A Mountain Bike can be the best tool to escape the crowds, the routine of the city and the stress surrounded by tall buildings to ride towards your personal paradise.
If your zone of calm, your “dolce far niente” has to do with nature, with the mountains, with sport, specifically with mountain biking and the discovery of sites and routes new, you are in luck, because below, we will tell you which are the best -and most beautiful- places in Europe where you can find your oasis of tranquility and wear out the wheels of your MTB.
SPAIN: Andalusia, cycling and ham; lots of ham
One of the best places to practice Mountain Bike in Europe, is located in the autonomous community of Andalusia, more specifically in Sierra Nevada, an environment called National Park and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
There is an innumerable variety of routes and agencies that offer guided tours with accommodation included, which you can choose depending on your level of experience and what you are looking to do. We recommend taking one of the two routes offered by the Ruta del Jamón. Both have a circular structure, which begins and ends in the town of Granada. The route that we are going to share has a total of 269 kilometers and is usually done between three and five days. In all the towns there are comfortable and cozy accommodations that will allow you to rest in a pleasant environment to gather strength for the next day. Another advantage to take into account of being in Andalusia is that the gastronomy of the area is unbeatable and the people are very close, which will make your stay much easier and more dynamic.
The Ruta del Jamón is known and acclaimed by cyclists as it runs through all the Alpujarra towns that offer the gastronomic delicacy of Serrano ham. Making a stop to regain strength with a plate of freshly sliced ham, a pleasant chat and the bike leaning by your side is almost mandatory if you are going to make this journey.
Carrying out this tour, of which we will attach an itinerary below, will give you the opportunity to travel empty roads, live in an environment that is still virgin and natural, and that combines a Mediterranean climate that contrasts with the highest peaks and mountains from Spain. Cycling on land with a cultural legacy such as the Sierra Nevada and the quality of the landscapes that can be seen on the route will take the breath away of any lover of nature and cycling.
Throughout the tour, you will visit municipalities such as Trévelez, one of the towns located at the highest altitude on the peninsula and which rests on the slopes of Mulhacén, which is part of the Sierra Nevada Natural Park. We recommend making a stop there to try first-hand the famous ham that is produced in the municipality.
SCOTLAND: A blast of happiness on two wheels
Scotland is one of the countries that offers the best quality of MTB cycling due to the geographical and climatic characteristics, the amount of vegetation, the mountain ranges and green spaces and open to the outside that are made up as main characteristics of the area.
The routes that can be traveled in the country do not leave any cyclist apart, whether amateur or professional, and who wants a route focused on speed and the segregation of adrenaline, or seeks a familiar and quiet route where you can pedal while chat with yours.
In Scotland there are several options for ways to plan each MTB tour or trip; On the one hand, there are the cycling centers, the technical parks on the other, and lastly, the nature trails.
Some of the best areas for mountain biking are found on Royal Deeside, on the outskirts of Ballater, a town in Aberdeenshire that is the starting point for many mountain bike routes. The Royal Deeside area offers some impressive railing for big mountain descents and expert enduro railing. The open environment and the constant green color of the environment offer an exceptional visual quality, no wonder that less than 50 kilometers from this area is the summer residence of the Queen of England.
The environment of the Royal Deeside is one of the trusted places for enduro teams that come to the trails of this forest to train and practice their technique on the bike. In the area we can find technical routes such as the Pitpichie Forest, which has incredible rails to work on speed and new tricks, and other more classic ones such as the Loch Muick Loop circuit.
As for accommodation, there are quiet hotels designed for cyclists very close to Ballater, such as the Glen Tanar hotel, but due to the proximity of the forest to the city, it is also possible and advisable to stay in Ballater itself.
Ballater is not the only favorite area for cyclists, there are many very interesting options around the country. You can see them below:
ITALY: The cold Lake Livigno awaits you imposingly
The place par excellence to do MTB in Italy, and which has grown exponentially in terms of popularity and influx of tourism, is in Livigno, a town of 5,000 inhabitants that is not easy to access and is almost on the border with Swiss. The valley of Livigno is affectionately called "Piccolo Tibet" (little Tibet).
We are in the coldest part of Italy, located at more than 1500 meters above sea level. The Livigno Valley is home to a large number of routes for MTB of all levels, accompanied by views that seem to be taken from a movie. In this place, the important thing is to feel like pedaling and a bike as a tool to do it; then the mundane will become special.
The valley offers areas with very steep slopes and versatile vegetation and characteristics. It is true that in recent years the traffic of tourists and athletes who come to Livigno has increased, but the area has impressive potential for all levels of MTB, it also accommodates one of the toughest Ironman championships in the world and forms part of the Giro d'Italia route. It is the trusted site of thousands of sportsmen and elite athletes each year, which justifies its recent popularity.
There are several routes within the valley, all of them are very well indicated, and in general they all present quite technical routes but wonderful to observe; along the routes you can see abandoned villages observed from an aerial view, waterfalls of recently thawed ice, lush and dense forests and even one of the last glaciers in Europe: the San Mateo glacier.
There are accommodations around the valley and restaurants at the crossing points of the routes. Stopping before finishing the journey to eat in restaurants located in a mountainous paradise is highly recommended.
NORWAY: The fjords from the heights
Another of the best places to do MTB is Norway; Although the weather is somewhat unpredictable and there is a lot of unevenness, the terrain is mountainous and very suitable for mountain biking; however, the routes are complex and demanding. In this country, nature plays a major role, since it has innumerable lakes, valleys and mountains, and despite being a large country, it is not overcrowded, which favors the conservation of the natural terrain, although in summer it is true that this country It is very frequented by cruise tourists.
If we combine mountain biking with spectacular scenery, the result is clear: the Norwegian fjords. Observe how the crystal clear and calm water separates the enormous mountain ranges. Two of the most famous and well-known fjords are the Geiranger and Naeroyfjord, which lie in the strip between Trondheim, one of Norway's best-known cities, and Stavanger. Touring the sides of these two fjords on a bicycle, pedaling over the mountains that combine the green colors of the vegetation with the brown and black of the austere rocks, and observing below, on the surface, the sound of the waterfall falling on the crystal clear water and immovable is an experience that any fan of mountain biking and extraordinary landscapes must live at some point in their life.
The Geirangerfjord is located between Oslo and Trondheim and is 15 kilometers long. To access it you can follow the North Sea Cycle Route, which is the best known and offers views of tiny villages and abandoned houses of people who lived in the fjords with their cattle years ago.
In addition to these, there are a number of fjords in Norway that can be covered with a MTB and that are well worth seeing:
FRANCE: Get to know Mont Blanc and cycle between three countries
Mont Blanc is a mountain located in the Alps, between the border of France and Switzerland. This massif has a special attraction for skiers, runners, climbers and mountain bikers. Mont Blanc is the highest mountain range in Europe, that, added to its beauty and the sporting potential it has are the arguments that explain the reason for this worship of the mountain.
The Tour du Mont Blanc is covered by MTB and it is not particularly complicated. It can be completed between five days and a week pedaling about eight hours a day. and there are several agencies that organize the tour and offer the guided Tour to those cyclists who do not want to do it on their own.
The route is affordable, but the continuous and constant ascents make some sections somewhat tedious and make the route somewhat longer. Along the route, you can see rocky walls, glaciers and meadows that take away your senses when you stop to look at them.
Next, we show you one of the best-known Tour routes.
We hope you have enjoyed reading the post and that you have imagined pedaling over the Norwegian fjords and descending the impressive Mont Blanc cliff. And if you have imagined it, all you have to do is do it!