Scenic car-free bike paths to explore
Considered one of the best ways to explore a new place, cycling can get you places that driving really can’t. For the less experienced cyclist, avoiding traffic is always a plus so here are some of the most beautiful car-free bike paths around the world to experience.
Loire River Bike Path, Loire Valley, France
Cycling from Saint-Nazaire to Orleans along the Loire Valley has become one of the most famous cycle tourist routes in France. Part of the route covers a perimeter that is listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. You will cycle past an unbelievable number of Loire castles, each more magnificent than the one before it. Not only is it beautiful but this ride consists of relatively flat terrain, making it accessible for any level of rider.
Valsugana Bike Path, Trento, Italy
Running mostly along the River Brenta, this bike path is about 80 kilometres long and provides a peaceful ride in the Italian countryside. A natural highlight along the way are the little waterfalls and grottos of Bigonda at Selva di Grigno. The Valsugana cycling path is not too challenging and is perfect for beginners and experts alike.
S’Albufera Natural Park, Mallorca
Just off the coast, located in the northwest of Mallorca, the S’Albufera Natural Park wetlands are a welcome change from long stretches of crowded beaches. The park is known to attract birdwatchers because of the constant presence of rare bird species. A bike path around the wetlands was created and gives tourists a different perspective of Mallorca.
Carriage Roads in Acadia National Park, Maine, US
On the bicycle, you’ll have amazing views of Acadia’s wetlands and forest, the Atlantic Ocean and the Cranberry Islands, and the only fjord in North America. The carriage roads have crushed rock surfaces perfect for bicycling. Cyclists share the carriage roads with horses and pedestrians and with over 70 kilometres of roads open for biking; you can have a lot of fun.
Central Park, New York City, US
A bike is a great way to see a lot of this expansive city park. The full outer loop is around 10 kilometres but there are many more bike paths crossing through and you can pass by famous landmarks in Central Park, including the Conservatory Water, the Wollman Rink, the Imagine Mosaic, the Conservatory Garden, the Central Park Reservoir, the Bow Bridge, the Central Park Carousel, Belvedere Castle and the Central Park Zoo.
Mawddach Trail Cycleway, Wales
Combining spectacular mountain and coastal scenery along a quiet mountain lane, this is a beautiful short ride following the old Ruabon to Barmouth railway line from the historic town of Dolgellau. The track surface is mostly compacted rather than tar macadam but is easy to cycle on. There are occasional picnic areas and viewpoints and little nature reserves.
The Camel Trail, Cornwall
Travelling along a disused railway line between Wenfordbridge, Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow, the total distance is about 29 kilometres. Contrasts in scenery are striking and access to country and seaside towns provide opportunities to use local shops, pubs and visit attractions.
Flickr: Sludge G
Otago Central Rail Trail, New Zealand
With 150 kilometres of trail to cover, you can take a couple of days to explore the untamed natural environment of the Otago region. You will traverse ever-changing mountainous, dry and rocky landscapes, high country sheep stations, spectacular river gorges, tunnels and viaducts. The route will test your fitness a bit but there are no major steep hills to scare you off.
Flickr: Walter Rumsby