Digital mapping moves on apace. Only this week I was emailed by a guy from the German website Cycle Routes & Tours pointing out that some of the Eurovelo routes have been mapped on his site. I’ve added the links he gave to the relevant route sections in the ‘Other Eurovelos‘ part of CyclingEurope.org. There is even a route on the site for the Eurovelo 8 and the route profile is worth a look.
However, I cast my mind back to when I cycled from the UK to southern Italy in 2010 and remember how dependant I was upon the good old paper jobs that I had taken with me. They didn’t require the need for any kind of connection to the Internet, just a willingness to unfold them and the patience to work out how to fold them back up again once read. As I travelled south, I discarded each map ceremoniously in a local bin and even lopped off irrelevant sections of the final few maps as I neared the end of the cycle. I was left, on my final night on the road in Matera with one thin bit of map – shown here – that showed me the route all the way from Matera to Brindisi on the coast. My choice of scale – 1:200,000 – proved to be a good one happily marrying the competing qualities of sufficient detail and portability of the maps required to cover the entire length of the journey.
So, as I think ahead to summer 2013 and the journey from Athens to Cadiz, my mind once again turns to the question of maps. I will definitely take paper ones. It’s just too risky not to. And I am happy to take the 1:200,000 maps once again for the reasons mentioned above. But whereas when I was cycling through France, Switzerland & Italy and could depend upon just Michelin maps, cycling through Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, France and then Spain requires a bit more effort in procuring the maps. The best place to start is Stanfords in London who have (perhaps) an unrivalled selection of maps but a bit of research in advance is probably needed as Michelin don’t cover the entire length of the Eurovelo 8 when it comes to maps of a scale of 1:200,000.
Life is not too complicated in Spain thanks to the Spanish National Mapping agency or the CNIG. It produces 1:200,000 maps for the whole of the country. The maps are described as ‘Provincial road maps’ and are named after the provincial capital. They must be relatively small in size as eleven are required to stretch all the way from the French border to Cadiz. Is that too many to carry I wonder? While you ponder that question, here’s a nice map of Spain indicating the sheets required:
All of that is of course towards the end of the journey. It’s the first 1,000 miles or so from Athens to the Italian border that may pose a few more mapping issues…
The Greeks produce regional maps but can’t seem to make up their minds as to whether the maps are 1:200000 or 1:250000. But what’s 50,000 amongst friends? Produced by Anavasi they cover the entire country as shown here and I would probably need R1 & R3 (perhaps also R2) but there is a worrying reference to R1 being out of print and no news on a reprint date on the Stanford’s website.
Trust the Greeks to produce maps that aren’t quite regular…
Which leaves the fragmented bit in the middle; Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia. Well, let’s not jump to assumptions about the mapping situation of the Adriatic coast. Albania offers several maps of which this one is probably the most likely candidate but it’s worth noting that there is also a cycling map for Albania – Albania By Bike – which may be worth investigating. The scale of the former is 1:200000, the scale of the latter 1:225000 so not much between them.
Moving further north, there is a wide range of maps available for Montenegro but sticking to the 1:200000 scale, perhaps this one from Marco Polo that combines Croatia with its southern neighbour may be the best. I’m not quite sure how much of the coastal area it covers and suspect that it’s a series of three maps that stretches further north towards the border with Slovenia. Being a relatively small country, Slovenia itself doesn’t appear to have a 1:200000 map available although this one at 1:150000 will probably do the trick. I may find that the other maps for Croatia and Italy actually cover the entirety of my route through Slovenia so it’s probably worth waiting to invest in that little piece of the jigsaw until the very end of my map buying spree.
So there we have it; the Eurovelo 8 mapped. Kind of.