Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How to plan your bicycle tour through Europe: Benelux, France and Spain tour (from Amsterdam to Santiago de Compostela)

Important note: for the combined use of GPS tracks, you will need software. You can find the software here.
Another important note: this route is the Saint Jacobs Cycling Route. Scroll all the way down and you will be able to find a link to a Belgium site that has the full route from Haarlem to Santiago de Compostela. You can download the GPS track and you do not have to alter anything at all!

Cycling the LF route from Amsterdam to the Belgian border

If you want to get more information on how to cycle through the Netherlands, please take a look at this link. You will see 2 different methods on how to plan a route within the Netherlands. Because I have already dedicated a page to this, I will keep it short and I will assume that you want to start your tour from Amsterdam and go to Belgium (Antwerpen).

Please open: http://www.nederlandfietsland.nl/landelijke-fietsroutes/overzicht-lf-routes/lf2-stedenroute
Take a look at the map on the right side. You can zoom in and look at the cities you will pass. Starting from Amsterdam, you will have to look for the signpost "LF 2". Just keep following this sign and you will be able to reach the Belgian border. Important note: there is the possibility of downloading a GPS track for this route and I recommend you to do so.

Cycling the LF 2 from the Belgian border to Antwerp

All right. So you've cycled all the way through the Netherlands and you have reached the Belgian border. Very nice. Now you will have to follow the LF 2 route until you reach Antwerp. Afterwards, you will have to switch your cycling route. Here I really recommend you use a GPS, as this bicycle route is not an 'official route'. This cycling route is designed by Clemens Sweerman and this route is perfect to reach Paris.

Please take a look at this site: http://www.groteroutepaden.be/route.php?itemno=259
You will have to use Google translate to understand this site, as the content of the English version of this site is very limited (as always). I do not understand why these sites have more content in the native language. It seems like a good idea to make the content equally available in all languages because of tourism and such. Oh well...

You can download the GPS track for the "Van Gogh Route" by Clemens Sweerman, so you can reach France (Paris).

I would've used the EuroVelo route 3 from Paris to Santiago de Compostela but it is not realised yet...

I really cannot express the disappointment regarding EV more than I have already. Not 1 single route is fully realised and I just cannot understand why. Anyway, look at this picture. The route would have been ideal but as long as it isn't realised, I cannot use this at all.
Not realised Not planned lazy bureacrats
Isn't this just bollocks? 5/6 is not realised. I would not even call this a route. It is nothing pretending to be something.
So... because Europe isn't really making an effort to realise the so-called routes, I will - once more - use national cycling association websites to reach Pamplona (Spain). The real problem is that even the national sites are incomplete and useless. I searched really, really hard and found nothing. Then I went back to the Belgian website and found a route to Santiago de Compostela. Really awesome. Here is the link: http://www.groteroutepaden.be/nl/route/232/st-jacobsroute---europafietsers.html

This is a Pilgrims route as well as a cycling route. You will pass hostels and will find lots of places to camp. Really awesome. I guess the Belgian sites trump the French sites. All my respect goes out to Belgium!
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