There’s a whole unexpected side of Europe that’s more popular than ever, and Trek Travel takes you there. Destinations like the historic Dalmatian Coast of Croatia or the exotic charm of the Canary Islands will introduce you to a Europe that the news doesn’t cover. So what are you waiting for? Dig out that passport.
Hvar to Stari Grad Loop
Approximately 25 miles with 2,300 feet of climbing
This is a ride that you will remember forever! As you cycle along the limestone ridge of the island, a stunning vista unfurls with ancient white stone walls terracing green valleys, set against the blazing blue of the ever-present sea. Centuries ago, these walls were built by farmers clearing the land so that crops could be planted. Today, the stones remain and in between are gnarled vines, silver tipped olive trees and lush vegetables. You’ll then descend into the valley and pedal quiet roads bordered by vineyards and olive groves to the seaside port of Jelsa. As the road narrows, your ride will come to an end in Stari Grad, the original capital of Hvar until the Venetians declared the nearer Hvar Town more convenient.
Caragh Lake to Gap of Dunloe to Kenmare
Approximately 43 miles with 4,600 feet of climbing
Begin your day on the winding road beside Caragh Lake and eventually follow the shoreline of the Upper Caragh River. The stunning views of Glencar Valley will lead you to the Gap of Dunloe, the most famous and picturesque pass in the Ring of Kerry. Enjoy a stunning ride past all five lakes and over the ‘Wishing Bridge’, or perhaps choose to take a “jaunty car” powered by sure-footed horses. Either way, be sure to capture the panorama of Macgillycuddy’s Reeks before enjoying a well-earned descent into the Black Valley, the last place in Ireland to receive electricity. From there, master one final climb up Moll’s Gap before enjoying a long descent into Kenmare.
Český Krumlov to Weitra
Approximately 47 miles with 3,800 feet of climbing
This ride will take you south into the picturesque Waldviertel region of northern Austria, and the small 13th-century castle of Nové Hrady stands ahead as your guiding landmark. Before leaving, however, you’ll enjoy one last spin through the patchwork patterns and vivid colors of the southern Czech countryside. As you cross the border, you will notice a stark change in landscape and the nearby town of Weitra and its historic “Altstadt” (old town) are the perfect introduction to Austria. At one time this town had over 36 breweries, and it’s still a great place to enjoy a cold stein of Austrian beer.
Otranto to Santa Maria Di Leuca
Approximately 33 miles with 1,330 feet of climbing
This morning, the sea is never out of sight as you make your way along the some of the most breathtaking coastline in all of Italy. To your right, stone fences crafted centuries ago from local limestone adorn windswept fields, while the shimmering clear waters of the Ionian Sea beckon from your left. You‘ll ride all the way to Santa Maria di Leuca, where the Adriatic and Ionian Seas meet and a large Italian flag marks the southern-most tip of Italy. Afterwards, jump back on your bike and continue your seaside explorations.
Mogan to Valley of Tears Loop
Approximately 50 mile with 8,400 feet of climbing
You’ll be amazed at the teeth on this small gem of an island, easily ranked with some of the toughest climbs in Europe. Your ride starts out along the coast for a nice warm-up before you start pushing hard on the pedals. You’ll make your way through the town of Mogan before turning toward La Aldea, your last refuge before entering the long, isolated Valley of Tears. From this point, every kilometer takes you higher and higher, with grades reaching 25%. Just keep pedaling along until you reach the peak to refuel at the top before making your way back toward Mogan over the coils of Tauro Pass.