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Cycling is one of the best ways to explore new places. Not only is it an incredible exercise, but it can be a memorable adventure. The beauty of exploring new places on a bike is that unlike in a car where you zoom past it and cannot find a parking space, you can pull over and explore. You can take a turn up a cute little alleyway, ride over some cobbles, stop by a fountain for a drink or pull up under a tree by a river and relax on the grass as you have a bite to eat. 

And in contrast to walking, where you can cover short distances, by cycling you can cover 20-100 km (or more) in a day (depending on your fitness), in a relaxed manner and see more sites than you would be able to by walking. Europe is rich in cycling roads and climbs, making it a great trip for all cycling enthusiasts. For those who love climbing up hills, check out best road cycling climbs in Europe!

Colle delle Finestre | Italy 

Italy is home to breathtaking views and beautiful lands. One way to get those views is to tackle the very challenging Colle delle Finestre in the Cottian Alps. This mountain pass is not far from Mt Blanc/ l’Alpe d’Huez and is about 2-3 hours by car from Bourg d’Oissans via col du Galibier or Briancon. You will rise about 1700 m vertically, covering about 8km of dirt and peak at 2173 m. This is one of the 3 toughest climbs in Europe.

Col du Glandon | France

Another great spot in Europe for cycling is France. In France, cyclists can venture to the Col du Glandon. This road elevates 1124m over 21.7km, well worth the ride, and begins 6 km North of Bourg d’Oissans. The Col du Glandon was also climbed in big tour stages such as Tour de France 2015 and Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré 2011. This road is an exhilarating ride from cyclists and one of the best France has to offer.

Pico de Veleta | Spain

In the Sierra Nevada mountain range, cyclists will find one of the toughest climbs they will face. Pico de Veleta is the highest paved road in Europe and known as one of the most challenging. Riding up this mountain you will climb 2471m in elevation over 41.2km, at an average gradient of 6% and top out at 3240m above sea level! How about adding that to your palmares. 

Col du Grand Saint Bernard | Switzerland

Set between Switzerland and Italy, the Col du Grand Saint Bernard is known as the most ancient of all the routes throughout the western Alps. But it isn’t the history of the land that makes this road such a popular destination for cyclists. This road has a height of 2,469 metres which makes it the third-highest pass in Switzerland and one of the most famous in the Alps. With a 14.4 km distance and 955 m elevation, the Col du Grand Saint Bernard could be a cyclist’s most difficult but thrilling ride.