Join us on this spectacular eleven week Trans-Europa bicycle tour through thirteen countries starting in Helsinki. 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 Helsinki 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 Helsinki, the capital of Finland. After a day or two of exploring the city’s museums and parks the riders will hop on a ferry, taking them across the Baltic to Estonia. Their first night will be spent in Tallinn with its amazing 14th century Old Town architecture. The tour then pedals south across the rolling countryside and along the shores of the Gulf of Riga towards Latvia.
The cyclists now spin into Riga, often referred to as the ‘Paris of the North’. After a day enjoying its cosmopolitan atmosphere, the riders will head across the less travelled central portion of Lithuania, pedalling through small villages and vast forests before 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. After spending a few days along the very popular and scenic Lake Balaton, cyclists will cross into Slovenia.
This tiny country has it all – spectacular scenery, fine local wine, historic towns and picturesque villages. A rest day in Ljubljana, the capital, will allow the riders to enjoy its famous Habsburg and Baroque architecture. The cyclists will also have the chance to explore the city’s famous hill top castle before heading into Italy, arriving a few days later in one of the world’s great cities, Venice.
This short but spectacular section begins in Venice, ‘The City of Bridges’. Riders will hop on a ferry to take them over to the Italian mainland. The next few days will be spent spinning through the beautiful countryside. After a night’s sleep in the historic town of Bobbio, the cyclists will climb over a mountain pass in order to reach their rest day in the ancient trading city of Genoa.
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. We’ll 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 before ending the section in Cannes, home to the world’s most famous film festival.
Short but sweet. That is the best way to describe this beautiful section. It begins in Cannes, famous for its boardwalk, boutiques and film festival. Although the riders will not be able to see any world premieres, then can stroll along the Allee des Stars. If there is a birthplace of cycle tourism, it is Provence. The scenery is spectacular as we leave 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. 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!
Ah, Barcelona, the perfect place to start this exciting section. Once the riders have had their fill of Gaudi’s incredible architecture and the electric atmosphere of Las Ramblas, the world’s favourite boulevard, they will pedal 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.
The cyclists will ride for one day on the gorgeous Via Verde rail trail, even passing through a few unlit former train tunnels, so bring your headlamps. Next up is the stunning Castillo de Molina de Aragón, with amazing views out over the surrounding countryside. 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 final section of the Trans-Europa begins in Madrid, home to the incredible Prado Museum, the imposing Royal Palace and the vibrant Plaza Mayor. The riders will cycle out of the city and past the awe-inspiring NASA Deep Space Network satellites, where you can learn how this centre communicates with the farthest reaches of the solar system. The route continues 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. The riders will pedal past fields of cork trees, enjoy the local port and then celebrate as the tour reaches the Atlantic Ocean in Lisbon – the end of our epic journey.