You do not need to search anymore. This article provides you with a list of the maps for bicycle touring in 24 European countries. From Norway to Portugal and from Ireland to Austria. These maps have been tested by members of the Danish Cyclists' Federation - or by some of our sister-organisations across Europe. If you are going abroad there is a list of bicycle maps in Northern America
Compiled by: Ernst Poulsen
Dansk Cyklist Forbund
Updated August 2nd. 96
IntroOur focus has been on giving advice to the cyclist who is abroad, and who wants to travel longer distances. Local cyclists who prefer to stay at one place the entire vacation may want to get maps with more detail than the ones we have chosen.
What scale should I use
In general we recommend scale 1:100.000 or 1:200.000 maps as they offer a fair compromise between detail, handiness, and price. Scale 1:50.000 maps give you perfect detail, but you may need one map per day (or more), if you a going longer distances. And unless you are in a remote part of the world a scale 1:300.000 og 1:400.000 scale map will usually leave out too of the many backroads - which would otherwise have been the perfect bicycle route to choose.
We have stated prices in European ECU (Now: Euro) and DKr. 1 ECU/Euro equals approximately 2 German Marks. The prices stated should be valid for imported maps (also for Denmark). You will save 20-50% if you buy your maps in the country you are going to - but the advantage of planning ahead is always worth the extra cost.
For a few countries we have added information on one of the most popular bicycle book guides. Just in case you may want to read more before you leave.
Where do I buy the maps
Try special map-stores in large cities, - or even better - the bicycle advocacy group in your own country. Most of the maps we have mentioned are available from The Danish Cyclists' Federation in Copenhagen. You may also buy the Danish bike-maps at the main offices of the Norwegian, Swedish, and German Cyclists' Federations.
If anyone on the Internet has suggestions for other countries (also outside Europe), or if you disagree with the information given, - please write me
The Best European Bicycle Maps
EUROPE IN GENERAL
No bicycle maps cover all of Europe. All bicycle maps cover a single country - or part of it. But there are several books which give advice on cycling in Europe. If the books are sold out from the publisher, then ask your local librarian.
Cycling in Europe (Sold out from publisher)
By Nicholas Crane
The Oxford Illustrated Press, 1984
ISBN: 0 902280 77 5
Probably the best book on the subject ever written. Introduction chapters on planning and equipment and detailed and exciting tour suggestions for every country in Europe. Several usefull appendices on Rules of the road, Velo Vocabulary, Gear Ratios, National Holidays, etc. etc.
Europe by Bike - 18 Tours geared for Discovery
By: Karen & Terry Whitehill
The Mountaineers Books, Seattle (US), 1993
288 pages, 18,- ECU
AUSTRIAArgus, scale 1:200.000 8 sheets cover Austria Estimated price: 6-7,50 ECU (45 - 59,- Dkr)
These are the official bicycle maps of the ARGUS bicycle advocacy group. They show sign posted bicycle routes, moutainbike-routes, steep roads, distances between towns, bicycle lanes, inns, bicycle shops/rentals, castles, and traffic density in different colour-shading. You'll also find camping sites, hotels, youth hostels, bicycle shops- and rentals, churches, castles, etc.
Several brochures exist for the many bicycle routes in Austria. The most famous of all these bicycle routes is of course The Donau-Radweg which is visited by some 200.000 cyclists every year. Ask the local tourist offices for brochures. Here are just a few of the many bike-route brochures:
Der Donauradweg, 1:60.000 Donauschlingen-Passau (550 km), Passau-Wien (320 km), Wien-Budapest (330 km). (each brochure (14 Euro, 95 - 115 Dkr) Taurnradweg, 1:60.000 390 km through Salzburg and Passau. RadFernWege Österreich, (book), bikeline 1995, 120 pages. The most beautiful long-distance bike-routes in Austria
BELGIUM/LUXEMBOURGMichelin, yellow series, scale 1:200.000 2 maps cover Belgium and Luxembourg Estimated price 3,- ECU (25,- DKR)
These Michelin maps are almost the same as the French Michelin maps. These large maps show places of interest, steep hills, etc. - but not camping sites. Map 214 covers Luxembourg and the southern part of Belgium, map 213 covers the middle-northern part of Belgium. For the last - and very northern most-part of Belgium we recommend the Dutch bicycle maps from ANWB (allthough a map 212 does exist).Vlaanderen Fietsroute, scale 1:50.000 Map-booklet of 750 km of bicycle routes. Estimated price: 15 ECU. (100-130 Dkr)
Lannoo's Road Atlas, 1:100.000 is widely available at bookstores and news agents. The price is about 500 Belgian Franc (25 DM). The map has all the local names and smallest roads which Michelin may miss in some areas. Unfortunately, there is hardly no heights infos on it. Slopes gradients are however denoted by signs (like on the Michelin maps). There is also a mapsheet version of the atlas. (tip by: Eric Brasseur).
The CZECH AND SLOVAC REPUBLICSEurocart, scale: 1:300.000 1 sheet covers both countries Estimated price: 20 ECU (115,- Dkr)
Eurocart an auto-map, but still carries the usual touristic information such as camping sites, hotels, youth hostels - and steep hills.
Another possibility is: 1:200.000 Velyky Autoatlas, Kartografie Praha (covering all of the CS); size: 64 pag.,35 by 25 cm. Local price: Kcs 69; also available as edition of Freytag & Berndt. The same material is available in separate sheets+booklet under the name of Automapa (18 parts covering the CS).
Recently appeared with Marco Polo/Mair (1:200.000, CS in 4 sheets) also available as Shell EuroAtlas.
More detailed topographic maps (1:100.000 en 1:50.000) are available locally, and may be obtained at specialised map shops in Europe. (last three tips by Bas van Oudheusden).
DENMARK14 County Bicycle Maps, scale 1:100.000, 1:200.000, and 1:50.000 Denmark covered in 14 sheets Estimated price: 7-13,- ECU Kildemoes Bike-Map, scale 1:200.000 1 Map-book covers Denmark Estimated price 12 ECU (95,- Dkr). Kort og Matrikelstyrelsen, scale 1:200.000 4 sheet or 1 booklet covers Denmark Est. price 15,- ECU The Bicycle Vacation Map / Cykelferiekortet scale: 1:500.000 Denmark covered in 1 sheet Estimated price: 6 - 7,- ECU
Every county (14) in Denmark has produced a special bicycle map. They are not all exactly alike, but they are all excellent in detail and information. Every signposted bicycle route (10.000 kilometers) is on the map as are recommended back roads in areas without signposted routes and bike lanes along high-ways.
All maps show camping sites and youth hostels, and some show hotels and farmers who allow "wild camping" on their land (1 ECU/pr. night). Most maps also show bicycle shops and shopping possibilities in rural areas. Most of the maps also have tourist information on the back or even deliver a full local guide with the map. Some even have guides in English and German. Ask before you buy.
All County Bicycle Maps are based on the official maps of the Danish Government institution: "Kort & Matrikelstyrelsen", the best map-material there is. Before buying you need the name of the counties (amt) you are going to: Nordjylland, Viborg, Ringkobing, Aarhus, Vejle, Ribe, Soenderjylland, Fyn, Vestsjaelland, Storstrom, Roskilde, Frederiksborg, Copenhagen, or Bornholm).
The Copenhagen County map is not in as high a quality as the best. Try to get hold of the free Copenhagen Municipality map instead. The map of Bornholm is a small booklet (in Danish, German or English) which shows all local bicycle routes.
The Kildemoes map does provide a nice compromise between scale, size and price. Allthough it does have a lot of bicycle information it is not a good in basic map quality as the 1:200.00
If you are a first time visitor to Denmark, you should buy the Bicycle Vacation Map. It is the best planning map anywhere. It shows 10.000 kilometers of signposted bicycle routes, scenic routes in areas with no sign posted bicycle routes and bike lanes along major roads.
You will find camping sites, youth hostels and "Wild-camping" with farmers marked on the map. On the back of the map you find a list of tourist offices (with phone number + address), a list of youth hostels (with phone number, address and number of beds), a list of ferries (with phone number, price list and crossing time). Furthermore you will find information on what trains carry bicycles, long distance buses which carry bicycles, and even a few words about some special Danish traffic rules. Everything is translated into English and German. But please remember that this is just a planning map - when you are on the road you need the County Bicycle Maps.
If you planning on visiting every single corner of Denmark, and do not want to buy or carry 14 maps you may settle for the 1:200.000 road map of Denmark from "Kort & Matrikelstyrelsen". It is a auto-map with very little tourist information, but it shows every paved road there is.
ENGLAND/SCOTLAND/WALESRoutemaster Ordnance Survey maps, scale 1:250.000 9 sheets cover England Estimated price 5-7,- ECU
Very detailed maps, with all relevant information such as camping sites, youth hostels, distances between towns, crossing time for ferries, city maps, etc, These are not special bicycle maps", but they are excellent value for money. For mountain biking in local areas you may want to check the Landranger maps, scale 1:50.000 from the Ordnance Survey.
Some books and local bike maps are also of interest:The Sea to Sea Cycle Route, scale 1:80.000/100.000 Bike route between Whitehaven and Newcastle Maps show tourist offices, youth hostels, shopping posibilities. England by Bike - 18 tours geared for Discovery" By Les Woodland, 1992, 204 pages, 16,- ECU. (125 - 155,- Dkr).
ESTONIA/LETHUANIA/LITHUANIACartografia, scale 1:850.000 Cartografia 1 map shows all three countries Estimated price: 4,- ECU (30,- Dkr)
Planning map with English, German and French legend. Has townmaps of Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. However, only the citymaps have information on hotels, restaurants and places of interest. At present it has not been possible to get hold of more detailed maps.
FRANCEMichelin, yellow series, scale 1:200.000 17 sheets cover France Estimated price: 6,- ECU Institut Geographique Natinal (IGN) Scale 1:100.000 (green series) 74 sheets cover France Estimated price: 5,50-8,- ECU
The well known yellow maps from Michelin are your best choice. Often show if their is a camping site in town (not the exact location), scenic routes, steep hills, and points of view. Show mountains with shading.
If you are staying in one area for a longer period you may want to supplement with the scale 1:100.000 maps (green series) from Institut Geographique National (6-8,- ECU). Very little touristic information, but instead you get real contour lines and more gravel roads which may be handy at times. (Allthough the few times I had to turn back it was always a road only found on the green maps). Whereas the Michelin maps are found in every bookstore the IGN-maps are a little harder to come by.
A good book on cycling in France is "France by Bike - 14 Tours geared for Discovery", by Karen & Terry Whitehill, 1993, 238 pages, 16,- ECU. (125-155,- Dkr)
GERMANYADFC-Radtourenkarte, scale 1:150.000 27 sheets cover Germany Estimated price 9,- ECU (75,- DKR)
These are the official bicycle maps of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad Club. The maps show national and regional bicycle routes, steep hills, etc. You can even see which railroads which carry bicycles. You will of course find the usual touristic information such as hotels, youth hostels, camping sites, places of interest - plus bicycle shops and shopping possibilities in rural areas.
There are many local guides in Germany which deal with on specific bicycle route. The most well known is the "100-casstle-route". You may also find booklets on the Donau Radweg in Bavaria and on bicycle routes along the Weser River in Northern Germany. Just a few examples:
Deutsche Märchenstrasse, scale 1:100.000 632 Km Bike Routes. From Hanau-Kassel-Bremen. Rhein-Radweg, scale 1:100.000 Bicycle route from Basel in Switzerland to Rotterdam in Holland
HUNGARYCartografia, scale 1:500.000 1 sheet covers Hungary Estimated price: 4,- ECU
Planning map which shows hotels, camping sites, places of interest and distances. Townmap of Budapest.Two books that may supplement well are: Hungary by bike, scale 1:500.000 spiral map-booklet. (10-12,- ECU). Bicycle routes and paths, bicycle shopes, some camping sites, etc Legend in Hungarian, English and German. Radurlaub in Ungarn, By Viktor Csordás, 1992 Book, 244 pages, German language 32 Bicycle tours in Hungary.
IRELANDOrdnance Survey, scale 1:250.000 4 sheets cover Ireland (inkl Northern Ireland) Estimated price: 7-10 ECU (55-85,- Dkr)
Tourist-maps that show youth hostels, camping sites, hiking routes, height by contours. On the back city-maps and lists of points of interest.
A good book on cycling is: "Irish Cycling Guide", by Brendan Walsh, 1992, 133 pages, 11 ECU. (79-99,- Dkr)
ITALYTouring Club Italiano, scale 1:200.000 (Grande carta stradale d'Italia) 15 sheets cover Italy Estimated price 7-8,50 ECU.
These are auto-maps, but still fairly accurate. They show hotels, places of interest, distances and steep hills.
For local areas you may want to check the 1:50.000 maps from Kompass (4,- ECU). these maps are available for some of the most popular areas.
THE NETHERLANDSANWB, scale 1:100.000 14 maps cover The Netherlands Estimated price: 8-11, ECU (65 - 85,- Dkr)The official bicycle maps of the Royal Dutch Tourist Office (ANWB), and recommended by the Dutch bicycle group ENFB. These are very detailed bicycle maps showing bicycle paths (you have never seen as many), distances, camping sites, youth hostels, tourist offfices, churches, castles, etc. Please check that you get the newest maps available, as the publisher changed to a new series in 1995.
NORWAYCappelens Kart, scale 1:325.000 or 1:400.000 5 sheets cover Norway Estimated price: 11,- ECU (84 Dkr)Although these are not bicycle-maps they are recommended by the "Syklistenes Landsforening", for all cross country trips. You should not be discouraged by the large scale. There simply are no more roads to cycle on. Touristic information includes youth hostels, camping sites, hotels, lodging huts, churches, viewing points, etc. Tunnels and steep roads also marked. Please notice that many longer tunnels (longer than 4 km) are usually closed to cyclists - this is not marked on the maps.
For some of the major cities you may find special bicycle maps. Ask at the Syklistenes Landsforening. Three books that may be recommended are:Sykkelferie i Norge, 1993 240 pages, 205 Dkr. Tour descriptions for the whole country. Norwegian language. Join Syklistenes Landsforening and get the book as a welcoming gift. Sykkelture i Oslomarka, 1992 96 pages, 132-162,- Dkr. Bike tours north of Oslo, Norwegian language Rallarveien, by Tron Bach 127 pages, 182,- Dkr. Norwegian language The famoust bike route along the Oslo-Bergen railroad.
POLANDCartografia, scale 1:750.000 1 sheet covers all of Poland Estimated price: 4,- ECU.
Planning map. Shows camping sites, motels, lodgings, places of interest, distances between towns. Townmaps of Warzaw, Krakow, Gdansk, Sopot, and Wroclaw. Planning map with signatures in Danish. Some other suggestions mostly available in Poland are:
- 1:750.000 Campingi w Polsce (PPWK): map with all campings in Poland, including the 'biwaks' normally not indicated on touristic maps.
- 1:300.000 Eurocart (RV Verlag, Poland in 4 sheets) some touristic info.
- 1:300.000 PPWK Mapa Krajozowcze, Poland in 8 sheets, 1995-series. Includes camping and simple biwaks. Good paper quality. Price app: 4 ECU. In topographic sense more accurate than the Eurocart. (last three suggestions by Bas van Oudheusden).
SPAIN/PORTUGALMichelin, scale 1:400.000 7 sheets cover Spain and Portugal Estimated price 6-7,- ECU. (50,- Dkr)
Although these maps are not very detailed, you may have a hard time finding anything better. Legend in English, French, Spanish and Portugese. The maps should show all paved roads outside of major towns, - and goverment owned hotels, camping sites, lodgings, distances and places of interest.
SWEDENLantmäteriet, scale 1:100.000 (blue series) 113 sheets cover Sweden Estimated price 6-9,- Euro (50-70,- Dkr) Lantmäteriet, scale 1:200.000 (red series) 23 sheets cover Sweden Estimated price 9-11 ECU (67-86,- Dkr)The maps are the official Ordnance Survey maps of Sweden. The 1:100.000 maps have excellent detail. They show contour lines, youth hostels, camping sites. My suggestion is to buy these maps for southern Sweden.
If you are going long distances, or if you are travelling north of Gothenborg you may not need all the detail in the blue maps as there simply are fewer roads to the north. you may settle for the red, scale 1:250.000 series, which has an amazing amount of information in relation to the scale. However, they do lack camping sites and youth hostels. (But remember the "allemansret" whereby you may camp anywhere as long as you do not disturbe anyone).
Sweden not only has a national bicycle route from north to south, but also several regional bike routes - for example along both the eastern and western coastline. (Ystad-Stockholm-Örnsköldsvik) and (Helsingborg-Norwegian border). Contact the local tourist office. Ask for the 24 page brochure "Cykelleder i Sverige" (3,- ECU). It gives a brief discription of the many bicycle routes in Sweden.Here's a pick of some of the local bike-route brochures: The West Coast Route (Helsinborg - Norwegian border) - Cykelleder i Nordvestra Skåne, 1:250.000 - Hallands Cykelleder, 1:250.000 - Cykelsporet Bohuslän, 1:250.000 The East Coast Route (Ystad-Stockholm-Örnsköldsvik) - Cykelspåret langs Ostkusten (Ystad-Stockholm) 1:300.000 - Cykelspåret langs Ostkysten (Stockholm-Örnsköldsvik) 1:500.000 Göta-Kanal: The Swedish Waterways - Västgötaleden, 1:250.000 - Eastgötaleden: Motala-Söderköbing
SWITZERLANDKummerley + FreyRavenstein, scale 1:275.000 1 map covers all of Switzerland Estimated price: 20,- ECU (160 - 190 Dkr)A fairly new bicycle map of Switzerland. You will find bicycle paths, roads with little traffic, roads which are dangerous on weekends, camping sites, etc. Steep hills are indicated and trains which bring bicycles in the longer tunnels are also shown. Mountains shown in shading. As there is quite a number of local bicycle maps (showing only smaller areas) you may want to supplement the Kummerley + Frey map when you arrive.
The basic article was written by Ernst Poulsen. Suggestion/tips were made by: Bas van Oudheusden, Joe Carson, Roger Gravel, Patrick Riceci, and Eric Brasseur. Thank you guys.
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