Practical Information and FAQ
- Introduction & Definitions
- Categories of EuroVelo Routes
- Follow the EuroVelo signs!
- Frequently asked questions
Introduction & Definitions
EuroVelo is the European network of long-distance cycle routes that cross and connect the whole continent. The development of EuroVelo will lead to safe, direct, coherent and connected cycling infrastructure and cycle route networks that will benefit all categories of cyclists. The network is developed and coordinated by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), as one of its core brands and activities, in cooperation with a network of National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators.
Our vision for EuroVelo is for a fully developed and high quality European cycle route network, which is well-connected to national, regional and local cycle route networks and other sustainable modes of transport, driving further increases in everyday cycling and cycling tourism, in line with ECF’s vision to improve and increase cycling across the whole of Europe.
Our mission is to promote the further development of a sustainable, strong and well-connected European cycle route network, which
- Acts as an accelerator to increase cycling;
- Drives change in European and national policies and practice;
- Benefits all categories of cyclists, including everyday cyclists, cycling tourists and leisure cyclists;
- Fosters sustainable tourism.
In the next decade, the main focus of EuroVelo network development will be on quality improvement, not on increasing the length of the network. We have tried to show on the interactive maps the current conditions that you are likely to experience when out and about. Four different categories are used and are shown on the maps on this website, in the mobile application and on the printed EuroVelo map.
In general, we advise you to use touring or trekking bikes for all kind of routes, because even realised sections for instance can cross environmental protected areas, which are unsuitable for road bikes.
Of course, the network of National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators is working on improvements all the time, so you may now ﬁnd that signage has been installed along certain sections; information is available online or solutions have been found for the problematic sections. Keep checking this website for the latest situation along each route.
Categories of EuroVelo Routes
The EuroVelo network is approximately 90,000km long with each of the 17 routes being at least 1,000 km in length. ECF is constantly working with its National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators on developing the network but there remain differences in the conditions of the routes (sometimes even between different sections on the same route). Whilst this is inevitable on a network of this size, it is important to communicate to potential users what they can expect if they cycle a particular section of a route. For this reason, ECF developed common categories applicable to the entire network and are communicated on the European level (e.g. EuroVelo.com website, EuroVelo Overview Map).
The purpose of this note is to provide an overview of these different categories.
The first 12 EuroVelo routes were designated back in 1995 when the network was more an aspiration than a reality. Consequently, each route only had to meet some very basic criteria (see the table below). Most of these routes have seen substantial development in the meantime but there remains some sections at the planning stage or under development.
It is no longer possible for new routes, or extensions to existing routes, to join the network at this level. They should be at least Developed EuroVelo Routes with EuroVelo signs at the time that they formally join the network (see below).
ROUTES AT THE PLANNING STAGE
For routes at the planning stage, the route is not signed and there is no detailed information publicly available on the internet. The proposed itinerary communicated is a proposal for the best possible option currently available. It may also contain dangerous sections.
ROUTES UNDER DEVELOPMENT
For routes under development but usable, it is possible to follow the route either by signing or detailed information publicly available on the internet on national or regional cycling / tourism portals (linked to EuroVelo.com). The route may contain some sections that need further development (e.g. stretches on public highways with high levels of traffic).
In both cases, ECF is working with national partners to encourage further development.
Routes at the planning stage, routes under development but useable and developed routes can be all surveyed using the European Certification Standard methodology (see below) to identify critical deficiencies and provide an impetus to make improvements in cooperation with the relevant authorities and partners. The aim is to raise the overall quality of the route to the point at which it can formally be certified. However, this process can take several years.
DEVELOPED EUROVELO ROUTES
If a route or section features signing in line with the respective national standard as well as a website providing information to users, it can be called a Developed EuroVelo route. A further distinction is made if the signing incorporates EuroVelo route information panels too.
CERTIFIED EUROVELO ROUTES
If a route has additionally successfully undergone the certification process in line with the ECF's European Certification Standard, it can be called a Certified EuroVelo route. So far, EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route is the only route in the EuroVelo network meeting all the necessary criteria.
It is important to note that to join the EuroVelo network, a route does not necessarily have to be certified in accordance with ECF's European Certification Standard. As a minimum, new routes, or major extensions to existing routes, should meet the criteria for Developed EuroVelo Routes with EuroVelo signs.
Of course, our network of National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators are working on improvements all the time, so we regularly update the information available on www.EuroVelo.com to show the latest situation along each route.
Follow the EuroVelo signs!
In more and more locations around the European cycle route network, official EuroVelo signage is being installed to make your journey even easier. Just look out for the distinctive EuroVelo signs, which can be incorporated in several different ways. You can now follow the EuroVelo signs in parts of Austria, France, Hungary, Slovakia, Switzerland and the UK to name just some of the countries that have introduced them.
Frequently asked questions
Where can I find out what parts of the network are complete?
In many cases substantial sections of EuroVelo routes are already complete and signed, but gaps in high-quality infrastructure still exist. When you are on a EuroVelo route page, click on a stage (on the left or the map) or on a country (on the right of the map) to access detailed information about the route. On stage pages / country per route pages, the interactive map provides a colour-coded overview of the route itinerary. Yellow (developed with signs) sections are cycle routes with signposting in both directions. Red (realised) sections are cycle routes that are well developed and follow existing national or regional cycling itineraries, but have not yet been signed with EuroVelo signs. Dashed red (not realised) sections are undergoing work to meet EuroVelo standards but follow existing cycle infrastructure. Dotted red (planned) sections are still in the route planning phase.
More information on the categories of EuroVelo routes can be found above.
Where can I download GPS tracks of the EuroVelo network?
Since 25 July 2022, the GPX download feature is available on EuroVelo.com! When downloading EuroVelo GPX tracks please remember that it is required to read the disclaimer, which includes a description of the development statuses as well.
Keep also in mind that the EuroVelo network is organised as an umbrella focusing on EuroVelo at the European level, while a network of National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators (NECC/Cs) take care of developing the routes at national and regional levels. The management of EuroVelo follows a subsidiarity principle, the EuroVelo website aiming to provide overview information about the whole 90,000km European cycle route network. Additionally, all EuroVelo routes are not at the same levels of development, and some sections of the European cycle route network are still at the planning stage.
Moreover, when browsing the EuroVelo route pages, you will find many links to national or regional websites managed by the NECC/Cs, which often provide also downloadable GPS tracks. However, please keep in mind that ECF is not responsible either for those.
Where can I find maps and guidebooks?
You can ask to receive the printed map of the whole EuroVelo network and the services handbooks of EuroVelo 15 - Rhine Cycle Route and EuroVelo 8 - Mediterranean Route by making a donation to EuroVelo.
You can find also a list of "Maps & Guides" by clicking on the dedicated tab on each EuroVelo route page.
Maps of national or regional sections of the EuroVelo routes are currently available from many online sources including:
- France Vélo Tourisme: for cycle routes in France
- Le Routard: mainly in France and Belgium
- Bikeline cycling guides: mainly for cycle routes in Germany
- Sustrans: for cycle routes in the United Kingdom
- Fietsvakantiewinkel: in the whole of Europe
- Cicerone: in the whole of Europe
You can also contact the National EuroVelo Coordination Centre or Coordinator in your country to request the printed map of the whole EuroVelo network and local cycling guides.
Are there EuroVelo apps I can use to follow the routes?
Yes, there is a app for EuroVelo, available on Android and iOS. As this app was developed in the frame of several EuroVelo route projects, it does not include the whole EuroVelo network, but only the following routes:
- EuroVelo 1 - Atlantic Coast Route
- EuroVelo 3 - Pilgrims Route
- EuroVelo 5 - Via Romea (Francigena)
- EuroVelo 8 - Mediterranean Route
- EuroVelo 10 - Baltic Sea Cycle Route
- EuroVelo 13 - Iron Curtain Trail
The EuroVelo mobile app provides overview information (country and stages) and interactive maps for these six developed EuroVelo routes. It is planned that other routes will be added in the future.
To further enhance your experience of exploring these routes, the app has these neat features:
- Points of interest (POIs) to help you discover famous places, UNESCO sites and other hidden gems by bike.
- Interactive maps that indicate the route development status, POIs and other useful information to plan your cycling trips.
- A gamification system whereby you can ‘check in’ to numerous POIs that are linked to the theme of each route and share how much of the route you have completed with friends and family.
There also exists various mobile apps realised by our partners:
- Danube Competence Centre EuroVelo 6 - Atlantic-Black Sea app: Android, iOS.
- SchweizMobil App for EuroVelo Routes in Switzerland.
What is the best route for me?
EuroVelo offers a wide variety of routes for all types of cyclists. Whether for a day out or a 3-month expedition, our dedicated EuroVelo route pages will help you find the perfect trip.
Below you will find suggestions of the best routes in some specific cases.
I would like to try a long-distance, self-supported tour for the first time.
Our most popular route, with full signposting between France and Serbia, and with detailed mapping available throughout, is EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic-Black Sea. It is the perfect choice for a first long-distance tour. Passing through 10 countries over its 4,448 km length, the route follows three of Europe’s major rivers – the Loire, the Rhine and the Danube. This naturally flat topography, combined with the highest quality cycling infrastructure ensures a safe and pleasant ride.
I would like to learn more about the history of Europe.
Many EuroVelo routes incorporate a historical theme – EuroVelo 3 - Pilgrims Route and EuroVelo 5 - Via Romea (Francigena) follow ancient pilgrims’ trails while EuroVelo 2 - Capitals Route links some of Europe’s great capital cities. But for the most poignant reminder of Europe’s recent history we recommend following EuroVelo 13 - Iron Curtain Trail, along the border which divided the continent between East and West for half a century.
I am looking for a safe route to travel with my family.
If you’re travelling with young kids then look no further than EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route. At 1,500 km, the entire route is very manageable in a month-long summer holiday. In this time you’ll follow the Rhine through four countries from source to sea, taking in some magnificent scenery on the way. The route is the first to be awarded the European Route Certification Standard, ensuring an exemplary level of infrastructure throughout.
Who came up with the idea of EuroVelo?
EuroVelo was first conceived at a meeting between the ECF and its British and Danish partners (Sustrans and de Frie Fugle) in 1995. The original plan was to create 12 long-distance cycle routes. Since August 2007, the ECF has assumed full responsibility for coordination of the project, leading to greater international recognition of the value of these routes. You can learn more about its history here.
Why is there no EuroVelo 16 and 18?
Routes are numbered based on whether they cross Europe on a North-South or an East-West axis. Currently there are ten North-South routes (odd numbers 1-19) and seven East – West routes (including two circuits) (even numbers 2-14).
Is it possible to add additional routes?
Yes, we accept applications to create new EuroVelo routes, or modify existing itineraries in a three-year cycle. A detailed explanation of the route application process can be found here.
Can EuroVelo sponsor my cycling trip or charity fundraising ride?
The ECF is a not-for-profit organisation and cannot make financial contributions to rides using the EuroVelo network. However, we love to hear news of inspiring journeys and can use our social media networks to spread these stories throughout the cycling community. We also regularly publish travelogues of cycling journeys along EuroVelo routes on EuroVelo.com. If you would like your story to be featured on the EuroVelo website and social media, write us a [email protected].
Where can I read accounts of people who have cycled the routes?
There is an endless selection of blogs available online by cyclists who have taken on the EuroVelo routes. A good idea is to check out #EuroVelo on Twitter and Facebook to hear what bloggers are saying about their rides. We also feature these cyclists in regular articles for EuroVelo.com.