Austin-Lehman Adventures, shares its favorite pedal routes through Europe gleaned from over 38 years of operating small group cycle tours.
ALA’s European expert and cycling director, Ron Van Dijk represents a legacy dating back to 1974 as the first European tour operator to offer cycling tours to American travelers.
“It was a fun challenge for me to go back through nearly four decades of cycling to pick my all time favorite pedal routes of Europe. I call them my Sensational Seven,” explains Van Dijk. “I hope to inspire others to slow down, get on a bike and enjoy a Europe adventure on two wheels either on their own or with a small group tour such as those offered by ALA.”
Austin-Lehman Adventure’s European bike tour season begins in April of each year and runs through October. An advantage to travelers booking Europe bike tours with Austin-Lehman is the fact that Van Dijk’s knowledge and expertise are imbued in every trip.
The following favored stretches, many of which are included in ALA multi-day tour itineraries, are suggested for daylong or weekend outings:
• France: The Dordogne between Argentat and Beynac (110 miles). Says Van Dijk, “A favorite for its authenticity, the peace, the great food, the old Romanesque churches, the castles and the history (such as the Hundred Years War between France and England). Make sure to divert from the valley every now and then to visit villages like St-Céré, Autoire, Loubressac, Rocamadour, as well as the lively town of Sarlat.”
• Italy: South-Tyrol from Reschen Pass to Merano (50 miles). Van Dijk says from the top of the pass “it’s all pretty much all downhill for about 50 miles on specially marked bike paths, and you’re always surrounded by some of the most majestic mountains of the Alps. Pass by villages, lakes, meadows, apple orchards and end your ride in the noble spa town of Merano.” See: www.austinlehman.com/tours/innsbruck-to-lake-garda-italy-austria-tour-trips-88.php
• Spain: Rioja vineyards between Logroño and Haro (35 miles). Van Dijk suggests October when the leaves are turning, roads are peaceful and hospitality including tapas bars in Haro a blessing after tackling a few hills. See: www.austinlehman.com/tours/la-rioja-spain-tour-trips-110.php
• Germany: Mosel Valley from Trier to Koblenz (132 miles). This is a four-day stretch through steep vine-clad hills with stops at villages for sips of Rieslings. This is a gentle, downhill trip past Roman sites in Trier and castles and ruins around every bend of the Mosel. See: www.austinlehman.com/tours/mosel-valley-germany-tour-trips-75.php
• Austria: Salzach Valley from Gerlos Pass/Krimml to Salzburg (115 miles). With the snowcapped Grossglockner, this is a highly scenic descent from Gerlos Pass (1628m = 5340 ft) to Salzburg (443m = 1450 ft), notes Van Dijk. See: www.austinlehman.com/tours/alps-to-salzburg-austria-tour-trips-56.php
• Netherlands: Tulip, hyacinth and narcissus fields near Keukenhof (Best in April: 20 miles). See: www.austinlehman.com/tours/netherlands-highlights-holland-tour-trips-72.php
• Denmark: Danish Riviera between Copenhagen and Helsingør (30 miles). Bike paths along Denmark’s “Gold Coast” reveal villas, fishing villages, and museums such as the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa), the Nivagaard art museum and the supreme Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in an incredible setting overlooking the Sound, advises Van Dijk. See: www.austinlehman.com/tours/danish-isles-denmark-tour-trips-92.php
Austin-Lehman Adventure, www.austinlehman.com/besteuropebikerides