When we think of cycling in Europe it’s hard to imagine riding anywhere else but in the famed Alps. The craggy peaks and lush alpine valleys are the backdrop of every cyclist’s dreams. Mont Blanc is the highest peak in Europe, and it sits high above Chamonix in the valley below, where most adventure seekers find their adrenalin rush. Don’t let the crowds of Chamonix scare you, there are plenty of other roadways and mountain paths in the Alps to get your fix.

The main draw of the Alps is to those wishing to retrace the storied climbs and harrowing descents of the Tour de France, but the intensity of these rides might be a bit much for the average rider. The main cities of Annecy, Grenoble, and Chambery all make great jumping-off spots to explore the smaller cities and regions within the Alps. These cities have more than enough culture and nightlife to keep you satisfied on your days off the bike. Some of the more memorable rides in the Alps are: Alpe d’Huez, Grand Colombier, and Mont Ventoux, but these rides were made famous by the Tour de France; don’t expect them to be easy. However, most tour operators will offer a vehicle assist for the climbs so you can ride as many switchbacks as you can. If you need a reprieve from the mountains, take a quick detour onto one of Europe's best food trails following from Besançon to Lyon.

For those looking for an off road experience there are dozens of resorts in the Alps that offer mountain biking trips that take you high into the alpine, and can connect multiple villages, and even countries, in one ride. If you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, try cycling around Lake Geneva, where you can stop in a number of the wonderful shoreline villages for lunch and take in the pristine surroundings. With winter coming earlier in the Alps than elsewhere in France you will want to choose your timing appropriately. Spring and fall will be less busy, but the weather can be fairly inclement at times. The summer is when you will find the most reliable weather, but you’ll want to book tours and accommodations early as things get quite busy in the Alps during July and August.

Best Seasons:June-September
Popular Locations:Alpe d’Huez, Lake Geneva, Lyon, Grenoble nightlife