We spent 181 days cycling around Europe during the summer of 2015. Here is our route.
And here’s some stats about our trip…
Time spent in each country by percentage (from highest to lowest time spent)
The Netherlands 2%
Bosnia & Herzegovina 1%
If I could change anything about our route it would be to spend less time in Italy, and more time in Eastern Europe.
There’s no other place in the world that has the incredible cities and the history of Italy (also gelato gelato gelato) but for cycle tourists some aspects of the country are not the best: the roads are often not cycle-friendly and in poor condition, the driving is mad, there’s not many benches or parks, the campsites are very expensive and can be quite basic, the food is pricey and not always easy to find and there’s frickin’ mozzies everywhere!
The places we saw in Eastern Europe (Slovenia, Croatia and for just one day Bosnia & Herzegovina) were more unfamiliar to us and so more of an adventure. Slovenia and Croatia felt like up and coming countries: the locals were always happy to see tourists from the UK visiting their country, and there was a sense of industry and optimism. It also helped that food and accommodation were cheap! I would have loved to have gone a bit further and seen Albania, Serbia and the Czech Republic.
France is a total delight to cycle tour in, and I would recommend it to anyone for so many reasons: France is huge and full of diverse and beautiful landscapes and cities, French people like cyclists and tolerate them on the road, the French government has money so the roads are in great condition and there is an abundance of parks and benches for cycle tourists to enjoy, camping is popular and cheap (you just might need to bring your own toilet roll!) and finally, one word: boulangerie.
The only things we found difficult in France was the lack of convenience compared to the UK. Everything’s shuts on Sunday… and during lunchtime… and sometimes Wednesday afternoon… or Monday morning…
Days we cycled: 60%
Days we did not cycle: 40%
Days we had clear, sunny weather: 66% (not bad!)
Days we had so-so weather: 26%
Days that the weather added to my personal sum of human misery: 8%
Nights in a real bed: 30%
Nights in a campsite: 65%
Nights wild camping: 5%
Days we ate at restaurants: 30%
Days we cooked our own food: 70%
Number of punctures: 14 (THE PAIN!!!)
Number of other bike twinges and breaks: 6
Trains we took: 8
Boats (for fun or for travel): 6
Times we were stopped by the police: 4
Traffic accidents we witnessed: 3 (read about a particularly eventful traffic accident here)
Total number of miles cycled: 5100
Greatest number of miles cycled in one day: 79
Fewest number of miles cycled in one day: 16
Average number of miles cycled per day: 46
Number of baguettes with ham and cheese eaten for lunch: a bagillion
Number of times Eric asked me to take photos of him lifting rocks: too many, way too many