EuroVelo 8 connects many destinations that are popular tourist attractions in their own right: Barcelona, Monaco, Venice, the Croatian Coast, Cyprus – the list goes on. It is little surprise therefore that the Mediterranean Route receives more interest than any other EuroVelo route. And whilst many of it’s destinations are already internationally famous, there are still lots of undiscovered gems to be found along the way, not least in Albania and Montenegro.
So what are you waiting for!
- 5888 km long
712 Species of fish in
- Maritime heritage
- Mediterranean diet
- World Heritage Sites (UNESCO)
- Mediterranean Sea
- Natural heritage
- Religious heritage
- Art cities
Dalmatian Pelican, Greece
The majestic Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus Crispus) makes its home in these parts of the world. About 70 Dalmatian pelican pairs out of an estimated world population of 4000 pairs nest in the Ambracian Gulf lagoons, while migrating birds of all kinds recognize the lagoons as their annual resting stop during their travels. Small populations of Caretta Caretta turtles, Spotted Eagles (aquila clanga), Lesser Spotted Eagles (aquila Pomarina), Pygmy Cormorants, and Bitterns honor the estuary with their presence and transcend it to a special site.
Corinth Canal, Greece
The idea for a shortcut to save boats sailing all round the Peloponnese Peninsula was long considered by the Ancient Greeks. The first attempt to build a canal there was carried out by the tyrant Periander in the 7th century BC but he abandoned the project owing to technical difficulties. When the Romans took control of Greece, a number of different solutions were tried. For example, in AD 67, Emperor Nero ordered 6,000 slaves to dig a canal with spades. According to Pliny the Elder, the work advanced four stadia (about 5/8 kilometers). The following year Nero died, and his successor Galba abandoned the project as being too expensive. In the modern era, the idea was first seriously proposed in 1830, soon after Greece's independence from the Ottoman Empire. It was eventually reaslised in 1893 after eleven years' work.
Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
The Adriatic Sea and its coastline along Montenegro provide visitors with one of the most wonderful sceneries in this part of Europe. The Bay of Kotor, or simply “Boka”, which was once called Europe's southernmost fjord, is about 28 km long from the open sea to the harbor of the city of Kotor and has a shoreline of more than 107 km. The bay is surrounded by two massifs of the Dinaric Alps which tower along Boka and give a unique atmosphere to the area. Photo credit: Sarah Tzinieris Sveti Dorde Flickr
Like much of the Mediterranean, Spain is synonymous with sunny beaches, good food and the outdoor lifestyle. Tarifa, the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, marks the point at which the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. Here, two continents sit within sight of each other. The mere 14 kilometre gap that separates Spain and Morocco has been a major cultural crossroads. Modern Spanish culture is infused with its Moorish heritage and there are many architectural treasures that bear witness to its diverse history.
The south of France is impregnated with Mediterranean influences. The influence of its two neighbouring countries can definitely be felt but the elegant towns and cities are unmistakably French. Here, major cities are neighboured by wilderness. The rich cultural landscapes have been shaped by generations of locals who have in turn adapted their behaviour to it. From the salt fields to the lavender fields, the ancestral methods of extracting goodness from the land and sea are visible at every turn.
Crossing this micro-state is no major sporting feat but the hilly winding streets make sure that it’s counted. With a total area of just over 2 square kilometres, you will have seen most of it just by entering it. Famous for its Monte Carlo Casino and its Formula 1 Gran Prix, it is also the state with the highest per capita GDP as well as the highest population density.
Italy is emblematic of the Mediterranean. Its long arm juts out into the sea towards the African continent. The Romans brought together the whole region and put their capital at the centre of their empire. They exported their way of life wherever they went. It shaped not just the history of the region but also the different cultures that can be found throughout it today. This is true as much for its architectural influence as for its culinary and religious influence.
Slovenia is the only country in Europe that combines the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Pannonian Plain and the Karst. One of the more memorable contrasts in the Slovenian landscape is the proximity of the Alpine and Mediterranean worlds, each offering the visitor a whole palette of regional characteristics. Between its ancient salt works - the northenmost in the Mediterranean- which are home to 150 bird species and its picturesque coastal towns, Slovenia definitely has enough Mediterranean in it to deserve its spot on EuroVelo 8.
The route takes you through the most beautiful parts of the Croatian Mediterranean coast and hinterland. You will be met by a rich cultural and historical heritage that dates from early ages and enjoy the natural beauties. The route passes through a series of larger and smaller towns and villages in which you will get to know and be able to enjoy the traditional way of life, which was kept for centuries. The route connects the location which has been listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO and don’t forget about blue sea and a sunny sky.
Although the coastal region of Neum is surrounded by Croatian peninsulas, it is written into international law that Bosnia and Herzegovina has the right of passage to the outer sea, and now to the EuroVelo network too! The closed bay is protected from strong winds and makes for wonderfully calm conditions both in the water and out of it. As such it’s the perfect place for calm-water activities and is a hot spot for Scuba-diving, parasailing, boating and jet skiing.
In the Mediterranean, there is simply no mountain landscape comparable to Montenegro. Now it is more and more accessible to cyclists too, with some 3,000 km of on- and off- road biking trails mapped out for you to discover. EuroVelo 8 will pass by the Bay of Kotor, a UNESCO world heritage site, on the way around the Adriatic coast to Podgorica, the capital. The route is currently not realised.
The Albanian coast is characterised by fresh mountain air mixing with the warm sea breeze. The climatic diversity of the country is matched by its biological diversity and its forests are home to a wide range of mammals, including wolves, bears, wild boars and chamois. While the lynx, wildcats, pine martens and polecats are rarer, they can also be spotted in the landscape.
Entering Greece from Epirous Region borders with legendary Ionian sea where dolphins and fishermans share the clear blue waters, from Igoumenitsa, to Sivota, Parga and Preveza to historical villages like Zalogo, Souli and Zagori. Cycling south to West Greece Region from Astakos and Vonitsa till National Park of Messolonghi-Etoliko Lagoons, of lower flow, of Acheloos and Evinos rivers delta and of Echinades islands till you finally cross Antirrio-Rio bridge to enter Peloponesse biggest city Patras, where one of the biggest carnival purely of Italian origin started approximately 180 years ago. Cycling by the sea from Xylokastro and Ancient Sykyon to Kiato towards Korinthos and Loutraki, a coastal town internationally known for its thermal springs. Along the coast from Megara to Eleusina and the Eleusinian Mysteries, one of the most famous religious events of the ancient Greek religion, entering Attica Region with UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the medieval Daphni Monaster to the Acropolis of Athens. The route is currently not realised.
The easternmost part of EuroVelo 8 is on the island of Cyprus. Cyprus is a compact island with an incredible variety of scenery within short distances, making it a delight to cyclists. The route loops around the island and goes through some of the most interesting parts of Cyprus, from mountainous villages where the old ways of life, customs and traditions can be observed, to bustling cities and tourist resorts with coastal views over pristine beaches. With the island situated at the crossroads of three continents, cyclists can ride not only through various landscapes, but also through 10.000 years of history and civilisation: prehistoric settlements, classical Greek temples, Roman theatres and villas, early Christian basilicas, Gothic cathedrals, Venetian fortifications, Moslem mosques and British colonial-style buildings.