Since the beginning our route and plans have been constantly changing. Here is the spot we will keep you updated as they continue to do so!
Initially we wanted to spend 5 months in Western Europe, but when we found out about the Schengen Area which has a 90 day limit for our stay without a visa in most most European countries, we had to change our plans. As of now we are planning to spend one month in Eastern Europe, starting in Istanbul and continuing up to Croatia before entering the Schengen Area.
We’ve changed this from our previous first segment to include Macedonia and more of Croatia. We are planning to have about 40 days for this first part, averaging about 40 miles each riding day. We’re estimating about 10 rest days. We’re really looking forward to spending time in Istanbul and riding along the coast of Croatia. Hopefully this first segment will be pretty leisurely, good for getting used to touring and camping before we enter the Schengen Zone in Hungary.
Once we cross the border into Hungary the timer starts. We have 90 days to get from Hungary to the southern most point of Spain. We were not originally planning on buying a Eurail Pass, but with our limited time in this area we soon realized we will be taking more trains than we hoped. We’ll be getting the Select Pass for ten days through France, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain. We won’t be taking any trains through the first segment of the Schengen Zone. At 45 miles a day we should be able to get to Berlin with 20 riding days. We’ll have 7 rest days. When we get to Berlin we’ll take a train to Düsseldorf.
From Düsseldorf we will ride to Amsterdam and some time there. Haegan spent two weeks in Belgium a few years ago so we’re going to stop by some of his favorite places from that trip. We’ll ride all the way to Lille, France. This segment will take us about 10 days to ride at 40 miles a day with 3 rest days.
After we get to Lille we won’t be riding for a while. Because we have the Eurail passes and limited time we will making full use of our passes in the next four countries. From Lille we will take a train to Paris. We hope to meet up with one our friends in Paris and then take a train with her to her home in Nantes. After spending time in Nantes we will take a train to Geneva and then from Geneva to Zurich.
When we get to Zurich we’ll then make our way to Florence with some combination of trains and riding. This segment was very difficult to figure out. Originally we wanted to stop in Genoa and bike the entire way. However, with the little hill up there in Switzerland, biking this entire segment is a little tricky. We decided to cut Genoa and plan on taking a train somewhere in this piece, most likely from Milan to Florence. I tend to be a little obsessive with planning (if this page is any indication of that), so not having real numbers for the section makes me a little nervous. Riding the entire way will take about 14 days at 30 miles a day. At the current rate I’ve predicted, we won’t have time to ride the whole way. We’re hopeful though, and if the trip up to this point is running ahead of schedule, we might be able to make it.
We’ll spend a few days in Florence and then take a train to Rome to visit our friend who is living there for the year. After our time in Rome we’ll take another train to Marseille.
I’m very excited to ride from Marseille to Barcelona. It’s all along the coast and the riding won’t be difficult. We should average about 40 miles a day meaning we’ll have 9 riding days. We’ll spend a few days in Barcelona and then take a train to Madrid.
Getting from Madrid to Lisbon to Algeciras is tight. We don’t have a train pass for Portugal so we’ll have to get some local train tickets. We’ll do as much biking as we can, but right now it looks like we’ll use local trains until we get to Seville.
We’ll either start riding from the Portugal Spain border or from Seville. It’s a short distance, should take us only 4 days to ride at 35 miles a day. The nice part about this last bit in the Schengen Zone is that if we don’t have time, we can take a train with our Eurail passes. I’ve planned it so we have at least one emergency train day to get us to Algeciras. The other nice part is that it’s relatively flat, meaning we can ride long days.
We will take a ferry from Algeciras to Tangier, Morocco. Depending on how much time we end up spending in Eastern Europe we’ll have about 20 days to explore Morocco. I haven’t gotten a change to really route out Morocco but we’d like to stop in Chefchaouen, Fes, and Marakesh before leaving from Casablanca.
Figuring out how to get through 12 countries in 90 days was definitely challenging and a little stressful. My main goal in planning this out was to know that it was possible to make the 90 day limit, and hopefully with some wiggle room. Our first route had us overstaying our visa 60 days, definitely not good. I will admit that when I first started, I was skeptical I could get down to below 90 days. I got there though, and to do that I had to be precise and conservative with time and distances. From this route though, we can make changes and know that we do have some flexibility. Here’s a breakdown:
Total riding days: 49
Total rest/train days: 36 (in planning I used 8 of our 10 Eurail pass days)
Total days in Schengen Zone: 85
We’d love to hear any recommendations for places stay, eat, and explore. If you have a suggestion for a change in the route, we’d love to hear that too! Please use the form below or e-mail us directly at either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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