12 March 2021

Top 6 countries to visit in gravel and bikepacking

You dream to discover new countries in Gravel? You have an adventurous spirit and are a real bully at heart? Do you want to combine the pleasure of driving with the pleasure of discovering sumptuous landscapes? 

Make yourself at home, you’re in the right place! Here is the non-exhaustive list of countries to visit in Gravel to practice bikepacking.

Isle of Skye, Scotland

At a rate of 60km per day with a difference in height up to 600m, you can discover the Isle of Skye in ten days. Between lochs and vertiginous mountains, the environment seems to come straight out of a Gaelic legend. But watch out the weather: the parka and rain pants will be your best friends! Wild camping is allowed almost everywhere in Scotland. Last tip: beware of midges, these small Highlands‘s mosquitoes. Equip yourself accordingly: we recommend you the Smidge (or for the more adventurous a very nice head screen). 

When? Between May and June for nice weather or autumn for the beautiful colors

Where? Departure from Mailaig to join Armadale by ferry. Join Glenn Brittle, climb to Portree and its colorful houses, Uig, Dunvegan and Talisker Bay

Unmissable: take a hike to the Old Man of Storr

Mantova, Italy

Mantova, Italy

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the beautiful Mantova will charm you for sure! And for good reason, it’s full of architectural treasures. To regain strength after a good ride exploring the surroundings, what is better than Italian gastronomy? Dear riders, note that Mantova will host the eighth edition of famous BAM!, European Bicycle Adventure Meeting festival from 10 to 12 June 2022. A great opportunity to discover Lombardy and meet thousands of bikepacking enthusiasts, travellers and writers.

When? Just before summer, ideally on 10-12 June 2022, when the BAM! festival returns in Mantua.

Where? From Mantua, head north to Verona, take a detour to the Garda lake or take the time to explore the Mincio region’s nature park.

Unmissable: enjoy a good beer (or juice!) by the lake at sunset

Girona, Spain

Located about a hundred kilometers from the famous Barcelona, the city of Girona seduces cyclists in search of sensations. Johnny Weltz and Lance Amstrong made no mistake: the medieval city is now considered a den of riders. Despite its growing popularity, Girona is still an ideal destination to practice Gravel thanks to a beautiful variety of terrain. The must? Lose yourself and explore the small villages of the surroundings. If you have time, discover the Costa Brava along the coast in 7 days! 

When? In the spring or fall to avoid the summer crowd

Where? From Girona, descend to Sant Feliu de Guixols, pass through the fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell, and head for the Montgri massif. Go back to Figueres between olive trees and vineyards

Unmissable: taste the wines of the emporda’s many wineries

Tirana, Albania

At the crossroads of great civilizations (Greek, Roman, Ottoman, Byzantine, Illyrian), Albania’s identity is rich in multiple influences. It is only natural that this diversity is reflected in its landscapes. Between the fresh mountain air and the gentle sea breeze, the country will charm you for sure. And the icing on the cake, Albania is still very much preserved from mass tourism! 

When? In May or September to enjoy a mild climate

Where? Arriving in Tirana, choose the South towards the coast: Kavajo, Laguna e Karavastas, Proud, Vlor … And why not go down to Greece? 

Unmissable: Observing Dalmatian pelicans along Karavasta Lagoon

Lofoten Islands, Norway

The Lofoten Archipelago, in northern Norway and off the arctic circle, is made up of a set of 7 islands. Kingdom of the Vikings, the Lofoten are considered by many as the jewel of Scandinavia. Before your Gravel ride, you’ll have to brave the sea from the town of Bodo. Arrive safe and sound, all you have to do is admire rocky peaks, fjords, huts on stilts … Head to Svolvaer, Henningsvaer, the beaches of Finnhamnen, and Moskenes: a short week will allow you to discover the must-sees of the archipelago by bike! It should be noted that in Norway, bivouac is allowed if you set up your tent more than 200m from a house. 

When? Mid-June to mid-August for its long summer days

Where? Departure from Bodo and then head north (Svolvaer, Henningsvaer, the beaches of Finnhamnen, and Moskenes)

Unmissable: admire the midnight sun at the top of the summit of Munken

Angers, France

Hi there Chauvinistic friend! Whatever we say, France is full of corners to explore on two wheels. You don’t have to go far. With its famous ”douceur angevine”, the territory can be wandered near its rivers. Troglodytes, vineyards, slate mines and islands on the Loire: your adventurer spirit will inevitably find his happiness at the turn of a path. 

When? In the spring to enjoy the renewal of nature

Where? From Montsoreau to Varenne: you can follow the Loire to Bike route (or follow your instincts!) 

Unmissable: walking the paths in the heart of the vineyards of the Coteaux du Layon

Ready to ride your Gravel? And why not cycle to the Gravel Festival from your home? A way to experience Gravel Night or Gravel 100 in the best way and live a memorable human adventure!

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