EuroVelo 1

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The EuroVelo 1, also known as the Atlantic Coast Route, is a long-distance cycle route following the Atlantic coast in Spain, Portugal, France, Ireland, the UK and Norway. The EV1 one is the EuroVelo route that stretches the furthest from North to South. In total there are more than 11.000km available for biking. I biked only parts of it, namely La Vélodyssée from Nantes to Morlaix and in Scotland. But I plan to extend my coverage in April, with a bike tour around Ireland. I will update my experiences, once I completed that tour.

Stages on La Vélodyssée between Nantes and Morlaix

If I were to travel with my nephews, I would pick this stretch. It's safe for children or people who are new to bike touring as it mainly runs along the Nantes-Brest Canal, away from cars, and with very minimal ascends. But despite being a rather easy bike route, it runs through a beautiful landscape and is a good way to explore the Bretagne.

EuroVelo 1 - view on the canal
EuroVelo 1 - Wisteria in Josselin, Bretagne
EuroVelo 1 - eating at Crêperie l'Akène
EuroVelo 1 - straying away from the canal
EuroVelo 1 - my Surly Disc Trucker parked in Josselin, Bretagne
EuroVelo 1 - great Kouign-Amman at Le Fournil de Saint-Congard

Nantes seems to be a very bike-friendly city, the ride out was mainly on generous bike lanes and no hassle at all. Sucé-sur-Erdre made an excellent first stop to have some breakfast and to sit at the riverbank of the Erdre. In La Morinière there's a little bit of confusion, there's no bridge leading across the canal and you need to bike in the "wrong" direction. But don't worry, after roughly 600m a bridge is coming and you're en route.

The ride along the canal has started! One tiny downside though is that the canal does mainly not run directly through villages or cities. To get some food at the many great bakeries, you need to get off the main route. You will see a lot of signs that point you to the different towns, often including information about what sort of shops you'll find. I biked to La Chevallerais, where I found a bakery and shops, and a generally charming village.

In Redon you'll find everything you need. It's a town with big supermarkets and the omnipresent outdoor chain. But it has as well a very charming old town to find some food. My favourite was the Crêperie l'Akène, with great crêpes and cidre, and a very traditional and friendly feel to it.

On the way to Josselin you'll ride along the canal passing beautiful landscapes. My favourite stretch was leading to Painfaut, where you have beautiful rock formations and a little island in the canal. In Saint-Congard I went to a little bakery, Le Fournil de Saint-Congard, to get one of my best Kouign-Ammans of the trip.

Josselin is a beautiful old town with it's own castle. It has a very pretty inner city, I felt often reminded of Hogsmeade. You should definitely plan in some time to wander through the small streets.

The next day I was very happy to see a little change of scenery, parts of the route branch away from the canal and you get some gentle hills and different views. I did not plan my food supply well though and had some trouble finding some snacks. In Mûr-de-Bretagne I managed to get some salted caramel at the Biscuiterie de Guerlédan. But somehow I did not buy enough and was very glad when I arrived in Gouarec, but helas, all was closed. After some more kilometers I reached the ecluse 150 where a crêperie was recommended. (All locks of the canal are numbered, which is kind of nice to get a sense of progress.) And what a great recommendation that was. The ladies of Ecluse 150 - Crêpes & Couette were so friendly and the food was great! I had two Crêpes Complète and when I left they were waving and were cheering me on. Definitely make a stop there! The recommendation came from the owner of the campsite in Gouarec. I really hoped to stay there, as I heard so many good things about it on the Cycling Europe podcast. But helas, it was still closed.

The stage to Plourin-lès-Morlaix was beautiful, a bit off the canal through the Réserve naturelle régionale des landes et tourbières du Cragou et du Vergam. Very beautiful roads through the forest, and definitely feeling remote, far from everything. At times I didn't even have cell reception. In Plourin-lès-Morlaix I had a snack at the L'Auberge du Cheval Blanc. The staff was so welcoming, a recommendation as well. As it was raining quite a bit that day, I booked a room in a Bed and Breakfast closeby, at La Grange de Coatélan. If you are looking for a room in this area, go there, I have hardly ever seen a BnB that was more beautiful. A converted hospital, renovated with an extreme eye on detail, absolutely gorgeous!

In Morlaix I left the EuroVelo 1 and started to follow the EuroVelo 4 along the coast. My time on the EV1 was very enjoyable. It was not the most dramatic or impressive, but definitely a charming cycle route to follow!

Cycling the EuroVelo 1 in Scotland

The next time I landed on the EuroVelo 1 was in Scotland. I had biked on the coast of France and had already a good chunk of my Land's End to John o'Groats journey behind me. I travelled the first part up North, the second part I cycled South. Don't be confused about the day count of the stages, I biked South after I spent more time on the NC500 and visited the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

EuroVelo 1 - view on Cullen
EuroVelo 1 - gorse bushes on my campsite in Scotland
EuroVelo 1 - Highland bushes and flowers in full bloom!
EuroVelo 1 - bike path near Aviemore
EuroVelo 1 - slow sign along the road in the Scottish Highlands
Eurovelo 1 - bikepath in Aberfoyle

I arrived in Inverourie by train. Taking a regional train in Scotland was very straightforward, and I would recommend it. I had booked the wrong day at the campsite in Cuminestown and had to take a bit of a shortcut.

Biking in Scotland can't be compared to riding along the canal in France. The small country roads are absolutely beautiful, but there's a lot more ascend. I love that, but it's more challenging with a fully loaded bike.

After having a bit of trouble finding the campsite near Cuminestown, I was welcomed very warmly and enjoyed a night at this super well-equipped campsite.

The next day I came back to the coast and stocked up on food at the local CO-OP in Banff. And what a friendly down this was. Everybody was so curious about my trip and it was almost hard to get going. The following stretch along the coast was absolutely gorgeous. I made a short stop in Portsoy to get some ice cream. The shop came highly recommended, and rightly so!

Further on I reached Cullen, and wow, these views on the town. Very impressive! After Buckie you leave the coast and go more inland. But the landscape remained beautiful!

The next day I biked from Kinloss to Inverness. No longer on the coast, but through forests and over mountains. I biked this part in mid June and all the bushes and wildflowers were blooming, so impressive! I came back some weeks later, and the gorse bushes had finished their bloom. While the landscapes were tinted more violet, I really missed the bright yellow of the bushes.

A note about midges. During my whole journey, people warned me about midges in Scotland. I saw horrible videos, tents full of them. But personally, I had not a single day where I was really bothered with them. I read that the midges don't like wind, and I had plenty of that. Maybe that was the reason.

Eventually, after a descent climb, I could look over the Moray Firth and saw the mountains on the other side. These are the moments that make an ascend absolutely worthwhile! Passing the Culloden Viaduc, I slowly reached Inverness.

I continued biking West, doing the North Coast 500 and eventually the Orkney and Shetland Islands. After some weeks I continued my journey on the EuroVelo 1 going South from Inverness. One of the most wonderful things about Scotland is, that its landscape is very diverse. The following stretch, going inland, was so different from the coast.

After a short trip from Inverness, I started riding into the Cairngorms National Park. And wow, just a wow! It's absolutely gorgeous and I was so happy to have some trees again. The Shetland Islands have more or less no trees. The road to Aviemore had breathtaking views and a great cycle path. Oftentimes I thought that I was in a Harry Potter movie, especially when the Royal Scotsman passed me.

In Aviemore I had some food, there are plenty of options there. The day continued on small country roads, through heathland, birch forests and beautiful spots where you could get to the River Fessie.

After a good nights sleep in Invernahavon, near Newtonmore, I was ready for the next stretch. The area felt pretty remote, even though the bike path followed a large road. It went gently, but constantly up, until it went down for the rest of the day.

From Aberfeldy I cycled to Aberfoyle. This day was a day that I will remember for the rest of my life, it was hard, it was rainy, and it was beautiful. And my phone hardly had any power left, so I unfortunately have only very few images.

The first stretch was easy and very enjoyable. I cycled along the Loch Tay between Kenmore and Killin. A little bit up, but nothing wild, with beautiful views on the Loch. In Killin I decided to take a small lunchbreak. While eating, it started pouring. And it didn't stop, so I decided to continue. Out of Killin I came on a beautiful bike path, I was really glad about that, as I don't love biking in rain on a busy road. But that beautiful path turned super challenging quite quickly. A lot of rough gravel, uphill. I had to push quite a bit. Eventually I came back to an easy to bike road, I believe it was an old railway. And I felt like a little train myself, I could go fast and beautiful landscape passed by. Even though it was still pouring it was very enjoyable. And the views on Loch Earn were gorgeous. From Callander on, things changed again though. I was in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, and I had hardly ever seen anything more beautiful! Forests, lakes, hills. I was speechless. But I was as well speechless regarding the road surface. I was riding on the Three Lochs Forest Drive. A one way street, mainly populated by vans who had booked camping spots, you need a permit though for wild camping. But the road was clearly not built for bikes, but rather for large lodging trucks. It was VERY tough to bike. I was glad, once I had found the way down to Aberfoyle. At least it went downhill.

Aberfoyle itself is a very charming town! You'll find everything you need there and they have an excellent, and super friendly, bike shop. They helped me the next morning and gave me tips for the following route. Between Aberfoyle and Gartmore must be the most charming bike path I've ever seen. I believe the local school painted lots of little illustrations on it, it made me very happy!

The next day continued with very heavy rain, and I eventually decided to take the train from Glasgow to Carlisle. On the way I stayed at the Attic, a really recommendable Hostel in the Scottish Highlands.

Glasgow marked the end of my journey on the EuroVelo 1.

Planning my next trip: The Wild Atlantic Way

My original plan was to continue cycling to Ireland. However due to the weather and being drawn towards the European mainland, I decided to return to France. But this April, I will start a new journey and will be biking around Ireland. I'm very excited to get biking again and will update this page, once I completed the tour!

Mood: happy :)