I don’t know much about bicycle touring in different countries as I hardly ever ridden a bicycle on any other country outside Greece (I only did some commuting for an Erasmus semester in Denmark). But when it comes to Greece, I am confident that I know it pretty well. Thus I am going to talk about Greece’s 3 top bicycle touring advantages. What makes Greece one of the best countries to explore by bicycle that is. Let’s start with the first one:
- It has an extremely mountainous land. With about 80 percent of all Greek land covered in mountains, when you decide to have a trip here you are most certainly going to see a big variety of landscapes. From gorges to picturesque mountain villages and from mountain lakes to ancient places the scenery is ever changing.
Even the mountains are different, some are green and full of thick forests some others are rocky and barren. Through the mountains, you are going to experience the magnificent real rural Greece that has been remained virtually untouched by the tourism industry. The sometimes steep gradient will be of course, slowing you down, but if you were too concerned about speed you wouldn’t have chosen bicycle as your transportation mean!
Though the scenery is very important, an other aspect of a mountainous land is may be even more appealing to bicycle tourists. The extremely thin to zero traffic on the mountainous roads. In Greece, when you ride on the mountains you rarely see cars. Sometimes you ride for hours or a whole day without seeing one. For people like me this is quite important!
- The second point is history and mythology. When you cycle in Greece, every piece of land that you visit has some interesting tales to tell you. You can visit the mountain where Hercules killed the Wild Hog, the most famous oracle of the ancient world, the house of the Greek Gods, the Dragon houses, the tomb of a Centaur and countless others. The options are unlimited. If you are interested to learn the myths and history under this land, you will get lost in a vibrant almost alien world eager to be rediscovered again.
- The third one is the countless chapels scattered in the Greek land and islands that can provide cozy shelters in wild places.
Some of them dating back to the Byzantine Times, but most of the modern ones were built by villagers close by so they can gather up on name day of the chapels’ saint or people who left their village to move to a big city and wanted to left something behind before they die. But regardless who made them, these little buildings are everywhere!
One time we slept on a chapel which was built by a father as a homage to his daughter who died young on an accident. These places are usually on beautiful and wild isolated spots and can be life savers for bicycle tourists. On mountainous areas these tiny churches have unlocked doors and you can get inside and have a nice sleep without worrying about the harsh elements. A humble but beautiful private hotel!
No one should forget though, that these buildings are sacred for a lot of people, so every visitor should be VERY respectful!
I can think of many more great things about bicycle touring in Greece, but I wanted to narrow it down to only 3 very basic and useful things that truly makes Greece unique.