United Kingdom

Cycling in the UK is guaranteed to bring you many surprises with such a variety of things to see and do. Whether it’s dramatic coastlines, rolling hills and countryside, picturesque villages or bustling cities you’re looking for, you’ll find it here. The country has a rich culture and history as well as dramatic natural features, so it’s well worth braving the rain! The EuroVelo 5 route features all of these and more with historic landmarks and aplenty at either end of the UK stage, with quiet country lanes and spectacular views in between. The route follows the path of the National Cycle Network, a 14,000 mile network of signed cycle routes crossing the length and breadth of the country. About a third of the network is traffic-free, whether it’s on former railway lines, along canals or new paths through parks and cities. Starting in Canterbury in the shadow of the famous Cathedral the route wends its way along pleasant Kentish Lanes to the coast at Dover, home to Britain’s busiest port, biggest castle and most iconic landmark, the legendary White Cliffs.

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There are two parts of EuroVelo 5 in France. After leaving England, the cycle route meanders through northern France, from Calais to Wattrelos. Coming from Belgium and Luxembourg over Sarreguemines, the second part will take you through the picturesque regions of Moselle and Alsace before heading to Switzerland. EuroVelo 5 totals 660 km in France.

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The itinerary of the EuroVelo will introduce you to the rich natural, architectural, cultural and brewing heritage of Belgium

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The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg welcomes the EuroVelo 5 for a 107 km stretch which follows the national network of dedicated cycle paths from the Belgian border, through the stunning cliff-top capital city, towards the French and German borders at Schengen, symbolic centre of Europe and home to the European museum.

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The EuroVelo 5 route in Switzerland (National North–South Route No. 3) leads through the large scenic Swiss regions of the Jura, Mittelland, Central Switzerland and over the Alps to the south. Lovely, peaceful landscapes of the Baselbieter Jura. Thrilling ride down to Aarau. Off the beaten track through flat Suhrental, joining the stream of tourists in Luzern. A complex water: the grandiose Vierwaldstättersee. Closely harried by traffic over the Teufelsbrücke bridge towards the Gotthard, the south beckons with a racy downhill ride. The climate changes, first granite, soon chestnut trees and vineyards, Bellinzona «La Turita» a glimpse of the vegetable garden of Magadino. Lago di Lugano with photogenic Morcote, at the end, the Mendrisiotto.

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The Via Francigena was a major pilgrimage route and communication way in Western Europe in the Middle Ages. Being an area of different roads used to reach Rome and Jerusalem from the Regnum Francorum and a “bridge of cultures between Anglo-Saxon and Latin Europe” (Le Goff), it contributed to shape the European identity. In 1994 it was certified Cultural Route of the Council of Europe as the Camino de Santiago and begun to be rediscovered and promoted for contemporary pilgrims and hikers. The nowadays Via Francigena is based on Archbishop of Canterbury Sigeric’s travel diary where all the places where he stopped on his way back from Rome to Canterbury in 990 are noted down. The Council of Europe Via Francigena inspired the cultural cycle route EuroVelo 5 Via Romea (Francigena). The Eurovelo 5 – Via Romea (Francigena) in Italy runs along 1500 km, through the entire peninsula, from Como to Brindisi and it follows the Sigeric way from Pavia to Rome, while differing from the Swiss border up to Pavia. The route goes through the Po river plain in northern Italy, the hilly Apennines in central Italy combined with a touch of Versilia Sea coast in Tuscany, and smother Apennines in Southern Italy where it reaches the Adriatic Sea coasts. The biker will ride on minor roads, cycle paths along canals and rivers, or former railways, passing by Unesco world heritage sites like the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan and Leonardo’s Last Supper, the Certosa of Pavia, the historic centres of San Gimignano and of Siena, the Val d’Orcia, the historic centre of Rome, the Sassi of Matera. The traveller will also discover charming medieval towns, archeological areas and significant witnesses of pilgrimage traditions. South of Rome the itinerary also follows stretches of the Roman consular road of the Via Appia, crosses the ancient city of Matera and ends in Brindisi, where the Mediterranean embraces Europe, toward the East. The hospitality of these places lies on years of experience on welcoming pilgrims and travellers on their way to Rome for several motivations. Nowadays, it is usual to find ancient monasteries, convents, granaries which have been converted into accommodation and restoration facilities in order to equip the territories with proper services for bikers and hikers along the Via Francigena. Suggested seasons are Spring, end of Summer, Autumn, with drier climate going South. Last but not least Italy’s distinctive variety of local traditions and foods makes the journey a great personal and tourism experience!

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