EuroVelo 8 connects many destinations that are popular tourist attractions in their own right: Barcelona, Monaco, Venice, the Croatian Coast, Cyprus – the list goes on. It is little surprise therefore that the Mediterranean Route receives more interest than any other EuroVelo route. And whilst many of it’s destinations are already internationally famous, there are still lots of undiscovered gems to be found along the way, not least in Albania and Montenegro.
So what are you waiting for!
- 5888 km long
712 Species of fish in
- World Heritage Sites (UNESCO)
- Maritime heritage
- Mediterranean diet
- Natural heritage
- Religious heritage
- Art cities
- Mediterranean Sea
Where to begin with the exquisite city of Ferrara. The Cathedral, the Este Castle, the Medieval Walls, Palazzo dei Diamanti are all more sumptuous than the last. It was a creative powerhouse during the Rennaissance period. Many great writers and painters lived here, you can retrace their steps and lives.
The Fortifications of Vauban, France
The Fortications of Vauban are 2 groups of fortified buildings and sites along the borders of France. Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban, who served as a military engineer of King Louis XIV, was the head behind the designs of these buildings. In 2008 they were added to the list of UNESCO´s World Heritage Sites. A reason to explore the French landscapes cycling along the borders exploring the towns built from scratch by Vauban.
Mantua is a very ancient town: it has got Etruscan origins, but it flourished in the age of the Communes and, above all, during the long Gonzaga seigniory (1328-1707). The Commune and the short seigniory of Bonacolsi family left important buildings, such as Palazzo Bonacolsi, Palazzo del Podestà, Palazzo della Ragione, and churches such as San Lorenzo rotunda and Santa Maria del Gradaro. Palazzo Ducale – the Ducal Palace - is the main sign of the Gonzaga seigniory: it is one of the largest Italian palaces, counting about 500 rooms and several internal squares, courtyards and gardens. The other magnificent building left by the Gonzaga family in Mantua is Palazzo Te, which was built and frescoed by Giulio Romano (1525 to 1535): you will surely admire Sala dei Giganti, Amore e Psiche and Cavalli – the rooms illustrating the Fall of the Giants, the Tale of Love and Psyche and Gonzaga's horses.
The Po Delta Park is a huge area set in the green of centuries-old woodlands, pinewoods and green areas, studded with examples of art of supreme beauty. At 54,050 hectares, it is the biggest of Italy’s regional parks. In this landscape between land and water, nature is intermingled with the works of humankind: centuries of land reclamation have created a harmonic equilibrium between preserved natural environments and those used as economic resources.
Choirokoitia Neolithic Site, Cyprus
The Neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia, occupied from the 7th to the 4th millennium B.C., is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the eastern Mediterranean. Its remains and the finds from the excavations there have thrown much light on the evolution of human society in this key region. Since only part of the site has been excavated, it forms an exceptional archaeological reserve for future study.
Alhambra de Granada, Spain
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)
The Palmeral of Elche, Spain
The Palmeral or Palm Grove of Elche is a UNESCO site in the Spanish city of Elche. 200,000 palmtrees cover over 3.5km2 within the city of Elche. An oasis in which cyclists can enjoy a rest or better, a siesta after the wonderful cycle trip along EuroVelo 8. The Palmeral of Elche is the only palm grove of its type anywhere in Europe, the northernmost of its kind, one of the largest in the world and it is located in the center of the city! Elche is well connected by train with Alicante and Murcia and you are allowed to carry your bike on the suburban trains known as the 'cercanías'.
It's known for its distinctive Old Town, encircled with massive stone walls completed in the 16th century. Its well-preserved buildings range from baroque St. Blaise Church to Renaissance Sponza Palace and Gothic Rector’s Palace, now a history museum. Paved with limestone, the pedestrianized Stradun (aka Placa) is lined with shops and restaurants.
Like much of the Mediterranean, Spain is synonymous with sunny beaches, good food and the outdoor lifestyle. Tarifa, the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, marks the point at which the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. Here, two continents sit within sight of each other. The mere 14 kilometre gap that separates Spain and Morocco has been a major cultural crossroads. Modern Spanish culture is infused with its Moorish heritage and there are many architectural treasures that bear witness to its diverse history.
The south of France is impregnated with Mediterranean influences. The influence of its two neighbouring countries can definitely be felt but the elegant towns and cities are unmistakably French. Here, major cities are neighboured by wilderness. The rich cultural landscapes have been shaped by generations of locals who have in turn adapted their behaviour to it. From the salt fields to the lavender fields, the ancestral methods of extracting goodness from the land and sea are visible at every turn.
Crossing this micro-state is no major sporting feat but the hilly winding streets make sure that it’s counted. With a total area of just over 2 square kilometres, you will have seen most of it just by entering it. Famous for its Monte Carlo Casino and its Formula 1 Gran Prix, it is also the state with the highest per capita GDP as well as the highest population density.
Italy is emblematic of the Mediterranean. Its long arm juts out into the sea towards the African continent. The Romans brought together the whole region and put their capital at the centre of their empire. They exported their way of life wherever they went. It shaped not just the history of the region but also the different cultures that can be found throughout it today. This is true as much for its architectural influence as for its culinary and religious influence.
Slovenia is the only country in Europe that combines the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Pannonian Plain and the Karst. One of the more memorable contrasts in the Slovenian landscape is the proximity of the Alpine and Mediterranean worlds, each offering the visitor a whole palette of regional characteristics. Between its ancient salt works - the northenmost in the Mediterranean- which are home to 150 bird species and its picturesque coastal towns, Slovenia definitely has enough Mediterranean in it to deserve its spot on EuroVelo 8.
The route takes you through the most beautiful parts of the Croatian Mediterranean coast and hinterland. You will be met by a rich cultural and historical heritage that dates from early ages and enjoy the natural beauties. The route passes through a series of larger and smaller towns and villages in which you will get to know and be able to enjoy the traditional way of life, which was kept for centuries. The route connects the location which has been listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO and don’t forget about blue sea and a sunny sky.
Although the coastal region of Neum is surrounded by Croatian peninsulas, it is written into international law that Bosnia and Herzegovina has the right of passage to the outer sea, and now to the EuroVelo network too! The closed bay is protected from strong winds and makes for wonderfully calm conditions both in the water and out of it. As such it’s the perfect place for calm-water activities and is a hot spot for Scuba-diving, parasailing, boating and jet skiing.
In the Mediterranean, there is simply no mountain landscape comparable to Montenegro. Now it is more and more accessible to cyclists too, with some 3,000 km of on- and off- road biking trails mapped out for you to discover. EuroVelo 8 will pass by the Bay of Kotor, a UNESCO world heritage site, on the way around the Adriatic coast to Podgorica, the capital. The route is currently not realised.
The Albanian coast is characterised by fresh mountain air mixing with the warm sea breeze. The climatic diversity of the country is matched by its biological diversity and its forests are home to a wide range of mammals, including wolves, bears, wild boars and chamois. While the lynx, wildcats, pine martens and polecats are rarer, they can also be spotted in the landscape.
Entering Greece from Epirous Region borders with legendary Ionian sea where dolphins and fishermans share the clear blue waters, from Igoumenitsa, to Sivota, Parga and Preveza to historical villages like Zalogo, Souli and Zagori. Cycling south to West Greece Region from Astakos and Vonitsa till National Park of Messolonghi-Etoliko Lagoons, of lower flow, of Acheloos and Evinos rivers delta and of Echinades islands till you finally cross Antirrio-Rio bridge to enter Peloponesse biggest city Patras, where one of the biggest carnival purely of Italian origin started approximately 180 years ago. Cycling by the sea from Xylokastro and Ancient Sykyon to Kiato towards Korinthos and Loutraki, a coastal town internationally known for its thermal springs. Along the coast from Megara to Eleusina and the Eleusinian Mysteries, one of the most famous religious events of the ancient Greek religion, entering Attica Region with UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the medieval Daphni Monaster to the Acropolis of Athens. The route is currently not realised.
The easternmost part of EuroVelo 8 is on the island of Cyprus. Cyprus is a compact island with an incredible variety of scenery within short distances, making it a delight to cyclists. The route loops around the island and goes through some of the most interesting parts of Cyprus, from mountainous villages where the old ways of life, customs and traditions can be observed, to bustling cities and tourist resorts with coastal views over pristine beaches. With the island situated at the crossroads of three continents, cyclists can ride not only through various landscapes, but also through 10.000 years of history and civilisation: prehistoric settlements, classical Greek temples, Roman theatres and villas, early Christian basilicas, Gothic cathedrals, Venetian fortifications, Moslem mosques and British colonial-style buildings.