For many cyclists, there’s no better ride than the one free of car traffic.
VBT's Top Destinations for Car-Free Cycling
Posted on Thursday, August 17th, 2023
Story by: Ken Lovering & Molly Waldstein | Travel Writer
The rhythmic whir of tires against pavement is one of the simple, but profound, joys of cycling. That’s why our VBT trip planners—riders themselves—seek out the most peaceful, traffic-free routes when they plan VBT bicycling vacations.
For many cyclists, there’s no better ride than the one free of car traffic. Without the clatter and clang of passing cars, the act of exploring the world on two wheels can be a sublime experience. The tranquility of car-free cycling allows your mind to relax and immerse itself in the pleasure of the landscape. Without the hustle-bustle of traffic, years of built-up stress simply fall away—leaving you refreshed, contented, and energized.
How We Find the Best Car-Free Cycling Routes
VBT trip planners are pros at finding traffic-free routes for our guests. First and foremost—we visit our destinations and ride the routes. Fortunately, we have lots of friends around the world, and these local bikers know where to find the most tranquil and scenic bikeways—complete with clever shortcuts to circumvent traffic circles and busy intersections.
This being the 21st century, we also rely on technology. Tools like Google Maps™ and our own RidewithGPS software provide objective data about our routes—a nice complement to the more subjective input from our experts on the ground.
Our Most Traffic-Free Destinations
Here are our top-rated bicycling vacations where traffic is at a minimum—and joyful, quiet cycling is at the max! The vast majority of each itinerary—at least 80%—has almost no traffic. And when you do share the road, drivers are generally few… and respectful, slowing down as they approach and giving you a wide berth as they pass.
Spain: Balearic Islands, Mallorca & Ses Salines Guided Tour. On Mallorca, you’ll encounter more bikes than cars! Pedal low-traffic routes past local citrus groves, lush mountain valleys, ancient stone villages, and the stunning turquoise coast. In the evening, enjoy the island’s spectacular local cuisine—including freshly-caught fish, succulent oranges, and splendid local vintages. Traffic-Free Riding: 95%
Puglia’s Undiscovered Coast Guided Tour. We’ve found the perfect routes to help you cycle your way through one of Italy’s top destinations. Tracing Adriatic shores, you’ll ride quiet roads through stone villages and marvel at turquoise seas, shimmering olive groves, and medieval architecture. The best part? Enjoy paved byways and very little traffic. Traffic-Free Riding: 95%
Italy: Valleys of the Dolomites Guided Tour. Discover the beautifully maintained bike paths of South Tyrol as you explore the confluence of Italian and Austrian cultures in this unique region. Spin along the Cimanache Pass with views of two lakes—and explore the scenic vistas of the Pusteria Valley. Traffic-Free Riding: 95%
Switzerland & France: Lake Geneva, Annecy & Valleys of The Alps Guided Tour. If you enjoy stress-free cycling along stunning European waterways, this tour is for you! Pedal along serene bike paths as you trace the storied Rhône and Isère rivers and wind your way around the sparkling waters of Lake Geneva and Lake Annecy. Spin past charming villages and medieval cities as you explore peaceful paths along the valleys of the Alps. Traffic-Free Riding: 94%
Lake Como & the Italian Lake District Guided Tour. Splendid alpine vistas, lakeside villas, and Switzerland’s famed Bernina Pass showcase this dream bicycling vacation. When it’s clean, crisp, Alpine air you’re craving, when you want flat, easy mostly car-free routes to whisk you past snow-capped peaks, this exceptional tour has it all. Traffic-Free Riding: 92%
Sicily, the Noto Valley & Syracuse Guided Tour. Sicily overflows with drama—in its landscapes, in its history, and in its villages and cuisine. Cycling here gives you an up-close-and-personal front-row seat to it all. Though it is a famously unspoiled island, only a tiny fraction of our bike route is unpaved. As for the traffic, there’s no drama there as we mostly keep to remote, seldom-traveled roads. Traffic-Free Riding: 90%
Italy: The Dolomites, Bolzano & Lake Garda Guided Tour. Explore the awe-inspiring mountain scenery of Italy’s legendary Dolomites mountain range as you pedal along serene river valleys and dramatic mountain canyons. Enjoy wine tastings, gourmet meals, and the shimmering shores of Lake Garda in this low-traffic cycling adventure. Traffic-Free Riding: 90%
France, Luxembourg & Germany Bike & Boat: Mosel River Valley Guided Bike & Boat. Cycle scenic bike paths along the Mosel River—exploring the vineyards, castles, and medieval villages of this legendary region. Discover the ancient and modern traditions of three countries as you explore the landscape up close—by bike. In the evenings, relax on the deck of your luxurious barge—enjoying sumptuous meals and spectacular scenery along the way. Traffic-Free Riding: 85%
Italy: The Dolomites, Bolzano to Ora Self-Guided Tour. Pedal Europe’s legendary bike paths as you spin from one Alpine village to the next on this splendid self-guided adventure. Stay at quaint local hotels suffused with South Tyrol’s famous culture, cuisine, and cycling. Coast down the Pordoi Pass—made famous by Italian cyclist Fausto Coppi in the Giro d’Italia. Traffic-Free Riding: 93%
Portugal: Porto, the Silver Coast & Lisbon Self-Guided Tour. Explore the beaches and bike paths of the Portuguese coast at your own pace on this marvelous self-guided vacation. Here, you’ll discover quaint seaside cafés serving fresh-caught local seafood, medieval walled cities, and ancient Moorish architecture as you pedal from inn to inn. Traffic-Free Riding: 90%
Spain: Barcelona & Costa Brava Self-Guided Tour. You don’t have to be a professional cyclist to pedal the famous cycling routes of Spain’s Costa Brava—on this self-guided vacation, you’re free to cycle at your own pace. Wind your way through the elegant Catalan countryside—or test yourself on the steeper climbs if you choose. Enjoy mouth-watering Catalan cuisine along the way—including dinner at a Michelin-recognized restaurant. Traffic-Free Riding: 90%
France: Vineyards of Beaujolais Self-Guided Tour. French castles and exquisite wines characterize this remarkable self-guided adventure. Here, you’ll stay in not one, but two, classic French chateaux—each with its own vineyard. Along the way, spin through charming medieval villages in Viré-Clessé, Pouilly-Fuissé, and Les Pierres Dorées, and sample some of the world’s finest vintages. Traffic-Free Riding: 88%
England: Oxford & the Cotswolds Self-Guided Tour: Explore the quaint villages and cozy pubs of England’s famed Cotswolds on your own timetable. Here, you’ll be inspired by thatched-roof cottages with charming rose gardens—perfect for taking an English cream tea and relaxing after a delightful ride through the elegant countryside. Traffic-Free Riding: 86%