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Best European Cycling location

  • 28-08-2022 11:26am
    Registered Users Posts: 2,980 ✭✭✭

    HI all,

    What in oyour opinion is the best cycling destination (most bang per buck) to have access to the classic climbs?


    French Alps?

    French Pyrenees?

    Spanish Islands/mainland?





  • Registered Users Posts: 3,132 ✭✭✭Junior


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,214 ✭✭✭Galego


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,082 ✭✭✭CantGetNoSleep

    I also wouldn't rule out Flanders albeit a different type of cycling. You could do Tour of Flanders & Brabanste Pjil / 2021 World Championships easily. Then other Spring classics like Omloop or Gent Wevelgem, and Paris - Roubaix / Liège - Bastogne - Liège and Amstel Gold are all within two hours by car.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,306 ✭✭✭Daroxtar

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,261 ✭✭✭Mercian Pro

    ^^ or this? As well as Ventoux, there are some magnificent rides (and vinyards) in the area.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,740 ✭✭✭brownian

    To have access to the 'classic climbs'? Which ones?

    I like the drama of the Dolomites, the weather and food of the TdF cols in the Pyrenees. Bourg St Maurice in France has a cluster of classic climbs around it. All these are great.

    Apart from Ventoux (which is of course a serious exception), I'd not rate Provence as a 'big col' climber location.

    North Italy (Stelvio, Gavia, Mortirolo, then Giau, Pordoi, Stella, etc etc), coupled with some Swiss goodness (Gotthard, Grosse Scheidegg/Eiger region) is also a super area.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,099 ✭✭✭mr spuckler

    I'm biased as I've spent a lot of time there but I agree on North Italy if major climbs are your thing. Bormio is a great base for Stelvio, Gavia, Mortirolo, Passo del Bernina, Lagho di Cancano (not a 'classic' but a simply amazing climb that everyone should do at least once!) etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,039 ✭✭✭JMcL

    Briancon? Col de Lautaret + Galibier in one direction, Izoard in the other, and the Granon just up the road. Load more vertical stuff nearby as well

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,893 ✭✭✭✭Wishbone Ash

    North Italy for me too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 889 ✭✭✭monkeyslayer

    What would be the best fly to, base yourself, rent a bike and explore some routes type spot in North Italy? Like say an Italian Girona?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 525 ✭✭✭lissard

    One thing the OP never mentioned was what time of year they were travelling. For a lot of the high mountains resorts (Bourg d'Oisans, Bormio etc) the season lasts from June to September. No point travelling when the passes are closed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 209 ✭✭sham58107

    Have stayed in Grenoble and done most of the alpine passes around there including Alpe de Hauz very close and road are great.

    Stayed in Carcassonne and did Ventoux again easy to get to , Ryanair fly to both.

    As regards Pyrenees I stayed in Spain much cheaper than France, and also Santander for Lagos do Covadonga brilliant climb .

    As mention above Asturias is beautiful. never got to cycle Italy but stayed in Tuscany and it is one of my favorite places, alas no bike .

    This was a few years ago when I was younger and much fitter.. Also bike hire in any of these places is very good, €25 per day for carbon when I did it.

    If you go to Santander also do the climb to the mast ( forget the name ) and in Grenoble the old Napoleon road to Gap has some hills but views are fantastic.

    As already mentioned time of year is a factor , very hot June, July is holiday and TDF so busy, late August Sept best although we were stopped by avalanche in JUNE .


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,838 ✭✭✭billyhead

    Andalucia is a good destination. I've gone twice. The roads are perfect and there's plenty of climbing routes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 61 ✭✭Londonirish72

    Never been to this part of the worlkd but this article makes it look beautiful.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,306 ✭✭✭Daroxtar

    Re the access to areas, flights to Santander from Dublin are running about €30-40 each way from October 1st. In the immediate Santander area you have the Basque country less than an hour drive east or the Picos de Europa and the rest of the Cantabrian mountains, choc full of climbs from the Vuelta, starting half an hour west. I usually bring my own bike but there are bike hire shops in Llanes, Ribadasella and Cangas di Onis, probably more in Gijon and Oviedo

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,553 ✭✭✭Large bottle small glass

    Vercors is a brilliant place to ride a bike, I'd love to go back.

    Col de la machine is a favourite

    That said there is more to a cycling destination than just nice quite roads with great scenery.

    It's a personal thing on what else you need

    *good food/drink

    *lively town

    *ease of getting there

    *bike hire/bike shops

    *alternative activities for you or family

    For example when I went cycling in Pyrenees Saint Savin was a great base for cycling, but jesus was it quite.

    Another thing to keep in mind is some of the classic climbs can look great on a GT but when you get to ride them they can be quite busy with traffic. A bit of research on the less well known and maybe nicer climbs could make for a better trip. That's certainly the case when I visited the Pyrenees.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,099 ✭✭✭mr spuckler

    Bormio is a great little town - although I'm biased as I have in-laws living there and have spent a lot of time there as a result. Old narrow streets, lovely coffee shops & restaurants, incredible scenery in every direction.

    There are 3 bike rental shops I think and I was able to walk in the day before each of my 3 cycles there in July and hire a bike with no reservation.

    It's at the foot of both the Gavia & Stelvio passes and maybe 5-10km from the foot of the Lago di Cancano climb I mentioned earlier in the thread. The guide below captures it really well.

    2 possible drawbacks to note - it's around a 2 1/2 hour drive from Bergamo airport or public transport involves bus, 2 trains and another bus. And there's no real option for an easier cycling day if you want one, it's hills hills hills!

    edit...some very good advice from LBSG in the post above mine. Stelvio for example gets very busy with motor traffic at times. Both times I've done it I've headed up around 7am and it's been absolutely fine.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,740 ✭✭✭brownian

    Not Treviso, where rental road bikes are in short supply. But it's a good airport to use, and a nice town. Canazei might be your best best, for the Sellas. Merano is a suprisingly nice town (Stelvio et al). Cortina is bang in the Dollies, but a bit resorty. Lucca is often touted as the Italian Girona, and is pretty nice. No seriousl alpine/Dollies climbs nearby, though (any more than Girona is near the Tourmalet!).

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,740 ✭✭✭brownian

    I thought the Cirque de Troumousse was a savage cycle, and had never even heard of it. Just saw a road sign....

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,306 ✭✭✭Daroxtar

    Thread has made me take the plunge. Asturias booked for 5 days early next month.

    Angliru baby, here I come again 🙂

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  • Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭cyfac

    I'm currently in Brittany touring roads are great both from a surface and traffic point of view while there may be no "Hollywood" climbs here there are plenty of tough efforts in the 10 to 15% range which go on for a few kms

  • Registered Users Posts: 889 ✭✭✭monkeyslayer

    I'm half tempted for Austarias myself, where do you fly to?

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,893 ✭✭✭✭Wishbone Ash

    Another thing to keep in mind is some of the classic climbs can look great on a GT but when you get to ride them they can be quite busy with traffic

    Some climbs can be busy traffic wise but, if you're into car porn, it can be an added advantage. On the Stelvio for example, every second car and almost every motorcycle is pure class.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,893 ✭✭✭✭Wishbone Ash

    I'm pretty sure we flew to Santander the last time I was there.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,099 ✭✭✭mr spuckler

    The photographer at the top takes more photos of motorbikes & flash cars than cyclists 😄

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,656 ✭✭✭griffin100

    I’ve only ever done Tenerife in November but I’d go back in a heart beat. Good weather, cheap flights, cheap accommodation and cheap bike hire. Great climbs in Masca and Teide. Not to mention very courteous drivers, which is always a bonus.

  • Registered Users Posts: 422 ✭✭MangleBadger

    Has anybody based themselves in Las Palmas in Gran Canaria for a cycling holiday? I'm off with the wife so I can't really push too hard towards somewhere that doesn't cover her bases also. Las Palmas suits for non cycling activities so hoping its not too bad to get out of the city and into the hills.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,550 ✭✭✭meercat

    Oh yeah. Great spot for cycling. Lots of climbing. Try the route up to pico de las nieves. Free motion bike hire beside you. Book early before travelling

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,978 ✭✭✭Seaswimmer

    for the non climbers you can't really go wrong anywhere from Faro to Barcelona along the coast. Lots of airports to start and finish from (Barcelona X 2, Valencia, Alicante, Almeria, Seville, Malaga, Faro) Or simply fly in and out of the same one and plan local routes. We tend to go point to point. Heading to do Valencia to Malaga this Saturday for a week. And Barcelona to Malaga 21st Oct for 10 days. Although we have done combinations of routes along this coast a few times you can nearly always manage to stay somewhere new each time. Weather is good late into the year and accommodation is plentiful. As someone pointed out the roads in Andalucia are mainly quiet as the Spanish have built plenty of parallel motorways but still seem to be maintaining the old N roads so they are excellent to cycle on.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 327 ✭✭Exiled1

    Bormio is the best cycling base I have found, despite the 2.5 hours from Bergamo. Mr. S has described it very well. Beautiful mountain town that is a bit more Swiss than other Italian towns.

    The classic climbs are very long and altitude kicks in on several of them.

    If you travel that far, you must climb. From Bormio you can't avoid it anyway. Often the nicest climbs are like Cancano, Fumero, Bormio 2000 all of which are 8-10km and less than half the distance of the beasts.

    Last weekend the authorities closed the roads to cars on Mortirolo on Thursday, Gavia on Friday and the Stelvio on Saturday. It was expected almost 10,000 brave souls would attempt Stelvio on the day.

    You can also drop into Switzerland and do the Umbrail (a real pig) and lots of other passes.