Join us on this spectacular eleven week Trans-Europa bicycle tour through twelve countries starting in St. Petersburg, one of the world’s most beautiful cities. The route snakes through the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and into Poland and Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia, reaching its halfway point in glorious Venice. Riders will then pedal along the Italian and French Riviera, visiting Genoa, Cannes and Montpellier. Then it’s into Spain skirting the foothills of the towering Pyrenees to Barcelona. From there we head west across the Iberian peninsula to the Spanish capital of Madrid, the medieval town of Caceres and finally the great Portuguese capital of Lisbon.
Our itinerary initially follows the ancient amber trade route used by the Romans, from St. Petersburg, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, to the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, then onwards through Poland and Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia, before the tour reaches its half way point in glorious Venice, Italy.
After a short break of gondola rides, pasta, and Chianti, we will cycle across Southern Europe to the Atlantic Ocean. En route we will ride along the Italian and French Rivieras, visiting Genoa, Cannes and Montpellier. Then it’s into Spain skirting the foothills of the towering Pyrenees to Barcelona where we will have 2 days to explore another of Europe’s most impressive cities. From there we head west across the Iberian peninsula to the Spanish capital of Madrid, the medieval town of Caceres and finally the great Portuguese capital of Lisbon, from where explorers like ourselves set sail to discover the world.
This section begins in the ‘Venice of the North’, St Petersburg. Riders will cycle along the gorgeous Baltic coast of Estonia before arriving in the capital of Tallinn, with its amazing 14th century Old Town architecture. From there the tour pedals south towards Latvia, enjoying a second rest day in Riga, the ‘Paris of the North’. After a day enjoying its cosmopolitan atmosphere, riders will head across the less travelled central portion of Lithuania, ending their journey in Vilnius, with its Baroque Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
This section starts in Vilnius, with its Baroque Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and heads west towards Poland. Riders will spin across the forests of Southern Lithuania, possibly stopping for a dip in a Soviet-era spa. Crossing into Poland the tour will camp along some of the country’s most beautiful lakes before heading south to the capital of Warsaw.
Another few days of cycling and sampling the local pirogues along the Wista River in Poland will lead us to the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. Here the cyclists will cross the border into Slovakia and experience a country of hillside villages and fiery Slivovica, a traditional plum brandy! The 2013 European Capital of Culture, Kosice, will be the spot of our rest day. We’ll quickly say goodbye to Slovakia and enter Hungary where we will visit small rural towns and villages before entering Budapest, one of the great cities of Europe.
This section starts in Budapest along the banks of the Danube River. We’ll cycle into western Hungary where the riders may see remnants from the original basalt amber road construction of the ancient amber trade route. After spending a few days along the very popular and scenic Lake Balaton cyclists will cross into tiny Slovenia, possibly stopping to sample some fine local wine on their way to the capital, Ljubljana. After a rest day spent exploring the city’s famous hill top castle, the riders will cycle towards the Italian coast, before arriving at incomparable Venice.
There are few roads in the world more famous than the ones carved between the Mediterranean Sea and the coastal mountains of Italy and France. The Riviera has been a sanctuary of the world’s rich and famous for centuries, and is home to some of cycling’s most famous races, such as Paris-Nice and Milan-San Remo. After traversing Northern Italy’s Po River bike paths, we’ll spend a rest day in the ancient trading city of Genoa. We’ll then tackle these steep winding roads and savour the views of the waters and resort villages below as we pass through San Remo, the Principality of Monaco, and Nice.
If there is a birthplace to cycle tourism, it is Provence. The scenery is spectacular as we leave the glamorous city of Cannes and head inland across fertile hills, covered in olive groves and scented with the famous herbs de Provence. A rest day in Montpellier affords us a chance to walk Europe’s largest pedestrian area, enjoying the cafés under the summer sun. Tour d’Afrique founder Henry Gold once joked that “this is no cycling tour of Provence.” At the time he was right, but now it is. The Spanish coast follows with its famous Paella dishes and stunning cliffs jutting down into the Mediterranean. Our last night before Barcelona is along the Costa Brava where you won’t be able to resist a relaxing swim and the delectable seafood tapas!
Linking the two greatest cities of football-mad Spain, these 6 days of cycling take us first to the Catalonian center of Tarragona and the ancient Roman ruins of Tarraco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From there, the tour makes its final turn heading west into the hills of Aragon where we’ll ride for one day on the Via Verde rail trail, even passing through a few unlit former train tunnels, so bring you headlamps! The rural, quiet nature of this stretch will end as we enter the gran ciudad of Madrid where endless culinary and cultural adventures await!
The lingering heat of autumn begins to subside as we start the final leg of the tour. First we cycle by the awe-inspiring NASA Deep Space Network satellites, where you can learn how this center communicates with the farthest reaches of the solar system. As your mind returns to earth we’ll continue west towards Monfrague National Park, where hundreds of vultures circle the steep mountain peaks in search of an easy meal – don’t take a nap here! Our rest day is in the UNESCO designated city of Caceres where you can explore the medieval architecture while enjoying the local tapas and wine. Our last days take us into Portugal; we’ll cycle by fields of cork trees, enjoy the local Port and celebrate as we reach the Atlantic Ocean in Lisbon and the end of our epic journey.