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Cycling Unlimited from Amsterdam to Barcelona

Description
This route has been voted Best European Cycling Route some years ago.Naturally, we were 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 500 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 gives you a good choice. Either you choose for the easy way south along the Saône and Rhône Valley or you may choose for the beautiful route 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.

The route through the Rhône Valley brings you to tournon. Here another spectacular cycle way leads you to the Ardèche. Form Lamastre on you can follow the award winning Dolce Via to Le Cheylard, or even better, 20 km south of Valence you can climb on the Dolce Via through the Eyrieux Valley. From Le Cheylard we gradually climb to the Col de Mezilhac and then descend into the warmth of the south. The Ardeche cycle way which starts close to Aubenas, is a beautiful cycleway along the tempting Ardeche river.

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.

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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