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World's 10 best cycling roads you need to ride

le strade più belle del mondo

Picking the world's 10 best cycling roads among the many paths and routes on our planet was not easy at all. Every country, on its own, along with its own features, biodiversity and stunning views, offers a very ample variety of tracks on mountains, coastal roads, plains, creating new and incredible adventures in the travellers' minds. To simplify things and try to inspire you, we tried to pick the world's ten best cycling roads you need to ride, choosing among the ones we cycled on...

 
 

strade più belle ande ruta de la joya 4

World's 10 best cycling roads you need to ride

Twenty years of bicycle touring slowly emerge, bringing back the memories of those windy roads, those demanding, those dirty and isolated ones... Picking the world's ten best cycling roads for this article was not an easy job: in order to succeed in our task, we had to ask for help from all the dusty hard-disks we had in our house. Before starting with the list, be aware that this article will be repeatedly updated, year after year, in order to bring you along on our journeys on the road!le strade piu belle del mondo grecia 3

Indonesia: Crossing of the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park

The Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park is located in the eastern part of Java, Indonesia, in an area rich in active volcanos and lunar landscapes. From the village of Cemoro Lawang overlooking the caldera of the old volcano Tengger, imploded thousands of years ago, the itinerary starts: you can visit the Bromo by feet and cross the desert on your bicycle.strade piu belle indonesia caldera mare di sabbia tenggerIn the big caldera, after the Tengger explosion, five new volcanos appeared, and cycling next to them is an incredible experience. But first, let's jump back a little: from Probolinggo, at sea level, we start the hard and long climb, with demanding gradients, towards Cemoro Lawang, 2000 m circa higher. The road, narrow and pretty broken down, harshly climbs towards the cones. Once in Cemoro Lawang, after a 47 km ride, stay for the night (there's also a market) in order to spectate the dawn from Bromo.strade piu belle indonesiafumo dal bromo giava indonesia

From the village, you ride towards Ranu Pani, below another mountain of this National Park (established in 1982), Mount Semeru. In order to reach Ranu Pani, you'll need to cross the sand, some rocks, and the grass of the caldera, before climbing again the volcano and reaching the village.strade piu belle indonesia mare di sabbia in bici

From this small village, I suggest taking some time for two-days trekking (you can overnight in a small house halfway on the itinerary) until the top of the active volcano, a real miracle of Nature.strade piu belle indonesia monte semeru attivo giava

Start and finish
Probolinggo - Ranu Pani (eastern part of Java)
Distance
66 km
Elevation gain
2500 m circa
Not to miss
Dawn on Mount Bromo
Ascending to Mount Bromo
Two days trekking on Mount Semeru
When to go
From May to October

Cambodia: From Mekong to Siem Reap through the jungle

From the border with Laos and more precisely from the city of Stung Treng this long road leads the most adventurous cyclists in the heart of Cambodian jungle, through small villages, unknown Khmer sites, and very biodiverse places.strade piu belle cambogia in bici giungla

In the village, you can take a boat to cross the Mekong river. On the opposite side, you find the road 64, but on the south, you can follow a gravel road, a red stripe leading to the heart of the jungle. Along the road you'll cross some remotevillages, where one can be hosted in the typical houses and taste brown sugar juice, visit the archaeological site of Koh Kehr and after 4 days of riding, the touristic and colourful Siem Reap. strade piu belle cambogia in bici terra rossaFrom this city, you can visit the splendid Angkor Wat... of course by bike! The road is a mixture of paved and gravel and the elevation gain is basically none, in the Cambodian jungle.venditore canna di zucchero

Start and finish
Stung Treng - Siem Reap
Distance
300 km circa
Elevation gain
None
Not to miss
Tasting brown sugar juice
Visiting the Khmer site of Koh Kehr
Riding in Angkor Wat
Traditional dishes and relax in Siem Reap
When to go
From November to March

South Africa and Lesotho: Sani Pass

The windy road of the Sani Pass connects South Africa to the small enclave of Lesotho, in the southern part of Africa. The Lesothian side has been paved, while the windy hairpin turns going down to the South-African border are still in a bad way and unpaved, but this makes them so magical. le strade piu belle del mondo sudafrica 1At the pass, 2876 metres high, you'll find a lodge, where you can relax and drink a fresh beer, to celebrate the highest pub in Africa.le strade piu belle del mondo sudafrica 2

Here, you can choose to spend the night under the stars before the long and fun descent among the Mountains of the Dragons towards South Africa and its region of KwaZulu-Natal. In Lesotho, you can start ascending the 53 km road from Mokhotlong, 2200 m. high.le strade piu belle del mondo sudafrica 4

Start and finish
Mokhotlong - South-African border
Distance
63 km circa
Elevation gain
500 m circa
Not to miss
Spending the night at Sani Pass under the stars
9 km of winding road in the middle of nowhere
When to go
From November to March

Morocco: From Dades Gorge to Todra

The road connecting the gorges of Dades and Todra is a beautiful sneaky road among the Moroccan mountains, with river fordings and meetings with Berber shepherd living in these beautiful areas.le strade piu belle del mondo marocco 1From these stunning gorges of Dades, you ride until M'semir and then enter this long road crossing the High Atlas.le strade piu belle del mondo marocco 2

This gravel road is not in good shape and it is damaged by the rain or the floods.le strade piu belle del mondo marocco 3This trail is perfect for adventure lovers and allows reaching Todra Gorges after a 160 km ride. Todra Gorges are a climbing lovers location, overlooking the river.le strade piu belle del mondo marocco 4

Start and finish
Msemir - Tamtetoucht
Distance
163 km circa
Elevation gain
1600 - 1700 m circa
Not to miss
Visiting Dades Gorges
Stopping at Todra Gorges
Meeting the Berber shepherd along the road
When to go
From April to June and from September to November
Useful information
Cycling in Morocco: 13 tips and charming bicycle routes

France: Corsica's western coast

Corsica is France's biggest island and is very close to Sardinia, in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. Cycling in Corsica is an amazing experience, especially in the low season. le strade piu belle del mondo corsica 1The road we suggest starts in Calvì, on the western part of the island, crossing Galeria and its natural reserve, Porto, Piana, and the UNESCO heritage of the ravines, reaching Cargese.le strade piu belle del mondo corsica 4

The coastal views in Corsica don't need any introduction and during spring or autumn, when the temperature is perfect for us cyclists, are just perfect. My advice is riding North to South in order to have the sea next to you and avoid the strong mistral wind!le strade piu belle del mondo corsica 3

Partenza e arrivo
Calvì - Cargese
Distance
110 km circa
Elevation gain
2000 m circa
Not to miss
Visiting to the fortified village of Calvi
Exploring the Scandola Natural Reserve 
Riding through the ravines in Piana
When to go
From March to June and from September to November
Useful information
Cycling Corsica... solo bicycle tour

Norway: Route 17

Route 17, or Kystriksveien, is a long coastal road connecting Steinkjer to Bodø, the main port to Lofoten islands. strade piu belle norvegia 2This road, one of our world's 10 best cycling roads, slithers on the coast of the Norwegian Sea. strade piu belle norvegia 3

The route 17 allows riding along the windy coastal line using the presence of 6 boats. From South to North this trail connects some of the most important naturalistic beauties in Norway, like Torghatten, the mountain with a hole, the island of Lovund where you can spot many sea puffins, the islands of Vega, UNESCO heritage, Svartisen (Norwegian second glacier) and the world's most powerful whirlpool,  Saltstraumen. strade piu belle norvegia 1In order to complete Route 17, you'll need 7 to 9 days.strade piu belle norvegia 4

Start and finish
Steinkjer - Bodø
Distance
630 km
Elevation gain
6000 m circa
Not to miss
Trekking in Lovund to see some sea puffins
Trekking to Svartisen glacier
Saltstraumen
Visit to Torghatten, the mountain with a hole
When to go
From May to September

Romania: The Transalpine road

Romania is a surprise for every bicycle traveller: hospitality, beautiful mountains, fortified cities and medieval villages will welcome you together with many secondary and gravel roads. World's 10 best cycling roads romania transalpina 1The highest rideable road of this country crosses the southern Carpathians North to South reaching 2145 m altitude at Urdele Pass and connecting Novaci and Sebeș.

The Transalpine road is for sure one of the world's best cycling roads you need to ride. It crosses untouched landscapes high in the mountains. World's 10 best cycling roads romania transalpina 2When you reach 1900 m, if you love some dirt, you can detour from the Transalpine to the Strategica, a military road created by German soldiers. The Transalpine has been planned by King Karol II on top of a Roman old road. This bicycle trip can continue towards the Transfagarasan, the second-highest road of this country, know also as Ceausescu's folly, Romanian communist dictator.World's 10 best cycling roads transalpina 3

Start and finish
Sebeș - Novaci
Distance
148 km
Elevation gain
2200 m circa
Not to miss
A detour on the Strategica Road
The views of Parang mountains, on the southern Carpathians
When to go
From May to October
Useful information
Transylvania by bicycle: 900km on the Carpathians amid bears and vampires

Greece: Crossing the Tzoumerka National Park

If you don't know Greece too well, the continental part can have in store some nice surprises. From Ioànnina, a city in the Epirus region, you can start a spectacular crossing of the Tzoumerka National Park, leading you in the heart of this naturalistic area, pretty much inhabited and rich in windy and high roads.World's 10 best cycling roads grecia 1

From the big city, you start climbing on what we called Greek Stelvio to get close to the belly of the National Park.World's 10 best cycling roads grecia 4On the road don't even consider missing Kipina's Monastery, built in the rocks in 1212, for a visit, and the stone village of Kalarites, where Sotorio Bulgari was born (the founder of the namesake company), all in the silence of the woods only interrupted by the sound of water and animals. After some up and downs, you reach Kalambaka, just below Meteora's pinnacles, UNESCO heritage since 1988.World's 10 best cycling roads grecia 2

Start and finish
Ioànnina - Kalambaka
Distance
139 km
Elevation gain
2270 m circa
Not to miss
Kipina's Monastery
Kalarites and its stone houses 
One camping night 
Meteora bicycle tour
When to go
From April to June and from September to November
Useful information
Cycling Greece: stunning bicycle routes and tips
Greece by bike: from the Adriatic Sea to the Aegean Sea

Bolivia: Ruta de la Joya

The road of the lagoons, or Ruta de la Joya, is the world's most incredible road I ever cycled... and it's hard! The difficulties are so many: the terrain is disconnected and sandy, many ascents, you ride always at 3500-4600 m of altitude with low oxygen, you can find few restoration points and nature is very wild! Maybe because all of this you can easily be impressed by this road.World's 10 best cycling roads ande ruta de la joya 1

From San Cristobal or Vila Alota, you start climbing right away not without some difficulties reaching the first salty lagoons where you can meet four species of the six of pink flamingos. The most famous one is Colorada Lagoon, but you can spot many other points of interest on this road: from the geyser Sol de Manana to Dalì Desert, from Arbol de Piedra to the Riserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Edoardo Avaroa.World's 10 best cycling roads ande ruta de la joya 3At the border between Bolivia and Chile, the dirt road ends, leaving the bicycle traveller to a paved descent until San Pedro de Atacama, where the namesake desert starts.World's 10 best cycling roads ande ruta de las joyas 2

Start and finish
San Cristobal - San Pedro de Atacama
Distance
377 km
Elevation gain
4000-4500 m
Not to miss
Meeting the viscachas
Taking pictures of the flamingos while walking next to the lagoons
The natural SPA
Taking a selfie with the Arbol de piedra
Crossing Dalì's desert
Sleeping under the stars
When to go
From June to November (depending on the year)

Chile: Abra Taapaca

From the remote border between Bolivia and Chile, in Visviri you can begin an adventure along a desert road among high active volcanos. This idyllic corner of Chile offers smoking cones, breathtaking ascents, the smallest villages and Lauca National Park.World's 10 best cycling roads ande abra tapaaca 1

The trail at first passes next to the Peruvian border, then turns towards South and the fearsome Abra Tapaaca, 4802 m (even if the sign indicates 5200 m). World's 10 best cycling roads ande abra tapaaca 2From this peak, from which you can easily sight vicunas and wild guanacos, you ride on the asphalt towards Chungarà Lagoon, in Lauca National Park. The reflection of Parinacota volcano in the water of this lake with flamingos is surreal and in the distance the shape of Sajama, the highest mountain in Bolivia, appears. At the border with Tambo Quemado, you get back to Bolivia, in Sajama National Park.World's 10 best cycling roads ande abra tapaaca 4

Start and finish
Visviri - Tambo Quemado
Distance
170 km
Elevation gain
1800 m circa
Not to miss
The views on Tacora volcano
Quebrada Allane, its colours and the river fording
The terrible and wonderful ascent to Abra Tapaaca
Lauca National Park with Parinacota and the Chungarà Lagoon
When to go
From June to November (depending on the year) 

Which are the world's best cycling roads you rode? Which one do you dream of riding?

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Le 10 strade più belle mai pedalatelifeintravel.it
Francesco

ENG - I'm from Piedmont and I'm 31 years old, I have been living and working in Lombardy for a few years. After a start without any competence in this field, I then approached the bicycle world more and more. Today I can call myself a bicycle traveller and videomaker who would never ever stop. Cyclo ergo sum, I cycle therefore I am. I ride my bike trying to understand why it is so beautiful, rich, therapeutic. And every time I try, I do not understand it. So I must leave again...
ITA - Ho 31 anni e sono piemontese, anche se da qualche anno vivo e lavoro in Lombardia. Dopo un inizio da totale inesperto in questo campo, mi sono avvicinato al mondo dei cicloviaggi e della bicicletta sempre più. Oggi posso definirmi "cicloviaggiatore", e assieme all'altra mia passione - il videomaking - non mi fermerei mai! Cyclo ergo sum, pedalo quindi sono, per cercare di capire perché andare in bici sia così bello, terapeutico, ricco... E ogni volta che provo a capirlo, non ce la faccio, e sono costretto a ripartire sui pedali!

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