Planning cycle routes and rail transport


This page brings together all the best planning tools for European bike touring in one place. Below you'll find links to key bike routes' websites and also train companies, by country. See also the Books and Maps - General page to help you make the best of any trip, or follow the links on the left for books and maps by country.

Be aware that to use most of the national rail websites you will need to spell the name of the station correctly in the relevant language. Look up the places you intend to visit first using Google maps to get the right spelling.

Europe

EuroVelo is the basic link to the international bike paths, with limited information but still useful for general knowledge. Note that not all paths are complete.

Just getting around Europe by public transport is tricky and there are still no perfect tools. However these two are the best so far: SkyScanner for flights and Rome2Rio for public transport around the world. But watch out, Rome2Rio famously sees Windsor Castle (one of the UK queen's palaces) as a pub in the East End of London.

National train companies are required for most planning. The best of these for booking international rail travel is probably the German Deutschebahn. For more general information, such as explaining how trains work in Europe, Mark Smith's The Man in Seat Sixty-One is second to none.

Norway

The site covering Norwegian cycling routes is limited but usable, and here are the Norwegian trains.

Sweden

A cycle route across Swedenand the Swedish trains.

Finland

If you were going to be stuck with a tricky language this would be the one. Luckily Finland has one of the world's best education systems and multi-lingualism is the norm, making the Finnish bike routes and trains websites easy to use.

The Baltic states

The smaller Baltic countries have a good bike routes site, Baltic Cycle, while the train information is to be found at Lithuania (not very useful), Latvia and Estonia.

Denmark

FriLuftsGuiden, Cyclisitic and VejDirektoratet give numerous Danish bike paths, from short, local ones to long distance, international routes. However, these websites are very slow, you have to learn to get a coffee while they load.

This Danish trains site also provides info on most ferries. There is only one bridge, the Storebaelt, that cannot be cycled across, you need to take your bike on the train instead to get between Zealand and Funen.

Germany

Wikipedia gives us a good start here, while trains are covered by our old friend DBahn. Here is a train map.

Poland

Death rates for cyclists in this country are some of the highest in Europe, so for now we are going to leave Poland alone.

Netherlands

Info on how to use the bike routes, a route planner and a more general bikemap are all useful, as is the Dutch Trains website. Remember that the Netherlands also has ferries for getting about. Finally, here its rail map.

Belgium

Bike routes and how to use them, plus national trains and a map of the Belgian railway system.

Luxembourg

Luxembourg sits just to the north of the Mosel Bike Route and its bike routes link up with those in Germany and Belgium. This site covers the bike routes and this one general tourist info on cycling. You'll find that other countries' rail websites can be used to book through Luxembourg, but if you want to stay in the country then you can use the Luxembourgish train website.

France

France suffers a bit from a love/hate relationship with the bicycle, but there are at least two websites that are useful for planning routes at a national level: Cyclables and GreenWays (Voies Vertes). The Loire has a good cycle route website, and of course, there are the EuroVelo routes. Many of the D roads are quiet enough for cycling. SNCF's train website is so complicated that you might prefer to use the Captin Train. Here is a train map.

Switzerland

Swiss cycle routes, trains and Post Buses can be found at these links. Around the lakes you may also want to consider travel by boat. Here is the train map.

Austria

Follow these links for general tourist info-type cycling information, routes, bike paths, Wikipedia and a good attempt at the bike routes. Austrian trains are, of course, efficient and here is the national train map.

Czech Republic

There is a good (but slow to load) bike paths website.

Hungary

Apart from the EuroVelo there is not much available online. You might find these Tourist Info and rail websites useful. In much of the country the minor roads are not very busy and local paths are often very pleasant, through woods and fields. Find them on local maps bought in the area.

Portugal

Bikes routes, the Ecovias, the Algarve Ecovia and the trains.

Spain

Spain is the only European country with a strong bicycle helmet law, unless you are near a town or it is too hot. Roads are not especially bike friendly but there are the Green Ways (Vias Verdes) and the Renfe rail website.

Italy

On the other hand Italy takes cycling very seriously. Bici Italia has all the main routes. Smaller routes are either along quiet roads or off piste on via bianchi (info often held at local tourist info offices), but these are also used for activities such as hunting, orienteering and mountain biking. The main train companies are TrenItalia (a tricky site to use, you need to get the names of stations exactly right), ItaloTreno and a special one in Puglia. Here is a good Italian rail map.

Great Britain/Northern Ireland

The National Byway website is worth checking out. Then there is the Sustrans National Cycle Network and the Northern Ireland Cycleways. The railway companies are more confusing but the system is dead easy, start by using National Rail for the basics.

Ireland

The Irish bike paths on the web are not fantastic, but some good work exists on the Irish Trails site and the national rail site.

Feedback

Please feel free to tell us about better sources of information at mail@mybikeguide.co.uk and we will update this page. There are a number of sites that hold people's training runs, etc which we will not be including - they are too variable in quality and random in their coverage.

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