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Cycling Unlimited from Amsterdam to Barcelona

Description
Last year, this route was voted Best European Cycling Route by the readers of Op Pad magazine (the largest Dutch outdoor magazine). Naturally, we are delighted with this, and it is all the more reason for us to want to help as many people as possible enjoy this route.

The route to Barcelona is the greenest route from the Netherlands and Belgium to the South of France and on to Spain. From Eindhoven and Louvain until far into France, this route follows more than 250 kilometres of car-free paths through nature. In addition, the selected route through the Ardennes is the easiest of all cycling routes going South. For those reasons, this route is the most accessible one to Cluny, in the South of Burgundy.

After Cluny, the second part of the route takes the cyclist through the hills and mountains of the Massif Central. Here, the route climbs gradually, along small and quiet roads. After the Forez woods, you reach the plateau at La Chaise Dieu, and the ancient volcanic landscape with endless views. Next, after Le Puy, the route follows the upper course of the Loire, which up here is a beautiful twisting mountain stream. After the highest point has been reached, there's a long descent to the warm valleys of the Ardèche and the Languedoc.

A branch off the route leads to Avignon. The main route, however, leads Southward through the Hérault Canyon and vineyards, to the Mediterranean near Agde. The biking path along the Canal du Midi leads through the Corbières hinterlands to the Cathar castles of the Roussillon.

You enter Spain via a low and relatively unknown pass that is not used by cars. Tiny roads lead to the Baix Emporda, a beautiful region between the hills and the sea. In this area, the cycling route makes use of a local network of cycling paths that take you - almost entirely along car-free roads - to the coast at San Feliu de Guixois. Near Girona, a branch off the route leads to the start of the cycling route to Andalusia. Unfortunately, the final fifty kilometres to Barcelona can hardly be seen as a "cycling route". There are plans for a cycling path next to the road, but at this time you have to cycle into town on the main coastal road's wide shoulder.

From Cluny to the Ardèche, you can also take the eastern route through the Beaujolais and the Rhône Valley. This route circles through the hills around Lyon, and then follows the Rhône Valley until Tournon. After this, the route climbs gradually into the hills of the Vivarais region, only to descend through the pass at Mezilhac, to the Ardèche Valley.

Total length Eindhoven - Girona:1565 km
Total length Eindhoven - Barcelona: 1690 km
Car-free: Upto Cluny either 250 km or 290 km, from Cluny to Barcelona 80 km.
Nature of the route: Very easy up to Cluny, with a few low climbs through the Ardennes. After Cluny moderate and gradual climbing through the Massif Central. Short but demanding pass through the Pyrenees. The sections through the Languedoc and Catalonia are easy.
Best time: April - October


Bicycling route in two separate volumes
The cycling route consists of two volumes that can be ordered separately. This website has a description of each volume, plus an overview map and supplements to the text:

Part 1: Eindhoven - Cluny
Part 2: Cluny - Barcelona


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