Backpacking and cycling are two of the best ways to see Europe. In fact, many Europeans take a gap year between school and University to explore Europe for themselves on two feet or two wheels. There are three broad ways they approach the journey:
1.Backpacking. Donning a rucksack and heading off by plane, coach or train. Interrail passes provide a very cost effective way to see Europe - one ticket allows unlimited travel in 30 countries.
2. Cycletouring. Travelling by train or plane to a start point of your choice, before cycling in a circular route or to a completely new destination. Whether challenging yourself in the Alps, enjoying the beautiful Bavarian scenery in Southern Germany or taking it easy in the flatness of the Baltics - the pace of the bicycle allows you to enjoy the scenery and meet the locals. Europe is a cycling friendly continent with many countries providing dedicated cycling lanes and facilities.
3. Leisure rides. Bikes are available to rent in many tourist destinations, both in the countryside and from major schemes in cities including Brussels and Dublin. A small deposit is usually payable, but in return you have the flexibility of renting a bike just for when you need it.
Youth hostels and campsites provide cost effective accommodation for backpackers and cyclists, but do check your travel arrangements carefully as not all trains and coaches accept bikes during peak hours. Use of cycling helmets is widespread in Europe, and is compulsory in some countries. Always lock your bike, no matter where you leave it or how long you are leaving it for.
Home of the famous Tour de France, Europe has a rich cycling history - please visit the National Tourism Organisation websites for further information, using the flag links to the left.