European countries such as Belgium and The Netherlands have already truly embraced the cycling bandwagon, with the rest of Europe now set to follow suit. The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) are coordinating the development of a network of excellent quality cycling routes, connecting the whole continent, from Spain to Norway. Due to be substantially completed by 2020, the ECF will be looking to encourage both long-distance cycle tours, as well as local people making daily journeys. Comprising of 14 cycling routes, EuroVelo will span over 70,000km once completed.
The ECF state that their objectives for the EuroVelo project are:
- To ensure the implementation of very high-quality European-grade cycle routes in all countries of Europe, carrying the best European practice across borders and harmonising standards;
- To communicate the existence of these routes to decision makers and potential users, promote and market their use, and provide an important port of call for information about cycling in Europe;
- In this way, to encourage large numbers of European citizens to give cycling a try, and so to promote a shift to healthy and sustainable travel – for daily trips and as cycling tourism.
- Promotes economically, environmentally and socially sustainable travel;
- Improves the quality of EuroVelo routes in all participating European countries;
- Promotes the uniform signing of EuroVelo routes in accordance with published standards;
- Provides Europe-wide information on EuroVelo routes and national cycle routes;
- Supports the development of national coordination centres for EuroVelo route and national routes;
- Fosters exchange of experience and best practice between European states and regions, stimulating high-quality cycle strategies and infrastructure.
The key to EuroVelo is a shift in attitudes toward regular transport, from car travel to cycling. The aim of EuroVelo is twofold: to endorse and increase cycle tourism, and to encourage cycling as a preferred mode of transport. With the success of these aims will come fewer road casualties, lower CO2 emissions, a better level of fitness and health, higher air quality, and a better quality of life.
The EuroVelo project is one that certainly signifies the efforts being made to encourage cycling as a mode of transport in Europe. Environmental and health benefits are obvious, and there will be some amazing routes on offer once finished, such as cycling the length of the picturesque Rhine River. So get training, get your bikes in order, and enjoy some of the best cycle routes Europe will be able to offer.
We’ve got first-hand experience of EuroVelo routes, having cycled to Portugal on EuroVelo 1.
The 14 EuroVelo routes, together with their total distance when complete and countries they go through, are:
EV5 – Via Romea Francigena –UK, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy – 3,900 km
EV6 - Atlantic – Black Sea – France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania – 4,448km
EV7 – Sun Route – Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Malta – 7,409 km
EV8 – Mediterranean Route – Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece - 5,888 km
EV9 – Baltic – Adriatic – Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Croatia – 1,930 km
EV10 – Baltic Sea Cycle Route (Hansa circuit) – Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia – 7,980 km
EV11 – East Europe Route – Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece -5,984 km
EV12 – North Sea Cycle Route – Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, UK – 5,932 km
EV13 – Iron Curtain Trail – Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey – 10,400 km
EV15 – Rhine Route – Switzerland, France, Germany, Netherlands – 1,320 km