One of the sustainable tourism projects which is more interesting and exciting in recent times has already born, the EuroVelo. The idea is that by 2020, Europe will have a large network of 14 long-distance cycle routes, linking the entire Continent with 70,000 km of routes for bikes. Ever dreamed of travelling across an entire continent on your own steam? Thanks to EuroVelo, a project of the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF), cycling across Europe is not only possible, but safe, attractive and comfortable too.
A network of 14 transcontinental routes, stretching from the Atlantic to the Black Sea, the Arctic to the Mediterranean, each one has something new to offer. Whether it is cycling beside the romantic Rhine as it sweeps through Germany; crossing stunning Alpine passes and tunnels; or riding all the way to the land of the northern lights, Europe offers endless attractions, all easily accessible by bike. The project is funded by the sustainable tourism program of the European Union.
In addition to the marked routes, the project includes the implementation of all the supporting infrastructure for cyclists: bike workshops, rental shops, public transport prepared for bicycles and alternative transportation for the steeper sections, with regularly spaced accommodation and rest areas.
The routes can be used by cycle tourists as well as by local people making daily journeys. EuroVelo currently comprises 14 routes and it is envisaged that the network will be mostly complete by 2020.
Many EuroVelo routes incorporate a historical theme - EuroVelo routes 3 and 5 follow ancient pilgrims' trails and EuroVelo 2 links some of Europe's great capital cities. For the most poignant reminder of Europe's recent history we recommend following EuroVelo 13 - the Iron Curtain Trail, along the border which divided the continent between East and West for half a century. EuroVelo 13 is also the longest trans-Europe route, at 10,400 km (6,462 miles).
The ECF has been the voice of European cyclists for 30 years. Representing organisations in 40 countries with over 500,000 active members, the ECF is pledged to ensure that bicycle use achieves its fullest potential, so as to bring about sustainable mobility and public well-being.
To achieve these aims, ECF seeks to change attitudes, policies and budget allocations at the European level. ECF stimulates and organises the exchange of information and expertise on bicycle related transport policies and strategies as well as the work of the cyclists' movement.The ECF owns the trademark for EuroVelo and coordinates its development at the European level.
EuroVelo was first conceived at a meeting between the ECF and its British and Danish partners (Sustrans and de Frie Fugle) in 1995. The original plan was to create 12 long-distance cycle routes. Since August 2007, the ECF has assumed full responsibility for coordination of the project, leading to greater international recognition of the value of these routes.