The walled city of Dubrovnik is a Gem in the crown of EuroVelo 8. It is the image of the Mediterranean and has it all: sleepy harbour, historic town centre, medieval fortification and sunshine. The city is steeped in local history, it was the capital of the Kingdom of Ragusa, then had a period under Venetian rule and more recently it underwent a siege by the Yougoslav People’s Army lasting seven months. If that’s not enough to convince you, here’s what George Bernard Shaw had to say about it: “If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik”. Foto credit: Dennis Jarvis (flickr)
The diversity of Albania is visible in all its aspects: its language, its religious heritage and even its beaches. Shkodra is located in the north of Albania on the banks of a lake of the same name and is the country’s fourth largest city. It is a flat city and is known as the country’s bike capital and has a vibrant cycling culture. In fact, a whopping 29% of trips are done by bike so you’ll fit right in! Photo credit: werner haug (flickr)
The Hutovo Blato Nature Park is located in south eastern Herzegovina and is primarily composed of marshlands that were created by the underground aquifer system of the Krupa River. It is an extremely important habitat for numerous plant and animal species but is primarily known as being the largest bird reserve in the region, both in terms of size (7,411 ha) and diversity. In the migration season, tens of thousands of birds fill the lake and its surroundings. The website is currently only available in Bosnian.
The Po River crosses the North of Italy. It is Italy’s longest river and goes through the regions of Piemonte, Lombardia, Emilia Romagnia and Veneto. Its source is near Monte Viso, the highest peak in the Cottian Alps and EuroVelo 8 follows its meandering banks until reaching the delta on the Adriatic Sea near Venice. Cycling is popular in these parts and there is great infrastructure and services as a result as well as lots of beautiful scenery.
If you want to take a break from the cycling the sun drenched shores of Cyprus then there is plenty see and taste in its kitchen. It has an interesting mix of Greek and Turkish culinary heritage. As expected, you’ll find lots of seafood but also a rich variety of vegetable, including the Cyprus potato and lots of aubergine. In case you can’t decide what to have just go for the Meze which is a bit of everything. You’ll find the usual suspects: Moussaka, Stiphado and Houmous as well as some local specialties. Be sure to bring your appetite! Photo credit: Cyprus Tourism (flickr)
Known as Europe’s southernmost fjord, the Bay of Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979. It is in fact a ria, a submerged river canyon and has very particular micro-climate that makes it one of the wettest inhabited places in Europe. Perhaps because of this peculiarity it has always been a place of pilgrimage and there are numerous Orthodox and Catholic churches and monasteries in the area. EuroVelo 8 follows the bay until the town of Kotor, with its picturesque old town.
As you enter the French Department of Aude, you reach the protected area of ‘La Narbonnaise’. For the next 50km you will be plunged in this cultural landscape with its pristine coastline, rocky terrain and wetlands. The evaporation ponds that follow the coastline make use of the ancient technology to extract salt from sea water. At the end of this time-travel experience, the picturesque city of Narbonne gently lulls you back to civilization.
Slovenia has a coast, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s approximately 47km long and really quite nice. The little town of Piran is a favourite of visitors from near and far. Its impressive town square, named after Giuseppe Tartini, the composer, is built over the old marina. The town’s picturesque medieval centre is built on a small peninsula that just out into the Adriatic and has managed to keep its city walls. Photo credit: whl.travel (flickr)
Perched in the Sierra Nevada facing the city of Granada, the Alhambra is an impressive sight to behold. A moorish emir first built a palace here in the 11th Century. It was later converted into the Royal Palace of Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada. The site, which was for a long time the home of squatters, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is well worth a visit. While your there be sure to catch a Flamenco show in the caves of Sacramonte on the opposite side of the valley. Photo credit: Julian Rejas (flickr)
Capital of Greece, one of the world’s oldest cities, cradle of Western civilisation and birthplace of democracy. Much like the rest of Greece, Athens doesn’t do understated, and to good effect. The endless sights will guide you through the city that provides a perfect starting point or destination to a cycling tour. Photo credit: Patty Mooney (flickr)