Mountain biking is a form of extreme cycling that is popular all over the world. The most important things for this sport are physical qualities, a little training, a good sense of balance, and quick thinking. The strength and skills that are required and the charm of this sport deliver a lot of adrenaline, especially in more dangerous trails. The most extreme form is when the cyclists climb to the top of a mountain, and then take the descent over terrain that has no trails.
It requires stamina, confidence, a feeling for the bike, and top balance. Like all adrenaline-heavy sports, this has a special feeling – a feeling of ecstasy when you manage to overcome your limits and break your own records. Moreover, it’s a great activity to blend into nature and feel true freedom.
To help you get a feel for the sport, here is a list with the top 15 mountain biking destinations in Europe:
1. Are, Sweden
Åre is a place that most commonly well-known as a ski center, but in the last few years, several great trails have been built for mountain biking. This park offers more than 30 well-marked tracks and also downhill trails, and you can climb up with a chairlift to the top of them.
There is a great and pretty active bike patrol that provides you safety while riding. There is also a bike school, where they teach beginners the ropes. This place offers a huge number of freeride bikes to rent and great hotels, restaurants, and shops. All these things will definitely make your adventure here unforgettable.
2. Girona, Spain
Surrounded by the Pyrenean foothills, one of the best mountain biking destinations, Girona, offers wood covered tracks and a hundred kilometers long tracks. Aside from the local food items’ great reputation, Girona has incredible environment for mountain biking with a diverse range of tracks, whether you are a beginner or an expert.
There are single-tracks with beautiful riverbeds, and great up- and down-hill routes.
3. Reykjavik, Iceland
While Reykjavik is one of the coldest cities in Europe, its surroundings offer quite a unique mountain biking experience. Iceland is one of the most beautiful mountain countries in the world, with short but very demanding trails around the capital and near the shore.
They have several possible trails for all different levels of skills, and you can also ride around the island on the awesome ring road. If the biking tires you out, you can visit the Blue Lagoon with hot springs that help you relax your muscles.
4. Huesca, Spain
The Huesca province of Aragon is a paradise for lovers of mountain biking. The contact with nature is absolute, without any interruptions. The large surface area of the province and its geographic diversity allows you to enjoy all kinds of beautiful scenery, with very tall peaks of over three thousand meters.
With an impressive network of roads and trails, this city offers a lot of the possibilities. Canyons, hills, peaks and valleys – everything that you need for an unforgettable experience.
5. Chamonix, France
Chamonix, the cradle of alpinism and skiing, is in the shadow of the highest peak of the Alps, Mont Blanc. With 4810 m in altitude, the Mont Blanc massif is a magnet for skiers, hikers, and all lovers of extreme sports.
The whole area is an ideal destination for mountain biking. In addition to well-known routes, there are hidden and unexplored parts cyclists can go down, but they are almost impossible to find without the help of a guide.
The local authorities greatly diminished the mountain bikers’ experience when in 2008 they announced the decision to permit this activity only in certain parts of the area, and only during July and August. There is a silver lining, though: mountain biking in Chamonix has become much safer.
6. Tirol, Austria
Tirol’s biking trail is the longest linked circular trail for mountain bikes in the Alps, with 32 stages and a length of 1,000 kilometers, passing through various regions of the country. The structure of the circular paths allows for a free choice of start and finish; that way, each tour feels unique and individual. Thanks to the signs that have been placed for easy orientation around the country, cyclists can completely focus on what they want for their holiday – enjoying amazing rides in the mountains of Tyrol fully.
The place is full of steep climbs and high altitude differences, but there are mountain lifts for easy acess. With the help of the Bikeschaukel Tyrol cable car, mountain bikers can travel from Nauders to Walchseea for a total of about 660 kilometers, traversing about 25,000 feet of elevation.
7. Great Glen, Scotland
Great Glenn is a very popular destination, and it has a large number of wide tracks and single-track trails. You can ride through a forest road and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Great Glen. You can rent bikes or ride your own. There are also great restaurant and gift shops.
8. Southern Highlands, Iceland
When you want the most beautiful mountain biking experience, then you have to go to the Southern Highlands in Iceland. The great thing is that in this place there aren’t many people, so you can have the road for yourself. With its natural diversity and beautiful landscapes, the ride through waterfalls, lava fields, the desert, and scattered mountain peaks is a truly unique experience.
9. Hardanger Mountains, Norway
This place is the best if you go to the family biking, because it is convenient for all ages and level of skills. You can enjoy the ride while viewing the awesome waterfalls and glacial peaks of the Geirangerfjord. For many people the trails are steep, but not all trails are like that, and all of the members of your crew can find the best suitable track for itself. Of course, using the helmets or other safety things is mandatory.
10. Verbier-La Tzoumaz, Switzerland
Verbier is a popular winter ski resort, but the fact remains that even in the summer this resort in the Swiss Valais is delightful. It is located in the tourist area of Verbier St. Bernard, which also includes the Val de Bagnes and La Tzoumaz, and has so much to offer for those who decided to go on the search for peace and tranquility in the vast expanse of emerald green, dotted with bright colors and surrounded by spectacular views. It is important to be madly in love with the mountains; the mountain biking there, in the middle of nature, in the forest between marmots, mushrooms, and orchids, it is an unbelievable experience.
11. Alpe d’Huez, France
Alpe d’Huez is in a great location, just 60 km from Grenoble, and well known as a popular ski resort, one of the largest in the world. The climate is conducive to rest, and with more than 300 sunny days a year, this is a great place for the mountain biking. The village Bourg D’Osians road passes quickly across the plains and the valley between high cliffs. This is the place where the famous Serpentine Tour de France to the Alpe d’Huez begins, at an altitude of 1860 meters. The legendary road attracts hundreds of fans of biking, and when you go the 15 km uphill, you can meet a hundred of people attacking the steep top.
12. Pila, Italy
The main feature of the Pila is close proximity to the capital Aosta. The lift leads directly from the city, eliminating the need to dial with 18 kilometers along the serpentine. The descent is rich and interesting; many branches and artificial barriers in the form of drops are very entertaining. Along the way, there are different types of soil, the ground in the woods, slippery, sandy trail closer to the bottom of a ravine with rocks. All this grandeur cuts the mountains through forests, streams, houses, vineyards, and even peach plantations.
13. Davos, Switzerland
Switzerland has the most beautiful landscapes, and is is, indeed, one of the best countries to ride a mountain bike. One great place for it is Davos. To get to the starting point of the route, Gotsche, you need first the cable car, and then climb to the top with it. Track length is about 6 kilometers, but for beginners is better to choose a simpler route: there are many obstacles, and it is a quite challenging track.
14. Sauze d’Oulx, Italy
Besides it is small, Sauze d’Oulx is the one of the best bike parks in Alps. Smart use of the light terrain gives a natural feel and the opportunity to ride for all the bikers, beginners or experts. This track near the French-Italian border is made to be fun and not difficult, and once when you pass this track, you will be addicted to it.
15. Rhyd Ddu, Wales
This track leads to the highest point of the Wales and gives you the ride experience that you’ll never forget. It begins with a steep climb, Bwlch Maesgwm, where you will enjoy the ride to the town of Llanberis. There is a large number of the climbs, but it is worth of efforts, because is the final goal is descending. The first part is very steep, and there even the experts must be careful. After this, the part of the road is rocky, but through it it is possible to descend into the valley.