Cycling across Europe from Greece to England was a bike tour that took two and a half months, and passed through 11 countries along the way. Here's a brief summary of the bicycle tour across Europe.
I should start this blog post about cycling across Europe, by thanking everyone who followed my journey. I really appreciate all the comments I received on my YouTube channel, Facebook page, and Instagram account.
It certainly added another element of fun to the adventure!
This post is a round up of that cycling tour in Europe, but I've also included some practical travel tips, information about Europe cycling routes, and answers to some frequently asked questions.
I'd also encourage you to read (and leave your own!) reader comments at the end of the article. You might find there's some additional insights into biking across Europe that may be useful.
Who am I and why go cycling through Europe?
Quick introduction – My name is Dave, and I've been long-distance cycle touring for years. My two longest cycle tours were from England to South Africa , and from Alaska to Argentina.
A year or so after moving to Greece in 2015, I decided it was about time I saw my parents back in the UK. The choices were to fly or take a bike trip 0 at least that's the way I saw it!
It seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine getting a little exercise with a European bike tour, and so I planned a route from Greece to England.
Cycling Trip Greece to England
My bicycle tour across Europe began in Athens, Greece, and then headed north towards the UK.
Typically speaking, most people planning a cycling trip in Europe choose to cycle in the other direction, and use either Athens or Istanbul as their final destination.
Athens is where I live though, and so basically I started from my doorstep!
Biking through Europe South to North
Riding in the other direction, so to speak, had some advantages.
Firstly, it meant that I would arrive in northern Europe when the weather was better. I've seen many people time their journey with arriving in Athens in August, and trust me, it's crazy hot at that time of year!
By biking Europe in the opposite direction, I would arrive in the UK in early August for warm, but not too hot weather.
Secondly, I would get to see more cyclists coming in the other direction. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised on how many people were cycling across Europe.
I met a few two-wheeled tourers along the way, and stopped for a chat whenever I could.
Lastly, It also felt fitting that I should cycle from my new home in Athens to the place I was born, which is Northampton in England. Like it was connecting the dots, almost.
Choosing a cycling route through Europe
There's a few different bike routes I could have based my trip around. The shortest route from Greece to England for example would have involved taking a ferry over to Italy, and cycling from there.
This would have meant I would ride through fewer European countries though, so instead I decided on a slightly longer route following the Adriatic coastline of the countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia.
After Slovenia, I would then head to the Danube, and join the cycle paths leading westward across Europe.
Basically, I combined a couple of EuroVelo routes with a few short cuts and part of the Danube Cycle Path. My cycle route passed through the following countries:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (less than a day!)
- United Kingdom
You can read more about my itinerary and cycling route planning here: Bicycle Touring Route From Greece To England
There's the official EuroVelo site here you could also look at for planning bike trips in Europe.
Cycling in Europe – Bicycle and Gear
For this bike tour I used a Stanforth Kibo+ 26 inch touring bike. Although not completely neccessary for this tour (a 700c touring bike would have been fine), I loved the way it handled and had zero problems with it.
In fact, my biggest issue with the bike during the 2 and a half months was just one single puncture!
Gear wise, I took what I considered to be a reasonably minimal set up (not much in the way of spare parts) for these types of cycling tours. That included camping gear and also a laptop and electronic gear so I could work on the road.
More about my bike touring kit here: Gear List For Cycling From Greece To England.
Documenting my ride – Bike Touring Vlogs
In terms of blogging, I decided to do things a little differently on this trip. This was my first experiment in vlogging, and I made a vlog a day during the cycling trip.
It was a massive learning curve, and to be honest I think I over-committed by saying I would do a vlog a day. On future trips I will just release one vlog a week. I think this is far more practical considering the time that it takes.
Still, I am happy with the results that I got, and hopefully it encourages other bike tourists to plan a similar cycling holiday or trip. Please feel free to check out my Europe by bike playlist.
Here is a brief summary of each section of the Europe bike tour.
Cycling through the Balkans
I started off by following what could be termed EuroVelo Route 8 from Greece. You won't find any signposts on the roads saying this of course, as the route is theoretical at the moment!
After leaving Greece, my route took me through the Balkans on the Adriatic Coast side. I cycled through Albania first, a country which was one of my favourite cycling destinations during the trip.
Montenegro, and Croatia, followed, where I was looking forward to seeing Dubrovnik, but came away ultimately disappointed.
I even spent one day in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but I'm not sure that completely counts as cycling through the country. At least I can say I have been there!
Cycling through Central Europe
After leaving Croatia, I then made my way through Slovenia and Austria to Bratislava in Slovakia. Once there, it was time for a 10 day break, where I did some sightseeing in Bratislava and Budapest.
When it was time to resume cycling through Europe, I then made my way across Austria, Germany, and France to England. My journey finished in Northampton.
Budget my Europe bike tour
Cycling from Greece to England took me two and a half months. Although I haven't totalled up the kilometres yet, I believe it is in excess of 2500.
Working out how much I spent on a cycling tour is always a best estimate, but I believe it was 750 Euro per month. I wasn't particularly trying to cut down costs, but if I was, I could definitely have completed the bike tour for less.
If you are interested, you can check out my bicycle touring budgets for May and June.
Where I stayed cycling across Europe
Accommodation wise, I calculated it was roughly 60% camping to 40% other accommodation when cycle touring Europe. In some countries, particularly the Balkans, I found it cheaper to stay in hotel rooms at 10 Euros a night, rather than campsites! Crazy, I know.
I did get camping for 5 Euros a night on a couple of occasions. In Albania, my hosts even bought me a coffee, water and some sweets on arrival!
You can find out more here – Bicycle touring in Albania.
Note: I didn't wild camp during this bike tour in Europe as I was comfortable with the overall expenses of the trip.
What I liked about bicycle touring in Europe
Many people have asked me why I like bicycle touring. The simple answer, is that it is a beautiful way to travel. It has no impact on the environment, and you get to see a lot more of the countries that you are travelling through.
This recent bicycle tour across Europe was no exception, and I found it interesting comparing the different countries.
There is certainly a big difference between the Balkan approach to life, and the northern European attitude! Personally, I prefer the Balkan approach!
The bike paths of Germany and Austria are also a revelation. It's only when you've actually cycled on them you can appreciate how much it helps society.
I'd recommend Germany if you're planning your first cycling holidays and want nice bike paths, cycle-friendly infrastructure, and car-free rides. It's one of the best countries for cycling!
More Bike Touring
If you're planning to cycle across Europe, you may find these other informative blogs posts to be useful reading:
- Danube to Lake Constance Cycle Route – Lake Constance Trail
- Peloponnese (Greece) Bike Touring
- Biking Eurovelo 8: Three Month Cycling Adventure (Cat's experiences)
- Cycling in Portugal
- Cycling in Catalonia, Spain
If you use Pinterest, it would be great if you pinned this bike across Europe post for later!
Special mention to Simon Stanforth who loaned me the Kibo+ bicycle I used to cycle Europe, and to Acrothea Hotel in Parga, and Big Berry Campground in Slovenia who both hosted me along the way.
The biggest thanks of all go to ‘The Mrs’, who was incredibly patient, supportive, and understanding throughout the trip. 🙂
– Dave Briggs
Dave has cycled around much of the world including bike tours from Alaska to Argentina, and England to South Africa. In addition to this guide to one of the best bike tours in Europe, he's written many other reviews and tips about bike touring.
Follow Dave on social media for travel, adventure and bike touring inspiration:
charlie west says
This was really interesting and helpful to read. I have a question – I would like to end in Greece and have a few days there to enjoy it. I only have 19 days to complete a cycle tour however so where might you recommend starting? Overall, I would follow this route, but it’s just a case of knowing where to start from, given my time frame.
Many thanks for your help!
Dave Briggs says
Depending on distances you can cycle in a day, and if you want to stop along the way for sightseeing, you could look at Dubrovnkik to Athens or even Zagreb to Athens.
Another potentially nice route, not covered here, would be Rome to Athens.
Thats Great – thanks Dave! – well it will be my first proper cycle tour so I won’t be pushing a crazy number of miles per day. I’m open to suggestions on that front as well!
Dave Briggs says
For mileage, I tend to work on 80kms / 50 miles a day being my average (after a few days getting used to everything!)
If it’s your first tour, a route broken down roughly into 40 mile days could be a base line to work from. Inevitably, there will be a few longer days thrown in due to where the next stores, places to see, or accommodation are.
Alan Whittaker says
Your amazing to have traveled over Europe. I’m a fit recently retired ambulance driver. I love cycling. But have only cycled around northern France some time ago but it was with a company who organized trips . I fancy the urea of just going off and cycling from Manchester to anywhere in Europe. Am I too old or would you recommend it to me with any other information. I just like the ideas of the freedom and no rushing around. Hope to hear from you thanks Alan Whittaker oh and I bet it is great fir keeping fir?
Dave Briggs says
I think cycling is one of those things where age isn’t really a barrier. There’s also different ways to do it. For example, you can go fully self-supported (taking your tent, camping gear etc with you), or credit card touring, where you cycle with minimal gear and pre-book rooms on your route.
For a starter tour, why not look at some of the long distance river routes in Germany? They are well marked, almost always a dedicated cycle lane, and lots of facilities along the way. Take a look for the Rhine cycling route (sea to source). It might be a good starting point for inspiration on planning where to go!
Oh, and yes its great for fitness. With the benefit that you can eat as much as you want guilt free!!!
Truly inspirational and ironic as this year I am planning to cycle from Northampton to Greece!!
I’ve never been to Athens and decided I should. I was going to follow the Velo network routes, which sounds very similar to the route you took.
My only concern was Albania and whether or not I need a visa etc and how safe it is to travel alone.
I am mostly bike packing (camping) but should be able to afford a hotel/hostel once a week or so.
I have allocated about 100 days to do it in. Any general advice and tips would be great.
I hope to post on Instagram as a way of recording the trip.
Maybe I can meet you for a coffee when I get there!
Best wishes and happy cycling
Dave Briggs says
Nice to hear you’re from the Teyn!!
It’s a lovely ride, and the Velo network is a nice route.
For northern Europe, it’s mostly signposted.
As you get from Croatia down, it’s a ‘concept’ – meaning you’ll just have to choose what’s best for you!
As for cycling in Albania – I loved it! It was by far my favourite country to cycle in on this trip (apart from Greece of course!). I found the people to be super-friendly, and there’s some great historic sites to check out.
From as I remember, they will stamp you in on one border and out on another – probably took less than five minutes on both sides. Hint – Never join the back of a queue when crossing a border on a bike, always cycle to the front!
100 days sounds a perfect amount of time.
If you need any other pointers, let me me.
And let me know when you get here so we can get a coffee!
Cheers Dave for the valuable information.
I will keep you posted on my arrival if you are still in Greece,
I’m indebted to you for all the tips you have given on your website.
I’m super excited to begin the journey and follow in your tyre treads so to speak.
Happy tailwinds indeed!
Par Libell says
Thank you for taking the time and effort to share all the invaluable info about your trips. I’m flying to Dubrovnik on August the 14’th to start pedalling back to Sweden. I found your website the other day and I will literally follow your tracks through Croatia and Slovenia.
I will make sure that I spend the night at Camp Tomas but I need to forget about Big Berry though, looks really great but way, way over my budget
Thanks again for the inspiration!
Dave Briggs says
Wishing you happy tailwinds for your journey back to Sweden!
Yes, Big Berry is very much out of my budget as well! haha. It was a nice experience, but glad I didn’t have to pay for it!
You’ve got some lovely cycling ahead of you. Hope you have a wonderful time!
John Twyman says
I’m planning on cycling from Athens to Prague next spring. I have planned on going up through Macedonia (North?) and then cutting over to Budapest and then over to Prague. However, your route is also interesting. Do you have any gpx files of your route that I could load into my garmin?
Dave Briggs says
This sounds like a fantastic bike tour!
I think if you went up through Albania and then over to North Macedonia you’d enjoy cycling in Albania as well.
I’m afraid I don’t have the GPX. I did have the routes displayed on my website, but Garmin Connect let me down.
A long way of doing it, but if you look at the vlogs for the bike tour you might be able to determine my route through the various stages on Google maps.
Happy tailwinds on your tour!
Thanks for the advice!
I’ve made a solid plan for my route through Greece now.
That would be great, I come to Athens in the first week of May.
I am attempting a very similar trip this summer! I’m flying out to Athens then cycling home to Bristol.
I’m keen on seeing as much as I can in Greece along the way, could you please recommend a basic route from athens to Albania that I could follow?
Your website has been so helpful in planning, and the vlogs on YouTube have helped a lot too!
Dave Briggs says
Hope all is good!
Great to hear you are going cycle this route.
There’s tonnes of different options you could add in. If you really want to see some of Greece along the way, let me suggest the following (r=archaeological site). Open up google maps in another tab, and lets go!!
Athens – Corinth (r) – Epidaurus (r)- Nafplion – Mycenae (r) – Patras – Nafpaktos – Delphi (r) – Karditsa – Trikala – Meteora – Ioannina – And then get back onto the route I took.
Even then, this route misses out Olympia and Thessaloniki, but it gives you something to come back for!
I hope this is of some help! Give me a shout when you are in Athens, and if I am around, we can meet up for a coffee!
Mathew Mitchell says
Looks an amazing trip, very impressed! I’ve been up the Adriatic coast but unfortunately not on a bike yet, definitely added to my bucket list.
Well done Mate. How did you secure your bike whilst camping? I know it’s poor to consider this but it’s always been a concern when I travel and good bike locks are pretty heavy!
Dave Briggs says
I always take a good bike lock with me, and lock the bike to a tree or post when camping 🙂
What you are doing is very cool!
Vicky and Buddy says
How cool to travel from your new home to where you were born! What an incredible journey. And congrats on your new vlogging adventure!
John Morris says
Wow Dave, what an incredible journey! I’ve taken many trips to Europe, but I’m always flying or taking a train between cities. Int would be nice to slow down a bit like you did on this trip. There is so much more to see than the city squares.
Biking along the coastline probably gives you amazing views!
Indeed, sometimes on the Balkans the camping with tents is more expensive than cabins in the same camping.
Natasha Welch says
Wow really impressed man, I tried to cycle from Scotland to Newcastle once and gave up after a day- I haven’t cycled for five years though so maybe wasn’t the best place to start haha 🙂 I’m going to Croatia/Montenego/B+H in a week’s time would love to hear more about your time there, did you do any wild camping? I’ve heard its pretty good for it there (except in Croatia)
Marlene Marques says
Hi Dave. What a great adventure. Couldn’t even try it, since my biking skills aren’t that great. But enjoyed your post and vlog. Good luck for your next adventure!
Fiona Maclean says
oh gosh, I don’t think I could do this! Maybe day cycling to hotels for the night…NOT camping too
Awesome!! Good luck in cycling around Europe, Dave! One of our writers is cycling around the world as well- he is now on his way to Asia from England.