The most westerly stage of EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route incorporates many of the features that make the whole route so inviting: stunning scenery, historic towns and cities, delicious local food and drink and colourful festivals.
Less well known outside of Spain then the coastlines further to the south, Costa de Valencia, Costa del Azahar and Costa Daurada actually have just as much to offer visitors and it is easier to avoid the crowds. The attractions include kilometre after kilometre of beautiful golden sands; the lively party city of Valencia; the impressive Roman remains at Tarragona and the Palm Grove of Elche – an orchard of thousands of palm trees that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.
This section straddles the French and Spanish border – linking the Catalan-speaking communities in each country – and whilst the big draw will inevitably be the exciting city of Barcelona, there is lots more to discover in the area.
Take a trip along this part of EuroVelo 8 and you’ll be mingling with the stars on the red carpets of Nice, Cannes and Monte Carlo. It is perhaps the most glamorous stage in the entire EuroVelo network! And that’s just for starters. The route also takes you close to the Roman city of Nimes, the Palace of the Popes in Avignon and France’s second largest city, Marseille. This stage of the Mediterranean Route has much to offer whether you are looking for a short day trip, a weekend break or something longer.
On this relatively short stage you leave the Mediterranean Sea behind and head inland and up over the Alps before descending into the fertile basin centred on the bustling city of Turin.
The route between Turin and Venice forms the longest stage of the Mediterranean Route in Italy and provides a wonderful introduction to the north of the country. For most of this stage, the route follows the course of the River Po – which represents the only time EuroVelo 8 leaves the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea for a significant length of time - but it also includes an attractive stretch along the edge of the Venice Lagoon.
This stage follows the coast of the Gulf of Venice at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea. Although relatively short, it takes in three different countries – Italy, Slovenia and Croatia – some unforgettable cities, kilometres of golden sand and some world class attractions.
Croatia’s coastline is one of the most attractive in the Mediterranean and this stage includes nearly all of it - around 600 km of beautiful beaches, sparkling waters, inviting islands, friendly towns and cities and wonderful local cuisine. Travelling from the North West, the stage is neatly broken up by the three attractive cities of Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik.
Montenegro and Albania are on many people’s To Do lists and this stage combines both of these fascinating countries. You should visit now before everyone else does!
Although Igoumenitsa is located in the north-western corner of Greece, most of this stage is actually located in Albania. Largely forgotten about by most tourists for the past few decades, Albania is increasingly becoming a popular holiday destination. Nevertheless, this section remains one the least developed of the Mediterranean’s European coastlines and is perfect for people that want to get off the beaten track.
If you imagine Greece to be made up of pretty little beaches with white sands and turquoise waters, served by small cafés serving local delicacies then this is definitely the stage to head to. It will meet your expectations and more.
Millions of visitors every year head to the Greek capital of Athens, a city so crammed full of ancient monuments it almost does not know what to do with them all! Recent years have seen an increase in cycling within the city and a number of firms now offer cycle tours (including on e-bikes) of the major sights for those planning only a short visit.
The island nation of Cyprus represents the most easterly stage of EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route. Currently it is only linked to the rest of the route by flights to Athens. In Cyprus, EuroVelo 8 follows a circuit around the southern part of the island taking in all of the major settlements and attractions. Cyprus’s four largest cities – Lefksosia (Nicosia), Lemesos (Limassol), Pafos (Paphos) and Larnaca – are all on the route with Paphos and Larnaca also being the location of the two international airports, so it is likely that visitors using the EuroVelo route will start in one of these locations.