Circumnavigating Europe by Bicycle

From June 1, 2014 to September 19, 2014, we rode our tandem bicycle from Oslo, Norway to Basel, Switzerland. Along the way, we discovered many fantastic bike routes: most of them were excellent. Thanks to careful planning, GPS bike routing, and Europe’s friendliness towards cyclists, this was the best bicycle tour I’ve taken to date. On this page, I’ll attempt to group the best routes so you can perhaps design your own journey using parts of ours. Also, I’ll catalog most of the good stories, regardless of whether or not they were on a good route, for your entertainment.

This is the map for the entire route discussed in this post. To Export GPX files, click on the individual track and select ‘Export GPX’ or click on the three horizontal bars in the upper right hand corner of the map and select Export selected map data… You will notice some gaps between the pink and red lines. In those situations, we took a train or boat to make a connection for a section that we were unable to ride (or in some cases not interested in riding).
To see full screen, click here (opens in new window)

Notes From the Road:Benjamin Franklin once said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Today I want to tell you how wrong he is. For example, if you want to spend a US dollar in Europe, you also need to earn enough to pay Federal Taxes, State Taxes, Medicare, State Disability insurance, Exchange rate losses, ATM fees, and 15% “Value Added” Tax in most countries. I’ve run out of fingers and toes to count on, but I’d say that old Ben should be a little embarrassed for saying this considering that he also claimed, “The only certain things in life are death and taxes.” As you can see, saving money is more important than even the guy on the C note gave it credit for. So, here is my wooden nickel’s worth of advice on how to make the most of your Benjamin’s while abroad.

Lodging: Lodging is expensive, so let’s start there. You don’t have to sleep under a bridge like a hobo. Here are some better options:

1) Ask the police. Police rarely make friends doing their jobs, so they will make every effort to be nice to you if you’re not doing something wrong. Best case, they fight over which officer’s house your going to stay at. Worse case, you’re staying at the station with a bucket shower.

2) Home improvement stores often have cabins outside. The prices tags are if you want to buy – but there is no fee to try.

3) Churches. Often unlocked. Don’t ask, just walk in. Plenty of sleeping space and bathrooms. Remember: It is always better to plea forgiveness than ask permission. That’s why they have confessionals, but not permissionals.

Bathrooms: Do not pay for bathrooms! Where else in life do you enter a building, pay money, and then leave with less than you entered with? Always seek a free option first – but if one does not exist, go to McDonalds and buy a cheeseburger to get the bathroom code. At least you’re getting needed calories, and supporting an American company to boot. ‘MERICA! F YEAH.

Smoking: This is a great area to save a load. Simply position yourself 1/∞ mm from any European. This should be within their “personal comfort zone,” meaning that they are now comfortable enough to light up and share their smoke with you. What? You’re a cyclist on Strava who doesn’t smoke? Well, we met a Dutch bike tourist in Norway, and a Swiss bike tourist in Bosnia. Both smoked their way to those respective destinations – the Dutch guy even had two during our short encounter.

Alcohol: You like to drink, I know that… but drinking is expensive. Here are some cheap and free solutions:

1) Cheap Solution: buy the right alcohol in the right country. Austria=Beer; Spain=Wine; Norway=Water. Hey, what’s wrong with water? You’re just drinking wine for the taste, right? Besides, Norway’s water is intoxicating. How do you think they came up with “What does the fox say?”

2) Free Solution: Camp where you’re not allowed. Get caught. Get permission. Get offered Moonshine. That’s pretty much the routine, step by step.

Well, that should cover all the primary needs. So now that I have given you my two cents, remember not to spend it all in one place.

Bike Touring Scandinavia – Norway

Route 1: Cycling Through Oslo
Route 2: Numedal Bike Route
Route 3: Rallarvegan Bike Route
Route 4: Aurlandsvangen Bike Route
Route 5: Feigefossen Bike Route
Route 6: Geiranger and Vicinity
Route 7: Trollsteigen and Gudbrandsjuvet
Route 8: The Atlantic Road
Route 9: Polar Circle and Tidevannstrøm
Route 10: Lofoten Islands

Bike Touring Scandinavia – Sweden

Route 1: Cycling Through Sweden

Bike Touring Scandinavia – Finland

Route 1: Rovaniemi and the home of Santa Claus

Bike Touring the Baltics – Estonia

Route 1: Trans Estonia


Route 1: Suchá Belá 6 mile Loop (Foot Route)


Route 1: Plitvice Forest (waterfalls, Foot Route)


Route 1: Aescher & Wildkirchli (Foot Route)

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