Expedition: Cycling Copenhagen to Paris

Expedition: Cycling Copenhagen to Paris

We invite you to join us on this special bicycling journey between two of the world’s most compelling cities Copenhagen and Paris. Our expedition begins in arguably one of the most bicycle friendly countries in Europe, Denmark. We'll spend four days here before crossing over into Eastern Germany, along the way we'll enjoy Lübeck and a rest day in Hamburg before continuing west towards the Netherlands and its compelling capital city Amsterdam. From Amsterdam, we'll visit some other iconic towns in the Netherlands and Belgium such as Gouda, Antwerp and Bruges before pedaling into the Ardennes and Champagne country in France. We finish in style (and with lots of opportunities to taste Champagne along the way) in Paris. If you want, you can also catch the end of the Tour de France as our trip is timed to finish in Paris with the professionals. Join us for this truly international travel and bicycling experience.

***Read more about the ExpeditionPlus! concept to see if this type of tour is for you.

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Tour Style: Expedition Hold-A-Space/Questions Request Custom Date Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
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Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 24 Days
  • Total Distance / 1,727km (1,073 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 96km (60 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 4.5 Expedition
  • Countries / Denmark
  • Begin/End / Copenhagen / Paris
  • Price / From USD$9500
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    Gentle riding in Denmark and the Netherlands, Rest days Hamburg, Amsterdam, Bruges, Gouda famous for its cheese, Ghent, Antwerp, Belgian Beer, Champagne region of France and Paris.

    Keep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

    We use charming and modern hotels but A/C or fans may not always be available. Separated twin beds are rare in many places instead there will be two mattresses together that sit on the same base.
  • Includes
    24 days, 23 nights' accommodation; 15 dinners, 23 breakfasts; boat trip Hamburg; ferry between Denmark and Germany; champagne tasting/visit in Reims; limited van support; and the usual (see below).

    Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Expedition tour at the Expedition Tour Style page.
  • Arrive / Depart
    Copenhagen (CPH) / Paris (CDG)
  • Overall Tour Level
    4.5 difficulty level 4.5

    This is an Expedition level tour so van support will be limited because of the distances and regular use of bike paths.

  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    79km / 203m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    3
    111km / 454m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.5
    4
    114km / 615m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 3.0
    5
    70km / 373m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.0
    6
    Rest day
    7
    111km / 452m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.5
    8
    93km / 372m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.0
    9
    105km / 382m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.5
    10
    77km / 275m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.0
    11
    109km / 272m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.5
    12
    Rest day
    13
    77km / 260m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.0
    14
    124km / 379m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 3.0
    15
    111km / 319m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.5
    16
    Rest day
    17
    84km / 378m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.0
    18
    103km / 719m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 3.0
    19
    124km / 1099m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 4.0
    20
    Rest day
    21
    79km / 982m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 3.0
    22
    93km / 656m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 3.5
    23
    63km / 264m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    24
    Last day

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
Download Itinerary

DAY 1: Arrive Copenhagen

Highlights: Copenhagen considered the "most livable city and bike capital of the world"

The Danes are well known for their love of bicycling and Copenhagen is renowned for its cycling infrastructure that cities across the world are trying to emulate. With over 390 kilometers (241 miles) of designated bike lanes, it is truly a bicyclist's heaven. The world also looks to Copenhagen for the latest innovations in design, architecture, fashion and savors the extraordinary culinary revolution that has taken place here over the last decade.

Meet the group and Tour Leaders at 10 a.m. today.

DAY 2: Bicycle South Seeland

Highlights: Kalvebod Faelled, Mosede Fort & Beach, Køge oldest half-timbered house in Denmark

You'll leave Copenhagen on one of its many extraordinary bike paths to the Kalvebod Faelled nowadays one of the biggest recreational areas around Copenhagen. Stop for lunch in Køge, a century-old market town with an impressive medieval section surrounding the central square which is home to the oldest half-timbered house in Denmark. Continue cycling south, past Stevens Klint to our hotel on the Baltic beach of Rødvig.

  • Distance: 79km (49mi)
  • Gain: 203m (666ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 3: Rødvig to Rodby

Highlights: Præstø Fjord, pedal over a 3 km bridge

Continue pedaling southeast today through rural Denmark and then along the Præstø Fjord, one of the many fjords in the area that features salt marshes. Further along, we’ll leave the Seeland peninsula and cross over onto Lolland Island, the fourth largest island in Denmark and the closest to Germany. We'll sleep on the southern end of Denmark, close to the ferry that crosses the Storstrom to North Germany.

  • Distance: 111km (69mi)
  • Gain: 454m (1489ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 4: Rodby to Lübeck

Highlights: Ferry to Germany, explore Lubeck

The day begins with a ferry as we cross the Fehmarn Sund bridge to the town of Oldenburg. Then it's on the bikes as we continue our journey south. Our destination today, Lübeck is referred to as the Queen of Hanseatic cities. Its extensive brick Gothic architecture is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. And make sure you enjoy Lübeck's beloved delicacy - one of the best marzipan's in the world made by Niederegger.

  • Distance: 114km (71mi)
  • Gain: 615m (2017ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.0
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 5: Lübeck to Hamburg

Highlights: Hamburg

"The gateway to the world" is a bold claim, but Hamburg, Germany's second-largest city and largest port (despite being located on a river 100 km from the coast) has always been industrious. Hamburg has engaged in international trade since joining the Hanseatic League back in the Middle Ages, and this "harbourpolis" is now the nation's premier media hub and its wealthiest city.

  • Distance: 70km (44mi)
  • Gain: 373m (1223ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 6: Rest day in Hamburg

Highlights: Guided harbor cruise of the Hamburg Port

Enjoy a harbor cruise this morning and some free time to visit some of the local attractions like the impressive Rathaus (city hall) or one of the museums in the newly popular warehouse district. Explore the city, pop into some local shops, and take a stroll along the Alster River and harbor to see the bustling water ways.

DAY 7: Hamburg to Bremen

Highlights: Elbe River, Altes Land, Bremen

We’ll leave Hamburg along the Elbe River to then turn south into the "Altes Land" - or Old Country. This reclaimed marshland is now fertile farmland, producing apples and cherries. Notice the small villages and farm houses decorated with the half-timbered houses that characterize the region. Our destination is the city state of Bremen, important historically as a hotly contested city-state between the Holy Roman Empire and Sweden in the 17th Century. In modern-day Germany it is one of the largest cities of the area. Bremen is also famous for the Brothers Grimm tale ostensibly set there (The Town Musicians of Bremen) even though in the fairy tale the animal musicians never actually make it to Bremen!

  • Distance: 111km (69mi)
  • Gain: 452m (1483ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.5
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 8: Bremen to Cloppenburg

Highlights: Oldenburg Schloss, Ahlhorner Fischteiche nature reserve

It's a relaxing ride west to Oldenburg where you might want to enjoy coffee and a thick slice of German cake in the pedestrian city center. Alternatively, enjoy a visit to the Oldenburg castle, home to the Oldenburg monarchs until 1918. Continue south through rural countryside and the Ahlhorner Fischteiche nature reserve with its small ponds and opportunities for bird-watching. Once at our destination, the small town of Cloppenburg, take time to visit the oldest outdoor museum village in Germany, featuring historic buildings from around the Lower Saxony state, and an important research and cultural center for folklore and traditional village life.

  • Distance: 93km (58mi)
  • Gain: 372m (1220ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 9: Welcome to Coevorden and the Netherlands

Highlights: Cross the German-Dutch border, Coevorden

Today you'll start your ride in Germany and cycle along quiet country roads and bike paths ending in the Netherlands. As we exit Germany, we’ll cross the Ems river and its delta. Keep your eyes peeled for an “auf wiedersehen” and a “welkom” sign as they are the only indicators that you are crossing from one country to another. Our destination, Coevorden was reconstructed as an ideal Renaissance city in the 17th century.

  • Distance: 105km (65mi)
  • Gain: 382m (1253ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 10: Bicycle to Zwolle and on to Kampen

Highlights: Dutch bike paths, Zwolle, Kampen

Pedal along the famous network of Dutch bike paths which make the Netherlands one of the most cycling-friendly countries in the world. Visit the small city of Zwolle ("hill" in old Dutch), built on a hill in between four rivers. Continue pedaling to one of the best-preserved city centers in the Netherlands, the Hanseatic city of Kampen. The city center was built on the banks of the Ijssel River, a Dutch branch of the Rhine river. Stroll around town to visit the ancient city walls and gates, as well as the numerous ancient buildings and churches spanning from the 15th to the 19th centuries.

DAY 11: Kampen to Amsterdam

Highlights: Waterfront riding, bike paths, Amsterdam

We’ll ride due west today following small bike paths that border inlets from the North Sea that spread deep into the Netherlands, reminding us that many parts of the country are at, or below, sea level and that water management is crucial here. We'll finish the day in Amsterdam, a magical city built on canals. Our hotel overlooks the Ij, a body of water that acts as Amsterdam’s "waterfront" and that connects the North Sea to the interior’s water ways. We’ll enjoy a walk and dinner together tonight.

  • Distance: 109km (68mi)
  • Gain: 272m (892ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 12: Rest day in Amsterdam

Highlights: Guided tour, the city

Enjoy a leisurely morning and then meet up for a guided tour of the city. The tour finishes by 12:30 and you’ll have time this afternoon to visit any number of the city’s attractions— museums like the Anne Frank house, canals, quaint neighborhoods, hip locales and a lively night scene.

DAY 13: Amsterdam to Gouda

Highlights: Hollandic Waterline defense system, Gouda

Follow bike paths out of Amsterdam and head into the region of the Hollandic Waterline, a defense system born in the 17th Century where castles and military forts could be used to turn Holland into an island to keep out invaders through integrated systems of flooding. A century later the water froze creating a bridge for the French army to attack. End tonight in Gouda (pronounced Gowda), famous for its orange cheese. Enjoy a visit to the town’s cheese museum before dinner together tonight.

DAY 14: Gouda to Antwerp, Belgium

Highlights: Kinderdijk Windmills, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Antwerp

Leave early today to enjoy time at a unique UNESCO World Heritage Site along our route: Kinderdijk. Nineteen majestic windmills align to form a memorable and stunning sight. After exploring the windmills you'll keep pedaling south through Dordrecht to reach Antwerp, historically known as the city of diamonds but also the birthplace of the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens. Our hotel is centrally located so that you can visit the famous painter’s art in the city’s cathedral, the historic city center, or the diamond district.

  • Distance: 124km (77mi)
  • Gain: 379m (1243ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.0
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 15: Antwerp to Bruges

Highlights: Quiet roads, beautiful Bruges, Belgian beer

We head west to the famous city of Bruges, whose city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding example of a medieval historic settlement. You simply have to walk through the squares to realize how impressive and how much the original Gothic constructions form part of the town's identity. Stroll along the canals that were once main arteries of the city and don't miss a visit to the medieval square and City Hall.

  • Distance: 111km (69mi)
  • Gain: 319m (1046ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 16: Rest day in Bruges

Highlights: Guided walk of the city

We’ll enjoy a leisurely guided walk of the city before you are free to explore on your own. You may choose to visit the museums or stop in at some of the famous beer bars in town. Although none of the elite Trappist breweries are nearby you can stop in at almost any bar to have a thorough tasting. Or, simply enjoy meandering through town as Bruges is bustling with sites to see including its stepped gable houses, market square with the belfort, and historic neighborhoods such as the "Beguinage", an architectural complex created to house a community of lay women from the 13th century.

DAY 17: Bruges to Geraardsbergen

Highlights: Medieval Ghent, bike paths, canal riding.

Stop in at Ghent for lunch on your way south. Ghent became one of the richest cities in the world during the Middle Ages because of its wool industry. While not as wealthy as it once was, this lively university city is still one of the prettiest cities in Belgium. Admire its traditional tall Flemish buildings towering over the small streets and plazas. We pedal further south for the evening to the small town of Geraardsbergen, one of the oldest towns in Flanders.

DAY 18: Pedal through Wallonia and into France

Highlights: National forest reserves, cross a border, bienvenue en France!

We are deep in Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium. Wallonia or "Wallonie," as the French call it, makes up 55% of the geographic area of Belgium. It was the first industrialized region of continental Europe due to important coal and iron reserves. Today Wallonia is famous for its Trappist beers (Chimay and Orval are both in Wallonia) as well as some industry, services, and tourism. We'll leave Belgium today and enter France, spending the night in the hill border region.

  • Distance: 103km (64mi)
  • Gain: 719m (2358ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 19: Liessies to Reims

Highlights: Hills, forests and agricultural rural land

Leave the forested hills which provided the charcoal industry what it needed to allow for the great industrial period of Wallonia in the 18th and 19th centuries. This geographical area, also known as the Ardennes due to the nearby mountain range of the same name, maintained an industrial feel into the 20th century, after coal replaced charcoal in metallurgy. Take a last look because you'll soon enter the vast fields and rolling hills of Champagne and vineyards and wheat will replace forests as we pedal towards Reims.

DAY 20: Rest day in Reims

Highlights: Rest in the capital city of Champagne

Reims is not only the capital of the Champagne region, but also home to the cathedral where the Kings of France were crowned starting in 987 A.D and was originally one of the most important cities for the Roman Empire. Reims has numerous sights to visit including its impressive cathedral so enjoy the day sightseeing or, rest your legs and sip some Champagne as you prepare to pedal the last few days towards Paris.

DAY 21: Reims to Bergéres les vertus

Highlights: Hautvilliers, Montagne de Reims Nature Reserve

We leave Reims on a bike path this morning pedaling over rolling hills and through vineyards overlooking forests. The Montagne de Reims, where many of the Pinot Noir grapes are grown, is also home to an extensive nature park. As you pass through the wooded park you also will catch glimpses of hills full of vineyards. For lunch you might want to duck into the Abbey of Hautvilliers where Dom Perignon is buried. There are many myths about this Benedictine Monk, including one that he "invented" Champagne. Although this is unlikely, he was instrumental in establishing certain wine-making rules for the region, including some that are still followed today such as how to blend grapes from multiple vineyards.

DAY 22: Bergères les Vertus to Meaux

Highlights: Ride through small villages on your way to Paris

We pedal from a world-famous wine producing region to a region known for its extensive wheat fields that are dotted with picturesque small roads and villages. Our destination today is the beautiful town of Meaux, best known for its Brie de Meaux and its special regional mustard. You can't go wrong with your culinary adventures if you stop and enjoy an aperitif before dinner. If you have time the Cathedral of Meaux is a fine example of Gothic architecture and was built over 400 years ago.

DAY 23: Meaux to Paris

Highlights: Bike into Paris!

We wind our way into Paris through a mix of small roads and bike paths along canals and parks on the way to the center of Paris. We'll have a celebratory evening tonight, a fitting end to our cycling journey from Copenhagen to Paris.

DAY 24: Tour end

Highlights: Tour de France finish

Our tour ends today as does the Tour de France. Anybody wanting to participate in this historic finale check our departure information for recommendations for viewing packages. Others may choose to avoid the hullabaloo and visit the many sites this amazing city offers!

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Arrive Copenhagen

On Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Day 1 Hotel specified on your itinerary. Meeting time: 10 a.m.

Note:

As you are planning, remember that the hotels listed in our itineraries are our primary hotels and are - in rare cases - subject to change. Before you make arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

We recommend flying into the Copenhagen Airport (CPH).

From the Copenhagen Airport to the Day 1 Hotel

  1. Metro from the airport (Lufthaven) to Kongens Nytorv, change to M3 to Kovenhavn H (central station)(15 min/DKK 36; we recommend using the ticket machines, credit card only)
  2. Walk from central station station Day 1 Hotel (2 min)
  • Or Taxi from the airport to the hotel (20 min/DKK 250-300)
  •  

Day 24: Departure Information

Tour end

Your trip ends on the final day after breakfast.

Tour de France Tickets: Anybody wanting to participate in the historic finale of the Tour de France can choose from various companies who offer tour end viewing packages. We recommend Custom Getaways. Tell them we sent you!

The below information will help you plan your departure. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio

Flying out of CDG:

  1. Walk to the Riquet metro station (line 7)
  2. Change to line 5 at Stalingrad and go to Gare du Nord. At Gare du Nord take the RER to the airport (EUR 1,90 metro/EUR 10 RER/45 min)

Other options to get to CDG from the ending hotel:

  • Taxi from the ending hotel to CDG (40 min/EUR 70)
  • Super shuttle (book online, time and fares vary)

Keep in Mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

We use charming and modern hotels but A/C or fans may not always be available. Separated twin beds are rare in many places instead there will be two mattresses together that sit on the same base.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To Do Today!

3–6 Months Prior to Departure

  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed. As you make your plans refer to the Getting To and Away sent to you in your booking confirmation email it provides meeting times and the starting and ending hotels and shuttle information when applicable.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights. Please refer to the Getting To and Away sheet you received in your Reservation Confirmation Email.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program www.experienceplus.com/training.
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 Weeks–2 Weeks Prior to Departure

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your Getting To and Away information and one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Expedition Tour Style

Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Expedition tour at the Expedition page.

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