As regular readers may know, I am planning to cycle from Greece to England in May 2016. I have roughly two months to do this, and so I need as direct a route as possible. This article takes you through the steps I have followed when choosing a cycling route from Greece to England.
Choosing a Cycling Route from Greece to England
When planning my long distance bicycle tours, I tend to use a number of resources. I love reading bicycle touring blogs of course, as it is a great way to get information from people who have actually cycled similar routes themselves. Google maps is awesome, cycling guides where available are very useful, and there are cycling association websites which all provide great information. When choosing my cycling route from Greece to England though, one of the biggest helps was the EuroVelo website.
The EuroVelo project aims to develop a series of long distance cycling routes throughout Europe. These routes use local cycle paths where available, and quieter roads where not. Each one has a theme, or purpose. For example, EuroVelo route 3 is known as The Pilgrim's route, and follows the path of some of Europe's more famous pilgrim paths. Starting in Trondheim, Norway, it snakes down through Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and Belgium, meanders through France, and finishes in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The route takes into account local accommodation, so you could camp if you wanted, stay at hotels, or book short term rentals in the more scenic areas such as the Dordogne.
When choosing a cycling route from Greece to England, it was obvious that no one single EuroVelo route would be suitable. I would have to combine different ones. From my starting point in Athens, there were two routes to choose from. One is EuroVelo route 11, and is affectionately known as the Beast from the East. Whilst the entire route runs from Athens to Nordkap in Norway, it might have been possible to cycle part of the route, before ‘jumping off' onto another one. It wasn't the most direct route though, and so I had to discard it. That said, I have bookmarked it as a potential bicycle touring trip in 2017!
The second EuroVelo route which starts from Athens, is EuroVelo 8. This is known as the Mediterranean route, and actually goes all the way to Cadiz in Spain. Obviously, I wouldn't follow it all the way through, but instead leave the route in Slovenia. This was a perfect match for me, as it would take me to a few countries I haven't yet visited. I could then also combine this with parts of EuroVelo routes 6, 7, and 4 to complete most of the journey.
This is where I ran into a bit of a problem. It seems that whilst the EuroVelo route project is a very ambitious and noble one, not much actual routing has taken place! When I started looking for specifically detailed maps of the routes, there were very few to be found. There is no official ‘guide book', and most of the routes are not signposted or marked in any way. In short, it seems to be very much in the concept stage, at least for some of the sections I wish to cycle. So, over the next few days I will develop my cycling route from Greece to England further. In the mean time, I hope that this information about cycling routes in Europe has proven to be useful, especially if you are planning your own bicycle touring trip in Europe. I will be updating regularly about my preparations for cycling from Greece to England over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!