Cycling Copenhagen to Paris - ExpeditionPlus!
***Read more about the ExpeditionPlus! concept to see if this type of tour is for you.
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What's not included:
See the complete list of what's included with every ExperiencePlus! Tour.
Tour Level Note: 401 Long mileages over relatively flat terrain. This is an Expedition level tour so van support will be limited because of the distances and regular use of bike paths.
**We use Ride With GPS (ridewithgps.com) to calculate elevation and mileage information. Due to variance between mapping technologies, totals may differ slightly across devices and applications
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.
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.
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 mostly one of transit as it is the closest to Germany. Enjoy a freshly poured beer in our destination town of Maribo which boasts its own brewery.
A short 20 km (12 miles) ride brings us to the port town of Rodby where we'll catch a ferry leaving Denmark and entering Germany from the small island of Fehmarn. From there we'll join the mainland to then pedal another 50 km (31 miles) farther south to our hotel near the East German Baltic Sea Coast.
Ride along the beach and enjoy the waterfront of the Timmendorfer Strand before heading inland to Lübeck. Before entering town, you'll catch a free shuttle bus that takes you through the Herrentunnel underneath the Trave river. 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 - some of the best marzipan in the world made by Niederegger.
"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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Our first stop of the day is the tiny, quaint center of Utrecht and its unique bars dug into old working tunnels. Enjoy lunch at one of these outdoor cafès before heading to Gouda (pronounced Gowda), famous for its orange cheese. Enjoy a visit to the town’s cheese museum before dinner together tonight.
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.
A short ride permits a late start as we leave Antwerp and head west through historic marshes. These marshes provided fodder for sheep and 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.
Another short ride today takes us to Ghent's historic and cultural rival Bruges and its city center which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 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 which features the fantastic architecture that characterizes this unique city. Bruges is bustling with sites to see including the 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.
We’ll enjoy a leisurely guided walk of the city as well as a visit to the city’s brewery. Although not one of the elite Trappist breweries present in the country, we’ll learn about how this important export is made and imbibe is some tasty samples. A fitting part of a rest day in Belgium.
We’ll leave Bruges today and head south through West Flanders. One of Europe’s most densely populated areas, this region is known for its ferocious WWI battles, and its beer. We will pass by important historical towns like Kortrijk along the way and enjoy a lunch amidst the Medieval and Renaissance architecture before continuing into northern France. This industrial area is also known for its famous one day bike race the Paris-Roubaix. We’ll enjoy a guided visit to the Roubaix velodrome where the race has ended every year since 1943.
We’ll ride a few of the cobblestone streets that characterize the annual Paris-Roubaix bike race, before returning to pavement to continue our ride around Lille and then south to Douai and Arras. Douai merits a stop to visit its Gothic belfry, one of the most impressive in the region. Continue cycling to Arras which also has an amazing belfry, listed since 2005 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy the impressive Town Hall, or visit the underground maze 10 meters below ground, or visit the Roman city ruins before enjoying one of the many restaurants or café’s in town.
We’ll cycle south today and cross the Somme River, the site of multiple deadly battles in WWI, a war that devastated this region of northern France. We’re headed to Villers-Bretonneaux where Australians erected a WWI memorial commemorating their fallen military personnel. This town was the site of two battles in 1918 that heavily impacted the Australian regiment. 2018 marks the 100th year anniversary of these battles, and you can spend time at the memorial and at the museum in town before riding or shuttling the final 20 km (12 miles) to our hotel in Amiens.
We can enjoy a later start this morning to explore Amiens, with its UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gothic Cathedral, and the Jules Verne museum at the prolific author’s former home. We'll pedal south in one of France’s newest regions, the “Hauts-de-France” which was formed in 2014 and named in 2016, and is composed of two smaller regions. On our way to Beauvais, heavily damaged in both WWI and WWII, we’ll cycle through a mix of agricultural and wooded areas. Today the city is known for its airport, Paris Beauvais, which is a major hub for low cost airlines. The city center does merit a visit.
We continue south to enter Paris passing by two natural parks following the Oise River before meeting up with the Seine River at Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, built at the confluence of the two rivers. A mix of hidden bike paths and larger city streets will bring us into the center of Paris where we’ll enjoy a champagne toast celebrating our arrival before a festive dinner together near our hotel.
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!
Lodging: Hotel Absalon
Meeting time 10 a.m. - on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Day 1 Hotel specified on your itinerary.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
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:
Other options to get to CDG from the ending hotel:
For a full list of what's included before, during and after your bike tour, visit our What's Included page.
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.
Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!
Your bike will be equipped with: a men's or women's saddle, a quick release style seat post adjustment, rear rack and expandable pack, pump, patch kit, spare tube, cable lock, cyclometer, rear lights, a water bottle cage (or two) and a water bottle (or two) and in some cases a bell. If you would like to bring your own pedals and shoes we recommend doing so—your tour leaders will install them during the bike fitting. We have flat pedals with or without cages available. For safety and hygiene reasons you are responsible for bringing a helmet.
Each day you'll receive a daysheet with information on the day's activities, meals and ride. These also include Tour Leader phone numbers, hotel information and interesting historical and cultural information about sites that you may want to stop and see along the route. Your Tour Leaders will also post daily announcements in the hotel lobby with information about sightseeing in town or restaurant recommendations for dinners on your own as well as important information about breakfast, luggage down and "arrows down" time.
Each day we will provide you with a route map with the day's ride highlighted route. Of course, we also mark the route every day with our signature chalk dust arrows. Our arrows make navigating very easy—you may never need to look at the map! The arrows also allow you to ride at your own pace. There is no need to "keep up" with the group—this is your ride!
But what if it rains? What happens to the arrows? In a light rain, the arrows actually "set up" and become more permanent. In a heavy rain, they do wash away. If that happens, we'll re-group to cycle together for those who want to continue cycling while those who prefer to stay dry can shuttle.
For the tech-loving riders out there we offer the opportunity to download GPS tracks of most tour routes to your personal GPS device using RideWithGPS.com. Tracks are available upon request approximately three to four weeks prior to the departure.
The van carries luggage and supports cyclists. It also has water, fruit and snacks. Though the van has snacks, we encourage you to stop and enjoy markets and find your own favorite local specialty.
We have carefully chosen all of our accommodations for their charm and location. They are typically small, family run hotels that offer you a glimpse into the local culture.
We prefer hotels near interesting sites in the center of town located along the best cycling route in the area. Because many of the hotels are small not all of the rooms will be exactly the same. We keep this in mind and do our best to distribute rooms fairly by the end of the tour. Our itinerary lists our primary hotels. On rare occasions, listed hotels are subject to change.
Breakfasts: we work hard to arrange complete breakfasts but some hotels still serve continental style breakfasts; cycling is energy intensive so we do recommend you plan for a morning or mid-morning snack on the road at a local café or market.
Water is OK in almost all hotels and in country fountains; if there is a problem, we will advise you.
We'll recommend lunch locations en route and most itineraries include a few group picnics. We limit the number of picnics so you don't feel pressured to be at a certain place in the middle of your ride.
Dinners together are often pre-planned and pre-ordered. We'll ask you prior to your trip if you have special dietary requirements. Preplanned meals allow us to provide a variety of regional specialties and facilitate efficient service. Water, wine and beer are included.
If you feel your tour leader team has demonstrated great expertise and service, common practice within the travel industry is to tip. Tipping is voluntary and greatly appreciated, and gratuity amounts vary widely. Should you decide to leave a tip, as a guideline, we suggest 5% of the tour cost per traveler – this for the entire tour leader team, not each Tour Leader. If you’d like to show your gratitude for your Tour Leaders’ excellent service you can give the tip to any member of the tour leader team, as they share it evenly. In order to avoid social tensions, we encourage you to tip as individuals and not as a group. If you feel your Tour Leaders did not quite meet your expectations, then we would like to know about it. You will also have the opportunity to leave your comments in our evaluation survey which we email to you after your trip.
By reserving space on tour, you agree that ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours may use, re-use and reproduce any images, photos or videos that you send to us, or that are taken by our guides and/or other travelers of you individually or in a group, in any medium, including but not limited to print, electronic media, or Internet, free of charge and without your right to inspection, for promoting and publicizing our travel products and services worldwide. If you do not want us to use any images of you that are taken by us or other participants during the tour, you must inform us or your tour leader in writing at the start of the tour.
Mostly flat terrain has just a few rolling hills that rarely require you to change gears. It might contain a bit of climbing, but those climbs will be short and at a very gentle slope with little need for increased pedaling or downhill breaking.
Rolling hills refers to multiple gentle slopes (3-4% grade) with minimal need for changing gears or increasing in pedal power. Elevation gain should be less than 100m per hill and braking may not be necessary to control speed on downhills.
Hilly terrain has repeated hills and some of them may be require more pedal power as it has steeper inclines (up to 5%). You will change gears throughout the day and braking may be necessary to control speed on descents.
Very hilly terrain includes multiple hills on your ride, some of which can be steep or long climbs. You will change gears and need to use your brakes to control speed on your descent.
Mountainous terrain includes one or more sustained (more than 5km) climbs with frequent steep grades (over 7%). Mountainous rides may also feature multiple steep grades (greater than 6%) for extended periods of more than 5km. You will need to shift gears and brake on descents to control your speed.
Based on today's distance and elevation gain (or lack thereof), it will be a very comfortable ride for beginner cyclists, those traveling by bicycle for the first time, or multi-generational groups with a desire for a nice and easy bike tour with plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the scenery.
Based on today's distance and elevation gain, this day is ideal for riders newer to bicycle touring looking for a bit of a challenge, or for individuals who desire shorter days on the bike. You will likely be riding on rolling terrain.
Based on today's distance and elevation gain, we suggest riders spend some time in the bicycle saddle before joining this tour so they you can enjoy the views at the top of some of the climbs you'll face.
Based on today's distance and elevation gain, this day is best described as a great day on the bike for passionate cyclists or very active individuals.
This day is not for a casual cyclist but for riders looking to push their limits. Suffice it to say your delicious meal at the end of the day will be well earned!
These are the definitions...
Level 1 tours will be mostly flat and daily distances will rarely exceed 30 km. Level 1 tours are suitable for beginner cyclists, those traveling by bicycle for the first time, or multi-generational groups with a desire for a nice and easy bike tour with plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the scenery.
Level 2 tours are a great option for those new to bicycle touring looking for a bit of a challenge, or for individuals who desire shorter days on the bike. The average mileage on level 2 bike tours is 30-50 km on mostly rolling terrain. There will be multiple climbs at 3-4% grade throughout the tour, but only an occasional steep climb.
Level 3 tours are for active individuals (who run, bike, swim etc. on a regular basis) with the desire to cover longer daily distances on the bicycle. These tours are a great workout when you’re riding as you will average 50-70 km daily with total gain of 2,000-2,800 ft. There will be multiple 4-6% climbs throughout the tour.
Level 4 tours are for passionate cyclists or very active individuals. This level tour is great for cyclists looking to stay in shape and pedal hard they travel across regions or countries. Level 4 tours cover 70-90km daily with 2,800-3,600 ft of gain. Cyclists on a level 4 bicycle tour can expect multiple climbs, some climbs might be short and steep (6-8% for 1-3 km) while others may be sustained (6+ Km) at a 4-6% grade.