VBT's Top Destinations for Car-Free Cycling
Posted on Monday, August 30th, 2021
Story by: Ken Lovering | Travel Writer
For many cyclists, there is no better ride than the one free of car traffic. We all know there’s something liberating about exploring the world under your own power that’s made even more sublime without the whoosh of passing cars.
Part of the joy of cycling, after all, is hearing little else but the whir of your tires against the pavement. That’s why our VBT trip planners—riders themselves—wholeheartedly embrace quiet, un-trafficked roads whenever they can as they plan our Bicycling Vacations.
How We Find the Best Car-Free Cycling Routes
VBT trip planners are pros at finding traffic-free routes for our guests. Our first strategy in identifying the quietest roads is the most obvious one: we visit our destinations. While there, our team spends lots of time with local contacts who intimately know the most tranquil and scenic bikeways in their “neighborhood.”
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%—is car-free and mostly paved, with minimal gravel pathways. 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.
We’ve rated each trip for you; the higher the rating, the more “Traffic-Free Riding” you’ll enjoy.
Central Europe & the Low Countries
Danube Bike & River Cruise: Prague to Budapest. The graceful Danube River takes center stage on this stunning Bicycling Vacation, equal parts bike tour and river cruise. But the paved Danube Bike Path plays a strong supporting role. You’ll spend most of your time on car-free paved and hard-packed bikeways, pedaling your way to storybook villages and castles, lush vineyards, and medieval cities. Traffic-Free Riding: 85%.
Germany, Austria & Switzerland: Bavarian Alps & Lake Constance. The magnificent Alps and shimmering lakes soar all around you on this breathtaking trip, and we’ve found easy paved and hard-packed cycling routes away from the fray of vehicles. You’ll ride into quaint Bavarian villages and past wildflower meadows, fragrant forests, and pristine waterfalls, following scenic stretches of the Bodensee-Königssee Bike Route. Traffic-Free Riding: 90%.
Holland & Belgium Bike & Boat: Amsterdam to Bruges. The bicycle has long been a central part of Dutch and Belgian culture. The same holds true for this slow-paced journey through dreamy Low Country landscapes dotted with windmills and lined with polders and dikes. Though you’ll find fewer dedicated bike paths, quieter roadways and respect for cyclists are “baked in” to the local cultures here. Why? Because if you live here, you likely get around on two wheels instead of four. Traffic-Free Riding: 70%.
Puglia’s Undiscovered Coast. We’ve found the perfect routes to help you cycle your way through one of Italy’s up-and-coming 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 every mile and very little traffic. Traffic-Free Riding: 95%.
Coastal Villages of Tuscany. What could be better than the culinary pleasures of legendary Tuscany? Experiencing it in peace and tranquility. You’ll have ample opportunity to do just that during one of our most popular Bicycling Vacations. It’s the ideal Tuscan recipe: breathtaking scenery, hilltop villages, stellar wines and olive oils, and mostly paved bike routes with minimal cars. Traffic-Free Riding: 85%.
Southern Tuscany & Giglio Island. Unspoiled coastal routes, local wines and cuisine, medieval towns, and dips in the refreshing waters of the Tyrrhenian. This is Tuscany’s sunny south, where castles dot the shorelines, sandy island beaches spill into the sea, and car-free cycling awaits on most of our routes. Traffic-Free Riding: 88%.
Sicily, the Noto Valley & Syracuse. 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 routes is unpaved. As for the traffic, there’s no drama there as we mostly keep to remote, seldom-traveled roads. Traffic-Free Riding: 90%.
Lake Como & the Italian Lake District. 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 itinerary will send your spirit soaring. Traffic-Free Riding: 92%.