Gone are the days when tourists thought of Europe as nothing beyond Paris and Switzerland. With the rising rage of solo traveling and backpacking, the shrouded, unplumbed gems of Europe have come to limelight. We are talking about the heavenly small towns located in close proximity to the main cities, which you can unwind easily in a day’s time.
So here comes our list of top 5 destinations that you can cycle to from the main, touristy spots, that too without stretching your itinerary too much:
1. Muiden, near Amsterdam – The Netherlands
Southeast to the city centre of Amsterdam is Muiden, a quaint countryside on the mouth of Vecht River. In this town resides Muiderslot, Amsterdam’s ancient castle. The 40km bike tour from the Central Station rambles you along the picturesque Amsterdam-Rhine Canal as you cycle towards Muiden. It takes about 6-7 hours to reach the town, visit the castle and head back to Amsterdam through Diemerbos, a scenic forested area built in the 1990s.
2. Howth, near Dublin – Ireland
The panoramic coastline of this Irish city is a combination of bustle and serenity. A mere 13km ride north east from the city brings you to Howth, a beautiful town where you get captivated by the tranquility and the salted air of Ireland’s maritime history. For intrepid cyclists, this journey promises ceaseless breathtaking climbs and steep turns. On your way, you will encounter the architectural grandeur of Ireland’s most desirable residences. Howth is a place for fish and fishing lovers. So make sure you carry your fishing rod and seafood appetite along! There are some really great restaurants in the village to offer you gourmet treats to nibble as you head back home.
3. Karlstejn Castle, near Prague – Czech Republic
Karlstejn Castle bags the laurel of second most popular Czech spot after Prague. Built back in 1350s is this Disney-like castle perched on a hill, circumscribed in lush forests and vineyards. A 35km bike ride from Prague along the Vltava River takes you to the castle, as you skim through an array of villages, castles, green spaces, rivers and forests. Take a halt at one of the many bakeries and breweries on your way. If you are too tired to ride back, catch a train back to Prague.
4. Tellaro, near La Spezia – Italy
Cliff-top roads snaking from the vibrant Italian coastline La Spezia takes you to this miniscule harbor that didn’t get swallowed up by the wave of tourism like other Ligurian seaside towns. Tellaro, 14 km from La Spezia, is a puzzle of pastel building clung vertiginously to the sheer cliffs. Imagine yourself biking on a road sandwiched between the gorgeous Amalfi coast and sky-kissing cliffs! Take a rest at one of the many beaches on your way. Stop by at one of the beach shacks to grab a scrumptious local seafood cuisine!
5. Bygdoy, near Oslo – Norway
If you are looking for less of biking and more of sightseeing, try Bygdoy, just 6km from Oslo. This peninsula is home to Norway’s most priced tourist spots. Talk about cultural attractions, public parks, forests or beaches- everything is available in this neighborhood. Encounter umpteen ‘royal’ cows as you ride across the impeccable Scandinavian countryside. Don’t forget to explore Royal Manor, a fully operational 200-acre organic farm. The route exhibits the most breathtaking beauty during spring and summers, when the weather favors the riders.
Europe is downright obsessed with the pedal power. Hence, you would hardly ever face trouble with biking. The gorgeously planned biking paths make it a breeze to go for this rather slow, but totally worthwhile transport option!