour of Flanders. However, riding the edges of the cobbles can provide a more pleasant experience. The Flemish Ardennes offer a unique combination of picturesque landscapes and physical challenge that makes them truly exceptional.

(Sébastien Launay/Creative Commons )

 

Alto de Arrate

 

Basque Country, Spain

Style: Road climbMiles: 2

The Basque Country in Spain has a long-standing reputation for producing exceptional climbers in the Tour de France. However, it remains relatively undiscovered by American cyclists. The western Pyrenees in this region rival France in terms of magnificent mountains, beautiful beaches, charming hamlets, and delicious dining. Starting from San Sebastian, cyclists can take on the Alto de Arrate climb from both directions. This two-mile ascent frequently appears in the Vuelta a España and the Tour of the Basque Country. With lush countryside and gradients reaching 10 percent, this climb offers a unique experience without the crowds found in its French counterparts.

(LithiumFlash/Wikimedia Commons)

 

The Whole Enchilada

 

Moab, Utah

Style: SingletrackMiles: 35

While some purists may dismiss shuttle rides, the Whole Enchilada trail in Moab, Utah, proves that they can provide an exhilarating experience. This 35-mile descent covers 8,000 vertical feet and passes through three distinct ecosystems. Starting high in the La Sal Mountains, the trail winds its way through canyons and picturesque landscapes until it reaches the Colorado River, a mere six miles from downtown Moab. The trail offers stunning scenery and fast-paced riding, mostly in one direction. Although it is not an easy ride, the physical exertion is rewarded by the incredible views and unforgettable biking experience.

(Dan Krauss/AP)

 

Alpine Panorama Route

 

From St. Margrethen to Aigle in Switzerland, the majestic Alpine Panorama Route, also known as National Route 4, spans 300 miles and consists of nine stages. With an elevation gain of 30,000 feet, this scenic road tour takes cyclists through the picturesque Swiss countryside, challenging mountain passes, and charming valleys. Along the way, riders will encounter idyllic farmland, stunning castles, and charming chalets with self-service apple-cider stands. The route is clearly marked and ideal for self-guided tours, while those seeking a more thrilling adventure can challenge themselves by riding up to the ski station of Saas-Fee.

(C J B Scholten/Wikimedia Commons)

 

Dale Ball Trails to the Winsor Trail

 

Located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Dale Ball Trail network offers an exhilarating cross-country singletrack cycling experience. Starting from Santa Fe's central plaza, riders will embark on a challenging climb that leads to the Santa Fe National Forest. From there, two routes on the Chamisa Trail ascend about two miles to the Winsor Trail, a 9.3-mile doubletrack grind. With a demanding elevation gain of 7,000 feet, this trail promises an exciting descent. The journey culminates in the village of Tesuque, where cyclists can savor the finest taco, enchilada plates, and margaritas at the popular Tesuque Market.

(wwoods/Wikimedia Commons)

 

Mount Washington Hill Climb

 

Recognized as the most challenging hill climb in the world, the Mount Washington Hill Climb in North Conway, New Hampshire is a thrilling road cycling endeavor. With an average gradient of 12 percent and sections reaching 16 to 18 percent, this ascent pushes cyclists to their limits. The final few hundred feet boast a staggering 22 percent gradient, demanding exceptional traction control. Unfortunately, this route is only open during the annual race, which supports the Tin Mountain Conservation Center. While access should be expanded to allow cyclists without entry fees to experience this extraordinary challenge, participating in the race is a worthy cause for those able to afford the entry fee.

(Dave Silver/Wikipedia)

 

Giba Gorge Mountain-Bike Park

 

For an exhilarating cross-country and downhill mountain biking experience, head to the Giba Gorge Mountain-Bike Park in Pinetown, South Africa. Situated just 17 miles northwest of Durban and the Indian Ocean, this private bike park offers an array of thrilling trails. From berms and rock drops to fast climbs and thrilling descents, riders can enjoy the adrenaline rush of BMX and supercross tracks, as well as horse-riding routes. The park's highlight is the ten-mile Blue Route, a popular cross-country trail that showcases the beauty of South Africa's landscape.

(Aquarianbydesign/Wikimedia Commons)

 

Mount Tamalpais to Point Reyes

 

In Marin County, California, the scenic road from Mount Tamalpais to Point Reyes offers cyclists a breathtaking journey. This 94-mile route, which can be enjoyed as part of the Mount Tam Century or as an independent ride, showcases the beauty of California's tarmac. Cyclists will be captivated by the stunning views that unfold as they emerge from the ethereal fog of the redwood forests. While there are various route options available, we recommend the 94-mile option, which includes a climb up the 2,560-foot Mount Tamalpais. Regardless of the chosen route, riders can expect an elevation gain of 3,000 feet or more, making for a challenging yet rewarding experience.

Path through vineyards in Moravia, Czech Republic — ShutterstockThe Iron Curtain Trail will take you through, among other places, the serene Moravian vineyards — Shutterstock

 

Iron Curtain Trail, Europe

 

Spanning approximately 10,000 kilometers, the Iron Curtain Trail is a remarkable cycling adventure that traverses Europe. As one of the epic cycles of the world, this trail, also known as EuroVelo Route 13, offers an immersive experience into the history and landscapes of the continent. Beginning in Kirkenes, Norway, and ending in Tsarevo, Bulgaria, the trail roughly follows the former Iron Curtain, providing a unique perspective on Europe's past. Along the way, cyclists will be mesmerized by the diverse scenery, from Finland's enchanting forests to the vineyards of the Czech Republic. Completing the Iron Curtain Trail takes approximately three months, making it an awe-inspiring journey for those seeking a profound connection with European history.

For more information, consider reading "The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold," a book by Tim Moore, who rode the entire route on a Communist-era East German shopping bike. Alternatively, you can explore his condensed highlights of the journey here.

 

Capitals Route, Netherlands and Germany

 

View of Dutch windmill and creek with orange tulips in foreground — ShutterstockExperience postcard-worthy Dutch views along the Capitals Route — Shutterstock

 

Capitals Route, Netherlands and Germany

 

 

View of Dutch windmill and creek with orange tulips in foreground — ShutterstockGet your postcard Dutch views on the Capitals Route — Shutterstock

 

Covering a distance of 690 kilometers, the Capitals Route is a delightful cycling journey that takes riders through the Netherlands and Germany, culminating in the vibrant city of Berlin. Part of the EuroVelo network, this route, known as EV2, offers a flatter and more accessible challenge suitable for cyclists of various skill levels. The well-paved and well-signposted paths wind through enchanting fields of tulips, scenic forests filled with melodious birdsong, and picturesque meadows. Along the way, cyclists can indulge in freshly-baked bread, local cheese, and even visit small-town breweries or vineyards as a rewarding treat. The Capitals Route provides an ideal opportunity to embark on a long-distance cycling adventure, whether you're a novice or an experienced cyclist looking for a new challenge.

 

The Garden Route, South Africa

 

Elephants grazing by pool in Addo Elephant National Park — ShutterstockDiscover the beauty of Addo Elephant National Park along the Garden Route — Shutterstock

The Garden Route in South Africa, spanning 750 kilometers, offers an unforgettable cycling experience. Starting from Cape Town and ending in Port Elizabeth, this scenic route showcases the pristine coastline, beautiful beaches, and breathtaking lookout points. The journey can be completed in five to seven days with an average of five to six hours of cycling per day. The terrain is mostly gentle, making it suitable for cyclists of varying fitness levels. Along the way, cyclists might encounter wildlife in the bush, catch a glimpse of dolphins swimming off the shore, and have the opportunity to explore Addo Elephant National Park, home to elephants, rhinos, buffalo, and more. The Garden Route guarantees a perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural exploration.

 

The Parenzana, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia

 

View over the village of Motovun in Croatia — ShutterstockExperience the beauty of Motovun, Croatia along the Parenzana — Shutterstock

Covering a distance of 123 kilometers, the Parenzana route takes cyclists through Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia. This trail follows the historic path of a former narrow-gauge railway, providing a unique perspective on the rich history of the region. The easy-going route offers stunning views of the sea on one side and distant mountains on the other, particularly in Slovenia. Along the way, cyclists will have the opportunity to explore charming towns that showcase remnants of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. Additionally, the route offers an array of delectable local seafood and opportunities to stay in beautiful locations such as the medieval port city of Koper or the idyllic town of Umag. The Parenzana is an ideal choice for those seeking a shorter cycling adventure with captivating scenery and cultural immersion.

 

Via Francigena, the UK, France and Italy

 

Canterbury Cathedral — ShutterstockEmbark on a remarkable pilgrimage from Canterbury Cathedral — Shutterstock

Embarking on the Via Francigena route is not just a cycling journey but also a profound pilgrimage experience. This trail, spanning 1,800 kilometers, takes cyclists through the UK, France, and Italy, starting from Canterbury, England and ending in Rome, Italy. The route follows the path initially taken in the year 990 by Archbishop Sigeric, who traveled to Rome to collect his official token of office. Cyclists can retrace his footsteps and enjoy the captivating landscapes, cultural landmarks, and historical sites along the way. From the picturesque countryside of England to the challenging climbs of the Alps and the vibrant streets of Rome, the Via Francigena promises an unforgettable adventure that combines physical endurance with spiritual enrichment.

 

The Great Divide, Canada and US

 

Covering a distance of 4,340 kilometers, The Great Divide is a legendary off-road cycling trail that traverses Canada and the United States. This month-long journey takes cyclists through awe-inspiring mountain peaks, serene river valleys, and rugged dirt roads. The route encompasses diverse landscapes, from grasslands and deserts to meadows and forests, showcasing the full spectrum of North American scenery. Starting from Banff in Alberta, Canada and ending in Antelope Wells, New Mexico, US, the trail offers a true sense of adventure, with stretches devoid of civilization and constantly changing vistas. Completing The Great Divide is an extraordinary feat that rewards cyclists with a deep connection to nature and a sense of accomplishment that only a truly epic journey can provide.

 

La Farola, Cuba

 

Start: Cajobabo End: Baracoa Distance: 34 miles (55km)

Considered one of the seven modern engineering marvels of Cuba, La Farola, also known as the lighthouse road, offers a thrilling cycling adventure. Spanning 34 miles (55km), this road connects the beach hamlet of Cajobabo on the Caribbean coast to the historic city of Baracoa. The route traverses the steep slopes of Sierra del Puril, winding precariously through granite cliffs and fragrant cloud forests before descending abruptly into the lush tropical paradise of the Atlantic coastline. La Farola provides a classic Tour de France-style challenge, featuring demanding climbs, invigorating descents, and relatively smooth roads. It is best incorporated into a wider Cuban cycling excursion, and cyclists can charter a taxi for transportation to the starting point.

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A long-distance cyclist passing through the Salar De UyuniCycling on the salt flats of Bolivia makes for an unforgettable experience © Kamran Ali / 500px / Getty

 

Blue Ridge Parkway, USA

 

Start: Shenandoah National Park near Waynesboro, Virginia End: Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, North Carolina Distance: 469 miles (755km)

The majestic Blue Ridge Parkway stretches like a captivating roller-coaster track, starting from Shenandoah National Park in Waynesboro, Virginia, and winding its way to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Cherokee, North Carolina. This iconic route, spanning 469 miles (755km), is a favorite among bikers who typically allocate around ten days to complete the journey. Along the way, adventurers will traverse four national forests and encounter 176 bridges, over two dozen tunnels, and countless historic sites.

Travelers embarking on this scenic route will be immersed in the pristine beauty that has inspired countless patriotic songs. As they ride, they will be surrounded by untouched forests, babbling rivers, cascading waterfalls, vibrant wildflowers (or foliage, depending on the season), and mountains enshrouded in ethereal clouds.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is peppered with alluring stops and attractions, including the Blue Ridge Music Center, Julian Price Memorial Park, and Craggy Gardens. Visitors should plan their visit to Waterrock Knob to coincide with the breathtaking sunset sky spectacle.

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A group of cyclists pedal along a trail towards a traditional-looking village in the hills of the Atlas Mountains, Morocco.Cycling through the rugged beauty of the High Atlas is both challenging and rewarding © Francois Seuret / Shutterstock

 

High Atlas, Morocco

 

Start: Marrakech End: Zagora Distance: 342 miles (550km)

Embark on a memorable journey from Marrakech, Morocco, to Zagora, situated on the edge of the Sahara Desert, as you traverse the awe-inspiring High Atlas mountains, dominated by the towering Mt Toubkal, standing tall at 4167m. While conquering this lofty summit is a serious undertaking reserved for skilled climbers, it is a rewarding experience for those with a qualified guide during the summer season. It is advisable to pack sturdy hiking boots for this adventure.

As you navigate your bike route, you will descend from the mountains, passing through Agdz and exploring the enchanting Drâa Valley, where you will encounter some of the most breathtakingly arid landscapes imaginable. With affordable travel options from Europe to Morocco, this route offers an ideal opportunity to discover the joys of cycling in a more remote and adventurous destination.

Upon arriving in Zagora, visitors can take a 4x4 tour of the mesmerizing desert, an experience that should not be missed.

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The Camel Trail, England

 

Start: Padstow End: Blisland Distance: 18 miles (29km)

Once a bustling railway track that transported sand and fish inland, the Camel Trail has been transformed into a family-friendly cycling path that showcases the natural beauty of Cornwall, England.

The trail weaves through some of Cornwall's most picturesque countryside. Starting from Padstow, renowned for its fishing heritage and famous for Rick Stein's culinary contributions, the route hugs the sprawling Camel Estuary before meandering through the idyllic woodlands of Camel Valley and finally reaching Bodmin. From there, the trail ventures inland, leading cyclists to the charming village of Blisland, nestled at the foot of the captivating Bodmin Moor.

Featuring mostly traffic-free sections, the trail encompasses a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. Birdwatchers will be particularly delighted by the estuary section, where sightings of peregrine falcons, ospreys, and mute swans are common.

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An aerial view of the summit of Doi Inthanon mountain near Chiang Mai, where two pagodas stand in manicured grounds.A captivating aerial view of the summit of Doi Inthanon, home to sacred pagodas © Kriangkraiwut Boonlom / 500px

 

Doi Suthep, Thailand

 

Start: Chiang Mai End: Doi Suthep Distance: 11 miles (18km)

No visit to Chiang Mai, Thailand, would be complete without embarking on the exhilarating journey up the imposing Doi Suthep, which stands majestically on the outskirts of the city. As you ascend, the road curves through dense green foliage, steadily climbing the 1600m-high mountain, leading to the renowned Wat Phra That temple, dating back to the 13th century.

As the panoramic views of bustling Chiang Mai gradually give way, you will find yourself surrounded by quaint hill-tribe villages, nestled amidst lush greenery. The road alternates between steep switchbacks carved into the mountainside and gentle, sweeping bends that follow the contours of the land.

As you reach the gleaming golden temple, the road narrows, leaving behind the tourist buses and immersing you in the shadows of the deciduous forest that guards the mountain's upper reaches. Here, away from the bustling crowds, you can cycle in serene silence towards the summit.

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Two cyclists bike along a road on the banks of a large lake, near Lugano in Switzerland. The lake's water is a beautiful blue and flanked by green forest.Indulge in the joy of lakeside cycling in beautiful Switzerland © Skymilky / Shutterstock

 

Lake Geneva, Switzerland

 

Start/End: Geneva Distance: 124 miles (200km)

With the magnificent French Alps gracing the horizon, vineyards cascading down to shimmering shores, and an array of picturesque villages, a cycling adventure around Lake Geneva allows you to experience some of Europe's most breathtaking landscapes in one remarkable journey.

The newly-marked Tour du Léman, spanning 124 miles (200km) and following Cycle Route 46, is a predominantly flat route suitable for cyclists of various levels, including families. It begins by bidding farewell to Geneva, venturing along country tracks that gradually reveal captivating views of the lake as you pedal past sandy beaches and quaint hamlets, eventually leading to the Olympic city of Lausanne.

As you continue, the scenery becomes even more breathtaking, as you descend into the UNESCO World Heritage vineyards of the Lavaux region. The route further unfolds, hugging the lake and passing through Vevey, Montreux, and the enchanting medieval Château de Chillon. Finally, the trail loops back to Geneva in a clockwise direction, passing through the Rhone delta and visiting charming market towns straddling the French-Swiss border.

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The Whole Enchilada Trail, Utah

 

Embark on a desert odyssey along the red slick-rock trails of Utah

The Whole Enchilada Trail is widely regarded as one of the best mountain bike trails in the Americas, and its reputation is well-deserved. This epic trail takes riders on a remarkable journey, from alpine passes above the tree line to the awe-inspiring sandstone canyons of the Colorado River. However, it is important to note that access to the entire trail is only available during certain times of the year, so it is essential to double-check its availability before heading to Utah!

  • Distance/duration: Covering 43 km on average, this trail takes approximately 11 hours to complete and is typically tackled in a single day.
  • Starts/ends: Starting at Geyser Pass Road and concluding at Porcupine Rim.
  • Terrain type: The trail primarily comprises single-track sections, with occasional old double-track segments, and encompasses sandy and rocky terrain that can be challenging to navigate. Steep descents are a common feature of the trail.
  • Trail grade: The trail is graded as a 3, featuring steep slopes, obstacles that can generally be avoided, and terrain with poor traction. It is not intended for beginners.
  • Why we love it: Moab's landscape offers an astounding variety of scenery. As you traverse the trail, you will pass through fairytale forests, revel in panoramic valley views, and cycle through the mesmerizing desert, all within the span of this one extraordinary route.
  • Our tip: Keep in mind that "A mile in Moab equals two anywhere else," as the trail comprises a combination of sand and rocks. Prior research into the trail's conditions is essential to ensure you are prepared and have allocated enough time for the journey.

 

Freeminers Trail, England

 

Experience the popular and challenging Freeminers Trail in the Cannop Cycle Centre

The Forest of Dean in Gloucester, England, showcases over 110 square kilometers of ancient woodlands steeped in history. From being a hunting ground in the Middle Ages to a coal mining region during the Victorian era, the forest has now become a protected park. It offers an exceptional mountain biking experience, with the Freeminers Trail, in particular, being a challenging and highly popular choice among enthusiasts. It caters to advanced riders seeking an exhilarating ride through the forest. The trail features demanding single-track sections with varying terrain that pushes even the most skilled bikers to their limits.

  • Distance/duration: Covering 12 km, the entire trail can be completed in approximately 1 hour.
  • Starts/ends: The trail starts and ends at the Cannop Cycle Centre.
  • Terrain type: The trail comprises single-track sections with interspersed roots and diverse obstacles. It also includes a few wooden skill features for bikers to enjoy.
  • Trail grade: The Freeminers Trail is classified as a Grade 4 trail. It presents technical demands with tight switchbacks, rooty drops, and challenging hairpin bends.
  • Why we love it: In its natural state, the trail exudes an authentic atmosphere characterized by abundant vegetation and visible roots alongside the pathways. It's truly remarkable how swiftly you can feel surrounded by the forest, despite knowing that there are fellow riders on the trail.

 

Munda Biddi trail, Australia

 

Embark on the scenic single-track trail through the captivating Pemberton forest

The Munda Biddi trail, meaning "path through the forest" in the local Aboriginal Noongar language, covers over 1000 km of unspoiled wilderness in Australia. Spanning diverse landscapes, including eucalyptus forests, bushlands, and coastal cliffs, this trail provides an immersive experience in the captivating natural wonders of the region. Each day brings new and exciting discoveries, while nights can be spent camping in trail shelters or staying in quaint villages. The trail is open for biking year-round, but it is important to note that the summer months can be particularly hot.

  • Distance/duration: The trail covers 1000 km and typically takes about 20 days to complete, averaging 45 km per day.
  • Starts/ends: The journey commences at Sculpture Park, Mundaring, and concludes in Albany.
  • Terrain type: As you make your way through the trail, you will encounter a variety of terrain. The northern section consists of occasionally challenging pea gravel, while the southern section offers loamy forests and white sand trails.
  • Trail grade: The Munda Biddi trail is graded as a 2, making it reasonably beginner-friendly. The majority of the trail avoids steep slopes and hill climbs, although there are some challenging portions within river valleys.
  • Why we love it: What better way to explore Australia's untamed majesty than by spending nearly a month cycling through it? Along this trail, you will encounter diverse ecosystems and a plethora of wildlife, truly immersing yourself in the natural wonders of the country.

So whether you're a seasoned adventurer or just looking for a new way to explore the world, these bike routes are sure to provide you with incredible experiences and unforgettable memories. From the treacherous Death Road in Bolivia to the stunning landscapes along the Garden Route in South Africa, there is something for every cyclist to enjoy. So grab your helmet, hop on your bike, and get ready for the journey of a lifetime on one of these best bike routes in the world.

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