EuroVelo 8 connects many destinations that are popular tourist attractions in their own right: Barcelona, Monaco, Venice, the Croatian Coast, Cyprus – the list goes on. It is little surprise therefore that the Mediterranean Route receives more interest than any other EuroVelo route. And whilst many of it’s destinations are already internationally famous, there are still lots of undiscovered gems to be found along the way, not least in Albania and Montenegro.
So what are you waiting for!
- 5888 km long
712 Species of fish in
- Natural heritage
- Art cities
- Mediterranean Sea
- Religious heritage
- Mediterranean diet
- World Heritage Sites (UNESCO)
- Maritime heritage
Sečovlje salt-pans, Slovenia
The Sečovlje salt pans are today the largest of the coastal marsh wetlands (650 hectares), and at the same time, the most important Slovenian locality from the ornithological point of view. The variety of bird species in this area, from the aspect of nesting and wintering, is much larger than in any other comparable locality of its kind. The Sečovlje salts flats are the northernmost salt flats in the Mediterranean. The salt is produced in the traditional way based on a 700-year-old method that harmonizes man and nature. Over the centuries, a unique habitat has formed for halophytic plants and animals and migrating birds. The cultural heritage, which reflects centuries of work by saltmakers, is extremely rich. Copyright TIC Portorož
La Narbonnaise, France
As you enter the French Department of Aude, you reach the protected area of ‘La Narbonnaise’. For the next 50km you will be plunged in this cultural landscape with its pristine coastline, rocky terrain and wetlands. The evaporation ponds that follow the coastline make use of this ancient technology to extract salt from sea water. At the end of this time-travel experience, the picturesque city of Narbonne gently lulls you back to civilisation. © au.france.fr (http://bit.ly/2j4p9M3)
Lavender Fields of Provence, France
The air is rich with the scent of Lavender and all you see is vivid purple rows. You can only be in one place: Provence. Famous for these iconic fields, let your senses indulge in this haven of colour, smells and feeling. There is certainly no better way of seeing these than by bike. Photo credit: Francois Philipp (flickr.com)
Lake Skadar, Montenegro/Albania
Montenegro shares the large freshwater Lake Skadar with neighbouring Albania. The lake – in the country’s southeast – and the surrounding areas have been a protected national park since 1983. The area is a birders' paradise, with more than 260 different species including the rare southern Dalmatian pelican and pygmy cormorant. Storks, herons, egrets, falcons and eagles are also present. The mountains are home to an abundance of wild tortoises, brilliantly coloured lizards and amphibians and even snakes. You may even catch sight of wild boar and even a wolf or two during winter time. Photo credit: FlickreviewR (flikr)
The Camargue Region is one of the largest river delta's in Europe. EuroVelo skirts around the edges of the most picturesque of landscapes rich in fauna and flora. In particular, look out for the iconic white horses and pink flamingos, it is a surreal to think that you are only between two of the largest cities on the french mediterranean coast: Montpellier and Marseille. Photo credit: Jeremy Atkinson (flickr.com)
Natural Park of Mincio, Italy
Established by the Regione Lombardia under regional law 47/84, this occupies the entire river bend from Ponti sul Mincio to Governolo in the Roncoferraro area, where the River Mincio flows into the Po. It comprises the Riserva Naturale Orientata delle Valli del Mincio, Riserva Naturale Orientata di Castellaro Lagusello, Riserva Naturale della Vallazza, Parco delle Bertone and Riserva Naturale Orientata di Bosco Fontana.
The Maritime Alps Nature Park, Italy
The Maritime Alps Nature Park is the largest protected area in Piedmont and already figures among the largest parks in Italy. It shares a 35 km border with the French Mercantour Park and is rich in rivers, waterfalls and lakes. Moreover, the park boasts an enormous floral heritage made up of more than 2.600 different species, and, concerning fauna, there is a significant presence of marmots, hares, ermines, stone martens and chamois.
Blue Eye, Albania
The Blue Eye is a naturally formed water spring in the Delvinë District of Albania. A popular tourist attraction, the clear blue water of the river bubbles up from a stunning, more than fifty-metre-deep pool. Divers have descended to fifty metres, but it is still unclear what the actual depth of the karst hole is. © SarahTz (Flickr)
Ebro Delta, Spain
The unique landscape of the River Ebro Delta will enchant you. The lush wetlands that make up the landscape are ideal for a bicycle detour. From the Gondola-style pole-boats to the Eucalyptus beach, there are plenty of things to do and see. © Xavier Luque (Flickr)
Like much of the Mediterranean, Spain is synonymous with sunny beaches, good food and the outdoor lifestyle. Tarifa, the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, marks the point at which the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. Here, two continents sit within sight of each other. The mere 14 kilometre gap that separates Spain and Morocco has been a major cultural crossroads. Modern Spanish culture is infused with its Moorish heritage and there are many architectural treasures that bear witness to its diverse history.
The south of France is influenced par the Mediterranean culture. Its iconic landscapes have been shaped by its inhabitants over several generations. From the salt marshes to lavender fields, the traditional and ancestral methods are still used to preserve the quality of the regional products. Cycling through the Mediterranean region is a real awakening of the senses. Come taste the authentic cuisine which will revive your taste buds, observe the unique landscapes like the Camargue, where the sea merges with the sky and come breath the air and scents of the Provence... From the Côte d'Azur, renown for its splendor and its 'Belle Epoque' architecture, to the oriental extremity where the Alps meet the Mediterranean, passing by the Languedoc and its great vineyards, you will experience an exciting adventure. Open your ears and listen to soft accent of the 'Midi', to share unforgettable experiences.
Crossing this micro-state is no major sporting feat but the hilly winding streets make sure that it’s counted. With a total area of just over 2 square kilometres, you will have seen most of it just by entering it. Famous for its Monte Carlo Casino and its Formula 1 Gran Prix, it is also the state with the highest per capita GDP as well as the highest population density.
Italy is emblematic of the Mediterranean. Its long arm juts out into the sea towards the African continent. The Romans brought together the whole region and put their capital at the centre of their empire. They exported their way of life wherever they went. It shaped not just the history of the region but also the different cultures that can be found throughout it today. This is true as much for its architectural influence as for its culinary and religious influence.
Slovenia is the only country in Europe that combines the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Pannonian Plain and the Karst. One of the more memorable contrasts in the Slovenian landscape is the proximity of the Alpine and Mediterranean worlds, each offering the visitor a whole palette of regional characteristics. Between its ancient salt works - the northenmost in the Mediterranean- which are home to 150 bird species and its picturesque coastal towns, Slovenia definitely has enough Mediterranean in it to deserve its spot on EuroVelo 8.
The route takes you through the most beautiful parts of the Croatian Mediterranean coast and hinterland. You will be met by a rich cultural and historical heritage that dates from early ages and enjoy the natural beauties. The route passes through a series of larger and smaller towns and villages in which you will get to know and be able to enjoy the traditional way of life, which was kept for centuries. The route connects the location which has been listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO and don’t forget about blue sea and a sunny sky.
Although the coastal region of Neum is surrounded by Croatian peninsulas, it is written into international law that Bosnia and Herzegovina has the right of passage to the outer sea, and now to the EuroVelo network too! The closed bay is protected from strong winds and makes for wonderfully calm conditions both in the water and out of it. As such it’s the perfect place for calm-water activities and is a hot spot for Scuba-diving, parasailing, boating and jet skiing.
In the Mediterranean, there is simply no mountain landscape comparable to Montenegro. Now it is more and more accessible to cyclists too, with some 3,000 km of on- and off- road biking trails mapped out for you to discover. EuroVelo 8 will pass by the Bay of Kotor, a UNESCO world heritage site, on the way around the Adriatic coast to Podgorica, the capital. The route is currently not realised.
The Albanian coast is characterised by fresh mountain air mixing with the warm sea breeze. The climatic diversity of the country is matched by its biological diversity and its forests are home to a wide range of mammals, including wolves, bears, wild boars and chamois. While the lynx, wildcats, pine martens and polecats are rarer, they can also be spotted in the landscape.
Entering Greece from Epirous Region borders with legendary Ionian sea where dolphins and fishermans share the clear blue waters, from Igoumenitsa, to Sivota, Parga and Preveza to historical villages like Zalogo, Souli and Zagori. Cycling south to West Greece Region from Astakos and Vonitsa till National Park of Messolonghi-Etoliko Lagoons, of lower flow, of Acheloos and Evinos rivers delta and of Echinades islands till you finally cross Antirrio-Rio bridge to enter Peloponesse biggest city Patras, where one of the biggest carnival purely of Italian origin started approximately 180 years ago. Cycling by the sea from Xylokastro and Ancient Sykyon to Kiato towards Korinthos and Loutraki, a coastal town internationally known for its thermal springs. Along the coast from Megara to Eleusina and the Eleusinian Mysteries, one of the most famous religious events of the ancient Greek religion, entering Attica Region with UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the medieval Daphni Monaster to the Acropolis of Athens. The route is currently not realised.
The easternmost part of EuroVelo 8 is on the island of Cyprus. Cyprus is a compact island with an incredible variety of scenery within short distances, making it a delight to cyclists. The route loops around the island and goes through some of the most interesting parts of Cyprus, from mountainous villages where the old ways of life, customs and traditions can be observed, to bustling cities and tourist resorts with coastal views over pristine beaches. With the island situated at the crossroads of three continents, cyclists can ride not only through various landscapes, but also through 10.000 years of history and civilisation: prehistoric settlements, classical Greek temples, Roman theatres and villas, early Christian basilicas, Gothic cathedrals, Venetian fortifications, Moslem mosques and British colonial-style buildings.