The 3 Best Cycling Routes in the World

Biker Holding Mountain Bike on Top of Mountain With Green Grass Cycling is an adventure like few others. With that said, here’s are list of the three best cycling routes in the world:

Cycling is an adventure like few others. It gives you a chance to see the world at your own pace, while using your legs as the engine. You travel the world, and you get fitter and stronger. It’s a win-win, isn’t it.

And while the whole world looks prettier from a bicycle, some roads are prettier than others because of their distinct charm, magnificent landscape, cultural experiences along the way, and sheer joy of riding. 

In this piece, we look at three of the world’s most scenic cycling routes. 

Our criteria for choosing these routes is that each route should be spectacularly beautiful. This is a non-negotiable, and the bare basic criteria for being on this list. But beyond that, the route should offer cultural experiences, should have some history to it, should have good cycling infrastructure, and the opportunity to explore culinary adventures as well.

With that said, here’s are list of the three most scenic cycling routes in the world:

1. Shimanami Kaido, Japan

The Shimanami Kaido is a picturesque 64-kilometer trail that runs through a number of tiny islands in Hiroshima Prefecture. This route is ideal for a leisurely ride and is suitable for families with children looking for an easy going bike tour in Japan.

 It is completely segregated from vehicle traffic, providing bikers with safe and peaceful surroundings.

This path showcases the harmonious coexistence of bicycles and automobiles in Japan, where riding on a bicycle is a prevalent means of transportation. The designated cycleway, which frequently runs alongside the road, has gentle slopes leading up to high road bridges, making it accessible and enjoyable for cyclists of all skill levels.

Bikes may be hired at several places along the route, and while some eager riders finish the journey in a single day, many choose to take their time and enjoy the stunning views of the Seto Inland Sea. The route promotes a leisurely pace, allowing riders to take their time and enjoy the incredible panoramas. There are small tolls for crossing the bridges, but they are minimal and won’t eat up your budget.

2. Cycling Route No. 1, Taiwan

Taiwan’s Cycling Route No. 1 is a cyclist’s dream, around the island in a 960-kilometer loop. This route is known for its abundance of incredible views, which take cyclists through lively towns, peaceful villages, and stunning coastal locations. It opened in December 2015 and has rapidly become one of the world’s most popular cycling routes.

Starting from Taipei Songshan Station, the route is well-marked and alternates between designated bike routes, calm country roads, and busy streets with cycle lanes. Your journey throughout Taiwan includes both cultural and natural highlights, such as bustling towns and historic temples, as well as night markets and hot springs.

One of the route’s attractions is the captivating Huadong Valley, which stretches along Taiwan’s eastern coast. This valley is home to various national parks and indigenous communities, which provide a rich cultural experience. The valley’s quaint villages, narrow alleys, vibrant marketplaces, and ancient temples provide insight into traditional Taiwanese life.

Tainan City, Taiwan’s historic capital, is another highlight. Tainan, known for its historical attractions and culinary delights, is a must-see destination along the way. Cyclists can explore the Confucius Temple and Fort Provintia while trying local favorites like seafood congee and beef noodle soup.

For those looking for a challenge, the trek up Shouka Mountain Pass is a test of endurance. The 21-kilometer journey to the peak at 436 meters, located between Pingtung and Taitung counties, rewards those who complete it with spectacular views of the mountains and a sense of accomplishment.

Cycling Route No. 1 may be customized to accommodate various preferences and fitness levels. Many cyclists opt to complete the entire circuit in 9 to 14 days, combining daily rides with plenty of time for rest and exploration.

You can do this route on your own, or choose to embark on a guided Taiwan bike tour where you also have the advantage of a local guide and a support van with you at all times.

3. Parenzana Trail, Slovenia/Croatia

The Parenzana Trail is a unique cycling route that connects Slovenia, and Croatia. This 123-kilometer trail traces the route of a former narrow-gauge railway that connected 33 Istrian towns from Porec, Croatia, to Trieste, Italy. The path, now repurposed for cycling, provides an excellent opportunity to visit the Istrian Peninsula.

Cycling the Parenzana Trail takes you past olive orchards and vineyards, where you can experience local culture and food. The route is filled with historical buildings and beautiful villages.

Trieste, earlier the Habsburg Empire’s only seaport, has sights such as the Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia, which overlooks the sea. As you continue, you’ll arrive at the Secovlje Salt Flats in Slovenia, where ancient salt producing processes have been preserved for over 700 years. The salt flats are an intriguing destination, with a museum describing their history.

Livade, also known as Istria’s truffle hub, is another gem. Visiting during the October truffle festival provides an opportunity to sample excellent delicacies created with locally sourced truffles. The trail then takes you through the Wine Railway, a region known for its hilly landscape and vineyards. Visit medieval towns such as Buje, Grožnjan, and Motovun to explore their historic centers and local art galleries.

The trail ends in Porec, a town rich in culture and history. You may see the Roman Forum and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Euphrasian Basilica. The Parenzana Trail is more than just a cycling route; it’s an adventure through history, culture, and culinary excellence.

You can do this tour on your own, or as a part of a guided Slovenia bike tour which comes with the benefit of an expert local guide, a support van, and pre-booked hotels.

Final Thoughts

Each of these three routes offers experiences that transcend beyond the physical challenge of the trip. 

They provide a unique opportunity to engage with diverse cultures, spectacular natural landscapes, and a rich history. Whether you’re a seasoned bicycle or a casual rider, these routes guarantee unforgettable rides that highlight the best of each region’s offerings. 

So, dust off your bike, pack your luggage, and prepare to peddle down some of the world’s most spectacular cycling routes.


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