versailles-paris google map


The cadre of tools American cyclists have to help us figure out routes has been expanding rapidly in recent years from GPS to app after app.  Now six European countries are adding to their cadre too with Google Maps’ latest expansion: bicycle directions in Germany, France, Poland, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein.  And they’re right on time for post-graduation dreaming about touring Europe by bike.

Just like the American counterpart many of us have enjoyed for the past three years, the European version points out bike friendly routes, bike paths, roads with bike lanes, alternate routes, etc.  There’s no app yet, but surely it can’t be far behind.  The fact that it’s web based, however, means you can double check or alter your route and still run other apps like Visit Europe, Spotted by Locals, Rick Steves’ Europe, Word Lens, BikeBrain or CycleMeter.


  1. Look forward to them expanding this to other popular cycling destinations in Europe: Austria, Denmark (Copenhagen) and Sweden!

  2. OSM or OSM cycleMapo way better, and there are Trails for Mountain bikers! Also can download down to GPS units… Open Maps are the future!

  3. Take care if you use it in the UK. On the whole it avoids motorways, and uses Sustrans cycling routes, but in a lot of a cases the directions may send you down public footpaths which are illegal and some of which unrideable, especially on a road bike. Or it may send you down an A-road regardless of its size.

    Personally I use which allows you to switch between google maps and cycle paths for route planning, or leave the route alltogether and pick points on an OS map.

  4. For the Netherlands Google is not that good (yet) either. Instead I use a planner made by the national cycling union:

    It is extremely complete, with lots of options to choose from like
    – avoid gravel roads
    – include short cuts (if you don’t mind going over a few meters of footpath, to save some time)
    – avoid ferries

    And you can choose between
    – keep to cycling roads with the least amount of traffic lights and turns
    – roads best for racing bikes (asphalt, long stretches)
    – the shortest route possible
    – roads through nature
    – route with the least amount of car traffic
    – Even there is an option for routes that are more save at night time!

    And as if this is not enough you can even go the advanced way and ‘tune’ your route with sliders and this way you can choose the importance (weight) of all above factors.

    They can offer this, because of all input from volunteer members of the cycling union collecting all this data, you could say a bit like google did with there streetview cars, for motorists.
    So if you plan a route in the Low Lands, try it! it’s just fantastic!

  5. I have been using this feature for a while in Sweden already. Maybe a year? Although it’s quite easy to know which roads to use where I live, just avoid highways and you’ll be fine.

  6. I tried it for my regular commute in France 25k,
    between a village and a small town(30k peep).

    In town directions were not logical , nore using the most direct or cycling friendly route.

    A part of the longer/touristic option, used a path that only a mtb would cope with.

What do you think?