Europe

Mountain Biking in Europe: The Alps

The majestic Alps represent one of the greatest destinations for mountain biking in Europe. This unspoiled and beautiful mountain chain stretches over seven countries and offers some priceless sights you won’t find anywhere else. If you’re looking for the most convenient and cost-effective way to see all the inherent natural wonders of the Alps, consider a motor-less option. A bike ride through the Alps is a completely different experience from other modes of transportation and a great way to commune with Nature.

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Biking through the French Alps

Cycling through France is a classic way to enjoy the country. More and more areas of l’Hexagone offer biking tours instead of conventional bus tours. Around the French Alps you’ll find hundreds of agencies and organizations that provide guided tours in mountainous areas. The most popular tours are that of Mont Blanc, the highest Alpine peak, and the circuits that originate in the Alps and end at the Mediterranean Sea in Nice.

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A wonderful starting point for a bike exploration of the Alps is the resort town of Chamonix. The winter sports hub near the Aiguilles Rouges range is ideal for a wide variety of four season recreation: ice climbing, rock climbing, skiing, rafting, canoeing and of course, mountain biking. When you search for hotels in Chamonix, find out if they provide bike rental service. It’s the best way to enjoy the natural scenery in this magnificent part of France.

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Biking in Switzerland

The Alps cut a wide swath through the heart of Switzerland. The country’s landscape is beautifully laid out for avid cyclists to explore, with a complex network of paths that snake not just through the Alps, but through the Central Plateau and Jura mountains as well.

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Beginners can always benefit from the expertise of a tour guide, while veteran cyclists may prefer the freedom of a less unfettered experience. With a map and a bike in your possession, the spectacular landscape of Switzerland awaits.

With well-marked routes, it’s near impossible to get lost. En route, a collection of lovely Swiss hamlets seduce cyclists with good wine, cheese, chocolate, superb architecture and hospitable locals.

Image by Spencer T.

Biking in Austria

Cycling paths in Austria span over 10,000 km (6,213 miles). In recent years, it’s become easier than ever to get from point A to point B with just a bike and a train ticket. Most of the 120 train stations around Austria rent bicycles and if you present a valid ticket for the day, you’ll get a 50% discount.

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In the Alps, most of the three- and four-star inns and hotels offer bike tours, as well as a variety of other services for the visiting cyclist. One of the most famous routes in Austria is the Hohe Tauren trail, which starts at the base of the Hohe Tauern range and ends 161 km (100 miles) and 610 meters (2,000 feet) lower, in the city of Salzburg. On the way to Salzburg, the trail passes through dozens of cities and towns, one of the most important being the resort town of Zell am See. This lakeside town is a perfect starting point for more than 40 trails in the area.

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