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the Northern Section

Norway, Finland, Sweden

These countries are dominated by forests, lakes and rivers, and many kilometres of dirt roads. This section has by far the longest between services, at a maximum of 150km between grocery stores. Go prepared for any weather as even in high summer, as it can be surprisingly cold if its overcast or raining. Also be prepared for biting insects as it can get really bad at times.

Recommended starting in the far north at the end of May to the beginning of June, there could still be snow any earlier. Aim to finish here, south bound, middle of September.

Flights from Oslo to Kirkenes, 60km from Grense Jakobselv and the start/finish.

Highest point : 700m

the Central Section

Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and France, to Valence in the Rhone valley

A huge variety of terrain, culture and weather in this section, from flat land to high plateaus and much in between. Plenty of services here, ‘Continental’ weather patterns predominate and lots of different types of trail, from dirt roads, farm tracks and traffic free cycle routes. Lots of options to link to other bikepacking routes and plenty of public transport options to get around on.

Recommended time frame, late spring to late autumn, although the Jura could be cold/snowy at either end of the window.

Highest point : 1700m. 

the Southern Section

Southern France, Spain and Portugal 

Mostly dry, rocky and loose, really hot in the high summer and surprisingly cold in the winter. Huge variation between mountain ranges across this section, with the  Mediterranean dominating the weather and geography, although central Spain is quite unique with the highest parts of this section topping out above 2000m. 

Recommended time to ride, early spring start in Portugal is possible, although the high interior of Spain can be really cold and snowy until May, the Sierra de Segura, and Montanasvacias regions being the highest and potentially coldest. Ideally finish by late October/early November in Portugal. Avoid in the high summer except for the really highest parts that could be pleasant in July. 

International airport in Faro, 100km from Cape St Vincent. 

Highest point 2100m