Have you exhausted all your ideas for your next rewarding bike tour? Are you just looking for more options to add to your bucket list? Don’t worry—with the number of unbelievable possibilities out there, you’ll never run out of ideas. Look no further than these ten amazing bike tour routes that are more than worth making your list.
Of course, you can complete any of these routes in segments, so don’t let the distance dissuade you from exploring the beauty they offer.
1. North Sea Cycle Route
Crossing through six countries, the North Sea cycle route takes you through almost 3,728 miles (6,000 km) of trail. Following the coast of the North Sea, the trail spans through breathtaking scenery as you cross from sections below sea level to others spanning cliffs hundreds of meters above the water.
Between Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and the United Kingdom, there is plenty to see as you take in the different cultures and activities of the coastal cities you pass through. The trail is so vast that you will need a ferry across over a dozen points. You can split up the route however you prefer, but a full tour would take a month or more.
2. The Friendship Highway
The Friendship Highway is an international highway in Tibet that offers a stunning sightseeing opportunity for bicycle tourists. This route runs for 500 miles (800 kilometers) along the Tibetan border from Lhasa, Tibet to the border of Nepal. This tour is best for the most conditioned thrill-seekers featuring several points over 16,400 feet (5,000 meters).
The Friendship Highway features so much captivating scenery as it passes through some of the tallest mountain landscapes in the entire world. One of the major selling points is the stunning view of Mt. Everest when the weather is clear. Still, there are plenty of other great landmarks, like Yamdrok Lake and the Karola Glacier, which are considered some of the most beautiful places in Tibet.
3. Great Divide Mountain Bike Route
If you enjoy braving the remote wilderness on a rugged mountain bike, this route is for you. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is the longest off-pavement road in the world, covering over 3,000 miles (4,800 km) of trail while traversing north to south through the unparalleled majesty of the Rocky Mountains.
This trail covers a hefty percentage of the North American Continent, spanning from Banff, Alberta, Canada, all the way down to Antelope Wells, New Mexico on the border of the United States and Mexico. This route isn’t for just any hobbyist bike tourist, featuring over 200,000 feet (60,000 m) of elevation gain. And since the route is mainly off-road on packed dirt and gravel and incredibly remote, you will need a beefier tire and a lot more preparation.
However, those that take on this trail have the chance to see bears, deer, elk, moose, and other wildlife—not to mention the diverse vegetation and remarkable mountain vistas. The trail also passes through three National Parks, old wagon routes, and deserted historical sites.
4. Iron Curtain Trail
One of the longest bike tours you can take, the Iron Curtain Trail in Europe offers plenty to appreciate. As the name suggests, this trail runs the length of the late 20th-century boundary between East and West Europe. That being said, this marathon of a trail runs all the way down from the north end of the continent down the Baltic Coast and to the Black Sea.
Running through Norway, Finland, Germany, the Czech Republic, and beyond, this rewarding route brings you through beautiful forests, charming hillside villages, and marvelous coastal landscapes. This trail spans about 6,200 miles (10,000 km), and a full tour takes about three months to complete. Of course, you can always split it up depending on your schedule and capabilities.
5. Route des Grandes Alpes
Source: Route des Grandes Alpes
The Route des Grandes Alpes is one of the most beautiful in the world, taking you through the majestic French Alps mountain range and rewarding you with breathtaking landscapes. This trail spans north to south, from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea.
The Route des Grandes Alpes takes about six to eight days to complete and covers an impressive 932 miles (1500 km). The trail features nearly 59,000 feet (18,000 m) in elevation change, so proper conditioning and lung capacity will be vital.
For those worried about their knees during the strenuous mountainous climbs, the route offers recharging points for electric bikes about every 18-25 miles (30-40 km).
6. Ride Across America
One must-do for any cycling enthusiast is a cycling tour across the United States. A ride across America offers three potential routes to voyage East to West across the country.
The shortest of options is the Southern Route, which covers about 3,050 miles (4,900 km) from San Diego, California to St. Augustine, Florida, passing through the Southernmost states. The second option is to take the colder 4,244-mile (6,830 km) Northern route along the coast, from Anacortes, Washington to Bar Harbor, Maine.
Or, you can split the middle of the country and take the longest route option, the TransAmerica bike route. The TransAmerica trail starts in Astoria, Oregon and ends in Yorktown, Virginia, spanning 4,626 miles (7,445 km). No matter which you choose, you will cross an immeasurable number of landscapes and pass through many charming towns.
7. Pacific Coast Highway
The Pacific Coast Highway runs down the Western Coast of the United States from Oregon through California. However, you can build a route that starts as far north as Vancouver, Canada and ends as far south as Imperial Beach, California. This route gives you a baffling 1,850 miles (2,977 km) to work with as you can pass through cities, forests, and farmland for an unforgettable experience.
While carving through the curves of the Pacific Coast Highway, you can enjoy some of the most incredible scenes the US has to offer, peering out over the Pacific Ocean while observing unbelievable beaches, gigantic redwood trees, and beautiful rock formations along the way.
The Pacific Coast Highway is shared by cars, so it will take an extra level of caution as you ride. Still, with a little extra attention, you can enjoy the trip of a lifetime.
8. The Garden Route
Running from Mossel Bay to the Storms River near Cape Town, the Garden Route is one of the most popular attractions in South Africa. The Garden Route is more than just a bike tour—it’s an all-around cultural and scenic experience. Despite only being 125 miles (200 km) in length, the Garden Route has enough attractions that can lead you to spend as much as two weeks en route.
The trail features attractions like Tsitsikamma National Park, beautiful beaches for whale watching, and vineyards that feature wine tasting. Keep in mind that it is a heavy tourist attraction, so you will definitely have company for a significant portion of the trail. Still, this one is worth taking the time to enjoy.
9. Tour d’Afrique
Source: TDA Global Cycling
The Tour d’Afrique is another one of the longest possible routes in the world at 5,396 miles (8,685km) of distance. Spanning the entire continent of Africa from the north to the south, this features an unbelievably diverse span of terrain and cultures to take in.
Starting in Cairo, Egypt, this trail crosses nine countries and ends way down in Cape Town, South Africa. You see everything from the historic Pyramids of Giza to the vast deserts of Namibia over as much as three months of riding.
Of course, there is a lot more required than just the physical capacity to complete this route. Traversing a continent means running into many language and cultural barriers. However, the patience and motivation to do so could be truly life-changing.
10. Tasmania, Australia
If your head turns at the thought of remote routes, you’ll do a double-take here. The Tasmanian west coast in Australia features the most isolated landscapes in the world—hardly touched by hiking boots or bike tires. You’ll cross through vast forests and coastlines while passing picturesque lakes and stunning waterfalls.
One of the most popular routes is the Tasmanian Trail, which covers 298 miles (480 km) of distance, splitting the center of the island and running north to south. Still, you can craft a route and schedule that gives you the most fulfilling experience over two to three weeks. With harsh weather conditions and the remote landscapes, this trail will be a challenge for anyone but a huge reward for those who can crack it.
No matter where you plan on taking your next tour, remember that you have a network of 179,000 Warmshowers members in 161 countries ready to support you with places to stay. Explore our blog to learn more about all the incredible opportunities cycling tours can bring you.