When you’re gliding through lush hills and deep valleys, alongside glass-like lakes and up to the highest peaks, there’s truly nothing quite like the feeling of mountain biking out in some of nature’s most awe-inspiring places. It’s a thrill and sense of ecstasy that very few will get to experience any other way, and as a result, more and more people are taking up mountain biking in their daily lives. Not to mention, it offers a whole host of health benefits when it comes to keeping fit and mobile.
While you might be an expert on the tracks in your backyard, there’s a whole world to explore out there. So, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 best mountain biking destinations in Europe to get you started.
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Åre Bike Park, Sweden
With a little bit of everything on offer, there’s no wonder why Åre Bike Park is such a hot spot for budding mountain bikers. With a huge variety of terrains to choose from, you have the option to explore desolate mountain areas, stony trails, root-laden surfaces, fast singletracks, specially designed trails and traditional downhill tracks – all easily accessible by lifts. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned mountain biker, there are trails for all abilities and the opportunity to test your skills every time you visit. Likely the oldest and one of the best and biggest bike parks in the entire world, it made sense for it to become home to the Mountain Bike World Cup in 2019, and it has been developed further ever since. Attracting some of the most talented riders across the globe every year, it’s an absolute gem in Sweden and a must-visit for all two-wheel-heads, including road cyclists.
An absolute hub for mountain biking enthusiasts, the western Austrian state of Tirol has everything and more you could want when it comes to the choice of trails. Nestled in the heart of the Alps, there are around 670 kilometres of landscape to adventure across, so you can definitely make more than a one-day trip out of it. Looking for a challenge? Look no further. There’s an abundance of steep, uphill climbs to really push your limits on, as well as winding downhill tracks that are uniquely designed to really get your heart rate going. With a whole host of locations to get settled in, there are plenty of camping and accommodation sites at each stop to help you get a real taste of what this beautiful place in the world is all about. Here’s a list of the best spots in Tirol for mountain bikers.
- Achensee Region
- Alpbachtal Region
- East Tirol
- Nauders - Tiroler Oberland - Kaunertal Region
- Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis Region
- Innsbruck Region
- Kitzbühel Alps
- Ötztal Valley
- Region Seefeld - Tirols Hochplateau
- Tiroler Zugspitz Arena Region
- Zillertal Valley
- Paznaun - Ischgl Region
La Fenasosa, Spain
Starting a new hobby can always be a bit daunting if you’re worried about taking it on alongside the professionals. If mountain biking is your new favourite ritual, the good news is, you can enjoy it just the same as the pros who have been doing it for years. At La Fenasosa Bike Park in Spain’s Alicante province, its 1000 hectares of private land offer a colour coding system for exactly that reason – you can choose your level of difficulty and avoid the stress of having to make way for the speedier and more experienced riders. However, that’s not to say there aren’t any difficult tracks, quite the opposite in fact. The Nature Park of Sierra de Mariola is something special, with an eclectic array of natural wildlife, flora and fauna, it’s not all about the ride. With scenery like this, you’ll get to see all of the elements that make Spain one of the most picturesque places in Europe to travel to.
Rhyd Ddu, Wales
Built in the South Wales Valleys and the largest of its kind in the UK, BikePark Wales is the perfect location for travellers who don’t have access to their bikes and need to hire one if they’re coming from afar. All you have to do is show up and the team on-site will get you sorted. With nearly 50 trails descending over 1200 acres of flourishing green terrain, the park is designed for all riders, no matter what your experience level. Colour-coded depending on their level of difficulty, each track boasts a thrilling layout where you can get a taste of a little bit of everything. There are more ways the one to take in the scenery than just riding through it. To get to the top of the hill, the bike park offers a regular bus service that climbs 300 metres to the top, and from there, the average rider can expect to get 8-12 runs out of the entire day – a trip well worth it!
Portes du Soleil, France/Switzerland
Wanting to be spoiled for choice? You’ve come to the right place. With 5 enormous and intertwining bike parks spanning across the biggest playgrounds of France and Switzerland, Portes du Soleil is the closest thing to paradise for keen mountain bikers. With just one lift pass, you’ll gain access to every single bike track on offer and the 22 lifts available that take you right to them. Whether you’re into cross-country, enduro or downhill mountain biking, the 600 kilometres of trails have it all – through alpine pastures, fir forests and wooded trails, you’ll be left mesmerised by what it has to share. Plus, if you’re bringing the kids, the park also hosts a fully-supervised kids course for the little ones to try out mountain biking under the guidance of highly-qualified instructors in the Franco-Swiss domain. And if they’re super keen, they can also take part in an all-kids event to round off the trip.
Keeping things simple when booking your next mountain biking trip in Europe is easier than ever when it comes to Leogang, located in the state of Salzburg in Austria. With an all-in-one ticket, you can get access to 90 kilometres of lines and trails, as well as 9 cable cars across 7 mountains. It’s also home to some iconic spots like the Rider’s Playground, a vast practice area, as well as a pro jump line. In 2012, Leogang Bike Park and the Saalfelden Leogang region had the privilege of hosting the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships, making it a renowned venue for biking junkies. It is also a regular stop for the UCI World Cup DH tour, drawing large audiences each year to witness thrilling competitions. Another one of the world’s best mountain biking parks, even if you’re not super confident as a rider, it’s definitely worth checking out where the top athletes go to compete.
The Dolomites, Italy
Ever pictured yourself in one of the most majestic places in the world doing what you love? Heading to The Dolomites is an absolute must, and the Sella Ronda Mountain Biking Tour is truly one of a kind. Embark on a journey via the four main Dolomite mountain biking passes – Gardena, Campolongo, Pordoi and Sella. The best part about it? You can do all of it in just one day. While there are plenty of places to mountain bike through here, it is more of a scenic route as opposed to taking on super challenging terrain. But at the same time, one not to miss out on. If you’re wanting to take on a more time-heavy single-track riding experience, you’ll find it on Seceda – experienced mountain bikers have been making the most of this playground for years. Getting around is easier than ever thanks to the lifts which are accessible for alpine riding and help to take the stress off the big climbs down.
The Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria
If you’re not as confident as you’d like to be when it comes to exploring the globe on your mountain bike on your own, The Rhodope Mountains is home to a fantastic 6-day guided tour that will take you through all the best spots money can buy. Starting in the city of Kardzhali in the eastern part of the region, you’ll make your way along the Trans Rhodopi bike trail where you’ll get the opportunity to experience every part of what makes south Bulgaria the wonderful place it is. Glide your way through villages, factories, farms and everything in between, all while getting to take in the sights of nature via oak forests, hills and thriving meadows. And we can’t forget about the food along the way – Bulgarian cuisine is something to write home about. If you’re wanting to test your fitness, there’s also plenty of tracks to choose from for more advanced riders.
Bikepark and Trailpark Winterberg, Germany
World-renowned for being the largest and most multifaceted bike and trail park in Germany, BikePark Winterberg covers all of the bases. With trails rated from breezy to hard and with some pretty creative names including Forrest Stump, Rocky Waldboa and Shreddy Morphy, you’ll get a taste of a little bit of everything you’d expect and a whole lot more you couldn’t dream of. Located in the Sauerland, prepare to get your blood pumping on one of the 16 trails designed to have you speeding down them and leaping over some of the coolest jumps yet and around a series of natural obstacles along the way. With a dedicated bike school, you can learn from the best in the business, whether you’re just starting out or want a refresher course before you hit the trails. Have all the ideas but none of the gear? Don’t panic, you can hire bikes and all the equipment you need to go with them right from the site.
Life is full of ups and downs, but at Get A Ride Madeira, all of them are completely and utterly exhilarating in the best way possible. Established by people who loved the sport of mountain biking so much that they just had to share it with the rest of the world, this bike park is designed to show you what Madeira is all about and prove just how perfect of a place it is for mountain biking fanatics. From cross-country trails to Enduro World Series routes, family pack tours, trail experience adventures and private bookings, there’s really nothing you can’t do at this unreal location. Travel around Madeira Island and take in the magical scenery or push yourself beyond your limits! And if you’re not sure where to even begin, there are shuttle services available where guides will advise you on the best routes and even pick you up and drop you off at the start of them to save up that precious biking energy.
Travelling Europe is one thing, but getting to do it on a mountain bike is a whole new level of experience entirely. Just imagine it, there are so many places to choose from that have garnered international attention for years thanks to their variety of trails, unrivalled scenery and the quality of the tours and the guides that lead them. We really could go on forever about these uniquely impressive hot spots for mountain bikers, but this top 10 guide is definitely a great starting point. So where do you see yourself riding through next? Will it be the steep, uphill climbs of Tirol Austria? Maybe it’s the cruisey terrain of The Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria. It’s fair to say, there’s no shortage of movie-like locations to choose from in Europe for mountain biking. And wherever your heart leads you, we know you’ll be sure to make it count.