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Spanning eight countries in Western Europe, cycling in the Alps is fantastically varied with a guarantee of spectacular views. When you ride in this beautiful mountain range, you can explore lush, green valleys with chocolate-box towns or climb steady switchbacks to gain great heights.
You’ll enjoy a slightly different experience in each region and each alpine nation, from the extraordinary lakes in the Italian Alps to the sound of cowbells ringing in the Swiss Alps. Cycle routes in the Alps can be as strenuous as you like, ranging from morning circular rides to multi-day linear routes.
Exceptionally well set up with accommodation and eateries throughout the year, no matter where you pedal in the Alps, you’ll be well taken care of. So what will it be? Hearty pastas in Italy’s northern mountains, schnitzel for lunch in Austria’s verdant valleys or hot chocolate stops in Switzerland.
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Cycle routes in the Alps have a reputation for some of the most fantastic views in the world, complete with unbelievable sweeping bends, switchbacks and exquisite lunch spots. Of course, there are no descents without their opposites. When you go riding in the Alps though, the climbs are just as beautiful and skilled riders will get so much reward for the effort.
To balance out the stunning high trails found on bike rides in the Alps, you can cycle through glorious valleys, filled with grazing animals, wildflowers and rushing mountain rivers. The lakes throughout the Alps are spectacular and circular routes around them make for perfect day rides. There’s nothing better than dipping your toes in a glacial lake while you take a well-earned break.
One of the reasons cycling in the Alps is so cherished is its sheer accessibility. In each country you’ll find innumerable settlements from sleepy villages to thriving towns, all welcoming of cyclists.
Inns, lodges, mountain huts, B&Bs, hotels and campsites can all be found easily throughout the Alps. You can choose from a large price range too, allowing you to plan an adventure that suits you on every level.
Cycling here is hungry work but there’s no shortage of food stops in the valleys and even higher up. From isolated mountain cafes with breathtaking views to villages chock full of restaurants, your stomach won’t suffer here. If anything, the food from France to Slovenia is so incredible that it might slow you down as you dawdle in front of bakeries.
Well-equipped with everything from public toilets to mountaintop cafes, cycling in the Alps is an absolute dream. The weather throughout the range is highly changeable though, with extraordinary sunshine liable to change at the click of a finger. As a result, planning for everything from hot sun to freezing rain is sensible in the shoulder seasons at least and expect occasional wet weather in the summer.
The higher you climb, the cooler and more changeable weather but don’t disregard the UV levels, which can be harsh. Descents can also lead to significant cooling after a climb so be careful to add layers when necessary.
Explore more of Italy: Browse the best Cycling Routes in other regions.